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Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening

Updated on May 8, 2017
JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

To garden is to lose one's self in the earth while gifting yourself and your family with wholesome goodness from your own backyard.

Indoor Gardening Made Easy

Indoor gardening is a good option for urban living, apartment dwellers, and for those who want to keep the aura of an outdoor garden inside when the cold winter months are never ending and cabin fever has set in.

Learn some good ideas and troubleshooting tips for indoor vegetable gardening. From home grown salad ingredients or something simple like an indoor herb garden kit to more substantial meals, we see what it takes to put a little oasis of nature inside your home.

How To Begin Your Container Vegetable Garden

Chose The Correct Planting Container

Whether you are beginning a container vegetable garden or an indoor herb garden, it is important to choose the proper pot; a pot too small will crowd the roots and very large pots will need a manner of moving them so they can take best advantage of the available sunlight. All pots for container vegetable gardening need to provide adequate drainage and be large enough to allow the finished plant room to grow, not just as seedlings.

The material the pot is made out of and the color of the pot are important factors to consider for container vegetable gardens; each climate has a type of pot which is best suited to produce the best results. Cold climates with little sun can enjoy dark colored pots made of metals as they can stand up to the winter cold, and there is little worry of overheating heating the root system during the summer months.

Warner climates should choose wood and clay containers for vegetable gardens; they allow the roots to breathe and wood will retain moisture to allow less frequent watering. Light colored pots will help to assure the roots do not get over heated as this will kill the plant. This is a good lesson on paying attention to not only what the plant that you see is doing but that the roots and undergrowth are well taken care of also.

Location and Lighting

Choosing the location for the containers for a vegetable garden is an important step. Many vegetables require full sun; full sun generally means at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Some plants will tolerate partial shade but still need at least 3 hours of direct sun each day. Additionally, making pots mobile allows you to move them as the sunlight changes it's direction throughout the season. You can purchase bottom liners with wheels on them, or put your pots on a planter that can be moved as one unit.

If you do not have adequate natural light, you may consider lighting for the plants through an indoor system.

Watering

A container vegetable garden needs plenty of water and drainage; insuring the proper amount of water and air reach the roots is essential to successful growing. Feeling the soil an inch below the surface will tell if the plant is in need of water; drooping plants are a sign of dehydration and not just the need of a little water, plants should never be allowed to reach that point.

You should water only the soil, not the leaves, as the roots carry the water to the whole plant, the leaves cannot absorb it themselves; watering the leaves can cause bacteria, mold or other diseases to infest the leaves. Also take care not to splash the water up on the leaves which can transmit diseases.

Planter Tip

A rule of thumb for container vegetable gardens: allow a minimum of 18 inches in diameter or width and 18 inches of depth for most plants; this will vary depending on the exact vegetable. For example, root crops will need twice the depth they are expected to reach at maturity.

Indoor Greenhouses

One other way to grow vegetables indoors is with a mini indoor green house. There are a wide range of ways to do indoor greenhouse gardening. You can start with something small that might even fit on a windowsill like an indoor herb garden tray, or make your own by outfitting a simple set of bookshelves with a set of indoor grow lights. For the ultimate in indoor greenhouses, a full mini-greenhouse with an enclosure allows you to control the humidity and temperature a little better, and you can put it in out of the way places like the basement and still get great results.

Windowsill Greenhouse

Easy As Pie (Get It?)

Probably the easiest way to grow vegetables or herbs indoors is with a windowsill greenhouse. These are small plastic trays that often are used for starting seedlings indoors, but can be used to grow small herbs as well. They include a clear plastic cover over the top to help maintain the humidity level, which can be an issue when growing indoors, as the relative humidity indoors in the wintertime can approach the usual arid conditions of 20% or so often seen in desert climates.

Just add water, put it on a windowsill with reasonable lighting (many herbs don't need as much light as most vegetables) and you'll have fresh herbs in short order. Next time you need a sprig of parsley or a few basil leaves, they will be at your fingertips.

