Growing your vegetables indoors gives you complete control over the climate of your garden. Although indoor gardening requires different preparation and techniques than outdoor gardening, it provides more flexibility in both space and growing seasons. Whether you lack an adequate gardening area or simply want to continue growing vegetables through the cold winter months, an indoor vegetable garden is an effective alternative to traditional outdoor gardening.
Select vegetable seeds for your indoor garden. Choose smaller plants that will grow to a maximum height of about 2 feet. You will find the best seed selection in early spring as gardeners begin their outdoor gardening, and vegetable seeds may be stored for up to a year without losing their germination ability. Store your seeds in a cool, dry place for use in fall and winter planting.
Mix your potting soil with equal parts peat, vermiculite and perlite. Add hydrated lime to balance the soil pH according to the varieties of vegetables you will plant. Add 2 to 3 inches of small stones or pot shards to the bottom of each container to promote healthy drainage.
Pour your soil mixture into your containers or planters and moisten. Allow the soil to settle, and even the surfaces with a handheld rake. Choose containers that are large enough to accommodate your particular varieties of vegetables. Each seed packet should specify ideal container dimensions.
Choose a location for your indoor vegetable garden. Southern-facing rooms tend to stay warmer throughout the winter and receive maximum sunlight. Most vegetable varieties require 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Plant your vegetable seeds according to the instructions on the seed packets. Plant varieties of similar heights together in larger containers. Check the soil moisture of your plants daily and water as necessary. Fertilize your plants with a liquid fertilizer diluted to quarter strength once a week.
Position one cool-white and one warm-white fluorescent bulb 3 to 6 inches from the top of your plants. Most indoor areas will not receive 6 hours of direct sunlight during the winter months and will require supplemental light. Light your plants for 18 to 20 hours a day for maximum growth.
Things You Will Need
- Vegetable seeds
- Containers or planters
- Small stones or pot shards
- Potting soil
- Watering can
- Handheld rake
- Liquid fertilizer
- Fluorescent lights
- Leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce will tolerate shady, cooler locations in your house.
- Never use garden soil on indoor plants. It compacts too easily and can house pests.
- Move vegetable plants away from windows in the winter. Window glass will radiate cold temperatures that may damage your plants.