Getting the Indoor Garden Started

A little while back we decided that if we’re going to honestly give this farming thing a go we should probably figure out if we actually like growing plants to begin with.

Being residents of a small apartment, with a non-ideal balcony and cats means we’ve got to be especially mindful about our set up and what we are growing. We decided to start with two tropical plants purchased from Ikea at the same time we picked up a wire shelf. One is a little cactus and the other is aloe. The aloe lives in a small greenhouse to prevent the cats from accessing it, as it is harmful to them.

Our little bbs in their original containers.

Our plan is to use the shelf to grow microgreens inside and also start some seeds that will eventually live on the balcony. The wire construction will make it easy to hang a glow light so that we can ensure growth even without natural sunlight.

After about a week of having these plants at home it became pretty obvious that they needed better containers. Some of the tips of the aloe plant were brown and damaged so I did some reading on general care. I knew what aloe could suffer if the roots were too compressed, and could see that this aloe was clearly too big for it’s container. We decided to go to a local nursery and pick up some cactus potting mix and some terracotta pots which should both help with drainage.

Lots of roots in very little space.

The soil the aloe had come in seemed very peaty and didn’t fall away from the root. We carefully tried to open the ball up, but it felt like the plant was going to break away from the roots if we applied any sort of force.

It was very challenging to try and untangle this root ball…so we didn’t.

It didn’t look like the roots themselves were damaged, so we went ahead and planted the aloe in the new container with the new potting mix.

Unfortunately, there was one casualty.

Everything we had read told us that we weren’t supposed to water the aloe after replanting, so we just placed it back in the greenhouse and moved on to the cactus.

The cactus was a little easier to untangle, especially if you ignore all the spines that ended up in our hands.

Dirt goes in the compost, right?
Crazy long roots.
Tucking the bb into their new home.

We then watered the cactus by soaking the soil and allowing it to drain fully.

Fine looking plants on our messy counter.

Information we’ve read so far would suggest that the cactus could use a light watering every week, and the aloe should get a full watering and draining every three weeks or so.

Hopefully these little plants will help us form some good habits that we can bring forward to growing some food indoors, and eventually on the balcony in the summer.

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