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Growing Vegetables Indoors

Updated on March 9, 2017

The Indoor Food Garden


It is snowing outside and you are craving a few cherry tomatoes to garnish the fresh green salad that you just made. You want it fresh not from the store where the tomatoes and green may have traveled hundreds and thousands of miles before they are offered for sale.


Instead you wander into the living room and pick them fresh just as you cut the greens a few minutes before.


I am not talking about growing hydroponically which is an option but using natural light to keep your family supplied in some fresh produce all year round.


I have grown cherry tomatoes, Camp Joy heritage, indoors and once had a plant that produced tomatoes for 11 months. Mind you in the last 3 months I was getting them one at a time, not really worth the effort but even one fresh ripe tomato on a snowy winter day can make you feel better.


I have grown beans, green peppers, salad greens and miniature eggplant in my living room using only natural light.


The salad green, the cut and come again plants did the best and I feel provide the best return for the effort.


The beans produced a few tasty pick and eat treats but I would need more space to make it worthwhile.



Seed Starting

Indoors

You need at least 6 hours of sunlight and 8 is better if you want to grow vegetables indoors under natural light.


Before you get started you will need to assess the space that you will devote to your indoor vegetable garden? Does this space get the sunlight necessary to produce the food (6-8 hours)?


You can use anything for containers as long as it is big enough to allow the plant roots space to grow and you provide sufficient drainage. If you are serious about indoor vegetable gardening, I suggest using containers that allow you to fill them from a hole near the bottom and have a reservoir that holds water. This way the plant roots will grow down towards the water and become stronger, thus enabling a healthy plant to rise up.


Pests, such as white fly and aphids can become problems, so be sure to regularly check your plants and look for signs that something different is taking place. This way you can intervene before the problem emerges and turns into an infestation.


A spray bottle with an organic soap and water is often all the equipment you need to defeat any attempts to take over your garden.


Misting with a hand mister, perhaps, once a week, can help your garden to grow and be sure to avoid crowding the plants to close together in an attempt to increase your yield, the plants need air and this will help control pests and diseases.


So if you can set yourself up a small cut and come again garden composed of your favourite salad greens so that you can something that you grew yourself and is guaranteed fresh when you want it.


You can grow a steady supply of greens in a fairly small space and will always have something tasty to add to your sandwiches and salads anytime you wish.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for the contribution, happy growing.

  • Wesley Meacham profile image

    Wesley Meacham 5 years ago from Wuhan, China

    I grew tomato plants at home once. I was living in an apartment so I had to grow them in a planter instead of in the yard the way most of my friends were growing them. At first I had thought this was a disadvantage because it gave me much less room and I could only grow two plants. However when the temp started to drop I decided that I could pull my plants inside every night to keep them from freezing. I would move them outside every morning to get them in the sun light and bring them in every evening. The end result is that my plants were still growing and putting on tomatoes three months after my friends plants had all died.

    I like your hub. I've voted it up and will share with my followers.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    I am happyto hear you have had such success, keep on growing and thanks for dropping by.

  • Sumayyah Hart profile image

    Sumayyah Hart 5 years ago

    Thanks Bob. Last year we had strawberry plants in pots on the windowsill and had loads of strawberries. The key was leaving the window open permanently so the flowers got fertilised. We also had lots of herbs and loads of chilli peppers. We have found Suttons Seeds now selling seeds specifically for pots and windowsill gardening so have new challenges for next year. Keep encouraging others.

    Sumayyah

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    Let us know how it works out, thanks for commenting.

  • rabecker profile image

    rabecker 5 years ago

    Thanks for the information. I'll have to give it a try.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thank you, I appreciate this, have a great day.

  • kentuckyslone profile image

    kentuckyslone 6 years ago

    Excellent hub Bob! I love plants and think they make great pets :O) I have posted your page on our houseplants page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HousePlantsForYou You have a lot of really good houseplant related hubs and I hope this will get you a few more visitors.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    All the best with your indoor garden, I a interested in how it turns out so if you can let me know.

