Making the Most of Your Indoor Garden
Many people are born with a green thumb. It seems they look at a plant and it blooms and blossoms without much effort. Then there are those who seem to have the opposite of a green and struggle to keep a cactus alive. If you find yourself among the ranks of the latter, don’t fear. Here are a few steps to start an indoor garden and before you know it, your garden may be on the latest cover of numerous gardening magazines.
- Consider Your Space: Some people think that growing plants indoors just means you bring any plant inside, but that is not the case. You need to carefully consider your space and how much light certain areas receive or the temperature. You will also need to consider how big the plant you chose will actually grow. Seems overwhelming? Sure, it might, but here are some easy plants that you can start with: spinach, lettuce, or many varieties of herbs.
- Make Friends: Get to know your indoor plants. Just like people, every plant is unique and requires a different combination of light, water, and food. Getting it all wrong could have dire consequences for your plants and your ego. Make sure you do some research on your house plants to make sure that you give them exactly what they need - growing a great indoor garden requires more than just water.
- Watch the Water Levels: Yes, light and space are important for healthy plant growth but water is also just as important. Understanding the needs of your plant when it comes to water is crucial. If your research doesn’t come up with the frequency between waterings, ask your local gardening center. Many experts say that you can get away with watering a houseplant once a week, but depending on the temperature, the frequency may change. You will also need to learn how to test soil moisture which will also help you to determine whether you should water or not.
- Feed me: Plants do make their own food through photosynthesis, however, they need other nutrients - that they get from the soil - to survive. When plants are outdoors, decaying leaves and other things provide the nutrients needed but while indoors, the soil can lack these vital nutrients. Like watering, expert advice on using fertilizer varies but it is better to under-fertilize instead of over-fertilize. Many companies make a variety of options when it comes to fertilizer - pellet, liquid, or slow-release. Ask your gardening center what type your plants enjoy most or try different kinds to see which your plant reacts to best.
- Bask in the Sun: Water. Check. Food. Check. Sunlight… sun is another important part of having happy and healthy plants. Most plants nowadays come with either a sticker on the pot or a small stake with instructions. Either one should tell you approximately how much sunlight your plant needs each day. It’s very important that you take this information to heart as you don’t want to leave a plant in direct sunlight all day while you are working when it should be shaded.
- Learn to Let Go: There will come a time in every house plant’s life when it will need to be repotted. Just as you outgrow clothes and situations, plants grow as well. Repotting is not as simple as getting the next size up pot and throwing the plant in, there is some planning and knowledge involved. Repotting your plant not only gives it more room to grow but allows it to get nutrients from the new soil. Yes, repotting involves getting new soil. Do not use the old soil as the plant would have already depleted it of nutrients…it’s like putting an empty box of cereal back into the cabinet. It may look delicious but it isn’t full of anything. Repotting your plants is essential for their growth but shouldn’t be done more than once every 1 - 2 years.
Not only is indoor gardening a great stress reliever but it helps to create a cozier, more comfortable environment. Cultivating your green thumb can also lead to creating a more sustainable lifestyle when you take your indoor gardening skills outdoors into a large garden and begin growing fruit and vegetables. There is no better feeling in the world than sitting down to a meal prepared with items from your own garden.