The holidays are here again. This year of Covid has been a hard year for…
Gardening can be great fun. It is a relaxing and satisfying hobby. There are many health benefits of gardening. But what do you do if you don’t have a big yard…or a yard at all? You can grow just about anything in an indoor garden by following this complete DIY indoor garden set up for beginners.
So whether it is a pretty summer day or a cold snowy winter afternoon it is always a good day to garden indoors
Let talk about what your indoor garden set up needs to include
All gardens need the same basics regardless of what you are growing
- Container or pot
- Soil or other growing mediums
- Sun or another full-spectrum lighting
Indoor garden set up for beginners will go through each step
How much space do I need for an indoor garden?
The space for your garden solely depends on what you want to grow. This seems simple yet lots of people get into trouble because of not thinking about space.
Think about the type and number of plants you want to grow. I am an avid vegetable gardener so for example purposes, I will use my garden needs.
I love to grow vegetables and herbs. I decided on my 5 favorite herbs and 5 favorite vegetables. You should decide on the types of things you want to grow based on what you actually eat or use.
Determine how big your plant will be when it is full-grown. For example, 4 of the herbs I grow will fit nicely on a windowsill even when fully grown plants. Rosemary, however, is a much larger plant when fully grown. It does best in a much bigger space.
The vegetables I like to grow indoors are all small
These are all among small vegetables that grow great in containers. The size of containers needed for these is 8″ to 10″ so windowsill growing is not enough space.
For these containers, I put them on a table or a plant stand or in some case right on the floor.
The first step: indoor garden set up for beginners is to find out what the size of your plant will be when fully grown and pick a spot that will accommodate that size.
Next, decide on the size of the containers you need.
This can be tricky. Your plants will need different sizes depending on the age of the plant.
You should always use the smallest container possible which will still give your plant’s roots room to stretch.
Why you should not use big containers for little plants?
You want to give your plants room to grow however the bigger the container the harder it will be to keep the environment correct.
A larger container will have more volume of soil. It will take more water and more nutrients. It will have more potential for insects or bad bacteria and fungi.
When you plant in the correct size container, the roots will be taking up much of the volume. The roots living in the soil will help keep the soil healthy. They grow through the area helping to aerate the soil. They will absorb nutrients and water to help keep a balance.
How to choose the right size container for your indoor garden setup
The easy way is to look at the plant size. The root system often mirrors the stem and leaves of your plant. In other words, imagine the leaves and stems as roots. place your plant in a pot that would allow the roots the same type of space.
Recycling and using unique things for planting in your can bring interest and fun into space. Please read this article about upcycled containers to learn the dos and don’ts.
The second step: indoor garden set up for beginners is to find out what size container your plant will need.
Soil or other planting mediums for your indoor garden
This can be one of the most confusing parts of setting up your indoor garden.
Luckily there are ready-made potting mixes on the market to making setting up a garden for beginners easy.
You can almost always find a ready-made mix that is made specifically for what you want to grow. If not then buy a general use mixture and you will be fine.
Caution: don’t use ” dirt” from out the yard in your indoor garden. This soil is often too dense and without good nutrients.
The import points to remember when choosing soil are:
- Well drained
- Light texture, airy
If you want to know more please read this about organic vs non-organic potting soil
And what is well drained soil
Third step: pick a good potting mixture
Now that you have your plants in the perfect space and in the perfect pot with great soil what is the next step?
What kind of fertilizer should you use in your indoor garden?
In many cases, this is not something that you need to be worried about. A good ready made potting will contain slow-release fertilizer. Organic potting soil will have a good source of nutrients from the organic material.
If you feel that you need more nutrients to choose a fertilizer that is recommended for your specific plants. A good natural choice is to sprinkle some worm compost on the top of your container soil. The natural nutrients will slowly drain through the soil when you water.
Make sure you follow the instructions for container gardening. Often beginners will kill plants by overusing fertilizer! Go with less and add more if needed.
The fourth step: use fertilizer only sparsely if needed
Your indoor garden will need to be watered
The best thing to use for watering is a spray bottle. I know that it is tempting to water with a bottle or watering can however you will end up causing problems.
Watering with a watering can or bottle can disturb the soil too much. This will cause a water hole in the top of the container and not allow the water to be evenly distributed.
Watering from a bottle can also cause a flood or overwatering situation. Light and consistent watering are always better than dry to flood. You want to keep lightly moist soil.
Remember that ” well drained” soil is the best, so watering a lot at one time will simply run through the container. If the water doesn’t run through then you risk muddy soil that will rot the roots of your plants.
Overwatering is the cause of many problems for beginners and experienced both.
The fifth step: water with a spray bottle to keep the soil moist without overwatering.
Your indoor garden set up will need lighting
Placing your plant in a full glass window or sliding door with southern exposure is great but not an option for most of us.
I love putting plants in areas that are not already bright. There are dark corners or other spaces that can use the brightness and life that plants bring.
There are plants that do well in shade or muted light. This might be a good choice.
Many kinds of plants, including many herbs and vegetables, do best with around 10 hours of light every day.
Your plants do need specific kinds of lighting. Sunlight gives plants everything they need. But if your home doesn’t allow for your indoor garden to get the sunlight they need you will need to add lights. The lighting option on the market is endless. Many are very easy to use, not expensive to buy, and energy-efficient.
There are two main option for plants:
- Red blue spectrum lighting
- Full-spectrum white lighting
Both types will help your plants grow strong and healthy. I have used both extensively and have never really found much difference. So you can decide what works best in your space. Keep in mind that the red/blue spectrum lights will look like a pinkish light in your home.
The most important thing to remember is that a bright light is NOT the same as a grow light. Make sure you choose a light that is specifically a Grow Light.
Learn more about light by checking out Making sense of grow light here
The sixth step: your indoor garden set up needs proper lighting
The last thing to know with indoor garden set up for beginners
Your plants need warmth.
This is the easiest of the needs to meet. Most plants do well at the same temperature that we keep our homes.
If you keep your house between 64 degrees and 75 degrees, you can grow almost anything.
Seventh step: keep your plants at a comfortable temperature
Indoor gardens bring light and life into your space. You can grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers even when it is cold outside.
Starting an indoor garden for beginners is a great way to discover the fun of gardening. To read about some of the surprising health benefits of indoor gardening check our woman.com.
Thanks for reading.