Plan Your Indoor Gardens Now
It’s August and there’s plenty of late summer chores to be done in the garden. But it’s also the time to plan for your indoor, winter garden. The bounty you’re enjoying now from you outdoor garden will be sorely missed once the frost forms and the snow flies. But if you plan now, you can enjoy fresh greens, herbs — even tomatoes! — from a carefully planned indoor garden. Or maybe you just want to brighten your indoor environment during the cold dark months with beautiful indoor plants or flowers. And, planning your indoor gardens now, allows you to take advantage of off-season special deals when buying the containers, lights, and hydroponic equipment you’ll need. Starting now means you can surprise your holiday guests with fresh salads and herbs despite the winter wonderland.
Here’s where planning begins:
• Pick a spot: You’ll want your indoor gardening location to be convenient to water and, if needed, electricity ( a dangerous mix… be sure to follow all safety precautions when using electricity around water, the first one being KEEP THEM SEPARATE!). But the most important aspect is light. You”ll need at least six hours of strong sunlight for your plants to be productive. If that’s not possible — and most places, it isn’t — start investigating light systems. Choose a place where temperatures will remain fairly consistent. And don’t forget circulation. Plants need a fresh supply of oxygen for healthy growth and to resist molds and fungus.
• Containers: Will you grow a modest number of plants in pots on a rack? Will you want a long trough for a constant supply of lettuce? Are you looking to grow enough basil to give as gifts? Consider what hydroponic systems will match your needs and location. There are small efficient, mostly self-contained hydroponic systems for the indoor gardener that provide impressive results and ease of operation. How much you want to grow will determine what kind of grow containers you will use.
• What to grow: Cool weather crops with short growing seasons — lettuce, kale, spinach and other greens — generally work best indoors. Cherry tomatoes are easier to grow than beefsteaks. Consider your culinary needs and desires then consult seed catalogs and local retailer for the best choices. Growing herbs indoors will not only give your winter cooking a gourmet touch but will add beauty and interest to any indoor gardening area. What you grow will have an impact on all your indoor planning.
There are plenty of guides out there that will help you plan your indoor winter garden. Your indoor gardening supplier is also an experienced and valuable source of information. Now’s the time to start planning if you want to harvest glowing yellow pear tomatoes and mesclun in February, or just to have the comfort of green plants thriving in your home all winter long.