This winter I tried something different. I clipped off a healthy cut of basil, about 8 inches long, before any cold weather damage had incurred. Put it in water to grow roots and planted it in a jar on my windowsill. It gave us a small quantity of fresh basil during the winter. This spring, I transplanted it into the back yard garden and it is starting to grow well. What a great way to keep the spirit of our garden going right on our windowsill!

Debbie Meyer Green Bags - Perfect for Fresh Veggie Storage

I recently picked up a box of Debbie's Green Bags on clearance at the grocery store as I have always wanted to try them, but didn't want to pay full price for the experiment. So glad I did! They work. We have a lot of trouble with our bananas turning brown quickly, so my experiment was with our bananas. The kept for days longer than normal and I was hooked. The bags also work great with herbs like parsley and cilantro. I use them for everything in the veggie drawer now.

A Unique Look at Recycling and Reusing Plants and Veggies

This little book has some amazing tips on how to take organic trash, replant parts of it to grow new plants right on your windowsill!

I have tried several of them and it has been fun to see what works and what needs to be tried again. In our school garden we have some healthy looking celery growing and can't wait to see what is under the soil!

Resources for Indoor Container Gardening - Have you got any other ideas for container gardening?

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    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      Great lens! Its been featured on "The Green Thumb: A Place For Gardeners To Gather" Facebook page. Please like/share with your friends!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @SavioC: So glad you liked it and I wish you luck with your growing. Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 4 years ago

      Hi. This is an excellent lens that I just loved. We live in an apartment and have many flowering plants . Now I am going to grow some veggies . That will be really cool. Thanks for this wonderful sharing.

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 4 years ago

      Hi. This is an excellent lens that I just loved. We live in an apartment and have many flowering plants . Now I am going to grow some veggies . That will be really cool. Thanks for this wonderful sharing.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      We grow indoor fruit trees: meyer lemon, bearss lime, and clementine. You've inspired us to try a container vegetable garden. Interesting lens with good tips!

    • profile image

      scottrocha 4 years ago

      So lovely. I want to have these too.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @les777: You are welcome and thank you for visiting! Good Luck!

    • profile image

      les777 4 years ago

      Seriously thinking about Aerogardening after reading your lens. Thanks for the ideas.

    • MissKeenReviewer profile image

      MissKeenReviewer 4 years ago

      I love the idea of indoor herb gardening and would certainly love to have an Aerogarden for it- oh well.

    • profile image

      crstnblue 4 years ago

      Very interesting topic, never thought about this possibility of growing plants indoors...

      Thanks for sharing! : )

    • rasnasah profile image

      rasnasah 4 years ago

      Wow lovely lens.Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Toy-Tester 4 years ago

      Just getting started with gardening and appreciate the tips and ideas...thanks :)

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      The idea of living without a real garden is not very attractive to me, but I can see why apartment dwellers would be attracted to this.

    • sjewula profile image

      sjewula 4 years ago

      I have tried indoor gardening when I lived in an apartment. Best I did was to keep my pepper plant alive through the winter - no peppers grew but the following year I put i back outside and it once again grew them. I like the small hydroponic systems you show.

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

      Your tips about indoor container gardening are really great!

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      Growing your own food is the best way to eat and growing indoors means you can do it even more. Nice lens.

    • RyanBlock profile image

      RyanBlock 4 years ago

      One thing I wish there was more about was growing plants in terrariums, like the English used to do. I like the lens, indoor gardening is fun but can be a pain without a proper set up.

    • Allison Whitehead profile image

      Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

      Homegrown carrots taste so much better than shop bought ones.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @N Beaulieu: We vacationed a few days in Maine this summer - it was beautiful and I can't wait to return. A tip for your carrot growing - try to plant a baby carrot or one that doesn't grow very long so you don't have to have a deep container. Good Luck!

    • N Beaulieu profile image

      N Beaulieu 4 years ago

      I can't wait to try growing carrots indoors this winter. It'll be nice to see some fresh vegetation during the long winter here in Maine.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Love these ideas.

