Ever thought about growing your own vegetables but felt overwhelmed by the work and commitment involved? With a million things already on our to-do list, who has time to start cultivating a vegetable garden, right? But the truth is it’s easy to grow vegetables in your kitchen just using a single window ledge.
How to start an indoor garden
In this guide, you’ll learn how to start a small indoor vegetable garden to help keep your whole family happy and healthy.
The Benefits of Starting an Indoor Vegetable Garden
If you’re still unsure about growing an indoor veggie garden, here are some reasons that might sway you.
1. Boost Your Family’s Health
Growing your own fruits and vegetables at home means you’ll eat them more often. Plus, kids are more likely to pick up their fork if they’ve helped to grow the food on their plates.
What’s more, when you grow vegetables at home, the vitamin content is higher than in store-bought produce. And you’re reducing the risk of consuming nasty pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on mass-produced produce.
2. Save Money
Growing your own vegetables will cut down your weekly grocery bill. This is especially true if you buy organic produce. You’ll pay a premium to buy it in stores when you could grow it yourself for a fraction of the cost.
3. Naturally Relieve Stress
According to a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, growing indoor plants can reduce stress and anxiety. They also boost oxygen, naturally humidify your home, and can improve the air quality in your home. Not to mention you’ll feel happier with pretty green plants brightening up your kitchen.
4. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Perhaps one of the most important benefits is the positive impact growing vegetables indoors can have on the environment. On average, food travels 1,500 miles to get from farms to your local supermarket. This mass transport of food relies on fossil fuels, massively contributing to the global warming crisis. By growing your own vegetables at home, you can reduce your carbon footprint and do your part for Mother Nature.
How to Start Growing Your Own Food from Leftovers
The best part about starting an indoor vegetable garden is you can do it using last night’s leftovers. Vegetables are easy to grow from scraps and cut-offs, so you can get your garden started effortlessly. Here are some easy vegetables you can start with:
Leafy greens like celery, lettuce or bok choy are the easiest to grow from leftover scraps. When you’re chopping up lettuce or celery for your salad, instead of throwing the base part in the compost, keep it to re-grow.
Make sure the end piece is around an inch tall and place it in a shallow container with half an inch of water. A small bowl, cup or saucer will do the trick. Keep the water topped up to help the roots develop and place it on your window ledge to begin your indoor garden. You’ll soon see the leafy greens sprouting from the top again.
Once you see roots forming and new growth sprouting, transfer them to a small pot with holes in the bottom for drainage to help them grow.
Root vegetables like onions, turnips or beets can be re-grown from the discarded leaves. All you need to do is cut off the top but leave about half an inch of the veggie attached. Put this into shallow water again to help the roots develop. Once it begins to root and grow, transfer into a pretty pot alongside your leafy greens to add to your window ledge garden!
For root veggies like onions that don’t have leaves to chop off, simply let an onion sit in the pantry for a little longer until it begins to grow sprouts. You’ve probably seen these form already on onions or potatoes that get left a little too long.
Fruits are super easy to grow using the seeds. Citrus in particular do very well in small containers on a window ledge. When you next squeeze a lemon or lime, don’t throw the seeds away. Instead, keep them moist and plant them in a shallow container filled with soil. Cover the soil to create a miniature greenhouse to help the seeds sprout. These can take a long time to develop into trees, but they offer pretty little plants to add to your window ledge in the meantime.
Another great leftover to grow is avocados. These can be expensive but offer a great source of healthy fats, so growing your own is a great option. Take the large avocado pit and stick three toothpicks into it, then sit it in a small glass filled with water. Top up the water regularly to keep the bottom covered.
You’ll start to see roots forming on the bottom of the pit. At which point, take it out, remove the toothpicks and plant it in a small pot of soil. Keep the top half of the pit above the soil to allow the shoot to come through.
Handy Indoor Garden Tips
Once you have a few new sprouts on your window ledge, they’ll need a bit of maintenance to make sure they grow well.
First of all, make sure you buy a good quality potting mix instead of garden soil. This will have all the nutrients your new plants need to thrive.
Next, make sure any pots you use have good drainage. It’s best to use little plastic pots with holes in the bottom which can then be placed in pretty china or ceramic pots.
If you can, choose a window ledge that gets enough sun to help your new plants grow. If you don’t have enough sun, you can get plant lights to give them a boost.
Indoor Garden Inspiration
Looking for some inspiration to create your own indoor vegetable garden? The following ideas will have you picking out soil and pots in no time.
This first window ledge garden has cute little labels with the names of the plants. This is a great idea if you plan to have a few different varieties on your own window ledge. Different vegetables have different watering needs so some pretty signs will help you keep track of which pot is which. Make sure you know the optimal growing conditions for your vegetables when you get started.
When you first start growing your own vegetables, they can be a little boring, especially before anything has sprouted. To add some color to your window ledge, add in some gorgeous flowers like the window garden below.
If you love the idea of an indoor garden but lack the window ledge space, a small vertical garden is another great idea. The example below gives plenty of space for growing without taking up much room in the home.
For a rustic, farmhouse feel, go for terracotta plant pots and ornate miniature buckets like the window garden below. These add interest to the plants and can help it tie into the rest of the kitchen décor.
Lisa has been growing vegetables for more than 15 years and is passionate about staying healthy with organic gardening. On her own website she shares planting calendars, growing guides, and vegetable gardening tutorials.