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Indoor Permaculture  RSS feed

 
Kellic kelwen
Posts: 27
Location: Northwestern Ohio, US
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I have a spare room on the north side of the house thats available to use this year. Its surrounded by windows on the north side and on the east side as well. Now I'm thinking this would be a great room to actually grow some plants inside since it would be getting more sun than the rest of the house. Of course, this may be similar to planting in a greenhouse and I may be able to use it for other purposes, too.

So what are your ideas for indoor permaculture? Some of my ideas for the spare room are to use mostly large pots to grow lots of vegetables that don't grow so well outside. Herbs would work well in the windows. Perhaps I could create shelves for my transplants and put the almost mature plants on a lower shelf. Perhaps homemade solar panels could capture heat to keep the transplants warm until their old enough to be removed from the tray.

The only plant in the room right now is a small cactus on the windowsill. Succulents and other warm-loving plants would work well also.
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 357
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
9
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Pineapple guava? Dwarf citrus? What zone are you? You could probably have a pretty nice indoor zone 0 mini orchard, higher maintenance and you can take them out in the summer. Look for (sub)tropical plants you want that can grow in the shade... cause it's not gonna get too much sun if you're in the US.
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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You don't say where you are, so it's hard to give you any recommendations. A room with a northeast exposure in Miami is a whole nother kettle of fish from a northeast exposure in Seattle!

Your options will be greatly expanded if you can add some shop lights to your setup. And in some areas, you will need to be extra careful about ventilation, as you can wind up with mold growing on your walls - voice of experience here.
 
Jason Tomblin
Posts: 31
Location: Fraser Valley, BC Canada
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Oyster mushrooms are really easy to grow indoors. That could be a good use of free waste products that you could turn into food without needing much light.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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A major limiting factor for me is that my plants generally hate growing in pots.
I'm sure there's some edibles that do well, and succulents thrive, but I think it is pretty hard to grow healthy, organic plants in pots.
I keep trying since it seems like a sensible way of using my little space, but the only thing that's actually seemed happy in a pot is the bay tree and the things I've taken pity on and squeezed in the ground were immediately a million times happier.
Not trying to put you off, just a warning that the lack of a healthy soil life in pots makes for some challenging growing conditions.
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Growing food plants in pots is indeed trickier than growing houseplants or growing food plants outdoors. I have found that you need much larger pots, more attention to watering and feeding, and more attention to the soil temperature - not to mention usually needing supplemental light. My recommendation would be to start with lettuce, and to learn about growing food plants in earthboxes or other self-watering containers or in indoor hydroponics setups. Many people do it, and there's lots of info out there.

I'm not sure in what sense this could be permaculture - you need lots of external inputs to do it - but it is a very rewarding experience, and you will learn a lot about how plants work by growing them in such unnatural circumstances.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
182
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Worm bins.

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
10
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there are tons of books on container gardening, i have a few, and mostly they say, if you have the proper container and proper conditions you can grow nearly anything in a container..

you MAY possibly need some supplemental lighting for some plants ..esp since it is north..check out some grow lights
 
Alan Stuart
Posts: 42
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I would say build stair like shelves to maximize the solar area. But I really like the idea of having your worm bin and mushroom cultivation operation in there too. You could do those both in the shade behind the plants.
But you should give your location so the people with excellent plant knowledge (not me) can help you out.
 
Kellic kelwen
Posts: 27
Location: Northwestern Ohio, US
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A lot of responses here! I live in a small town in northwestern Ohio. Usually we get freezing winters and burning summers here, but this year the Winter has been so mild I had my rosemary shrub still intact after sitting outside for months.

I'm in zone 5b. I really like the suggestions for a worm bin and growing mushrooms. Though I realize that growing plants in indoor pots can be trickier than it seems due to needing specific conditions such as extra lights. But some herbs may thrive without supplemental lights and feeding. Many of my veggies fit in the garden, but it may be useful to have some in the house, too. So I could go for small tray pots of herbs like parsley, garlic, and oregano while keeping a small worm bin around.

Also I need to watch my cats as they have a tendency to knock stuff over or clim up on things they shouldn't. Mmmm, maybe someone has advice on cats place in a permaculture system?
 
