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Grow your own salads and herbs

Eileen O’Sullivan is a seasoned British writer who spanned the change from print journalism to online writing over twenty years. When London based, she wrote for UK print magazines as diverse as Company Magazine, Just 17, and The Archit...

These indoor gardens are perfect for growing vegetables and herbs in your own home

From SheKnows UK
When space is limited, or if you just want to have a splash of vibrant, living plants in your home, you can't beat a vertical garden. Plants trained upwards or downwards use less soil, fertilizer and surface area. If you want to grow your own herbs or salad plants year round, an indoor vertical garden is ideal.
Verticle garden

There is something so satisfying about watching plants grow, particularly when they will also be beneficial to your health and cooking expertise. By growing them vertically indoors you will have immediate access,  with greater ease of cultivation and harvesting. You can enjoy a tastier diet and also have fun watching your garden grow. Positioning containers and plant pots in a grid formed of horizontal and vertical rows creates a very basic vertical garden against either a wall or a window. However if you have more money than time, you may consider buying an indoor vertical garden kit.

Window Farms

Vertical vegetable gardens placed against an indoor window are known as window farms. Construct your own basic version by erecting shallow, clear shelves against a window, one on top of the other. If the window has a sunny aspect — south or west facing — this is even better, particularly if you want to plant sun-loving herbs like basil or thyme. The plant pots need to be placed in a tray along each shelf or in individual containers so they don't overflow as you water them. Vertical gardens can also be grown hydroponically. Grown without soil, the plants in a hydroponic system are watered and fed by a pump which forces water from the reservoir at the bottom of the garden back up to the top planters. Water and nutrients are then fed down, creating a self-sustaining system.

Bottle Gardens

Recycled clear plastic bottles, like large fizzy drink bottles, are ideal for turning into indoor vertical gardens. Remove the bottoms of the bottles, turn them upside down and arrange them in rows, down and across, suspended on wires. Each bottle should be aligned to drain into the one beneath. The bottles should contain good compost and an individual plant — salad plants or herbs are ideal. In the U.S. these window farms are commercially available as kits which include planters and net frames, a reservoir and a pump. In the U.K. you may wish to create your own window farm following these step-by-step instructions once you have registered with the U.S. site. Remember to take account of temperature when planting your window garden. If there is a radiator beneath the window, use dry and heat-loving plants. If it is fairly cold, use plants that thrive well in draughty conditions.

Indoor garden DIY made simple

A really easy way to make a vertical garden is to use Ikea planters. These suspend the plants one above the other and the planters can be placed in a row to create a living wall or room divider. You can mix and match flowers with herbs and salads to create a more vibrant look — or you may even consider growing edible flowers like pot marigolds, flowering chives, coriander, basil or dill. Their flowers are just as edible as the leaves and also look very pretty. An indoor vertical garden looks great and by helping feed yourself there will be less depletion of the earth's resources.

More healthy eating ideas

Easy ways to sneak fruits and vegetables into your diet
Top 10 healthiest vegetables
10 Secrets to healthier cooking

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