What Can I Grow In An Indoor Garden?

Gardening indoors offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a diversity of homegrown vegetables and herbs year round.

Gardening indoors offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy homegrown vegetables and herbs year round. An indoor garden gives you complete control of the growing environment, so that plant health and productivity are not dependent upon the elements or subjected to the appetites of garden pests. A broad diversity of plants can thrive indoors if you give them what they need to grow.

In any garden, plants need sunlight, air, water, and somewhere to put down their roots. In order to produce fruit, plants also require counterparts of the same species, along with a vector such as a bee to transfer pollen from flower to flower. Gardeners can provide all of these elements within the confines of their home.

Types of Indoor Gardens

There are two categories of indoor garden based on the type of growing medium they use: soil-based, and hydroponic. Each kind offers certain advantages for indoor gardeners. Some gardeners use both for different crops. Hydroponic and soil-based systems should both be supplemented with grow lights to provide adequate light exposure and intensity for healthy growth.

Soil-based container gardens deliver nutrients and water through potting soil in the same way as a conventional outdoor, in-ground garden. The soil serves as an anchor for the roots and a reservoir for the resources that the plants need. The gardener applies granular or liquid fertilizer to ensure proper plant nutrition; and waters as needed to keep the plant in good health. Soil-based gardens are inexpensive but more labor intensive to start and maintain.

Hydroponic gardens, like AeroGarden, deliver nutrients and water through a solution that is cycled around the roots. Plants are anchored in a porous substrate, as their roots grow into the liquid. The gardener only needs to monitor the nutrient solution level, and top it off to replace evaporation. Hydroponic gardens produce much faster than soil-based systems. They are easy to use and make excellent use of space, although they are more costly to start up.

Easy Vegetables to Grow Indoors

Space saving hydroponic systems are an excellent choice for growing most small to midsize plants with fibrous root systems. Seeds germinate faster and the plants mature quickly.

  • Herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme
  • Leafy greens: chard, kale, lettuce, mustard
  • Fruiting crops: cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes
  • Microgreens 

 Soil-based containers are best for root veggies. It can be difficult to provide adequate soil depth for some types. For indoor gardens, try these:

  • Beets
  • Short varieties of carrots 
  • Radishes

 Large or sprawling crops like corn, sweet potatoes, and beans become unwieldy indoors. Avoid planting these big-space/small-yield types in your valuable indoor space.

Grow what you like

Ultimately you can adapt an indoor garden to grow most annual vegetable, herb, and fruiting crops. Consider which kind of system is most compatible with the plant's growth characteristics and the available space. Provide supports such as stakes or trellises where needed. When you enjoy the taste of homegrown salsa, salad, or pesto in January, you'll be glad you did.

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