Growing Indoor Vegetables in Containers. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by Adam B, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Adam B

    Adam B Member

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    I love the summer when I can get my garden in the backyard going and enjoy all the different veggiesI grow. But then the winter comes and I have to settle for veggies from the store. Well I don't want to do that anymore.

    I have a huge window south facing and I want to grow some veggies indoors. I started my seeds already and have some great babies ready to go.

    The questions I have are ...

    1) I want to make a organic growing medium but don't have a good idea of the ratios I need. I wanted to use top soil, perlite, peat moss, manure and mushroom composte. Could someone recommend a good overall growing medium for plants. I will also being doing a ph test to the medium and adding lime or whatever is needed to get my ph level to the 6.5 area.

    2) The winter days are shorter and I wanted to add some supplimental light. Would a simple shop light with 2 40 watt grow blubs be enough to the early morning hours and the later evening hours?

    3) Last thing is plant disease. I'm not worried about bugs cause I actually use lady bugs in my office for all my house plants. I keep my office door closed all the time and the lady bugs have no problem hanging out here. So I'm going to take a few and put them on the veggie plants once they start growing. But I have no knowledge of disease that may affect my indoor veggies. Is there something I should watch for? And if so, what are good solutions to keeping disease to the plants and/or roots in control?

    Thanks in advance. And I'll be sure to post pictures once the garden is going :)
     
  2. Blake09

    Blake09 Active Member

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    You would do what you do in the summertime except in large pots pots the hollberry lady grows plants indoors Too Ime sure she will cut in.
     
  3. Adam B

    Adam B Member

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    I'm confused. Everything is different so how could I do what I do in the summer? I grow in the ground during the summer and now in pots. I hvae less light now then in the summer too.

    I need an organic growing mixture good for pots. I don't want to dig up snow and try to take soil from my outdoor garden. I just want to make a new batch up growing medium.

    Please explain more when you say do what you do in the summertime please.
     
  4. Blake09

    Blake09 Active Member

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    You could use grow lights. makeing soil from compost takes a wile to do if you can you might want to buy soil from a local store. what kind of plants are you growing? If you are growing a big plant like a tomateo you might want to have a large pot. with cumber (plants that have vines) you might want to put them in a hanging basket.
     
  5. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Most garden vegetables require a lot of light. It will be hard to produce much without supplemental lighting, unless you have a very bright sun room or greenhouse.

    You can use ordinary potting soil. (You can buy organic.) Definitely use a sterile mix indoors, not something brought in from outdoors. Soil from the garden could invite a whole range of pests, without the ordinary controls found outdoors.

    Most garden plants take up a lot of room. Try growing a few simple things that might be likely to produce enough indoors to be rewarding. Maybe tomatoes, peppers. Herbs are often grown indoors and can produce reasonable quantities in a small space.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Adam B

    Adam B Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    I grow herbs already, made a nice window sill setup and grow basil, rosemary and lavender.

    I am going to grow 2 types of peppers, some swiss chard, spinich and cucumbers. I am using 5 gallon pots for each plant. I have supplimental light I will use but I also get 5-7 hours of direct sunlight.

    I'm really looking for more of a specific and detailed growing medium. I've been a grower for over 10 years so I know a lot of the basics. Just haven't ever tried indoor growing.

    I'm looking more for a soil recipe. For example :

    1 part top soil
    1 part peat moss
    1 part perlite
    1/2 part manure
    1/2 part blood meal

    and so on. I need a good organic blend that I can make. I don't like using pre made mixes since I don't know there make-up. And I can't make changes per harvest and truly isolate what I need more of and what I need less of. I will ph the soil at the end of the mis and make the neccessary additions to achieve a 6.5 ph level.

    Does anyone have a good organic blend growing medium that they have had good success with while growing veggies indoors?
     
  7. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Hello Adam B!

    Also, thank you Blake09, for notifying me about this thread! So kind of you.

