If you have windows in your home that get direct light, you can grow just about any vegetable you like. In fact, in very hot climates, cool-season crops like lettuce, spinach and kale might even grow better indoors in temperatures that are cooler than the outdoor temperatures. Whatever your choice, maintain the same soil and water preferences for the plants that they have when grown outdoors.
Maturing in only 21 to 30 days, salad greens are the fastest-growing vegetable you can find. Choose a mix of arugula, bibb, oak leaf, chicory, oak leaf or red leaf. Because lettuces thrive in cool weather, they do well indoors and require less light than other vegetables. Plant the seeds or seedlings in loose, rich soil and add small amounts of fertilizers every two weeks. As you cut leaves, the plants will continue to produce and you can have fresh salads just steps away from the kitchen.
Like salad greens, spinach is a cool-weather crop that prefers some shade and cool temperatures. It matures in 40 to 60 days, but you can begin harvesting small leaves and thinning plants in about 30 days. Plant spinach plants 6 inches apart in rich, but well-draining soil, and water regularly. To harvest spinach, cut individual outer leaves with scissors. The plant will continue to produce leaves from the center.
Frequently cited as one of the fastest growing vegetables, maturing in 25 to 60 days, radishes are a popular choice. However, Marian Morash, noted grower and author of “The Victory Garden Cookbook,” says that they are not foolproof. She advises that radishes need six hours of sun daily in order to produce radish bulbs instead of just leafy tops. Give radishes fertilizer every two weeks and plenty of water in a well-draining soil. Morash stores the greens and the roots separately and adds the radish leaves to soups and stews, in addition to using the radishes themselves.
Like radishes, beans are also cited as one of the best vegetable crops for home gardeners. Bush beans mature in 50 to 60 days and are a better choice for indoor gardening than pole beans, since they take up less space. Beans do need plenty of sun and good air circulation, so be sure to leave adequate space between plants. Plant beans in sandy, rich soil and water regularly. Give the beans a dose of fertilizer every two weeks.