How to Grow Vegetables in the Off-Season


Most parts of the country have a season where it's just not possible to grow vegetables outside because of the cold weather. If it's below freezing, most vegetables will die. Some, like carrots, beets and Brussel sprouts, will weather a light frost but won't live through a frost where the ground freezes. According to Charlie Ryrie, author of "The Country Garden," it's still possible to have fresh vegetables you've grown yourself during the winter. Just grow them inside.

Step 1

Select a spot in the house that gets sun for the majority of the day. That most likely will be a window on the south or west side of the house. Don't choose a window that has a radiator or is close to a heating vent or drafty window.

Step 2

Scrub out the pots with a solution of 1 tbsp of bleach to one quart of water. Rinse and let dry. The bleach kills any leftover fungus or plant bacteria.

Step 3

Put a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot over the drainage holes. Fill the pots with fresh potting soil.

Step 4

Plant your selected vegetables in the pot. Purchased plants in pint, quart or even gallon pots work well. If they're not at your local nursery, order them through plant catalogs or online. Good choices to grow indoors are indeterminate tomatoes, which produce over a period of time rather than all at once and cucumbers. Grow the cucumbers up a trellis or from a hanging pot to take up less room. Lettuces and leafy greens are another choice. They will grow more slowly than when in the garden.

Step 5

Place the plants at window level. You may have to put them on a low table. If you're worried about water drainage from the plants, put each pot in a saucer. Keep the pots clustered together. Heated inside winter air is dry, clustering the pots keeps the plants more humid. If your air is very dry, mist the plants with water every three or four days.

Step 6

Pollinate the flowers with a soft brush by going from one flower to another. Outside, insects take care of the pollination. You have to do it inside.

Step 7

Water when needed by using your finger as a dipstick and testing the moisture of the soil. Vegetables grow more vigorously than house plants and may need to be watered more often. Fertilize every month with water soluble fertilizer.

Step 8

Check for bugs and pests. Wash them off with soapy water or use an insecticide soap.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plant a selection of herbs with your indoor vegetable garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Household bleach
  • Measuring implements
  • Scrub brush
  • Coffee filter
  • Potting soil
  • Saucers
  • Table
  • Plants
  • Mister
  • Soft brush
  • Fertilizer


  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper
Keywords: gardening in winter, garden in off-season, grow vegetables inside

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.