Winter can be a long, dreary, grey time of year when your garden seems to be a complete non event. Besides planning ahead for a gorgeous winter garden, you can turn those green fingers to another pursuit… indoor gardening.
Indoor gardening provides multiple benefits:
- organic fruit and vegetables direct from plant to plan
- welcome greenery when all outside is grey
- air cleansing – as we discussed here
It’s a fascinating hobby and it doesn’t take much space. If you grow your own produce, it can also pay for itself! It’s also perfect for people with not much indoor or outdoor gardening space as it doesn’t need to take a lot of room.
Here are some typical indoor gardening spaces:
- near glass doors and windows
- kitchen counters or on top of cabinets
- decorative shelving units
In fact anywhere there’s a bit of space and enough light is probably good for growing something… just be sure that the floor underneath is protected from any water spills and overflows!
Here are some tips to help you have a successful indoor garden:
Make sure there is enough light. In the winter months, especially in northern climates like ours, even a window may not provide enough light exposure and your plants may not thrive.
The good news is that gardening supply stores have special grow lights that supplement the available natural light. These lights provide exactly the right kind of light for plant growth. Be sure to check that you purchase the correct type of grow light for the plants you’re growing. Compact flourescent lights are also a good option and they’re more energy efficient than the High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. They can be used for most plants.
Most grow lights come with instructions on placing the light so that it is the correct distance from the plant. You’ll need to run the light for roughtly 14 – 16 hours per day for optimum plant growth. Less than this and you’ll find the plant won’t flower or produce fruit.
You can see when the plant is not getting enough light because the color will be off. Greens will be a little yellow. You’ll also notice that it is growing lanky and thin as opposed to nice healthy bushy growth.
Here’s a video that discusses the various grow lights:
In most instances 18 degrees Celcius to 24 degrees Celcius is the optimum temperature for plant growth.
Most plants require a reasonably humid climate. In winter with the heating on, even when it’s rainy, the air can dry out. If you notice that the plants leaves are turning brown on the tips, it could be that the indoor climate is too dry. This is an easy fix. Simply put a dish of water close to the plants. Grouping plants also helps preserve the humidity.
In our next article, we’ll discuss the various growing mediums you can use for your indoor garden.