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Gardening Within the Walls of Your Home

2010 February 16

A couple of years ago I gave my Dad grow lights for Father’s Day. He had mentioned to me that he wanted a garden, but living in a gated community there was not the appropriate amount of space on his property to do so. He started to create an indoor garden comprised of herbs and vegetables. It has been two years now and the small garden that started in the corner of his kitchen has now overtaken the entire kitchen and living room. I love to go over to my Dad’s to eat his homemade cooking made from vegetables and fruits straight from his indoor garden.

As more people are becoming concerned about the use of pesticides on the fruits and vegetables we buy at the grocery store, organic produce has been increasing in selection. However, organic produce is usually more expensive and the energy it takes to ship the produce increases carbon emissions. In-home gardening can be a way to divert away from pesticides while being fiscally and environmentally responsible. Although the grow lights, seeds, dirt, and pots will be relatively pricey at first, the results of your garden will pay off in just a matter of a few years.

Starting an indoor garden can prove to be an excellent solution to those living in the city who do not have the adequate amount of space outside to make a garden. However, if you do have a large yard and enough space for a garden outside, having an indoor garden can be beneficial to those who would like to enjoy fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and herbs year-round. No matter the size of your house you can still enjoy the pleasures of a garden as plants can be placed almost anywhere in a house while adding to the aesthetically pleasing aspect of the newly acquired greenery.

If considering starting your own indoor garden it is important to remember that it takes time to maintain a garden. You must remember to re-pot, water, and rotate your plants appropriately. Is it really taking time out of your day though? If you don’t have an indoor garden you must still go to the store, and pick out the produce that you want. It sounds a lot easier to simply just water the plants and then pick them when they are ready to eat.

What do you grow in your indoor garden?

About the author: Nikki Reising is an intern at the Office of Children’s Health Protection. She is a sophomore studying non-profit management at Indiana University.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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27 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    February 16, 2010

    Enjoy to read and need it….. Good writer !

  2. LaVonne permalink
    February 16, 2010

    Nice article, but you might not want a government site linking to a site that tells people how to grow marijuana in their homes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :)

  3. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    February 17, 2010

    This is a great idea. If a person does this, they won’t need to worry about pesticides and herbacides on the food because the person with the inside garden controls what goes on the plants. You don’t have to worry much about pest infestations. And it reduces the carbon footprint. So it is great. But before starting, if you live in a condominium association make sure to read the association’s regulations first just to be on the safe side and make sure it is ok to start. If there is no regulation against indoor gardening, it will be a good way to go for inexpensive, safe food. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  4. Al Bannet permalink
    February 17, 2010

    This is an absurdity. No indoor housing space is big enough to accomodate the amount of planting necessary to feed one person, let alone a whole family. Anyone with normal intelligence can deduce that in half a second. So who is kidding who here!

  5. Sandy Thompson permalink
    February 17, 2010

    This is a great idea. In fact, it has inspired me to see what I can do in my own small space. At minimum, I will try all my favorite herbs. Tomatoes, spinach, broccoli might also be a good option. Thanks for the intelligent, forward-looking thinking.

  6. Deanna permalink
    February 17, 2010

    I think the fact that her father has already done it speaks for itself. I would also point out that the author does not propose using an indoor garden to feed an entire family, so Mr. Bannet’s comment is actually the one that seems absurd.

  7. William permalink
    February 17, 2010

    Mr. Bannet decides to make irrational decisions on short notice without taking all of the author’s statements into consideration. Obviously making decisions in half a second only leads to stupid and ignorant comments.

  8. dabbott permalink
    February 17, 2010

    The post states that this indoor gardening has brought fresh vegtables, herbs and fruits to those who do not have the accessability to an outside garden. I’m not sure where Mr Bannet is pulling his intelligence remarks from. Maybe he’s incapable of growing his own garden? (sorry – the reference to the author’s intelligence is not acceptable. I thought this was a very bright and enlightening focus on how we can all bring more organic foods into our household – no matter where we live. Indoor gardening is something that can be created and shared by an entire family. I think Mr Bannet is the “absurd” one here.

  9. hydroponics permalink
    February 18, 2010

    Gardening was really a very great thing to do.I am glad you posted an information about it because i am really looking for some data on gardening. I know many learnings will be contribute.

  10. Al Bannet permalink
    February 18, 2010

    The very idea of indoor gardening is absurd. Rooftop gardening, yes, but not even that would produce more than a few meals; and why are such things considered at all except for the relentlessly growing human population and the massive overcrowding in our cities and growing towns, always growing because the pressure of business if relentless demanding more and more endlessly, until the inevitable bust follows the boom. This is an insane society and it is dooming itself to ecocide and extinction, but 99.9% of the people are too intimately involved to see it. People like me try to give warning, but we are ignored or ridiculed. But it they who are rediculous in their obsessive myopia.

  11. Al Bannet permalink
    February 18, 2010

    A backyard greenhouse makes sense. A clay pot of herbs at a window is feasable. A porch with several troughs of plants is possible. But gardening by the common understanding of the word involves cultivating and fertilizing soil, then planting and watering the seedlings, etc. And you want to do all that inside a room in an apartment building? That is absurd!

