Indoor home growing in the UK is sadly undervalued and largely unexplored. But it is a vital factor in us becoming more self sufficient and growing our own food all year round.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a good sized garden equipped with greenhouse or polytunnel. Most of us are lucky to have a garden at all. Even if we do, successfully growing our own fruit and vegetables in the UK relies heavily on the protection and extra warmth of greenhouses, polytunnels or our homes. Indoor home growing is underutilised. With the correct knowledge, planning and organisation all of our home windows can be turned into immensely productive growing areas.
For those of us with gardens or allotments, indoor home growing can provide us with starter plants for our outdoor gardens come Spring. For those of us without gardens we can use our indoor space to grow a fine selection of fully fledged fruit and vegetables from seed or seedling. Some examples of the fruit, veg, and herbs you can grow via indoor home growing in the UK are carrots, onions, tomatoes, peppers, salad greens, kale, chard, citrus fruits, dwarf apples, strawberries, blueberries, basil, parsley, oregano, coriander, rosemary.
Sounds good doesn’t it! And it is. But of course successful indoor home growing, like any form of growing, takes knowledge, time, skill, diligence and space.
You can take things as far as you want. Some people may just want a few small plants on their window sill. Some people may erect a series of shelves up and across the window to grow more plants in direct sunlight. Other people may go the whole hog and set aside an entire room or rooms for their indoor gardening and utilise indoor growing lights.
Light is the most important factor to consider when indoor home growing in the UK. UK winters can be long and dark and plants need lots of light to photosynthesise and build the necessary sugar and starches for their survival. The trick is in understanding exactly how much light your indoor plants require and setting up your indoor garden accordingly. Some plants require a lot less than others.
There are a range of artificial lights available that can help you regulate the situation and facilitate the growing of a lot more plants. These include incandescent lights, fluorescent lights, high intensity discharge bulbs, high pressure sodium bulbs, and metal halide bulbs. Each has its specific characteristics that should be assessed.
Fluorescent lights, for example, are relatively cheap and work well with herbs which do not require huge amounts of light. They are not good, however, for use with plants that are flowering or budding as these moments in the plant’s life require more light than can be provided by fluorescent lights. Other factors affecting plant growth besides light are temperature, humidity, water, nutrition, and soil. All of these elements must be in order if we hope to see successful results with our outdoor or indoor home growing in the UK, or anywhere else for that matter.
Adjusting and maintaining temperature and humidity indoors can be a challenge, but it is definitely possible. The information is out there and, as always with gardening, practice makes perfect. Anything is possible if we prioritise growing our own delicious, packaging-free, truly local fruit, vegetables and herbs. So, why not get involved today?! Get creative and set aside a little section of your home for food growing wherever you see the light!