Beginner growing tips for indoor organic seed starting and growing your own food

Nothing says health cycle like growing your own food then collecting your seeds for another growth cycle.  Most seeds are started indoors because they are so sensitive.  Growing indoors offers many growing benefits compared to growing outside.  The only downfall is the space outdoors has to offer.  Here’s why you should start your indoor organic growth cycle indoors.

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Starting Seeds Indoors

If you’re new to starting an indoor garden, you may be struggling to find a fail-safe way to get started.  Problems associated with getting your seeds started are finding the right amount of water, humidity, temperature, seed starting mix, location, and knowing specifics to each type of plant seeds.

The first information you need to know is the specifics to the plant seeds you are trying to grow.  Most fruits and vegetables can be grown indoors.  You need to watch out for the plants that need cold stratified.  These seeds need to be stored in the refrigerator for the chill hours required for that specific plant.  The most common indoor plant for food that needs cold-stratified is strawberries.  You may have stumbled on a video or two about how you can take seeds from organic strawberries at the store and start your seeds directly from there.  If the seeds are not germinating, it is because they need to be stored in a refrigerator for a period of time.

Most seeds can germinate with the average household temperatures and in a sunny location.  For most seeds, see our DIY Seed Starting Mini Greenhouse High Germination Rate and Cheap! The information written there will give you an idea about humidity to start your seeds.

Once you have chosen your indoor plants to grow organically for food, you need to find some organic seeds to start.  The initial start of your garden is the only time you really need to buy seeds.  After they grow, the seeds can be harvested and you won’t need to buy seeds ever again.  Here are some great organic seeds to get started with high germination rates and reviews:

Organic Herb Garden

Organic Leafy Power Greens

Organic 16 Salad, Salsa, Fruit, Herb, Vegetable Seeds

Growing Food Indoors

Once you have germinated your seeds, it’s time to care for your plants indoors.  Growing indoors requires space planning, adequate light, Organic soil and plant food, watering, and temperature regulations.  You can get creative here.  The vine plants like cucumbers can actually grow up the window with a DIY trellis made with just nails and jute cord.  You can add some personal flair to go with your indoor decor.

Indoor herb gardens can do just fine around a kitchen sink window.  Carrots and leafy vegetables don’t require as much sun as zucchini, cucumber, and tomatoes.  For the ones requiring more sunlight, place them in a window that gets more afternoon sun.  Fruit trees are more sensitive to afternoon sun so place those in a window that gets morning sun.  If you don’t have much sunlight in your home, consider grow-lights.  Adding grow lights can be more challenging, so do your research and pick something that looks nice to you.  Full spectrum is the best to mimic natural sunlight.  Here are a few recommendations for grow-lights:

Organic Soil Tips

The best indoor organic soil we have found for fruits and vegetables is from Black Gold Natural & Organic .  It is all organic and we haven’t found a fungus gnat in the bag yet.  A problem you will run into will be fungus gnats contaminated in many store-bought soils.  If you run into this problem, see our blog The ULTIMATE 4 Step Method to KILL Indoor Fungus Gnats For Good!

Fruits and vegetables need quite a bit of a fertilizer.  They need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium at the minimum.  Add some organic cut up banana peels to the soil for a potassium boost along with an organic bone meal for phosphorus and calcium.  The nitrogen can be added from an organic fish and seaweed fertilizer.  Each plant is different requiring specific amounts of food, water, and ph levels.  Using the organic soil and organic food sources will keep your garden organic.

Water Requirements for Indoor Gardening

Indoor plants need very well draining soil.  Adding a bit more organic pearlite will help and make sure there are holes at the bottom of the container with a water catcher underneath.  Dump out the water in the catcher after watering as that water will rot the roots and attract bugs.  Indoor plants need less water since there is no wind to dry out the soil and it’s cooler than outside in the summertime.  If you notice your plant leaves are curling, getting droopy, and yellowing, first evaluate how you are watering them.

For more information on what type of water to use, see our blog Why You Should Never Use Tap Water in Your Urban Garden.  Keeping your garden organic also requires a good quality chemical free water source.  Tap water is not recommended.

Collecting Seeds

To complete your indoor food growing cycle, you can collect your own seeds from your organic indoor garden to have for later use.  The great thing about growing indoors is you can grow all year round.  There is no winter time making you wait to plant in the springtime.

Most vegetables give you one harvest, then die down.  To make the most of your indoor garden, you can start seeds at staggering times to have a continuous growth of food all year round if you do the right planning and have space.  If you don’t have space, you can just plant a new seed to replace the old plant once it does down after harvest.  This still gives you more opportunity for food than dealing with the winter cold.

Each plant has different ways and times to collect seeds to store.  Tomato seeds can be collected as soon as the fruit is ripe.  Beans need to go past their ripe stage until the seed pod is old and dry before collecting.  Don’t forget about the plants that may need cold-stratified like strawberries.  Once you collect the seeds, they need to be dried and stored in a cool dry place away from sunlight.  Seeds stored in the refrigerator will be viable longer for most seeds.  Each seed is viable for different lengths of time.  We do plan on putting a chart together for the different specifications for seeds.  In do time.  Please do comment or contact us if you would like to be notified when the chart comes out.

Indoor vs outdoor

After reading all these tips about indoor organic gardening, let’s compare the pros and cons of growing indoors vs outdoors.

Outdoor pros:

  • More space and height to grow
  • Sunlight
  • Free Soil
  • Rain watering
  • More growing options

Outdoor cons:

  • Bugs, Pests, disease, Fungus
  • Too much rain, too little
  • Too much sun, too little
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Transplant Shock From Starter Seeds and Plants
  • Weather damage
  • No growing during winter
  • May Need Soil Amendments

Indoor pros:

  • Complete control of water, sunlight, and temperature (controlled environment)
  • No bugs, pests, diseases, fungus (with the proper care)
  • Year-round Growing
  • More Exotic Plant Options
  • Helps purify the air in your home
  • Little to no transplant shock
  • Home decor options

Indoor cons:

  • Limited Space
  • May Require Grow Lights
  • Need Pots
  • Possible Gnat Infestation
  • Limits Plant Selection Needing Chill Hours

 

The best method of gardening is doing both.  If you have indoor space and outdoor space, grow indoor and outdoor.  This gives you the best of both worlds!  Most don’t even consider indoor gardening.  With climate change affecting growing food outdoors, indoors may turn into the best or only option.  While we still can, we recommend trying both indoor and outdoor gardening to learn the new health cycle of growing your own endless food supply.

Learn it – Grow it – Change it – DO IT!

 
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