Gardening is becoming increasingly popular around the world today as people are looking to become healthier and to grow their own food. However, not everyone has a lot of land, or even a backyard, to grow a garden in. And what about those who live in a temperate climate where it is challenging to grow vegetables outside during the cold times of the year?
The answer may lie in growing some of your own vegetables indoors. While growing vegetables inside may not be the first thing that you think of when it comes to growing your own food, it is actually easier that you might think. Read on to learn some great tips about how you can grow your own vegetables indoors!
- Choose plants that are appropriate for indoor conditions
Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and kale grow well inside, can take partial shade, and can do well in containers. Many herbs like oregano, parsley, and basil are also pretty hardy and don’t require much care. Some smaller, fast-growing varieties of radishes, and smaller varieties of peppers and tomatoes are ideal for growing in containers, and can be adapted for growing indoors.
- Help them to see the light
While some vegetable plants like leafy greens can do well in the partial shade conditions of your home, others, such as tomatoes and peppers require more direct light than many windowsill environments can provide.
Vegetable and herb plants require 6-8 hours of “sunlight,” so it may be necessary to use grow lights to ensure that these plants get enough light each day for optimal growth. Be sure to check seed packets or growing instructions for your vegetable plants to determine their optimal growing conditions.
Be cautious if you have drafty windows, as this can lead to too much stress for warm-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers, especially when the weather is very cold outside. A south-facing window is usually the best place to grow plants for the most sunlight.
- Give them a good home
Pots and other containers should provide enough room for when your vegetable plants are fully grown and for sufficient drainage to keep the soil from becoming water-logged and rotting the roots. Hanging baskets can be used for some vegetable plants like tomatoes in front of windows that have lots of light. A stake or a trellis may be needed for some vegetable plants to provide them with adequate support as they grow vertically.
- Consider growing indoor-friendly plants year-round
Some plants are especially a good fit to grow indoors and don’t require much space. Microgreens and sprouts can easily be grown on a windowsill and provide many nutritional benefits. Herbs are especially easy to grow indoors in containers, and some varieties of herbs even allow for several plants to be grown in the same pot together, maximizing your indoor growing space.
Many mushroom species are easily grown indoors, and provide a plethora of health and culinary benefits. Home indoor organic mushroom growing kits can now be easily purchased online, and for those who wish to learn and cultivate their own culinary and medicinal mushrooms indoors using mushroom mycelium, there are many companies and courses that offer such resources.
- Watering and fertilizing
Indoor vegetable plants should be watered as you would water any vegetable plants in an outdoor garden outside, keeping the soil moist, but not overly wet. Beware that indoor air may be drier in the wintertime in temperate climates due to home heating systems.
Plants that are grown inside will grow at a slower rate than outdoor plants, and therefore require less fertilizing. Adding compost to your soil is always a great way to provide great nutrition to your plants when it is periodically needed.
Suggested vegetable plant varieties for indoor growing (but just a place to start!)
Tomatoes: Many varieties can be grown inside, especially in hanging baskets, including “Hundreds & Thousands”, “Muskoka”, and “Garden Pearl”, which grow well in hanging baskets.
Radishes: The following varieties can grow well in almost any container: “Early Scarlet Globe”, “Cherry Belle”, and “Pink Beauty” do well indoors and are fast growing.
Beans: Running beans, such as “Dwarf French Beans”, grow very well indoors. You will need to provide a small trellis for them to climb onto a window as they grow.