Truth be told, I don't see myself as an expert gardener. But I am capable of taking on bite-sized projects and growing a beautiful garden in baby steps. For people like me, those I call green thumb "lite," an indoor garden is an unintimidating place to begin.
But where to begin? If you too have no clue where to start, other than buying some planters and potting soil, here are the step-by-step indoor gardening hacks you've been looking for:
Every seasoned gardener agrees (see what I did there?): Herbs are easy. Even a beginner can get a pot of herbs to grow — or at least that's the hope. Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Ryan says, "Growing potted herbs is a perfect way for everyone to get a little gardening in this season, even if it's on a small balcony or windowsill." He adds, "We love this way to dress up classic simple clay pots which makes them more stylish and easier to use, especially for those new to growing herbs: an all-over coat of chalkboard paint with the names handwritten on in chalk. It's a quick, affordable and guaranteed-to-look-great weekend project!"
Second to herbs, pro gardeners agree that edible plants, i.e., fruits and veggies, are a prime pick for indoor container gardening. Tina Sottolano-Cain, professional horticulturalist and creator of Gardens on the Go, tells SheKnows, "Containers with a bottom and drainage hole are another great way to grow edibles, especially for an apartment dweller or those who do not have the space for raised beds. Plant what you like and what is easy. It may sound obvious, but it's very true. Narrow down your choices and focus on the fruits and veggies that you like to eat and what will give you the most success. Lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are among the most common but also can be quite easy to grow."
File this one away under a true "Gardening for Dummies" hack — so easy that even those with the brownest of thumbs can do it. Ashton Ritchie, lawn and horticultural expert and spokesman for ScottsMiracle-Gro, gushes that everyone can have a garden. Ritchie's preferred starter choice for those who consider themselves garden-challenged is gro-ables, ready-to-plant seed pods. He explains, "Following the garden-to-table trend, this new line of seed pods includes everything needed to start a delicious vegetable and herb garden, including basil, tomatoes, dill, mint and sweet peppers."
Of course, I don't mean depriving your plants of a much-needed water source. I simply mean cutting out the middle man. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a self-watering planter for indoor garden use. Creators of the self-watering Glowpear Urban Garden Planter, an innovative startup founded by four young Australian product designers and garden enthusiasts, say, "It is the easiest way to grow perfect herbs, fruit, vegetable and flowers and is suited to all small spaces, balconies, roof-tops, apartment living and rentals."
This hack is perfect for the laziest of gardeners. (Guilty!) If you just can't muster up the effort needed to go the whole potting soil and planter route, try a garden in a bag instead. The New England Trading Company tells SheKnows that it really is as easy as it sounds: "Just open, add water. Watch it grow! No need for a pot, this fresh herb grows right in the bag."
If gardening in a bag doesn't present enough of a challenge, window boxes are the next logical step. But on your quest for the perfect indoor planter, don't overlook convenient and compact quarter pots. Joyce Familara of the Eye of the Day Garden Design Center says, "The angled edge makes these pots perfect for corners inside rooms and on balconies while still conserving space. They can be used to accent the corner of a living space or an entry way. The pots can be used for larger, taller plants or even house an herb garden or flowers."
(Tower Garden, $45 for 12 months)
As I see it, a vertical garden is one sure way to keep plants contained while impressing your friends with a clever indoor gardening space. Tim Blank, CEO of Future Growing and Developer of Tower Garden, tells SheKnows, "If you are limited in space (or access to good or non-contaminated soil), vertical aeroponic gardening systems make it easy to grow an edible garden with nutritional fruits and vegetables in any indoor or outdoor space, whether a sunroom, patio, rooftop or terrace."
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