Indoor Gardening


Indoor gardening can be fun and rewarding with many benefits. Air quality alone is a good reason to have house plants. Plants will take the carbon dioxide in the air and break it down to useable oxygen.

You can grow many things from decorative leaf plants, to flowering plants to vegitables and fruits to many types of herbs.

Your personnel conditions are going to dictate the plant types best for you. The amount of sunlight they get will tell you what plant to get. There are low light, low moisture plants that can survive with minimum care. Many house plants can survive on once a week care but many others will take much more frequent care.

A bright, sunny south-facing window can be the site for growing fresh food all year. Some small-fruited tomatoes and peppers, several types of lettuce, radishes, and many herbs are among the plants you can include in an indoor garden.

When buying young plants let them stay in the original pot for a week or more to get use to the new conditions. When repotting plants do not move them into greatly larger containers. A rule of thumb is to upsize not more than 1 inch in size each time you repot.

Heat and air conditioning temperatures do affect plants. Dry heat is tough on houseplants, which will require more watering if the air indoors is dry. In dry a climate where moisture is added to the air to bring temperatures down plants are usually happy but where the airconditoining system is used to draw moisture out of the air plants will take much more water.

If you are not an experienced grower start small and learn your grwoing conditions and what will grow in them.

Many herbs are great in indoor growing areas and can add a quick, fresh burst of flavor to meals year around. Select miniature vegetables, cool climate and early-season plants. Set the plants up near a large window, south-facing if possible. In many cases you may need to install a grow light to supplement natural light. There are many types on the market now days and some are even housed in decorative housings.

Containers for indoor gardening can be clay, wood, plastic, glass, certain metals or other non-toxic materials. Be sure the container you are using is safe for growing. Woods that have been treated with chemicals, glass with a high lead content, metal containers with toxic metals such as copper should not come in contact with the plant itself. If you are plnning on using deroative containers its is best to use a suitable plastic container inside the decorative one. Containers be big enough to support plants when they are fully grown, hold soil without spilling and have adequate drainage. I suggest putting plants in a tray to protect against spills of planting media or water. In some case trays with water in them under the plants is necessary. When doing this put something under the pot to keep it out of the water.

The growing media (Potting Mix) you use is a critical part of sucessful growing. Garden soil is for the most part much to heavy to use in pots. You need a light mix that is porous to drain well, have enough organic material in it to retain some water and be porous enough to alow air to the plants roots. I like to add about 25 % perlite or similar material to the mix. There are many good pre-mixed potting growing mixes you can buy at garden centers that will work well. Be sure you get potting mix instead of potting soil. For plants like orchids where you don ot want soil I use a mixture of  60% red lava rock with 40% perlite. The rock gives you the wieght needed and works well owith orchid roots.

I recommend using organic fertilizers for the health of the plant and for your health if you are growing for food. I add 1 tablespoon per 6” pot of Turf & Garden Pro to provide the trace elements and soil biology plants need for proper growth. I cut the rate of fertilizer to ½ the rate of recommended by the manufacturer. You need to feed most plants about every 8 to 10 weeks. House plant do not have a large volume of soil to disipate over fertilization so it is best to under feed a little or you take the chance of burning up your plants.

Many plants take different light levels and the amount of light need to good health. Do not be afraid to move your plants around till they find just the right place. One warning though, do not move plants from low light to strong light all at one time. Try and raise the light level in increments so as not to burn the leaves.

Inside growing can be fun and can give you great things to eat.

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         3040A    10/12/2010

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