3 ways to grow your veg – without an outdoor space
The last couple of years have truly changed our habits. We have spent more time at home and developed a new appreciation for home cooked meals, shopping local as well as growing our own food. It’s a trend that we hope is here to stay.
What to do if you are eager to showcase your green fingers but your outdoor space is limited to a window sill?! Urban Growth’s team of experts say – it’s not a problem at all! We share three tips for growing your own vegetables and herbs without any outdoor space!
What vegetables can you grow indoors?
If you are a first-time indoor gardener you cannot go wrong with herbs and microgreens. Basil, parsley, coriander, mint, thyme – easy to grow, easy to look after, and a great addition to a lot of dishes.
If you want to take it a step further, after using spring onions, leeks, or celery in your cooking, why not try regrowing these vegetables from their roots? Simply place the intact root cut side up in a shallow dish of water and put it next to a sunny window. You can also pot it up and regrow it in soil. Another option is choosing plants that do not need lots of light to grow such as lettuce, spinach or kale.
Finally, in the spring, if you are feeling adventurous and have plenty of natural light in the house, try planting cherry tomatoes or chillies. Not only do they taste great, they also look beautiful in your window.
Strong natural light is key!
On average most plants need about 5 hours of direct light per day. Some plants, like tomatoes or chilies, could do with more. Given that the UK is not blessed with year round sunshine, especially in autumn and winter, one option is to get an artificial light that will help keep your plants happy while it’s cloudy outside.
Pro tip: How to know if your vegetables are getting enough light?
Notice the growth pattern of the vegetables. If they are getting tall and ‘leggy’, take it as a sign that they need more sunlight or supplement light.
Location, location, location
The ideal climate for vegetables and fruit to thrive is 16 – 21C. While the perfect location might seem to be a windowsill, it depends which direction your windows are facing. North-facing windows are great because the light doesn’t get too intense at any point during the day. However if you have South or West-facing windows, it may be too hot for your plants.
If you have central heating, air conditioner, or draughty windows, it’s best to place your plants a couple of feet away to maintain a stable temperature.
Some veggies love humidity which is especially hard to maintain during winter months when the heating is on.
Pro tip: Mist your plants with water daily, or keep your plants on the bathroom windowsill.
Vegetables grown indoors require more water than those grown outdoors due to them being in smaller containers indoors. Take care when watering your plants – less is better! The rule of thumb is that it is better to under-water than to over-water the plants. The soil should be slightly damp, but not wet,so best to check it daily especially in summer months.
Pro tip: Create a good drainage system. Use pots with holes at the bottom and add a layer of stones/ grit at the bottom of the pot to allow any excess water to drip out without leaving roots soggy.
What are the benefits of an indoor garden?
Without a doubt, the biggest benefit is meals made with fresh, home grown veggies. It’s an eco-friendly way of prepping your meals that are nutrient rich. Better for you and the planet!
It is an amazing hobby that is excellent for mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that gardening helps reduce feelings of stress, fatigue and anxiety. Who’s to say that these benefits are only limited to those gardening outdoors?!
Are you a first time gardener?
Come learn with us. Urban Growth hosts free workshops at Brixton Orchard, Pop Brixton and other sites in London. Learn how to plant and look after seasonal veggies and flowers as well as meet other local gardening enthusiasts. Find more details here and on our website.