Lessons From Growing Food Indoors

Earlier this year I got an itch to grow herbs and vegetables. Unfortunately, living in a flat, I have no outside space while my best window locations don’t get a great amount of sunlight. This led me down a rabbit hole of growing indoors using grow lights. Since LED lights have become widespread, using artificial lights for growing has become much more economical.

The Setup

I attempted to contain this all within a single shelving unit, covered to control light & moisture, with different height shelves for different plants:

A set of shelves with plants in small pots covering two of the shelves, strongly lit from lights above each shelve

Four LED grow light strips covered the top two shelves, with the others used for storage. Within this, I toyed with growing:

To help justify the existence of my 3d printer, I could print some parts to help like pots, a mini watering can, or this onion cutting holder I designed to attach onto a standard tin can:

Part of a red onion sprouting in a silver tin can, with the onion held centrally suspended in the can via a green 3d-printed plastic thingy, which hooks to the top of the can

Worm Tangent

While exploring indoor growing, I became intrigued by worm composting, or vermicomposting. This method allowed me to transform waste into valuable feed for my indoor plants. I created a worm habitat using a plastic container with drilled holes and 3D-printed vents. I added pebbles, dirt, coconut coir, and paper to create a suitable environment. Ordering worms online, they arrived tightly tangled in a ball inside a jiffy bag. After allowing them to settle for a week or two, I began adding food scraps and cardboard, which they efficiently broke down.

Lessons Learnt

Future Plans

A couple of months after starting this, I gained an allotment where I can grow things, so now having a good amount of outdoor growing space I’ll use that instead. Since taking it over I’ve prepared the growing space for next spring, with only garlic being planted at this point.

A small patch of land, with a greenhouse next to a tree in the background, with a messy overgrown space of land in the foreground The same patch of land as before, but with the messy overgrown space now replaced with four neat rectangles of compost, surrounded by woodchip

I’ve cut down most of my indoor plants. Many were dying or un-viable indoors anyway. With the adoption of a cat this month so had to remove most of the plants since they were cat-toxic. I’ve kept the rosemary going, which I may also attempt on my allotment, and I’ll probably continue to grow mustard cress since that was my favourite to grow.

In regards to worm composting, I gave this up indoors too due to the escaping worms and growing amount of mites. It was never a major problem, but just a minor concern in my mind that wasn’t worth it. If I had some garage space or similar, i’d have been happy to keep it going in such an area, but that’s not something I have. For now I’ve moved the wormery out to my allotment, keeping the box under some compost in an attempt to insulate it from the winter cold, but I’ve yet to check if this is keeping the worms warm enough.