■ Metro Service
Foodies find it hard to beat vine-ripened tomatoes plucked right out of a garden. Other edibles, such as fresh lettuce for a small luncheon salad or a handful of fresh parsley right out of a pot to add to a marinade, also add a lot to meals.
The convenience and flavor of freshly grown edibles propels many home gardeners to grow produce and herb gardens in their yards. But those short on outdoor space may be happy to learn that many edibles grow equally as well indoors as outdoors.
Many people maintain comfortable temperatures between 70 and 75 F in their homes all year long, which can be the ideal condition for growing an array of edibles no matter the season. For those with homes that receive ample sunlight (or if homeowners are willing to supplement with artificial light), growing conditions can be even stronger. An indoor garden can comprise as much space as a homeowner is willing to devote. Shelving can maximize vertical areas and enable gardeners to include even more planting room.
Keep these tips in mind when cultivating indoor edible gardens.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes should be reserved for the sunniest spot in a home or one where additional UV light can be used. Tomatoes will need pots or containers that are roughly six inches deep with ample drainage. Keep in mind that tomatoes grown indoors will be smaller than outside fruits, and you may want to consider plum or cherry tomato varieties.
Cucumbers: For those fresh salad mixes, cucumbers can be grown indoors in large pots so they can have space to develop. Be sure to put a climbing structure in the pot so that vines can grow vertically, and place cucumbers in a sunny, warm location.
Carrots: Natural Living Ideas says that if you have between four and five hours of bright sunlight per day and deep pots with loose, well-draining soil, you can cultivate carrots indoors. Carrots prefer cooler spots for sweet yields. Plus, carrot greens can make for attractive indoor decorations.
Microgreens: Swiss chard, basil, dill, kale, and other greens can provide nutrient-dense additions to any meals. These plants do not require a lot of depth to a container and can thrive on a sunny windowsill in a room that’s between 60 and 70 F.
Scallions: These plants of the onion family add flavor to many recipes. When scallions are grown at home, gardeners can snip off the greens as needed. Choose deep pots so the scallions can establish strong root systems.
Turnips: Large, deep pots are needed to grow turnips, says Loyal Gardener. You can grow them from seeds and be harvesting turnips in about two months.
Homeowners or apartment dwellers can experiment with different types of edibles indoors. The result can be fresh foods no matter the season.