It’s time for another Live LAGOM challenge! I’ve been working with IKEA to find new ways to live smarter and reduce my impact. My latest task has been to grow a mini-garden at home – and it’s really come along well!
As a Londoner of four years now, I know how difficult it is to find a place with a garden. Outdoor space is a hot commodity, and while our current place may be an exception, I’ve lived for years without the possibility of growing anything.
But no more! IKEA brought out their Växer range a few years ago to inspire everyone to grow plants – and even better, edible ones. I chose to grow herbs with my set – they’re a tasty addition to most meals, and I do love a salad or a soup.
How to use IKEA’s VÄXER range
If you’re looking for an easy way to start growing an indoor garden, IKEA’s Växer range is the perfect kit for beginners. Instead of faffing with compost or sunlight, their cultivation units are built to make the most of water, fertiliser, and LED lighting.
1. Choose your unit
The first step to starting your indoor garden with IKEA is to choose your unit. If you have space in your kitchen or utility room, the two-tier Krydda cultivation unit will give you lots of room for growing plants.
As our place already has a lot of furnishings, I went for the smaller Bittergurka plant holder with LED light to get started. This is a satisfyingly round bowl with built-in LED lamp, which is connected to the mains with a plug and switch. I wanted to try growing my plants over the winter months, and in the darkest corner of our living room. If this is a challenge, let’s make it as difficult as possible!
2. Set up your growing media
The second step is to set up your plants’ new home. To get planting, you will need:
These three do the job of conventional compost, without the mess. First, pour your pumice stones into the bowl, filling it two-thirds of the way. Next, stand your plugs upright in the stones. And now, it’s onto planting your seeds…
3. Plant your seeds
The next step is to choose the plants you wish to grow, and place pinch-fuls of seeds in the well of each starter plug. I went for a set of herbs (watercress, parsley, and basil), but you can start off pretty much any plant you like.
I also divided up my garden into three areas. One for watercress, the second for parsley, and third for basil. Over time, they grew into each other, but I’ve gently separated them out when pruning.
4. Pour over water + fertiliser
To give your seeds a good start, you need to use the fertiliser for nutrients. Follow the instructions on the back and dilute with water, pouring over your new indoor garden every few days or so.
5. Turn your light on
The final step is to light up your plants each day. Seeds don’t need light, but as soon as their green leaves poke through, you need to turn your LED light on. This is where the photosynthesis happens! We kept the light on during usual daylight hours, and as per my LED light guide, this used up hardly any electricity.
How I got on with my indoor garden
As you can see from my photos, the first attempt at getting this garden going worked well! The seeds started germinating within a day or two, you can see their progress going from left to right.
Over the course of three months, we now have the above result – a healthy bushel of watercress, and budding stems of parsley and basil. I’ve let the watercress grow, but trimmed back the other two to ensure they make lots of tasty leaves (rather than leggy stems).
I can’t wait to start using all three in my cooking, and it feels so special to grow these at home!