"Why should I grow my own produce?"
"Can I really do it indoors?"
"Where do I start?"
The thought of growing your own fresh produce indoors may seem a bit daunting at first, especially if you are new to gardening in general. This section of Indoorvegan.com is here to address those concerns while providing the knowledge, confidence and motivation to get you started on your own Indoor Garden!
Whether you've found your way here because you:
- Are unable to have an outside garden
- Want homegrown produce during the winter
- Want your family to eat healthier
- Are trying to save money
- Have special diet/medicinal needs
- Run a restaurant and want the freshest ingredients possible
We are going to cover topics related to why and how you can accomplish your goals.
Here are some of the best reasons to grow your own vegetables.
1) Tastier and Healthier Food. The jury is in on fruits and vegetables, and the verdict is: you need them, lots of them. The recommendation is 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and when they're growing right at home, you won't be able to keep your hands off of them. Vegetables that go directly from the garden to your plate not only taste the absolute best, but are at their highest nutritional value with maximum vitamin content.
2) Save money. A penny saved is a penny earned right? Well save your pennies and grow your own food. A packet of seeds is typically less than a dollar, and many plants like tomatos and cucumbers will produce for a few months, while some herbs like rosemary and thyme will grow and grow for years. Here at Indoorvegan.com, one of our favorite mottos is: Use the plants you have today to grow your plants of tomorrow.
- Save the seeds from your best producing plants, dry them and use them for your next crop.
- Take cuttings from your favorite plant and grow another from the "clone".
- Some fruits and vegetables can even be re-grown right from unused portions of the produce itself.
- If you want to take it up a notch, find a local gardening club to trade seeds and cuttings! You can get some amazing variety this way.
3) Control what goes in and out of your food. When pesticides, hormones and chemicals go in, where do they go when we eat them? You are what you eat and our food choices directly impact our health. When you grow it yourself, you know exactly what goes in and what will come out of your food and into your body when you eat it. The bottom line is, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides are meant to kill things. Pesticides are commonly implicated as a contributing factor to birth defects, nerve damage, and genetic mutation as well as cancer. Many of these were developed to combat issues on large scale farms, so why use them if you don't have to?
4) Stop Worrying. Do you remember the spinach salminella contamination? How about the recent peanut butter or tomato recalls? Avoid contamination that can occur at the farm, manufacturing plant or during transport, storage and display. Most processing facilities handle many types of foods which come in contact with others, raising concern for those with food allergies. How about that person we all see in the produce section at the local market who touches every tomato before choosing one? No one knows where those hands have been. Now you can keep all of that away from your food. Sounds good doesn't it?
5) Grow a sense of pride. Growing your own food is one of the most gratifying things you can do - it promotes good health, nourishes your family and is a hobby you can be proud to say you spend your time on. Having a seed flourish under your care, becoming part of a meal on your family's dinner table is nothing short of amazing. This is also a great opportunity to involve family members in a positive, healthy and educational activity, reinforcing the fact that not all food comes in a box or from the drive-through. Not to mention that the look on the faces of your dinner guests when you tell them "I grew this myself!", is priceless.
6) Reduce unnecessary food waste. The average person throws away hundreds of dollars a year in spoiled vegetables that never made it to dinner. You will be hard pressed to see those beautiful bell peppers you nurtured for the past few weeks go to waste, as opposed to those moldy cherry tomatos you picked up on the way home last Tuesday. Not to mention, all the peels, pits, seeds, shavings, stems and some leftovers can be made into compost. Again saving money and keeping chemicals out of your garden by making your own compost.
7) Health, Health, Health. In addition to growing nutritious food for yourself and your loved ones, many plants and herbs that you can grow yourself have been used for ages with regards to various medicinal and holistic remedies. The recent surge in the medical marijuana industry is breathing new life into the practice of using plants for this purpose. For example: The Calendula flower, or pot Marigold is in the daisy family and is very easily cultivated. Its flowers can be made into a salve and have been traditionally used to treat conjunctivitis, acne, eczema, gastritis, minor burns, pain and inflammation. It's petals are very much edible and can be sprinkled on a salad to give it some color and appeal. With a little research, it is possible to grow your own all natural medicine cabinet. Plants also act as natural air filters which can improve the air quality in your living space.
- Seasonal Affective disorder - S.A.D. is now recognized as a common disorder where certain people experience mood changes during the winter months where the days are shorter and the light wavelengths are different than the summer months. To combat this, many affected people will purchase generic plant grow lights to replace household bulbs in order to simulate the wavelengths of the grow season. Some even go as far as building a light box to sit by with these grow lights in them. Many of the Grow Light Packages we offer here at Indoorvegan.com are designed to simulate the wavelengths of light that are present in the height of the grow season. Spending a few minutes under our lights while tending to your garden might just do the trick.
8) Cultural Diets/Hard to find Ingredients. While your local grocery store may or may not carry that specialty herb, spice or veggie (along with the specialty price tag), you may find it could just as easily be grown right at home with seeds readily available online. This is also a great solution if you normally have an outdoor garden during the summer months and miss the satisfaction and freshness of cultivating and nurturing your own vegetables and herbs during the winter. Not to mention those out-of-season supermarket prices.
Can I really do this in my house, apartment or business?
Absolutely! In fact, it's easier than you think. Many of the challenges you might face while growing outdoors completely disappear when you take gardening inside.
The Elements. Unlike the U.S. Postal Service, your vegetables don't do so well in rain, snow, sleet or hail. (Yes, too much rain can be a bad thing) I have literally watched a neighbors entire tomato garden get destroyed by a sudden hailstorm. With an outdoor garden, you have no choice but to deal with the unpredictability of ever changing weather conditions as well as seasonal changes which can prevent growing altogether. By completely avoiding these adverse conditions with your indoor garden, you won't be spending the time and money to fix them.
Pests. This could easily have been #1 in the list. From beetles and bugs, to aphids and slugs, the majority of these pests will undeniably be out of the picture. The methods used to combat pests can be expensive, time consuming, and in the worst case scenario your entire crop can be ruined before you have the chance to treat it. There is nothing worse than putting in weeks and months of time and care to face the disappointment in finding out your garden is overrun by beatles or mowed down by little furry creatures.
Weeding. Nobody has time for that. No weeding = huge time saver, leaving your schedule open to stay focused on your prized plants.
Control. It's as simple as it sounds. You control the conditions of your indoor garden. From temperature and humidity, light cycles and intensity, to nutrients, soil PH, and almost any other variable that exists in your indoor garden. You have the ability to monitor the conditions and dial in the parameters to make your plants happy. We are here to help.
OK, sounds good, where do i start?