Many people are gardening enthusiasts. They often want to grow fresh food for their own consumption or just make the environment beautiful and attractive. However, there are some hindrances to pursuing this, for example, living in areas that experience harsh winter seasons or in areas that have no space for any outdoor gardening. My husband and I live in London. The U.K in general experiences winter seasons that at times become severe.
That did not stop me from coming up with an indoor garden. Indoor gardening can be done in the balcony, another adjacent building, in a greenhouse or even in the basement. Here are some guidelines that helped make my indoor gardening venture a success.
Determining the Right Soil
The potting soil should go hand in hand with the particular type of plant. For example, plants like Cactus and Rosemary require soil that is coarse and well drained. The seedlings should be grown in a light, soil-less mix that can absorb and hold moisture. Others like Ferns prefer soil that has a high content of humus.
A good potting mix consists of things like peat moss and vermiculite. These soilless mixes are good absorbers of moisture. They are also not easily invaded by pests and diseases. These mixes, however, do not contain nutrients. Therefore, a frequent addition of fertilizers is necessary. Other organic components such as composted peat or garden soil rich in nutrients can be can also be added to these soil-less mixes. The mix needs to be light to allow air and water to go through.
Although most plants thrive when the humidity is at 50% or more, humidity ranges between 30 and 40 percent can also work. An exercise that would induce humidity indoors would be misting, though, the humidity won’t last long. A more suitable solution, one which helped me a lot, was the use of a cool vapour humidifier. For better results, the plants should be clustered together so that they humidify each other.
It has been found out that most plants in indoor gardens die as a result of over-watering rather than under-watering. I must admit I’ve been a culprit when it comes to overwatering some of my plants. Plants will need frequent water when the weather outside is sunny. On the other hand, their water requirements will reduce during cold weather. When watering the plants the root ball needs to be drenched until water seeps out the pot bottom. This ensures the entire root ball gets enough moisture. Water that has been softened chemically should not be used at all because it contains some substances that are detrimental to plant life.
Typically, plants in the outside environment experience an average 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Some flowering plants usually need a dormancy period before they flower. To induce this dormancy period, watering and application of fertilizer should be reduced during winter since light intensity is low. In spring, watering and application of fertilizers should be increased.
Different plants require different light intensities. Some need less light, while some require constant light for 12 hours all year. Knowledge of the amount of light each plant needs is crucial for successful indoor gardening, for example, plants that need indirect light need to be put 3 to 5 feet away from a south facing window. To compensate for decreased light during winter, plants may need to be put closer to the windows.