(article by Taylor Shillam)
When you’re selecting vegetables to grow in an indoor garden, your best choices are usually smaller cool-climate and early-season plants. These include tomatoes, peppers, root vegetables, leafy greens and herbs.
While your thinking about all those great veggies, don’t forget the proper light source. Here are some helpful tips when it comes to vegetables, and later on I’ll show you a couple of good websites to go to for information on choosing the proper grow light.
- Lettuce and spinach are two leafy green vegetables that are very easily grown in indoor gardens. They’re easily cultivated, especially the smaller lettuce varieties like miniature Tom Thumb head lettuce, because smaller varieties tend to grow more quickly. Most of the various types of lettuce will be ready to eat after about 25 days.
- Loose-leaf lettuce varieties such as Boston and Bibb can be picked about 4-6 weeks after you begin growing them, and continue to grow up to 3-4 weeks after picking.
- Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, as well as kale, can be harvested over time. You can plant them every couple of weeks and pick off the leaves as you need them. Plant as much spinach as you want, because it can be boiled and kept frozen (a procedure called blanching) for up to six months for an even longer-lasting supply.
- Certain root vegetables can also be planted and harvested regularly. Radishes, beets and miniature carrots are great examples of easily grown root vegetables. Their roots don’t require pots as deep as other root vegetables, making them easy to grow in pans and boxes.
- Radishes don’t require a lot of time or attention and grow quickly. Most types of radishes will be ready to eat in about a month. You can plant a new batch every ten days, and harvest them as soon as they grow to be about one inch across in size. Icicle and cherry belle radishes are best for easy indoor growing.
- Because peppers grow to be healthier in warmer climates, they are another great vegetable for indoor gardening. Thin-walled peppers are the most easily maintained types, such as cayenne, sweet banana and long red peppers.
- Cherry tomatoes are another excellent vegetable for indoor gardening. Each plant can produce up to half a bushel of tomatoes. There are many different types to try out and they don’t require a lot of care. However, they do need warm temperatures and sunlight, so make sure to keep them near a window or under fluorescent lighting.
- Mushrooms can be easily grown indoors at any time of the year. You can buy bags of prepared compost with mushroom spawn. They only need to be watered and left in a dark, draft-free place at 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. It will only take a few weeks for them to start cropping up.
- Growing herbs in your indoor garden allows you to always have flavor on hand to add to any dish. Herbs can be grown in small, separate containers or planted together in one large pot, depending on their size. Cilantro, thyme, parsley and basil are a couple of basic, easy-to-grow herbs that provide plenty of flavor.
- Be sure to provide your vegetables with the proper lighting, nourishment and fertilizer to ensure they become as healthy as possible. Choose pots and containers with holes at the bottom for drainage, and use a lightweight potting mix.
With plenty of water, fertilizer and the proper grow light, you’ll be on your way to a rich garden of easily grown vegetables in no time!
Taylor Shillam has been a student at the University of Idaho where she excelled in journalism and public relations. Ms. Shillam is also a veteran of the Disney College program and is studying nutrition at Eastern Washington University. To get started with indoor gardening, you need to know some basics, and that usually starts with the proper light source. Taylor would like you to use the following websites as a resource to help you if you are new to indoor growing: cfl grow light and 600 watt grow light.