The Easiest Vegetables to Grow Indoors
There's nothing quite like freshly picked produce and between the growing popularity of community gardens, farmers' markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), it would seem that many people across the country agree. The benefits of local, seasonal, farm-fresh foods are easy to see — they not only taste better, but their purchase helps to strengthen and support local communities and they're a little bit easier on the environment (especially if grown organically) than those you'll find in the supermarket, since they're typically grown on a smaller scale and require less travel. Growing your own food is another option and offers a few additional bonuses — like knowing how and where your fruits and veg were grown, not to mention the satisfaction of having grown them yourself.
Even if you don't have a yard of your own or call a pint-sized apartment home, you can still reap the benefits of homegrown produce — a simple windowsill, a little counter space or a small corner will do.
If you're not ready to go all out just yet, herbs are a great way to get your feet wet. Start with seeds or a starter plant (a much easier, hassle-free option), potting each in a container with plenty of drainage holes and placing them in a well-lit spot in your home. Water often — about once a day — trim regularly and be sure to keep flower buds in check whenever they pop up, which will encourage plants to grow and produce more leaves.
Glazed, roasted or pureed into soup, carrots are easy to grow at home and offer plentiful culinary possibilities. If you're short on space, look to short varieties, which can be grown in small boxes, troughs or 8″ pots. Look to 12″ pots for long varieties. Seeds can be sown almost any time of year and will start two produce carrots only a few short weeks after planting. Keep soil moist and when harvest, pull straight out to avoid damaging other carrots' roots.
It's a well-known fact that store-bought tomatoes are sub par (globular red cardboard, anyone?), so growing them at home when you can't get them fresh from the farm is the way to go. And with so many varieties available, you're bound to find at least one that will work within the confines of your space. Put them in Just remember, lots of light is key!
Radishes are one of those majorly underrated legumes. They boast some pretty fantastic health benefits (what vegetable doesn't though, right?) and they're delicious. Two words: glazed radishes. You've seriously got to try them. Like carrots, these pint-sized root vegetables don't need a much space to grow and things like pots, pans, boxes or any other spacious container can be repurposed into planters. Globe and round varieties are great for small spaces.
Potatoes can easily be grown in a confined space with just a few buckets, large pots or bags. Fill the containers with good quality compost, leaving enough space to add more compost as the spuds develop. Place tubers near the top of the bag, giving them plenty of space to put down roots. Cover with a few more inches of compost and water sparingly. The soil should be moist, never wet. As the potatoes grow, soil should be added so that only the top inch or so of the plant is poking through. You'll know they're ready to harvest one they start to turn yellow. Green potatoes are poisonous and are best avoided.
Mushrooms are a low-key crop that require minimal effort — perfect if you're not the most attentive gardener. You can buy kits with compost and mushroom spawn ready and raring to go, which require nothing more than a little watering before being placed in a cool dark place like a cupboard.
Fresh, homegrown beans are well within reach as long as you have a nice sunny spot on hand. Dwarf varieties are best for indoors and seeds can be sown in late winter onwards. As the beans grow, adding a stick to the pot will give the plant a little stability and support.
While everything from bok choi to kale and cabbage can be grown indoors, microgreens are delicious, nutrient-packed and stress-free. What are they? Essentially, sprouted seeds, so as long as you can get your greens to sprout, you're golden. To grow microgreens all you need is a flat dish, a little bit of soil and time.
This is only a small sampling of the many types of produce you can grow at home. Once you get comfortable with these, go ahead and give everything from eggplants to endive and leeks a try!