Horticulture consists of selecting a site, planning the garden, preparing the soil, selecting seeds and plants, and planting and caring for them until they are ready for harvest. The result is fresh produce to eat, share or sell.
Anyone willing to invest in feeding plants daily or two can start a garden. It doesn’t require a lot of money, time, or skill, but some will come in handy. With patience and practice, your skills will improve year after year.
Vegetable cultivation takes some room but not a lot. It’s not necessary for a garden to be in a flower bed or on the ground. You can grow a lot of veggies in pots. On the back porch, for instance, a 12-inch pot may produce enough lettuce for a salad. You have a terrific start to a delectable salad when you add some radishes and carrots planted in 12-inch pots for flavour and sweetness.
However, success requires more than just growing vegetables. They need sunlight, water, air, soil, fertilizer and shelter.
You shouldn’t let the cold or a lack of outside garden area prevent you from raising food. There are many more vegetables, fruits, and herbs that can be grown indoors. Read all the tips you need to start developing an indoor vegetable garden.
Before we start with these indoor garden ideas, a word about lighting.
Before diving into my favourite indoor garden ideas, I’d like to talk about lighting. Providing adequate light is one of the biggest challenges in growing food indoors. A sunny, south-facing window is often ideal for growing garlic sprouts, replanting chives, or starting microgreens. However, adding a grow light can make all the difference for growing edible plants like strawberries or peppers, especially in winter when days are short, and light is poor. Consider investing in grow lights if you have big plans for growing food indoors. There are many types, styles and sizes. They can be purchased as individual table lamps, multi-tiered light stands, compact kits to mount under counters or kitchen shelves, and even simple grow lights that quickly add extra light to your plants. Leslie Halleck’s excellent book Gardening Under Lights is essential reading for anyone interested in growing food indoors.
Did you know that although they may be expensive at upscale restaurants, microgreens are simple to cultivate at home? Depending on the season, they are quick, with most being ready to harvest 10 to 25 days after planting. Veggies, herbs, and even flowers that are tightly planted and picked at the cotyledon or first genuine leaf stage are known as microgreens. They may be used as a tasty and healthy garnish for salads, sandwiches, pasta, and other foods.
Seed companies sell individual packets of microgreen seeds for vegetables such as broccoli, arugula, lettuce, Swiss chard, and radish, and microgreen mixes, often divided into ‘mild’ or “hot. Herbs like coriander, basil, and dill make great microgreens or flowers like sunflowers or celosia. There are many flavours and colours, so don’t be shy about trying new microgreens. To learn more about the many plants that can be grown as microgreens.
Anyone can grow microgreens in pots or trays filled with high-quality potting mixes, coir, or hemp fibre mats. If using a potting mix, I like to use shallow seed trays or a clear recycled plastic salad bowl because you only need to use about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Suppose you can grow microgreens in a basement or room with poor air circulation and use an oscillating fan to move air to minimize disease issues like dampness. A heating mat is also useful to speed up germination and growth. If your microgreen garden are on your kitchen counter, you can do whatever you want in wooden microgreen kits, which look more elegant than plastic trays.
Plant new trays every few weeks for a constant supply of tasty microgreens. And it is not necessary to have a different tray for each type of cultivation. You can show different ranges of seeds in one tray. Try to group crops that take the same amount of time to grow together.
Consider growing sprouts if you’re looking for quick and easy home vegetable garden ideas. The plants don’t need fancy equipment or lights and can be grown on your kitchen counter. Plus, they’re ready to harvest in a matter of days!
I recommend buying organic seeds for germination because they haven’t been grown with pesticides or herbicides. Local garden centres have a wall of sprouts, pots, and other equipment, but you can buy bags of sprouts online.
A word about planting equipment:
You don’t need a lot to grow plants. I use clean, square pots with the tips of the plants attached to allow for air circulation and good drainage. A piece of cheesecloth secured to the bottle with a rubber band can also be used instead of a spray cap. If you’re serious about germination, you might want to buy seed dump trays, which snap together and allow you to grow multiple varieties at once.
How to grow plants indoors:
Step 1 – Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, read the packet of seeds to see how many tablespoons to put in the pot; this can vary according to the type of seed. I learned from Jessica (in this great article) that by simply soaking them in a solution of a glass of water and two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, you may first sanitize the seeds. Ten minutes later, clean the seeds by washing and rinsing them.
Step 2 – Place the seeds in jar and fill it with clean water. Soak the seeds overnight or for eight hours. After that time, drain the water from the pan and set it aside on a plate or tray. It must be placed in direct sunlight.
Step 3 – Continue rinsing and removing the seeds twice daily.
Step 4 – It takes three to five days for the seeds to sprout and begin to show a green colour. At this point, they will almost fill the jar. Use them anytime. When done, I remove the sprouts from the pot and place them in a plastic container with a lid covered with paper towels. We used them for five days.
There are four way to grow kale indoors: as a seedling, a microgreen, a baby lettuce, or as a full-size plant. You’ll find tips for growing sprouts and microgreens above, so I’d like to focus on growing lettuce and cabbage as mature plants.
It is important to note that there are wide varieties of kale with different plant sizes, leaf colours and textures, and maturity times. My favourites for growing indoors are the standard variety of Red Russian and Dinosaur Kale. Both grow relatively quickly and are excellent baby vegetables.
