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Everything you need to start an indoor garden – National

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  • February 8, 2024

By Allison Dunfield

The Curator Team

Posted February 8, 2024 6:00 am

Updated February 7, 2024 5:09 pm

1 min read

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As far as hobbies go, gardening is relatively inexpensive, soothing and incredibly satisfying as you watch your crop grow from tiny seed to lush green leaf. And indoor gardening has increased in popularity since the pandemic, a trend that’s continued into 2024. Many have discovered the pleasure that indoor gardening can provide – even if you have a small space, you can grow a wide variety of herbs, veggies, tropical plants and more inside your home.
Simple requirements include good soil, a watering system and a decent natural or artificial light source. Gardening also has many health benefits, from reduced depression to an improved sense of well-being. But what if you don’t know your soil from your seedlings? The good news is, with the right tools and equipment and no prior experience, you too can become a proud plant parent. Here’s a roundup of some of the best gear.  Story continues below advertisement

To start simple, herbs are a great bet. They grow quickly, require less maintenance than other plants (for example, if you’re a forgetful waterer) and you’ll literally be able to eat the fruits of your labour. Find a sunny spot to set up, plant the seeds in the pre-fertilized soil discs and in no time, you’ll be able to sprinkle your dishes with fresh herbs, including thyme, oregano, sage and basil.

 

Gardening enthusiasts rave about the AeroGarden system, which uses hydroponics to nurture herbs and vegetables from seed to full size. Users say the system is incredibly easy. Find a spot on your counter, pop the seed pods into the slots, add water, plug it in and voila! In no time you’ll be clipping fresh herbs to enhance salads and pasta.

 

The Curator’s Andrea Cardillo tested this model for her family of four, starting with lettuce and cherry tomatoes. “As someone with no green thumb at all, I found it very easy to set up,” she says. “The kids loved checking on the garden every day and watching the veggies grow.” The instructions are straightforward, and maintenance is minimal, she adds. “The only thing I really had to do was add plant food every two weeks and ensure the water tank was filled.” Regarding the harvest, “The lettuce only took a few weeks to grow and made a great addition to our salads and sandwiches. The tomatoes took about two months before we saw a tiny green tomato pop out.”

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The AeroGarden comes with a selection of herbs to get you started. If you want to try growing your own lettuce and tomatoes, you have to buy those pods separately. “The tomatoes take up a lot of space when they start to grow so make sure you space them out,” Cardillo recommends.

 

This sleek addition to your counter top is highly rated for its compact size, stylish look and ease of setup. The inBloom system includes red and blue LED light and an alarm that lets users know when the water level has dipped, but for the most part users can complete the set up of the water, plant baskets and domes in 15 minutes and then watch the magic happen! A great option for true beginners.

 

If you want to try sprouting your own vegetables from scratch, this seed set is a win-win as they are made by a Canadian company and they should be hardy enough to transplant outdoors in most of this country’s climates this spring. Users touted a high germination rate for most of the vegetables and the volume of seeds means you can continue trying if your first round doesn’t take. The package contains some of the easier veggies to grow indoors, including carrots, lettuce and peppers. Note: there won’t be enough natural light indoors, so ensure you use a quality grow light to help them thrive.

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A plant container that is trendy and functional, fabric grow pots allow air flow through the roots and drain easily to ensure your budding greens don’t stay too wet (ensure you place them on a drainage dish to avoid leakage). Start out with the 1 gallon size and upsize to larger as your sprouts take off.

 

If you need soil for your indoor garden, the right soil can make all the difference. This rich, fluffy and nutrient-loaded best-selling formula is made with ingredients that can improve soil aeration and drainage, leading to stronger roots and better overall plant quality.

  

If over-or under-watering makes you anxious, this inexpensive but useful tool is for you. Simply stick it about 10 cm into a plant’s soil and swirl until the meter starts moving. It will give you a good sense of whether the soil is too wet or dry, or just right. The package also comes with a handy list of watering guidelines for more than 200 plants.

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Plant lights have come a long way since the days of positioning a desk lamp over your ferns and hoping for the best. The Sondiko features four heads with flexible necks, allowing illumination in various directions. Three lighting modes – red, blue and full spectrum – and a cycle timer means no more worrying that your plant will develop marks from too much light aimed at one spot.

 

Every gardener needs decent tools to do a variety of jobs, from digging in seeds to pruning dead leaves. This set includes a trowel, weeder and shears among others and features stainless steel blades and ergonomically designed handles. The hardy oxford cloth tote holder keeps them tucked away neatly.

 

If you’ve got a bit more space, this miniature greenhouse is a perfect option for seed starting and nurturing those sprouting vegetables in winter, whether or not your ultimate plan is to move them outdoors. Featuring a clear PVC cover, the greenhouse will allow maximum light for your green babies, while protecting them from drafts while they blossom. The mesh shelves can be sized up or down depending on the height of the plants. Grow on!

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When you’re potting plants indoors, things can get messy. Once your greenery takes off, you’ll want to do some re-potting. This fold-away mat spreads out to a decent size (68 by 68 cm) and is heavy duty enough to forgive the slip of a shear or trowel. The sides fold up, meaning no soil all over the floor or countertop while you work, and it washes easily.

 

Now that you’ve put in the work, time to display the (literal) fruits of your labour. A multi-level plant stand often works better than one with shelves of the same size and shape so that plants have room to stretch out. This handsome, natural wood stand holds up to seven pots and provides an eye-catching spot for your greenery to shine.

—More from The Curator teamExpert tips to keep your home fresh and odour-free24 essentials you need for your next long-haul flight6 hydrating face creams your skin will soak up this winter

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