Want to enjoy yummy fruits and vegetables all year round? By growing them indoors, you can eat fresh home-grown produce regardless of the season.
Maybe you’ve given up the idea of growing your own fruits and vegetables because your tiny apartment lacks a yard, the weather in your area is just too harsh, or you’re like me and can never remember to water your garden. Fortunately, these challenges don’t have to be deal breakers, because you can actually grow a variety of fruits and veggies indoors. If you have a bright area that’s naturally-lit, an enclosed patio, or a sunroom, then the likelihood of successful, fresh, and delicious little crops is very high—even during the winter!
Indoor produce choices are actually quite vast, as are the ways you can choose to plant them. A simple terracotta pot is a great way to begin, or you can plan to yield lots of goodies and use hanging pots, mason jar wall planters, or a free-standing vertical box garden to cultivate your fruits and vegetables indoors. Whatever you decide, they’re sure to be delicious! Before you begin, let’s take a look at some of the options and some tips on how to make your garden grow.
Yes, these crunchy veggies favored by cartoon rabbits are usually quite long and need a planter to match, but if you grow the dwarf or round varieties instead, then your pot only needs to be around 8 inches deep with soil filled to about an inch from the top. Some experts recommend planting seeds ¼ inch into the soil, while others say you just need to sprinkle the seeds over the soil’s surface. Either way, in about 60 or so says, you’ll have a handful of fully grown carrots to munch on.
The most common indoor fig tree is Negro Largo. It will yield fruit in around one to two years and is a great decorative addition to your home. Although fig trees can grow quite tall, pruning will keep the height at a reasonable level, allowing this particular plant to stay indoors. Cat and dog lovers should take caution, however, because this plant is known to be poisonous to pets.
A yummy veggie that can be grown indoors, beets require space, regulated watering, and plenty of sunlight. You can eat the plant and the root of the beet, and it is sometimes pickled or roasted. The seeds need to be planted about a foot apart, or in individual containers, and will take anywhere from 40 to 80 days before fully mature and ready to eat.
Slightly more challenging, but worth the effort nonetheless, strawberries can be successfully grown indoors. These require pH balanced and moist soil, peat moss, and direct sunlight in a seed tray to start, but once germination (about two to three weeks) can be transferred to pots. After that they require about six hours of sunlight a day, monthly fertilizing, and initial pruning of blossoms during the first six weeks. A basket of strawberries done right can produce fruit for up to three years.
“Seed potatoes” are recommended because they are designed to be grown indoors and are more disease resistant. Germinate the potatoes by using the instructions found here. The more eyes they have, they better the results will be. Start with a deep pot that has drainage holes. Cover the bottom with stones to aid in drainage and fill with soil until it’s ⅔ of the way full. Place the sprouted potatoes on the soil root side down and then cover with another two to three inches of soil. They require “deep” watering and additional soil after they greens have grown about six inches above the surface.
Apricots can be grown by using the seed from its own pit, so next time you’re indulging, save the center and extract the seeds. Use a hammer to crack the pit and stratify the seeds by following the instructions here. Once you see roots emerge, pot the sprouting seeds in a container that’s about four inches and filled with potting soil. This can be placed in a sunny window to encourage growth, but may take two to three years to bear fruit. There is also a dwarf variety available, so that the plant can remain indoors.
Florida Basket and Micro Tom are two varieties of tomatoes that were designed to be grown indoors in unglazed pots or hanging baskets. They require lots of sunlight—at least eight hours a day—and are said to be heavy eaters, requiring lots of fertilization. Tomatoes require a germination period of about five to ten days before transferring to a sunny spot. When seedlings are around three inches tall, transfer them to larger pots.
This list only just scratches the surface, so do some research and start experimenting on growing fruits and vegetables indoors. And if at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again. Share your thoughts with us on the EcoSalon Facebook page!
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