“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” Janet Kilburn Phillips
Waterloo Region and Perth County offers several amazing benefits to live in these parts of south-western Ontario including a plethora of organic farms to purchase healthy local food. We can purchase our produce, meats, cheeses, flowers, plants, and a host of beautifully prepared healthy meals from amazing producers and farmers. We prepared a blog that listed numerous locations. Here is the link: https://www.cityhousecountryhome.com/organic-farms-from-stratford-to-kitchener/.
But, as we approach the end of the outdoor growing season, we still want to enjoy organic vegetables, herbs and flowers. The good news is that we don’t have to rely entirely upon imported produce. A growing trend that is ever more popular is to set-up our own indoor gardening system. There are many systems available to match our needs and consumption.
Indoor gardening comes with various choices, ranging from easy to more adept techniques. Here are three options to consider.
- Hydroponics System: This system removes the soil medium and replaces it with water and nutrients. Hydroponics requires a bit of learning about pH and how to balance nutrients. There are plenty of You-Tube videos available to assist you with your research. Here is a ink to make an inexpensive system for home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLEVQw-bHhc
- Aquaponics System: This system combines the nutrient-rich effluent of a managed fish tank and the accessible roots of garden crops to produce a closed system. This takes a bit of initial set-up to establish a proper balance. It’s possible to yield a great harvest of fish and vegetables in a small space.
- Soilless System: This can be nothing more complicated than a container filled with potting soil and good natural light from your windows. Do not use outdoor dirt. Choose a well-draining soil or make one that combines compost, peat, and vermiculite, providing an airy soil for good moisture retention.
Which Option is Best for You?
Recently Erin Schwartz and Liza Corsillo wrote an excellent article about the best indoor garden kits available. It was published in “The Strategist”, a New York based newsletter that highlights the most useful things to buy in a vast e-commerce landscape.
Here are my favourites they tested and evaluated three major factors including:
- Nutrient Management
- Ease of Use
#1 Choice: Small Unit : The Aero Garden Sprout
This system is compact and comes in a range of sizes (3-pod to 24-pod) and includes the pump and fertilizer. A pod is similar in size to a K-pod for your coffee machine. George Piegna, deputy director and chief of horticulture at the Horticultural Society of New York recommends this smart garden system. A 3-pod system is great for growing your favourite herbs while a 6-pod system is large enough to grow all kinds of plants and veggies like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and mushrooms.
Amazon Purchase: The 3-pod unit can be purchased on Amazon for $129.99. It is an Amazon Choice.
#1 Choice: Large Unit : Rise Gardens Personal and the Single-Family Garden
This is an upgrade option for those that have more space to devote to your indoor gardening. It has the capacity to grow a mountain of different vegetables. It requires weekly maintenance – adding fertilizers and a pH balancer to the tank and refilling the water reservoir. With this system, pods germinate for a week or two in a separate container before you move them to your garden. There are several sizes from an 8-pod to 36-pod capacity.
I could not find this system on Amazon. Go direct to the manufacturer’s website at:
The larger Single-Family Unit costs about $900.00.
Please send us your comments and tips about your indoor gardening methods. We’d love to share with others that are interested in getting started!