    Adam, I have been successfully growing vegetables and herbs in the winter, for 5 years now! I have more advice than you can imagine!

    First of all, go to Wal-mart, and buy yourself a large bag or Miracle Grow Potting soil. Forget about all these mixes you are trying to concoct (which I used to try too) - because they will not hold a candle to the Miracle Grow soil! If you want your success to be almost guaranteed - get the MG soil and forget about the rest. It is sterile (extremely important, as Eric suggested) and you won't have to worry about bringing tons of pests and their eggs inside your home. I just cringed when you said manure!!! I actually did it once, because I didn't have an Eric to warn me! Needless to say - bugs everywhere!!! Never again.

    Over the winter, I usually grow - determinate tomato plants, sweet peppers, hot peppers, romaine lettuce, eggplant, dwarf pomegranate, strawberries, swiss chard, and many herbs. Swiss Chard grows incredibly well, indoors over winter! Plus it is extremely ornamental.

    I always grow small determinate tomato types, so they don't outgrow my windows - large as they are. Check out my profile, and you'll see many of my window grown plants!

    As Eric suggested, I use Florescent and Metal Halide lighting, to make up for those dark dreary days. However, some of my plants - like peppers - thrive and produce even without any supplemental lighting! My windows face two different directions - south and east - so the plants get lots of light, even when there's no sun! February usually brings more sun though - which I am looking forward to.

    Growing in a pot, is not that much different from growing in the earth. I use a water-soluble fertilizer (15-30-15), when the MG soil is heading into 2 and a half months old -before that you do not need to fertilize, because the food in the soil will feed the plants.

    As far as things to watch for: Growing edible plants attracts bugs - even inside! I shower all my food plants once a week either in the kitchen sink, or in the bathtub. It keeps the plants free of spidermites and any other nuisances - plus it keeps the plants fresh, and dust-free. If you just grow edible plants indoors without showering them regularily -mites will take over, eventually! Shower your plants!

    Any more questions - please feel free...
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  8. Adam B

    Adam B Member

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    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!

    You probably just saved me months of aggrevation. I really have been a fan of organic gardening and wanted to make a special blend.

    I do have a question. How do you feel about using the new Organic mixes that are available? Also, what about adding anything to the Miracle Grow mix such as perlite or other indoor baged items? And do you use any pesticides or disease strays on your plants?

    Thanks again and I look forward to talking to you more.
     
  9. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Hello Adam B:

    No, because I shower all my indoor plants regularily, I never have to use pesticides or any of that junk. The bugs never get a chance on my plants! When and if they do - I fight them with
    all-natural ingredients - water, dishsoap, cinnamon, crushed bay leaf, hot pepper sprays, cloves, etc.

    Yes, I think the new organic mixes might be definitely worth trying - provided they are sterile - always ask! I have added perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, charcoal - the works! But I soon realized that I was wasting my time making these very messy mixes, that stores were selling premixed and much cheaper! I wanted to focus my attention and energy in my plants, and not mixing these perfectly measured soils, that only professional, commercial growers really need to be concerned about. If you want terrific, thriving plants - MG soil will not disappoint. It is equipped with perlite and special ingredients already, so you don't need to bother adding any.

    I do also use a professional soil-less mix that I buy from my local greenhouse, a bale at a time. It's called "Sunshine Mix". I use it for my flowers and seedlings, and I just add fertilizer to it, although I am told there are some nutrients in it.

    Now look - if you just want to make your own mix, just for the fun of it, I understand. I did it once too! But you will see how expensive it can be, and how messy too, so be prepared. Do not buy ANYTHING unless it is sterile - remember. Also, research some recipes, so you do not over-do it! If the ingredients are not balanced, your plants could grow inferior, or not at all!

    You are so welcome for the information. I wish I had someone to advise me back then!

    Chat soon...

     
  10. Adam B

    Adam B Member

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    In regards to this comment. I have also used dishsoap for pest control but I have not heard of cinnamon or bay leafs. Do you just sprinkle these on the plants when needed or do you mix them in a spray bottle?