Growing Kale for Lettuce – Kale is very nutritious, and the young leaves produce baby lettuce. Growing cabbage for salad means you might want to harvest it all at once. However, you can pick and harvest the leaves to add to green salads or sandwiches. For maximum production, sow the seeds in a seed tray or tray filled with potting mix. Space the seeds an inch apart and cover with a quarter inch of potting mix. Keep the disk constantly moist to promote good germination. When the seedlings are four to six inches tall, you can harvest them by pinching the leaves with your fingers or cutting them with grass clippings. Your mini lemon garden should provide fresh leaves for four to six weeks with proper care.
How to Grow a Mature Cabbage Plant: To grow a good-sized cabbage plant on your windowsill, choose a pot with drainage holes. Fill it with a high-quality potting mix and plant three to four cabbage seeds with straight seeds, one-quarter inch deep. Keep the soil constantly moist to promote good germination and root growth. When the plants are 8 to 10 inches tall, remove the smaller plants, leaving a healthy plant (eat the seedlings you remove or lift them carefully in their pots). Fertilize with organic liquid food every month and keep the plant in a sunny window or add a grow lamp if you can’t get enough natural light. I love the shape and leaves of cabbage, and it is a great edible plant.
Vegetable replanting (the most original of my home garden ideas!)
This is one of my favourite home garden ideas, especially for kids! The tips of the stems of vegetable Supermarket tops such as lettuce, chives, and celery are ideal for planting after eating the plant tops. After eating the fruit, you can produce your pineapple on top of it, and it will grow a new plant and, eventually, another pineapple. Of course, this is not the most effective way to grow food indoors. It’s like a science experiment with benefits! You can monitor the plant’s growth and then eat the fresh shoots.
Tips for growing vegetables indoors
To start, find a large container for the plant’s roots to grow, with a drainage hole in the bottom. You can make your container by reusing old plastic yoghurt containers or storage containers, but any container with a drain hole will do. Of course, you’ll want to place your container on a plate, saucer, or tray to catch any escaping moisture, so you don’t mar your table or windowsill.
Plant your vegetables or seeds in containers using indoor potting soil specially formulated for growing plants indoors. Once your plants are ready, place them in front of a sunny window.
The biggest challenge for growing vegetables indoors is the lack of light. That’s why it’s essential to mimic outdoor conditions as much as possible, using window lighting or investing in grow lights (you can pick some up at Home Depot for as little as $47). Vegetables need at least four to six hours of sunlight daily, while fruits need eight to ten hours a day.
When it’s time to water your plant, less is more. Because they aren’t subjected to extreme outside heat, they don’t dry out as often, so be careful not to over-water.
Low humidity can be tough on houseplants, so use a spray bottle to spray them with water daily or consider investing in a cool mist humidifier.
Even without a crescent light, expect to see a few buttons quickly. However, it can take weeks or months to harvest the edible part of the plant. Summer is the best season to grow because you get the most natural light. However, indoor vegetables can be grown all year round and bring joy even in the dark winter months.
Best vegetables for indoors
Carrots don’t need much space around them (or wings, you might say), but they need deeper soil than other vegetables. They are cold-tolerant vegetables that thrive in temperatures around 60 degrees Celsius. Ensure they get plenty of light for at least 12 hours daily.
2. Chives / Shallots
Chives do well indoors because they are easy to care for and don’t require as much sunlight as other vegetables. You can use the seeds or replant the root end of the chives after using the top.
Herbs (a subset of vegetables) love sunlight, so make sure they get plenty: 12 to 16 hours a day. They hope to do best around 70 degrees F. Some of the best indoor varieties include chives, parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint, rosemary, sage and thyme.
Pepper plants are tropical perennials, which means they thrive in warm climates and full sun. But because they are self-pollinating, they do well indoors. They need 14 to 20 hours of light a day and thrive around 70 degrees. Place them in a container at least eight inches high, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
5. Green leaf salad
The most reliable of the bunch are cold-tolerant greens like spinach, kale, and arugula. They grow in as little as four weeks. They need about 12 hours of sun a day and do best in temperatures around 60 degrees.
Don’t let their size fool you. Microvegetables contain 40 times more vitamins and nutrients than whole cultivated plants. They are grown in the same manner as green lettuces but are harvested after two to three weeks. To add some healthy crunch to sandwiches, try adding them.
This may surprise you, but you can grow potatoes (both sweet and regular) in the ground from scratch. Start with a sprouted potato and cut it into wedges, placing the sprouted side in at least four inches of soil. Cover them with four more inches of soil, and you’ll have potatoes in about two months! Make sure that you have a big enough pot, as they can get quite big, and you may need to add soil as the potatoes grow to ensure they are always covered.
Radishes grow quickly, taking 30 to 40 days from bud to harvest. They may not need as much light as other vegetables, but make sure they aren’t too crowded to allow your bulbs to grow.
Tomato is a plant that loves hot weather, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless indoors. They need a lot of light, from 14 to 20 hours a day. They are self-pollinating, much like peppers, although you may shake them to encourage pollen to go from blossom to flower. Smaller types often do better in containers, and you’ll notice that the seeds sprout much more quickly.