Indoor Food Gardening

Chile pepper growing in hydroponic garden

This is one of my pandemic discoveries. After losing too many vegetables to the roving parade of critters that call my yard home (more about that in a moment), I decided that if I wanted vegetables, I had to grow them indoors.

Mind you, this is entirely my own fault. Since I “married ” this property (along with the Spoiler over 25 years ago, I have done nothing but improve it for wildlife and convert it to organic gardens.

So now we have, as the Spoiler likes to say, every bird in Hartford County, along with those just passing through, as well as all sorts of other wildlife as well. It’s wonderful for the wildlife–just don’t try to harvest a tomato or some lettuce!

So last year I bought my little hydroponic garden and it’s been wonderful. We get all the lettuce we want, we can grow flowers, plants and herbs if we choose to, and I am trying dwarf tomatoes again. Not sure how they will do in my freezing house but I may get some before winter sets in–they’re already flowering.

Chile pepper grown outside

What I wanted to highlight though was the difference between these two chile peppers. Both were started in the hydroponic garden. The one above, in the clay pot, I obviously transplanted and grew outside all summer.

The one at the top of the post about to flower has only been growing since mid-summer. But notice how much larger its leaves are and how much darker its color is. It is much happier.

Similarly, the kale I grew (we just finished our last bit Friday night) was different too. It was more tender because it hadn’t been blown by wind and battered by rain. It was delicious.

You don’t need a fancy hydroponic setup to grow indoors but as winter comes to North America, you will need supplemental lights. There are several good books about indoor growing, and some about indoor food growing as well.

Supposedly my tomatoes will need hand pollination. I will try the “gentle shaking” method that I use for my citrus and we’ll see. I am not much of a bee….

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