There’s no excuse not to grow your favorite vegetables and flowers indoors! With indoor gardening, you get the best of indoor growing conditions without sacrificing any of the beauty of outdoors. Get a head start ahead of winter by planting your seeds before the first frost. Get your seedlings established before the first hard frost by using cold-flowering bulbs like the white-rose, white lily, and white crocus. The bulb classifications include the traditional bulbs; new world bulbs; traditional bulbs; and novelty bulbs. All indoor plantings should be protected against harsh weather conditions by covering with plastic drop sheets during inclement weather.
Keep in mind that when growing seeds indoors, you’re working under a variety of different environmental conditions–including light, heat, moisture, and many others. The amount of light and heat available to a plant can affect the germination of seeds. Make sure your lights are not too close together, and ensure that they’re spaced farther apart. You should consider using grow tray heaters to provide artificial heat. This helps to promote germination and encourages the growth of healthy plants.
When growing seeds indoors, don’t use the same potting soil from what you planted in the outdoors. The soil you plant in your indoor garden will be different than what you used outdoors. Incorrect potting mix can often make indoor plants disease-prone. Your indoor plants’ roots are much more susceptible to disease if the soil is not mixed properly. Use high quality potting soil.
Identify the best time of year to plant your garden. Annuals are best planted from January through March, perennials from April through June, and biennials from July through November. You should check the local climate to determine the best growing season for your plants. Frost-free zones should have a spring planting season, while humid and warm zones should have an autumn planting season. Best growing season advice can usually be found from state extension services.
If your climate has an extended period of cold weather, consider starting your garden in the fall. Most experts suggest starting seedlings about one month before the last frost. In warm and humid environments, such as in Florida, a one-month head start can give your plants the needed ‘jump start’. In cases of abnormally dry winters or abnormally wet summers, it is better to wait until the middle or last week of February or early March to plant.
Another consideration is the type of lights you use to supplement sunlight. Some plants require bright outdoor lighting, while others need just a little bit of natural light from inside, especially if they are in containers. If your garden contains annuals that do not grow outdoors and are planted in full sun, you should place artificial indoor lights directly on them. If you are growing seeds indoors and do not have room to place an indoor light fixture on each plant, then consider using grow lights or fluorescent lights placed on individual trays.
When growing seeds indoors, do not overcrowd the pots. One small pot is all that’s needed to grow a few plants. It’s a good idea to break larger pots into two smaller pots, one for each plant you want to keep. A little trick for beginners: fill the bottom of the larger pot with water so you don’t bog the roots, and use lightweight soil to fill in around the sides of the larger pot.
Your final step is to plant. Make sure you follow the directions carefully – taking time to ensure an even growing season by preparing the soil correctly is vital. Plant your chosen seeds in loosely packed medium, not loose soil. Continue caring for your plants throughout the growing season – fertilizing and watering as necessary, but don’t over-fertilize or water too much.