Alan Stuart
Posts: 42
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Kellic Cantrell wrote: Mmmm, maybe someone has advice on cats place in a permaculture system?


close the door
 
Kellic kelwen
Posts: 27
Location: Northwestern Ohio, US
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Alan Stuart wrote:
Kellic Cantrell wrote: Mmmm, maybe someone has advice on cats place in a permaculture system?


close the door


Well, I can close one door but the other door is gone leaving a space for the cats to get in still. Maybe I should take up a woodworking project or invest in board to cover the other entryway.
 
Alan Stuart
Posts: 42
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Kellic Cantrell wrote: Maybe I should take up a woodworking project or invest in board to cover the other entryway.


what if you cover the board with carpet so your kitty has something else to play with?
 
Marianne West
Posts: 131
Location: Lemon Grove, CA
6
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lots of different sprouts... some are best grown in flats, other in jars. Seems the best thing for winter growing without wanting to use lights. Lots of people are into aquaponics to produce tons of food in a small space. I am not experienced with that (yet), but I am pretty sure you need to use lights.
 
Jason Tomblin
Posts: 31
Location: Fraser Valley, BC Canada
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I've been growing lettuce and cilantro together in seed trays under fluorescent lights in the closet for the past month and have been really impressed. I used organic potting soil with worm castings mixed in (25% of the soil volume) and the occasional worm casting tea. I've been able to harvest it on a weekly basis, allowing the plants to re-grow while satisfying my need to garden in the while it warms up outside. It's so handy having a bit of cilantro or lettuce to add to meals. I didn't expect it to do so well, and will certainly give this another go next winter.
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Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Mushrooms are great, but i would put in a Moringa tree too. They don't do well outdoors where it is cool.
 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
Posts: 356
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
13
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Grow food plants indoors is tricky but can be done and can be actually quite easily.

First thing you should keep in mind is: plant in a fertile and light soil, and one that does not dry quickly.

Fertile because of the lack of space, plants should receive maximum fertility in its soil.
Light soil because the walls of the pot and frequent waterings might decrease penetration of air into the soil, and this might provoke root rot. Always make soil light but also water retentive.

Second important factor is light. You should have maximum sunlight for those vegetables, only a south facing window is acceptable (unless you have growing lights). Third and perhaps most important, always water if necessary; you might end up watering every day, twice a day, if its a full sunny warm day outside and plants are actively growing.

I have grown all kinds of vegetables in containers indoors, with food production.
Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants require compost rich (even 100% compost) soil, require warmth (18-25ºC for tomatoes, and 25-30ºC for eggplants, and for peppers somewhere in between). They require frequent waterings, and if you see they frequently wilt, then it is time to transplant! Don't wait, because you are stressing the plant; transplant as soon as possible and your plant will again recover its vitality. Last, if you transplant seedlings, they usually stop growing for a while, so its best to sow directly in larger pots., but sometimes might also grow a bit more lazy that way.

Bush tomatoes are much easier than interminate tomatoes. Interminate tomatoes require larger pots and more frequent waterings, and also support. You can plant bush tomatoes in really small pots. Interminate tomatoes and eggplants require pots of at least 30cm wide and 40cm deep. Peppers can grow in smaller containers too, but are more happy with some space. Only one plant per pot!

Squash: you can grow in a larger pot, at least 40 x 40cm, and if higher it's better. But they will eventually reach a point where roots will occupy the entire space and start complaining for frequent waterings and excessive warmth.

Salads require little space but some, like lettuce might be sensitive to excessive moisture, and rot. They also dislike warm temperatures, so, growing them at same time with tomatoes is a bit challenging. Other cabbage family greens, like broccoli also dislike warm temperatures and small spaces, they will produce but smaller heads, and require rich soil (and root rot is much easier indoors)

You can also grow beans, cowpeas in pots. Two plants in a pot 30x 40cm. They will produce well. You can also grow carrots in these pots, but their roots will be smaller. Beans complain much less about water. But when you water, water deeply. Peas are also easy but prefer cooler temperatures.

I also grow sesame, sunflowers, chia, herbs, flowers, gourds, moringa, okra, and many other vegetables in pots. Growing trees is also funny but you must transplant them when they start "complaining" about space. I also often apply liquid compost, seaweed or diluted urine to my plants, when I see they need a bit of fertility.








 
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