Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Growing Food Indoors

I think it would be safe to assume that many preppers would prefer to have a nice sized plot of land to be able to raise a good sized garden capable of supporting a family all year long. Unfortunately, most of us will never have that, being that we are tied to our jobs in the urban environment. For those that are destined to be city dwellers, we can still grow some of our own food, even in an apartment.

In order to do this, we need to go with the container gardening method. Container gardening is really not that hard, nor expensive to do and the results can be fun, nutritious, and satisfying. There are only a few basic items you need.

First of course would be containers. You can use pretty much anything that will hold soil and water. Many people use buckets, trash cans, and all sorts of containers for their indoor garden, but let's face it, actual flower pots of decent size can be found at your local dollar store. Yes, they are made of thin plastic of mediocre quality, but consider that they don't have to stand up to a harsh outdoor environment that a rural outdoor yard would present. Just be sure you get something fairly large, as tomato plants won't grow very well in a six inch pot. Aim for about a foot around and about a foot deep. Also, they usually come with drip pans or the pans can be bought seperatly. This will keep your landlord and downstairs neighbor happy should you over water your veggies. If you do decide to go with a recycled container, make sure yu have something under it that can catch enough overflow to prevent floor damage, or even worse, downstairs neighbor ceiling damage.

Next, you will need a growing medium. This is where you can get a real advantage over the rural gardener. Your local home center will have a great selection of organic, weed free, soils & composts to choose from. These mediums will be of optimal quality and provide a perfect environment to grow your produce. Outdoor gardeners can spend years amending their soil and still not have a mix as well suited to growing as what you can get for not much money at Home Depot.

If you have a balcony, then you are at an advantage if you get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you are limited to indoor growing, then try to fill a large window space to get that precious sunlight. Some of us however, are unlucky enough to get little to no direct sun in the windows at all. To help with this, you can get plug in fluorescent light fixtures from your local home center for under thirty bucks. Add a grow bulb to this and voila...instant sunlight. A timer can help regulate exposure while you ride a desk at that nasty day job.

One very important advantage to indoor container gardening is that your growing season never ends. You will be amazed how long you can keep bush beans producing if you constantly harvest what comes ready. The trick here might be to supplement the slowly disappearing sunlight with the grow light option to fool your plants into thinking it's still summertime in mid January.

Although you won't be able to grow enough hard red wheat to bake a loaf of bread per day, you can have fresh veggies & greens all year long for next to no money out of pocket. And your body will thank you for it too.

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