  • profile image

    A. Davis 6 years ago

    Nice hub. I have been interested in hooking up with more indoor growers. It seems there is a lot of valuable info on line from the marijuana community but not a lot of regular vegetable growers. I have three tomatoes, 2 bush beans, lemon balm, cat nip, basil, spearmint, chocolate mint, and patchoulii growing now. I have flowers on my tomatoes and beans. I have converted a walk in closet and am growing them all under CFL (compact fluorescent. It costs very little money to run the lights and you can see the growth daily. I am leaving the lights on 24 hours, it stays a nice 80 degrees in there, with just the cfl's. This is my first attempt at indoor gardening and I am loving it. I am thinking to rent a small warehouse or storage unit with power and grow a lot! I live in western washington state, USA. Thank you for your info.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    I do not know. I have kept a cherry tomato plant producing for 7 months under natural light from a window. The production decreased during the last month and finally stopped.

  • profile image

    Rich 6 years ago

    Is it possible to control the lighting, nutrients and temperature inside to keep a plant in it's producing stage (perpetual springtime or fall) throughout it's lifetime? I know there are economic arguments against it (i.e., power & care cost) but is it possible and if so, how do you believe it might effect the lifespan of the plant given optimal conditions?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Good Growing and thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Hippychick 6 years ago

    As a new Mum - I suddenly have a lot of time indoors on my hands.. And have always enjoyed having fresh herbs etc in my house..and my family always had a veg patch in the garden growing up. I'm in a flat now though and it's time to start with something a little more adventurous.. VEG indoors! :D Your hub has been an inspiration, and definitely a confidence booster to see you all doing well! Thanks :-)

  • profile image

    prema09@yahoo.com 6 years ago

    I started a patio tomato plant last October, after a few weeks of growing it started to wilt from the bottom part. I prune the wilted leaves and it continued to grow but, it is still wilting from the bottom. I check the water everyday but it is slowly wilting. What must be the problem?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Light is the major consideration about when to start if you are relying on natural light.

  • profile image

    Christina 6 years ago

    Wow! I have been thinking about indoor gardening but now I'm definitely going to try! Should I wait until after Christmas (when the days are getting longer) to start, should I start in the regular outdoor season, or does it matter? And thanks for this site, very cool!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, happy growing.

  • profile image

    Roberta 6 years ago

    Thank You sooo much!! That was exactly what I was looking for! : ) Hopefully I do it right, and it all works out! Thanks again.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

  • profile image

    Roberta 6 years ago

    I want to try an indoor garden this winter, and I want to use seeds from my existing veggies. I have my green bean seeds which are not hybrid. My cherry toms are hybrid. How would I go about drying the seeds out of the tomatos and making it work? Also I read a post from earlier about spindly plants, and I have read that the way to cure that is to have a fan blow on the plants to harden them. Makes the plants think that it is the wind blowing on them. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, happy growing.

  • profile image

    Fay 6 years ago

    Thanks for the encouraging information!3 weeks ago I planted parsley, basil, coriander and thyme on my window sill and they're just producing their 'real' leaves now. And I've got a dwarf bean growing - his first leaves are HUGE! And I've got 3 cherry tomato seedlings popping up! it's really exciting! Thanks for letting us know it's possible! I'm a little bit worried about what will happen when it gets really cold. We (UK) had A LOT of snow last winter! Thanks again!

  • profile image

    Debbie 6 years ago

    Thanks!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    If the plant get 6 hours of sunlight then it should be ok.It will develop slower than being outdoors.

    Otherwise you will need artifcial lights.

  • profile image

    Debbie 6 years ago

    I planted some red peppers late in the season....end of June. I planted them in a large container. Much to my surprise they grew and the plants are huge. I have many flowers and even have one pepper about the size of a cherry tomato. I have noticed there are a couple more starting to bear fruit also. The weather is getting cold here now so I brought the container in the house. I have it by a large window. What are the chances that it will continue to grow? Is there anything special I should do at this point. I'd hate to lose the plant after all this time.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Onions can be grown in containers which can be indoors; the light has to meet the particular type of onions needs as does the watering.

  • profile image

    Leah 6 years ago

    Can you grow onions indoors?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    All the best.

  • profile image

    gl baugh 7 years ago

    Yes I believe it is a sunlight issue. I probably will replant with some grow lights, then we can see if there is a difference.

    Thanks for your input!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    The conditions in a greenhouse and in your home are vastly different, for starters. The plants may have been started too early and getting too little sunlight.

    If you decide to replant, I would use an organic potting mix.

  • profile image

    glbaugh 7 years ago

    YES we can, but didn't know if that would do any good or not as we had no clue as to what was causing this. We used Miracle Grow seed starting mix, in the standard seed starting trays. If we do repot what type of soil or mixture would you recommend?

