As the chilly weather approaches, it's time to bring the garden indoors and continue your green thumb adventures! Don't worry, you don't need a magic spell or a secret potion to grow a successful indoor fall and winter garden. With a little bit of planning and a dash of creativity, you'll be able to enjoy vibrant indoor greenery all season long.
Creating the perfect environment for your indoor garden is crucial. To give your plants the best chance to thrive, the goal is to mimic the conditions of the growing season(long hours of bright light, warmth, humidity). And yes, you can do this on a budget! These tools will create a tropical oasis indoors for your plants, even when the weather outside is frightful.
mini greenhouses and humidity domes for seed starting
Mini greenhouses are like cozy little homes for your seeds. They provide a warm and protected environment, keeping your seeds warm and humid so they can germinate into adorable little sprouts.
On a budget? You can create your own humidity dome with ziploc bags, plastic wrap, or glass domes/terrariums. All you need to do is select a nursery planter, plant your seeds, and cover the planter with plastic wrap or a plastic baggie to replicate that greenhouse environment.
If you don't see condensation start to form on the "dome" within an hour or two, that can mean 1 of 3 things:
- Your soil isn't moist enough
- It's not warm enough
- The dome is not sealed properly, so it's releasing a lot of humidity.
One thing to keep in mind is you'll want to remove the humidity domes once your seeds start to sprout, a lot of seedlings will die off in such high humidity levels and without access to fresh air, so make sure the environment outside the greenhouse is decently warm as well. One way this can be accomplished is with a heat mat.
heat mats: the ultimate indoor garden tool
Heat mats provide gentle warmth to the roots of your plant babies, promoting faster germination by creating warm tropical conditions for your plant babies.
Most houseplant seeds won't germinate in temperatures below 70F. Whereas you can create your own version of a mini greenhouse with tools you have at home, or use a windowsill instead of grow lights, it's hard to create stable temperatures indoors without using a heat mat. So if you invest in anything, get a heat mat! You can find them in various nursery or garden centers or in online marketplaces, with prices as low as $10.
The main downside to growing seedlings by windows, is windows have fluctuating temperatures which can be detrimental to your plant babies. Also, make sure to keep your seed setups away from heat vents! You may think they help keep your setup warm, but it just creates problems due to fluctuating temperatures.
why do I need grow lights?
The colder months have shorter days, which means less light for your plants! Less light means the plants can't photosynthesize as much, so they don't grow nearly as quickly as they do during the growing season. Whereas you can grow plants by a bright windowsill through fall and winter, supplementing with grow lights can really help boost your plants' growth!
In addition, if you're running out of windowsill space, you can use grow lights to create plant shelves away from any windows, expanding the amount of room you can create for your indoor garden. We have an empty wall in our bedroom that I transformed into my little plant nursery, which brightens up the gloomiest part of our home quite a bit, all thanks to grow lights!
What should you look for when buying grow lights? You can find them in garden centers and online, and there's quite a price range. For growing vegetables and flowers, you do need very powerful grow lights, however houseplants are much more forgiving! Just look for a full spectrum grow light, and most will work very well for your indoor plants.
some other tips for a thriving indoor garden:
- Choose the right plants for your indoor garden. Some plants, like herbs and
leafy greens, thrive indoors, while others prefer the great outdoors.
- Don't forget to water and mist your plants regularly. The cold months can be dry, so make sure to keep humidity levels high for your plants and seedlings with a humidifier or with regular misting. Just like us, plants need hydration to survive. But be careful not to drown them!
- Keep an eye out for pests. Even indoors, pesky critters can find their way to your plants. Stay vigilant and take action at the first sign of trouble.
- Rotate your plants. Give each side of your plants equal exposure to light by rotating them every few days. This will prevent them from leaning towards the light and becoming lopsided.
- Lastly, don't forget to talk to your plants. They might not understand your words, but they'll appreciate the love and attention.
So there you have it! With the right tools, and a whole lot of love, you can create a thriving indoor fall and winter garden. Get started with your indoor garden by grabbing a seed kit or two here. Happy planting!