Five fun reasons to start an indoor garden when life
gets more restricting
Moving to smaller space, restricted mobility offer
new opportunities for senior gardeners
by Arar Han, Certified Aging in Place Specialist
Jan. 6, 2015 - Gardening is hardly ever a casual
hobby. Most 'green thumbs' regard the first time they were handed a
spade with the same warm nostalgia as their high school graduation,
wedding day, or the birth of their first child. If you are a gardener,
you know it's true!
If you have recently moved into a smaller space or
your mobility is not what it used to be, you may be nervous that you
have to give up your favorite pastime. Not so! There are tons of plants
that thrive indoors - and at least five reasons why planter gardening is
actually superior to maintaining outdoor beds.
1. Picking out funky containers.
When creating your indoor garden, consider the wide
range of choices for pots—as conventional or eccentric as you wish.
Most plants need a depth of four to five inches to
grow comfortably. When choosing your containers keep in mind:
● Container Material – avoid toxic residues.
Clean the vessel thoroughly and use appropriate liners.
● Drainage – for some plants, you will need to
poke or drill holes in the bottom and set it on a tray to contain the
● Variety – mix colors, shapes, and textures for
an attractive look that matches (or "power-clashes") with your home's
● Recycling – why throw out a perfectly good
peanut butter jar when it can be decorated to hold a cute little sprig
of rosemary? Or how about an old shoe? Seriously—the ceiling is the
limit with this one.
2. Just the right amount of DIY.
When you had a sprawling garden, you had to buy
soil. But since an indoor potting soil batch is small, make your own!
You can routinely add some extra kitchen compost and use fertilizer
granules as needed, about every two to six weeks. This gives you the
opportunity to really get your hands dirty in that soul-satisfying way
that true gardeners crave. You'll be so proud of your little green
babies when they start to sprout.
3. Complete control over sunshine exposure.
Position your garden containers near a south-facing
window to get the most sun, especially if you live in an area that
experiences a brisk winter season. Avoid drafty areas during the chilly
months—stable temperatures between 45-79ºF are ideal. You can even set
up some mirrors to reflect sunlight onto your planters. Another option
is to get an indoor grow light system that can be set to a timer.
4. Watering is a breeze.
Although plants may not say it out loud, they
definitely appreciate your help finding a drink of water. Adhering to a
watering schedule is easy indoors, as you share space with your green
buddies constantly. Keeping leaves trimmed and fresh is easy when you
walk by multiple times a day! Just remember to let the soil go slightly
dry between each watering.
Besides adding a homey feel and splashes of color
to your rooms, the health benefits of coexisting with indoor greenery
are huge. Indoor plants have always been a part of human society, and
for good reason. Plants have been shown to reduce stress and depression.
And they ask so little of you!
So, what to grow? Flowers and herbs grow
wonderfully in small spaces. But vegetables actually do, too! Full of
vitamins and minerals, a new love for cooking may just follow in your
● Hot peppers: If you can take the heat, these
are full of capsaicin, a powerful antioxidant. Many people find more
luck growing hot peppers indoors than out!
● Carrots: These are full of many good vitamins
for seniors, including thiamin, niacin, folate, manganese, potassium,
and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. They also supply carotenoids, which are
key for healthy eyes.
● Mushrooms: Either you love them or you hate
them! Mushrooms are a great source of fiber and vitamin C, antioxidants
and cancer-fighting compounds. These grow well in a container like a
laundry basket or old drawer.
● Mixed greens: Basically the healthiest food on
the planet—there's a reason why salads are on every restaurant's menu.
Try a seedling mixture of salad greens, like iceberg, spinach, romaine,
red leaf, and arugula. They're chock full of vitamins A, C, and K, in
addition to foliate and iron.
● Avocados: These are stuffed with healthy fats,
and vitamins E and B6. They also contain carotenoids—which are high in
vitamin A and have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart
disease, and eye degeneration. Avocados are an incredibly delicious
addition to complete a dish, or grab one just as a snack! Use a big pot
and start with a dwarf tree for best results.
Even when your lifestyle changes, your love for
gardening doesn't have to. Whatever you grow, remember to take a moment
to bask in the satisfaction of what you have created with your own two
Author Arar Han is co-CEO of Alert-One,
a personal safety technology and consulting firm headquartered in
Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with offices nationwide. A certified Aging
in Place Specialist, Arar holds a dual degree in Philosophy and Human
Development from Boston College, summa cum laude, and an MBA from the
Stanford Graduate School of Business. Originally from Seoul, she
currently lives in Palo Alto with her family.
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