Just because the weather has turned colder doesn’t mean that you have to give up on freshly picked homegrown produce. There are plenty of delicious herbs and vegetables that – with a little bit of planning — can be grown indoors.
And while this list is by no means comprehensive (you might truly be surprised by how many varieties of herbs and veggies you can grow indoors), I’d like to provide a list of six simple plants that you can get started with today!
Let’s begin with herbs, as they are by far the most common edible that comes to mind when someone mentions the words “indoor garden.” In fact, growing indoor herb gardens has become so popular that many hardware stores and garden centers sell pre-organized kitchen herb gardens. And while there is nothing wrong with these, I think it’s much more fun to do it yourself.
Basil has got to be one of my favorite herbs. Not only does it add a deliciously fresh element to all manner of sauces, soups and salads but its fragrant leaves are absolutely wonderful. And, provided you can give it enough light, it will grow easily indoors.
Indoor basil should have at least four hours of sunlight (or 12 hours under a florescent bulb) every day in order to keep it at its leafy best. It will readily start from seed and once you have two-week-old starts, you can transfer it to a four-inch pot. Make sure it is in a spot where it will get enough light, keep the soil moist and then keep it handy for lots of delicious dishes!
With Thanksgiving on the way and Christmas not too far behind it, it likely won’t be long before you’re dreaming of roast turkey. And for many, roast turkey and rosemary go hand in hand. In fact, the smell of rosemary wafting through the house has become so much part of the holiday season that some clever person came up with the brilliant idea of rosemary Christmas trees!
For best results with rosemary, it should receive at least six hours of sunlight each day in a south- or west-facing window or be supplemented with a fluorescent bulb. Rosemary prefers well-drained soil. One word of warning, however: The smell of fresh rosemary growing in your home may cause you to crave roast turkey.
Chives are a versatile oniony little herb that are extremely easy to grow indoors. Not only that, but many people find them to be quite an attractive herb to have in their kitchen – not to mention they add the perfect finishing touch to baked potatoes and veggie dips.
And while indoor chives prefer a sunny windowsill, this is one hardy plant and can grow just about anywhere.
When working on your indoor garden, however, don’t limit yourself to herbs. There are several vegetables that will also grow very well indoors.
Typically relegated to those awkward corners in your garden where you don’t know what else to plant, the humble radish can be a great way to bring a salad to life – or throw a couple in the juicer along with whatever other fruits and vegetables you normally use for a little extra kick.
And quick-growing radishes are also quite easy to grow indoors. Just make sure that the container you use is deep enough (twice as deep as you expect your mature radish to be) and is planted in well-drained soil. And as a bonus, make sure you don’t waste the greens, as these are edible, too. Personally, I find the texture is not that nice to eat radish greens in a raw salad, but they make for a delicious soup.
The only way you can be sure of getting fresh vine-ripened tomatoes this winter is to grow them yourself. As you may know, grocery store tomatoes must be picked and shipped green in order to survive the journey. And while this is an OK second-best kind of solution, the taste of a tomato that has been ripened with ethylene gas cannot compare to the taste of a tomato which has been ripened on the vine.
While you might find it challenging growing giant beefsteak-type tomatoes indoors, small cherry and windowsill tomatoes can be a wonderful addition to your indoor collection of herbs and vegetables.
If you are starting your tomatoes from seed, you’ll likely want to start them sometime between September and November, as they will take three to four months to mature.
6. Green Beans
Green bean plants are great to have around for a quick and convenient snack. Many people are also surprised to learn that this plant can also be grown indoors. Green beans come in two main types – bush and pole. And while you can certainly have a trellis in your window for pole beans, the bush type is much easier for indoor growing.
To grow beans inside, use a long, narrow container that drains well. Put newspaper in the bottom, so you don’t lose your soil. Seeds should be planted about four inches apart and about one and a half inches deep. Be careful not to overwater in the early stages as seeds may not germinate if you do.
Once your beans start to sprout, they will need about six hours of sunlight each day and will mature in about 50-60 days.
This list is by no means complete. There are plenty of other herbs and vegetables that can be grown indoors, and having your own fresh homegrown produce is a great way to fight the winter blahs.
What herbs and veggies do you grow indoors? Leave your tips in the section below: