What Are The Types Of Plants That I Can Use For Indoor Farming?


plants indoor farming

From farmers’ markets and CSAs to city farms and product delivery services, the local food movement has become a (literal) growth industry in the US in recent years.

And for good reason: locally grown plants, fruits and vegetables are generally better for the environment and local communities than their retail counterparts. And houseplants are known to help filter indoor air.

You can’t get much more local than growing food in your own home. Growing your own edible plants will help you know exactly where your food comes from and how it was grown (you don’t have to worry about misleading food labels).

Here are some healthy and easy plants you can grow indoors and how to grow them.

The Best Herbs To Grow Indoors

Chives

Why are they healthy?

Chives contain concentrated amounts of vitamins A and C and phytochemicals with the same benefits as antioxidants.

How to grow them

Start by buying seeds and selecting a pot with a diameter of 6 to 8 inches. Fill it almost to the top with potting compost.

Plant the seeds and make sure they are covered with a thin layer of soil. Place the container in an area that is partially shaded. Water regularly and make sure the soil never dries out.

How to harvest them

Cut the leaves off each plant carefully, taking care not to remove all the leaves from a single plant. Then go cover those baked potatoes.

Basil

Why it is healthy

The anti-inflammatory properties of this tasty herb seem to come from eugenol oil, which can block enzymes in the body that cause bloating.

How to grow it

Start by purchasing seeds or a starter plant online or at a nursery or supermarket. Choose a container that is at least four inches wide and has good drainage holes.

Basil likes warm temperatures and a lot of sunlight – at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Fertilize the soil with organic or slow-release fertilizers, such as compost tea, about once a month.

  • Water regularly: about once a day if the temperature is very high or every other day in less intense conditions. (If the soil is dry, water it!)
  • Pruning can also maximize basil production. When the top leaves are about 6 inches long, start cutting them. Continue pruning when the plant gets bushier, making sure to cut the blooms.

How to harvest it

Carefully cut a few leaves from each plant, taking care not to remove all of the leaves from a single plant. Make a homemade pesto and end the day.

Coriander

Why it is healthy

Do you think cilantro is just a garnish for enchiladas? No! It is actually a source of Vitamin A and contains anti-fungal properties.

How to grow it

Start by purchasing cilantro seeds (fun fact: cilantro is the name for cilantro seeds) or starter plants and choose a container that is at least 8 inches deep with holes in the bottom for drainage.

Fill the container with soil and leave about an inch at the top of the pot. Press the seeds into the soil and water the soil until it is moist.

Cover the container with plastic wrap and secure it with rubber bands. Once the seedlings have sprouted, remove the plastic wrap and press against the plastic (this will take a few days).

Water the seedlings every day and keep the container in a place with plenty of sunlight.

How to harvest it

Carefully cut a few leaves from each plant, taking care not to remove all of the leaves from a single plant.

Ginger

Why it is healthy

This spicy superfood is known for calming nausea and reducing inflammation.

There is also some evidence that raw ginger can relieve sore muscles and lower fasting blood sugar in people with diabetes.

How to grow it

This one is easy, very, very easy. Just buy a piece of ginger from the supermarket and cover it with soil in a container, making sure the freshest buds are facing up.

Place the container in an area that receives indirect sunlight and wait for new growth to emerge. Keep the soil consistently moist so that it never dries out (but never gets soggy).

How to harvest it

Pull the whole plant out of the ground, cut as much as you need, and then replant the ginger using the same process described above.

Mint

Why it is healthy

In addition to adding its fresh flavor to mojitos, the peppermint oil in the leaves is a recognized alternative cure for IBS.

Note: DO NOT take pure peppermint essential oil.

How to grow it

Start by buying seeds or starter plants and a large, deep pot about 10 inches in diameter – the mint will spread. Fill the tray with potting soil and plant the seeds or starter.

Place the container in a place with a lot of sunlight and regular water, make sure the soil does not dry out.

How to harvest it

Carefully cut a few leaves from each plant, being careful not to remove all of the leaves from a single plant.

Rosemary

Why it is healthy

This heavenly scented herb is rich in carnosic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown in animal studies to help limit weight gain and improve cholesterol levels.

How to grow it

Start by planting seeds (or propagating cuttings) in a container with holes in the bottom for drainage.

Soil made from a mixture of two parts potting soil and one part coarse sand works well. Add a teaspoon of lime (the agricultural type, not the fruit!) Per 6 inches of the pot. This will help make the soil alkaline.

Place the container in a sunny interior space; rosemary grows best in at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Water only when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch (but be careful not to let the soil dry out completely).

How to harvest it

Carefully cut a few sprigs from each plant, taking care not to remove all the leaves from a single plant.

The Best Vegetables To Grow Indoors

Garlic leaves

Why are they healthy?

We say garlic breath is worth it. Spicy garlic is a member of the allium family, which can help prevent breast cancer.

It is also a superfood that has been linked to improvements in high blood pressure and can fight certain strains of bacteria.

