So you’re thinking of getting started growing vegetables indoors? Good for you! Caring for an indoor garden is such a fulfilling task. Not only does it give you fresh produce to eat year round, it also brings the positive physical and emotional benefits of gardening into your home. No more waiting for spring to start growing - you can get started right now!
But before you do, it’s important to have the right supplies and mindset so your indoor gardening is successful. And one of the best things you can do to prepare is know which vegetables are the easiest to grow indoors. Skip ahead to read about eight of them right now, or continue on for a list of supplies.
First up, what you need to know and what supplies you need to buy before starting vegetable seeds indoors.
How to grow vegetables indoors: what to do & what you need
While many use their windowsills or grow lights in the spring to start seeds and grow vegetables inside before transplanting them outdoors, there’s no reason you can’t also garden indoors year-round. Particularly for those who live in cold climates where you can’t grow anything outdoors during the winter. Having fresh veggies when there’s snow on the ground can’t be beat.
There are several different ways to go about indoor gardening. The easiest is to just use natural light coming in from the windows. While you won’t be able to grow as many veggies indoors with only natural light, there are still quite a few you can try. For example, because green onions only require six hours of sunlight a day, they’re a great option for indoor vegetable growing using sunlight only.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can set up an indoor garden using artificial lights and heat mats to recreate outdoor growing conditions. This method does require some upfront expense, but it allows you to grow a much wider variety of plants.
Here are seven supplies that are needed - and four that are optional - for growing vegetables inside:
- Seed starting mix
- Organic potting mix
- Pots with draining holes or drip trays
- Small watering can
- Small spray bottle
- Distilled water (optional)
- Indoor grow light (optional)
- Heat mat (optional)
- Electric fan for circulation (optional)
Now that you’re all set in the supplies department, it’s time for the fun part - choosing what to grow!
8 easiest vegetables to grow indoors
You’re not going to have a lot of success with indoor gardening if you choose tricky plants when you’re just starting out. Instead, set yourself up for success with eight of the easiest vegetables you can grow indoors.
Lettuce is a very popular indoor gardening veggie as it has shallow roots and doesn’t need a deep pot to grow in. It also grows quickly and you can harvest outer leaves and allow the remaining plant to continue growing. When planting, simply press the seeds just below the surface of the soil and then spritz with water to keep moist.
- Lettuce needs about twelve hours of sunlight per day, so if you’re growing indoors when the days are shorter you’ll need grow lights.
- Lettuce prefers soil around 60°F (15°C). If you plan on keeping your plants on a windowsill that gets too cool or too hot you may need to come up with another location.
Carrots are well-known, easy to grow vegetables outdoors - and it goes the same for growing them indoors too! Choose smaller carrot varieties such as Carnival Blend and Little Finger as they need less space and mature more quickly than larger carrots. After planting the seeds, lightly cover them with peat moss so they don’t dry out and keep them moist until they germinate.
- Carrots can germinate in a wide range of soil temperatures. As long as the growing medium is warmer than 45°F (7°C) and cooler than 85°F (30°C).
- After germinating, carrots grow best between 50°F (10°C) and 70°F (21°C). Avoid any intense heat as carrots are cool-tolerant.
Microgreens are one of the most popular veggies to grow inside for several reasons. Not only are they super easy to care for, they’re also very small - hence the name - and take up very little space. Usually microgreens include a mix of seeds including radishes, beets, kale and swiss chard and are harvested as seedlings.
- All microgreens need is a shallow tray in a sunny spot. The tray doesn’t even need drainage holes because these tiny nutrient-packed seedlings require so little water.
- Wait until seedlings have sprouted at least two leaves, then cut them at soil level and leave roots as they may resprout.
Imagine fresh garden peas in the middle of winter! It is possible, it just requires a bit of love and attention. Many pea varieties produce edible shoots and flowers as well as pods, so even if you don’t have the space or time to wait for them to mature to full-sized, you can happily munch on other parts of the plant.
- Peas need 8-10 hours of light a day, so use grow lights placed just a few inches above the plants.
- Check daily if they require water as they should be kept moist, but not wet.
