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Growing Vegetables Indoors : Tips + Info

Updated on April 3, 2013

Growing your own vegetables to feed you & your loved ones can not only be fun but be uplifting! Did you know many vegetables do surprising well when grown in your home? This is a great option for those who live in apartments, have little yard space or live in 4 season weather areas. You don't need any special lighting or equipment, just a window that lets the sun shine in, a few pots, seeds & clean soil!

Below are 4 commonly grown vegetables that can be grown indoors with little experience!

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are among the most loved vegetables. Why? They taste & smell fresh, they are easy to grow and are even attractive to look at!

Location

Cucumbers enjoy sunlight & warmth. They need 8+ hours of direct sunlight every day. Pick a south facing window that is large and free from shade. The warmth is the easy part when they are placed by the right window. Naturally rays from the sun will be pretty warm coming through a window. Using dark pots, especially black, will keep the pot & soil at a perfect temperature. You can also use some aluminum foil and line the inside of the pot where the soil ends.

Pot Selection

Cucumbers are among the vegetables that have shallow roots so they do not require a deep pot. One that is 6” or more in depth will do just fine. You will however want a wider pot, 12” or more leaves enough room for them to trail as they grow. Make sure your pot has holes for water drainage. This is very important in preventing root rot. If the holes are too big & the soil is falling out, you can simply line the bottom of the pot with a few lairs of thick paper towels. If you are growing a vine type of cucumber, you will want to have some sort of fencing for them to trail up on. You can use small pieces of wood that are spiked. Be sure to put them in BEFORE you plant the seeds so you do not damage the roots.

Cucumber Selection

There are many varieties of cucumbers, most of which are vine type. If you want more of a bushing type to avoid overgrowth outside of the pot, be sure to pick them seeds over normal ones. The vine cucumbers can have 6 foot vines which you may not have the room for. If you are looking to pickle your cucumbers, you will want a variety made for pickling. They are smaller and bumpy.

Misc. Tips

-Don't use fertilizer for the first month.

-Limit each pot to one or two plants.

-Check water daily

-They typically mature in 2 months

-Wait until they are fully matured before picking (it promotes future growth)

-Be sure not to over water (only water when the top of the soil is noticeably dry)

-Avoid watering the foliage

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are commonly used like & called vegetables but they are actually fruit! They make this list because they are very hardy and do quite well indoors. They come in a variety of sizes from cherry to one the size of soft balls!

Location

Tomatoes, like cucumbers need plenty of sunlight to do well indoors. A great place to plant them is near a floor to ceiling window that faces south. If you do not have a south facing window, eat facing windows are the second best.

Pot Selection

Tomatoes require a larger container. A 5 gallon bucket (standard size) will work great and most have handles which makes them easy to move around. You can either drill holes in sides of the bottom or be sure not to over water. Placing a wooden or metal stake in the middle of the pot before planting will help keep your vines upright. Once they start growing large enough they can be gently tied to it to ensure they don't fall over.

Tomato Selection

Choosing your tomatoes that can grow indoors is key. While there are several types of tomatoes only a select few do well indoors. Tomatoes that grow to a specific length & stop growing do not do as well indoors. Choose a variety in the small cherry or pear family tomatoes rather than larger kinds. You can use larger variety tomatoes but you will need to use indoor lighting or be able to place them outside for 5+ hours a day.

Misc. Tips

-Tomatoes maturity varies, especially indoor plants

-Gently shaking the base of the plant offers natural movement which is found in nature & helps the pollination process.

-Being a fruit, they may attract tiny bugs that get into your home, to prevent bugs damaging your plant, squeeze a lemon into a cup of warm water and spray the plants every other day. The citrus in a lemon will ward off most small flying pests.

Carrots

Carrots are the most commonly found vegetable in home gardens because they are relatively easy to grow and need very little to help them mature. Growing them indoors, however, may need a little practice & TLC.

