Indoor Vegetable Gardening will put your green thumb to work while helping save a trip to the farmer’s market, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. There’s no need to wait for the right season; this guide will be your walkthrough for growing your own vegetables all year round.
The vegetables we’ve included are as simple and low-maintenance as the cilantro on the shelf. You don’t even need garden space to get started. Another reason to start indoor vegetable gardening is, the longer you do it, the more you’ll want to add to your collection.
In some cases, you can even grow your veggies from scraps, which is the full circle of life. So you can enjoy organic products with minimal waste. Excited? We know, so let’s get started with transforming your home into a living grocery store full of goodies.
Choosing the Right Area for Your Indoor Vegetable Garden
- Any space by the east or south of your home is ideal, especially if it’s right by a window. This is because the sun will most likely hit the plants from this direction.
- If you want to succeed in indoor vegetable gardening, it’s important to pick a quiet spot away from any activity, to prevent the plants from getting knocked over.
Using the Right Materials
- A good practice for indoor vegetable gardening is using organic potting soil instead of bringing soil from the yard. If you prefer to use free soil, don’t forget to remove unnecessary objects and debris to make it easier for your plants to breathe.
- You can get creative with containers, so have a look at what you might have lying around at home. You can even shop for decorative indoor pots that appeal to you.
- Whichever container you choose to use, be sure it has sufficient drainage. You can protect your home from water damage by placing plant trays or drop cloths under the plants.
Setting the Temperature of Your Indoor Vegetable Garden
Different temperatures initiate various growth phases in plants, but every plant has specific temperature needs. So you’ll need to take into account which plants to keep together and which to separate.
Crops like peas and kale can take colder temperatures, but other crops such as basil and peppers are a lot more finicky to care for. Many varieties demand for a temperature between 65-70° Fahrenheit in the day, and between 55-70° Fahrenheit during nighttime.
On the other hand, if you want to grow tropical crops, you can try your hands on some DIY solutions. If this is your forte, then you can build a garden just by using simple herbs (check out our section on microgreens below). Just keep in mind that herbs and leafy greens grow best at 65-70° Fahrenheit during daytime and 55-70° Fahrenheit at night.
Controlling the Humidity
The moisture in the air is known as humidity — on average, our homes have been estimated to have humidity levels between 10-20%. This is where things get a bit tricky, because many plants have a minimum humidity requirement of between 45 to 90%. Furthermore, plants can have changing humidity needs, depending on where each plant is in their growth phases.
While certain indoor plants can be a challenge to care for, there are options apart from creating a vertical garden in the bathroom. If you have a confined indoor garden, place an additional tray of water in the area where your plants live. Use marbles or pebbles in the tray, then fill it with water and place plants on top of the tray.
As the water evaporates, it will give moisture back into the air around the plants. You may also buy a good quality humidifier to get the same results.
Water is obviously essential for indoor vegetable gardening, but plants can get particular when it comes to their water supply. Unfortunately, because indoor plants aren’t equipped with a deep drainage system like their garden cousins, overwatering can be an issue.
Another drawback of their small roots is that they can drain water fast. But if you have an interest in wines or any other bottles, you can actually turn them into watering cans. Just add water and marbles to the wine bottle, then drill a hole on the cork, which gives you a hack for moderated watering.
Controlling Airflow for Your Indoor Vegetable Garden
Providing plants with fresh air not only helps them during photosynthesis but will serve as a kind of air-based fertilizer. Research has shown that CO2, when provided in high levels, can improve plant growth and water efficiency. This means that plants can filter the air while getting even more healthy.
If your plants are near a window, they may already have sufficient circulation, however, it’s a good idea to use an electric fan as well. While it doesn’t have to be directly pointed on the plants, using a fan helps air to circulate.
Doing this not only prevents dampness but will also prevent hot and cold spots, along with condensation. Another advantage of regulating airflow is that it will help to keep bacterial diseases and rot at bay. Let new air come to your home, and let your plants take care of old air to keep them healthy.
Having Enough Light
The lighting conditions that plants need are described as shade, partial shade, partial sun, or full sun. Beans and tomatoes, along with crops like carrots and beets require full sun. They’ll need a good six hours of sunlight to produce a good crop. On the other hand, herbs and leafy greens can stay healthy in areas with indirect sunlight and for less time. Some plants have varying light requirements, so be sure to know which plants are suitable for your light conditions.
Some Good Choices for Indoor Vegetable Gardening
These tasty, orange-colored vegetables are highly adaptable, and will grow well inside containers — smaller carrots are easier to grow indoors. They need very little space and will also mature quickly, so a long container — you can try a window box — is ideal.
All you need to do is to place a bit of peat moss on top of the seeds and avoid getting a hard crust over them as this will prevent germination. It’s important to maintain a moist soil for the seeds to develop quickly — only two weeks. The number of days before they reach maturity will vary, depending on the type you use.
Plant a sprouting garlic clove 1-inch deep inside a 4-inch container. Water it to get garlic greens within a few weeks. They will be ready for harvest once they grow around 8-10 inches long — simply take the parts you need, and you can leave out the rest.
Generally, you can only get one use out of them before the quality starts to decline, so you’ll want to start with new cloves. These greens taste a lot like garlic-flavored scallions, and while they won’t produce a bulb, these garlic stalks are a fantastic substitute.
These tropical perennials are a bit fussier, as they will wrinkle and shrink from just a bit of frost. But that makes them a perfect indoor vegetable gardening candidate. And you can expect them to thrive while indoors. You basically have two options with hot peppers: you can get some from your garden during summer and bring them in your home, or you can plant from seeds. While they may not give you a big harvest, they will produce fruits.
Start by using a container around 8 inches tall, and don’t overwater. Give them a good amount of light for 10 hours every day and let the container dry out before watering the peppers again. While these plants can pollinate on their own, it works best if you help them along by dusting every flower with pollen using a cotton swab.
Salad Greens and Lettuce
Lettuce is a shallow-rooted and quick growing veggie, so it won’t need a deep container. Get started by choosing a two- to four-inch deep container and use wet soil to fill it. You can now sow your seeds by pressing them gently — don’t push them too deep, and keep them close to the surface.
Keep the seeds moist by using a mist and you should be able to see germination in a week. Leave the plants to mature until they reach four- to six-inches before harvesting. Greens will also keep regrowing, as long as you save the scraps. The best way to do this is by pulling off the leaves and leaving the innermost part of the plant for use next time.
These small, yet incredibly fresh sprouts are some of the most effortless veggies to grow inside homes. Not only are they a huge time saver, but they practically take up no space. They are a mix of seeds from various herbs and greens such as radishes, beets, kale, basil, and Swiss chard. You won’t need much soil because they will be harvested early as seedlings, so a two-inch deep plant tray is enough.
Simply fill the tray with soil and moisten it, then scatter your seeds. With the seeds barely covered in soil, gently spray the seeds along with the soil to keep them moist. In just a few days, you should be able to see them germinate. The ideal time for harvesting is when the seedlings develop true leaves — when doing so, use small pruning scissors to cut them off at soil level. Doing this can help to make sure they produce another set of greens.