Growing Vegetables Indoors

The snow is falling and you crave some fresh veggies, so off to the supermarket you go. Did you ever think about growing your own? There are varieties of vegetables that can successfully be grown indoors.

When embarking on an indoor garden project, it is best to begin with vegetable varieties that produce in small spaces. Lettuce, spinach, many herbs and endive do very well indoors. It is possible to grow green peppers, beans, cherry tomatoes and miniature eggplants.

Don’t waste time trying to grow corn, melons, broccoli or cabbage. Chances are they will not do well.

When selecting vegetables to grow, check with the larger seed companies. More and more dwarf varieties of fruits and vegetables are being developed. Dwarf varieties don’t take as much time or space to grow.

It is important to choose the proper pot for indoor gardening. Pots should have adequate drainage and be large enough to host adult plants as well as seedlings. Pot size varies depending on the type of vegetable you are planting. Crops such as herbs and salad greens don’t need as much root space as do other plants such as cherry tomatoes.

It is best to avoid clay pots because they tend to dry out faster than ceramic, wooden, metal or plastic containers.

While some vegetables will certainly do just fine in the colder months, there are certain plants that simply won’t survive between the first and last frosts. A great alternative, if you have the space to devote to it, is growing some of your favorite vegetables indoors during the winter months. The location of the indoor garden is important. Choose a spot that gets as much direct sunlight as possible. While some plants tolerate partial shade, most need as much sunlight as possible so make sure the garden gets at least six hours of sunlight a day. Even if you don’t have a greenhouse, you can still grow your vegetables on a shelf in your kitchen, in a garden shed, or even in your basement if you have the right tools and equipment.

If you don’t have sunny windowsills, you may have to buy grow lights to have a successful garden. There are many different types of lights available in department and hardware stores, as well as online.

There are several gadgets that, through the hydroponics process, will allow you to grow cherry tomatoes on your kitchen, in your living room, or even in your office at work. However, while these gadgets certainly do have their novelty appeal, they can be very costly and also limit you in what you can actually grow.

Gardeners have their favorite soil recipes for indoor planting. It is important to use a soil mixture that will drain well. You can make a good plant-growing medium by mixing equal amounts of silica, sand, perlite and mulch. Another recipe is to use equal parts of garden soil, coarse sand and compost OR peat moss.

When planting, follow directions on the seed packets.

Keep in mind that indoor gardens take regular watering. Do not allow the soil to become too dry. Irregular watering can cause vegetables to have a bitter taste. Watering globes, which are available in most garden and hardware stores, help keep the soil moist.

A good fertilizer is a vital part of the recipe to successful indoor gardening. Choose a good organic fertilizer and follow product directions. Add a little compost can boost growth. Seaweed meal is good to use because it releases nutrients slowly, minimizing the need for frequent applications.

The good news about indoor gardening is that there should be fewer pests to feed on your plants. Whiteflies can tend to be a problem, but they are easily caught with the aid of sticky traps that are available in garden stores. Mealy bugs can be eliminated by rubbing them with a cotton ball saturated with rubbing alcohol. Spider mites are one of the most common pests. You can rid your plants of spider mites by spraying the plant growth with water. If that doesn’t work, try mixing a cupful of dish detergent with the water.

Indoor Growing Requirements

Naturally there will be different requirements for the various plants that you are growing, but the majority of them will require at least six hours of sunlight a day. There are five essential factors to growing your vegetables indoors, and they are as follows:

  1. Levels of light
  2. Growing medium
  3. Levels of humidity
  4. Air circulation
  5. Temperature

Best Vegetables To Grow Indoors

There are some vegetables that are simply not going to be a good choice to grow indoors, mostly due to the space and light requirements that they have. Corn, squash, peas, beans, and melons like cucumbers or watermelon may not thrive indoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily attempt to grow them. If conditions are right and you can afford the space, then you may be able to have good luck with them.

Here are some of the best choices for growing vegetables indoors during the winter months:

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Tomatoes (cherry and mini varieties)
  • Lettuces
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Potatoes

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