Growing a home vegetable or herb garden doesn't mean one has to have a huge garden. Even for those with lack of suitable gardening space, indoor vegetable gardening presents an alternative. Several different vegetables and herbs grow well indoors or on covered patios. The key to this type of gardening remains in ensuring the plants receive plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Plant in a south-facing window and watch plants like chives and lettuce take off. Once edible plants are ready for harvest, select fresh produce and seasonings straight from the window garden for a delectable culinary creation.
Parsley grows easily indoors on a window box. Kitchen herb gardeners consider it a staple herb to have on hand for many recipes. A rich flavor and distinct scent make it a favorite among both cooks and gardeners. Parsley produces divided and curled leaves recognizable by many gardeners. Plant in the spring and fall for best results, although indoor potted parsley does well in the summer provided temperatures indoors remain cool. Once leaves reach edible and usable size, cut from the stems. Parsley can either be enjoyed fresh or dried. Replant yearly since parsley is an annual.
Another cool season vegetable suitable for indoor herb gardening are chives. These perennial herbs can grow to heights up to 10 inches if given the right conditions. An onion-like plant, chives routinely produce slightly pale lilac flowers. The slight onion flavor makes chives a staple in any household herb garden and adding them to dishes results in a distinct, bold flavor. Easy maintenance and prolific growth make them a favorite for beginner gardeners.
Several varieties of lettuce grow successfully indoors. Like parsley and chives, lettuce prefers the cool seasons of fall and spring but takes to indoor growth in the summer as well. Five varieties of lettuce available for indoor vegetable gardening include red leaf, green leaf, romaine, crisphead and stem lettuce. Texture and color differs from one cultivar to the next with leaf shades ranging from green and red. Once leaves appear of usable size, harvest the leaves for a fresh and crisp leaf to use on salads and other dishes. Light, but frequent, watering ensures optimal growth.
Spinach, like lettuce performs well as an indoor vegetable. Spinach thrives in well-draining soil. Fertilizer applied prior to transplanting helps encourage optimal growth. Suitable containers include window boxes. Three varieties the indoor home gardener can choose from include crinkled leaf, savoy and plain leaf. Most vegetable gardeners prefer plain leaf for its smoother texture. Leaves harvested while still young result in optimal taste. Spinach also will take to regions of the home that receives partial shade. For this reason, it remains one of the more valuable and useful indoor vegetable gardeners can grow.