How to Start Your Very Own Indoor Garden: A Helpful Guide

Indoor herbs in pots on a window sill.

If you want to have an indoor garden in your home, there are things you should do. Click here to learn how to start an indoor garden.

Gardens provide astounding physical and mental benefits such as clean air and stress relief. If you’re planting vegetables, they’re tastier and more nutritious, too! Unfortunately, the winter season and limited space can inhibit our ability to work with plants.

That’s why many people turn to indoor gardens, but gardening indoors requires a different kind of expertise. There are new skills to learn, new tools to buy, and less space to work with.

But you can do it, even if you live in a studio apartment. Don’t believe it? This guide will show you how easy it is to create a beautiful indoor garden.

1. Designate an Indoor Garden Space

With the right equipment, you can turn any area of your home into a lush indoor garden. An indoor gardening beginner can start with plants on a wide windowsill or an adjoining table, but nothing is stopping you from stuffing your plants in an unused closet or corner of the room.

The amount you plant will determine how much space you need. A half-dozen starter containers may fit on the windowsill at first, but you’ll have to transplant them into larger pots once they’ve grown. Always keep this in mind as you figure out your space.

Ideally, you’ll find a warm location with plenty of natural light. You can provide warmth and light yourself should you have no viable spots in your home. You could also turn to a premium indoor grow box, which conveniently provides everything your plants need to thrive.

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2. Choose the Right Plants

You can grow almost anything indoors, but not everything will do well. It’s in your best interest to choose plants that stay within their containers and are happy with artificial light. Between flowers, vegetables, and herbs, there are many great options available.

Carrots are perhaps one of the easiest vegetables to please. They’re vertical, which is great for space management, and they aren’t very picky about their accommodations. Small greens like kale, basil, and spinach, radishes, and beets are also easy. You could even turn to larger bounties, like tomatoes and red peppers.

For the best results, germinate these plants indoors and transplant them outside once they start taking shape.

3. Purchase Seeds and Starting Containers

Once you’ve decided on your plants of choice, you’ll need to buy the seeds. You can find these at physical garden centers and online.

Remember that a single packet of seeds will likely contain more than you’ll plant during the season. If indoor gardens are your thing, then you can skip this step and use the remaining seeds next season. You could purchase seed starting containers. But if you want to be frugal, you probably have items in your home that get the job done. Most of these are located in your kitchen.

Egg cartons, yogurt containers, and plastic clamshells are all everyday items you might have in your fridge. Instead of throwing them out, save them and reuse them for your garden project.

4. Start Planting

The soil you use is an essential component to promote healthy plants and a decent yield — although indoor plants won’t be as bountiful as those grown outdoors. You can choose between potting mix and potting soil. Potting soil has dirt additives, unlike potting mix. Although dirt may be more natural, it’s not as effective for indoor plants.

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For that reason, you should always choose potting mix. Fill your reusable containers with the mix and constitute your seeds. Pay heed to the directions on the seed packaging if you plan on transplanting outside. Planting certain vegetables too early could jeopardize them later on.

An indoor garden of potted plants displayed on shelves in a store.

5. Manage Temperature and Light

The winter light streaming through your windows won’t be enough for indoor plants. You’ll have to rely on an artificial light source to keep them happy. Use fluorescent lights that cover the entire light spectrum. This ensures your plants are getting a wavelength they’re able to absorb.

Ideally, this source should supply light for about 14 to 16 hours every day. To save some money and hassle, you don’t need to worry about the lights right away. But once the plants have sprouted, it’s time to set up your light system. You’ll know there’s an issue with your lights if the plants are paler or thinner than they should be.

6. Learn to Water

The most difficult part about gardening indoors? Watering. Even if you have gardening experience, you’re going to have some trouble accommodating to your plants’ needs.

Ensure your containers have holes to allow the release of any extra water. It’s best if you water with a spray bottle or other weak source. A stream of water, such as from a faucet or bucket, is enough to unveil the buried seed.

Routinely check the moisture of the soil. If it’s dry or sopping wet, that’s a good sign there’s a problem. The plants themselves will tell you when there’s an issue with your watering job.

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If you overwater, the stems on your plants will wilt. It might appear discolored and grow little, if at all. On the other hand, underwatering is just as bad. Underwatering results in browning and wilting of the leaves. These signs are easy to misconstrue, so inspect your plants with a sharp eye before changing up your watering routine.

Get Growing!

No matter where you live, you can have a garden. An indoor garden is a fun way to practice your green thumb and enjoy the delicious and nutritious fruits of your labor.

Once the plants have matured, you’ll have the option of transplanting them outside. This will result in healthier plants and larger yields. Otherwise, you can place them in larger pots to accommodate them indoors.

Hungry for more gardening advice? Find more in the garden section of our blog.

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