Growing a Garden in an Artificial Environment.
Is indoor gardening really a possibility? Can an average person grow a few garden or specialty vegetables and herbs indoors? The answer is yes. There is an indoor garden system to fit any space, situation, and budget for a person with a little ingenuity and effort. From a “Do It Yourself” system to an off the shelf ready to grow system there is an indoor garden for every shape and size space that you find in your home.
Your first step is going to be deciding what can be grown within the space and budget that you have. The ideal outcome will combine growing the foods that you enjoy having garden fresh with the space you have available and a system that is affordable and easy to maintain. An herb garden on your kitchen counter or window atrium will provide fresh cooking spices as you need them right were you are cooking. Leafy greens for salads can be harvested without uprooting the entire plant while taking just a few square feet of space on a shelf. Small fruit bearing plants can be grown in a variety of ways and will provide a bountiful harvest. Larger vine plants like Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, and Cucumbers need the most space and light but can be grown vertically up a wall and use minimal floor space and can, with proper conditions, be harvested well beyond the traditional growing season. As an example, Tomatoes can be picked from a single plant for 18 months in a climate controlled environment. With care and planning almost anything is possible.
To soil or not to soil? One of you first major choices will be what type of growing system will be used. Soil is no more a requirement than sunlight these days. Soil may be the better known growing medium and chosen more often by the less experienced indoor grower but Hydroponics has proven to out produce soil based gardening at every turn. The combination of artificial lights providing a prolonged and consistent 18 hour day with concentrated nutrients supplied directly to the roots creates a nearly unbeatable combination. Add to that a climate controlled environment and you can maintain an indefinite growing season and enjoy a much greater harvest for your effort.
Specialty foods that may have a high ethnic value to an individual family or community may not be available in all areas. Shipping some items can be cost prohibitive or impossible due to spoilage on long distance trips. Fresh fruits are always picked and shipped green then allowed to ripen in route which provides a much poorer taste. Indoor gardeners will benefit greatly in these situations and be an envy to friends and neighbors for providing fresh vine ripened fruits and vegetables for their families.
Indoor gardening is not ideal for every person or every plant. An indoor garden must be properly planned to guard against such problems as plants overgrowing the space provided or fire hazards from artificial lighting. Daily maintenance and inspections are needed to ensure that optimal growing conditions are being provided and to prevent plant disease and pests from destroying your hard work. Total crop failure can result from the simplest environmental control failure. Lack of water, nutrient, or light will quickly result in stunted growth, weak plants, or lack of fruit. Mold, rotting roots, diseases, and bugs can just as easily ruin a crop long before any produce is harvested.
With some good planning and a little ingenuity all of the problems that plague a garden can be guarded against beforehand. An indoor garden requires more thoughtful planning in the beginning but will provide a wonderful experience for you and your family and an education to share with children and friends. Healthy food will not be the only thing grown in your Indoor Garden.