If you are someone that likes to garden or if you would just like to have a small supply of freshly grown vegetables for your table there are a few plants that do well enough indoors during the winter that they are worth giving a try.
If you are a seasoned gardener then you may already be set up to grow your seedlings for transplanting in the spring. Cold Weather plants seem to do the best for indoor harvesting and thats because they enjoy colder climates of the spring season and they don’t need as much sun. Sun will be a necessity though and you might be able to supplement your hours with some simple LED Lights that won’t take a lot of electricity but can add a bit of more light time.
One of the easiest things to grow in your home is sprouts because they don’t need light to grow. You are actually suppose to grow them in a glass jar with a mesh lid that will allow you to rinse them a few times a day for about 5 days until they are ready. A variety of different seeds can be grown such as kale, lentil, mung beans and many others. They are a good addition to sandwiches or salads. Remember that seeds that have been coated and treated for garden planting should not be used for sprouts because they have a variety of chemicals on them. However the seeds you find at your grocery store normally will work great and don’t cost that much.
Along with sprouts is micro greens. If you are sprouting your seeds in a jar they normally won’t be able to grow into full sized greens that can make up a bulk of your salad or side dishes but if you plant them in shallow soil in a tray they can grow large enough to be a great part of your diet. The trick is finding the right point to harvest them and that takes some experience. Low light conditions in homes will often mean your plants get a bit stringy and long so you want to find that point where they still have good texture and quality.
Lettuce can also be grown inside like micro greens and instead of thinking about getting a full head or large leafs you want to harvest your lettuce when it is about 4 to 6 inches tall. About the same height as you would if you were thinning your garden outdoors.
As you can see we are working our way up in the amount of time and light that your plants will require. Lettuce and similar plants like Kale and Spinach will grow but maybe not to maturity unless you have your own indoor green house or you are in a warmer climate and have lots of sun in a three season porch.
Its good to remember to not place your plants on the floor especially concrete floors which will be colder. However even in your kitchen if you are growing there you want to elevate the plants because room temperature is always higher a few feet off of floor height.
Many people get much more adventurous in their indoor growing and they will try things like peppers but if you do you will probably be better off if you stick with smaller hot peppers instead of larger bell peppers. Tomatoes are the same way and you do have to remember that these plants do need to be pollinated to produce fruit. Manual pollination is possible and I even do this outdoors.
Other people have had success with carrots and the greens which are bitter can be used in cooking but you may also be able to get a harvest of small / short carrots for eating.
Scallions or Green Onions and also Garlic do grow well indoors and they will require pretty good sunlight. They have short roots and the greens can be harvested while they grow. Some people call the garlic greens ramps I think but whatever you call them they taste good in your salad or in your cooked dishes.
This is a short list to get you started and the main thing when growing plants indoors is to pick the type that you can harvest as they are young. Plants like lettuce can be harvested in the outdoors after only a few days and will mature in a few weeks. You shouldn’t expect to get full mature plants indoors because of the light and an indoor green house is really cost prohibitive for most people.
You should look at this as a small gift that you can say you grew yourself and then progress to other plants as you have time and space.
Continual planting and harvesting of your indoor plants can not only supplement your diet but leave you with a smile.