Spinach is a cool-tolerant plant that grows quickly both outdoors and in. It’s a great choice for beginner indoor gardeners as it can be ready to harvest in as little as four weeks. Spinach, as well as other leafy salad greens, can be grown as a cut and come again plant - meaning you harvest the tops and leave the base so it can sprout again.
- Spinach requires about twelve hours of light per day and does best at around 60°F (15°C).
- Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, as spinach requires good drainage to thrive.
While growing tomatoes indoors requires a bit more patience than some of the other plants on this list, many indoor gardeners have had great success growing this fruit that’s so often thought of as a vegetable. While you’ll most likely need lights to grow tomatoes indoors, some gardeners have had luck growing varieties such as cherry tomatoes with just natural light.
- While some of the plants on this list require very little soil, tomatoes have deep roots and require at least 12 inches.
- Tomatoes may need a little help with pollination while growing indoors. Once they've flowered and there’s pollen visible, use your fingertip to gently dab the pollen across each flower.
Herbs are another very easy edible plant to grow indoors. Basil, parsley, mint, cilantro, oregano, rosemary and more, having the ability to snip off a few fresh leaves and add them to your cooking is such a delight.
- Herbs like warmer temperatures - around 70°F (21°C).
- Certain herbs such as parsley, mint and oregano can do with lower light than sun-loving herbs like basil and rosemary.
8. Green onions
Also known as scallions, green onions are one of the easiest vegetables you can grow inside because you simply harvest their tops and then replant the bulbs for continuous growth year round. For an even easier method of growing, you can snip off the tops and leave the bulbs in the soil as they will resprout.
- Green onions don’t require a ton of water, just make sure to keep the soil slightly damp and use mulch to stop evaporation - which will mean less watering needed.
- Green onions only need six hours of sun per day, so they’re great for growing near windows when only natural light is present.
5 tips for a healthy indoor vegetable garden
If you’re going to go through the effort of indoor gardening, you’re going to want to do it right. The great news is once you have everything set up and growing there isn’t a whole lot of maintenance required other than watering and fertilizing. And harvesting and eating of course!
- Start with easy to grow plants: When you’re just getting started with indoor vegetable gardening, make sure to stick to easy to grow plants so you don’t get discouraged. Once you’ve had a bit of success with the easier veggies, move on to the trickier ones and see how it goes.
- Choose the right pots: While there are a few plants that aren’t fussy about what they’re growing in, most need pots with drain holes. This is because plant roots don’t like to get soggy, meaning drainage is important.
- Use the right soil: For starting seeds, use a seed starting mix and not potting soil. Potting soil is too heavy for tiny seedlings, so make sure you use the right type of soil. Once they’ve germinated and have grown a few inches tall, you can transfer them into organic potting soil. Never use leftover soil from your outdoor garden as it may carry pests or diseases that could harm your indoor garden.
- Check plants daily: Because you’re planting in smaller pots your soil will need to be checked daily. For nearly all indoor veggies you want to keep the soil moist, but not wet - however double check each plant’s individual needs and water accordingly.
- Don’t forget to fertilize: Fertilization is especially important for indoor gardening because you’re growing in a less than ideal situation. Note that flowering plants such as tomatoes will need to be fertilized bi-weekly, while leafy greens only need fertilizer monthly. An organic liquid fertilizer such as fish or seaweed are two great options. And so is nutrient-rich Lomi dirt!
Try Lomi for an unlimited supply of natural fertilizer for your veggies
If you want to forgo chemical fertilizers and instead use a fresh supply of free nutrient-rich fertilizer for your indoor garden, you have to check out Lomi! Lomi is an indoor electric composter that turns food scraps into fertile dirt in a matter of hours, once you have Lomi you’ll wonder how you ever did without.
How Lomi works is it uses heat, oxygen and abrasion to speed up the natural decomposition process. By using Lomi’s Grow mode, which takes 16-20 hours to complete, you’re fast-tracking mother nature’s amazing ability to turn waste into beautiful, usable nutrients.
And that’s what you need to know about growing vegetables indoors for beginners. With the right supplies and the right seeds, here’s hoping your indoor garden provides you with much joy and tasty food year-round!
To help you garden along, don’t forget to check out Lomi. Read what others are saying about the electric composter that turns food waste into amazing fertilizer overnight.
Written by: Larissa Swayze