How to Grow Vegetables Indoors With a Grow Light


Growing vegetables indoors allows you to have a successful garden even if you have no place for an outdoor garden bed. Many summer vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, are available in dwarf varieties suitable for indoor container growing. Other vegetables such as cool-season spinach and leaf lettuce, can tolerate minor indoor shade. Specially-made grow light fixtures and bulbs, available from most garden centers, can provide enough light to make an indoor garden thrive.

Step 1

Fill 3-inch diameter seedling pots with a soil-less potting mixture, as soil-less mixes are well-draining and provide the optimum medium for indoor growing. Sow one to two seeds in each pot to a depth twice that of the seed's width.

Step 2

Sprinkle water on the soil in the pots until the soil is evenly moist. Place a plastic bag over each pot and set them in a warm room to germinate; this takes seven to 14 days for most vegetable varieties.

Step 3

Remove the plastic bag once sprouts appear. Set the pots under the grow lights, adjusting the light so it is 6 inches above the top of the seedlings. Leave the lights on for 12 to 14 hours a day, turning the lights off at night. Water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Step 4

Transplant the seedlings into a permanent pot once they are 5 inches tall or have developed five sets of leaves. Fill a 10- to 12-inch diameter pot with potting mix and plant seedlings in the new pot to the same depth they were at in the seedling pot.

Step 5

Adjust the height of the grow lights as the plants grow, maintaining the 6-inch distance between the top of the plants and the light fixture. Leave the lights on for 12 to 14 hours each day. Continue to water as needed to keep the soil moist.

Step 6

Fertilize the plants once they are transplanted. Mix 1 tbsp. of 20-20-20 analysis fertilizer with 1 gallon of water. Water the vegetable plants with this solution once a week.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid over watering indoor plants, as they are more prone to soggy soil conditions. Water when the top 1 inch of soil begins to feel dry when you stick your finger in the pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed pots
  • Potting mix
  • Seeds
  • Plastic bags
  • Grow lights
  • Large pots
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Illinois Extension: Growing Transplants
  • Arizona State Extension: Container Garden
Keywords: growing under fluorescent lights, gardening vegetables indoors, indoor vegetable garden

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.