Ah, summer. You are the most popular season. You’re the time that everyone spends outside on their porches, watching the sun go down. Which is really the only comfortable time to be outside, since daytime consists of 95% humidity and nighttime is a swarm of mosquitos. As a result, gardening can be a bit of a challenge.
Of course, just because July and August may not be the best time to be outside doesn’t mean you need to give up on your gardening dreams. You may need to do a little bit of prep work, of course, but an indoor garden can turn your home into an oasis in the summer, and a tropical wonderland in winter. If you’d like your indoor garden close to where you’ll be cooking, you’ll need quite a bit of light. Some inventive ideas, or even a minor kitchen remodel can make the difference between a fantastic idea, and a disappointing experiment.
6 Vegetables You Can Grow Indoors
Pretty much any variety of tomato plant will grow well in a container. Of course, tomatoes are heavy, and they’ll need some support, but you’d have to do a trellis outside as well. Cherry tomatoes will spawn the biggest yield as far as sheer numbers go, and they’re wonderful if you have a few smaller helpers. Children are much more likely to enjoy cherry tomatoes, since they’re just their size. Plus, the weight of the fruit is less likely to break the stems.
Root vegetables are surprisingly simple to grow inside. Plus, carrots can be used in almost any recipe, so you don’t have to worry about a surplus. Round carrot varieties or a deep window box will allow you to grow your carrots indoors. Most of the time, it’s easiest to find them as seeds (your local grocery store will probably have them). When grown inside, carrots don’t have much of a season. Therefore, if you harvest one crop, you can simply plant the next batch and expect fresh carrots year-round.
Another root, garlic has some huge health benefits. However, it also grows with almost no help. Ever gotten too many garlic cloves and seen them sprout? That’s just from sitting around! Imagine how well they can do with a little soil and water to help them out. By simply planting whole cloves of garlic (instead of adding them to the spaghetti sauce), you can end up with a whole plethora! In order to make it edible, the new garlic cloves will need to be dried and stored. Luckily, all that is easily accomplished in a basement or storage shed.
The only warning I would give with growing salad greens is to keep an eye on the kind you choose. Some of these lettuces can get pretty big, and unless you have a rabbit, you may find that you’ve planted too much to make use of. Greens also need plenty of space in the pot, so once they begin sprouting, pull out all but the healthiest ones. This will ensure that you have a good crop, and that you don’t end up overcrowding them. Then just lop off what you need for salads!
Pretty much the only plant that you can water and literally toss in a dark closet, mushrooms are ideal for a beginning, or lazy, gardener. You can buy a bag of compost and some spores, water them, and then toss them in a closet or cupboard somewhere. A few weeks later, they’ll be ready to harvest. Since mushrooms are delicious but deadly to get wrong, this is a much safer option than trying to learn how to gather them on your own.
Ok, so herbs aren’t technically a vegetable. However, they are excellent to grow indoors, you can use them year-round, and they’ll make your home smell amazing. Mint is a great one for indoor growing. Outside, mint likes to take over, and your herb garden may easily become a mint problem. Keeping them in pots prevents this.
Oregano, thyme, verbena and rosemary also grow well inside. Individual planter boxes are the best ways to keep them separate, but some varieties will do quite well together. Figure out what you’d most like to have first, then decide how to plant them. Ones that like similar amounts of water and sun (and won’t crowd each other out) are best to combine.
If you’ve decided to start an indoor garden, you’ve chosen one hobby that’s sure to get some attention. It’s not many people who have fresh vegetables in the middle of winter, or who manage to bring in the harvest without breaking a sweat. So roll up your sleeves, get the brightest areas of the kitchen set, and start looking forward to fresh produce, and a lower grocery bill.
Contributing Author: Alicia is a “Jill of all trades.” She writes about DIY projects, home advice and health on her blog Homey Improvements, works as a freelance writer, and helps a variety of clients with content marketing.