Growing a garden is a great way to take some control of the food you are putting on the table and feeding your family. But a short growing season or lack of outdoor space to garden can limit how much of your own food you can grow. Have you ever wondered what, if any, vegetables you can grow indoors? Here are some year round vegetable gardening tips to help you get started on the road to indoor gardening expertise.
Lighting for indoor vegetable gardening
Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and cucumbers are the biggest producers in the garden. Naturally, you are wondering if you can grow these vegetables indoors and what kind of requirements they will need. The biggest obstacle you will encounter growing vegetables indoors is providing them with enough light. Fruiting vegetables require a minimum of 8 hours of full sun per day.
Unless you have an attached sunroom or large, south-facing windows, this may be more sunlight than you can provide. However, don’t let living in an apartment or older house with small windows deter you from trying to grow these crops indoors. You can still do it with a little bit of research. Contact your County Extension or do an Internet search for advice on buying an indoor lighting system for growing vegetables. Alternately, you can also find advice online for making a lighting system yourself with fixtures from the hardware store or from online retailers. If you have your heart set on becoming an indoor vegetable farmer, I would recommend visiting your local hydroponics retailers as they have a lot of experience with growing plants indoors with artificial lighting.
Watering indoor vegetable gardens
If your indoor vegetable gardening dreams do not grow beyond a few potted plants that maybe you brought indoors from the garden, watering will be a cinch. However, if you are planning an extensive indoor vegetable growing operation, you may want to look into buying or making your own hydroponic system. Again, a visit to your hydroponic retailer may be a good idea. But giving the rise of hydroponics the past couple of years, you can find detailed schematics and tips for building your own aquaponics system online.
Eliminating soil from your indoor gardening system may make your indoor vegetable gardening adventure easier as you eliminate the question of when and how often to water your indoor vegetables. Another benefit of growing your plants in a soil-less medium is that you eliminate the potential for garden pests that live and thrive in soil.
Small-scale indoor vegetable gardening
Even though growing heavy producing crops indoors is an option, maybe you just do not want to deal with the hassle, and are only interested in growing some vegetables to hold you over during the winter until indoor seed starting season begins. In that case look into growing your own micro greens, shorter varieties of root crops like radishes and carrots, salad greens, and popular herbs like basil, chives, oregano, rosemary and mint as potted indoor topiary.
Whatever you decide, know that indoor vegetable gardening will be a lot like gardening outdoors. Don’t be discouraged if you have a few stumbles, if the harvests are a little on the small side, or if you cannot grow everything you desire. But do take your foray into growing vegetables indoors to experiment and learn new tricks like choosing the best indoor plant lighting, or learning how to grow hydroponically.
Grow your favorite vegetables year round! Impress with delicious, homegrown veggies on your table throughout the holidays and beyond with step-by-step guidance from Master Gardener Bill Thorness in his online gardening class The Extended Harvest: Vegetables for Every Season.
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