My family immigrated to California in the early 1900s, earning their living as ranchers and sharecroppers. As a child, I loved spending time in my Grandma Honda’s backyard, where she grew vegetables and fruit. She would let me help water the plants, and she would talk to them, telling me that they were living things that needed company. She also had an uncanny ability to revive dying greenery, and family and friends would often leave their plants at her house for TLC.
Unfortunately, the green thumb was not hereditary. Through my post-college days, I attempted to maintain a variety of houseplants, ranging from ferns (the hardest) to air plants (I always forget to soak them), and succulents. Now I have a two-year-old daughter, and it is important to me that she understands how to nurture living things, and where our food comes from.
Recently, my husband and I began brainstorming the designs for our yard, of which we are reserving most of the space for a small greenhouse along with vegetable and fruit plots. Due to shelter-in-place, our progress is slower, as it is harder to get the supplies and services. As a result, I started researching how to grow vegetables and fruit in indoor containers.
Over the course of a few weeks, our family has acquired a hydroponics seed kit, a mushroom growing kit, and a microgreens growing box. We are also nurturing indoor potted pole beans and a tangerine tree. My daughter loves to check on the plants every morning, and we use them to talk about colors, numbers, and shapes. To my surprise, our crops are showing progress and have boosted our confidence to order hanging strawberry plants for our patio and an indoor avocado tree.
Here’s how I got started with the kits mentioned above:
Tomato seeds in hydroponics kit:
- Sprouted in 2 days, 5 inches within a week
- Kit alerts to water needs (Refill reservoir about once a week)
- Light: Kit automates the grow light
- Full mushrooms within 3 days
- Mist twice daily, indirect light
- Sprouted in 2 days
- Leave in water, direct sunlight
Potted Pole Beans:
- Sprouted in 1 week
- Water once daily, direct sunlight
Indoor tangerine tree in a container:
- Water: Once daily, direct sunlight
What I’ve found so far with our indoor garden is that, even though we’re required to stay at home during the COVID-19 crisis, with a little creativity, we can still enjoy the benefits of nature!