Indoor growing- Terrariums & Fish Tanks

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Motomom34, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I want to grow vegetables and herbs indoors. Plants that I have started indoors in the past have been thin reaching seedlings that look unhealthy. The seedlings are reaching for the light and due to my home not being super warm, I think they do not get the warmth needed. I do not want to spend money on grow lights and the electric bill so my frugal mind is looking for ideas.

    I am looking for ways to cut corners but have healthy looking seedlings/plants. Unsure if it could be done but I would love to grow spinach and kale plus some herbs indoors. Spinach and kale are real hardy plus I buy them weekly so why not grow them.

    Terrariums offer the good drainage that herbs and vegetables need plus being encompassed, this helps keep the moisture in better then regular pots. I have seen people place plastic wrap loosely over the top of a terrarium jar to help promote a more greenhouse effect growing area.

    While in a thrift store I spotted an old fish tank and thought, why not. Would it work? Can I use a fish tank as a mini greenhouse type growing area? In my mind and after research I think using a fish tank to start seedlings and grow herbs/vegetables may work. I read that the lights on a fish tank not only keep the water/tank warm but also certain bulbs help promote the growth of aquatic plants. A fish tank is deep enough for the gravel, moss, charcoal,soil levels you need. The glass walls will allow light in, the top helps keep moisture in plus there is a light on top that will add warmth and light. There are lots of kits you can buy to have fish on the bottom and plants on top. I do not want to raise fish, I want edibles.

    Terrarium- I read an article that gave easy instructions then listed some of the easy edibles that one can grow. I am kind of skeptical on the dwarf berry but maybe I am just being a pessimist.

    Below is easy terrarium instructions plus another link to edibles for indoor growing.
    DIY: How to Make Your Own Green Terrarium
    How to Make an Herb Terrarium for Under $15
    Gardening In A ‘Bottle:’ 8 Edible Plants You Can Grow In An Indoor Terrarium | Off The Grid News

    Fish tank- activated charcoal seems to be a must for indoor growing.
    Indoor Garden: My d.i.y project
    Fish tank lighting chart- Aquarium Lighting: Choosing the Proper Lighting for Your Aquarium
  2. runswithdogs

    runswithdogs Monkey+++


    Dang.. now I want sushi!

    Only prob I see with using fish tanks is it could get really expensive unless you managed to pick a bunch up on freecycle or something.
    Aeason and pearlselby like this.
  3. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    You can make great terrariums from large glass bowls (auctions. flea mkts, yd. sales, thrifts, etc) combined with metal mixing bowls of a slightly larger size. Just cement a knob on the bottom of the glass bowl to turn it into a dome lid.
    Aeason, Tully Mars and Bear like this.
  4. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    @UncleMorgan makes a great point..... it doesn't have to be an aquarium... gallon jars or even smaller would do.... even acrylic or plastics would work for a container.... I've made little eco systems from mason jars.... lots of creative tings you can do with some thought and they don't take up alot of space.... good to experiment first too... before investing in an aquarium.... if you do... get an acrylic.... better impact resistance with kids and accidents....
    have a great day!
    Take care and God Bless,
    Ganado, Aeason, Tully Mars and 2 others like this.
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Thrift shops are full of old fish tanks. I am thinking of something like this-

    Very contained, very solid and most have a top if I needed to use a light for growing purposes.
    Aeason and Tully Mars like this.
  6. Kathy in WV

    Kathy in WV Just runnin' the ridges...

    I have never ever spent the extra money for grow lights. Any fluorescent tube will work. The trick is rigging the lights to be movable up and down. Nothing special done here except after about 8 weeks or so I surrounded plants with aluminum foil to reflect back at them. As long as the light is almost right on top of the plants they should be stocky and nice green.
  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Thank you @Kathy in WV, I hadn't considered aluminum foil. Awesome tip.
  8. Kathy in WV

    Kathy in WV Just runnin' the ridges...

    You're welcome :)
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