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How to Grow Vegetables Inside Your Home

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How to Grow Vegetables Inside Your Home

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Overview

Growing vegetables inside your home requires good lighting and fertile soil or a hydroponic system. Normal indoor lighting is not sufficient for plants; they require intense light in the blue and red wavelengths for vegetative growth and photosynthesis, and infrared light to stimulate flowering and fruiting, according to the Texas A&M Extension Service. Choosing a lighting system depends on the light requirements of the vegetables being grown. Compact-fluorescent lights with one incandescent bulb mixed in or special T5 fluorescent grow-bulbs are probably sufficient for a small growing area. For larger indoor gardens, metal halide lights and high pressure sodium lights give a higher intensity illumination.

Step 1

Select a lighting system for your vegetables. Set up shelving to support the plants and suspend the lights above or beside the plants. Lights above the plants must move as the plants grow, so mount them on chains that raise or lower the fixture. Use a drip tray on the shelf to catch water overflow.

Step 2

Group the vegetable plants together by height. Suspend the light above the plants as close as possible without burning the plants. Use your hand at plant height to determine how much heat the plants are receiving.

Step 3

Place the plants with the highest light needs directly under the light. Vegetable plants requiring lower light can be placed at the outer edges. Start the plants with fluorescent lights or under metal halide lights. Keep the lights on for 16 to 18 hours a day.

Step 4

Water the plants regularly. Container plants grown under lights tend to dry out quickly. Water when the tops dry out, soaking the plant.

Step 5

Fertilize your vegetable plants every three weeks with a water-soluble formula applied as the label directs.

Step 6

Move the lights as the plants grow, keeping them at least 6 inches away from the plants and preventing burning. Plants with browning leaf tips are too close to the light.

Step 7

Add light from an incandescent bulb or high pressure sodium lights and reduce the daily light to 12 hours to induce flowering.

Step 8

Hand pollinate flowers with a paint brush or cotton swab. Brush inside the flower, passing over each flower twice. Brush each flower daily until the flower closes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep water away from power cords and lights. If plants are stacked on shelves, do not allow water to drip onto lights from plants above.

Things You'll Need

  • Lighting fixtures and bulbs
  • Shelves
  • Chains
  • Drip Tray

References

  • Texas A&M Extension Service: Light Temperature and Humidity
  • University of Georgia Extension: Growing Indoor Plants with Success
  • Simply Hydroponics: Lighting Basics
Keywords: grow vegetables inside, grow vegetables indoors, indoor vegetable garden

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.