The Ins And Outs Of Growing An Indoor Vegetable Garden

Herbs growing in pots indoors - The ins and outs of growing an indoor vegetable garden
Sponsor/Writer - Louann Moss

There are few things more satisfying than growing your own vegetable garden. You get to engage in the satisfying activity of cultivating plants while also creating your own produce. Many people also enjoy gardening as a rewarding hobby, from those who’ve reached the average age of retirement at 63 to children just starting to exercise their green thumbs.

However, not everyone can experience the joys of traditional gardening. Whether it’s because they live in a city and don’t have front and back lawns that contribute to the United States’ collective 21 million acres of grass, or the local weather conditions aren’t suitable for growing vegetables, many people can’t garden outside. Luckily, the indoors are perfectly suitable for growing a vegetable garden of your own.

How To Start Your Indoor Vegetable Garden

If you’ve never looked around your home and thought that it would be the perfect place to start a garden, look again. While your indoor plants won’t have access to helpful pollinating insects and wind, you’ll be able to help their growth by carefully controlling the water, soil, fertility and light.

The first thing you need to do is get the right soil and containers for your plants. Rather than garden soil, use a high-quality potting mix. You’ll want to be sure that each container has good drainage and is the proper size for the plant in it. While greens with shallow roots only need two inches of depth, deep-rooted tomatoes will need at least 12 inches of soil.

Carefully consider the placement of your plants as well. Don’t place them too close to drafty windows or heat sources that can dry them out. You’ll likely need to add supplemental lighting as well, with a plant light or full spectrum fluorescent light. While sunny windows can provide some vitamin D, the light that filters in often doesn’t last long enough or isn’t strong enough to give plants the proper nutrition.

What To Grow In Your Indoor Garden

You may not be able to reap large harvests with your indoor garden, but you can grow enough to use in your cooking or to give to friends and family who want some homegrown veggies. A great vegetable to start with is scallions. These sweet onions work in a variety of dishes and don’t need as much sunlight as other vegetables.

Herbs tend to flourish inside as well. As long as you keep them away from drafty windows in the winter, your basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme and parsley should all thrive in your indoor garden. By growing other vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and microgreens, you can produce many ingredients you need for a healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet, for instance, is based on these healthy options and can help protect people from type 2 diabetes and improve glycemic control.

The Benefits Of An Indoor Garden

By now, you certainly know some of the many benefits of growing an indoor garden. Besides gaining the ability to grow your own food for a healthier diet, you’ll reduce your chemical ingestion by avoiding produce that is given a chemical treatment for growth and preservation. You’ll also be keeping your vegetables relatively safe from pests and disease by growing them inside.

As your vegetables grow in your home, they’ll also help improve your indoor air quality. Plants can do so by filtering the toxins that often become trapped indoors. In turn, this improved air quality will lower your risk of respiratory disorders. With upper respiratory conditions as the most common diagnosis in urgent care centers, a blooming indoor garden can keep you out of the doctor’s office and in your own home.

Spring will soon be turning the outside world green again, so why not reflect that beautiful seasonal change inside as well? Grab a few containers, the right soil and some seedlings the next time you visit a garden center. Before you know it, you’ll have a lovely (and tasty) indoor garden.

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