Indoor edible garden setup – organic and non-GMO

(Question)

Hi folks,

I am new to this group and to gardening in general so hope I am following the right etiquette by asking this question here…

I am interested in setting up an indoor edible garden in my apartment in Toronto that is organic, non-GMO, affordable, and energy-efficient. Maybe hydroponic too?
(if all these things are possible) I want to grow kale, spinach, arugula, and maybe some other leafy greens (ideas welcome!).

I have been trying to research what sort of supplies to get and coming across various ‘smart gardens’ which sound interesting (e.g. Aerogarden Bounty) – but I am having trouble finding one that is organic and non-GMO.

I was wondering if anyone has any tips on what supplies to purchase and any growing systems you recommend. As well, if you know of any workshops, books, places, etc I can go to learn more about this topic (and also how to start an organic/non-GMO outdoor garden in August) I would love to hear them.

Thanks so much!
Jenn

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your query concerning indoor vegetable gardening.

An indoor garden can take up as much or as little space you are willing to give it. A windowsill, table or shelves all are excellent places to start your growing space. Indoor vegetable gardening, Indoor herb Garden are two archived posts which gives information on how to go about starting an indoor garden.

One important factor you need to consider is light. Plants require light to photosynthesize. Without adequate light a plant will grow tall and spindly and will not set flower or fruit. Even plants grown near a window will probably not get enough light during the winter months to thrive. Most vegetables and other plants do best with 14-16 hours of sunlight or simulated light.

There are a number of different grow lights for sale, selecting the correct one will make the difference between success or failure. The following links are two archived posts which address the pros and cons of various grow lights: Grow lights or fluorescent lights and what to look for, Growing under lights

The following links are good places to begin your adventure into indoor vegetable gardening:

How to grow vegetables indoors, Beginners guide to hydroponics, Dwarf vegetables in containers

The Toronto Master Gardeners do not recommend specific suppliers or growing systems. In partnership with the City of Toronto, the Toronto Master Gardeners developed a series of Gardening Guides / Fact Sheets on organic gardening topics. To read the Guide on organic vegetable gardening, just click here. There are a number of resources listed at the bottom of this article.

Good Luck with this exciting project.