About Indoor Gardening

Overview

Most indoor gardening is done in containers or raised beds using hydroponics, and includes growing houseplants, kitchen herbs, fruits and vegetables, vermicomposting and mushroom farming . Tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, salad greens, hot and bell peppers and edible flowers can all be grown indoors. Sunlight is limited in winter months, so supplement with grow lights.

Location

Available sunlight will affect plant growth and the quality of any produce in your indoor garden. Southern-exposed windows get the most sunlight throughout the day. Add a window seat to keep a group of containers together, making it easier for you to water everything. Place an old coffee table against the sill of a southern-exposed window to create one, or use two cement blocks at each end with a 2-ft.-wide sheet of plywood over them. Measure the alcove to decide how long the plywood sheet should be.

Pollination

Some indoor plants, such as tomatoes, have to be pollinated by hand, according to Joshua Koh's "Hand Pollination Guide for Tomatoes." Unless it is warm enough to place your seedling plants outside, you will need to brush your hand across each flower to collect pollen, then gently transfer that pollen to another plant. Be gentle, as some flowers are easily bruised. Joshua uses a mustache trimmer to vibrate the flower into releasing pollen. This prevents damage to the flowers and releases enough pollen to ensure a bountiful harvest.

Growing From Cuttings

Take the rooted ends of scallions, leeks and onions, and push them into the soil about an inch, leaving the cut side up. Root onions 3 to 5 inches apart to accommodate plant growth. Plant scallions even closer, although they still need elbow room for best results. Carrots, sweet potatoes and turnips can also be rooted from cuttings. Cut off pineapple tops and trim away most of the base. Wrap it in paper towels and place it in water until you see new growth in the center of the plant. Pineapple can take severe temperatures, survive and thrive. When I planted one in Arizona, it sat in the sun for two days before I realized that the water in the container was hot enough to brew tea. Two days later the plant sprouted leaves, formed rootlets and was ready to pot.

Starting From Seed

Plant herbs away from one another or they will cross-pollinate, mingling their tastes and scents. Bean and alfalfa sprouts grow quickly if kept moist. Start seeds between folds of wet paper towels; then transfer the strongest to starter pots filled with loose potting soil and biodegradable foam pellets. This makes transplanting to permanent containers easy.

Specialty Container Gardens

Basil, tomatoes, onions and garlic make a spaghetti dinner garden. Mint, lemon balm and chamomile can be planted together in an old ceramic teapot. Jalapenos, tomatoes and onions can be grown together for a taco garden. Do not plant bell peppers with hot peppers, however. They will cross-pollinate, making your hot peppers taste mild.

About this Author

Jane Smith provided educational supports for 11 years, served people with multiple challenges for 26 years, rescued animals for five years, designed and repaired household items for 31 years and is currently an apprentice metalworker. Her e-book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in March 2008. She received her Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | About Indoor Gardening