In a city such as London, busy with commuters, fans going to the North London Derby, pollution and everything that a city brings – it isn’t easy to find plenty of outdoor gardening space. So you may find yourself liking the idea of growing your own kitchen garden. Although a simple enough idea, it does require some knowledge about what it takes to grow edible plants indoors.
The first step to indoor gardening is knowing which plants will grow the best in your kitchen. It is also important to know what is available in your area, in London, you may find some plants more popular than others and will have to work with what is offered at your local gardening store.
If indoor gardening is new to you, you may want to start with the basics, smaller plants or herbs that tend to do well with easy maintenance. Also, start with a smaller garden in mind and work from there, you can always add to it over time as your green thumb learns the skills of the craft.
Herbs are a great choice when beginning your kitchen garden. Not only do they add flavour to your meals they can be used as needed without too much fuss. Ultimately, as each herb or edible plant requires slightly different maintenance from each other, you will want to plant them in their own pots.
While some herbs grow better from seeds, such as chervil or cilantro, some can be re-rooted from a cutting in a glass of water and then replanted, such as mint. This can be the same with regards to vegetables. You will have more options, however, if you use seeds as they can be ordered online.
For example, celery is a vegetable that can be regrown from the remaining base. And the pit of an avocado can also be regrown into a small avocado tree. Regardless of what you choose, remember that each edible plant will require adequate water and natural light.
But don’t fear if you don’t have a window nearby for light but still want to grow a kitchen garden, although natural light is the best for your indoor plants, grow lights are available and will do the trick for your indoor garden space.
Initially, when you are in the beginning stage of germinating a seed, no light is required. Once the seed has started to sprout, however, you will want to introduce your seedling to some light. A warm spot is often preferred by your plants over a drafty location, so keep this in mind when picking your kitchen garden’s location.
Planting from seeds allows for a large variety of plants from which to choose. What is even better about planting from seeds, is that the packaging on the seed envelope will instruct you on the best time to grow your plants.
Don’t be shy and try beginning your garden in simple, reusable items. Plants can be easily transferred to a larger pot and that way you are only using pots for those that are showing positive growth. Items such as an egg carton, plastic containers from fruit, eggshells, old tea canisters, even empty yogurt containers all work well.
Organics, like eggshells, can be directly transferred into the new pot with soil. For most indoor plants you will need to select fast-draining, loose soil, plus something like a small dish that will catch any excess water. The soil should be moist yet not drenched with water, as overwatering can kill your plants.
Other food plants, besides herbs, that do well indoors include a wide variety from different salad greens, carrots, ginger, microgreens, kale, spinach, garlic greens, and scallions. The best way to find out is to try planting the seeds and see what happens.
Remember, that if you find it starts to take up too much space you can always transfer the plant outdoors if you have space. The key is keeping in mind how much space you do have in your kitchen that you can set aside for your indoor garden.
Growing a kitchen garden in London is a great way to ensure that you have access to some great fresh food all year round. Remember to start with simple, edible plants, a solid location with ample light, and good water drainage.