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6 Expert Tips to Create a DIY Indoor Garden


Whether you’re looking for a fun weekend project, or you’ve been wanting to start gardening but don’t have the outdoor space for it, now is the perfect time to create your own DIY indoor garden. As long as you have a space in your home that receives natural sunlight, you’ll be able to have flavorful herbs and fresh, homegrown vegetables at the palm of your hands all year round. 

To help you get your indoor vegetable garden started, we reached out to gardening experts living in Portland all the way to those living in Miami to share their gardening expertise. Here’s their best advice to help you create your own DIY indoor garden.



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1. Find the right space for your DIY indoor garden 

Before you begin planting your indoor vegetable garden, the first thing to do is find the perfect space in your home. Whether you have an entire room that you can re-purpose as your indoor garden, or you’re only able to make use of a small area in your kitchen, you can still have a successful indoor vegetable garden. Two important things to consider is the amount of natural sunlight the space receives and the average temperature of the space. 

Keep these pro tips in mind:

Plant care is experimental. Keep in mind that individual plants or different cultivars can have different needs depending on their biology or what conditions they were in prior to landing in your home. - Deby, Cornell Farm

Be creative and pay attention to the lighting when considering where to place your plants. And most importantly, get a humidifier! - Stephanie, Lighthouse Garden Center 

2. Choose vegetables and herbs that thrive indoors

While some vegetables and herbs may thrive in a typical outdoor garden, that’s not always the case when harvesting indoors. As you’re deciding which vegetables or herbs to plant in your DIY indoor garden, there’s a few that gardening experts recommend over others.

Consider these vegetables and herbs for your DIY indoor garden: 

Lettuces rank high on the list of vegetables to grow inside. Not only are they tasty, they’re easy to start. To successfully grow lettuce in your DIY indoor garden, enrich potting soil with compost and use a heat mat to start seeds quickly. Once the seeds sprout, take them off the mat. To prevent leggy seedlings, put them under a fluorescent light or grow light placed 3-4” above the plants. - Christine Froehlich, Gardening With What You Have

Arugula is great to grow indoors since it germinates quickly and prefers a cooler environment. You can have multiple harvests from just one plant if you cut off the larger leaves but leave the smaller ones. And the same goes with growing kale indoors. However, since kale can grow quite large, only sprinkle a few seeds in a medium-sized pot, covered with ½-inch of soil.

Most herbs are great to grow indoors. Some herbs, like rosemary and mint, are easiest to grow from already-young plants, while others, like basil and cilantro, can be easily grown from a seed and then replanted throughout the year. When planting herb containers, be sure to combine plants with similar water requirements; wood-stemmed herbs such as rosemary and sage prefer drier soil than do herbaceous-stemmed herbs such as basil and parsley. - Xenia D'Ambrosi, Sweet Earth Co.



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3. Make sure there’s adequate sunlight

In an ideal situation, you’d be able to give your indoor vegetable garden all the sunlight it needs. However, not everyone is going to have a space where this is possible. No need to worry, though. While having natural sunlight is ideal, your vegetables and herbs can still flourish with the use of specialized lights, like grow lights.

Keep these pro tips in mind:

Morning sun is key. If at all possible, place your plants near an East-facing window. - Jackie, Perennial Nursery Co

Know how much light your specific plants need so you can take advantage of all levels of light you naturally have available in your space. Consider swapping out your standard light bulbs for GE Grow Light 9watt Balanced Spectrum LED bulbs for seeds and greens, or GE Red for flowering and fruit production. - Kate Green, Lurvey 

4. Water less for a successful DIY indoor garden 

Most beginners to gardening think watering plants a little bit everyday is the best way to ensure that their plants are receiving adequate amounts of water. However, it’s actually best to water less frequently but more thoroughly. Over-watering your vegetables and herbs is the easiest way to set back your gardening efforts, and will most likely have you restarting your indoor garden.

Keep these pro tips in mind:

When it comes to houseplants, over watering is a killer. Check to see if the soil is dry by sticking your finger into it an inch and checking for moisture. If it’s dry, go ahead and water. - Bruce Allentuck, Right Plantz

Every plant is different and will have different needs -- some plants crave and love constant watering, while others prefer to have their soil dry out a bit. Making a weekly plant watering chart to refer to each week can help keep your watering on track and ensure that you’re watering each of your plants exactly as they need to be. - Megan Faletra, The Well Essentials

We highly recommend taking plants to the shower or the sink to give them a good soaking. The frequency of watering will depend on light conditions and the temperature of the room, however, most plants can get this treatment once or twice a month. - Dimitri Gatanas, Urban Garden NYC 



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5. Take proper care of your plants by using the correct soil  

The taste of your herbs and vegetables are significantly impacted by the quality and care of the soil. As you’re setting up your DIY indoor garden, make sure that you’re using the best soil for the vegetables and herbs you choose. 

Keep these pro tips in mind:

Create the perfect soil for different types of vegetables by creating custom blends of airy potting soil and rich compost. Make a lighter mix for salad greens, a balanced mix for herbs, and add extra nutrition for fruiting plants. - Victoria LeBeaux, Hortiki Plants

Use a high quality potting soil and stay away from soil specified for in-ground garden beds. Liquid fertilizer should become your new best friend. Be prepared to use liquid fertilizer with water and nutrient solution mix at least once a month. - Timothy Hammond, Big City Gardener

6. Consider using a hydroponic system for your indoor garden

Hydroponic gardening is a gardening method that requires no soil. In most cases, it can be a simpler way to harvest vegetables and herbs indoors and is great for smaller spaces. If the idea of maintaining soil for the various plants in your DIY indoor garden seems challenging, then using a hydroponic system might be a better option.

Keep these pro tips in mind:

The advantage of our hydroponic system is that plants grow 3x faster and bigger in the iHarvestTM than they do in soil. And, growing hydroponically makes it much easier to grow indoor fruits and vegetables vertically, which takes up less space in the home while providing a beautiful living wall of always fresh, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. - Dave Stevens, IGWorks

Water temperatures play a huge factor for indoor hydroponic gardens. The correct temperature will allow for vigorous grow, while warm temperatures could cause Pythium “root rot” and other unwanted pathogens. - Ty Nance, Grow Green Garden Shop

Originally published on Redfin


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