Lack of an outdoor garden shouldn’t stop you from growing your vegetables. Even those with ample outdoor space turn to indoor gardening during the winters to enjoy a year-round fresh vegetable supply in their pantry.
Whatever may be your reasons for growing vegetables indoors, it’s an excellent idea and not that hard to achieve. Follow these seven tips for indoor vegetable gardening, and everything’s going to be alright!
What Vegetables Grow Well Indoors?
Before starting your indoor vegetable garden, it’s good to understand a little more about the vegetables that’ll do well in indoor settings. Start with the easiest indoor veggies to ensure success.
Carrots are one of the most accommodating crops, making them an excellent option for growing in an indoor space. Choose smaller varieties since they’ll take little space and will be quickly ready for harvest. Choose a tall container that allows the carrots to grow inside the soil.
The seeds will take about two weeks to germinate. Different varieties will take different times to mature. Baby carrots are usually ready for harvest in about a month.
Scallions are another popular indoor crop for their small requirements. They need less sunlight than other vegetables and are particularly simple to take care of. Even novice gardeners can plant these on their countertop and expect success.
You can start them from seeds, seedlings, and even leftover scallion scraps from your kitchen! Save the bottom four inches of the store-bought scallion and regrow it. You can plant the scraps in soil or water – both methods work well!
3. Salad Greens
Leafy greens such as lettuce grow quickly and are shallow-rooted – great reasons to grow them indoors! You can plant many crops and bring a year-round supply of fresh greens to your table. Choose a 3 to a 4-inch (about 7.5 to 10 cm) deep pot and fill it with some indoor potting mix. Dampen the soil and press the seeds below the surface.
Germination will take about a week. Time to mature will differ with the varieties you grow. Most greens usually take about 40 to 50 days to be ready for harvest. Wait till the plants are at least 4 inches (about 10 cm) before you begin harvesting. Harvest carefully by pruning the outer leaves and allow the rest of the plant to grow.
Smaller peppers, like hot peppers, do pretty well indoors. Even if you plant these bright, flavor-packed vegetables in pots outdoors, you’ll want to bring them inside before the frost to protect the plant.
Choose a bright, sunny window to place the pot since they enjoy sunlight, 10 hours of daylight a day is ideal for keeping the plant happy and getting lots of peppers in return. They’re deep-rooted plants and need a pot of at least 8 inches (about 20 cm) in depth. Remember not to overwater the plant and always let the topsoil dry out between waterings. Follow all these tips for indoor vegetable gardening, and you’ll have lots of peppers to enjoy.
These minuscule veggies aren’t only adorable to look at. They’re super easy to grow – AND ARE SUPER HEALTHY! They’ll grow in a small container and will be ready for harvest before you know it. They’re a combination of seeds from different greens, herbs, and vegetables such as radishes, kale, broccoli, basil, beets, and more.
Since you’ll be harvesting while the plant is still young, you don’t need a large pot to grow it. About a two-inch (5 cm) deep container will get the job done; make sure you set it at a sunny spot near a south-facing window. The seeds will germinate within days, and your microgreens will be ready for harvest in two to three weeks.
Other than the ones discussed in detail above, herbs, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, endives, garlic greens, celery, radishes, lemons, and strawberries also do well when grown indoors.
7 Tips For Indoor Vegetable Gardening
Growing indoors is hassle-free as long as you keep some simple indoor vegetable gardening tips in mind. Incorporate all these while planting and caring for your plants, and there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the same flavors and yield as you get with an outdoor garden.
1. Choose The Right Growing Spot
Choose the right spot in your living space, something that gets loads of sunlight. Your vegetable garden will do well as long as it gets sunlight for at least 6 to 10 hours per day. East or south-facing windows are ideal for this purpose, and placing the container on the windowsill is a great way to ensure all the plants are getting ample sunlight throughout the day. If they’re not receiving sunlight evenly, rotate the container every once in a while to make sure all the plants do well.
2. Choose The Right Container/Pot
You don’t need to buy a container for your indoor veggies. You can reuse stuff you already have at home, such as shoe boxes, waste bins, food packages, and more. Please make sure they are the right size and allow proper drainage.
Shallow-rooted plants don’t take up much space and will do well in smaller containers. For deep-rooted vegetables or root vegetables like carrots, you’ll need to choose taller containers. Do a little research on the variety you plan to grow and what container size will work best for them.
Good drainage is also a requirement for all plants. So if the container doesn’t already have drainage holes at the base, you’ll need to drill them.
3. Good Soil
Good potting soil translates into healthier plants and bigger yields. Avoid using garden soil in the containers since it could bring diseases and pests with it. Lightweight potting soil that’s available in packages is ideal for indoor gardening. You can start with a seed starting mix to grow seedlings and then transfer them to a bigger pot with an organic potting mix.
4. Maintain A Suitable Temperature
Temperatures between 65 to 75ºF (about 18 to 24°C) work best for most indoor vegetables. As a rule of thumb, remember that when you’re comfortable with the surrounding temperature, your plants are also fine with it.
BUT, leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, and kale can tolerate colder temperatures too! Slow-growing plants that’ll produce flowers and fruit, such as tomatoes and peppers, need a bit warmer environment.
5. Maintain Humidity And Moisture
Heating and cooling units installed in most homes can leach out the excess humidity from the indoor environment. Lack of humidity can result in problems such as leaf drop and browning of leaf tips. You can either use automated misters or use a sprayer bottle to mist your vegetables every other day to prevent these problems.
Other than humidity, moist soil is also a requirement. Water the plants well, but allow the topsoil to dry out between waterings. Avoid overwatering since soil that’s too soggy can cause the roots to rot.
The quality of water is also a factor that’ll affect the outcome. Tap water isn’t always suitable for plants since it has salts that build up in the soil and cause problems. Instead, you can use rainwater and boiled water cooled to room temperature or distilled water to water your plants. If you’re using tap water, allow it to sit overnight before watering your plants. This will allow much of the chlorine to evaporate from the water, making it safer for your plants.
6. Watch Out For Pests
Pests aren’t that common with indoor plants, particularly if you’re using a potting mix, but it can still help to be extra careful. Optimal air circulation in the area will protect your plants from pests and save them from molds, fungal growth, and diseases. Place a table fan close by and let it run for a couple of hours every day. If you still find pests in your garden, move it away from other pots, and fix the problem with pesticides.
7. Give An Extra Boost With Fertilizers
Even if you use a rich organic medium to start your indoor vegetables, the plants will use the nutrients as they grow. Give them an extra boost with fertilizer once they’re older. Please wait until the seedlings grow at least two sets of leaves before fertilizing them.
Organic fertilizers are best for your vegetables; follow the instructions on the package to understand how to use them. Leafy greens and herbs will generally need feeding once a month, while fruiting plants such as tomatoes will need it every two weeks.
Indoor gardening is fun and fruitful, plus the colors it brings to your indoor space uplift the setting. All it takes is a little bit of effort, dedication, and perseverance.
Make sure you choose the right vegetables to start with, some that will adapt well to the indoor environment. Remember to incorporate all the tips for your indoor vegetable garden, and you’ll be successful.
I hope you’ll get lots of delicious, healthy, and fresh vegetables to complement your meals.
Featured image credit – © Oleksandr – stock.adobe.com