How to start your own indoor garden

Is your Instagram feed full of brag-worthy snaps of homegrown veggies?  Don’t let a lack of outdoor space prevent you from starting your own vegetable garden­­­­—indoors. You’ll enjoy fresh produce year-round, cleaner air and the satisfaction of growing your own food. Here’s what you need to get started on your indoor garden:

How to start your own indoor garden

[Photo Credit: iStock.com/chika_milan]

1. Light

Light is the key ingredient to any garden, but it’s especially important indoors. Without sufficiently strong—and long—hours of sunlight each day plants will still grow, but have weak stems and not enough energy to bear fruit. In the summer months, a south-facing window should do the trick, but in the fall and winter you’ll want to use a grow light. These special bulbs mimic the sun’s rays which are easily absorbed by the plants and turned into energy. Grow light kits for indoor gardens can be pricey (sorry, regular incandescent lightbulbs won’t do!) but compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) can be an economical alternative for the beginner. Tech lovers might be inspired to invest in a hydroponic kit, such as the popular AeroGarden. These soilless systems with built-in lights let you know exactly when to water and fertilize, and come in a wide variety of sizes.

2. Space

One of the best things about growing crops in pots is that they can take up as much, or as little, space as you want. Window sills and sunny corners are a great place to start your container garden. Plants can also grow happily stacked on shelves or in wall-mounted fabric pouches and vertical tower containers that help boost your harvest per square foot. Plants can grow in nearly any type of container as long as it offers good drainage and space for roots to grow.

3. Soil

A common mistake first-time gardeners make is using outdoor soil for their indoor garden. Garden soil is heavy, low in the nutrients vegetable plants need and can contain weeds and insects. The ideal planting medium is light, fluffy and drains quickly. Buy quality potting soil for indoor plants from your local garden centre. Mix in some compost or other fertilizer to help the soil retain water and allow better air flow around the roots.

4. Easy Vegetables to Grow Indoors

There’s nothing quite like fresh-picked produce, are we right? It tastes so much better than the stuff from your local grocery store, and you know it’s organic because you farmed it yourself. Whether you choose to buy small plants from your local nursery or prefer to start your own plants from seed, the fun part is deciding what to grow.

Herbs and salad greens like arugula, leaf lettuce, spinach and kale are a great way to get your indoor garden started. Cherry tomatoes, peppers, green onions and beans can also do well indoors. Beets, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower can all be great choices for indoor gardeners who have space for large, deep pots. Did you know you can also regrow vegetables from kitchen scraps? Celery, garlic, romaine lettuce and even pineapple can be regrown from the cut-off ends that usually get tossed in the compost bin.

Follow these tips and you’ll soon be harvesting your own homegrown vegetables all year long.

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