There may be many people who would love nothing more than to have a garden, be able to grow their own plants and reap the benefits plants can have for their mental health and well being but… they may not have the outdoor space. Not a problem as you can have your very own indoor garden.
In this post with the aid of Essential Living this will help you to start your very own indoor garden for beginners. This is something you can do yourself or even get the kids involved to help.
How to start your own indoor garden for beginners.
Gardening is a great way to destress, and being surrounded by plants and nature is proven to lower stress levels, help with depression, and improve our overall mood.
The Office of National Statistics recorded that one in eight Brits is currently living without a garden or access to a personal outdoor space. Despite this and the cold British weather, there are still some simple ways you can create your own indoor garden.
To help you to get started, apartment rental brand Essential Living has pulled together a guide on how to create your own indoor garden and the easiest plants to start off with.
Utilise your space
Having your own Indoor garden is great for those living in the city who lack garden space. Whilst those living in apartments may not know where to start, there are only five things you need to consider, space, light, temperature, soil (potting mix) and plant type.
Plants don’t need to take up much space and a sunny windowsill, shelf, tabletop, or if you are lucky enough to have a balcony is all it takes. Whilst planting on a windowsill will help provide your plants with the most natural sunlight, you may struggle for space.
For beginners who want to start off growing one or two plants, shelves are great for small spaces as they provide lots of planting room and only take up mostly vertical space.
Type of lighting
Light is also very important as you need to ensure your plants have a sufficient amount for healthy growth. A lack of light will cause your plant to grow too tall and topple over.
If you struggle to grow plants in natural sunlight, you can use artificial grow lights including incandescent bulbs, high-intensity discharge bulbs, fluorescent bulbs or LED.
Image: Michele Jones
Always remember, the light should be positioned as close to the plant as possible, without being so close as to burn the leaves. Ideally a few inches above seedlings for best results.
In terms of temperature, 18-24°C (65-75°F) are ideal for most plants, and temperatures a little bit outside of this range won’t do any harm. One of the biggest issues with growing indoor plants is a lack of humidity, which is why misting your plants daily with a spritzer will help lock in that moisture.
Research conducted by Essential Living found the Snake plant (aka sansevieria) came out as the popular lockdown houseplant across the UK, with a popularity increase of 116.3% – that’s twice as many searches as before we went into lockdown.
Whilst the Snake plant is a tough plant and can tolerate colder temperatures, it is also the easiest to handle temperature-wise indoors, with very little maintenance.
Choose a suitable potting mix
Ideally, when choosing your potting mix you want one suitable for indoor gardening. Try to avoid using regular garden soil as it can cause contamination of bacteria and bugs which can hinder your new seedlings from growing properly.
A good seed starting mix has a fine texture, almost loose, light and fluffy and should contain enough organic matter to provide nutrients and to hold the moisture but also drain well.
Start off with mint
Mint is an easy option to begin with, whilst it will give you a refreshing aroma it is also tasty and versatile- whether used for making homemade lamb sauce to accompany a delicious Sunday dinner or none other than a fresh, ice-cold Mojito cocktail.
You can either in a pot of soil or even in a bottle of water and you need to make sure you have a container with sufficient drainage for healthy plant growth.
For soil growth, pot up your mint plant with a good potting mix- a normal one containing peat is fine- and water the mint plant well after planting. Place it in an area with indirect light, preferably an east-facing window during spring and summer. Try maintaining an indoor temperature of around 65-70 degrees for the best results.
If you want to grow mint plants in water, simply take tip cuttings of about 5 to 6 inches in length from an established mint plant. Remove the bottom leaves and place the cuttings in a water-filled glass or bottle. Set this in a sunny window with at least four to six hours of light each day.
Try growing strawberries in time for summer
The best fruit to grow indoors are definitely strawberries, and even though they take up to two months to fully grow, they taste just as good knowing you grew them yourself!
First, you need to consider the space you will use. Growing strawberries in pots or containers which hang from the ceiling are great options and can save you space. Alternatively, a windowsill can also be used, but be sure not to overcrowd the plants as they can become vulnerable to disease or mould.
The key ingredient to growing strawberry houseplants is sun exposure, whether indoors in your indoor garden or even outside, strawberries need at least six hours of sun per day. This can either be provided by sun exposure or by using indoor plant lighting.
Consider the variety of strawberry as there are two major types. June bearing strawberries (funnily enough produced in June), and ever-bearing strawberries (which will fruit twice a year).
Before planting strawberry houseplants, trim any old or dead leaves and the roots to around 4-5 inches and soak the roots for an hour. Plant the strawberry so the crown is even with the soil surface and the root system fans out. Strawberries can be planted in almost anything given the correct soil, water and light and show the best results in a soil pH of 5.6-6.3.
Using a control release fertilizer is recommended until the plant flowers, and once you start to see this, fertilize every ten days until harvesting is finished. Also when growing strawberry plants in your indoor garden, you will want to remove the blossoms for the first six weeks after planting as this allows the plant time to establish before expanding its energy on producing fruit.
Normally strawberries take around two months to properly grow, however with some care and perseverance you will be able to eat your homegrown strawberries just in time for summer!
If you’d like to learn even more then why not take a look at this post from Essential Living which looks at 15 perfect plants for indoor gardens.