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With the economy crunching down on us again, more and more people are moving into flats and apartments to avoid the rising house markets. These new living arrangements often inhibit most of us from starting a garden. After all, how can you start a garden if you don’t have a yard or at least some outdoor space?
Indoor gardening is your answer! Before you click away in dismay, let me show you how easy it is to start an indoor garden and on a budget, no less.
What is indoor gardening?
If you think indoor gardening is only a good idea for people in apartments, think again! They have some profound benefits to those who are willing to grow a garden indoors.
Indoor gardening has become very popular in recent years. It has ingenuity proven that you can grow a veggie garden at arm’s reach in your very own kitchen! But beyond that, there are some profound benefits to building an indoor garden:
- Control the weather
The first benefit to growing an indoor garden is you have impeccable control over the weather. You can easily protect your plants from impromptu snowstorms or sudden heat waves, thus keeping them alive and keeping those sudden plant losses to a minimum.
- Fewer pests are best!
The biggest issue outdoor gardeners face is the constant threat of pests. They run rampant outside and can destroy a whole crop if you’re not quick enough to stop them. Indoors, pests are far less likely to be a problem. As long as you keep your plants healthy and clean, they will remain pest-free. Also, try and keep your pets away from your plants if at all possible. Some pets bring in pests from the outdoors, and this can cause problems.
- Air purification
Plants can help you live a healthier life. Indoor air can be pretty toxic and can include formaldehyde and benzene. Plants help purify the air and so keep you and your family healthy inside and out. Some plants are better at it than others, but all plants have that built-in ability to clean our air and keep us healthy. The more you have, the healthier your air will be!
- Good for your soul
Horticultural therapy is a proven method to combat depression, anxiety, and many other mental problems we are plagued with today’s fast-paced world and electronics. Working with plants will calm you down, boost your serotonin and dopamine levels, and help you achieve a happier mental state.
These are just a few examples of why keeping an indoor garden is such an excellent idea, and there are many more!
Here is your short guide in building an indoor garden on a shoestring budget with all of the benefits and good reasons to keep plants indoors out of the way.
What will I need?
1. Basic items
You can’t start a garden if you don’t have the right equipment. Watering cans, seed starting kits, hand trowel, plant pots, small gardening shears, and even gloves will come in handy when starting a garden. Some of these you’re going to have to pick up at a store, but others you can certainly try some DIY instead to save some money.
- Seed starting kit
To get started in any garden, you’re going to need a seed starting kit. But you don’t have to go out and buy it from the gardening store. You can easily make a seed starting kit with some toilet rolls and empty egg cartons.
You can add ground coffee beans to the potting soil, which will add a natural fertilizer with good drainage properties. You can ask at any Starbucks for some of their used coffee beans; they shouldn’t mind! Mix it in about half and half. What’s great about the cartons and toilet rolls is they don’t suffocate the plant at all.
So be sure to keep them around in case you need them again in the future!
You don’t need to buy expensive pots; old mason jars can work great for growing herbs. Furthermore, you can increase your plants in upside-down plastic bottles. Just saw them in half, put them in another translucent plastic container, put the soil on the top, and add the seeds. What makes this especially pleasant is you don’t have to water them as much. Try and keep any plastic bottles or jars you’re planning on throwing out. You’d be amazed how much you can use.
You can also try using the bottom of old birdcages (make sure it can drain) if you have one or two lying about.
To get your hands on certain seeds, you can try a seed exchange with your local gardeners. Make a party out of it, get some small envelopes, gather the sources you have, tell them to bring seeds of their own, and exchange around a bit until you have what you want. Just be sure to confirm that the seeds you’re getting (and that you have!) can be germinated! Seeds above the age of 2 will probably begin to struggle, so try and get them no older than 2 – 3 years.
Another option is to get seeds from your produce. You can use fresh cuttings from your veggies to grow new ones; check online which plants you can do this with, as not all of them will work well.
