When the regular garden season ends in the summer, an extended gardening season can continue inside in the winter. Vegetables, including many green leafy vegetables and tomatoes, can grow inside with appropriate preparation and care. Seed must be purchased and stored when available for indoor gardening to begin in the fall. An unused sunny space in your home must be set aside for your indoor vegetable garden to thrive. It is best to allow the space to be cool during the day for cool weather vegetables such as green leafy and root crops.
Preparation: Seeds, Location, Soil
Buy extra vegetable seeds in late winter to early spring when there are plenty available. Seed choices to consider include cherry tomatoes, various hot peppers, all types of lettuce, bush beans, endive, small-rooted carrots and beets, Swiss chard, miniature cabbage, radishes and bunching onions. Store the seeds as indicated on the seed packet, usually in a cool location.
Locate a sunny location inside your home that is relatively unused and may be cool during the day, such as an enclosed porch, sun room or an unused room in your home for cool weather vegetables such as lettuce and carrots.
Locate a warmer location for vegetables that like temperatures in the upper 70s during the day, such as tomatoes, peppers, beans and cucumbers. Consider a room that faces south.
Start the indoor vegetable garden in fall. Use lightweight soil that is "1 part potting soil, 1 part vermiculite, 1 part peat and 1 part perlite" (volcanic glass with high water content), recommends the website Garden Gal. Plastic or ceramic containers can be used. Plastic can get hot. Ceramic is popular, says the website essortment.
Maintaining the Indoor Vegetable Garden
Water daily or on alternating days because of the vegetables' confined growing space and humidity needs.
Fertilize every two weeks because of the depletion of nutrients from frequent watering. Use a balanced organic fertilizer for optimum results.
Although issues with pests are reduced with growing vegetables indoors, there will still be pets that are common to houseplants. Treatment, such as insecticidal soaps, is the same as with houseplants.