A garage is more than a place to keep your car. With the right equipment and setup, it can become the perfect space to get an early start on your garden. You can take an economical approach to summer growing by starting your own seedlings indoors before transplanting them outside.
Here is what you need to know to create a successful garage garden.
What kind of plants can you grow?
Almost any kind of herb, decorative plant or vegetable will thrive indoors in the right conditions. Remember that the goal of your garage garden is not to foster full-grown plants, it is to get your plants to reach a good size before they are put in the outdoor garden (after the danger of frost has passed for the year).
Some examples of garage-garden vegetables include tomatoes, carrots, beets, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, mint and parsley will also grow well.
Most decorative plants will thrive indoors when they are seedlings. This can be a big advantage for landscaping because if they grow in your garage for a couple months before being planted outside, these flowers and shrubs will make your landscaping look more attractive right away (instead of requiring you to wait a month or more for them to bloom).
What do you need to buy?
Most of the equipment that you need to grow in your garage is the same as what you need to raise seedlings in your basement.
- Plants will grow the best with the help of fluorescent T-8 bulbs.
- Plastic sheeting can help to control the temperature if necessary.
- The plants must not be placed on the cement floor. Tables, shelving or makeshift wood platforms (using 2x4s and saw horses, for example) will work just fine. It does not have to be fancy.
- Shallow cups or seed trays are the best kind of containers for seeds. Trays are relatively inexpensive and are available at home improvement stores or garden supply shops.
- A small dropper or spray bottle is the preferred option for watering. You will want to keep the soil around your seeds moist without overwatering.
A thermometer is the one thing that you may need in your garage that you might not require in a basement growing area. You will want to make certain that the temperature is ideal for your seedlings, so check your thermometer daily. Having a well-insulated, sealed garage door can really help control the temperature inside the growing area.
If your garage has windows, set up your tables or platforms so that the plants can get at least some natural light. Even a couple of hours a day is beneficial for new plants. (Of course, you will have to supplement this with light from your fluorescent bulbs).
If you make improvements to your garage, remember that these upgrades can bring other benefits as well. A new door will not only keep out the cold in the early spring so that you can grow your seedlings, it will also help you maintain a comfortable temperature in the hot summertime. This will allow you to use your garage as a play area or a work space once your plants are moved outside.