    How is it that greenhouses can apparantly start seeds and have their plants look "normal" when they arrive for sales at retail?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Plants will reach for the sun, can you repot them?

  • profile image

    glbaugh 7 years ago

    They are inside next to a small SW facing window, they get limited sun, it is warm and we keep them watered. The plants point toward the window, when we turn them around they still point their way to the window so they are reacting to the sun.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    How much sun are they getting per day and heat,tomatoes like it warm.

  • profile image

    GL Baugh 7 years ago

    hello Bob:

    These were planted two weeks ago today....plants came up within 7 days...our last frost is mid to late April. So we are still a month away. Our goal was to have good size plants like what you can buy at the garden stores around the first of May. At this time it seems they will be good size but only a single stem.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    How long ago did you plant them and when will you be able to move them outdoors?

  • profile image

    glbaugh 7 years ago

    Hello, I am starting vegetable seeds indoors for the first time. They are coming up right on schedule but are all single stalked getting tall and spindly. Is this normal for startng seeds indoors? Am In doing something wrong?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, there is much we can do to grow at least sone of our own food. Thanks for dropping by.

  • BkCreative profile image

    BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    Excellent hub - and very timely. It's hard to find fresh food - and once we wrap our minds around the fact that we can take much more control of what we eat - well, this I think will become more popular.

    I've actually experimented and grew potatoes in a large black garbage bag (I only used eyes from potatoes - but just know that the vast majority of all potatoes in US markets are genetically modified and do not sprout - like fresh potatoes should).

    And I've also grown herbs - with mint being great for teas, and sprouted alfalfa. Not a lot but all excellent in taste.

    How awful that we are totally dependent in the USA on inferior foods - which are wreaking havoc on our health.

    Great hub! I'll bookmark and share.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, I developed my ideas on indooor growing when living in Northern Ontario, thanks for dropping by.

  • spiderspun profile image

    spiderspun 7 years ago from Utopia, Ontario Canada

    hey, this is a cool hub. I was thinking of picking up one of those hydroponic kits at the hardware store that just came out. They are a bit pricey right now.. You ideas on regular soil is a great idea, espcially for me cooped up in Nother Ontario re cooping from surgery. I might star up some herbs first. I have some peatmoss left over from my snake enclosures I can use.

    thanks for your hub

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    The cherry tomatoes I have used only get about 3 feet tall so height has not been a problem. You could try topping them if height becomes an issue.

  • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

    Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

    Fabulous hub Bob, I might try growing some indoor veg myself this winter as we have a lounge window with a perfect amount of light coming through on to a two foot granite windowledge. It will mean my evicting the Aloe Vera plant that currently resides there, but hey, I can move that elsewhere instead. Tell me, if the tomato plant gets too tall do you simply top it at a far lower height than normal to avoid it outgrowing the available space?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Try this https://hubpages.com/living/How-to-Choose-the-Best... and thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Raven Wolf 7 years ago

    I wanted to start a vegetable garden indoors. My landlady said when she had her garden in the back yard, the squirrels ate up everything so I figured growing them inside should work. My dilemma is that I don't think that there will be enough natural sunlight to successfully grow the vegetables. What artificial lighting would work best? I am getting in touch with my Cherokee side and incorporating Cherokee ways and customs into my llfe, so growing and making my own food is one way for me to do this. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    a soon to be published hub will answer your questions. Thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Shelly  7 years ago

    Great info for the first time indoor veggie gardener...How do you know when it's time to shake the tomato plants?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    pollination is necessary stay tuned for a hub sopecifically on how.

  • profile image

    Melissa 7 years ago

    Don't the blooms need to be pollinated?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome.

  • eonsaway profile image

    eonsaway 7 years ago from New Mexico, USA

    This year I started a few plants indoors because the last couple years the grasshoppers ate everything including the chrysanthemums, thanks for info I need it.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by, I look forward to your tales.

  • profile image

    Matt 7 years ago

    Though I reside quite far south of most that contribute to this thread, we see long cold winters. 7,000 feet high in Arizona poses some challenges to gardeners that may be similar to Canadian climates (though more sun, late frosts and early freezes are regular. As late as mid June and as early as August). I have had zero success with growing anything but houseplants until I made a hoophouse. Now, I can't keep up with my jungle, but indoor (or otherwise controlled growing) is a must to sustain winter here.

    Thanks for the tips and such, and I will be sure to share my winter successes (and failures) with you all.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Light is a vital element, thanks for dropping by.