Location

Carrots require two simple things... Warm soil & sunlight. Because they grow into the soil rather then sprouting out, warm soil is quite important. You will want to place your pot by a large window that received direct sunlight. To ensure the soil stays warm, keep them in as much sunlight as possible. You may need to move them around the house to different window but they will love you for it!

Pot Selection

Since carrots grow into the soil, depth is important. Using a standard 5 gallon bucket should do quite well. You do not want a shallow pot as they will not have the room to grow. Clear storage bins will actually allow the soil to take in more sunlight so if you have one available, use that instead. Just make sure they are no less then 14 inches in depth.

Carrot Selection

You may have to pick a few varieties & see which ones do better. Standard carrots will do just fine though, but they do come in smaller varieties as well. The smaller ones will need extra TLC to do well indoors though as they aren't as hardy as their larger counterparts.

Misc. Tips

-When placing soil in your pot, do not pack down soil

-Make shallow trenched in the soil that are 2 inches apart

-Place seeds in gentle and lightly overlay soil over the trenches

-Carrots grown indoors need much less water

-For the first few weeks, only mist the top of the soil

-They don't like wet soil, so allowing it to dry in between waterings will keep them happy


Lettuce

Lettuce is surprisingly easy to grow indoors. It doesn't take long to reach maturity & had a plentiful yield. It only requires basic potting soil, a little water and some sunshine. Growing it indoors is so easy that it doesn't even require a pot! You can grow lettuce right in a disposable plastic bag! How's that for easy?

Location

As most plants need sunshine, lettuce is no different. Place your pot by a nice open window that receives a good amount of sun light. 5 hours each day is good enough, but the more the better!

Pot Selection

A medium-sized plastic pot will work just fine. Lettuce does not need the depth as its root system does not grow deep. Make sure there are drainage holes in the pot as well. Having holes a few inches from the bottom will ensure you can't over-water.

Lettuce Selection

Choose a loose leaf variety as they are the easiest thriving kinds to grow indoors. Ones that have the words “baby” or “little” will work even better.

Misc. Tips

-Basic potting soil is just fine for lettuce

-Use plastic only as clay absorbs moisture the lettuce needs to grow

-Keep soil moist but not soaked

-Lettuce maturity varies but if picked too soon, it can still be eaten and enjoyed

-When planting seeds, place the in rows, an inch or 2 apart

Seed Shopping

Most seeds that can be purchased as drug stores and large chain garden stores are chemically altered and carry a lot of pesticides, altered DNA & other junk you do not want in your food! When shopping, look for organic, GMO free seeds. They are the purest ones, of grade found in nature. Finding them in stores may be difficult so I advice shopping online. Look for "Heirloom" seeds to be 100% certain your seeds are quality of that nature intended.

SeedsNow.com offers high quality, GMO free & organic seeds of many different varieties. I recently purchased some myself! Most are only 99 cents a packet and you get pretty much the same amount you do in standard packets so no excuses!

I have also found many on ebay which are responsibly priced & have great reviews.

Comments

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    • ii3rittles profile imageAUTHOR

      ii3rittles 

      5 years ago

      Thanks HendrikDB! I have personally never tried them but I know some people who have and they loved using them. I prefer to pick my own seeds, to make sure they are good quality and not hybrid mutation seeds.

    • ii3rittles profile imageAUTHOR

      ii3rittles 

      5 years ago

      Thanks you georgescifo! Yes, cucumbers can be tricky. Some times the seeds chosen aren't good ones to grow inside the home. The only problem I have when growing plants/vegetables in doors is my cats! Soon as they see green sprouting through the soil, they all want to eat it! My little fluffy indoor garden pests. lol

    • HendrikDB profile image

      HendrikDB 

      5 years ago

      Very good! I had some success with what they call 'upside-down' vegetable growing - tomatoes and herbs.

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 

      5 years ago from India

      Amazing hub. Always love to read about home vegetations and here you have mentioned about cucumber and tomato in an easy to understand manner. I have also tried cucumber in the past, but failed miserably. But I was always successful at tomato vegetation.

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