If you’ve always wanted to grow your very own indoor garden then you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll be diving into 5 of my favorite tips for creating your very own DIY indoor garden. By the end, you’ll be ready to build your own garden and enjoy both its aesthetic charm as well as its culinary uses. So, let’s jump right in with our first tip.
Choose a Location
The first step to creating your indoor garden is to find an appropriate spot for it to grow. In most cases, you’ll want to find a sunny spot close to a window that has enough room for a few containers. The more space you have, the more plants you can grow and the larger variety you have to choose from.
That said, you can grow a perfectly good garden in areas that have less than ideal sunlight. In these cases, you should look to supplement with grow lights. Grow lights will allow you to grow plants in places that would otherwise be too shady. They’re also essential if you’re trying to grow higher-light plants like many fruits and some vegetables.
As alluded to above, having enough space for your plants is also key. Large spaces give you the option to grow bigger plants. Small spaces can work just as well though, you’ll simply need to grow smaller plants like herbs which can often grow in small containers.
Decide On Your Plants
Once you’ve decided on your location then it’s time to select your plants. These steps often go hand-in-hand as the space you choose will dictate the best plants to grow. You can always grow plants in a less-than-ideal location but be prepared to spend extra time caring for them to compensate.
Another thing to consider is what you want to grow. Gardening should be fun and relaxing, and part of that enjoyment, at least for me, comes from growing plants I intend to use. Think about what you like to eat and cook and grow plants that align with that.
Not all gardens have to be grown to eat though. There are tons of beautiful plants that can be grown for their beauty alone. There’s nothing wrong with growing plants for interior design or simply adding some color to your home.
With the above in mind, you should start to have a list of plants you want to grow. Now, you can go through and narrow it down to the ones best suited to your growing location. I always caution first-timers to start small with a handful of plants. That way, they’re easier to care for and you increase your chances of a successful harvest. You can always add more plants later as you gain more experience.
To get you started, here’s a handful of plants I love growing in my own garden:
All of these are great choices and shouldn’t be too difficult to grow. That’s just a small sample of the thousands of options though, so don’t let it limit you.
Choose The Right Containers and Soil
Once you’ve decided on your plants, you’ll need a container and soil to grow them in. You have a lot of options here, but we’ll focus on some broad tips that will be applicable to nearly every type of garden.
For containers, go with something that has drainage holes. One of the biggest problems indoor gardeners face is overwatering, which can lead to root rot. Having good drainage on your container gives excess water a place to go, and reduces the chances for overwatering-related issues.
Specifically, I’m a big fan of clay pots. These are not only cheap and easy to find, but the material will whisk away water from the soil. Outside of that, other materials like plastic or ceramic are also great choices.
For soil, you always want to go with a high-quality potting soil. You should always avoid garden soil for containers as it’s too dense and won’t drain properly. You can feel the difference here by picking up a bag of potting soil vs. gardening soil. The potting soil is going to be much lighter and feels airier than the dense garden soil.
You may also come across specialty soils that are developed for specific plants. These can be good options and are formulated to provide the proper nutrients, ph, and drainage for specific plants.
Create a Daily Care Schedule
One of my favorite tips, especially for new gardeners, is to get into the habit of checking your plants daily. Give your plants a once over for issues, and check that the soil has the proper amount of moisture.
This is simple, but so many people neglect it. That’s a shame because it really does help keep your garden healthy.
Most issues I’ve seen in mine and others’ gardens tend to start small but grow quickly. Things like pests are typically easy to deal with at first but will get out of hand in a hurry. By checking your plants daily, you can catch these types of issues early when they’re easier to deal with.
I work my daily plant check into my morning routine. While I’m making my coffee, I’ll give my plants a once over and see if any of them need water. It’s quick, it’s easy, but it makes a big difference in the success of your garden.
Some things you should be on the lookout for are:
- Signs of pests
- Discolored Leaves
- Dying parts of the plant
- Soil Moisture
- Leaning or bending stems
Keep Learning and Growing
Lastly, I think it’s important to always be learning and growing as a gardener. There are always new plants to try, and new techniques to learn, and that’s part of what I love about gardening; there’s never a dull moment.
That’s part of the beauty of gardening, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Keep growing, keep learning, and bring a little greeny into your home!
For those looking for a bit more, we have a full guide to starting an indoor garden. In it, we expand on the tips above and walk you through in more detail what it takes to set up and grow your garden.
We also have a similar guide on starting an indoor herb garden. Herb gardens are some of the easiest to get started with and tend to grow more quickly than other plants. Both of these make herb gardens great for beginners. Herbs are also very space efficient, so are great for those looking to start a garden with minimal space. Herbs were one of the first plants I started growing in my own garden, and always recommended them to others.