Though practical in any climate, growing your own vegetables indoors in New England between the frosts is a necessity if you wish to maintain a connection to your food. Indoor gardens produce year round with care, and help you continue to place fresh, homegrown nutrition on your plate no matter the meal. Choosing durable veggies, planning space, and maintaining care are essential for your growing success.
How to Plant Interior Gardens
There are biosphere and home aquafarm products that require little to no maintenance, but are not necessary for an indoor garden. These system can be costly, and require an aqua-farm approach to growing food – where you have a layer of greenery planted on top of a water source stocked with fish. Not only are they overly complicated, but unsightly as well. Aqua farms can also be purchased on a much smaller scale for much less money if your looking to try something different. If you keep in mind that your small mini aquafarm is more for fun than growing a meal than you wont be disappointed.
For a simpler version, think of a window box for your indoor garden, but only turned inward. Using planters placed near good sunlight exposure, vegetable plants will thrive. No box need be any deeper than 12” depending on your crop. Choose planters for growing vegetables indoors that work with your décor, and aren’t in the way of foot traffic. You may wish to locate a planter as a centerpiece on your dining room table, or on a plant stand near a draft-free corner that still gets reliable sunlight. If light is an issue, look for changing out light bulbs for UV producing bulbs, often found in garden, home improvement, or pet stores.
Look for a good planting mix, either purchased at a gardening shop or from your own compost bin. Mix in a 1/3 of vermiculite for drainage and aeration, and some peat moss for moisture retention. If you are growing leafy greens, keep them clean of pests and fungus by applying a natural fungicide or pesticide.
Vegetables Suited for Indoor Growing
You may not have the space or notion to replace all of your winter veggie needs with an indoor garden, but you most certainly can add enhancement to your meals with simple crops that require little maintenance. A selection of greens, herbs, and small plot root crops will thrive in your home’s environment with little consideration of space.
Leafy greens such as chard, red and Boston lettuces, and romaine do well with minimal tending in an indoor garden. With greens, the constant struggle during normal growing seasons is bolting. Fluctuating exterior temperatures and watering patterns stimulate a seeding impulse called bolting, yet with a near constant temperature indoors with regular watering, this is no longer a concern. Trim leaves from the greens as needed, as the plants will continue to grow and produce crops for you.
Shallow roots crops such as carrots and radishes do well also in interior planters. Keep the soil warm and watered as directed, and harvest when in need. Each vegetable has different indicators from maturity, so read the instructions on the seed packet carefully to keep the plant healthy. Growing vegetables indoors can be a true respite from the cold and snow outside, and all it takes is the determination to make it happen. To learn more about gardening and growing your own food, take a look here.