Indoor gardening can be a fantastic, low-maintenance alternative to keeping an outdoor garden. Whether you live in an urban area and are short on garden space or you’re wondering if you have a green thumb and want to start small, you can grow your own veggies, herbs, and more.
You don’t have to focus on just veggies either. You can try your hand at growing fruits, like tomatoes and peppers, branching into herbs and microgreens, or brightening up your living room with easy-care plants. The possibilities are endless with the right setup.
In this guide, you’ll learn why starting your own indoor vegetable garden is a great idea. (Hint: It can help you enjoy a more sustainable, healthy lifestyle among other things.) You’ll discover what you need to properly get your garden started and help it thrive. Plus, we’ll share a list of plants that do well in an indoor garden. Before you know it, you’ll be growing and harvesting your veggies like a pro.
Why Have an Indoor Vegetable Garden?
In today’s ever-changing world, we’re realizing how important it is to take the time to nurture ourselves and our families. Starting an indoor garden is a perfect way to do that.
Having an indoor vegetable garden allows us to connect with our food in new ways and interact with nature every day.
But there are other reasons to grow your own food. Here are a few to consider:
- Eco-Friendly: Starting an indoor garden is good for the environment. There’s a lot of transportation involved in getting fruits and vegetables to the supermarket, particularly when out-of-season items are shipped halfway across the world. You also can’t be sure when the produce you buy is harvested. At home, you know exactly how old your vegetables are because you’re the one picking them!
- Nutrient-Rich: With a home garden, you’re in control of soil quality, when plants are fertilized, and how many pesticides (if any) are involved in the process. Unless farmers practice crop rotation and other techniques to ensure soil integrity, you can bet some of what you buy at the store isn’t as nutrient-rich as it would be from your own garden. Growing your food indoors minimizes pests, so you can keep added chemicals to a minimum.
- Save Time and Money: Having an indoor vegetable garden allows you to make fewer grocery trips, saving time and money. With an herb garden on your windowsill or a cherry tomato plant in your living room, you can easily add some fresh chopped herbs to a sauce or yummy tomatoes to a salad at the last minute. No supermarket trip required. And when you only pick what you need, you don’t have to worry about having more than you can use.
- No Outdoor Space? No Problem: Don’t let a lack of outdoor space keep you from creating the garden of your dreams. You really can grow beautiful fruits and vegetables indoors. Pests are less of an issue, and you don’t have to worry about scorching heat in the summer or frost dangers during the winter months. Plus, your plants can double as decor, perking up each and every room.
Getting Your Indoor Vegetable Garden Ready
Now that you’re ready to get started, it’s time to get a few things in order. While some aspects of indoor gardening are easier to manage than an outdoor veggie patch, it’s not without its trade-offs.
Keep your indoor growing projects on track by being mindful of a few key areas.
Consider Your Available Space and Lighting Conditions
How much available space you have will influence how your indoor garden takes shape.
You’d be surprised how many things you can grow with limited space indoors. While it might require some creativity, shelving or even a trellis keeps your garden footprint as minimal as possible.
Something else to be aware of is being able to give your plants an ample amount of light. Direct sunlight is essential for an indoor garden. How many hours of sunlight your plants need will provide you with an idea of where you should put them.
A sunny window in your kitchen is perfect for an herb garden. If you don’t have enough light coming into your home, you don’t have to ditch your indoor garden aspirations. Head to your local garden center and check out their grow lights. An LED light can make a world of difference to your plants and help them thrive inside just as much as they would outside.
Organize Your Materials
To give your plants the best start possible, you’ll want to buy top quality soil, especially if you’re starting from seed. Back to the Roots is launching an organic potting mix at Walmart stores in spring 2021, so until then, get the best potting soil you can find.
Good garden soil will give your seeds all the nutrients they need for germination, sprouting, and overall plant growth.
Pick up some window boxes for herbs and attractive containers that suit your decor for planting. Whatever you pick, make sure there are drainage holes for plants. The size of the pot you choose will also limit how large your plant can grow. If it’s too small they may not fully mature. You can always transplant them into a larger pot, but you can save yourself some time later down the line by planning ahead.
Since your plants won’t be getting watered by passing rain showers, it’ll be necessary to water them regularly and thoroughly. Check on your plant by sticking your finger into the soil. It should feel moist but not soaked.
Water until you see some of it come out of the drainage holes. If you can’t find pots with drainage holes, you can try layering small rocks in the very bottom of the pot. Getting on a regular watering schedule can help you avoid any dry spells that could affect your plant’s growth.
Another alternative is to try something a little more self-contained. A hydroponic system is perfect if you don’t think you can keep up with regular watering. It’ll provide the plant with everything it needs to grow and flourish without you needing to lift a finger.
Deciding What You’ll Plant
When you’re thinking about what to plant, a great place to start is with fruits, vegetables, and herbs you already love. Do you enjoy cooking Italian food? Try planting basil for pestos, pizza, and pasta dishes. Love Taco Tuesday? Make an unbeatable salsa with peppers and tomatoes from your own indoor garden. You get the idea.
If you want some inspiration and get your creative juices flowing, take a look at the list we’ve put together below. All are great options for indoor gardening and can be used in a variety of cuisines.
Herbs, Microgreens, and More
Herbs and microgreens are the perfect way to start your indoor vegetable garden. They’re easy to grow and take up a minimal amount of space. And when it comes to microgreens, you can plan on harvesting your first greens within weeks of planting them.
When choosing your herbs (and any fruits and vegetables), do some research to find out which plants grow best together. Some herbs do better in more arid soil conditions while others need more frequent watering. Plants with similar needs can grow nicely together.
Here are some other fantastic herbs to plant in your garden:
If you have a corner of your kitchen that doesn’t get much light, put it to use by trying out a mushroom grow kit. They grow best in indirect light, and this kit will give you everything you need to grow your own mushrooms in as few as 10 days!
Fruits and Veggies
Like microgreens and herbs, several fruits and veggies grow well indoors. Leafy greens are perfect for indoor gardens as they’re less likely to be ravaged by pests.
Upgrade your salad greens by giving some of these a try:
- Swiss chard
- Butter Lettuce
With an indoor garden, you don’t have to wait for summer before planting juicy tomatoes. Back to the Roots Tomato Plant Grow Kit makes it a breeze to grow cherry tomatoes any time of year.
Remember, indoor vegetable gardening can be simple, straightforward, and hassle-free.
Plants and Flowers
If you’re not sure you want an indoor vegetable garden but still want to bring some of the outdoors inside, stick to houseplants.
Succulents are easy to care for and fit nicely on your desk in a home office or on a nightstand.
Another option is to pick up a lavender windowsill grow kit. Lavender is low-maintenance and easy to grow year-round. It will leave a soothing scent, turning your home into a peaceful sanctuary.
Here’s are a few others that do well as indoor plants:
Once you have a few plants blooming in your home, it can be hard to resist planting more. There are real reasons to add greenery to every room. House plants can reduce stress levels, help maintain focus and productivity, and improve air quality.
Create the Perfect Indoor Vegetable Garden
It doesn’t take much to create the perfect indoor vegetable garden for you and your family. Keeping an indoor garden can be a terrific way to destress and unwind as you connect with nature.
All it takes is a little preparation combined with mindful planning to grow vegetables indoors. Indoor gardening is relaxing, eco-friendly, and doesn’t require much space or experience. Plant what you love, nurture it, and soon you’ll relish seeing your work pay off with a thriving indoor garden.