With cold weather in many areas of the country, people are longing for fresh veggies. The offerings in the grocery store are rather sparse and don’t have the taste we’re looking for, usually due to shipping, so why not try growing your own indoor vegetable garden? Growing vegetables organically is something even those who live in apartments can do with a few supplies.
You will need:
- Organic soil
- Capillary matting or watering globes
- Organic mulch
- Organic fertilizer like seaweed meal
- Insect soap
- Yellow sticky traps for whiteflies
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swabs
Step 1: Consider the type of vegetables you want to grow. Beginners should start with those that result in maximum yields but require little space. Leafy greens like endive, spinach, and lettuce are perfect. These are low maintenance because they do not require the temperatures or sunlight needed by vegetables that produce fruit.
Step 2: Add some tomatoes. Purchase seeds that grow into compact determinate vines. Patio F Hybrid and Micro-Tom are two varieties developed with container growing in mind.
Step 3: Once you feel confident enough, begin growing peppers, carrots, dwarf beets, bush beans, and some dwarf vine vegetables such as cucumbers or squash.
Step 4: With all three above, follow the planting instructions on the seed packets. Purchase containers of adequate size and use the proper type of soil as designated on the package.
Step 5: Unless the gardener has a sunroom that faces south, supplemental indoor garden lighting will be required. A combination of warm and cool fluorescent lights provides plants with the full spectrum they require to grow. A light fixture designed for plants, like the Aerogarden, can be purchased or regular hanging shop lights can be used. Place the plants as close to the lights as possible and leave the lights on for at least 16 hours per day.
Step 6: Regularly water the vegetables. Capillary matting lets plants absorb water through pot drain holds. Watering globes are another good option. Using organic mulch may prevent soil from crusting over or drying.
Step 7: Use organic fertilizer to keep container soil rich in nutrients. Seaweed meal releases its nutrients slowly, requiring less frequent application than liquid fertilizers.
Step 8: Check for pests. Use yellow sticky traps to identify whiteflies. Remove these bugs using a small vacuum. Kill mealy bugs using a rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swab. Keep spider mites away by watering the whole plant, not only the soil. If webbing appears, using insect soap to get rid of the pests.