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If you want to save money for buying overpriced and not so fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you can easily start up your home garden. Even if you don’t have a yard or other available outdoor space fear not, because starting up an indoor garden is quite easy if you know the basic rules and follow the essential steps to grow healthy plants and yield as much fresh and delicious crops as possible.
With your own indoor garden with edible plants, you will not only ensure that you have fresh food all year round, but also that it is completely organic, safe and chemical free, which is something you cannot be 100% certain about when shopping for groceries.
Also, you will be lowering your carbon footprint and will be doing a favor to nature because you won’t be promoting the transport of foodstuffs from far away destinations too.
So, given the multiple benefits of having your own homegrown edible plants, here are some of the basic tips and steps you need to follow if you want to successfully grow your own food at home:
1. Choose proper containers and pots for the plants
The pot is essential for the growth of the plant because if it is too small it will restrict the development of the roots, and thus hinder the growth and health of the plant itself. So, always opt for pots or other containers which are at least 6 inches in height and in depth.
Also, the pot has to have drainage holes if you want to avoid the excess water from getting stuck in the soil and eventually damaging the roots and causing them to rot, catch mold or kill them. So, ensure that your plant container has sufficient drainage as well.
2. Pick the best type of soil for your edible plants
Remember that not all soils and soil mixes are the same, so take the time to do your research and look around for the dirt which is the most suitable for your home garden plants. If possible opt for soil which has coconut hair mixed in it because it will help aerate it and allow for better air circulation. Also, look for soil with compost or bark included in the mix. These components help add a better and healthier and richer texture to the soil which will maintain just the right amount of water inside and release the rest through the drainage.
3. Choose the location accordingly
A good place to grow your edible plants in the kitchen or the rooms near it. But of course, not everybody has the option of doing that. So, look for an area which is sufficient for the containers and the plants you are planning on growing, and make sure that it is sunny, doesn’t have a draught, and doesn’t have large temperature and humidity changes and amplitudes.
Of course, you can always use a grow tent where you can control all of these factors, no matter where you decide to set up your indoor garden – even in the basement or the garage.
4. Ensure that your indoor garden will be getting enough light
It will be perfect if you can set up your homegrown crops in a sunny spot which has up to 14 hours of sunlight per day. If this is not possible, which is often the case in the winter season when the sun sets early, you can use some artificial light and specialized grow lamps to make sure that your plants are getting the light they need to photosynthesize properly.
But remember not to overdo it. Just like you need to rest and sleep at night, so do your plants. So, turn off or program your lighting to switch off at night, so that your plants can rest properly and grow.
5. Get to know the essentials of watering your home garden
Water is another essential element necessary for the growth and wellbeing of all plants. This is why you should provide them with the water they need whenever they need it. This though doesn’t mean overwatering the plants or following a strict watering schedule. A good rule of the thumb is to always check the condition and feel of the soil before proceeding with the watering. Stick your finger about an inch and a half into the soil and get a good feel of it. It should feel damp rather than dry or soggy. Whenever you feel that the soil is getting dry, it is time to water your plant!
On the other hand, some newbies in gardening make the mistake of watering their plants insufficiently. This “shallow” watering can lead to the development of a shallow root system and thus a weak and small plant which will most likely not reach full maturity. To ensure that the root is getting all the nutrition it needs, always add water until you see it seeping from the draining holes into the saucer underneath. This means that the water has passed through the soil and through all of the roots properly.
Last but not least, remember that in the summer, or when the heating at home is up, the water will evaporate faster, and your plants will need to be watered and misted more often than when it is cold and without too much light.
6. Let your plants rest in the winter
Just like when you grow plants outdoors they will naturally rest and need less light and water than in the summer. So, it is a good idea to let your home plants rest during the winter season by moving them to a cooler and darker spot, or simply lowering the temperature and lighting in the grow tent, greenhouse or other indoor garden space.
7. Take the time to repot the plants as they grow
The larger the plant grows, the larger its roots will become, so if you don’t want to constrict the growth, you need to repot larger plants into larger containers as they grow. This is normally done at least once in two years, but you may need to do it more often for fast-growing plants.
8. Observe your plants regularly
Remember to thoroughly inspect your home garden plants for any tell-tale signs that the conditions are not suitable or that there is some sort of pest infection or another disease. Signs like holes in the leaves, withering and browning leave ends, falling buds and others need to be taken into consideration if you want to prevent further damage to your indoor garden and keep your plants from dying off.
9. Final words
As you can see, starting a garden indoors is not such a difficult and complicated task. You just need to follow these easy tips and steps and remember to provide your home plants with the water, light, temperature, humidity, nutrition, and love they need to grow properly, and if you set your garden in the appropriate place and plant your edible crops in the appropriate containers with the right soil pretty soon you will enjoy eating the first fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plants from your very own indoor garden. Not only will they be the most delicious ones you have had, but you will be amazed at the pride and joy you will experience when you are picking them and eating them!