In Ontario, Spring is in the air! Finally! The cherry blossoms are blooming, the sun is kissing our faces, and the scent of the earth is tickling our noses!
For Canadians living in snowy provinces like Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland, the arrival of Spring is particuarly welcome. Why? Because after the months of grey skies and below-zero temperatures that accompany winter's hibernation, the awakening of nature means Spring blooms fresh beginnings. Canadians love their times connecting in nature, so when the skis, snowboards or snowshoes come off you'll find us outdoors on our bikes, in our hikers, or paddling on the water.
Unfortunately, as we currently navigate the unprecedented times of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where social and physical distancing is on everyone's mind, those of us living in urban centres are following the recommendations to 'Stay Home' as part of our compliance with the current 'new norm'. For nature lovers, being shut in can definitely impact our health and well-being.
This circumstance has prompted innovative solutions in the quest to maintain mental, emotional and spiritual balance, regardless of the size of our homes. My recommendation? Consider bringing the outdoors in by creating a mini-greenhouse!
Photo courtesy of David Allen of highparkphotos.ca
For those who like to build things and nurture their green thumb, creating your very own mini-greenhouse can be a relaxing hobby. It also provides the opportunity to grow yummy veggies while purifing your indoor air with fresh oxygen. Or maybe you'd prefer to infuse your home with some flowering foliage, or have a fresh herb garden available all year round. Greenhouses are a terrific way to cultivate most anything you want, without concern for the season or the size of your budget!
The 7 Steps To Creating Your Mini-Greenhouse:
1. What would you like to grow? Being a vegetarian, I like to grow microgreens and herbs. My top 10 favourites are cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, swiss chard, lemons, oranges, french beans, okra, onions, broccoli. If you are more of an inflorescence fan, the best flowers that grow well in indoor greenhouses (or within confined spaces are gazanias, chrysanthemums, pansies, poinsettias, petunias, caladiums, salvia and geraniums.
2. Determine the size. This is one of the most important steps as the size of your greenhouse is dependant on what you would like to grow, the location (see step 4) and the layout. Do you want more of a lengthy, box-like structure that mimics a garden bed, or would you prefer a taller, shelved unit? Mobile or stationary? Decisions, decisions.
3. Potential Restrictions. In most instances condominium owners should have no issue creating a mini-greenhouse in their residence, but it's always good to conifrm with your property manager, especially with respect to automatic water irrigation systems or your use of pesticides, etc.
4. Where will it be located? Harnessing natural light is essential if you're looking to ensure you have the optimal growing conditions for your plants, though some plants respond better to artificial light than others. Given each species of plants requires its own growing conditions (light, temperature, soil conditions, water, etc) do your research on the greenery you're growing so you fully understand what's required. For example, if you live in a place that faces north and has limited natural light, you may be obliged to select plants which are more conducive to these conditions than plants which require several hours of direct natural light, which is more likely when facing south.
5. Consider a mini-greenhouse kit. There are loads of retailers that stock mini-greenhouse kits including Canadian Tire, though I always encourage people to look to the independent shops in your neighbourhood so you can support the local economy. However, if you live in a location where it's more challenging to find the unique, or that stock both practical and aesthetically-pleasing kits, here are 3 examples I found online:
A. Herb Garden Set From Etsy: Show your Mom or Dad some love with an herb garden set. Or if your Dad has multiple green-thumbs and leans to crafty, a great gift for Father’s Day could be a DIY mini-greenhouse shed kit that he can build.
Image sourced from etsy.com
B. Mini Propagation Greenhouse from Glow Lights Canada: This is great for plant propagation and the perfect start for modern grass growers living in a compact space.
Image sourced from glowlights.ca
C. SunBlaster Grow Light Garden from Indoor Growing Canada: I first saw the SunBlaster at a friend’s condo. Not only does it meet the lighting needs for most plants, but it's one of the more attractive options available.
Image sourced from indoorgrowingcanada.com
6. On a limited budget? Get creative. If you're a little short on coinage, and you still find building your own indoor mini-greenhouse compelling, check out these handy home tips and WikiHow - Make A Mini Greenhouse websites. They features innovative ideas to build a greenhouse from items destined for the garbage heap, including plastic containers, CD spindles, umbrellas, old wooden windows, and picture frames. As the proverb goes 'Necessity is the mother of invention'.
Image from wikihow.com
7. Temperature control and ventilation. Photosynthesis occurs in green plants, when light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds. But to achieve this optimally, plants must be exposed to fresh air in an environment that has consistent temperatures control in your home is regulated. Read up on the ideal conditions required for the types of plants you're growing, ensure you're providing your plants with all the essentials, and don't forget to nurture them with your love.
Image from wikihow.com
Have I inspired you to create your own indoor mini-greenhouse? I hope these steps were useful for your own green thumb adventures. Let us know how it goes by posting pictures on our Houseporn Facebook page.
And if you've been bitten by the gardening bug, check out this charming blog called Toronto Gardens – A noun. A verb. A blog.
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VERUSCHKA MUNGROO comes from an exciting journalism background. She has travelled extensively and visited London, India, Portugal, Spain, and Bali where she wrote about architecture and design, subjects she truly loves.