If indulging in autumn’s rich textures is not enough to curb your craving for summery herbs, fruits and vegetables, an Indoor garden might be just what you need to keep you satisfied all year round. Why wait for the spring when you can put your gardening skills to test and create your own indoor source of fresh, organic goodness? All you need is the willingness to try and a sunny windowsill to begin with.
From its simple beginnings, several millennia ago, indoor gardening has come a long way, allowing experienced gardeners as well as urban dwellers to break free from the constraints of seasonal changes or space requirements and grow an unlimited amount of fresh food all year around. But this is not the only benefit worth considering: besides being healthy and environmentally-friendly, growing your own fresh produce is a great opportunity to learn new skills or to perfect already existing ones. And what better way to add a touch of freshness to your home than with a colorful selection of decorative plants, herbs, and vegetables?
Today, indoor gardening solutions come in a generous range of options, designed to suit every preference, pocket and layout, and the most efficient ones, in terms of space and practicality are, by far, the vertical growing systems.
Since most apartments and homes are short on horizontal surfaces that can be used for indoor gardening, vertical systems allow growers to maximize their crop without compromising on aesthetics or practicality, which makes them especially useful for those pursuing the micro-living trend.
But first things first:
What Kind Of Edible Plants, Fruits And Vegetables Are Suitable For An Indoor Vertical Garden?
And the short answer is: almost all, from basil to carrots and small citrus trees, as long as you take into consideration their distinctive traits and requirements. Expert gardeners recommend plants that are relatively easy-maintenance, quick to harvest, adjust well to the indoor environment, and have similar necessities when it comes to growing media, humidity and light. Some obvious choices would include:
- Microgreens: nutrient rich vegetables, salads, and herbs, harvested immediately after the development of their first leaves;
- Herbs: basil, chives, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano;
- Fruits: tree fruits like apples, avocado, mandarin oranges, lemons and limes, dwarf pomegranates, figs;
- Dwarf and miniature tomatoes: Tiny Tim, Cherry Gold, Red Robin, Sweet Olive, Red Grape, Micro Tom, Micro Tina, Micro Gemma, Micro Gold;
- Dwarf sweet (bell) peppers: Cute Stuff Red & Cute Stuff Gold, Gypsy, Belinna, Mohawk, Redskin;
- Radishes: Cherry Belle, Early Scarlet Globe, Hailstone, Pink Beauty, Plum Purple;
- Carrots (shorter varieties): Paris Market, Thumbelina, Little Finger, Scarlet Nantes, Short’n Sweet;
- Bunching onions: Evergreen Long White, Parade;
- Green garlic: hardneck varieties like Lautrec Wight and Early Purple Wight (to harvest as soon as the shoots are 6 to 10 inches tall);
- Lettuce: Oak Leaf, Black-Seeded Simpson, Little Gem, Salad Bowl, Red Deer Tongue, Lollo Rosso;
- Spinach: smooth leaf varieties like Hector, Space, Olympia, and crinkle-leaf (savoyed) varieties like Indian Summer and Melody;
- Celery: 30 days to harvest leaves, 100 days for stalks;
Planning Your Indoor Vertical Garden
All plants require a growing medium (soil or non soil based) and a suitable root container, but since these largely depend on each species’ characteristics as well as the growing method used, we’re not going to get into specifics here. Instead, we recommend this comprehensive guide to container gardening, put together by experts from Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Generally speaking, plants need five things to thrive: light, air, warmth, water, and nutrients, and as long as you can provide all of these things, you can place your Indoor Vertical Garden virtually anywhere, from a sunny window sill to a warm conservatory or a well-lit kitchen countertop.
A few important details to be aware of: the place must be ventilated but, at the same time draft free, and benefit from as much natural light as possible, even if you’re using grow lights; it should also be easily accessible for watering and pruning, when the time comes. In other words, you should try and create an indoor environment that resembles a warm, sunny day in the garden.
Indoor Vertical Garden Systems
From ready-made kits to high-tech gadgets and DIY solutions, indoor vertical gardening can take many shapes and sizes and we picked the ones we think are the best in terms of functionality, design and simplicity:
1. Wally and the Living Wall Planter by Woolly Pocket
Woolly Pocket is the creator of two of the most popular vertical gardening solutions: Wally and the Living Wall Planter. Simple to use, efficient, and made from 100% recycled materials (milk jugs and plastic bottles), both systems are modular and come equipped with a self-watering reservoir. Suitable for growing a wide range of plants: herbs, vegetables and decorative flowers. To find out more about their particular characteristics, click here.
2. Florafelt by Plants on Walls
Created by the Plants on Walls company, the Florafelt modular units are made out of recycled, non-toxic PET plastic felt, and can be customized to fit any type of space, indoors and outdoors. The company also sells a variety of Florafelt ready-made planters and kits, framed and coupled with a pump system for growing automation, making indoor gardening even easier.
