indoor garden

The Best Vegetables to Grow Indoors

Want to grow fresh crops this winter? If you can grow your own food outdoors, growing vegetables and fruits indoors will not be a big problem for you.

Year-round vegetable gardening is easier than you think — you just have to be aware of the best vegetables to grow indoors. First figure out if you have the space and light requirements necessary, and then get that indoor garden growing!

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Note: There are some limitations when it comes to growing vegetables indoors. Primarily due to the lack of growing space you can devote to plants that like to sprawl outdoors. Be prepared to make due with smaller yields than you would get outdoors and a smaller list of plants to grow.

Happy with herbs

If you are not a big fan of growing herbs outdoors, learn to love herbs because they are the easiest vegetables to grow indoors. Unlike many fruits and vegetables that require copious amounts of sunlight and water to produce a crop, many popular herbs are content to produce with just regular watering and a sunny windowsill. Potting up your favorites from the garden to bring indoors for the winter is a practice we should all get in the habit of doing.

11 herbs that are perfect for your indoor garden:

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Raise the roots

You don’t need a raised bed or even planters that are very deep to grow your favorite root vegetables. Pots, boxes and kitchen items you can repurpose into planters are great for carrots and radishes. Choose round or globe varieties of radishes like Easter Egg and Pink Beauty.

Similarly, round varieties of carrots can be grown in smaller spaces. Look for seeds for varieties like Round Romeo, and short types like Little Finger and Parisienne.

Microgreens and mushrooms

Microgreens are a great way to get nutrient-dense vegetables into your winter diet without investing a lot of time and space to your kitchen countertop farm.

What are microgreens? Simply put, microgreens are just sprouted seeds. Most of us can grow seedlings without much of a problem. It is when they start to grow beyond the weeks that we start to have problems. Fortunately, all you need to to your own microgreens is a clean Mason jar or flat dish, seeds and time.

Most gardeners probably never think about growing their own mushrooms. In recent years there have been a few mushroom kits sold commercially that really take a lot of the guesswork and mystery out of growing mushrooms. The best part of growing mushrooms indoors is that you are not limited by the time of year, and low light levels are not a problem. The kits come with prepared growing medium and mushroom spawn. You water once when preparing the kit and place them in a cool (50 to 60 F), dark location and within a couple of weeks mushrooms start to crop up.

If you want to grow food indoors, I suggest staying away from attempting to grow big crops like tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and melons. Yes, with the grow lights and high electricity bills you can successfully harvest a crop, but it will not taste as good as the same plants grown in your garden during summer.

Beans are easy to germinate and a fun seed for kids to grow. Look for dwarf broad beans and dwarf runner bean varieties that you can grow in tall, sunny windowsills. Similarly, look for dwarf tropical fruit trees, or trees grown on dwarf rootstock, to add some variety to your indoor vegetable garden. The best vegetables to grow indoors are those that you can provide enough light and growing space. But do not be afraid to experiment and try new plants.

You might also enjoy our indoor vegetable gardening tips and our post on how to grow ginger indoors.

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8 Vegetables to Start a Winter Garden Indoors

Sometimes the winter can stop us from eating fresh veggies, but there are some hearty plants that can survive in the semi-harsh climates of your kitchen window even in February. Here is a list of great plants to grow inside in the winter.

  1. Carrots
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    Packed with vitamin A, full of beta-carotine, and a great anti-inflamitory, carrots are a wonderful vegetable that is super fun to grow. There are more types of carrots than you probably realize, making them great for a garden with limited space. There are even some carrots that only grow a couple inches deep so you are able to plant them under very limited circumstances. Plus, since you eat the root once you eat the carrot, you can swap them out for something new without too much investment in sill-space.

  2. Salad Greens
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    Romaine, Spinach, Arugula, all great for the winter window garden and for your health. Dark leafy veggies are a powerhouse of good nutrients and fuel. Plus you don’t lose the plant after you harvest as long as you only eat the outer leaves, allowing the middle to live on and grow more salad!

  3. Basil
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    This is my personal favorite herb. So versatile and so delicious. Fresh basil turns up the flavor on your favorite Italian or Thai dish plus it smells great. It is full of vitamin K and has anti-bacterial properties, making it a healthy addition to your diet.

  4. Kale
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    Kale is one of the easiest winter greens to grow. It is hearty and versatile, good for a raw salad or a side of cooked greens. Like other dark leafy veggies, Kale is high in iron and has wonderful inflammatory properties.

  5. Ginger
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    This is a new one I’m going to try tonight! Apparently if you put a piece of ginger from the grocery store into water or moist dirt with the freshest ends sticking out, it will start to grow more ginger and begin to develop roots. Ginger has been popular for centuries as a stomachache cure and an anti-inflamatory, plus fresh grated ginger tastes great in a stir fry!

  6. Rosemary
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    Rosemary is easy to grow and turns into a little bush that resembles a Christmas Tree! Great as a tea, in a soup, or on top of potatoes, rosemary is a pungent and wonderful addition to winter recipes. It also improves circulation, helps with digestion, and like other green leafy-s, is an anti-inflamatory.

  7. Green Onion
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    Like ginger, all you need to grow a green onion indoors is a green onion and a cup of water. The Vitamin A and K in these green garnishes promotes good bone health and eye sight.

  8. Chilli Peppers
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    Chillis are a colorful and exciting addition to the indoor garden space. Pick from a variety of different chillis to spice up your meals and your window sill. Also great for clearing your sinuses when you get the winter flu.

When you go to start your garden be sure you have drainage for your plants by either having a pot with holes at the bottom (and a dish to catch water) or by placing pebbles at the bottom of your pot. Also be sure to pick a place with plenty of sunlight to compensate for the indoors.

Get creative with your containers! An old coffee can or a cool old toy can make for a unique and stylish accessory to your apartment that is also fun and practical.