Since we rent our home (and can’t have a in-ground garden), my biggest question was does indoor container gardening really work? I’m still actively finding out the answer to this question, but so far – yes. Here’s what we’re doing to start our journey of growing our own food when outdoors isn’t available.
Why We Can’t Have an Outdoor Garden
As crazy as it sounds, our landlord said “no” when asked about having an in-ground garden on his property. This was truly a perk we had at our last home that we actually didn’t take advantage of. However, times were different when we lived there and now growing our own food has made it to the top of our self-sufficient priority list.
In addition to our landlord saying no, we also live at the tip of the country. This means wildlife is much more prevalent and even having a raised bed would be difficult. Yes, I know we could do screen coverings, portable greenhouses, DIY hacks, and the like. But I’m a little rebellious and wanted to try indoor container gardening first.
How We Started Indoor Container Gardening
Germinated Seeds in Rockwool
Since we started with a Tower Garden, the first steps were germinating the seeds in rockwool. When the TG didn’t pan out, I transferred the grown (baby) plants into individual pots. Over half of my first round of seeds didn’t germinate and none from the second round did.
(I share our other strategies we are trying from seed at the bottom of the post.)
Tried Tower Garden, Then Transferred to Pots with Soil
As I mentioned before, we tried the aeroponics way of growing our food. Initially we thought this would yield a huge harvest like what we saw pictured. Sadly, I couldn’t get my plants to grow past a certain stage before they became wilted and discolored.
So, I transferred them into pots with mineral and nutrient-rich soil and use purified water for watering since our county water is a little harsh.
Positioned Pots to Get Ample Sunlight
Thankfully, the room where our indoor gardening is happening has a huge sun window. They receive about 6 hours of sunlight because of the position of our house and the front being where the sun rises.
I’ve thought about getting grow lights, but I still haven’t found some good ones. Let me know what you suggest!
Of course, without water, they won’t grow. I took the top of a water bottle and poke small holes in it with a straight pin. It is now a mini sprinkler system that I use on bottles of purified water each morning.
Watch It Grow
It’s been amazing to see the plants thriving, flowering, and showing signs of fruit on the way. Being a wildschooling family, this has also become an awesome lesson for our children as well. They actually have each started their own seeds and are fully responsible for taking care of them.
Other Methods We’re Testing for Germinating Seeds
The Tower Garden came with rockwool for germinating so I did give that a try. There were spots for 20 different seeds but less than half ended up actually germinating. Many of these are what we’ve transferred to our pots and they’re thriving (YAY)!
Seed Directly into a Pot with Soil
After trying the rockwool (twice), I wanted to give it a go with planting seeds directly into some potted soil. So far the green beans are doing well. Nothing showing for the carrots yet; however, I suppose that will take some time.
Planting Seeds into a Cut Plastic Water Bottle with Soil
The funny thing about this method is everything the kids planted have taken off. I let them each choose their own food to grow and be responsible for. Between the five of them, they are growing peas, cucumbers, and sweet peppers.
Egg Carton Sections with Soil
I also wanted to see if I could get seeds to germinate using a section of an egg carton and some soil. So far, nothing has sprouted one bit. (Any pointers?)
Milk Jugs and Soil
I saw a friend of mine use milk jugs to start her lettuce seeds in so I’m giving that a go as well. It hasn’t been long enough for anything to happen between planting some bibb lettuce and kale seeds and writing this post. I’m hoping they do well because I’d like to replace the lettuce that’s not doing so hot from the Tower Garden.
We’re also growing potatoes in huge pots, but I figured I’d save that for another post so I can explain the process of how we did it and share how it’s going. Other than that, what you see above is how we are having a go at doing indoor container gardening.
Any advice you have, please share in the comments below (especially for grow light suggestions)! We’re all ears!