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Indoor gardening can be a great way to have fresh vegetables year-round and satisfy your green thumb during the winter, but if you live in a small home or apartment, it can be challenging to find enough room for your plants. One solution is to turn your indoor garden on its head – literally.
Many vegetable plants that do well indoors – including cherry tomatoes — can be grown upside down. This not only saves you space, but it can give you a visually appealing container garden, too.
Hanging gardens have been around for centuries and are ideal for those without a lot of space. While we typically think of them as being outdoors – on an apartment balcony, for example – the method works just as well indoors.
Starting Your Indoor Hanging Garden
Since you won’t want to move your plants around too much once you get them started, your first step is to find the location in your home where you’d like to grow your vegetables. Ideally, it should be an area that gets plenty of sun, such as a south-facing window. Natural lighting is best for this type of growing, as setting up grow lights can get rather awkward for a hanging garden. (Although, with the right arrangement, grow lights can work.) Also, for an upside-down hanging garden, you must use a plant that has been started; planting from seed in an upside-down pot is extremely difficult.
You will need a place where you can hang your containers, so you’ll either want to install sturdy hooks into the ceiling or have some kind of rack system. Whatever you choose, you will want to make sure that it can support the weight of the containers and potting soil, along with mature plants. Since some soil and water will come through the bottom of the container via watering, it is also a good idea to prepare a tray or mat underneath your hanging garden to prevent making a mess.
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The next step is choosing containers suitable for the types of plants that you will be growing. Drill holes in the bottom of the containers (about 2 inches in diameter for larger containers and slightly less for smaller ones). To make the work a little easier, find a place to hang the containers while you are planting so you won’t have to flip containers around.
Choose a good potting soil that has been amended with compost. You also will need something to anchor the plant in place in the bottom of the container, such as fabric, cardboard or foam. Add a slit to this material and work the plant’s roots through the material into the container and then fill in soil around it. If you wish to optimize your space even more, you can use the top of the container to grow things such as salad greens, herbs or even radishes. Just be sure that whatever you plant in the same container has similar growing requirements (sunlight and watering needs etc.). The initial planting tends to be a bit more labor intensive than it would be with an upright garden. But many indoor gardeners find the space-saving benefits to be well worth the extra effort at the beginning.
The video below shows how to accomplish this with a kit, although most homesteaders already have the supplies they need.
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Now that you have your indoor hanging garden, simply care for it the same way that you would for any of your upright plants. Enjoy the unique appearance and tasty, fresh vegetables all year round!
What Can You Grow?
There are many vegetables that may be grown upside down, but here are some of the most common:
- Tomatoes – you can grow any size tomato upside down; however, cherry tomatoes are the easiest to manage since they won’t get as heavy.
- Peppers – whether you like them hot or sweet, you can grow just about any type of pepper in an upside-down garden.
- Cucumbers – again, by choosing a smaller variety such as pickling cucumbers, it will be much easier. Bush cucumbers should be avoided when using an upside-down growing method.
- Eggplants – eggplants have similar needs as tomatoes, and you can have success growing them in a hanging garden. Choose a slender Asian variety or miniatures.
- Beans – both pole and bush beans can do well in a hanging garden.
- Strawberries – want to add something a little sweeter to your inverted garden? Strawberries can be easily grown upside down.
If you have ever decided that indoor gardening wasn’t for your because you didn’t have enough space, then perhaps the idea of having a hanging garden might be enough to make you reconsider. You can grow a variety of produce or just start with something simple like some cherry tomatoes!