You may be under the impression that gardening ends when the first frost hits. This is a bold-faced myth – with enough know-how and patience, you can absolutely start growing vegetables indoors. If you like the idea of year-round fresh veggies within arm’s reach of your arm chair, and you’re willing to give it the old college try, you’re already pre-qualified. Follow this simple guide to growing vegetables indoors and turn your house (or at least parts of it) into a frost-proof Garden of Eden.
How To Grow Vegetables Indoors – A 5-Step Plan
1. Evaluate Your Space. Your first consideration is sunlight, and for most plants, you’ll want as much light as possible – ideally from southern exposure. Decide how much space around your windows, glass doors, or conservatory you’re willing to utilize. Low on options, or feel like taking a walk on the wild side? Dark, cool, breezeless spaces provide the perfect places to grow mushrooms indoors.
2. Choose Your Hardware. There are a variety of ways to creatively plant your future veggies. Windowsills can be lined with multiple pots or boxes built to the length of your sill. Planter pots can be hung from the ceiling or piled on a table near your window. One thing you’ll want to take note of: make sure that the hardware you choose allows for drainage of excess water from the bottom of the planter.
You don’t have to get ultra-fancy or spend a lot of dough on pottery, either – simple plastic pots from your local hardware store will do the trick if you’d prefer to keep the costs of your science experiment down. Growing vegetables indoors doesn’t have to be an expensive or headache-inducing adventure, as long as you plan properly. Which brings us to the next point…
3. Pick Your Plants Wisely. Pick from among these veggies, which have relatively short harvest times and are comparatively hardy. If you’re new to growing vegetables indoors, your confidence may be shaky to start, so do yourself a solid and choose the plants that set the odds in your favor.
Once you’ve picked your pretties, decide how you’d like to acquire seeds. They’ll be available at your local home and garden store, but if you’re feeling fancy (or just experimental), you can seek out heirloom and/or organic seeds from various sources. Specialty stores, local farmers, and multiple websites offer heirloom and organic seeds, and they generally provide any specialized advice necessary on how to grow them. Order up!
4. Get Dirty. Modern science has made this formerly-tedious job—finding suitable soil for your veggies—almost a no-brainer. Just about every home and garden store stocks a wide variety of ready-to-use bagged soil. Most of these are perfected cocktails of plant-food, infused with all the compounds a sprouting plant could possibly want. Take advantage of the advanced options the different brands have to offer, which can help mitigate potential problems like low light, low moisture and other special circumstances. There’s a soil for everything. Check the package’s labeling and pick the right dirt for the job.
5. Plant Away. You’ve got your seeds, your soil and your planters – you’re ready to start growing vegetables indoors! But first, estimate the height of each plant (the picture on the seed packet should give you a good idea), and put enough soil in each pot that the roots of said plant could grow to a length that’s twice its height. Example: if your lettuce is expected to grow to four inches high, give it eight inches of root space. Compress the soil lightly with your fingers to provide a firm foundation for the sprouts, but don’t pack it down tightly.
Poke a finger into the soil about two inches deep. Do this in several spots over the surface of your soil, approximately two inches apart – this gives you multiple chances to get a successful sprout. (In the case that you have the good problem of too many plants growing in too small an area, you can always transplant later.) Toss a seed into each of the two-inch deep holes, and completely cover them with soil.
Water each pot enough to saturate the top inch of soil. Wash your hands. You’re finished.
How to proceed with growing vegetables indoors: Water whenever you feel the top crust of soil become dry. Then sit back and watch as seeds become sprouts and sprouts become plants. Get those tongs ready – you’ll be tossing fresh, homegrown salad greens within a month.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your veggies fresh, try adding a BerryBreeze to your fridge. You’ll notice that your food stays much fresher longer – and a longer storage life means less waste (both food and financial).