With everything that is happening in the world right now, it’s very important to stay sane, healthy and not go out on the streets naked and shouting from frustration. Luckily, there is a thing that could help you out in all three ways and that is having your own indoor vegetable garden.
There are many perks to growing vegetables at home and having your own herb corner with some being quite obvious, while others not so much. But something everyone can agree on is that is completely worth the time and effort and those benefits can turn into essentials in time.
However, if you’re still debating, here are a couple of those perks to win you over!
Significantly better air quality – As we are taught from a very early age, plants are just as alive as we are but they are also extremely important for our survival. As they “breathe”, plants release the vital oxygen, we kind of need to keep living. So having a whole garden inside your home can act as a carbon dioxide filter that will quickly enrich the air in your home and keep your pets and family healthy and happy.
You control the growing season and weather of your garden – Outside anything can happen – extreme heat or cold, rain, storms, winds, tornados, tsunamis and even wild animal attacks. Nature can be dangerous and unpredictable. However, inside the borders of your home, you control the weather, growing season and overall the whole life of your herbs and vegetables. You are the complete God of the seasons and indoor gardening.
Extremely therapeutic – It’s been proven many times already that gardening – no matter if it’s outside or inside, can be quite a healing therapy session and by God do we all need one right now. If you have kids or pets, you probably know how meaningful taking care of someone else can be. Growing herbs indoors and having your own personal vegetable paradise requires regular care and a lot of learning, but if done properly, you will be rewarded in the end and the feeling is amazing. For many people who others thought were beyond repair, taking care of plants or pets has actually been the path to salvation.
Educational – Maintaining an indoor garden is not the hardest thing in the world but it’s definitely not the easiest. You will learn a lot of new things along the way and expand your overall flora knowledge. And if you have kids, teaching them to care for plants is a great indoor activity that will teach them patience, persistence and appreciation for nature as a whole.
Fresh produce all year round – And the most obvious one – having fresh vegetables and herbs whenever you need to. Some vegetables and herbs can be difficult to keep fresh for a longer period of time, they could be quite costly at the store and you never know what their path has been before reaching the counters – if they have been in contact with pesticides or preservatives. But growing vegetables at home means that you will have them at your disposal at all times. Whenever you need a couple of basil leaves or a tomato, you just reach out and grab them, instead of going to the store for the 5th time this week.
Tools you will need for your gardening project
Before you start, you will have to do some shopping and gather everything required to keep a healthy vegetable and herb garden. Here is what we recommend:
Light – Sometimes natural light might not be enough for your plants to truly thrive and succeed. This is why we recommend investing in grow lights for both the herbs and the vegetables.
Pots and containers with drainage holes – There is no need to buy some expensive, fancy-looking pots in order to give your plants a happy life – just about any container with holes at the bottom will do the work.
Labels to put on the containers – Each plant has a specific care routine that you will have to follow. However, in the beginning, you can’t really tell which is which, so to make things easier, just put labels on the different containers.
A cool-mist humidifier – When growing plants indoors you will basically try to imitate their outside living conditions as much as you can. Which is why we recommend that you buy a humidifier that will slowly release a cool mist with no artificial aromas – just water. This will keep your plants from drying out.
Gravel – You can put some gravel at the bottom of your containers, below the soil, in order to improve drainage.
Soil – Thankfully, there are many potting mixes for veggies and herbs that contain all the needed nutrients for your new plant babies and will give them quite the head start.
Yes, we know it’s not a vegetable, but it’s doing a great job of acting as one and being a regular ingredient of many salads and other recipes. In order to take care of tomatoes indoors, you will need to choose a smaller sort as they can get quite heavy and difficult to maintain inside.
You can start by planting seeds or already grown seedlings.
If you go with seeds you can place them in separate yogurt containers, putting the seed in the middle.
Keep the soil moist and find a warm, sunny location where they can germinate.
Once it turns into a seedling, transfer it to a bigger container, with good drainage and make sure that it’s at least 10 cm deep in the soil so that the plant can develop a strong root system, important for sustaining the weight afterwards.
Now that the plant is finally growing into an adult, turn it around at least once a day to make sure all sides are getting enough light.
Tomatoes are self-pollinating so normally they just do their own thing without any other plants around them. However, if they need any help – just tap the stems of the flowers or slightly shake the tomato to encourage pollination.
Tomatoes take from 60 to 80 days to produce their fruits so be patient.
Make sure to get rid of dead leaves, water regularly and you will enjoy juicy tomatoes for years to come.
These bad boys are actually quite easy to take care of. They are part of the veggies that tolerate colder weather and can easily survive in temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius. Just like the tomatoes, however, if you want to make your life easier, choose a smaller sort so they would take up less space and mature a lot quicker.
Choose the pot by how big you want the carrots to get. As long as they have space, they will grow.
Place the soil in the container, moisten it and sprinkle the seeds freely.
Find a nice sunny place or a nice big lamp to put your container. Carrots will need around 10 hours a day of sunlight in order to develop fully.
Water them regularly and don’t let the soil get too dry.
Seeds usually germinate within 2 weeks so when that happens, make sure that you thin out the sprouts, leaving at least 5 cm in between seedlings.
Carrots should take around 70 days to start growing.
This includes lettuce, spinach, mesclun, arugula and whatever your heart desires. These guys are probably the easiest one on the list. They are completely fine with shallow containers and grow very quickly.