    I'm headed out to the the store today to get some sterile potting soil. I have these babies that I started and they are in desperate need of bigger pots.

     
  11. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Hi Adam B:

    No, with the bayleaf, I use it in my outdoor potted plants - to combat earwigs. You just crush the leaves and sprinkle on top of the soil. Chewing earwigs will run for the hills!

    Cinnamon, I use to conquer fungus gnats, by also sprinkling it on the soil. Also, the cinnamon can help with powdery mildew, by sprinkling it on the leaves. As well, it can help with fuzzy mildew that can grow on top of the soil of potted plants. Cinnamon is a natural anti-fungus treatment.

    Great, that you're going to get yourself some good, sterile potting mix! Good luck to you, with your babies...
     
  12. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Hi again Adam B:

    Just wondering if you got your potting mix yet? Also, what have you decided on growing this winter? Please keep in touch, as it is unusual to find someone else who also grows veggies, indoors! I enjoy hearing about what you are doing...
     
  13. Adam B

    Adam B Member

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    Hi Hollyberry Lady.

    I got a premade sterile mix with top soil, peat moss and manure. Talked to a gardner at my local greenhouse. Added some supplental light that turns on for a few hours in the mornign and a few hours at night to extend my amount of light per day. I water with a week all purpose organic fertalizer called Botanicare. The first week went well but then I went out of town and my girlfriend over watered everything. She just about killed the whole thing. I have each plant in a 5 gallon bucket. So I didn't water for almost 3 weeks and finally they came back. They look great now. I also bought some lady bugs and let them go in my grow area, only about 20 or so. They have been keeping my plants clean of all bugs. I do find the occasional lady bug flying around my house but it doesn't really bother me. I look at it as good luck.

    I'm growing hungarian hot peppers, sweet banana peppers, eggplant, kale, swiss chard, cucumbers, basil, rosemary and a huge green zucini. I don't recommend the zucini, it just gets too big and takes over. But everything else is perfect. The peppers seem to do the best. I love that I'm harvesting my first indoor organicly grown veggies.

    Thank you for all your advice and help. I will be a indoor winter grower for life :) I'll try to get some pictures up as well.
     
  14. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Hi Adam:

    Oh I am so glad things are working out for you! You seem very excited. Yes, I would just love to see your pics, that'd be great! Thanks again for sharing what you're up to. All your plants sound lovely. Yes, I know zucchini can be a huge plant! Have fun.

    Chat soon...
     
  15. Blake09

    Blake09 Active Member

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    Iam big on growing plants outdoors and here is what i am growing:

    produse "seeds":

    * sweet corn "yellow corn" "two packets"
    * sqush "dixie hybrid" "
    * zucchini sqush
    * tomato "roma VF"
    * tomato "better boy hybrid"
    *tomato "big boy hybred"
    * watermelon "ultra cool hybred" "it is seedless"
    * cucumber "burpee hybred II"
    * sweet pepper "big dipper"
    * birdhouse gourd
    * sunflower "mammoth"

    Here are the flowers "seeds" that I bout to bring in bees:

    * wisteria
    * morning glory "giant, mixed colors"
    * marigold "flower power mix"
    * wildflower garden wild flower seed mixture "bright, colorful mix of assorted annual wildflowers "seeds" "it sas it covers up to 1,000 Sq Ft. it ways:

    Net Wt. 24oz. (680 g)
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
     
  16. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Wow Blake09! Sounds like quite a nice variety you are growing - good for you! I cannot list mine just yet, but will soon...

    Good luck.

