BardSkye
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Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:26 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta, indoor garden only

My impossible dream

For decades I've dreamed of living in a garden. Grass underfoot, vines climbing, trees whispering in the breeze, fruit and vegetables growing within casual reach...

This coming spring, I'll finally have nobody but myself to please. So I started thinking of that dream. As I live in zone 3 with an average outdoor humidity of 45%, weeks at -40 degrees, and don't own the land, it would have to be an indoor garden so I can live in it year round.

Of course, replacing the carpets with grass and water gardens is not really practical if I want to actually live in the place. It wouldn't take long for things to warp from the humidity and grass would be mouldy in no time. So I'm thinking of creating the illusion of wall-to-wall garden with miniature gardens spread through the house. A stand of miniature fruit trees here, an herb garden in the kitchen, maybe a Japanese-style garden in the front room...

Is this a crazy enough idea to work?

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: My impossible dream

LIGHT will be your limiting factor for indoor growing. Lots of what you want to do would require a lot of lighting.

Look up indoor gardens images:

Image
https://www.rowland.harvard.edu/rjf/hur/img/garden.JPG

Image
https://i.ggimgs.net/categories/265.jpg

Image
https://www.toutcute.com/u/2015/08/Simpl ... garden.jpg

Image
https://www.nrdc.org/living/yardgarden/i ... od_250.jpg

notice what all these images have in common? Lots of LIGHT - skylights, large windows, etc.

did you see applestar's dream kitchen herb garden post here: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 29&t=65536 ?

Do a google image search on indoor gardens and you will find hundreds of beautiful and inspiring images. But think very seriously about how you can manage adequate lighting before you think about anything else. Remember that artificial light for indoor plants needs to be dedicated lighting just a few inches away, on for 16 hrs a day. LED lighting is very minimal power draw, but very expensive to buy. Anything else will add a lot to your utility bills.

I'm sure zone 3 is very challenging (have you considered moving? :) ). But don't you have anywhere, porch, balcony, rooftop, etc where you could have plants outdoors at least some of the year? I am sure plants grow in Calgary. Your city looks beautiful:

Image
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/0pFikTWOZl4/maxresdefault.jpg
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: My impossible dream

Just as inspiration, here's the rooftop garden belonging to a friend of mine (Cincinnati, zone 6) :
rooftop garden.jpg
rooftop garden.jpg (50.92 KiB) Viewed 1949 times
some of those frames will soon have glass in them for season extension
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My impossible dream

Here's an interesting article with information about lighting, heat mats, water systems, etc for indoor gardens:

https://www.wikihow.com/Design-a-Success ... oor-Garden

Lots of people are doing vertical gardening these days:

Image
https://p-fst2.pixstatic.com/51bcba28d91 ... s.fit_.jpg

and you can now buy kits for that or find lots of DIY ideas. One advantage is you can build the lighting and watering systems right in.

Something like this

Image
https://www.braingarden.co/images/indoor ... -x-300.jpg

is probably your simplest indoor garden idea, but maybe doesn't achieve that bringing the outdoors in look.

Here's a very high tech-y ersion:

Image
https://cdn.home-designing.com/wp-conten ... trays.jpeg

Aerogarden makes automated, self-contained aeroponic systems with built in light, water, timer, pump, etc in a variety of sizes, colors, etc. Very easy, but quite pricey!

Image
https://www.thegreenhead.com/imgs/aeroga ... -200-1.jpg

(can you tell I'm having fun? :) Inspiring to think some more about how can I bring a bit more outdoors in, now that fall is here and winter is coming. )
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

BardSkye
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Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:26 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta, indoor garden only

Re: My impossible dream

Thank you, rainbowgardener, for the links, pictures, and interest; it's very kind of you.

I have been looking at indoor garden pictures for a long time, and still do. I agree that lighting might prove the biggest obstacle (which is one reason I'm doing research before actually planting anything.) I do have one room that's gloriously sunny: west and north windows. My lone calamondin orange seems quite happy there as do the several pots of Italian basil, so that's my obvious first choice for a starting point.

I do hope to have some outdoor containers as well, though this summer might be too busy cleaning up the damage and junk in the yard from my temporary roommates. Lilies, explorer roses, peonies and lilacs do quite well all by their lonesome in my yard, though I can't grow my favourites - hollyhocks - to save my life. This is an absolutely beautiful part of the world and I wouldn't go anywhere else... well, maybe Hawaii. But we have such a short growing season: end of May to mid-September if we're lucky and the hail doesn't flatten everything.

I'd love a rooftop garden but can't have one where I am. I'm in a mobile home which I own, but I don't own the land it sits on and have to obey the park rules. Besides, at 60, the idea of climbing ladders every day is not as enticing as it once was.

I've been looking at the idea of vertical gardens. One of our better garden centers has quite a few systems for DIY and I'm tempted... I'm tempted.

This will be a long-drawn-out project for me, but one I'm really looking forward to trying. I'm so glad I found this forum with its wealth of knowledge. I may lurk more than I post, but will always reply if addressed directly. I have no expertise to offer as to gardening, yet. But if you want to know about singing barbershop: THAT I'm an expert on. :)

Thanks again.

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PunkRotten
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Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: My impossible dream

Cool ideas.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My impossible dream

@BardSkye - Do let us know what you come up with! :) We love to see pictures of the development of a project, not just the end result.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration


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