It can seem intimidating and overwhelming when researching how to plant indoor vegetables from seeds, but in reality, it isn’t as scary as you think. Do you want to start a new hobby and grow your vegetables, but it’s winter? Or perhaps you’re stuck in an apartment with no outdoor space to have a garden. No matter the situation, having a vegetable garden in your home is a lot easier than you think.
This article will map out three tried and true methods to help you decide how to plant indoor vegetables from seeds to create your indoor vegetable garden.
There are many ways to plant and grow your vegetables indoors.
Start with the basics, the potting method using pots, egg crates, milk cartons, yogurt containers, or anything hanging around the house that can cradle soil and seeds.
The second method is the hydroponic method. In hydroponic systems, lose the mess of ordinary potting soil, and pick a media – usually sand, gravel, clay pellets, perlite, or rock wool. The media is there to hold the plants in place as they grow. The water in the systems constantly floods and drains, providing nutrients needed for your plants.
Lastly, aeroponic systems are similar to the hydroponic method. The difference, however, is instead of submerging in water, aeroponic systems mist roots with nutrient water multiple times per hour.
If you want to plant indoor vegetables from seeds, it’s easy to do so using an egg crate or a clean yogurt container. If you don’t have an egg crate or yogurt container, you can use just about anything – even an old boot. Just make sure to poke plenty of holes in the bottom so the excess water can drain.
After deciding on your pot of choice, you need seeds. High-quality seeds from a trusted source or nursery will be better because they have a higher germination rate. Higher germination rates mean they will produce more sprouts.
Next, choose your soil. Outdoor garden soils are not ideal for indoor vegetables because they usually do not drain well and have a higher chance of containing disease spores that will ruin crops. Seed starting mix is excellent for growing indoor vegetables. Seed starting mix will allow optimal drainage, moisture retention, and airflow to the seedlings.
Grab your egg crate, add in the seed starting mix, and bury the seeds. Following directions on the seeds package is ideal for knowing how deep to plant. However, a good rule of thumb is to cover seeds three times their width with soil. Planting multiple seeds is best since all seeds will not germinate. Having extra seeds will set up your vegetables for success.
After getting the seeds planted, it is time to find a warm location for sprouting to begin. Plants need to be checked daily for sprouts and water added as directed on the packaging of the seeds. If it is winter or if direct sunlight is unavailable, consider getting a grow light to provide the optimal sunlight at the preferred temperature. LED lights will save more energy than fluorescent lighting since some vegetables need light up to 20 hours a day.
When starting seedlings in a small container like an egg crate, they may need to be transferred into a large pot or outdoors after some growth. Transferring sprouts depends on the type of vegetable you plant. Seedlings started in small pots can always be moved into larger areas. Keep in mind that root vegetables like carrots can sometimes be more difficult to transfer, so starting in a larger container is ideal.
Hydroponic garden systems give the ability to plant indoor vegetables from seeds, and they make it easy.
Hydroponic garden systems are a means to grow plants without soil and the limitations of space and climate. Hydroponic gardens do not require natural sunlight or soil. These systems can be as small as a tabletop or so large, capable of helping farmers mass produce crops.
When buying a hydroponic system, consider the type of vegetable growing, the size of space required, and the type of media you want to use.
Once the plant medium is in place, it’s time to plant the seeds. After planting the seeds, use a heat mat, and a grow light to regulate temperature and sunlight hours for your seedlings.
Now that seeds are planted, water nutrient solutions will be administered as necessary. Be sure to keep tabs on the pH level of the plant system and adjust as needed.
A good idea for beginners when using a hydroponic system is to go with a kit. Most kits will have all the ingredients, including the pH meters and nutrients, to get your plants off to a good start. If thinking about starting seedlings inside a small hydroponic system and transplanting them when growing, consider options for systems on wheels to make this process easier.
Aeroponic systems are another convenient and efficient method when wanting to plant indoor vegetables from seeds.
Aeroponic systems are very similar to hydroponic systems as they both use a nutrient-dense water solution for the plants. Yet, there are two significant differences.
Aeroponic plants are misted onto their roots several times per hour instead of emerged in the water solution. Also, instead of media to hold the roots in place, aeroponic systems suspend roots into the air using clips or foam to hold them into place so that they are fully exposed.
Media is not needed for sprouts to grow but to germinate seeds initially, it is necessary. Rock wool cubes like in the hydroponics method or a throwback to elementary school days using a plastic bag, paper towel, and water are both options for initial root growth. Yet, as soon as roots develop, transfer the tiny sprout into a net-like pot to continue aeroponic seed growth.
If using an aeroponic system, ensure you check ph levels regularly since no media is required to help regulate the seedlings; pH levels are essential.
There is no right or wrong answer here. The best method is whatever is best for you.
All the above methods need light, a heat source, proper care, and plant nutrition for optimal growth.
Preference will depend significantly on the space available in your home and the most convenient method for you.
Aeroponic systems do seem trickier than some other methods since the roots are to be fully exposed. Experts recommend starting seeds in a media like rock wool or even elementary school water and paper towel in a plastic bag until the roots begin. Once roots emerge, transfer the seedlings into a net-type pot, leaving roots exposed for nutrient delivery and growth.
Clay pellets, rock wool, sand, gravel, and perlite are excellent options for using hydroponic systems to grow seeds.
The best soil for seeds is a seed starting mix compared to a garden potting soil. Garden potting soils do not always allow proper drainage and airflow that vegetable seedlings need to thrive. Seed starting mixes are best to create optimal conditions for plant growth.
Hydroponics and aeroponics systems are similar as they both derive from the hydroponic method. They provide a space for seedlings to grow, yet instead of nutrients in potting soil, they have nutrient-dense water administered to grow the seedlings. Hydroponics have constant water flow to seedlings and requires a media also known as a base. Aeroponics doesn’t require media leaving roots exposed, and instead of being immersed in water, roots are misted three to four times per hour.
Normal potted seedlings, hydroponic systems, and aeroponic systems are the three tried and true methods to plant seeds indoors.
All methods require care, attention, and proper nutrition to ensure optimal growth.