With the price of food on the rise more and more families are looking for ways to make basics like fresh proud e affordable. As the days go by the price and availability of the food your family needs seem to be getting worse. The good news is that you can start to grow your own food indoors easier than you think. This is a great way to keep yourself busy while you wait for spring gardening season to roll in.
How to get started growing food indoors for your family
Growing food indoors is easy and beneficial to your family by providing them with healthy, nourishing, and fresh food all year long even as the winter tugs along or if you live in a city where you do not have room for an outdoor garden. These simple tips will help you get started and save money on your food.
Plan what you want to grow
Before you can start growing food you need to know exactly what it is you want to grow. For our family, we grow mostly herbs and salad greens like baby spinach in the house during the winter. This is because these plants do not require major amounts of light and can thrive indoors. The cooler weather plants will do well in the house without us having to crank the heat up unlike heat-loving plants such as tomatoes.
When planning what you will grow indoors you should take a look at what your family will actually eat. If your family will not willingly eat what you are growing you are wasting your time and money. Growing your own food allows you to provide your family with fresh produce even when it is not available in the stores or costs a lot more by the day.
Choosing easy to grow things like leaf lettuce and herbs so you can get the hand of growing your own food indoors over the winter. As you get better at indoor gardening you can expand your garden to include pickier plants.
Figure out where you have room to grow
To grow your plants indoors you need to consider how you will protect the plants from drafts. Most homes have a couple of drafts even if just around doors as they open multiple times a day. Look for the drafty areas of your home and plant to keep your plants in areas that are relatively free of drafts. For our 100-year-old home drafts are just about everywhere.
Consider a pop-up greenhouse
This inspired me to get an indoor greenhouse to give us a place to grow food where it has protection from the rush of air that flows through the house every time we let the dog out or go out front. A pop-up greenhouse inside the house also helps to provide our plants with protection from the pets and toddlers that tend to love knocking plants over and simply playing in the dirt. This creates protection for our plants so we can get a good harvest.
Use grow lights
Even if you are lucky enough to have a window that gets sun for most of the day all winter long you may discover that you need a bit more light to actually grow food indoors. To do this you can purchase grow lights that help to provide your plants with the light they need to produce. These used to be incredibly expensive both to purchase and to run and even produce high amounts of heat in the home.
Modern grow lights use LED bulbs and are much more affordable for families looking to grow food indoors. We use LED light strips that give our plants a full spectrum light inside our pop-up greenhouse that we have lined with Mylar blankets to help make the most of the light inside. This setup means we can grow food indoors even when the winter drags on and we do not see the sun for weeks on end.
If you do not want strips for your plants you can get grow bulbs that fit right into your everyday lamps. These do tend to provide a limited spectrum but enough to help grow herbs in the house over the winter.
Hydroponics systems are great for growing food indoors. You can get a range of full-size systems for your living room or a simple countertop option to grow fresh herbs in your kitchen. Hydroponics systems are great because they take very little work and have everything your plants need from nutrients to provided light. All you have to do is set reminders to check the fluid levels and add nutrients according to the directions and enjoy your harvest.
If you do not have the budget for a premade hydroponics system you can make your own using some basic household items like a large bucket or storage tote and some net baskets you can buy in bulk offline
Get your family inviolved
Caring for your indoor garden is fairly easy but it does take some attention to detail like keeping the plants watered seeing you do not have the help of the rain if you forget. To help make caring for your indoor garden easier over the winter enlist your family to help with things like watering and turning your plant lights on and off. Setting alarms or reminders on your devices and building plant care into your daily habits can help keep everything running smoothly and everyone involved can be proud of the feed they can enjoy after growing it themselves.