Do you have Reddit? Indoor gardening continues to grow

COVID-19 has led many people to start gardening, and it’s no passing fancy. Recent research shows that approximately 80% of those who started gardening since the onset of COVID-19 will continue this hobby in 2021.

Growing in the outdoor garden is one thing. Maintaining plants indoors at home presents other challenges and opportunities.

Recognizing the growing popularity of indoor growing, University of Florida scientists Celina Gómez and Paul Fisher, UF/IFAS faculty members in environmental horticulture, recently co-hosted a webinar virtual. There they introduced new varieties of plants and how home gardeners can grow them indoors.

Their program focuses on the development and production of edible plants for gardening.

Several factors have led to the increase in home gardening: food insecurity and the pandemic are two of them.

“People are gardening partly to make sure there’s enough food on the table during times of so much uncertainty,” Gómez said. “Mental and physical wellbeing is also a big driver of the ‘pandemic gardening’ movement, as people seem to experience positive health benefits when gardening both indoors and outdoors. During the lockdown, people had more time to spend at home and many turned to gardening to keep busy.

Many people who want to start growing fruits and vegetables at home are turning to social media. Thus, Gómez led to research recently it shows about half of people who have used the platform Reddit received wrong information on how to grow hydroponic plants indoors. She and her team have been watching Reddit because those who use the platform and its “subreddits,” thematic or community discussions, are hobbyists, most with no formal training in horticulture.

“Much of the advice given to consumers via Reddit is based on experiences that may not be enough to educate someone about growing plants hydroponically,” she said. “Another important reason is that because indoor gardening is a relatively new horticultural trend, there isn’t a lot of easy-to-understand information available to consumers.”

To learn more, keep reading at UF/IFAS News.