Introduction: 36 Cool Indoor Garden Ideas to Grow Food

About: Seafood is my specialty but my love of food justice, self-reliance and productivity knows no bounds. I grow food under my bed.

Not long ago, we all produced our own food. With Donald Trump leading the election, it might be a good idea to brush up on your apocalypse-living skills. Here are 36 things you need to know to quickly get started.

Step 1: Indoor Gardening Can Be Complex, But Need Not Be

  1. First off, indoor gardens can be incredibly complex, such as an indoor warehouse garden or repurposed shipping container garden. But it doesn't have to be - we'll stick to things that take little time or money and are easy to start today. Just remember...
  2. Don’t overthink this whole thing - plants want to grow. It doesn't have to be complicated; this guy’s drip setup is stunningly simple.

Step 2: If You Have a Bed, You Have Space to Garden Underneath

3. Find space anywhere. If you have a lofted bed, you have space for a garden. Loft it four feet high and this grow tent fits perfectly sideways. You'll also create room for storage.

4. Ensure your spot has access to electricity if you plan to use lights. LED lights allow for more precise control of the color spectrum, consume less electricity and emit less heat. Cheap baking pans can serve as a hood for your lights.

Step 3: Vent Your Grow Tent Garden and Ensure Air Circulation

5. You may need to vent to outdoors if your lights product too much heat. This involves cutting through the drywall and exterior wall, avoiding any framing or wires. Lesson learned: ask my roommate first next time.

6. Cut a hole the width of the ducting you'll use. Adding a duct fan moves more air but creates noise and uses electricity.

7. If grow tent temperature is above 80° F, add a fan that exhausts air out. Heat rises so position near the top of the tent.

8. To further cool the grow tent, cut a hole near the bottom and position a fan to intake air. Cool air blows in the bottom and hot air is blown out of the tent at the top.

9. You can add a small fan at the other end of the tent. With the other two fans, this forms a triangle and improves airflow

Step 4: Baking Pans and PVC Make a Great Rack System for Gardening

10. Cheap baking pans can be used to hold soil or hydroponic pellets.

11. PVC piping can be used to create a frame to hold light trays and plant trays and allow each to easily slide in and out.

Step 5: Baking Pans and PVC Rack to Grow Mealworms

12. Window screen glued to a cut baking pan allows their poop to drop onto a catch tray below. Other pans hold larvae and beetles (adapted from this great Instructable).

13. For six weeks, seven trays of mealworms were under my bed. Weeks after arriving by mail, they began to metamorphose into beetles. By the time I had a large posse of beetles, I could hear them scurrying under my bed. That was too much, man. If you want to do this long-term, you'll need to keep enough beetles alive to lay eggs that grow into mealworms. Otherwise, harvest the mealworms, dehydrate and grind into a powder. Conceal the powder in a flavorful recipe. Snicker in delight.

Step 6: Sprout Seeds in Mason Jars

14. Sprouting seeds takes a jar, some water and a little light. Soak the seeds for an hour then pour out water and place jar near light. Every 12-24 hours, fill with water and then drain. In 3-4 days you'll have sprouts ready to eat. Or...

15. Plant the sprouted seeds on an inch of soil in a baking pan. A week later you’ll have microgreens. Trade these for a meal at a high-end restaurant.

Step 7: Anything Can Hold Soil.

15. Grow fresh herbs, but be picky if you only have space for a couple. Cilantro grows slow and is cheap at the market. Mint is nice to have since used infrequently.

16. Rosemary is a hearty bush and you can use the branches as skewers for shiskebobs or roasting marshmallows.

17. Staple fabric or thick plastic to a pallet to fashion a vertical garden with hipster char

18. Have an area of your roof or patio that gets good light? Plants are happy unless they tell you otherwise.

Step 8: Plastic and PVC Can Grow Plenty of Green

19. In California, we consider this personal use. This whole setup cost $100. Or so I heard.

Step 9: Final Things You Simply Must Know About Indoor Gardening

20. Is it just me or are terrariums a strange design feature? Please limit their use to your cubicle.

21. Stab an avocado with tootpicks and suspend it over a cup of water. Still as cool as the time you did it in fifth grade.

22. Use an old wooden drawer to hold plants. Open some of the drawers and add dirt. Stagger to ensure they each receive proper lighting.

23. Clone celery: Cut off stalks and place heart (bottom of celery) in water with good light. Change water every few days.

24. Grow herbs in teacups to appear fancy. Place teacup on saucer.

25. Lean a ladder against the wall and place staggered pots on the rungs.

26. Grow herbs in recycled tea tins to appear hip. Arrange on windowsill of overpriced Mission District condo.

27. Beans are easy to grow indoors and produce a beanstalk that can be strung around objects.

28. Dill needs a lot of sun and is tough to grow indoors. Try herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano, cilantro, winter savoury, and chives.

29. Aquaponics is using fish waste to fertilize plants in a virtuous cycle. Raising edible fish, however, is no easy feat and energy inefficient at all but the biggest scale. This may change in the future.

30. Hydroponically farmed produce, including marijuana, is less desirable. We’ve barely scratched the surface of soil but we know it makes stuff taste good. Use dirt, water and light.

31. Once people realize how easy kombucha is to brew, maybe bottles won’t cost $4. It’s just tea and sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that lives like a Tamagotchi in your closet or grow tent.

32. Make your tea/sugar blend strong and allow your animal to eat for many weeks. This strong vinegar can be added to carbonated water. Add some juice or sugar to make it taste store-bought.

33. When your pet SCOBY is fed, he/she creates a clone of itself. You can give this to a friend with a bit of the vinegary liquid. Just add tea/sugar and it will start right up.

34. Put a SCOBY in a mason jar with some of the liquid, include some tea bags and a cute pouch of sugar. Attach a card and feel justifiably smug about your Pinterest-perfect present.

35. Other easy fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles. Most cultures have fermented foods because probiotics are good for us.

36. Remember to relax and let it come naturally - farming is somewhere in everyone’s DNA.

Indoor Gardening Contest 2015

Participated in the
Indoor Gardening Contest 2015