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For most of us, we only consider growing our vegetables outside and plant varieties according to the seasons. I know this is something I’ve always done and never thought about what vegetables to grow indoors.
But, wouldn’t it be nice to have out-of-season home-grown vegetables all year round even in the winter months? This is certainly something I’ve been thinking about recently. Home-grown vegetables are so much tastier than those that you buy from the grocery store. And, there’s a certain satisfaction knowing that the vegetables that you’re eating have been grown by you.
Plus, some would-be gardeners live in apartments and don’t have access to a lovely garden space to grow in. For these reasons, I’ve conducted some research to learn which vegetables I could possibly grow inside so that you can too.
Firstly, let’s look at some important considerations when growing indoors.
Table of Contents
- What You Need To Know About Growing Vegetables Indoors
- 1. Green Onions
- 2. Beets
- 3. Lettuce
- 4. Capsicum, Bell Peppers And Chili Peppers
- 5. Spinach And Swiss Chard
- 6. Potatoes
- 7. Scallions Or Spring Onions
- 8. Radishes
- 9. Dwarf Beans
- 10. Carrots
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
What You Need To Know About Growing Vegetables Indoors
Growing fresh produce indoors is very different to growing vegetables outside in the garden. Here’s what you need to consider to ensure that you give your vegetables the right conditions to thrive.
Choose the right pot. The pots that you use have to be large enough and deep enough for roots to develop well. They must also have drainage holes. Of course, you’ll need to place saucers under the pots to catch the water run-off. Alternatively, you might like to consider self-watering pots.
Choose an indoor potting mix. Make sure you choose the best quality indoor potting mix that you can afford. The mix should be free-draining and if possible, have added nutrients in the form of slow-release fertilizer. Don’t be tempted to use garden soil because this is too heavy and will easily become compacted in a pot. This will not allow the roots to grow freely.
Enough natural light is really important. Most vegetables need around 8-10 hours of bright light. This is especially true for fruiting plants like tomatoes, even cherry tomatoes. Adequate light is necessary for photosynthesis to ensure that plants will grow well. For this reason, vegetable plants should be placed near windows that let in good light. A south-facing window can be good for this.
Alternatively, you can consider adding some extra artificial light by using a grow light. Especially if you live in a house that is often dark in the cooler months. These lights are specially designed to give plants the light and warmth they need for healthy growth.
Don’t overwater. Indoor plants will need less water than those growing outside. You don’t want the soil to become saturated all the time because this reduces the amount of air available to the roots of the plants. That’s where self-watering pots can come in very useful. These generally have a wick that is fed into the soil through a drainage hole so that the plant roots can access the water in the reservoir when they need it.
You may need to provide extra humidity. The air inside our homes can become very dry. Especially if we constantly have the heating going. While the heat is good for both us humans and plants, the dry air is not. It’s important then, to increase the humidity in the air. You can do this either by misting your plants regularly or placing bowls of water near them and around your home.
Another idea is to half-fill a shallow container with pebbles and then add some water so that the water level comes halfway up the pebbles or stones. You can then place a pot or two on top of the pebbles and as the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity around the plants.
Now that you know some rules about indoor gardening, here’s a list of 10 easy vegetables to grow inside your home. This is a great way to enjoy home-grown produce even when it’s cold outside.
1. Green Onions
Did you know that you can use the green leaves of the onions in your cooking rather than the bulbs themselves? These are actually the perfect vegetables to grow indoors. You can even use an onion you have in the cupboard to get this started.
If you have an onion lying around, just cut off the bottom part (where the roots were) and plant this in a pot. Cover with soil and water. In a few weeks, you should see some green shoots start to pop through.
Wait until these are around 6 inches tall and then harvest them to use in your cooking.
Alternatively, you can purchase some seeds and sow these in a pot instead. Make sure that the pot is large enough to accommodate the growing bulbs.
You can do the same with garlic greens as the green foliage of garlic bulbs is edible too and can be added to a whole variety of dishes.
Root vegetables such as beets are also easy to grow indoors. Plus, you can use some of the leaves while you’re waiting for the beets to develop.
