You can grow a good variety of vegetables inside your home all year-round with this basic, inexpensive setup.
For more, see indoor food growing tips here.
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Food Growing Indoors
Excellent New Resource for Growing Veggies and Herbs Indoors
Ever since I accidentally discovered that I could grow peas indoors a few years ago, I have been experimenting with indoor food growing with a variety of vegetables and herbs.
I used to just start the seeds indoors and then plant everything outdoors in the spring and fall, but that unexpected appearance of one beautiful pea pod dangling under my indoor grow lights, while winter was going full blast outside, changed everything. I realized I could grow so much more indoors as well.
Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home Into a Year-Round Vegetable Garden by Elizabeth Millard is the first book I’ve found that teaches indoor food growing in simple terms and matches my own experience.
The same way The Year Round Vegetable Garden: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year No Matter Where You Live by Niki Jabbour got me started with outdoor winter veggie growing (here in Ontario, Canada), Indoor Kitchen Gardening is an excellent resource for anyone who want to try growing some sprouts, greens, herbs (and lots more veggies) in their home.
The book is just the right length, provides the right amount of detail, and the images are engaging, useful, and quite inspiring. If you’re like me and find vegetable plants beautiful unto themselves, the fact that you can grow them indoors—and eat them too!—is rather fabulous indeed.
Veggies and Herbs You Can Grow Indoors
I’ve had the best success with:
- Leafy greens (not head lettuces) including spinach and arugula (and many more)
- Sprouts and microgreens – see How to Grow Microgreens
- Cherry tomatoes
- Carrots (you can also grow them in jars)
- Swiss chard
Annual herbs germinate, bloom, produce, seed, and die, within one year.
- Basil, sweet | Ocimum basilicum – leaves
Not so easy to grow from seed indoors but does okay from a starter plant.
- Chervil | Anthriscus cereifolium – leaves – perennial grown as annual
A relative of parsley, okay with low light.
- Cilantro coriander | Coriandrum sativum – goes to seed quickly (tends to bolt)
Cilantro – leaves and stems
Coriander – seeds
Recommended: Vietnamese coriander is one of the easiest to grow. Try growing sprouts indoors for culinary use.
- Lemongrass | Cymbopogon citratus – leaf stalks – zones 9-10 tropical plant
Start with a stalk from the grocery store. Trim top and grow in a few inches of water.
- Parsley | Petroselinum crispum, Petroselinum hortense – leaves – biennial grown as annual (6-8 hours sun per day)
Can be slow-growing indoors.
Perennial herbs live on for several years. They can flower or fruit year after year. If we are using the plants for their leaves or stems, regular harvesting or pruning is beneficial for preventing flowering.
- Chives | Allium schoenoprasum -Leaves and flowers- zones 3-9 (4-6 hours sun per day)
- Lemon balm | Melissa officinalis – leaves- invasive- zones 4-9
- Marjoram, sweet | Origanum majorana -tender perennial, -leaves – zones 9-10
- Mint | Mentha spp. – leaves – invasive – grow in containers in-ground or above-ground – zones 4-9
- Oregano | Origanum spp. – leaves – zones 4-8 (8 hours sun per day)
- Rosemary | Rosemarinus officinalis – tender perennial– leaves (8 hours sun per day)
Can grow from seed or cuttings. Careful not to over-water.
- Sage | Salvia officinalis – leaves – zones 5-9
Can take a long time to grow. Try dwarf varieties indoors. Prone to death from over-watering.
- Tarragon, French | Artemisia dracunculus – sprigs – zones 4-8
- Thyme | Foeniculum vulgare, Thymus vulgaris – leaves and seeds – lots of varieties (8 hours sun per day)
Ready to Grow?
If you’re interested trying indoor food growing, I’d definitely recommend getting the book or asking your local library to buy it.
If you’re new to growing plants indoors or starting plants from seed, start with one container of greens (I buy Mesclun Mix which contains a variety of delicious salad greens) and see how it goes. If you’re like me, once you taste the fresh greens in the middle of winter, you’ll be hooked.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
Seed Starting for Beginners | Ebook
$5 US | Instant DownloadAdd to Cart
Complete guide to indoor seed starting. Grow your own garden!
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