We’re taking a twist on gardening this spring at Postconsumers and looking at ways to garden when you’re in a more urban environment. If you’re choosing to use one of the urban friendly gardening methods, chances are that you’re growing at least some, if not all, of your garden indoors. If you’re hoping to yield food from your urban gardening effort, then the reality is that some vegetables and herbs just grow better indoors than other ones do. Today, we’re running down our ten favorite “vegetables” for indoor gardening success.
Number Ten: Avocados
Firstly, disavow yourself of the idea that you can grow an avocado from an avocado pit. You can – but you may not actually yield edible fruit. In that case, was your hard work really worth it? Invest in a dwarf avocado tree. With some sand at the bottom of your indoor drainage pot, it will actually grow quite well. Just be aware that even indoors an avocado tree can grow quite tall, so place it in an area with high ceilings.
Number Nine: Carrots
Carrots grow exceptionally well in window boxes but they can also be grown in a larger planting pot. The key to growing carrots indoors is that they need tons of sunlight to grow. That means that the window box is likely your best solution. If you have a rooftop gardening space or balcony that gets lots of sun, carrots can grow well there. But since carrots don’t need a ton of depth to grow, they can thrive in indoor situations where sun is ample.
Number Eight: Microgreens
Microgreens are the seedlings of herbs and vegetables. While leafier greens like kale or collards may be difficult to grow indoors, microgreens are doable and may even pack more nutrients in some cases than their larger relatives. Just buy a variety of seeds. We like the mix of: Swiss chard, kale, beets, radishes and dill. Sprinkle all the seeds together in a box or large pot and when the seedlings pop up, treat yourself to a healthy sauté.
Number Seven: Mushrooms
Not only are mushrooms healthy and oh-so delicious, but they’re super easy to grow indoors. We actually suggest that you purchase a mushroom growing kit, but you can also use a laundry basket to grow them in. Mushroom pizza night can be every night with your own indoor mushrooms!
Number Six: Scallions
So simple to grow indoors! Just buy a bunch of scallions. Tie the bulbs together and place the bundle (including the greens and stems) in a glass with about an inch of water. Change the water daily and when new greens appear and the roots have doubled in length transfer them to a small to medium sized growing pot.
Number Five: Tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of our favorite indoor vegetables to grow. They vine, which means that you don’t need to worry about something getting too tall for your smaller urban space. You’ll need a six inch pot for each tomato plant that you want to grow. If you like a continuous supply, you’ll want to start growing one new tomato vine every two weeks or so. You’ll want to put your tomato plants in a sunny area and be sure to turn them regularly. You’ll also want to start them in a starter potting soil and potentially transfer them to a more robust potting soil when they are larger.
Number Four: Mint
Never be without your favorite mojito ingredient again. As long as you keep your (large) pot of mint in a sunny area and well watered, your mint plant will sprawl and it will be amazing!
Number Three: Ginger
We’re not going to preach about the health benefits of ginger, but they are many! This is one incredibly useful root to grow in your own home. Just buy a chunk of ginger at your local grocery store (organic is best)and cover it with soil with the freshest buds facing upwards. Keep the soil moist and in indirect sunlight (another indoor benefit of ginger) and wait for the magic.
Number Two: Chives
You’ll need to buy seeds, but after that these are ideal indoor herbs. They grow well in a pot (just make sure that the soil is kept moist) and don’t require direct sunlight to thrive. If you’ve never had a baked potato with fresh chives instead of dried ones, then you don’t know what you’re missing!
Number One: Basil
Especially if you’re growing tomatoes indoors, you’ll want some fresh basil to complement them. Basil does need intensive sunlight to thrive, so a window box or a pot next to a window is best. Grab some seeds, and when they reach about five inches in height you can begin to prune and enjoy them.
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