3. GroVert by BrightGreen
Designed for architects and DIY homeowners, GroVert Living Wall Planter is another modular unit that can be hung separately or integrated within ready-made kits and customized groups. Made out of polymer, the units can flawlessly blend in every interior, be it traditional or contemporary, thanks to their beautifully designed frames that range from reclaimed materials and wood to metal and chalkboard.
4. Plantus by Plantus
Handmade in Budapest, Hungary, Plantus is an indoor gardening system that can also be used as a living space divider. The product comes in 3 modular sets – Plantus Basket, Plantus Wall and Plantus Flow – allowing easy reconfiguration to host different plants. The wooden parts are made of pine, the shelves and base structure is painted aluminum.
5. Urbio Urban Vertical Garden® by Urbio
Urbio Urban Vertical Garden is the first-ever magnetic vertical garden and organization system consisting of a standardized wall plate and modular containers of various sizes that snap into place thanks to high-strength magnets. Completely customizable, Urbio is very easy to install, and includes a wall template for pre-planning the layout of your indoor vertical garden.
6. iPot by Supercake
Produced in Italy by Supercake, iPot is a vertical planting system with an adjustable structure that combines interlocking tubes and joints. Each unit comes with attached planter bags made from cotton, teflon or linen, which have an internal waterproof layer to prevent water leaks. iPot can be accessorized with extra shelves, pots, lights and even a small fish tank, and the team behind it offers free design support to help you create your perfect configuration.
7. Pikaplant One by Pikaplant
Pikaplant, a design company based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is the creator of Pikaplant One, an award-winning indoor vertical garden which mimics the natural wet-dry cycle of ground water. Equipped with a water tank on top and a passive ebb-and-flow irrigation system that enables self-watering, this three-level standing shelf is ideal for small spaces and for those of us who tend to be forgetful or short on time.
8. NutriTower by Bryce Nagels
NutriTower is a vertical hydroponic system developed by Bryce Nagels with the purpose of maximizing indoor food production while taking up as little space as possible. Completely automatized, this low-maintenance system comes with everything you need to start growing right away, including a seedling starter kit, 24 small containers, and 3 months worth of nutrient packs. Tried and tested with leafy greens, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
If you’re more of DIY person or your budget doesn’t have room for a ready-made vertical growing system, there are plenty of creative indoor gardening projects you can replicate into your own home:
1. Shipping pallet wall planter
This beautiful wall planter created from a shipping pallet is easy to make, eco-friendly, and very cost-effective. Tutorial at Beers and Beans.
2. Repurposed crate planter
Get inspired by this vintage wooden crate from Bangs Boutique and make your own.
3. Bucket wall planters
4. Mason jars planters
5. DIY hydroponic windowfarm
One of the most space-efficient urban gardening methods, window farming has grown increasingly popular in the last couple of years, and there’s a huge online community created around this trend: our.windowfarms.org. If you head over to their website, you’ll find tons of inspiration, pictures and DIY tutorials to help you create your own hydroponic windowfarm.
6. Hanging Pots
This is another wonderful DIY project, with a moderate level of difficulty. If you’re interested in recreating this indoor garden, head over to the Pioneer Settler for the tutorial, complete with the full instructional video.
7. Build your own vertical hydroponic garden using Ikea parts
Thanks to Italian designer Antonio Scarponi of Conceptual Devices we now have ELIOOO, a DIY instruction manual that allows anyone to build their own hydroponic garden from off-the-shelf IKEA components.
Te result? A stunning low-maintenance hydroponic garden that will keep your salad bowl full throughout the seasons:
Across the world, for thousands of years, plants have been brought into the home – for medicinal use, to cook with, for their scent, or just to admire. From the 3rd century BC, the Egyptians brought plants in clay vessels into inner courts for display. Fifteen hundred years before Christ, the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut grew Somalian frankincense trees in her temple. Terracotta plant pots have been found in the Minoan palace at Knossos on Crete and Roman villas were scented with the blossom of citrus trees…What has been no surprise is that the enthusiasm for trying to grow plants indoors is generations old. Maybe our ancestors sensed what we now have scientific proof of, that many plants are positively good for us to have around, both where we work and where we live. Or maybe the ‘green-fingered’ gene just will not allow some of us to be without the glories of greenery, however small our home may be. We too can experience the same thrill as Restoration Londoners on discovering the tip of a bulb emerging on a cold January day. Plants link us to the past and can point us to the future, which, let us hope, will always be green.
~from Potted History by Catherine Horwood, p.8, 180
Image credits: Woolly Pockets (1, 2, 3), Plants on Walls (4, 5, 6), BrightGreen (7, 8, 9), Plantus (10, 11, 12), Urbio (13), 9jumpin (14), iPot (15, 16), Pikaplant (17, 18), NutriTower (19, 20), Beers and Beans (21), Bangs Boutique (22, 23), Ikea (24), Ten June Blog (25), Homedit (26), Gardenista (27), Pinterest (28), Windowfarms (29), Pioneer Settler (30), Conceptual Devices (31)
The post 15 Creative and Efficient Solutions for a Thriving Indoor Vertical Garden appeared first on The Green Curator.