There are few things in life that compare to the satisfaction you get from growing your own food. It’s empowering, exciting and incredibly rewarding. Not to mention the taste and flavor of it – freshly harvested tomatoes and basil are in an entirely different league to their store-bought counterparts.
Have you ever caught yourself in this daydream, but woke up staring out your small apartment window into a brick alleyway? Well, we have.
We think you’ll be surprised by the variety of what you can grow at home, how nice it can look, and just how calming the act of tending to your garden can be. In this blog we’ll give you an overview of indoor gardening and get you started on your way – no previous experience (or backyard) needed.
What is Edible Indoor Gardening?
Simply put, it’s integrating growing food into your living space and gardening into your lifestyle. It doesn’t need to be a big thing – in fact, we recommend starting with small and easier plants and building over time. For starters, let’s differentiate edible indoor gardening from some common relatives:
Edible Indoor Gardening vs. Edible Outdoor Gardening:
While outdoor gardening often has more sun and space – it also comes with the costs of weeds, pests, seasons, irregular water, temperature swings, and varying soil quality. The indoor approach takes advantage of its clean, consistent, and controlled environment and focuses getting the most out of small spaces; often by using tools like grow lights and self-watering containers.
Edible Indoors Gardening vs. Indoor Houseplants:
For many people, taking care of houseplants is their first step toward edible indoor gardening. The aesthetic and therapeutic act of caring for plants is a preview of what’s in store with edible plants. Experiences like sprouting from seed, pollinating flowers, using grow lights, and picking fresh fruits and vegetables might be new for many plant parents, but many of the houseplant skills will carry over.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Edible Indoor Gardening and Houseplants is the amount of light required. Assuming that they both require the same amount of light is one of the most common reasons for lackluster results with edible plants. Edible plants typically need 5-10x more light than your more decorative (and non-edible) house plants.
Edible Indoor Gardening vs. Cannabis
In researching supplies for your indoor garden you may have came across automated sensors, high-powered grow lights, and multi-part nutrient solutions and got turned off by their high cost, bad looks, or complicated instructions. If so, you’ll be relieved to know that these expensive systems are mostly designed for growing Cannabis, and while they’d grow a nice salad, it would be serious overkill.
The value of a Cannabis crop often warrants this expensive equipment – as small optimizations to the growing environment can have a big impact on yields. But when you’re growing basil, it is unlikely that you’ll get a high return on investment for all this gadgetry. Some people enjoy using it regardless – and hey; if using more gadgets makes this a more enjoyable hobby for you then we say go for it!
The Golden Rules of Indoor Gardening
Growing plants for food in an activity that we, as humans, have done since the dawn of civilization so lucky for us there is a lot of sagely wisdom to take into our practice. Here are some of the best gardening quotes that will help you start with a time-tested mindset.
“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments” – Janet Phillips
There’s a lot you can do to set yourself up for success, and if you do the legwork to understand your indoor light and choose the right container, you’ll have a lot more crops than flops. That being said, inevitably you’ll try something new that doesn’t work out. We’re not perfect and plant’s aren’t perfect, but by understanding what happened you’re becoming one step closer to a master gardener.
Just by regularly observing your plants, you’ll develop your ability to read them, and adjust your gardening experiments on the fly. Are they tall and skinny and asking to get more light? Are the leaves drooping like they could use a drink of water? Does lettuce grow great in one windowsill, but not the other? Our advanced blogs will teach you what to look out for with each type of plant, but there is no substitute for observing with your own eyes, nose, and hands.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu
Put another way: “you can’t keep pulling up a flower to check the roots!” Compared to the rushed pace and fast results of modern life, gardening can seem a little slow at first. While it can take a little bit of an adjustment to calm our busy minds, the patience and trust that a garden requires is a nice counterbalance. Plant a seed, nurture it, and in its own time it will develop.
Taking it one step further, we think it’s best to build your garden (and gardening skills) along an unhurried step-by-step progression. This course is organized so you can start small and simple, taking small incremental steps until, sooner than you think, you’ll have an edible eden growing in your home (or, of course if you just want to jump straight to the advanced “ripe tomato” we’re here for you too). So what are you waiting for? Take your first step towards becoming an indoor gardener and purchase our Garden Trio Kits or Bottle Garden Kits for a no-fuss indoor edible gardening experience.