A common misconception is that you need outdoor space to have a garden. If you have a spare room, or only two available walls within a room, you can have an indoor garden with careful planning and preparation. Once the area is ready, you can create a wide range of gardens from simple greens to a mixture of vegetables, herbs and floral plants.
Find a location in your home with a group of southern and/or eastern facing windows. This will provide the most direct sunlight for the greatest amount of time during the day. Make sure the windows get direct sun so you can maintain a temperature of at least 60 degrees in the room. An alternative to windows is the use of grow lights; to set up lighting, proceed to Step 2.
Measure the width of the room. Most rooms are at least 7 feet wide. Measure in from both side walls 6 inches for clearance. Mark the locations on the ceiling; this is where the first two ballasts will go. Measure 2 feet toward the center of the room from those marks; this is where the third ballast will go. For rooms with greater width, continue measuring and marking every 2 feet toward the center of the room. This will give you a small walkway between plants.
Have a professional electrician run lines through the ballasts to a central breaker set up for the room. This ensures safety and a control switch should a surge occur, causing an electrical shortage or outage.
Clean and disinfect the room. Wash down the walls, floor and ceiling to remove any potential bacteria or pathogens in the room. Repair any cracks, holes or gaps in the walls, floor or windows to keep out pests.
Plan the location of the plants in the garden. Use paper and pencil to draw out the design of the garden before building it to find errors or potential problems. Make use of all possible space in the room. Make use of shelves, terraces for larger spaces, hanging baskets and large planters for companion gardening. Plan a walkway for yourself through the garden; this can be curved or straight depending on the room size, your imagination and the variety of plants involved.
Design the garden so the large and tall plants are on the floor. Set vines and creeping foliage in hanging baskets. Put small bushes in the center of large containers with smaller vegetation surrounding them along the outer edges. Check with local florists or cooperative extensions to get a firm grasp of what plants go together. Coordinate the growing seasons to keep plants growing and blooming throughout the year.
Set up the framework for the indoor garden. Put the shelving, hangers and beds into place. Make sure there is enough clearance around, above and below where plants will go. Adjust the framework as needed to get the proper fit.
Gather your seeds, soil, planting materials and planters together at a work area. Put the seed packets with the planters they are going with.
Place newspaper over the work area to catch excess dirt and debris. Set the pie tin on the paper. Set a planter on the pie tin. Use planters with drainage holes to keep the excess water out of the soil. Put a 1-inch layer of loose medium size gravel on the bottom of the planter for drainage.
Fill each planter with potting soil up to 1 inch of the lip using the hand spade. Keep the soil loose for better root development. Poke holes into the soil for seeds and bulbs with your finger; depending on the plant, this can range from 1/2 inch to 2 inches deep. For companion planting, use a spoon to dig a 1-inch trench around the outer edge of the planter. This allows for larger plants to be in the center with their companion plants around them. Vine plants will require a trellis for nonhanging planters; put two holes in the dirt 1 inch off-center across from each other. Put the trellis between the holes to support two vines in the container.
About this Author
Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.