By Moreblessing Tikki
Indoor gardening is a technique used to grow plants within living spaces such as a residential home, business office, or restaurant. Growing indoor plants is mainly done if you do not have the space for an outdoor garden, or simply wish to bring natural beauty and serenity inside. Gardening can be done by an average homeowner on a small scale or at an industrial level. All methods of gardening require access to clean water, a source of light, and a way to support plants as they grow.
There are multiple methods of indoor gardening, these include; container gardening, hydroponic gardening, controlled environment agriculture, and vertical farms. Of these, the simplest method of indoor gardening is container gardening where any container capable of holding soil, moisture, and plants can be used. Pots are the most common but, homesteaders and those looking to upcycle waste may use anything from cardboard egg cartons to coffee cans. One of the benefits of indoor gardening is improving indoor air quality. The main advantage of indoor gardening is the precise control of the environment, that is; the temperature, sunlight, water intake, and garden soil requirements.
How to Start an Indoor Garden
The first step is to decide where exactly the garden belongs and what should be planted. Choose a location and type of transplants or seeds you want to grow. When selecting your location remember to consider the size of the plants, flowers, vegetables, or herbs that are suitable for planting. . The best plants to grow are the ones that prefer low to medium amounts of light, however, most fruits and vegetables need full sun, with a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight per day for fruiting.
Choosing and Positioning Your Containers
Different sizes and shapes of containers look phenomenal in a garden. There are various types of containers for you to explore and choose from; that suit different kinds of weather conditions, plants, and humidity levels. The following are some of the types of containers with their descriptions that will help you select your type of container painlessly. These can be enclosed, small, and portable such as a box, tub, basket, tin, ceramic, clay pot, hanging basket, glass vase, coffee cup, kettle, terrarium, barrel.
The containers should offer proper drainage and aeration for roots to breathe in order to prevent root rot. The most standard containers include a wooden box also known as an indoor planter box. It can look like a traditional exterior window box either affixed to the wall or raised on legs.
Hanging baskets, pots, or glass vases, which can suspend from a ceiling, pole, rack, or against a wall using a hook, are also popular and ideal for indoor gardening. Decorating your home with hanging pots or baskets goes well with spider plants, burro’s tail, and greeneries. The terrarium arrangements are the best for dining tables or sitting areas and windows. They are presented best with succulents, cacti with little marbles, and pebble stones.
Load the container with soil
Use a quality potting mix. Potting mixes have a balanced mixture of peat, compost, or coir (the fuzzy fibers of a coconut shell), vermiculite, perlite, or rice hulls to promote proper drainage. When choosing a potting mix, look for one that’s light and fluffy.
Plant those seeds, transplants, or scraps.
Once you have picked up your containers and soil for your garden, pick up seeds that have a high germination rate (meaning many of the seeds end up sprouting) and are dated for the current season. When planting seeds, place them at the depth recommended on the packet. Keep the potting mix slightly moist until the seeds sprout and the seedlings begin to grow.
Water your indoor garden.
How often and how much you water your plants depends on your growing conditions and the age of your plants. In general, the warmer you keep your house, the lower the humidity, and the sunnier the location, the more often you will need to water.
Fertilize your indoor garden.
If the fertiliser in your potting mix has run its course (the packaging will tell you how long it lasts), you will likely want to continue using some kind of fertiliser, especially if your plants are showing signs of nutrient deficiencies, these include pale leaves and stunted growth. You can add slow-release fertilisers as directed on the label, or use liquid fertilisers that are added directly to the water. Opt for a fertiliser designed for flowering plants or a balanced fertiliser, which has the same amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—the three fundamental nutrients in plant nutrition. These fertilisers are applied every two weeks or months.
One should take note of the plants which cannot be mixed for instance;
- Ferns and Snake Plants
- Ferns and Aloe
- Ferns and Peperomia
- Chinese Evergreen and Calathea
- Chinese Evergreen and Ctenanthe
- Senecio and Syngonium
- Jade and Pothos
- Jade and Peperomia
- Philodendron and Fittonia
If you are considering grouping plants, you can start with these pairs:
- Monstera deliciosa and Philodendron
- Several of the same Genus, like Norfolk Island Pines or Snake Plants
- Snake Plants and ZZ Plants
- Dieffenbachia and Chinese Evergreen
- Spathiphyllum and Ferns
Houseplants are works of art on their own, with their infinite assortment of colors, shapes, patterns, and textures that make it fun to combine them. “Unlike static paintings and sculptures, arrangements of houseplants continue to grow over time and take on their own unique qualities, ”They are art that continues to create itself.”
Images from Plants, Arts and Design
Originally published in the 7th Ndeipi Digital Magazine