When most of us think of a vegetable garden, we picture raised beds, willow trellises, and soil so rich and refined that you can till it with your bare hands. But not everyone has a country house and extra land to devote to a traditional garden. In fact many of us have no yard at all. But that does not mean we can’t grow some of our own food at home. Just like any undertaking, growing food takes time and some effort, but the rewards can be thrilling.
Here is our list of eight edible plants that can be grown indoors. If you live in an apartment, condo, or even a rented room, if there is a will, there is a way. Try growing some or all of these delicious plants, and enjoy your own nutritious edible plant harvests.
As the name implies microgreens are small, which is great when you are limited on space. Microgreen seeds are simply seeds of regular vegetables and herbs that you harvest sooner and eat the green growing foliage instead of the mature vegetables. Broccoli, carrots, beets, celery, lettuce, and mustard are all types of plants that can be grown and harvested as microgreens. They pack serious nutrition and are easy to grow. You can grow them in a sunny window and harvest them once they reach a few inches tall; amazing, fun, and oh so easy. If you are new to growing edible plants indoors, microgreens are the place to start.
Green onions are another smaller plant that can be harvested rather quickly, and both of these attributes lend themselves to growing inside. You can regrow green onions from the ones you buy at the store. Save the root end and about 1-inch of the white stalk. Put them into the bottom of a medium to large glass or clear plastic jar (like the jars mayonnaise comes in) then add an inch of water. Place the jar in your sunniest window, and change out the water at least once a week. The green onion tops will grow right out of the jar opening and you can pull them out and use them as soon as they are big enough.
Mint is a sturdy, vigorous herb that is easy to grow and boy does it grow fast. All of these characteristics make it great for growing indoors. Just place a young mint plant in a sunny window and water once per week. Don’t be afraid to cut off and use the mint leaves and sprigs as the herb grows. Mint actually loves to be trimmed, and will grow better when you prune it. You can use it for tea, in fruit salads, and of course for mojitos.
Kale can be grown indoors as long as you can give it six or more hours of bright light per day. If you have a south-facing window that gets bright light all day, then you can grow Kale. Searing direct sunlight in the hottest southern states may be too much for new Kale plants, so move them around accordingly. Start Kale seeds in a wide, shallow tray and once the seeds sprout and grow to a few inches tall, carefully move them to individual 8-inch pots.
Rosemary can be
a slow starter, so it may be best to begin with a small plant. Plant it in a
slightly larger pot and put it in a sunny location like a window or on a
balcony. Once it takes a liking to its new home, rosemary is easy to grow and
can last for over a year. Be sure the soil drains well and don’t let it stay
soggy by overwatering. When the soil is dry down to 2 inches deep, water well
and let it drain fully.
Growing lettuce is easy and fun, and there are many types to grow indoors. Romaine is a favorite because the heads are sturdy and the outer leaves can be harvested as the plants continue to grow. Buy baby plants at the nursery, or start your own from romaine bottoms in much the same way you would the green onions described above. Once you have rooted the bottoms in water, transfer to a pot with soil. You can grow four or five heads of romaine in a 3-gallon pot. Give it bright light and water once a week.
You can grow many kinds of peppers in indoor pots. A sunny spot, well-drained potting soil, and a pot with holes for drainage is all you need. Small hot peppers are easy and fun to grow and can be used to spice up many dishes. You can also grow sweet peppers for stir fry or other recipes. Peppers growing inside will sometimes need more support, but a few bamboo sticks or wood dowels and a string here and there will suffice. Experiment to find the varieties that do best for you in your location, and enjoy growing this edible favorite at home.
Basil is a treasured herb for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it is very easy to grow. Basil can be grown in a kitchen window, and the delicious, fragrant leaves can be snipped off with scissors anytime you want to add fresh herbs to a dish. You can also grow basil from cuttings. Cut off a main branch just below a spot where two branches emerge. Cut off those two branches leaving about an inch of each, and the remaining growing basil top. Plant the cutting so that the bottom two cut branches are below the soil, keep moist, and watch your new basil plant take off.