It’s best to grow these from seeds. Plant them in a large pot that has enough room to allow the bulbs to develop. If sowing seed, you might have to thin out some of the emerging seedlings to avoid your pot from becoming overcrowded.
There’s really no excuse not to have fresh lettuce growing all year round. It is truly one of the easiest vegetables to grow indoors. You’ll probably have the best success with loose-leaf varieties.
Plus, these are great because you can just snip off some fresh leaves whenever you need them and have a continuous harvest for many months.
4. Capsicum, Bell Peppers And Chili Peppers
Surprisingly, bell pepper plants are very easy to grow indoors as well. Just make sure they get plenty of light and have a warm spot to grow in. Imagine having juicy ripe bell peppers to add to all your cooking, even in winter!
5. Spinach And Swiss Chard
Leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard have dark green leaves. This is a good indication that they’ll be easy to grow indoors. You see, any plant with dark green leaves can tolerate less bright light whether grown outside or in the house. In fact, I often have to grow greens such as spinach in partial shade out in the garden, otherwise, the plants will bolt to seed too quickly.
Spinach is also relatively cold-tolerant and will survive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it doesn’t mind warm temperatures either. A good misting regularly will help your plants to grow healthy and lush.
I admit I’ve never considered growing potatoes indoors but grow them prolifically outside in the warmer months. I just love homegrown potatoes because their taste is amazing.
If you have some potatoes in the cupboard that have started sprouting you might like to give this a try. Make sure you have a really large pot though because the tubers do need a lot of room to develop.
Alternatively, you might like to try one of those potato grow bags if you have a sheltered spot on a verandah or balcony. Potatoes don’t like frost. Be sure to keep your pets and children away from the plants though because every part of the plant except the tubers is poisonous.
7. Scallions Or Spring Onions
These are other easy-to-grow vegetables that you can grow indoors from scraps. If you have a bunch in the refrigerator, just cut off the bottoms with a bit of white stem attached. You can either place these in water or a pot with potting mix.
They prefer around 6 hours of sunlight a day so make sure you put them in a bright spot.
Radishes are another root crop that you can grow successfully indoors and harvest in around 4 weeks. They do prefer cool soil and plenty of moisture for the bulbs to develop. Ensure the soil is not water-logged though.
9. Dwarf Beans
Dwarf beans grow on a bush rather than being a climber. This makes them ideal to grow indoors in a bright spot. Beans are one of the best crops for beginner gardeners because they don’t take long to start producing their edible pods.
Carrots love to be kept well watered. This makes them ideal for indoor growth. Just make sure you use a deep pot that has enough room for the tap roots to grow. Plus, you can eat the carrot greens as well. In fact, you can easily make carrot-top pesto. Just do a search online for a good recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many vegetables that you want to grow indoors will prefer a relatively sunny spot in your home. A nice sunny windowsill is ideal if you have one. In fact, it’s almost impossible to give your vegetables too much light when growing them indoors.
If you don’t have a bright window for growing your indoor veggies, a great option is to consider investing in a grow light. There are many different types available that will actually mimic the sunlight and provide the right conditions for optimum plant growth.
Many vegetables can be grown in smaller pots that won’t take up a lot of space on your kitchen windowsill or any other space that you have for growing them.
If you’re not very experienced with vegetable growing, I would suggest starting with herbs or leafy salad greens. Imagine having a selection of fresh herbs that you can harvest straight from your kitchen window sill.
Absolutely! Even people who live in apartments can grow their own food with just a little time and patience and the right tools and knowledge. Even if you start with just one variety and then, continue to build on what you’re growing, you’ll soon end up with a whole range of different food crops that you’ve grown in your indoor garden.
I hope you like this list of 10 easy vegetables to grow indoors. There are other varieties that you can grow inside as well, but we’ll leave that for another article where we can discuss more advanced indoor growing systems that you might like to consider.
Just as an added benefit, growing all these veggies inside is great for purifying the air in your home as well. Plants use the carbon dioxide that we exhale and turn it into oxygen that they release back into the air.
So, with proper care, growing fresh veggies indoors is great for our all-round health. It’s also a great way to stretch out the growing season so that you can have fresh home-grown produce for many more months of the year.