So you’re interested in growing vegetables indoors.
Maybe you live in an apartment or a condo, or maybe you just don’t have any good spaces in your front or back yard. Or maybe you’re thinking of growing vegetables out of season, when it’s too cold outside.
Whatever your reasoning for wanting to learn how to grow vegetables inside, we’re here to help.
Here are some of the best online resources for indoor vegetable and herb growing instructions that we have carefully researched for you.
The Arizona Master Gardener Manual features a terrific page about container gardening that also includes a long section about how you can grow vegetables indoors in containers.
You’ll need a south facing, sunny window. You’ll probably need supplemental light. And you’ll have to be careful not to over-fertilize or overwater, because plants are going to grow more slowly indoors.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension also covers indoor vegetable gardening on their container gardening page.
You’ll have to look out for whiteflies and aphids when you grow indoors, because they can quickly become a problem.
Lettuce often makes a good indoor vegetable crop, and herbs like cilantro, parsley and chives can thrive in a proper indoor environment.
Iowa State has a page about kids and gardening with a list of plants that can be grown inside the classroom.
They recommend growing lettuce, radish, basil and chives indoors.
Regular watering, fertilizing, and pruning are required to maintain healthy plants indoors. Plants should be planted in clean containers with holes for drainage. A purchased potting soil mix is typically used because it is lightweight, clean, easy to use, and drains quickly. Watering is the tricky part. Water plants only when they need it.
Utah State University Extension answers a reader question about growing vegetables indoors that goes into a lot of detail about what to do.
Lighting. Adequate lighting is critical. Generally it is recommended that vegetables get a minimum of six hours of full sunlight. This is not a problem during the summer, but when growing them indoors in the winter, supplemental light is needed. Purchase and use grow lights, especially for vegetables that produce fruit, such as tomatoes.
Temperature regulation. Tomatoes and other fruiting vegetables require temperatures near 80 F during the day and 65 F at night. This ensures good fruit set. These temperatures are warmer than most home settings. At cooler temperatures, plants grow less vigorously and fruit size and number is compromised. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce grow better at cooler temperatures and are generally easier to grow.
Pollination. Be aware that indoor gardening can create pollination problems. Tomatoes set fruit best if the flowers are vibrated when they open. Some cucumber varieties may need to be physically cross pollinated since the plants produce separate male and female flowers on the plant.
Potting mix. Purchase a potting mix that drains well enough to avoid root rot but also holds enough moisture to supply the plant’s water needs. If you prefer to use garden soil, it must be sterilized. Once free of soil pathogens, it will need to be mixed with sand or pumice, organic matter or peat moss, then tested for pH. Homemade mixtures tend to be heavy when wet. There are many good “soilless” commercial potting mixes that work very well and are not expensive.
The Colorado State Cooperative Extension devotes an entire page with instructions for growing tomatoes indoors. You’ll get a detailed look at what to do.
You don’t need a green thumb or a greenhouse to grow vine-ripened tomatoes indoors. “Window-sill” tomatoes will do well in 6-inch pots filled with good potting soil. You’ll also need the right tomato seed, seed starter mix, fertilizer, and plant stakes. Presto! Tomato salad comin’ up!
Window-sill tomatoes are smaller than their outdoor relatives — quarter-to-half-dollar-size. But don’t let their small size fool you — they come with a big tomato taste. They aren’t “slicers,” but they are perfect for salads or snacks.
Did we miss any good resources about growing a vegetable garden inside? Let us know in the comments!