  • F A Williams profile image

    F A Williams 7 years ago from United States

    I'm so glad I happened upon this hub. My family thinks I'm nuts because I want to try indoor gardening. Thanks for the info.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    This could be a good garden site. Cherry tomatoes and green could do well.

  • profile image

    SwampCatNana 7 years ago

    I'm sorry but I goofed in my typing. I live in an apartment complex with NO balcony as well.

    To repeat my window qualities: very sunny window work(sun from 6am to 7pm)

    The window is 8 ft wide. With side windows that open in the traditional way, and a 4 ft expanse in the middle that does NOT open.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    How much sunlight does the balcony get? A very sunny window an indeed work.

  • SwampCatNana profile image

    SwampCatNana 7 years ago from Boston

    "I place the plants close to each other and gently shake them when it is time."

    This really works? How about other plants that need insects to pollinate them? Will a very sunny window work(sun from 6am to 7pm)?

    Sorry to seem so unaware of how to garden but I haven't gardened in about 30 some years. Now I have the time but not the yard to garden. I live in an apartment complex with balcony as well.

    Am I on a "Mission: Impossible"? ;)

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    you need a good indoor grow op to produce tomatoes for the market indoors. thanks for dropping by.

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    Great Hub - I love gardening and growing things unusual - had lemon, mango, grapefruit and Kiwi all grow from seeds from my groceries in the fridge. Never tried tomatoes indoors - I like the idea. There is a variety of container tomatoes that produce small bite size ones - I think I'll give it a go. As for a Cash crop indoors, I'll leave that to hose who are not afraid of crow bar hotel...LOL

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    I place the plants close to each other and gently shake them when it is time.

  • profile image

    Lee J. 7 years ago

    I see the comments about those who have grown tomatoes indoors, and I'd like to know how they fertilized the flowers to grow tomatoes.

    I had 3 tomato plants growing in a window box indoors last spring/summer, and unless I fertilized the flowers by hand, they did not produce tomatoes.

    How are these people/you getting tomatoes?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    I love to garden outdoors but the weather does not permit that all year round so.. Thanks for dropping by.

  • AndyBaker profile image

    AndyBaker 8 years ago from UK

    Great - thanks for this - I have been wanting to start growing stuff indoors for a while but haven't got started because I would prefer a garden.

  • premsingh profile image

    premsingh 8 years ago

    Thanks for the reply, Bob.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Soapand water are very effective as pest control, if you keep a regular watch on your hosueplants, you can usually spot problems before they become too serious. I use no chemicals, a little fish emulsion for fertilizer.

    What I grow depends upon the light, if you have a steady source of 6 hours of light per day, then you can grow all year round.

  • premsingh profile image

    premsingh 8 years ago

    Bob, good information. Audio of my system was defective hence couldn't get answer to few questions coming to my mind. Is it possible to control all types of pests with soap and water? Do you use any chemicals (fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides etc) for indoor cultivation of vegetables? Do you grow season-specific vegetables or any vegetable anytime as indoor vegetables?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    you are welcome

  • Dorsi profile image

    Dorsi Diaz 9 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    I never thought of growing vege's inside- great idea!Thanks for the inspiration to try this.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    I have been able to keep cherry tomatoes producing indoors for 8 months.

  • blackjava profile image

    blackjava 9 years ago from Canada

    Thanks for this Hub. I love tomatoes and am going to try a small plant indoors this year. I have a six foot wide window in my kitchen that faces south. perfect for a small window ledge garden.

    I've read that tomatoes are actually perennial when grown indoors under proper conditions. The just keep on growin' and producin'.

    What's your experience with this?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    it's lunch time now here so great food it is.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    A robin that is great, it is cold minus 13 here plus windy so even colder. I did see a sea gull, which is a sign that the season is changing.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Bob! Good one. I've grown a couple of tomatoe plants in the house before but nothing else. Will have to give it a go again. Rejoice Bob I saw my first Robin today SPRING IS HERE Yeehaaaa

    great hub

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

  • Kat07 profile image

    Kat07 9 years ago from Tampa

    Which plants are poisonous to indoor pets?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, this company Terra Edibles is a good source.

    http://www.terraedibles.ca/

  • yenseca profile image

    yenseca 9 years ago from Canada

    I've been thinking of getting some seeds from Veseys, but now that ive looked into OSC(Ontario Seed Company) they have more for the Canadian climate. Your Article and video definitely helps as a guide especially for us canucks.

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