Growing vegetables indoors is very much like growing vegetables outdoors – all of the requirements must be met for the plants to produce. Plants require light and water above everything else, and whether that is provided for the plants outdoors or indoors doesn’t matter to them.
Vegetable plants need a few more basics to thrive but they’re all easy to provide. Use these tips for growing vegetables indoors.
Vegetable plants need at least 6 hours of bright light every day. Yes, eventually you need “full sun” conditions to grow vegetables. That light can come directly from the sun if you have a sunny location indoors, or the light can come from artificial grow lights or a combination of both.
Remember that window glass will magnify the sunlight and increase heat, so be careful not to cook the plants in too much sunlight. Also, don’t allow plant leaves to touch the glass window panes. The heat or cold from the outside will harm the plant. I have a handful of such experiences in the past. Often you don’t notice that the plants near the window get cooked, so please be mindful about this.
Soil or Hydroponics
Vegetables can be grown indoors in containers filled with potting soil or they can be grown without soil in a hydroponic system.
That choice is up to you but either way, the vegetable plants will need nutrients to grow.
I have a separate article about Hydroponics here.
Nutrients for Indoor Vegetable Plants
Plants need nutrients and to grow vegetables indoors they must be fed a regular diet. Start with a good quality potting soil mix that contains compost (or distilled water for a hydroponic system), and add nutrients to the soil (or water) regularly.
Using water-soluble plant food and mixing it at one-half of the recommended rate is ideal for using once a week to feed vegetable plants. The vegetable plants get fed and watered at the same time.
I have an article about “The different types of Garden Fertilizer” where you can learn a little more about garden fertilizer.
We don’t think much about air circulation for plants grown outdoors, we let nature handle that. However, we have to be mindful of it when vegetables are grown indoors.
Crowding vegetable plants together in a small space reduces the air circulation around each plant and creates an environment for fungus and plant diseases to thrive. Indoor vegetable plants need to be near each other to keep up the humidity level around the plants but not so close that it impedes the airflow between the plants. It might be easy to think that you want to grow and harvest vegetables as much as possible. However, it could kill them just as simple as above, so remember to keep a certain distance between them.
Vegetables to Grow Indoors
Some vegetables are super easy to grow indoors, like carrots and microgreens. Try them for creating your indoor vegetable garden. Carrots are relatively easy to grow in the soil as well, so they are a beginner gardeners’ good companion.
Hot or mild peppers, any type of lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, radishes, spinach, kale, beets, cauliflower, and all of your favorite herbs are also easy vegetables anyone can start with!
You may also be interested in the 5 easiest to grow spring vegetables here.