Do you live in an apartment, or only have a small garden, but have lofty dreams of becoming self-sufficient and growing your own food at home?
You do not need a degree in agriculture to master growing food indoors – you do not even need a lot of space! All you need is some passion, and basic know-how about how plants grow, seeds, soil, light and containers.
With winter around the corner, you may be wondering if any young plants will survive inside when temperatures drop. But we are here to tell you that you can grow a variety of scrumptious edible plants indoors in containers.
Grow Vegetables and Fruit Throughout the Year
Why would you want to grow plants and herbs indoors if you have a garden?
Good question…and the answer is pretty simple: it will allow you to grow plants throughout the year.
Some vegetables and fruit are seasonal as they depend on certain weather conditions and sunlight to bloom and produce fruit. By moving these plants indoors, they can be kept in optimum conditions throughout the year.
Indoor gardens also do not have to take up a lot of space. Beet seeds or carrot seeds can be placed in planters, you can use the base part of uncut green onions and place them directly in a little pot, even climbers like bush beans can be grown in a small pot.
If you are a beginner, choose some of the easiest veggies and fruits that we listed below. Once you feel more confident in your green thumb, you will be able to grow all the produce for stir-fries and fruit salads in no time.
The Easiest Vegetables and Fruit to Grow Indoors
1. Salad Greens
You will be surprised to find out how easy it is to grow leafy greens indoors. Lettuce, romaine, spinach, kale and chard are all very easy to grow, and you will be able to harvest your salad crops in no time.
You just need a container with a depth of around 15 centimetres (6 inches), some good soil, and constant light. Window boxes will work perfectly, or if you wish to place your planters elsewhere, make sure to provide the plants with an LED light.
You can grow your salad leaves from seed or get pre-potted salad greens from your local nursery.
Nothing tastes as delectably sweet as homegrown strawberries, and they are surprisingly easy to grow.
Strawberries do not require a lot of light and lots of strawberry plants can be planted close together and placed on a windowsill.
Strawberries tend to fruit in early spring when grown in greenhouses but may fruit only late in April when grown in your house.
The inside of your home is the perfect environment for strawberries, as they love warm weather and pleasant temperatures.
Peppers are low-maintenance plants to grow in a sunny spot in your house. They are probably some of the easiest vegetables to grow. From Picante peppers to chillies, these vibrant vegetables are easy to grow and delicious to eat.
You can keep and sow seeds from your store-bought peppers, or purchase the plants from a nursery and re-pot them.
Make sure to plant your peppers in pots with good drainage, and prevent the soil from drying out.
If you are a lover of citrus fruit, we have good news for you: you do not need an entire orchard to enjoy oranges and lemons at home.
When planted in pots, citrus trees do not grow very large and will be happy in a sunny spot in your living room.
Growing citrus from seeds can be challenging, so it would be best to buy a citrus sapling or small tree from your nursery and repot it into a desirable container in your home.
Self-pollinating citrus varieties will be best to ensure you get wonderful fruit. Meyer lemons are the most popular choice of citrus to grow indoors because of these abilities.
Tomatoes don’t enjoy the cold winter months, making them the ideal plant to grow in your warm home.
Cherry tomatoes are the most popular tomato variety for indoor growing, and these plants are relatively fuss-free.
Simply place your tomato plant in an area with full sun where the temperature never drops below 18 degrees Celsius. Plant the seeds about 60 mm deep, and keep the soil moist.
You will have juicy red tomatoes in no time.
Honourable mention: Mushrooms
Mushrooms may not be a fruit or vegetable, but this fungus deserves an honourable mention on this list.
Growing edible mushroom varieties are incredibly easy and you can purchase mushroom growing kits online. These kits can be in the form of growing logs or mushroom bags, and those mushrooms will be incredibly handy for stroganoff, roast veg, risotto or on the grill.
Things To Consider For Your Indoor Plants
Availability of space
Indoor gardens do not require a lot of space, but you will still have to secure some spots in the sun for your planters. An end table or windowsill will be handy enough for individual plants, but larger plants like citrus trees may take up a bit more space.
Shelves are a great option for smaller plants like spring onions or pole beans, but if you wish to grow potatoes, you may have to clear some space on the floor in your sunroom.
All plants need sunlight to survive, and even though plants can still grow in the absence of direct light, they may not be as leafy and productive as they could be.
South-facing windows are great places for planters as the direct sunlight will keep the plants happy during the warm months, but during winter you may notice that growing veg is more difficult.
To combat this lack of light, purchase grow lights that mimic the sun, and provide your plants with about 14 hours of light each day. Just make sure to keep the lights far enough away so you don’t accidentally burn the plants.
Temperature and Humidity
How successful you are at growing vegetables indoors will depend on the temperature and humidity of your house. Each plant requires a different temperature to truly thrive, so make sure you do your research beforehand and create the optimum conditions for your plants.
You may need to mist your plants or keep a humidifier during winter to keep your plants looking (and growing) their best.
It goes without saying that plants need soil – except if you are trying your hand at aquaponics.
It is best to purchase soil from the nursery, as your garden soil is full of weed seeds and pests. Make sure the soil level is deep enough for the roots of the plant you are attempting to grow.
Is it easy to grow vegetables and fruit indoors?
Yes, it is actually surprisingly easy to grow fruits and vegetables indoors. You just need to research the right plants that will thrive indoors, provide them with good soil and water, and make sure the plants have as much light as required.
What do I need to start an indoor garden?
You will need the following equipment to start an indoor garden:
- planters or containers
- potting mix
- a grow light
- humidifier and water
Indoor gardening can be fun and rewarding, and if you are good at it, you will be able to save money on food.
The five fruits and vegetables in this list are just to get you started, and you can experiment with other vegetables and fruit to provide you with a full pantry of healthy food.