Every year about this time I start to notice an increase in the questions about indoor gardening and, more specifically, growing vegetables indoors. When the temperatures begin to cool, people’s minds immediately turn to the cold of winter when their precious garden beds sit mostly empty and sad, and they (the people, not the gardens) look for ways to keep the harvest going even when the conditions outside aren’t favorable.
Indoor gardening is not a new phenomenon; people have been growing crops in various forms of shelter for as long as we have had both gardening and shelter. In other words, you can grow some vegetables indoors, provided you have the space and the right combination of soil, moisture, temperature and light.
With some exceptions, regular garden soil is not the best choice for growing in containers indoors. For starters, garden soil compacts too easily and container-grown plants need help maintaining a positive oxygen flow to the roots. Maintaining good moisture is easy enough, especially for anyone who has had to deal with drought conditions during the regular outdoor growing season.
Adequate light is often the biggest stumbling block to would be indoor growers, but even if there isn’t a good, sunny window you can help nature out with inexpensive artificial light. Maintaining an appropriate temperature is important, but your thermostat can make easy work of this part.
You may also run into issues when it comes to pollination as indoors there are none of the common pollinators like bees, birds and wind. I will write a separate post next week about ways that you can try to work around the lack of pollinators when growing indoors.