While it may seem a strange proposal to many of us, growing edibles as indoor plants is a great solution for those lacking an outdoor area. While a lot of time, resources and effort is currently put into ornamental houseplants, why not branch out and start growing plants indoors than not only add a green design element but are also good for your dinner plate?
Most plants need the same group of things to grow successfully and they are soil, water, food, air, light and warmth. Some may then need various forms of support, shelter and supervision. By supervision, I mean tending to your plant, giving it a prune, replant, additionalfood and water and of course, pest or disease management. Plants in their natural native environment do pretty well on their own but once we start growing them in areas they are not from, we start running into challenges that need to be addressed. When the area is outside, many plants can surprise us and adapt somewhat to their new homers and humans have become experts in breeding plants to fit into the environments we like to live in. Once you start asking plants to grow indoors, in our homes, that’s a whole new matter. The only plants that can do well are those that are used to higher humidity and low light and that usually means temperate rainforest plants and their friends. It does not include sun loving vegetables and herbs! There is no ignoring the needs of plants, they will just fail to thrive and then die but it’s not impossible to grow edibles inside, as long as you meet their needs. You can either create an environment from scratch yourself or use one of the commercial methods that are gaining popularity across the world.
Tiiun from LG is an advanced hydroponic (water growing based) system which is completely self-contained and looks like a small commercial glass walled fridge. The Tiiun (Korean for ‘to sprout’) has a weather control system that regulates temperature, light and moisture. Is there an app? You better believe it! Although this futuristic styled indoor garden can look after itself once set up for your individual plant needs, you can watch your plants grow from your smart phone and will be alerted when the unit needs the water refilled. Winning the USA 2022 Consumer Technology Association Innovation Award for design, technology and consumer benefit, the LG Tiiun will probably be brilliant for apartment living.
If you still like to get your hands somewhat dirty then ‘Kitchen Garden’ by Vegepod is for you. It’s a self-contained benchtop herb and vegetable garden that still uses soil. ‘Kitchen Garden’ has been designed to inspire home cooks, help fight the cost of living and thrive in even the most compact of dwellings. The fact that this system still uses soil as a medium and is open to the surrounding air is a plus for those looking for a closer to nature experience. Light is available via LEDs that are set within the Kitchen Garden unit.
Vegepod Director Simon explains, “No matter how much space you have, introducing a Vegepod Kitchen. Garden indoors will significantly enhance your life; your cooking repertoire and it’ll help the hip-pocket as the cost of living continues to soar. Kitchen Garden is also very user-friendly; simply fill it with the quality potting mix included in the box, plant your seeds or seedlings, water, turn on the UV spectrum LED lights and start growing your food.”
Creating one of these systems from scratch yourself is possible with a container, soil or growing medium, the right lighting and temperature and could be the answer for those wanting to grow edibles indoors for whatever reason or need. For those of us lucky enough to have an outdoor space, I have to admit, I still find the idea of growing herbs indoors as an alternative or compliment to ornamentals appealing and I’m tempted to give it a go myself.
Kerrie Anderson - Synergy Permaculture Central Coast, Edible Garden Trail
Typical of the older established properties of the time, when Kerrie bought her Holgate home 17 years ago it came with an established garden of mostly non edible trees and traditional garden plants. Although Kerrie didn’t know a lot about gardening to begin with, she took on intensive study of permaculture and organic techniques and since then she has been steadily implementing her own permaculture design. Creating this permaculture paradise inspired her with the realisation that this was her life’s work and lead Kerrie to ultimately share her skills with others. She now teaches these techniques as a much-respected Permaculture teacher privately and for various councils as well as at TAFE. Kerri’s garden features systems as well as plants that will interest and inspire those gardeners looking at a friendly and more sustainable way to garden and you have the opportunity to visit this brilliant working Permaculture example during the upcoming Central Coast Edible Garden Trail, 19th and 20th November. To find out more: https://www.facebook.com/CentralCoastEdibleGardenTrail
PLANT THIS WEEK
(late Spring Temperate areas)
This week you can also plant the following: culinary herbs, beans, beetroot, blueberry, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celery, chicory, cress, cucumber, eggplant, endive, leeks, lettuce, marrow, melons, mustard, okra, spring onions, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, rosella, salsify, shallots, silverbeet, squashes, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini, ageratum, alyssum, amaranths, aster, begonia (bedding), California poppy, coleus, cosmos, carnation, dianthus, gazania, gerbera, gypsophila, marigold, petunias, phlox, portulaca, lobelia, love-in-a-mist, lupin, nasturtium, nemesia, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragons, sunflowers, vinca, zinnia
Cheralyn Darcey is a gardening author, community garden educator at swampcentralcoast.com.au and along with Pete Little, hosts ‘At Home with The Gardening Gang’ 8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM963, on air locally or download the app: communityradio.plus
Archived articles can be found on Cheralyn’s Blog: www.florasphere.com Send your gardening questions, events, and news to: [email protected]