If you are limited by yard space or live in a cold climate but want to garden, you might want to start planning your indoor garden! Indoor gardening is a great way to enjoy your love of gardening no matter what where you live or what the weather's like outside.
Planning your indoor garden can mean creating anything from a delicious herb or vegetable garden to growing ferns, flowers or tropical plants. Each type of plant requires different growing conditions, so study each carefully. One common factor is sunlight -- all plants need adequate sunlight to grow. However, there are ways to bring artificial sunlight into your home by using grow lights. You'll be able to tell if your plants aren't getting enough light if the stems or leaves turn yellow or brown. You can train a plant to flourish indoors. When you first bring it indoors, give it all the light it needs. Then, after about a month, reduce the amount of light the plant receives a little at a time. But be careful that the stems don't turn yellow.
Spot grow bulbs increase light for plant groupings or small gardens. These are directional lights that are appropriate for clamp on type incandescent fixtures.
Fluorescent grow light tubes fit in standard fluorescent light fixtures. They can be hung from shelves or from the ceiling. They're great for starting seeds and seedlings, propagation of cuttings, leafy vegetables, herb gardens, succulents and other plants that are less than 36 inches high.
LED grow lights are inexpensive and long lasting. They cost less to buy and are cheaper to operate as they use less energy. They use only one wavelength per bulb, but most lamps contain a variety of bulb types so you can target all the plants growth stages. LED grow lights will last 10 - 15 years.
If you're going to be using artificial light, you'll need to plan your space carefully. Starting seedlings means intense light focused for a relatively short period. Then, when the plants reach early maturity, you'll probably want to move them to a permanent location in your indoor garden.
Create a Notebook
Develop a notebook filled with details about the plants you want to grow. Make it your dream book. Add information about plants you can't or don't want to grow now, but might in the future. List all of the information you can find about each plant -- in some cases you may want to devote a whole page to a plant. If you plan on planting different varieties, you may want to devote a notebook to each variety. These notebooks will become your "bible" for planting. With them, you're likely to become a local gardening expert. You should have information about soil, light, nutrients and watering. It's important you know all this -- indoor gardening requires time and attention to the health of the plant, and the more you know, the more they'll grow. Plus, you'll learn all about the plants you plan on growing and discover varieties that are best for growing indoors.
Locating Your Garden
When you select locations in your home, the first place to look is near southern-facing windows. However, your research on plants will tell you which plants absolutely need that space. There will be others that you can place in a warm room with less light. Others will require full sun but cooler temperatures.
If you're starting your indoor garden from seed, be sure to give the seedlings their best start with good soil, proper watering and plenty of nutrients.
Since your indoor garden plants will be in pots, you'll have the luxury of being able to move them around. Rotate the plants outside during warmer months so they can receive direct sunlight.
Watering will be a critical step -- it's the only way your plant will get the moisture it needs. Make sure you thoroughly wet the soil, to the point where the water drains out the bottom and into the pot's holding container. A good rule of thumb: water more less often verses less more often. In other words, give the soil a good soaking and water less instead of giving your plant a little water every day. Be care not to overwater -- you'll be able to tell if your plants start to turn yellow.
Of course, you'll have to prune, cut and transplant your indoor plants, similar to what you do with outdoor plants. Remove dead leaves, stems and flowers to allow the plant to devote all of its energy to growing.