Starting an indoor garden has its share of problems, but none are insurmountable. The benefits of growing houseplants, vegetables and fruits far outweigh any disadvantages. It may be your only option as a renter to get started with gardening. Once you know the problems that can arise and how to avoid or deal with them, you’ll grow a garden you can be proud of. Here are 5 to be aware of:
1. Not Enough Light
Plants need enough light to grow, which can be problematic if you’re living in an apartment building or rental unit that doesn’t get enough sunlight. Houseplants grow fine under most indoor lights. However, if you want to grow vegetables, some herbs and some exotic houseplants, you’ll need to do more than just turning on the lights. You can try to solve this problem by putting your indoor garden near windows that get direct sunlight. Also, use artificial lighting, such as LED grow lights and other lights.
2. Bacteria and Infections
Indoor gardens are susceptible to disease and infections, no matter how well you look after them. Your job is to know what to look for and how to treat (or get rid of) the issue right away. There are some fungicides and organic solutions that you can utilize to keep your plants healthy if you suspect an infection.
3. Humidity Problems
Certain plants in your indoor garden require some level of moisture to stay alive. Some appliances in your apartment can dry out the air though, such as heaters. The way to avoid this problem is to spray the plant leaves with water at least once a day. A humidifier may be a worthwhile investment as well, to keep the air from drying out.
4. Overuse of Fertilizers
Too much fertilizer is bad to use on your plants. First, select the right fertilizer for your indoor garden. You can also make your own using vegetable scraps and even used coffee grounds. One sure sign that you’re using too much is browning in the leaves. If you’re not sure what to get, ask the nursery where you purchased the plant for advice, or call your local state’s cooperative extension office. You can also find help on indoor gardening on websites, such as www.doityourself.com.
5. Improper Watering
You can give your plants too much water, and you can dry out your plants by giving them too little water. Your indoor garden needs just the right amount of water to do well. If the plant leaves are decaying, you’re giving it too much water. Make sure the containers and pots have drainage for the excess water to escape. If you’re starting out, buy containers that already have proper drainage. Otherwise, drill holes at the bottom of the containers yourself. You can also try adding small sized rocks to the container before adding soil.
Knowing these 5 common problems and how to resolve them is half the battle. Do everything you can to learn about the types of plants you plan to grow in your indoor garden, so that you know how to keep them healthy and thriving indoors.