- Potting Soil
Don’t grab soil from outside! As tempting as it might be, soil from outside will have pests and other problems that can quickly kill or malnourish your garden. You can make your potting soil from other products.
Sphagnum peat moss
- Premier brand peat moss
- Mixed with crushed limestone at a rate of
Rate of: 1/4 cup lime, every 6 gallons of peat moss.
You can then add 4.5 gallons of perlite and one or ½ cup of fertilizer to the mix. This is excellent for vegetables in particular.
2. Choose a space
Space is probably going to be your biggest challenge for your indoor garden. You can try a few options, but it depends on how much work you want to put in and the setup of your home.
This will be the ideal spot where you can put your miniature garden. Windowsills overall have a lot of space, usually just enough to squeeze your plants. If you have a window still, but it’s a little small, try extending it with a tall cupboard or bookshelf to give you that little bit of extra space you need.
You can also find window sill extenders, which will work even better! The best part of using the windowsill is it has the best sun and ventilation for your plants—two critical components in keeping them alive.
If you don’t have window sills or are challenging to utilize, you can still try a few options.
- Counter space
Some homes have some wicked counter spaces. If your kitchen has a wide counter, try using up the spot closest to the wall for your garden – essentially the place you don’t use much and that at least out of the way. The only problem with this is your plants might not get the sunlight and fresh air they need to survive. So, make sure they get enough sunlight wherever you might place them in your home.
Another option is to move them around from time to time, but this can put them into shock, so be cautious when trying this.
- Hanging garden
This will require some ingenuity and some extra work. Still, a hanging garden has the benefit of taking up almost no space. If you have some mason jars, you can easily plant your herbs and hang them up by the ceiling. Just be sure that whatever you decide to hang up isn’t going to put too much strain on the top.
Another fun idea is to cut your old basketball in half and use the half basketball as a makeshift pot! You can easily find a suitable plant hanger for basketball. Better yet, buy some rope and make one yourself. It’s super easy, and it will undoubtedly save you some money!
- Garden stands
Today some savvy indoor gardeners have managed to build indoor garden stands. In these tiny structures, you can plant to your heart’s content and which don’t take up as much space. It’s also at an excellent height, so you don’t have to hurt your back when bending over to tend to it. Once again, be sure to put it in a spot with plenty of sunlight and fresh air; you wouldn’t want your garden to perish from lack of necessities!
Water will be a bit of a drain on your money. The best solution for this is to use your environment. If you have an old watering can, or perhaps a sturdy pot you can put outside, you can easily collect water in the rainy seasons for your plants. You can then pour this water over into containers, freeze them and let it melt when you need it during those drier months.
Where to buy
- Second-hand stores
Before you head on over to IKEA, first check your second-hand stores for what you might need. You can pick up some excellent items there, and it won’t be a drain on your wallet. You can also ask some of your gardening friends if they have some supplies they might want to get rid of. Be sure to keep an ear open and ask around. You never know what you might pick up.
We often pull our noses up at second-hand stores, but you can pick some great bargains at these stores if you’re willing to go in there.
- What’s on sale?
Sales are always going on somewhere. Check your local stores constantly for possible sales, but don’t stop there. Online shops are often far less expensive than walk-in stores. So, check online stores just as frequently. Apps like Honey can help you find the best prices for any product you’re looking for, so it might be a good idea to use it for your gardening purposes, and it’s completely free!
Building a garden in your home is far less of a hassle than people think it is. It is entirely feasible, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. When making an indoor garden, your most significant concern will be to ensure your little garden has enough sunlight and ventilation. It might make a bit of a mess at first, but once it’s settled, your garden will be a joy in your kitchen.
Furthermore, indoor gardens are convenient in that you don’t have to go outside to get your tomatoes (especially when it’s raining!), and they aren’t as exposed to pests as your outdoor gardens – so way less of a hassle to keep healthy. They also have the added benefits of purifying the air and can even be a lovely centerpiece in your home.
In the end, making an indoor garden has some profound benefits, and if you take care of your little green patch, it will undoubtedly take care of you as well.