Have you ever wanted to start a garden but you weren’t sure where to begin?
In this two part blog series, we will be providing tips for the novice gardener for indoor and outdoor gardening.
Why should I start a home garden?
Gardening is…a means to provide food for you and your family.
One passionate gardener, Chinyere Culmer says, “I remind myself often that God tells us that if He would feed the birds and the trees He would more so us (Matt 6:28-32).”
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Matthew 6:26, 30-32 NLT
Chinyere describes her garden as her peace. She says, “It’s a time I not only bask in God’s nature, it’s also a time of prayer and meditation. Gardening has become my stress reliever or better yet, my sanctuary.”
Below are beginner friendly tips for starting an indoor home garden provided by professional farmers and recreational gardeners.
Where Do I Begin?
It is important to assess the room in which you want to grow your plants and determine whether or not you have the space for it.
Avid gardener, Tashae Haughton, said, “When I first started gardening I wanted to plant everything under the sun but I had to realize I never had the space. For those who have limited space, planting in planters and buckets are a holy grail. You have more control of your plant and where to position it to get the recommended 6-8 hours of sun.”
Tashae suggests starting with at least 3-4 different types of vegetables that you know you will be able to take care of. She added: “You will want to start with soil made specifically for seedlings. Never use your garden soil for any seedlings, as it won’t come with the right nutrients. You can purchase a seedling tray or use peat pellets. If you decide to make your own seedling container make sure there are holes at the bottom of the container for drainage. Your new babies will need a lot of sun light, you may use a sunny area in your home or use a grow light, which I use [here in Canada].”
According to the blog site, Back to the Roots, the amount of light that the plant will get and the size the plant will grow are important things to consider for your indoor garden.
Gardener, Jahmai Fisher suggests, “Do your research before going out and buying things! Make sure you have the space, time, and capacity to give plants the necessary conditions they need to thrive.”
Agricultural expert, DeAndra Deveaux said, “You must understand that environmental conditions indoors do not mimic that of outdoor environments, so the progress may be very slow and sometimes stunted. For indoor gardening, patience is key.”
Seeds For Beginners
Vegetables suitable for beginners are tomatoes, okra, kale, cabbage and peppers (Get Busy Gardening).
Some of the supplies you’ll need to begin your indoor, home garden include:
- indoor planters,
- plant stands and
- seed trays.
Don’t have the means, ability or desire to purchase planters in-store? Jahmai suggests repurposing items that can be found in your home. She says, “You can use a lot of things you already have laying around the house! Old egg cartons can be used as seedling pots. You also don’t have to go out and buy seeds or soil to get started; you can grow things from kitchen scraps. Put green onions in a container with just enough water to cover the roots, place near a sunny window, and watch them grow!”
How to Turn Egg Cartons into Planters
How to Turn Kitchen Scraps into Plants
DeAndra said, “Always remember that when replanting vegetables from already existing vegetables (e.g. putting your lettuce in water in hopes of getting another head), the end product may not mimic the original and it is mostly only done with leafy greens.”
DeAndra said, “Be sure to always keep your indoor crops in places where they get no less than 4 hours of sun daily.”
Jahmai says, “Believe it or not, which direction your window is facing informs sunlight intensity and duration. From most to least in terms of light intensity, here’s the order: south (most hours of direct sunlight), west (lots of afternoon into evening sun), east (great morning sun) and north (mainly indirect sunlight). While this isn’t meant to limit you, it is something to be mindful of, especially when growing plants with specific light/sun needs.”
Gardening Know How suggests touching the soil to determine whether or not the plant needs more water. If the soil is dry when you touch it, that is a sign that it needs water. Use room temperature water when watering indoor plants.
Tashae recommends that you place your seedling container in no more than an inch of water. She explained, “You don’t want to water from the top as it will cause the dirt to splash on the leaves and cause fungus. Your plant will soak in the water from its roots.”
DeAndra said, “Do not over water your plants if you missed a day of watering. Doubling your water may be detrimental so be sure to stick to a watering schedule. Check on your plants! Check their leaves, stems and fruits to be sure that everything is looking A-okay. Just like humans, if we have a scratch, we tend to that scratch. If we’re dehydrated, it shows through excessive tiredness, etc. Plants will show you signs of needing attention like wilting and yellowing of the leaves.”
Cleaning The Plant’s Leaves
The Spruce states that sunlight can be blocked from penetrating a plant if dust forms on it. Patch Plants suggests cleaning plant’s leaves once a month. Use a cloth or soft brush to clean the leaves to avoid damage.
Transitioning Indoor Seedlings Outdoors
Tashae, who resides in Canada, stated, “Your seedlings will be growing which means they will need to be put into bigger containers. You will want the container to be two times the size of the original. You will still want to use seedling mix soil until your plant is big enough to be transported outside.” Tashae added that she uses a potting mix once she knows her plants are strong enough to be planted outside and they have grown their true set of leaves.
DeAndra cautions that you should be very careful when transplanting seeds that were indoors outdoors as environmental conditions are severely different. She also noted that if you choose to plant outdoors too soon, you run the risk of shocking your plants, eventually leading to death.
She recommends that gardeners familiarize themselves with the process called “hardening.” According to DeAndra, “This simply means that for your seedlings that were grown indoors, you want to place them outside for about 4 hours of sun daily, then bring them back inside. Almost like you’re a weening a child from directly needing nourishment from its mother. Every 2 -3 days, you can increase the number of hours a day that your seedlings receive sunlight. When they’ve managed to handle the exact amount of sunlight as any other plant in your garden is receiving without damage, and their stems are hard enough, you’re ready to transplant them into your soil bed!”
What if I Fail?
Many persons fear failure, and one dying plant can shock a beginners’s confidence to the core! Jahmai cautions beginners to have patience: “Have patience with your plants…and yourself! Gardening is a skill best mastered with time. Even the most seasoned of gardeners still kill a plant or two occasionally. Don’t let one gardening season stop you from trying it again.“
Jahmai’s indoor garden started one month ago. (Yes, one month!) She says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
Tashae adds, “Don’t be hard on yourself since this is your first time. I went through a lot of trial and error with a lot of patience. You got this! Happy gardening, beloved!”
With these tips, we hope you’re well on your way to creating the garden of your dreams!
For more gardening tips:
- Follow Chinyere’s facebook page: Chinyere’s Backyard Gardening & Inspirationals
- Follow Jahmai on Instagram where she hosts gardening classes live: @jaydemure
- Follow DeAndra on Instagram where she provides tips and updates as a BAMSI lecturer: @grow_with_me242
Did you find these tips useful? Which one did you not know about?
Let us know in the comments!