The benefits to growing your own vegetables and herbs are endless. They’ll save you money. It’s a constantly renewable source of food. They’ll be using up less fossil fuels, transportation, pesticides, and labor. They’ll save you a trip to the market. Plus you get a literal hands-on experience as you learn the growing process and become more connected to where your food is coming from, just to name a few.
And nowadays, with readily available accessories like LED grow lights and pre-made vegetable growing beds, you don’t even need an outdoor yard or a large indoor space to get a garden going. With the right setup, even a space with little sunlight can work.
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The basic elements to consider when scouting out a spot for your garden are light, airflow, spacing, and watering. There are benefits of having multiple species of plants growing in close proximity to one another, but you’ll still want to make sure they’re not all tangling on top of each other, which can act like a superhighway for bugs and pests.
Buying Guide: How to Grow Vegetables and Herbs Indoors
Here’s what we recommend knowing before getting started, along with some key additions to make your indoor garden setup flourish.
light: In the best scenario, you have a large, unobstructed window that gets lots of light. But that’s rarely the case in an urban apartment space. Fortunately, this is where LEDs are a lifesaver. These used to be expensive, with only professional gardeners and grow-houses able to pay the price, but have now dropped significantly to where even decent ones can be under $50 and bulbs alone can cost under $5. Plus, they even come in strips, so you can stick them to the underside of a shelf, table, or cabinet, getting creative with where you put your seeds. However, too much exposure to a powerful, full-spectrum UV light can be dangerous, but most of the ones designed for using at home consume very low power and are typically safe.
Garden Bed: When you walk around your neighborhood and look at other people’s yards, you might see a few different types of garden beds. Some are built right into the earth, some are raised, and created with materials like wood and steel. While indoor garden beds may serve the same ultimate purpose of growing food, you’ll want to pay attention to a few different attributes.
For an indoor garden bed, you won’t have as much space, for starters. That’s why a countertop garden with a built-in LED light may be the best option for small spaces. But if you do have a bit more room to have a bigger bed, you’ll quickly find there are a ton of choices out there, so we suggest putting one thing in particular towards the top of your list: drainage. Too much water creates soggy soil which can mess up your harvest. Drainage through bottom holes, which is a good thing overall, can also get messy really fast, which is the last thing you want indoors. Make sure there’s a neat way to remove excess water.
Seeds: Many of the countertop gardens will come with a seed-starter pack, and some offer a subscription that sends you fresh ones with a variety of veggies every few months. If you’d rather DIY it in a garden bed with your own soil though, keep in mind what you use for a potting mix and plant food, as well as where you get your seeds and the quality of them.
What’s the Best Gear to Grow Veggies at Home?
Here are some of our go-to product picks for growing veggies indoors.
Bestva Dimmable LED Grow Light
Bestva’s excellently powerful grow light is seriously bright, even on its lowest setting. This compact powerhouse of electric LED lights covers an area of 8×5 feet, plenty for a small indoor garden, while consuming minimal electricity at just 405 watts through its Samsung diodes. This gives plants the full spectrum of light, from red to blue and white, helping your plants bloom and grow through all stages. There’s no fan, which keeps it nicely silent, with a thick aluminum heat-sink to keep it cool.
Buy: Bestva Grow Light $289.99
Keter Easy Grow Raised Garden Bed
If you’re just starting out, this versatile raised bed is a great way to get your garden growing. Not only is it durable enough to be used indoors or out, but it can handle vegetables, fruits, plants, and flowers too. The material, polypropylene resin, can stand up to excessive light and moisture, and the whole thing takes less than 15 minutes to assemble. There’s a water indicator to let you know when you’re overdoing it, and the whole bed holds up to 31 gallons of soil.
Click & Grow Indoor Herb Garden Kit with Grow Light
This smart garden kit is small enough to fit on a kitchen countertop or bookshelf, and efficient enough to produce a high yield of plants and veggies. There’s a built-in LED grow light, as well as a timer and a self-watering tank, so even someone with zero gardening experience can be successful here. Plus, the company makes it as easy as possible to get started, with a connectable app and over 50 pre-seeded plant pods to choose from. To use it, drop them in and you’re good to grow.
Buy: Click & Grow Herb Garden $79.95
Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix
Good soil is everything, so it’s important to check which soil you’ll need to plant your herbs or vegetables. Espoma’s soil is organic and has a mixture of likely everything you need inside already: sphagnum peat moss, humus, perlite enriched with earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, kelp meal and feather meal to grow plants tall and strong. Nothing synthetic or chemical is in here, and it can be used in garden beds, pots, and virtually all plants inside.
Buy: Espoma Potting Soil Mix $23.98
Xlux Soil Moisture Meter
A moisture meter is a huge help for any gardener. While there’s nothing wrong with sticking a finger into the soil to see if the first few inches are dry, this gives you a reading on the deepest dirt where the roots are. You’ll know if they’re in need of a watering without disturbing the entire plant. No batteries or charging is required, and it also comes in a longer 40cm model for deeper plant beds.
Buy: Xlux Soil Moisture Meter $12.99
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