Growing an indoor garden is an excellent way to have fresh homegrown veggies year-round. Without Mother Nature to supply water, wind, and light waves though, it can be easy to have issues with growing veggies inside the house. To keep your indoor vegetable garden on track, let’s review the main reasons for indoor vegetable problems and the solutions.
Common Problems with Indoor Edibles
- Insufficient light: While leafy greens, herbs, and some root vegetables may grow and produce well enough in a sunny southern window, lack of sunlight is one of the indoor vegetable problems many gardeners experience. Solution: Supplement natural sunlight with artificial light for a minimum exposure of 10 to 12 hours per day.
- Ambient temperature: Most houses are maintained at a fairly consistent temperature, yet fruiting and vining summer vegetables produce the most fruit when exposed to temperatures around 80 degrees F. (27 C.) during the day and 65 degrees F. (18 C.) at night. Solution: To overcome temperature issues with growing veggies inside the house, try growing tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and cucumbers in a separate temperature-controlled room or in a mini greenhouse.
- Lack of humidity: This is one of the most common indoor edible problems due to the drying effect from air conditioners and furnaces. Low humidity slows plant growth and makes it harder for your veggies to uptake water from the soil. Solution: Mist the leaves daily with a sprayer or run a humidifier.
- Pollination: Failure to produce fruit is one of the major indoor vegetable problems which gardeners experience. Without insects to transport pollen to different flowers or wind to distribute pollen to self-fertilizing plants, fruiting plants will produce few, if any, vegetables. Solution: Use a fan or gently shake self-pollinating plants to help distribute pollen. Hand pollinate flowers for species which normally rely on insect pollinators.
- Diseases and pests: Like outdoor plants, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and pests can create problems with indoor edibles. Aphids and whiteflies can be particularly troublesome when gardening indoors. Solution: Inspect plants regularly and treat immediately to avoid heavy infestation or spread of disease.
- Over or underwatering: Too little or too much water is another of the indoor vegetable problems to consider. This stresses plants, reduces leaf formation, and causes fruit to drop. Solution: Make sure pots have adequate drainage, let the top layer of soil dry to the touch before watering, or use an app to remind you when to water.
- Incorrect use of fertilizer: Too much, too little, or simply the wrong type of fertilizer are common problems with indoor edibles and can impede growth and fruit production. Solution: Research what type of fertilizer is recommended for each species of plants. Feed plants only as needed and follow manufacturer’s instructions when mixing fertilizer.
- Overcrowding: Another one of the often-overlooked issues with growing veggies inside the home is the loss of living space. Cramming plants all over the house can put your beloved veggies in contact with pets, children, or an overzealous cleaning lady. Overturned pots and broken plants result in delayed harvests. Solution: Use a spare room, section of the basement, or an attic for your indoor garden.