    • profile image

      sally-james-56232 5 years ago

      Some super ideas here, and I am bookmarking your lens to come back to again. Thank you

      Sally James

    • designworld lm profile image

      designworld lm 5 years ago

      Great ideas for winter gardening when I'm in need of something to take my mind off the cold outside.

    • profile image

      EnjoyLens 5 years ago

      Great lens, nicely done. Thumbs up

    • Dickstucki1 profile image

      Dickstucki1 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Thank you. You have some great ideas.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What an awesome way to manage a garden, especially living in less-than-predictable climates or place where you have limited outdoor space. Thanks for sharing!

    • karMALZEKE profile image

      karMALZEKE 5 years ago

      I never knew about the aerogarden. I Think I would like to try one. I really liked this lens.

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

      Loved your ideas.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      It's been awhile since I had an indoor garden. I really should grow one again. :)

    • CNelson01 profile image

      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      I like the idea of an indoor herb garden. I can't find a place for one in my house.

    • profile image

      Funny_Beekeeper 5 years ago

      Indoor gardening has become very stylish. I know a lot of people who are doing this, but for me it's not the same. I come from countryside and therefore I'm used of bigger gardens, but I like those small ones in apartments too ;) They're neat :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for creating and sharing your guide & tips for indoor gardening :) I'm now thinking about it and planning to get my own soon ;) 5 gorgeous stars for you. Have wonderful times.. always.. dear, jsr54.

    • profile image

      gardeningchoice 5 years ago

      I think my favorite thing to grow is baby tomatoes.

      Gardener's Choice

    • profile image

      dandude102 5 years ago

      Great lens. It covered every basic aspect of indoor gardening. I have an indoor container garden under CFL lights. I'm growing mint, basil, and thyme. It's great to be able to grab some for a salad or garnish any time I want... and in the middle of the winter too!

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

      It's definitely cabin fever time around here! My first seed catalog just came -- a joyful event -- and I may check out some of the indoor gardening equipment, now! Nice lens.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      I've been putting off planting some seeds into a pot for windowsill parsley for months, and now that I see these products I think they may be the way to go. thanks

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @wolfie10: We live in a moderate climate and believe it or not, I just harvested 3 radishes from the outdoor garden yesterday and they went in to a fresh salad! Good Luck!

    • wolfie10 profile image

      wolfie10 5 years ago

      i just looked at another indoor container gardening and on there, there grown radishes. i think that is a good idea and i'm going to try it. nice lens

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      I've never done indoor gardening but you're really sparked my interest. Thanks.

    • RaisedVegetableG profile image

      RaisedVegetableG 5 years ago

      My gardening has always been outdoors, these products are all new to me. If I lived in a unit I would be getting some of these and now that i live at a high altitude I am wondering if this might be useful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your page. Was a lot of very good information, which will come in handy for me as well. I am actually looking into buying my own mini greenhouse, again very useful advice and tips.

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      I'd love of those mini greenhouses, just the thing for starting plants off in our cold spring. I have used the windowsill greenhouses before though and did quite well with them.

    • profile image

      Conservatories_TV 5 years ago

      Now the summer months have gone - make best use of your conservatory and grow vegetables or plants in there. The area still gets the sun and therefore heats up enough to grow indoors

    • profile image

      kevin99sabatino 5 years ago

      Indoor LED grow lights are also more beneficial for plants. Unlike conventional bulbs,this particular type of light produce almost no heat. This means that they are less likely to dry out plants, requiring less watering and creating a minimal risk that a garden will be subjected to drought. Because of the way they are designed, they also produce light that is specifically designed to be beneficial to plants with less wasted light that plants are unable to use. Because of their compact design, they are also especially well suited for tight areas where space is at a premium. With so many benefits, it is hard to understand why anybody would choose indoor LED grow lights.

