Year Round Vegetable Herb and Fruit Gardens
Gardening season never ends. The most common form of gardening is outdoor gardening, in the edible realm it is the outdoor vegetable, herb and fruit gardens we cherish so much. Indoor gardening is another facet of horticulture that is gaining popularity. Without the open air sunny realm of our yards the rules of indoor gardening differ quite a lot from conventional gardens. Gardening indoors is a matter of creating an environment suitable for the plants we are nurturing, without destroying our personal habitats.
A lot of window space with a sun drenched southern exposure, or northern for those of you down under is ideal. If you lack ample space the equation becomes a tad more complex as indoor lighting is tossed in.
It would be dandy if you already have plants in pots that you can bring inside to continue their life cycles in the warmth of your home. Of course you should be aware that when you bring the plants indoors, any critters that may be lurking in the soil will hitch a ride indoors with them. It’s a good idea to change out the potting soil with a suitable indoor blend. Use a high quality potting mix, with vermiculite or perlite .
Instead of traumatizing plants by a sudden change of environment -outdoors to indoors- you should first acclimate them to their winter home. Place them in a well lit, transitional zone, such as an enclosed porch or garage for a week maybe two.
Once they’ve become accustomed to indoor conditions you can place them in the new indoor location. Placing them outside on mild days will also help this process.
Some plants will need supplemental lighting as you may 1- Lack the southern exposed window space to place them in or 2 – the light may be insufficient. See Grow Lights
Vegetables and Herbs suitable for indoor gardens
Suitable herbs include but are certainly not limited to Basil, chives and scallions, dill, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme. Mint alone includes dozens of varieties to choose from such as lemon balm, bee balm, chocolate mint and more. Whatever varieties you grow be sure to keep them seperated from one another to avoid cross breeding which generallt produces unpleasant results. See: Indoor Herbs
Basil is a little more difficult to grow indoors than most herbs. Basil can still thrive indoors, but keep it away from cool windowsills. Basil leaves will droop and fade after a short time in cooler air. It requires persistent indoor temperatures in the 70s both day and night. Dill also has higher heat requirements.
Green Leafy Vegetables such as arugula, lettuce, spinach and kale are relatively easy to grow indoors. I prefer to grow them as ‘baby green’ and harvest them long before they reach full maturity which is actually much easier.If you want to delve into microgreens, well that’s somewhat more difficult with multiple caveats but not impossible.
Peppers are actually perennials that can keep producing for multiple seasons under the proper conditions. The peppers you grew in your garden this season can be transported indoors to save for producing again come spring. See: Over Wintering Pepper Plants . They can also be started, grown and fruited idoors. Smaller varieties are best. They WILL require artificial light if you intend to produce peppers, 14 to 16 hours daily. Night temperatures should also not drop below 65 degress F.
Fruits suitable for Growing Indoors
Many varieties of dwarf citrus can be grown indoors:
I currently have several bonsai kumquat trees which I ‘simply adore’. Kumquats are small in comparison to most citrus fruit, slightly larger than a cocktail olive. They are similar to oranges in appearance, taste similar but a tad more tart and are oblong. They will also grow under cooler climates than other citrus. Lemonquats are a related species that also lends itself well to bonsai and indoor gardening.
Bananas have a lush foliage that will lend a tropical atmosphere to your home in any season. Growing bananas indoors is not difficult and many of the miniature cultivars do not consume a tremendous amount of space. Maintaining Banana plants is not particularly difficult or time consuming either. See: Indoor Bananas
Pomegranate trees can grow up to 30 feet tall outdoors. To keep a standard pomegranate tree indoors requires constant and vigilant pruning. Dwarf pomegranates are a compact variety that is easily grown indoors. They are evergreens and you can expect pomegranate trees to be covered with shiny thick leaves year-round. They are aesthetically appealing indoors, but don’t count on getting much fruit off of them. See: Indoor Pomegranites
Coffee Trees, either bonsai or miniature can be grown indoors successfully. Coffee plants need warmth not heat, just warmth. They survive temperatures below 60 F , but will not produce. Temperatures above 75 F will inhibit photosynthesis. Not only do coffee trees have aesthetic appeal, but they also produce 2 valuable crops. The coffee bean as well as the super fruit that encases the coffee bean. The red to purple fruits that encase coffee beans are referred to as a cherry, it is a stone fruit and the so called ‘beans’ are actually its pits. Your coffee made from coffee beans – well thats simply the pits. See: Coffee Trees
Mushrooms Grown Indoors
Mushrooms are a gardening project that can be enjoyed even in the dormant winter months. For the most part, they are easy to grow, rewarding and tasty. Patience however is the primary characteristic you’ll need to have in abundance.
An essential element to growing mushrooms at home lies in providing the proper growing conditions, at the right times. See: Mushrooms Overview
ALMOST anything that can be grown outdoors can be also be grown inside. Some just require a lot more work than others. Tomatoes are a mainstay of the Ameriocan Vegetable gardener, but I wouldnn’t advise growing anything other than the smallest varieties for indoor gardening. Cherries and Currant tomatoes.