  12. dabbott permalink
    February 18, 2010

    Mr B does not exhibit the understandings of this entire post. Not everyone has a backyard greenhouse. It is senseless to argue with this “type” of person. Something is not right when you believe that bringing vegetation into your home, school or office is not beneficial. Mr B has ovbiously missed the entire point of this post. Mr B seems to be a very negative and pessimistic person. Ms Reising – your post was very informative and enlightening. kudos and please continue sharing your thoughts and ideas!

  13. Al Bannet permalink
    February 19, 2010

    You wax all positive about indoor gardening fantasies so you can go right on ignoring the global disaster caused by overpopulation and a relentlessly growing global economy. You stumble around locally, but you refuse to think globally, and that is why we humans are a self-endangered species.

  14. Greenat50 permalink
    February 19, 2010

    I have onions, leeks, peppers, rosemary, sage and a basket of mesclun mix growing in my front window right now. I plan to plant some in my outside garden, the herbs in pots so that I can bring them in next fall and I’ll eat the lettuce in about 3 weeks! I pot in the attached garage so that I keep the mess to a minimum…I don’t have to grow all of my food to make gardening worthwhile.

  15. aaron permalink
    February 22, 2010

    Even though I am not always the best indoor gardener I enjoy it and do an ok job of not killing my plants. Today though, I read about a new product that takes all the fun and challenge out of gardening by adding an electric plug and a computer program.

  16. David Zimbo permalink
    February 24, 2010

    I have the best tomato plants indoors. The secret is plucking all the leaves except for the few at the top.

  17. Linda permalink
    February 24, 2010

    While I won’t even pretend to be able to grow the amount needed to feed an entire family, I very much enjoy my small, self-contained, hydroponic garden. Thus far I have enjoyed reasonable success with plantings of both tomatoes and salad greens, but the best by far are the parsley and chives I’m growing right now; the basil and thyme didn’t thrive, but I have more parsley and chives than I can use. Next time out, I may opt for flowers instead. As in all gardening, it’s not always about the amount of food you produce, but rather the amount of joy your garden produces for you! And indoor gardening is a VERY viable option for those of us who have impairments that limit the amount of time and energy we can expend doing heavy-duty yard work. Outdoors, I’m limited to perennials and shrubs; things that don’t often need heavy cultivation or intensive care. Indoors, I can have some nice fresh veggies!

  18. Linda permalink
    February 24, 2010

    I can’t DO much about any looming global disaster; I CAN grow my own herbs.

  19. Al Bannet permalink
    February 26, 2010

    Have you tried to turn your living room into a garden? How about your garage, or maybe the kitchen itself (?!) The word garden is commonly understood to involve land outside the house or apartment. As I said before, the rooftop can be planted, and a patio or porch, and a windowsill may accomodate a clay pot of flowers or herbs. That’s the limit. Anyone who deliberately spreads dirt on their floor is asking for trouble.

  20. Carey permalink
    May 30, 2010

    If I were to grown an indoor garden, I would start with some foods from the Environmental Working Groups list of “Dirty Dozen” foods that have the most pesticides. Some of these are strawberries, spinach, and bell peppers. I grow them now in my outdoor garden and use them regularly in my fresh juices and smoothies.

  21. Hydroponics Nutrients permalink
    June 11, 2010

    Gardening is a great way to cultivate whatever you feel like. I like too as i want my own small kitchen garden where i can cultivate wherever i feel like.

  22. June 16, 2012

    Good post.
    It’s good to have a Gardening Calendar of a year. In the meantime we are seeking monthly list of gardening tips and “to dos” are appropriate for that time of year including what to plan, plant, prune, maintain, plus weed and pest control and fun projects.
    Any help will be highly appreciated!
    Bill Worley

  23. July 28, 2012

    An indoor garden is a great way to ensure the most unrefined of fruits, vegetables and herbs. One can control the soil. Many herbs have even more antioxidants in a small serving as fruits and vegetables in a larger serving. I like to make smoothies and include dashes of herbs and vegetables in with the fruit. Indoor gardening also makes the air fresher.

  24. Leca Clay permalink
    July 29, 2013

    With advances in hydroponics and aquaponics we will all soon be utilizing our free space to grow some form of sustenance.

  25. Sarah Russ permalink
    December 19, 2013

    Healthy Smoothies is right. Fruits are pretty much sugar, and most veggies are mostly water. If you want nutrient-rich, low-toxin superfoods such as herbs, growing hydroponically is the way to go. No soil, no pesticides, no herbicides. And you don’t necessarily need indoor grow space to start a hydro garden. Just look at this roof-top growing NYC-based chef. Chef Mooney is able to grow nearly two-thirds the produce for his restaurant!

  26. Eric permalink
    July 27, 2014

    That’s very interesting concept. I always thought of growing a garden on top of the roof would be a great idea. But then there will be a problem with the weight of the plant, water leakage and so on.

    But if we are looking at commercial buildings, I previously worked in a residence for seniors. And they built a really awesome greenhouse on their 3rd floor.

    As the committing the time to grow that garden, the seniors are willing to take the initiative and take care of the plants. Now that I look back, it is a great idea.


  27. Serviced Apartments Lady permalink
    August 21, 2014

    Brilliant advice! I haven’t tried doing indoor gardening as I just constantly think I’m going to fail, but I feel a little more confident now!

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