    • turtleface profile image

      turtleface 6 years ago

      You should check out windowfarming. It's a system of hanging containers one from the other where water feeds through them from top to bottom, and they are fed through hydroponics, not through the soil. This way they don't need large root structures to support them and take up less space. But, you are adding nutrients to the water that flows through their roots so you control how nutritious they are.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 6 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @lemonsqueezy lm: Thanks and good luck!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 6 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @lesliesinclair: Appreciate you sharing; that's a great way to use a bakers rack!

    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 6 years ago

      I grow my indoor vegetables on large windowsills in natural light.

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 6 years ago

      We grew a vegetable garden for the first time ever this summer. We inherited an indoor greenhouse -- it's very cute actually. I might be open to growing something indoors this year... maybe. Great lens and this is great information.

    • profile image

      carredsal 6 years ago

      Love your lens....:)

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      Beautifully done, great resource, congrats!! :)

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 6 years ago

      I use a bakers' rack, six feet high, that holds three orchids that I've brought into bloom, one one shelf with a total of seven blooming plants I've had for years, and maybe a dozen more that are just gorgeous green right one - on that one rack. It stands in front of my west facing living room window. What a gorgeous screen. Thanks.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 6 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @MBradley McCauley: I'll check your lens out! Thanks.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 6 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @LadyFlashman: Good Luck!

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a genius idea! I have a very shady garden, so maybe I should give some indoor gardening a go. Thanks for the info!

    • MBradley McCauley profile image

      MBradley McCauley 6 years ago

      Featuring this great lens in my Pot Gardens are Easy -- Container Gardening lens. I've learned a few things here.

    • profile image

      Tiffany_Tansy 6 years ago

      Would these pots work indoors http://www.bettaliving.org/DIY/Basic_plans/DIY_new... You see wanting to cut down on wastes, plastic containers just don't seem very eco-friendly. Is newspaper a viable option? Great article though thanks!

    • ravi551854 profile image

      ravi551854 6 years ago

      i like this lens and very helpful for beginners gardeners

    • ravi551854 profile image

      ravi551854 6 years ago

      indoor garden now a days going very popular. I also have indoor garden on my house. It is good to see greenery in the own home

    • profile image

      KateTag 6 years ago

      What a great lens! I found some helpful and encouraging information here for my indoor garden. Thanks!

    • skip1957 lm profile image

      skip1957 lm 6 years ago

      Indoor gardens are a great for anyone with limited yard space also a great hobby. great post!

    • profile image

      Jay_Chua 6 years ago

      Thanks for this wonderful tips on container gardening.

      I just move my porch swing and rest of my outdoor furniture indoor, and just wonder what is the best way to start winter gardening, and I guess I have found my answer here:)

      Jay Chua

      Publisher, PorchSwingSets.com

    • profile image

      herbgardenpro7 6 years ago

      I like to see lens like these... makes me know people still like to grow herb garden. I also created a website dedicated to helping other herb gardeners here: http://www.HerbGardeningAnswers.com/

    • remanon profile image

      remanon 6 years ago

      I have never seen an aerogarden before - its great. An interesting lens.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Very useful tips for the beginners.

    • Argamon profile image

      Argamon 7 years ago

      This was enjoyable reading, and there is nothing like eating your own fresh vegetables.

    • TrishH LM profile image

      TrishH LM 7 years ago

      I am a beginner gardener and found this very useful. Thank you very much.

    • mistyblue75605 lm profile image

      mistyblue75605 lm 8 years ago

      Apartment living is no fun but when you can have a garden indoors it makes it tolerable... 5*'s

    • beeobrien lm profile image

      beeobrien lm 9 years ago

      Thanks for a very helpful lens.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 9 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I once lived where all we had was a balcony. It was a big balcony so at one end I planted a baby swimming pool with all sorts of "salad" plants. We even produced our own tomatoes. So good to have fresh herbs & vegts. on hand. 5 ** favorite & fan.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I love container gardening! My rhubarbs are peeking out already!

    • profile image

      Adam_Fletcher 10 years ago

      What a great resource for gardeners. :-)

      Thanks

      Adam Fletcher

      Vegetable-Gardens