10 of the Easiest Fruit and Vegetables to Grow Indoors

Food10 of the Easiest Fruit and Vegetables to Grow...

As the garden wakes up and springs into bloom, those without an outdoor space, or proper plot, could look on in envy. The joy of picking fresh lettuce you have grown from seed (or a leftover), slicing through a tomato you’ve fed since it sprouted through the soil, or plucking basil you’ve watched tower over you in the sun, is unequaled. But you don’t need a large patch of garden, a greenhouse, or even much of a green thumb to grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs indoors.

There are a lot of options for indoor garden systems such as a hydroponic garden tower and anything with a spread-out root system (think lettuce not a whole carrot, which grows deep in the Earth), can grow there. Beyond your windowsill garden and the herbs you can grow, here are some alternatives that can all thrive indoors under your very own roof.

#1 Lettuce

If you’re looking for a good green to grow indoors, lettuce more than fits the bill. A member of the sunflower family, sensitivity to light, heat and cold remains consistent, allowing you to consistently hit home runs. Best of all, kitchen-fresh salad comes to you on the cheap, with shallow root systems that elude the need for outsized containers. Lettuce can be grown in just about anything 6 inches deep or more – and no supermarket rabbits will be munching on your radicchio outside! You can now grow Bibb, leaf, romaine or any of more than a dozen varieties from seed or by purchasing them pre-potted, of course. However, if you’re serious about having lettuce headed for the kitchen table, go big.

# 2 Microgreens

Indoors, people with limited horizontal space can grow microgreens, an intensely flavourful little leaf that adds bite to any savory dish. All a cook needs for harvest is 2 inches of soil. (Try upcycling an old egg crate, or lop off the bottom third of a quart of milk.) Keep the soil damp, and harvest with kitchen scissors as needed.

#3 Citrus

You really don’t need an orchard within to grow citrus. Find a sunny spot and drop-plant a potted lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit tree. Expect aromas in the lee of your tree, and don’t overwater as you zealously anticipate your fruit to grow to peel size; pick a self-pollinating type, like Meyer lemons, unless you happen to room with a colony of bees.

#4 Peppers

Some smaller heated spaces – like those for chilis, above – are ideal for pint-sized peppers. Their shades of green and red will complement a sunny indoor area just as effectively as any ornamental houseplant. Use the harvest to decorate with fresh peppers, bottle your own home-made hot sauces, or dry them so you can crush them for DIY flavored salts and seasonings. Plant up in containers with good drainage.

#5 Spring Onions

As they are so easy to grow for no outlay at all and they can be revived from scraps, I keep spring onions going on my windowsill using the same method, always harvesting the tops but never the roots. You simply take the ends of the bulbs and put them in water in a jar, changing the water every few days or so – in no time, your spring onions will come back to life! Trim when you need them, and keep growing.

#6 Strawberries

These plants look great year round, growing in pots (or hanging containers). Some people are reluctant to grow fruit indoors because fruit flies can be present, but who doesn’t want fresh fruit basically all year round? To grow strawberries from seed indoors, simply sprinkle them onto the surface of moist, shallow soil. Or make your life easier and buy plants and then just repot them.

#7 Peas

Yup. Peas. Snow peas and dwarf peas both work well for indoor or year-round growing, plus they don’t require much, other than bi-monthly watering, and you’ll probably need to run some dowels through the plants for them to grow up on. Be prepared to harvest as soon as they’re viable too, and eat at the time of viability.

#8 Squash

Make some room, you’re cultivating a squash bush! Got a corner or a side area in need of some green? Grow zucchini, patty pan or even acorn or butternut squash indoors. Start by sprouting seeds (easily gathered from a recent squash purchase you’ve just eaten) or skip a step and just buy the plants, following the care guide along the way.

#9 Bananas

Banana trees make a tropical addition to the living room; grafted plants purchased online will bear small edible fruits if you spray them daily to simulate humid conditions. Their sweet clusters of bananas will look orgasmic if you sew on an eye and a mouth to their bulbs before they split.

#10 Mushrooms

If you have any other surfaces to park a log or small bag upon, that just means you can grow fungi in the most compact floorspace ever! All kinds of mushroom growing kits rely on just a spritz of water to get going – some can even be artistic barges, like this Shiitake Mushroom Growing Log, or more rustic going concerns that you intentionally let rot.

Freshly picked mushrooms are a feast for the grill (and the frying pan and the risotto, for that matter), or send them as a gift: put them in a cloth bag – but not just any old flour sack! Wool has chemicals in it that inhibit fungi growth.

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