How To

Here’s how to grow an indoor vegetable garden without any soil

January 6th, 2021

Over the summer of 2020 many people took to gardening. Maybe they just needed something to do to keep them busy. Maybe they needed something they could find comfort in.

An article in Psychology Today titled Why Are Gardens So Good for the Soul? says this:

“When we’re wounded in body, mind, or spirit, we’re often drawn to the natural world as a place to heal. For some, it’s a walk in the woods or along the shore. For many of us, a garden is our place of healing.”

Many of us have been wounded in mind or spirit this year. And maybe that’s why, according to Greenhouse Product News, gardening boomed this year.

“…the spring and summer of 2020 saw homeowners gardening in record numbers, and it looks like gardeners of all ages will be back digging in the dirt in 2021.”

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

But what if you don’t have a yard or anywhere outdoors to plant?

Granted, half the fun and quite a bit of the therapy found in gardening has to do with digging in the soil. But for some, just the process of planting a seed and watching it grow is enough.

For those stuck indoors, I have some very good news. It is possible to grow your own vegetable garden inside.

I’m talking about hydroponic gardening.

With this method you can grow indoors all year round.

If you would like to try it out for yourself, I will outline the method.

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Rockwool cubes / Wikipedia Source: Rockwool cubes / Wikipedia
  1. Plant your seeds. For this, you will need an inert medium. Rockwool cubes are a great choice.

Find some small containers and place the cubes inside along with 1 inch of water. This will ensure that your seeds stay moist, allowing them to eventually sprout. It will be time to transplant them into a hydroponic container when the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches high and the roots are beginning to show through the sides of cubes.

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Clay Pots / Pixabay Source: Clay Pots / Pixabay
  1. You can use glass or fiberglass tanks, clay pots, or even metal containers as hydrophobic containers. Whatever you use, they must be placed somewhere where they get the optimal temperature and ventilation. This is typically between 55 and 70 degrees. Hydroponic grow tents serve this purpose and can be found on Amazon.
  2. Your containers will need some sort of lid, so make sure whatever you use can be fitted or rigged with a lid. Cut openings in the lids. You’ll need the same number of holes as seedlings, and they will need to be big enough for the stems to grow through. Once done, use chicken or hardware wire cloth to form a platform that sits on top of the containers. Coat it with an asphalt-based paint.
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Pixabay Source: Pixabay
  1. Prepare a solution of water and plant nutrients. This could be store-bought kind such as Miracle Gro of FloraNova, of you could make your own. You would need to buy several different mineral compounds to make your own including ammonium phosphate, potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, boric acid, manganese chloride, and chelated iron.
  2. Using a pH test kit, make sure your solution is within a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5. If you are using a store-bought blend, this step may not be necessary.
  3. Clean off the roots of your seedlings and remover the rockwool—or whatever you used as a medium.
  4. Go back to the platform you made and make a hole over each of the holes in the lids. Transplant the seedling into that hole, leaving the roots submerged below in the nutrient water. Now place wood chips—think mulch—around the plants on top of the platform.
  5. Using an aerator, pump oxygen into the solution
  6. Continue to monitor the roots and adjust nutrient and oxygen levels based on what the growth pattern of your plants requires.

As mentioned above, growing indoors means you aren’t restricted to the seasons as you would be if your garden were outdoors. So plant, grow, and enjoy all year round!

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Source: Rebuild Garden & Greenhouse Product News