Tips For Setting Up An Indoor Garden

If you live in a cold climate where you can only grow most plants for certain months of the year, you have probably considered gardening indoors. We get a ton of questions about this and figured it’s time to write up a quick post on it.

indoor garden with grow lights and sunlight

In general, gardening indoors is not that much different from gardening outdoors. In many ways, it’s actually easier. But there are some key differences and some things you need to be aware of. We will cover them all in this post.


Water for Your Indoor Garden

When you grow outdoors, your plants get rained on. In some cases, this is enough water for them. In many others, you need to give them some more water, using a lawn sprinkler system or just watering them by hand.

When you grow indoors, the plants get no natural water whatsoever. Every drop of water they need, you will have to provide them. For this reason it’s a good idea to set up a watering schedule At a certain time every day or every two days, you need to go give them the water they want.

If you have a larger operation, you could even set up a little irrigation system that runs on a timer. This is what many commercial greenhouses do. This way you’ll never have to think about watering your plants. Everything just happens automatically.


Lighting for an Indoor Garden

plant growing indoorsAgain, when you grow outdoors, your plants enjoy the natural sunlight. They get the cycle of light that they need. It is bright for a certain number of hours per day and it is dark for a certain number of hours per day.

When you move your operation indoors, you control all of that. First of all, you have to provide them the right kind of light. The only way to do this is to use artificial grow lights. There are a number of different kinds of grow lights and getting into too much detail here is beyond the scope of this article, so I will just list a few of them. For much more information on grow lights, check out

The most expensive options are LED grow lights. These cost a lot to buy, but once you have them, they are cheaper to operate. They use less power and produce less heat than other horticultural lighting systems.

Another type of grow light are HID grow lights. These are comprised of high-pressure sodium and metal halide bulbs. The HPS bulbs have a more reddish spectrum in the MH bulbs have a more bluish spectrum. This means that MH bulbs are great for the vegging stage of plant growth and HPS bulbs are great for flowering and blooming. These lights work well and they are cheaper than a good LED fixture, but they cost much more to operate. They consume a lot of power and they produce a lot of heat.

For smaller operations, florescent grow lights will often suffice. They are not as powerful as the other two types, but they also cost less. And they generally produce less heat and use less power than an HID system, although that is in part due to them being weaker. If you compare the two lighting types them watt for watt, then fluorescent lights actually use more power and produce more heat.

Apart from these three main types, there are others like plasma grow lights and induction grow lights, etc. Like I said, we won’t worry too much about that here. Read Grow Light Info for more. Suffice it to say, you just need to choose one of these types of lights.

The big key when lighting your indoor garden is that you need to provide the correct light cycle. The lights need to be on for the exact same amount of time that they would be on out in nature. This way your plants know their schedule.

When it is time for the plants to move from the vegging stage the flowering stage you need to alter the length of the artificial daylight, so they know that it is time. In this way, you control the plants’ life cycle through your lighting schedule. This allows you to grow at any time of the year.

The plants are not relying on the sunlight to tell them what time of year it is. You are telling them what time of year it is. You can trick them and get them to to bloom several times a year. This is one of the big advantages of indoor growing. You no longer have to worry about seasonal gardening.

There are other differences between indoor and outdoor gardening, but lighting and water are the two main ones. We will cover the others in a later article, but for now this should be enough to get you started on moving your garden indoors.

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