Indoor gardening is the art of growing plants in an indoor, often times climate controlled environment. Indoor gardening can be growing plants in a greenhouse, or inside your home. The biggest advantages of indoor gardening are being able to create the optimal environment for your plants to thrive and having complete control of that environment. Growing plants in your home can be as simple as some herbs sitting on a sunny window sill or a completely environmentally controlled indoor garden. The key to a successful indoor garden is providing your plants with the climate they need to thrive. Water, CO2, sunlight and nutrients are really what plants need to thrive. There are many different ways to grow indoors and depending on your needs and space, there is a solution for you.
Growing in soil (medium) is what many people prefer because it is simple and the most organic way to grow. Installing an automated drip system is very efficient and takes away all the time spent watering. The downside to growing in soil or other mediums is dealing with the mess of soil and medium changes. Dealing with transplanting and many containers can also be a hassle. These issues with growing in soil might be an issue for some and not an issue for someone else. It all depends on your space and needs.
Another type of indoor growing is hydroponics. Hydroponics is growing plants in water. There are many ways of growing in water but the most simple method is called Deep Water Culture (DWC). Plants in this system grow with their roots submerged in oxygenated water with a nutrient solution added. These are closed-loop systems, have a very clean look and are easy to maintain. The downside to hydroponics is water changes. Depending on the plants needs in the system, the nutrient water needs to be replenished every 1-2 weeks. Also, growing completely organic is much more challenging in these systems.
Whether you decide to grow in a medium or in water. One thing is for sure, unless you're growing in a greenhouse, you will need supplemental lighting. There are many options when it comes to indoor lighting. The most common lighting used is HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting. The two most common types of HID lights are Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS). Not even knowing it, you most likely have seen these before. If you live in town and go outside at night you will see street lights. If these lights are white in color, they are most likely MH lights. If they appear to be orange in color, they are HPS lights. MH is very effective for growing plants, but HPS is particularly important for flowering plants such as tomatoes and peppers. The benefit of using HID lights are that they put off a very intense light, which equates to explosive plant growth and allows for a larger coverage area. The downside to these lights is that they can be expensive to operate and they put off a lot of heat. The amount of heat they put off depends on the wattage of the bulb, and can range from 125W to 1000+ watts. Larger watt bulbs often require venting to vent the heat out of the grow space. Other lighting options Include Compact Florescent Lights (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED). Many people use CFLs to start their plants because HID lights can sometimes burn seedlings and the light put off by CFLs is much less intense. CFLs do not generate as much heat and are cheaper to operate, but not ideal for flowering plants.Some of the latest and greatest lights on the market right now for indoor growing are LED lights. These lights cover all the spectrums of light that a plant needs to thrive at all stages of development. They have a relatively low operating temperature and use only a fraction of the energy compared to other lights. The only downside to these lights is the cost. They are very expensive to purchase when compared to HID lights. The other downside is that even though growing with LED lights is nothing new, it has only recently made very big technological advances. Some companies have this technology dialed in very well and others do not.
Now that you have your type of system and lighting picked out, you've got the basics covered! The thing with indoor growing is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it. Things don’t really start to get complex until you start adding automated nutrient injection systems, automated PH adjustment, CO2 Injection, smart phone accessibility; the list goes on and on. There are many sub-systems that can be added to any basic system to boost production or cut down on maintenance, but even complex systems if designed properly can be easy to for anyone to operate. You don’t have to be a mad scientist to grow your own food indoors. Advanced Gardening Solutions specializes in indoor growing. Let us help build the best system for you, call us for your free consultation today!