woman with indoor herbs
ECO gardener

While the idea of a beautiful vegetable patch conjures images of a sunny outdoor garden teeming with fruit-bearing crops, it’s surprisingly easy to grow vegetables indoors. If you’ve always wanted to grow your own food and don’t want to do this outdoors for some reason, you can certainly build an indoor garden. Apart from being incredibly space efficient, growing plants all year round. In this guide, we are outlining the basics of building an indoor vegetable garden.

5 Factors to Consider When Setting Up an Indoor Vegetable Garden

indoor herb garden

Setting up an indoor garden like hydroponics is easier than you think. As long as you have all the right materials you need to build a small garden, here’s a step-by-step guide on how:

Size of the Space: The first step to building an indoor garden is to check the available space size. The area should get ample sunlight if you’re not using artificial light. A garden needs room to grow for efficient air circulation. You need to get the right-sized pots and plants if you’re only working on a small garden or limited space, like a balcony or a sunny kitchen window. If the pot or plant is too big for the space, it could create shade that will stunt the growth of crops under and around it.

Lighting: Lighting is the biggest challenge to growing any plants indoors. One thing to keep in mind, fruit-bearing crops will require more sunlight exposure – at least 8 to 10 hours every day. The majority of plants need at least 4 hours of sunlight every day. If the space is getting sunlight in less than 6 hours, you’ll have to grow shade-tolerant crops or use grow lights to emulate an outdoor garden’s growing condition. Invest in high-quality grow lights and install these in strategic areas of the indoor garden. Make sure not to set it too close to the plants because the heat could burn the leaves.

Temperature: One of the best things about growing plants indoors is having more control over the temperature. That’s key to growing your own food all year round. The best temperature range for growing different plants is between 60°F/15°C and 70°F/20°C – it depends on the plants you’re growing. Be sure the humidity is 40% to 50%, and use electric fans to boost air circulation. If the temperature is too low and humid, the garden could become vulnerable to mold, fungus, and viruses.

Potting Soil: What growing medium should you use for your indoor garden? Potting mix is your best bet, not regular garden soil. Choose a well-draining, rich potting mix with a loose, fluffy texture. Vegetables, in particular, love potting mix enriched with organic compost. Avoid soil or potting mixes with peat because it’s not environmentally friendly.

Irrigation: Taking care of the irrigation is a must; you don’t want to flood your indoor garden with excessive water. Excess moisture can also lead to plant diseases like fungi and bacteria, which can cause plants to die. Apart from using well-draining soils and pots with drainage holes, we suggest installing a simple drip irrigation system so you can water your plants efficiently and avoid standing water. To prevent excess moisture from causing diseases, use a spray bottle to mist the plants or invest in a cool-mist humidifier.

Vegetables to Grow Indoors

indoor herb garden

What plants should you grow in your indoor garden? Different plants have different growing needs. Here are some tips to get you started:

Cool-Climate Vegetables

Many vegetables thrive in cool climates. If the indoor garden has an average room temperature of 70°F/20°C or lower, you can grow different cool climate vegetables, including:

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Leafy greens
  • Mache
  • Microgreens
  • Mustard greens
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Sorel
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress

Herbs

Most herbs need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, but some are incredibly resilient. Some herbs that are recommended for indoor gardening include:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme

You can buy an herb kit and start your vegetable garden, even on a tiny slice of space. If the indoor space lacks ample sunlight to grow different herbs, get artificial grow lights. The best thing about growing herbs is it’s beginner-friendly. You can get one pack of our herb kit and grow several herbs in one go. A few weeks later, you’re ready to harvest.

Warm-Climate Crops

It’s not impossible to grow warm-climate plants like berries and citrus fruits as long as the growing conditions are right. The recommended temperature for warm-temperature crops is 70°F/20°C. These plants need about 14 to 20 hours of sunlight daily, so grow lights are a must. Because these crops require specific growing conditions, they’re best for advanced gardeners.

  • Eggplant
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Strawberry
  • Peppers
  • Citrus fruits
  • Dwarf fruit-bearing trees

More Growing Tips for Indoor Gardening

Check the plants regularly: Be sure that the plants are getting enough light, especially if you only depend on natural light. Keep the soil moist but not damp. Look for signs of stress, pests, or diseases.

Give room to grow: Crowding the plants will increase humidity in the air, which can turn your indoor garden into a cesspool of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Give each plant breathing room to improve the air circulation and check if the fans are working.

Fertilize when needed: Some plants require fertilizers more than others, so be watchful. Amend the soil with natural, organic fertilizers because crops go to your plate; you don’t want traces of chemicals ending up in your food! We highly suggest fertilizers made with fish or seaweed.

Prune regularly: Pruning is a critical part of maintaining plant health. It’s also beneficial to prune regularly if you’re working in a small space. Use a hand pruner for smaller plants and loppers to cut bigger branches. Make clean cuts, so you don’t hurt the plants or attract pests.

Harvesting: Always check the maturity of the plants, especially herbs, so that you can time the harvesting well. Herbs should be pruned regularly. Otherwise, they lose their flavor. As for fruit-bearing trees and plants, look up to the days of maturity to estimate harvest time. Depending on the lighting, this may take longer..

Nothing compares to growing your own food, especially if you’re gardening indoors. Growing your own food is not only economical, but it’s also environmentally friendly. If this guide has inspired you to start an indoor garden, invest in high-quality gardening tools.

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