Vegetables You Can Grow Indoors

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How to grow an indoor vegetable garden

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Homegrown veggies can seem like a distant summer dream when the trees are bare and the temperature is low. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little bit of know-how, you can grow your own fresh vegetables indoors. Just make sure to choose your favorite veggies from our list.

Just imagine tossing together a salad of crisp lettuce, crunchy carrots, and even juicy tomatoes—without ever stepping foot in the grocery store. Moreover, you’ll enjoy watching something grow and thrive when the outside world is cold and dormant.  
So, prepare to grow vegetables indoors with these plant suggestions and how-to-grow tips. (If you’re a fan of fresh herbs, check out our article on growing herbs indoors.) 

Easiest Vegetables to Grow Indoors

We’ve got one word for you: greens! They’re fast-growing so you can make the most of your space. Plus, they need less light than fruiting or root vegetables—just four or more hours per day—so a sunny windowsill should be enough for your plants to flourish, even during the short days of winter.

Choose your favorite green(s):

  1. Lettuce
  2. Swiss chard
  3. Spinach
  4. Kale
  5. Microgreens

Trickier Vegetables to Grow Indoors

Greens are great, but most folks long for more veggie variation as the cold months stretch. We have good news: You can also grow some fruiting and root vegetables indoors, as long as you keep three things in mind:

  • These veggies need more light to grow the fruit or root—we’re talking at least 6 to 8 hours per day—so you will likely need to supplement with a grow light.
  • You’ll want to choose compact or “micro” varieties bred to grow in pots (see below for some suggestions), both for their more manageable plant size and because smaller veggies tend to mature more quickly.
  • Speaking of pots, while greens will grow in smaller pots, both fruiting and root vegetables require larger, deeper pots that allow enough room for strong root growth (more on that below).

Try these fruiting and root vegetables:

  1. Tomatoes (like Tumbling Tom, Tiny Tim, or Heartbreaker)
  2. Peppers (like Mini Bell, Lunchbox, or Thai Hot)
  3. Radishes (like Cherry Belle, D’Avignon, or French Breakfast)
  4. Carrots (like Little Finger, Parisian, or Chantenay)
An indoor kitchen garden. Credit: Sonya Anro

How to Grow Vegetables Indoors

  1. Start by planting your seeds. If it’s your first time, follow the directions in our Seed-Starting Secrets for Beginners article. (Growing microgreens? Check out this how-to.)
  2. Once seedlings have developed a few “true” leaves, it’s time to transplant. (The first two leaf-like growths you’ll see on a new plant aren’t actually leaves at all and will eventually fall off.) Move each one into a pot large enough to allow for growth—that means at least 8 to 10 inches in diameter and relatively deep for fruiting or rooting veggies. Containers for greens can be a little smaller and shallower. Be sure each pot has holes for drainage, and use a high-quality potting mix.
  3. If you want to grow “baby greens” instead of full-sized plants, there’s no need to transplant. Just plant seeds in a tray-style container deep enough to hold 2-3 inches of soil, such as a takeout or salad container with holes punched in the bottom. 
  4. Another option is to skip the soil entirely and grow in water. Intrigued? Learn more about hydroponic gardening.
  5. Place the container either on a sunny windowsill (south-facing is best) or under a grow light. Choose a spot that is away from drafts, leaky windows, and heat vents.
  6. Water whenever the top inch of soil is dry. Stick your finger right into the soil to check.
  7. Growing plants need a steady source of nutrition, so be sure to feed them regularly with plant food. The easiest way is to use a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer once a week when you water.
  8. Keep an eye out for pests like aphids, white flies, and fungus gnats, and treat them as soon as you see them. 
  9. When harvest time comes for your greens, snip off the older outer leaves, leaving the newer leaves to continue growing. (Baby greens must be replanted after a couple of harvests.) For root vegetables, begin checking once the “time to maturity” listed on the seed packet has passed. For tomatoes and peppers, fruit is ready to pick once it turns the color shown on the seed packet.

So, let’s raise a watering can to freshly grown veggies harvested in the warmth and comfort of your own home—without ever having to go outside. 

About The Author

Su Reid-St. John

Su, a master gardener, spent many years editing and writing garden content for Bonnie Plants and Miracle-Gro. Read More from Su Reid-St. John

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