Groups of three and five, for example, look more balanced while giving the illusion that plants are larger and perhaps healthier than they really are. There is something about repetition that creates a feeling of reliability and comfort in our brains. Plus, garden experts believe that odd-numbered groupings of plants in asymmetrical patterns, such as a group of three in a triangle, replicate the natural look of plants growing in the wild.
While there has been some debate over whether or not leftover coffee or coffee grinds are beneficial in the garden, the folks at Sunset Magazine put both to the test. It turns out that coffee adds phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, copper and nitrogen to the soil. For those of you who would like to geek out by reading the entire report, visit Sunset Magazine. Coffee is also a deterrent for slugs and snails and a natural anti-fungal.
Collect those pests and liquify them in a blender using one part water to two parts bugs. Strain, put the liquid in a spray bottle and use as a very effective, natural insecticide. And, of course, it helps to have a designated blender for this rather than what you use in the kitchen.
Grab an empty, shallow and disposable tin as well as that abandoned beer. Pour a little beer into the tin and place it around dahlias, vegetables or any plants with a snail or slug issues. These slimy pests are attracted to the smell of the beer, crawl in and drown themselves. Bury the tin in the dirt to hide the edges, if you’re worried about aesthetics. Jars work, too. Others pour half of a beer into a watering can with 1 tablespoon of Epson salts and 2 tablespoons of fish emulsion. Mix well, water on top of plants and watch them flourish within a few weeks. Plants and pests don’t discriminate so cheap beer works just as well as craft beer does.
Hydroponic systems are great options for those interested in starting an indoor garden without much time or space available. Some systems can circulate water to prevent it from stagnating and notify you when it’s time to add more fertilizer or water. Furthermore, you can get systems that have their own grow lights. This feature allows you to keep plants even without a source of natural light.
Most potting mixes are soilless. As a result, your plants will depend on supplementary nutrients that you provide for them. Find a fertilizer formulated for vegetables and fruits, and always follow the directions on the label. Generally, you should apply fertilizer every two weeks, but time-release fertilizers will only require application once every three months.
Keep in mind that pests can still be a problem, even when using a sterile potting mix for your indoor garden. Various insects can migrate from other areas of your home or find their way in from outside. Fungus gnats can destroy your indoor setup, feeding on and killing your plants. If you don’t want to use chemical pesticides (we recommend you don’t), opt for organic options such as neem oil.
Because fungal activity increases with high humidity levels, it’s best to keep ambient moisture levels under control. If you live in a dry climate, you can do this by opening a window. Or you can use a fan to provide your plants with a gentle breeze. Another option is to run a dehumidifier or turn on your AC.
Whatever kind of fruit or vegetable you’re trying to grow, it’s always best to keep the temperature in your home stable. Summertime plants, such as cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and squash, should be kept at 75°F to 80°F. Keep winter plants around 65°F to 70°F, as they tend to wilt in higher temperatures.