Sunday, 24 September, 2023

Growing Vegetables Indoors

Group of cardboard disposable cups with plants

So you’ve done some container gardening on the patio or balcony, and you’ve even planted some vegetables in addition to herbs and flowers. But what if you’ve loved the experience so much that you just don’t want it to stop throughout the cold months of winter? Is it possible to grow a container garden inside as well as out?

Indeed it is, at least to a certain extent, but there are some prerequisites. You might not be surprised to hear that the most important of these is sunlight. Should you have a sunny window, preferably facing south, this will be the primary ingredient in your container garden’s success.

You may also require a fluorescent lamp that you can focus on certain veggies, like tomatoes and peppers, to guarantee an adequate supply of light so they won’t grow spindly or fail to produce fruit.

Up to a point, you’ll be able to prepare the containers in much the same way you would for an outside garden, with the correct soil mix, good drainage, and so forth. On the other hand, these pots tend to be quite a bit smaller, and being indoors throughout the winter months, they might not have as much humidity as they need.

A good way to get around this could be to place your pots in large trays rather than on saucers, placed on a layer of small stones, and keep water in the trays.

This can not only help them access water when they require it, but it will intensify the humidity that surrounds them as well. A further difference between indoor and outdoor containers is going to be that you’ll require less fertilizer, since the vegetables will grow at a slower pace within the house.

The selection of plants will of course be more limited than in an outdoor container garden. Yet you can grow tomatoes, radishes and small peppers, a few types of lettuce, and many herbs.

Along with the usual herbs such as sage, basil, and thyme, you can grow cilantro, parsley and chives too. It is easy to grow these in six-inch containers on a windowsill.

Radishes will almost certainly be the fastest growing veggie to begin with. Take a six- or eight-inch container and sprinkle seeds on the wet soil, then cover with another 1/4 inch of soil. To make the seeds sprout quickly, try a “greenhouse” effect, either by setting some glass over top of the pot to preserve moisture or stretching some plastic wrap over it until the seeds have germinated.

Small peppers, tomatoes, and many types of lettuce will thrive in the house, but must have sunny, warm surroundings. When it comes to peppers and tomatoes, you’ll need to watch out for aphids and whiteflies, and get rid of them with insecticidal soap or another form of insect killer when they first materialize.

You should be able to harvest both tomatoes and peppers about ten weeks after you plant them. Small-rooted carrots can also be grown inside.

Your choices of veggies will be more limited with indoor pots than with outdoor, and you’ll have to ensure suitable conditions for their development. Yet you can still have at least a partial garden to keep you during the wintertime, and remind you of all the possibilities for your outdoor container garden in the coming spring.