Nothing is better than picking your own fresh and delicious food from your own garden. But not everybody has the privilege of owning their own garden space, which is why more people are resorting to indoor gardening instead.
With indoor gardening, you can grow delicious vegetables, fruits, and herbs during all seasons and will have access to fresh produce without having to go to the grocery store and spend money there.
Thanks to the advanced technologies and improvements in grow lights, grow tents, hydroponics as well as other essentials for setting up a garden inside, you can now have access to ripe tomatoes or delicious strawberries all year around.
But you don’t really need expensive stuff to start up your own garden in your home, all you need is some understanding of the basics of plant growth as well as some patience and love.
What you need to know about plant growth
Since growing your indoor plants from seeds is the cheapest possible option, as well as the most satisfying process to observe, you may want to buy seeds for your new indoor garden.
Seeds may seem simple, but they are actually pretty fascinating. These miniature shells include the embryos of your future plants as well as everything they need to get started and start growing in the form of endosperms.
The coat of the seed protects the embryo as well as the endosperm until the time comes for the plant to start its new life.
The tiny embryo itself contains roots, embryonic leaves, and cotyledon. These embryo leaves are the first little green leaves you will see emerging from the soil once you plant the seed.
Most seeds are viable for years, so you can keep some of the seeds you buy for next year.
As soon as you plant the seed, place it in a warm place and water it, the wonderful process of germination will begin. The water will hydrate the seed and then the embryo will start developing and emerging from it and toward the surface of the ground. The process of germination usually takes just a few days for most vegetables, herbs, and fruits, but can take several weeks when you are planting a tree.
In order to make sure that your home garden plants will germinate properly, you need to plant them in accordance with the instructions on the package – neither too deep nor too shallow in the ground. Also, add just the right amount of water so that the germination process can begin and so that you don’t drown or flush out your tiny seeds.
As soon as the tiny plant starts germinating it will first rely on the endosperm and cotyledon for the nutrition it requires to start growing. Soon after that its roots will become developing, and the small plant will begin relying on the nutrients from the growing medium instead.
As soon as the plant starts showing out of the ground and growing a stem and leaves, it will begin to rely on the light and its leaves to photosynthesize. The plant will grow more and more leaves in order to be able to absorb more of the light which provides it with energy. Nitrogen plays the most important role during the vegetative phase.
As soon as your plant is old enough to begin flowering and making its own seeds it has entered the reproductive phase. Phosphorus is especially important during the reproductive phase. You can help trigger the reproductive phase and the growth of fruit by increasing the number of hours of light which the plant gets. This can be done via direct sunlight or a suitable grow light.
A grow tent is a very clever way to control the temperature, light, and humidity of your indoor garden. Plus, you can set the grow tent up anywhere – even in your dark basement or attic.
During the reproductive phase, you will need to pollinate the plants which need pollinating yourself because indoors there are no bees to do it for you. This can easily be done by gently brushing the interior of the flowers with a cotton swab and moving from one flower to another.
You don’t need to pollinate flowers which you don’t expect to grow fruits or seeds.
In case you are planning on growing plants which live more than a year, you should also be aware of the dormancy phase which plants go through.
This is a process similar to hibernation when the plant simply starts growing and rests until the appropriate conditions are available for it to start growing, flowering and producing fruit come again.
Some cold-loving plants are dormant in the summer, but most of them are dormant during the winter season.
Of course, when grown indoors and if provided with the appropriate conditions, your indoor garden plants may not go dormant at all.
Understanding the roots
You may not see it, but the root of a plant is its anchor, its source of nutrients, its storage of nutrients as well as its way of reproducing. Roots absorb the water and with it the nutrients from the growing medium, and then transfer all of them to the stem, leaves, fruits and other parts of the plant.
This is why, when picking pots or containers for your indoor garden plants, you should provide ones which are large enough for the roots to grow. The fact is, the larger the pot you choose – the larger your plant will grow.
If you notice that a plant stops growing, this may mean that its pot is getting too small and that you need to re-pot it in a larger one.
Beware though, that if you use containers which are way too large for the plant, the water may miss the roots altogether when you water it.
Also, all of your pots should have drainage holes to let the excess out, and keep the roots from getting damaged or rotting.
Yes, too much water can damage and even kill the plant, so check whether the soil needs watering before adding more water. If it is very dry or simply damp, it is alright to water the plant, but if you stick your finger in it and the soil is soaked, you should wait for a day or two before proceeding to water your plant again.
Understanding the leaves
The leaves act like tiny solar panels for the plant and capture all the light and convert it to the energy which every plant needs to grow. They can capture both natural sunlight as well as artificial light from grow lights.
Some plants need much more light than others, so make sure you do your research when planning your indoor garden to ensure that every plant will get as much light as it needs to live, grow and give fruit.
This is why you should pay close attention to the condition and health of the leaves of your indoor plants. They will display signs if the plant is lacking essential elements or if it has a disease.
In case you notice that the leaves of your plant are becoming yellow, this can mean that it is not getting sufficient nutrients or that it needs less frequent watering. You can resolve this issue by watering the plant less frequently and by adding fertilizer or nutrients to the soil.
If leaves are becoming crunchy and brown, then your plant definitely needs more frequent watering.
In case the leaves start falling, your plant probably needs more water or more light or both.
If the bottom leaves of the plant start looking much darker, bluish or shinier this can be a sign that the plant is suffering from phosphorus deficiency.
Yellow spots on the leaves can mean that the plant has been infested with spider mites, aphids or other insects.
If your plant has been attacked by thrips, the leaves can develop bronze or silver streaks.
The leaves of plants which are affected by powdery mildew can get a white or gray powdery coating and have curled up blistered edges.
The plant is probably too hot if you notice that its leaves are curling inward like cups.
If the leaves are drooping and are getting curled downwards, you are probably overwatering the plant.
It is a fact that overwatering is one of the most common mistakes which indoor gardeners make. For more info on grow lights, check out this article.
Now that you know more about the incredible plant growth phases and all of the processes which go on within each and any plant, you can easily start up your own indoor garden. You will soon find that being part of and observing the amazing process of plant growth and development is even more enjoyable than the convenience of having your own garden in your home, where you can pick fresh herbs, veggies or fruits any time you need them.