Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Yes, we’d all love to have a sprawling garden full of fruits, veggies and magical beans that lead us up to a castle in the sky–but life’s not fair. Maybe you are working with a small space, or perhaps winter is coming and you want to actually give your crops a fighting chance.
Regardless, it’s no big deal. Setting up a home garden where you can grow edible plants indoors is a piece of (carrot) cake. But before we get into the ‘what’, let’s talk about the ‘how’…
To start an indoor garden, you need to consider 3 key elements: sunlight, soil, and water.
Soil is easy. At your local hardware store, gardening market, or online savior, Amazon, look for any type of soil branded as “potting soil.” This soil will provide a balanced level of vitamins and nutrients that your seeds need in order to grow big and yummy.
Sunlight can be a bit trickier as every plant’s sunlight needs are different, so let’s break it down. When a plant requires Full Sun, that means your plant should be placed on a windowsill where it can sit directly in the sun for around 6 hours a day–usually the hottest hours.
Part Sun means that your plant just needs a kiss of sunlight for a few hours in the morning or a few hours in the afternoon. Full Shade requires the least maintenance where your plant can hang out just about anywhere in the house that isn’t a dark cave.
Water preferences also vary from plant to plant with some plants requiring more water than others. For deep potted plants, use a rain shower watering can; and for smaller crops and pots, a simple spray bottle to provide a bit of moisture will do just fine. When using tap water, some people like to let it sit out for 24 hours to allow it to reach room temperature.
1. Basil & Rosemary
You don’t have to be a gardening mastermind to grow Basil or Rosemary. With the right environment, these herbs have the potential to grow into a massive, delicious success. Just snip off a branch and throw it into your pot, pan, or pitcher of iced tea.
Potting: These herbs can grow in just about any pot so pick one that you like to look at! I like these Cedar Planters where you can label each plant in chalk.
Sunlight: Basil and Rosemary require Full Sun.
Water: Water your Basil and Rosemary plants once a day in hot weather or every other day in moderate temperatures.
2. Parsley & Cilantro
These herbs are a staple in households around the world! Parsley is great in classic savory dishes whereas Cilantro can add that Latin Flare to just about anything you cook.
Potting: Parsley and Cilantro are more sensitive to water and sunlight. While you can absolutely grow them in a standard pot, you might want to consider something a little more high-tech, like this Indoor Smart Herb Garden with LED light support.
Sunlight: Parsley and Cilantro require Part Sun.
Water: Water these herbs every day.
Chilies are a resilient crop, making them a wonderful candidate to grow indoors. Unlike many other herbs and plants, they won’t wilt away the second you forget to water them.
Potting: A chili planting pot should be around 10 inches deep and should be colorful! Out of all your plants, this one might be the most beautiful, so take advantage by making it a centerpiece for your kitchen.
Sunlight: Chilies require Part Sun.
Water: Water your chilies generously every day.
4. Heirloom Tomatoes
Who doesn’t love plump, juicy tomatoes? They are so versatile: throw them in a salad, mash them up for marinara, or pair them with your herbs in a Tomato Basil Soup.
Potting: Start your seeds out individually in small planting pots until they develop into seedlings. Then, give them a pot with height that will allow the vines to climb, as Heirloom Tomatoes can grow nice and tall.
Sunlight: Heirloom Tomatoes need Part Sun.
Water: Water your tomatoes every day and sometimes twice a day if the soil gets dry.
I bet you didn’t know that you can grow cucumbers indoors! Just make sure you have enough space–these plants get big.
Potting: Cucumbers need lots of room in a pot to yield the best results. Fill this 16-inch Poly Planter up with about ¾ soil and get to planting.
Sunlight: Cucumbers require Part Sun when available but will grow even in the dark winter.
Water: Give them water 3 to 4 times per week.
6. String Beans
You know that beanstalk you never got to sow? Here is your chance to get closer to that dream with string beans!
Potting: The bigger the better with string bean pots. Go all out with a 12 x 18 – inch pot and you can even throw a packet of Kale seeds in there to grow along side.
Sunlight: String Beans require Full Sun.
Water: Water your String Beans every day or every other day depending on how dry the soil gets.
Crisp green and purple lettuce growing in your home is what dreams are made of! Even better, lettuce grows pretty quickly, so expect multiple harvests per season.
Potting: Your pot doesn’t have to be very deep, but it does need to be quite wide so that you can space your lettuce seeds at least 4 inches apart. This window planter box is the perfect size and has a self-watering feature that will come in handy for this crop.
Sunlight: Lettuce requires Full Sun.
Water: The soil should always be kept moist, especially on the hottest days. A self-watering planter will help you keep up.
Here’s another easy one, folks. Spinach isn’t fussy about where it’s potted and is certainly not counting the hours of sunlight it receives each day.
Potting: For spinach, I’ve always liked to use mid-sized hanging planters that can dangle in my window. This style pot doesn’t require too much water, so you won’t risk dripping all over the floor.
Sunlight: Spinach requires Part Sun a few times a week.
Water: Use a spray bottle to mist the Spinach once a day.
You may have noticed that if you leave your whole heads of garlic sitting around for too long that they start to sprout. You can recycle unused Garlic and it will do most of the work for you if you give it a nice place to grow.
Potting: Get excited because you don’t even need soil for this indoor plant–just a shallow container. I recommend using a clear saucer so that you can see when to clean the water and enjoy watching the roots grow. Alternatively, you can place your recycled garlic cloves half-covered in a small pot of soil.
Sunlight: Full Shade, Part Sun, Full Sun–whatever.
Water: Just be sure to change the dirty water and keep the garlic halfway submerged in water.
Cautionary Tip: Just because you’re growing indoors doesn’t mean that your crops are exempt from pests. If you notice little nibbles in your leaves, spray your plants with all-natural neem oil.
So, there you have it! No more running to the grocery store or worrying about whether or not farmers have used pesticides on your veggies. You can grow these edible plants indoors as long as you pay attention to their specific needs. Gardening indoors is extremely low maintenance and yields fruitful results no matter where you live.
How the flowers get pollinated?
Denise M Helt says
I thought that all flowering vegetable plants need to be outside so they can be pollinated by bees
Kieran Roberts says
Some plants require part sun but from my experience, tomatoes require full sun
I am curious about where you got your information about sun requirements, etc. Research that I have read says tomatoes, chili peppers and cucumbers generally require full direct sun to thrive and set good fruit. Are there specific varieties that you can recommend that grow in part sun or “dark winter”? Thanks!