Fill your long container, around 15cm deep, with soil and dampen it.
Spread the seeds and press them lightly against the soil.
Keep them moist and they should start germination within one week.
Let your green boys grow at least 15 cm in height before you start snipping them for your salad.
Pull or just cut the leaves you will need and allow the rest of the plant to recover and start growing again.
Radishes are quite fun to grow and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. However, we do recommend that you start with the normal red radishes, as they are the easiest to take care of.
Start by choosing a container that is at least 20 cm deep.
Plant the seeds in a moistened soil, around 2 cm from the surface and wait until they germinate.
Thin out the seedlings so they can have a place to grow and reach their full potential.
It usually takes around 30 to 40 days until harvesting time comes.
Make sure to take them out quick so they don’t turn bitter.
Want to have pretty flowers growing in your garden, too? We can take make it happen!
A nice herb indoor garden can be quite useful to any household so we’ve prepared this short guide and list of different herbs you can grow indoors and how to take care of them.
How to grow herbs indoors
As the conditions are fairly the same with all the different herbs, we will sum up with a general guide and then let you know of all the specifics regarding the various plants.
If artificial light was slightly recommended for growing veggies indoors, then with herbs is almost mandatory. Most of them require a lot of strong sunlight in order to thrive and that can be difficult to maintain, especially in the winter. Buy a couple of fluorescent lights and use them for all the plants.
Plant each herb in a different container.
Make sure there is good drainage. Just like with the vegetables, you can put gravel at the bottom. In case there aren’t enough holes in the container, put more.
Plant the seeds around 5cm apart from each other and make sure to wait in between waterings.
Most herbs are not very moisture resistant and they might rot if you overwater them.
Make sure that the plants will get at least 7 hours of light each day.
Use a general organic fertilizer to help out your herbs and give them the best life possible. You can start once they begin germination.
Best indoor herbs
Basil – With this guy, it’s very important to check the pH level of the soil at least once a month. It should vary between 6.0 and 7.5. Make sure the container has great drainage as basil’s roots can start rotting very quickly. Use only organic fertilizers in order not to change the flavour.
Rosemary – Rosemary, actually is very hard to start from a seed, which is why we recommend that you begin with a cutting. Snip one from a grown plant, remove the bottom leaves, dip the lower end in a rooting hormone and place the cutting in a small container with moist soil. Make sure to gently mist the babies daily and check for root development. Once the roots begin to grow, start trimming the tops in order to stimulate branches. It’s best to have a single plant in each container.
Oregano – Light is the most important here, so make sure it gets enough of it. Oregano is quite resistant to drought so it’s best to always wait for the soil to dry until you water it again. Once you have the adult plant, you can start pinching the leaves whenever you need them. This will also stimulate the oregano to become even bushier and bigger.
Parsley – Seedling will need their space so make sure there is at least 10cm of space between them. Opposite to the oregano, parsley actually needs a lot of water in order to reach its full potential so make sure the soil is never dry and mist the leaves often. If you want to always have this useful herb in your kitchen, sow seeds every year, as parsley dies out on the second and it cannot be used again.
Thyme – With thyme, you don’t need to start from seeds as it’s generally easy to find adult plants and just take care of them. Just make sure that it’s placed in a bright and warm location, wait for the soil to dry between waterings and you will be good to go!
How to protect your vegetables and herbs from pests
While having an indoor vegetable garden system surely eliminates most of the pests you would have to deal with normally, protection is still quite important if you want to enjoy healthy herbs and vegetables. For example, curl grubs are one of the most invasive pests in Australia, that will not care your garden is on the inside. They will find a way to your plants and destroy them.
If you don’t want this to happen, here are some general tips and tricks that will repel pests from your indoor garden. And if you want a more thorough guide on curl grubs, click here.
Install window and door screens in case you haven’t done so already. Most herbs are quite aromatic and may attract a number of pests that would be quite difficult to get rid of.
Regularly remove dead leaves and branches and make sure there are no rotting parts of your plants.
Use organic soils and pesticides.
Make sure there is proper air circulation in the room your indoor garden is located in.
Place lavender and garlic plants to repel pests like fleas, moths, aphids, carrot root flies, snails and maggots.
You will also benefit from placing a large catnip plant in the room of your choice.
If you have any pets, make sure that all of your plants are properly protected from them. Same goes for toddlers.
Let Fantastic Services take care of your gardening endeavours
We surely hope that your indoor garden will give you lots of happy moments and tasty dinners in the future. However, at one point you may decide to transfer those vegetables and herbs in your garden. Maybe you won’t have enough time to take care of them or you’ll run out of space.
In either case, to make sure that they will continue their life in your outside garden, we recommend that you find a gardening expert. He will safely relocate all the plants in the right place where they will thrive for the years to come.
Need a gardener?
Find a reliable professional to take care of your lawn or garden!
Do daily checks of your plants to make sure all of the requirements are met.
If you have fluorescent lights, use them when there is no more sunlight to save money.
Place an electric fan with a timer in the dedicated room to ensure the proper air circulation.
Plants which have stems and leaves as their edible parts usually grow quicker, while the others require more time planning.
Remember to have fun and turn this into an amazing family project!
We hope you found this thorough guide for creating an indoor herb and vegetable garden useful! What is your experience in taking care of vegetables indoors? Let us know in the comments below!