    : )
     
  17. Blake09

    Blake09 Active Member

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    Thanks.. ;)
     
  18. OGS

    OGS Member

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    Hi! I am new to this forum and to gardening and have learned a lot already from this group. Thank you! Unfortunately, I started my cucumbers and squash too early and I don't want to lose them. Is it possible to grow them in large containers indoors and if so what type of trellis or support system would work best. I live in Illinois and I believe the last frost date is soon approaching but I have to wait until May to transplant them. How long do the vines get and can they grow in pots during the winter? Also, can strawberries be trained to climb up a trellis as well in pots (indoors and outdoors)? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  19. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Cucumbers and squash plants are huge, but if you have large pots, and a whole lot of sunshine, you might be able to pull it off, until May. You'll need a small trellis, so you can weave the cucumber vine onto it, and support it until you put it on a fence - if that's where you're intending to grow them outside...

    I would fertilize with something very low in nitrogen (N), and keep the plants in as much sun as you can, until you put them out.

    The veggies I grow over Winter, are dwarf varieties, that fit right in my window sill, to soak up south light and sun all day. Plus I use supplemental plant lighting when necessary, as well.

    If you do get any blossoms, before you put them outside, hand pollinate them, and you may get some fruits on each of the plants, even inside!!!

    Sun, and fertilizer, are the two most important things, in keeping them growing healthy and strong, until you can get them out. Shield them from sun, for a bit though, right after transplanting to the larger pots.

    Best of luck...

    : )
     
  20. OGS

    OGS Member

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    Thank you very much for your response. I thought this thread was too old so I just posted it again in a new thread. I am so sorry about that. What do you mean by "hand pollinating"? And when I move them outside from the small trellis to a vertical garden I intend to build out of rope netting and electrical conduit, should I transplant the whole plant with its small trellis in front of the new one and keep guiding the vines onto the new one or remove the old trellis altogether? And can I do the same with strawberries or should I plant the bulb directly outdoors?
     
  21. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Let's worry about the hand pollinating when you get blossoms, but it is a procedure carried out with a soft artist's brush or paint brush, whereby you move pollen from one blossom to another, acting as a bee would. Otherwise, inside, you likely won't get fruits, because there are no bees. Peppers and tomatoes however, are self pollinating and do not require hand or insect pollination to bear fruit, even inside!

    You can remove the trellis, if it will not destroy the plant, in doing so! Otherwise, because you have grown it so early, and the growth may be quite thick by then, you may just have to incorporate the trellis into your plans, and leave it be. The new vines will latch onto your new structure anyway.

    The same rules apply for the keeping the strawberries going inside, as with the squash and cucumber plants. Contact your local nursery, and ask when it is ok to put your strawberry plants out. Here, we put ours out in April. Strawberries are usually a Spring plant, whereas squash and cucumbers are summer plants - although I have a strawberry variety that is an everbearing type, and bears fruit all summer too.

    Hope this information helps you.

    : )
     
  22. OGS

    OGS Member

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    Yes, this does help. Thank you very much. Can you recommend a good book or site where I could find out which plants require pollination and which ones don't. I also planted zucchini, eggplant, melons and green beans and I need to keep them well until May.
     
  23. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Actually, it would probably be easier to just discard the plants that you now have, and plant new plants outside when the weather is compatible. Indoor low light plants moved outside in May, will be set back by both the transplanting, and either sunburn, or the slow process of adapting the plants to direct sun light. It is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to keep your present plants from becoming leggy. - Millet (1,377-)
     
  24. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    I got the impression though, that "OGS" really wanted to keep their plants they have now, and didn't want to throw them out!

    If they do become a bit leggy OGS - do not worry one little bit, because as soon as you put them outside into the sun, they will take right off! I know, because I've done it. Some plants can be fussy though, and you might need to gradually ween them onto full sun, if they've been growing in low light for awhile.

    If you have a lot of sun inside - it will be enough to at least keep them going for you, until you can get them out.

    The zucchini, eggplant, and melons will definitely need insect pollination! The beans will grow regardless. Hope this helps ya.

    : )
     
  25. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    I would plant them into fairly large pots, that are still mobile, and then you can put them outside during the day and bring them in at night. They way they will also get pollinated when they are outside. How cold is it there in Illinois?
     

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