Indoor gardening isn’t complicated and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can easily buy great indoor growing kits if you have the budget which will really help in automating the process and taking care of a lot of things for you. This is a great choice if you’re a beginner grower and have the cash to spend on one since it will help teach you a lot about growing while reducing any mistakes you could make. They end up saving you a lot of time and money from those mistakes and reduce the amount of supplies you needs since they generally include everything. But if you have some basic gardening experience, are a little more DIY and want to be more hands on with the process there are only a few basic things you’ll need along with a few helpful growing tips to remember. This can also be a valuable learning experience if you’re willing to make mistakes along the way.
Essentially, all you’ll need is growing pots or planter box, soil, water, grow light and of course seeds. But there are a few small things you can do that will go a long way when growing indoors for better plants and better harvesting.
Common Indoor Gardening Mistakes & Tips
- Fresh air exchange
- While higher carbon dioxide levels can be good for plants they still need fresh air the same way we do. Indoor air has been known to be unhealthy in many parts of the world but this is easily solved by allowing fresh air exchange a few times a day. If you have windows that can allow fresh air to flow through by having these open at least a few times a day this will help both you and your plants
- Mycorrhizal fungi
- This is by far one of the best investments anyone can make when growing in soil. By adding mycorrhizae to the soil you’re basically adding “little engineers” to the soil which manage all of the underground processes for you and help you produce way better results. The mycorrhizae will help protect the soil and plants from disease, deliver more nutrients and minerals to the plant roots and help increase yields. A small amount added to your soil mix will go a long way in helping you grow indoors and produce better plants. Fungi are incredible organisms.
- If you have a south facing window that gets plenty of light you may not need a grow light at all. By having some pots or a planter box in the window this could be all the light they need depending on what your growing. But if you live in a place that has long rainy or wet seasons a grow light would be good to have as a backup. Either way, its a good idea to setup a grow light for a consent light schedule in case weather doesn’t;t hold up. If you can find one that has higher red light in the spectrum this would be ideal for your plants. Red light has been show to produce larger plants, fruits and flowers.
- Things in Water
- Make sure that your water is filtered if you don’t live in a place that has a natural water source. Often the chemicals added to the water are enough to upset the plants or even kill them. Even some of the material from the pipes whether they are plastic or metal can have an undesired effect on them. The most common thing they do is change the PH levels of the soil. A simple solution to this carbon filter to remove anything you wouldn’t want to feed your plants and PH sticks are often very cheap to test PH levels of your water.
- Watering Levels
- When it comes to watering, the most common mistake is people make is watering their plants too much and they end up drowning them. The other is forgetting to water them at all. So by using a bottle to drip feed the soil or a clay vessel to bury in the soil filled with water this can help water your plants automatically and reduce any mistakes. If your curious on how to do this there are instructions further below. This is an ancient growing tool called an Olla.
Make a Self Watering Planter
If you’re someone who forgets to water plants on a regular schedule or is away from home often, you could try using bottle watering. All you have to do is fill the bottle with water, poke a few holes in the bottle cap and place the bottle upside down in the soil with the cap on. What this will do is enable the soil to pull water from the bottle as it becomes dry. If you have a small glass bottle (or even a vial) this is more ideal since it wont expose your plants and soil to plastic. But there is a much easier an natural way to do this. If you have a few extra dollars to spend and really like using this method you can purchase a small clay vessel called an olla which is filled with water an buried in the soil next to the plants. Since clay is porous water can be exchanged to the soil when the soil starts drying out. It essentially acts like a “well” for the plant roots to draw from when they need it. You could also make your own by sealing the bottom hole in a small clay pot and use the drainage tray as the lid. It does the exact same thing. This is a very old growing method used from thousands of year ago that is still used in some places around the world. So if you have an indoor garden bed bury the vessel in the center so that the water is distributed as evenly as possible. There are “self watering planters” you can buy if you don’t want to make these yourself and have everything already setup for you. All you would have to do is add water once its gets low.
Indoor gardening and growing your own food at home is one of the most sustainable ways to produce food since it reduces the amount of materials and resources it requires to get fresh produce from the soil to your plate. Its also very rewarding to produce your own food and is a valuable life skill. Aside from that, growing food at home can also be a lot a fun.