Grow your own fruits, herbs, and veggies indoors year-round—get this FREEBIE about the best way to start growing vegetables indoors, and you’ll never run out of healthy home-grown food!
Dear Home Food Gardener,
Are you tight on space? Not enough room for an outdoor garden? Want to have fresh herbs on hand all year round? With Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners, you’ll learn about the best way to grow fruits, herbs and vegetables indoors.
Vegetables, herbs, and even some fruits are a breeze to grow indoors with the right preparation. From windowsill to greenhouse, there’s a way for you to grow your own delicious food all year long. This is especially helpful if you live in a region with cold winters. And no matter your budget, there’s a growing approach that can work for you!
Please use this FREEBIE Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners to get started with your own indoor garden, whether this is the only gardening you do, or if you just want to have your own fresh food on hand year-round. There are three basic options for you to consider: containers, hydroponics, and a greenhouse.
Now, when we say “containers,” that’s a pretty broad category. You can grow everything from herbs in small pots on your windowsill to a small fruit tree in a sunny room. Maintaining a container garden is quick, easy, and affordable. All you really need are a few pots, mugs, or planters, some good potting soil, quality seeds or seedlings, and sunlight.
One of the most important components of any garden is light, and a container garden is no exception. Wherever you put your containers—big or small—you need to make sure your plants will get adequate light.
The ideal setting for growing vegetables indoors is, of course, the kitchen. I just love being able to snip some fresh basil to spice up dinner. If you don’t have enough light in your kitchen, then you’ll want to get a grow light—just make sure you set up your system safely, and keep those grow lights away from the sink!
When you’re scoping out your living space for the best spot for growing vegetables indoors, consider going beyond the kitchen. Do you have a sunroom—or a sunny room—where you can set up a few containers? Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive (although it can be both). Something as simple as a table by a sunny window can be enough for a wide range of plants, herbs, vegetables, and even some fruit trees.
If you’re really tight on space, another option for growing vegetables indoors is a wall garden—turn a wall into a living work of art! You can use a series of small shelves or look into buying (or making!) a hanging wall garden. There are lots of options available.
Key tips for cold days and long nights
Wherever you set up your containers, make sure your plants will get the light they need. That may mean using grow lights for at least part of the year. A south-facing window might be adequate for the summer, but if you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll want to supplement your indoor garden with some grow lights. There are plenty of grow lights on the market to fit pretty much any space and any budget.
Keep things simple. Don’t pick exotic varieties of plants. Look for hybrid varieties that can grow well in containers. When in doubt, ask your garden center or extension center. And keep things warm—just because it’s winter outside, your plants will still need a warm and welcoming growing environment. So don’t put your herb planter in the front hall where it will face gusts of cold air whenever someone opens the door.
Hydroponics is another method you can consider for growing vegetables indoors. It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. There are simple hydroponic systems, and then there are over-the-top deluxe hydroponic systems. It all depends on your growing goals, your available growing space—and your budget.
Some hydroponic systems are easier to manage than others. The wick system, for instance, is good if you’re growing smaller plants like herbs or veggies that aren’t heavy feeders. Vining plants are out—they’ll take up too much space. Leafy veggies, peppers, and cucumbers are good candidates for more advanced hydroponic gardening systems.
Water and light are key to using a hydroponic gardening system. Assess the possibilities in your space to determine if you can make a small hydroponic system work on your windowsill, or if you need to dedicate an indoor gardening cart complete with access to power and plumbing.
Growing vegetables indoors without soil has its advantages and disadvantages. Ironically, a hydroponic garden uses 80% less water than growing the same crops in soil—and plants can grow up to 50% faster than they would in soil! You don’t have to worry about weeds, pests, or soil-borne diseases. Plants grow faster, since they don’t have to spend so much energy sending out roots. Once you get a hydroponic system up and running, you’ll have a regular supply of fresh herbs and veggies. That will certainly brighten up any dark winter day!
Now, the flip side of hydroponic gardening: you have to clean the system on a regular basis. How complicated cleaning is depends on the system you pick. You might just need to refresh the water tray, or you might need to break down the tubing for a thorough cleaning. Do your research ahead of time, and don’t let overenthusiasm tempt you to get too complicated a system.
Learn more about the pros and cons of hydroponic gardening—when you read this FREEBIE, Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners.
When you think of a greenhouse, you might picture one of those gigantic, commercial structures almost the size of a house. But there are tiny greenhouses you can keep inside, or on a sunny porch, deck, or balcony. Some are taller than they are wide, almost like a dresser. Then there are simple DIY greenhouses you can build with poles and plastic or straw bales and an old window, and more traditional greenhouse kits that look like smaller versions of what you see at your local nursery.
One of the best advantages of growing vegetables indoors in a greenhouse is control: you control the growing environment. That means you can start your seeds early and extend your indoor growing season by weeks or months! Just be sure to set up your greenhouse on the south or southeast side of your house, to maximize sun exposure.
If you go the greenhouse route, use a greenhouse to grow crops that need more time to develop, crops that don’t like chilly spring nights, or plants that are especially attractive to garden pests like rabbits and squirrels.
The best plants to consider for growing vegetables indoors in a greenhouse include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme—and eggplant. If you’re not going to use a greenhouse as your primary gardening space, you can certainly use it to get a jump on the gardening season. Plant your seeds early to have seedlings ready to go into the ground after the last frost is past!
You’ll love having the flexibility to get seeds started early, or keeping your herbs and greens growing all winter long with your own personal greenhouse. Find out more about greenhouse gardening in our FREEBIE, Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners right now!
No matter which option you choose for growing vegetables indoors, the right light is essential if you want to get your plants from seedlings to harvest. In our FREEBIE, Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners, we discuss the difference between lighting systems—fluorescent, LED, and incandescent—and the benefits (or lack thereof) of each type.
Still deciding about the best way to grow vegetables indoors? Read through Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners right now, and get your indoor garden growing!
Senior Editor & Producer
Food Gardening Network
P.S. Act now to get this FREEBIE Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners—it’s never too late or too early to get practical advice about vegetable gardening at home!