For those looking to improve their self-sufficiency, starting a garden is a great choice. It gives you easy access to food, and helps you provide for yourself. Not to mention that it’s fun and relaxing as well! In this article we’ll look at 5 easy to grow indoor garden plants that are edible. You can start growing these today, and all from the comfort of your home.
In addition, growing your own food can save your time and money and be good for your overall health. Nurturing your food bearing plants is therapeutic. There is evidence that gardening can improve your wellbeing and reduce your stress levels.
So what are you waiting for? Check out this list of food bearing plants. You can plant all of them or start with one and go from there. Even better, you don’t need a large amount of space for any of these plants, you can grow them all indoors with minimal space.
Arugula (Eruca sativa)
Are you a fan of salad? If yes, growing arugula indoors is a fantastic choice. This leafy, green vegetable is grown from seeds during cooler seasons outdoors, but is perfect to plant year round indoors.
Arugula is fairly easy to care for, stick it in a sunny spot and it will be happy. Angular is also quick to grow, you can be harvesting in as little as a month. It’s flavor slightly changes after that, so you can also hold off harvesting to get a slightly different flavor experience.
You can also companion grow arugula alongside deep root plants like trees. Do not worry about competing for water and nutrients as the roots of arugula are short and shallow and wont be bothering your long root plant. Due to this, you’ll want a container that is wider than deep for arugula. This is fairly standard for other leafy greens like kale or lettuce.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Craving for some home-made pizza? Throw in some fresh basil and enjoy that delicious, unique flavor. Basil is an easy to grow herb both indoors and out, and is a great addition to any cook’s garden. Basil’s sweet fragrance is not only used for culinary delights but in making aromatic oils and refreshing drinks too.
To start planting basil indoors, grab a well-draining soil rich in nutrients, try a special herb soil for the easiest start. Make sure your chosen container is well draining to prevent root rot; you don’t want your basil drowning in water. Then, put your basil in a location that gets 6+ hours of sunlight per day or use grow lights to compensate.
From there, you can simply pick off the basil leaves as needed. Try not to pick more than ⅓ of the total leaves at any one time to prevent stressing the plant. This will ensure that your plant will continue to grow so you can keep harvesting.
Beets (Beta vulgaris)
Yes it is possible to grow root vegetables indoors. It can take a bit of patience, but is well worth it once you have a fresh, home-grown vegetable.
Unlike most leafy vegetables, root vegetables require deep containers for their roots to grow. A beet’s containers do not need to be large, only deep, and they’re fairly easy to grow.
Make sure to use well draining soil and keep them in a relatively cool spot. Beets like cool weather, so make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can heat up their soil a bit more than they might like.
Generally, beets are ready to harvest about 7-8 weeks after planting. Interestingly enough, the entire part of the plant is edible, including the greens.
Hot peppers, like habanero or jalapeno, are another great indoor choice. They are relatively quick to grow, take up little space, and don’t require a lot of effort.
The biggest concern is sunlight, you’ll want to get 6+ of bright, direct light or more if you can manage. Less than this and your plant might not bear any fruit. Coupling this with a medium-sized container will drain soil and you’ll be well on your way to enjoy delicious hot peppers.
Many gardeners report their largest harvests of peppers come during the cooler months. Once your peppers reach their desired color you can gently cut them from the plant. An interesting thing about many hot peppers is their flavor can be slightly different depending on their color. A green jalapeno tastes different from a red one, so you can harvest it earlier or later to match your tastes.
Lastly, we have cilantro, a classic herb for a variety of dishes. Cilantro has a very unique flavor, and is perfect for making sauces, mixing in with rice, or a topping for tacos.
It is recommended to start cilantro from seeds as it does not transplant well. If you want to start with a seedling you’ll likely be fine, but try to use the whole plant and not just a cutting. This can help it survive the transplant process.
Cilantro can grow in very small spaces, making it great for a kitchen windowsill. We recommend going with a small clay pot as this will promote proper drainage and airflow. Cilantro likes a lot of water, but doesn’t like to sit in it, so drainage is important. Make sure the soil you choose is a high-quality potting soil that drains well.
After planting, it will take about 3-5 weeks to harvest. Simply use a pair of scissors to snip off the desired portion. Try not to take more than ⅓ at any given time to ensure it has enough strength to grow back.
While cilantro wants bright light, you don’t want it to get too warm. Keeping it in bright, but in-direct light can help limit it’s temperature which will prevent it from bolting. Once cilantro bolts it loses its flavor and is considered no good for culinary purposes afterwards.
Food Bearing Indoor Garden Plants
Hopefully the above plants have given you some ideas on where to start your food bearing indoor garden. There are literally hundreds of other plants you can grow, varying in difficulty, so don’t be afraid to explore.
In general, herbs are going to be the easiest to grow, with vegetables coming next and fruits generally being the hardest. This is usually due to the indoor conditions, particularly lighting. Fruits need a ton of light, and that can be hard to reach.
Don’t let that stop you though. Part of the fun of gardening is trying new things and challenging yourself. You only truly fail if you never try!