3 Ways to Bring Nature Indoors
Are you longing for spring? Do you feel desperate to get outside and lose yourself in a green, natural world? For most of us, spring is still a few weeks away. In the meantime, we have 3 different ideas for you to enjoy nature now - indoors!
Idea #1 - Start seeds
Do you plant vegetables, herbs, flowers, or trees? You can start seeds indoors in the winter and you will have starter plants ready for planting outdoors (or indoors) after the last frost of the year.
Follow these simple steps:
Find seeds. There are many places to find seeds, including seed catalogs, your local garden store, or even your local farmer. Some communities have seed swaps where you can pick up heirloom seed varieties.
Purchase a seed starting mix. Seed starting mixes are sterile and have a good balance of drainage and water holding capabilities. Potting soil is too dense for small roots and garden dirt might contain plant disease spores especially harmful to new sprouts.
Choose a container that has drainage holes. Any clean container will do (even yogurt containers or egg cartons) as long as there are holes for water to drain. Don’t forget to label your containers so that you know what seeds you planted.
Plant your seeds according to packet instructions. Smaller seeds should be planted just below the surface, while larger seeds should be planted deeper. To increase your chances of germination, use the most robust looking seeds and plant more than one per cell.
Keep the seed starting mixture moist. But don’t overwater either. Keep the soil moist, not saturated. Water gently so that the soil mixture is not disturbed. You can cover the containers with plastic (with a few holes for ventilation) if you are worried about them drying out too quickly.
Set the containers in a warm location. This could be on top of the refrigerator or near the oven. Any area that stays relatively warm will work. Generally, seeds sprout best in temperatures of 65-75 degrees.
When seeds sprout, move the containers to a bright location. Sprouts need light to grow. A sunny location will do, but supplemental fluorescent bulbs or grow lights will give you the best results. They will help the seedlings from becoming too leggy. If you are using plastic, you can remove and discard the plastic at this point in the growing process.
Thin the seedlings when they get their second pair of leaves. You only want one plant per container or cell, so once the sprouts get their second set of leaves, choose the healthiest looking one and snip the others off at the soil line and discard them. You can also start fertilizing at this point. Use a half-strength fertilizer. Organic fertilizers are a good choice since they provide a range of nutrients, including micronutrients.
What now? To learn about moving the seedlings outside, including giving them a “hardening off” period, read more at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Curious about when to start planting seeds indoors? Check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac online planting calendar (customized by zip code).
Idea #2 - Indoor Plants
Does starting seeds sound like too big a project, but you still want some more green in your life? Add more house plants! From wall gardens to succulents to trees inside the home, there is no limit to what you can add as this article from Homedit suggests.
Did you know that growing certain plants indoors can clean your air? In the 1980s, NASA partnered with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America on the NASA Clean Air Study. The study identified a number of common plants that naturally remove toxic agents such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. The study was done more than 25 years ago, but the results are still true today. Many of the plants listed in the study are common house plants. Some are toxic to pets, so check before purchasing. To learn more, visit Love your Garden’s article on the NASA Clean Air Study.
Idea #3 - Update art work and decor.
If growing things indoors is not really your thing, consider changing your home decor and wall art. Use natural materials in your decorating and pictures of plants, trees, and other nature objects on your wall. Need inspiration? Check out Forest Homes based in Lisbon, Portugal. We love their mission and their collection of nature-inspired decor and accessories.