How to grow them

Growing real garlic bulbs indoors is a bit tricky, but you can easily grow garlic leaves, which can be used like chives. Handy to have on hand if you want to brighten up something green!

Get some small-toothed garlic bulbs first and don’t be afraid to buy a broken bulb (that is, one that is starting to explode or is completely torn).

Select a 4-inch pot with drainage holes in the bottom (a gallon yogurt container with punched holes in the bottom will also work) and a small bag of potting soil.

Fill the pot with soil to about an inch below the top of the container. Break the bulbs into individual cloves (let go of the skin) and push each clove about an inch into the soil, pointed tip-up.

Plant about 12 teeth very close together. Water well and put the container in a sunny spot. Make sure the soil stays moist but not soggy. The green shoots should appear in about 1 week.

How to harvest them

Once the shoots are 20 to 10 inches long (which will take a few weeks), cut what you need with scissors.

When the cloves start to sprout more, compost the contents of the pot, refill it with fresh potting soil, and plant new cloves. (Each clove produces good green leaves only once – keep planting for a steady supply.)

Carrots

Why are they healthy?

Carrots are a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, niacin, folic acid, potassium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. In fact, they contain a fair amount of fiber at 3 grams per cup.

Like avocados, carrots also provide high doses of carotenoids. In fact, carotenoids are named after roots. (I bet you figured it out yourself!)

How to grow them

Buy carrot seeds and a pot or planter that is at least 1.5 feet square, with drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container up to an inch from the top with a humus-rich potting mix.

(What is hummus, you wonder? It’s the organic matter left over from the decomposition of plant and animal matter, not to be confused with your favorite chickpea dip.)

Water the soil before planting the seeds. Plant the seeds 1 inch apart in rows 6 inches apart, gently press the seeds into the soil, and cover with a thin layer of soil.

Place the container in an area that receives tons of light. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. To help conserve moisture, you can soak some peat moss in water overnight and then sprinkle it over the seeds.

Expect the seeds to germinate (i.e., start to germinate) in about 2 weeks.

How to harvest them

Carrots are ready for harvest when they have grown about 3/4 inch at the top (just below the green stem). If you can’t see the root itself, gently sweep some soil around the stem so you can measure it.

Note: While it may be tempting to see how big carrots can get, they will start to lose their sweetness and flavor once they exceed their maximum size.

To pick the roots, grasp them firmly by the roots, move them around a bit, then pull them up. If you find the soil to be quite hard, water it and wait about an hour before trying to harvest again.

Once the roots are pulled out of the dirt, immediately remove the vegetables, wipe off any excess and let them dry before storing them in the refrigerator.

plant harvest

Green salads

Why are they healthy?

Like microgreens, salad greens (including iceberg, spinach, romaine lettuce, red leaves, and arugula) are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, and they also contain folate and iron.

How to grow them

Start by purchasing seeds or starter plants from a local nursery (or order seeds online). Choose a pot with drainage holes at the bottom and fill it with potting soil. Use your finger to poke holes in the ground about 4 inches apart.

If using seeds, scatter a few in each well and dab the soil over the well to cover them.

If using starters, massage the roots before placing each start in a hole and fill them all around with soil.

Water the soil after planting seeds or starting. When the plants begin to emerge (if growing from seed), remove all but the largest and healthiest sprouts. Water the soil regularly, making sure it always feels moist.

How to harvest them

To harvest mixed vegetables, remove (or cut with scissors) only the outer leaves so that the plants can continue to grow, taking care not to disturb the roots. Now you are ready for a quick and easy salad for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast.

Microgreens

Why are they healthy?

A large bowl of mixed vegetables can be a great source of vitamins A, C, K, and folate. And the good things come in small packages: microgreens (aka seedlings, herbs, and vegetables) can contain even more nutrients than their adult counterparts.

How to grow them

Start by purchasing a variety of seeds, such as radishes, kale, chard, beets, basil, and dill.

Fill a shallow container, no more than 5 cm deep (often called “seedling containers”) or a shallow container with a drainage hole, and fill it to the top with the potting mix. Moisten the soil with water and make sure it is moist but not wet.

Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the soil (they should be close together, but not touching). Sift a thin layer of soil over the top to cover the seeds. Use a sprayer to lightly mist the soil.

Place the tray on a sunny windowsill in a room between 60 ° F (16 ° C) and 70 ° F (21 ° C). Spray or lightly water the soil daily to keep it moist; do not let the soil dry out, but also make sure that it is not soggy.

In about 3 to 5 days, the seeds will likely germinate; Once they do, make sure they get 12 to 14 hours of light every day. Keep the soil moist by the roots, but don’t soak the leaves.

How to harvest them

Once the seedlings are 1 or 2 inches tall (expect this to take 3 weeks or more) and have about two sets of leaves, they are ready to eat!

To harvest the vegetables, hold them by the stem and use scissors to cut the leaves, taking care not to cut them by the root. Leaving the roots intact will ensure that your vegetables yield multiple harvests.

Eat the microgreens right away or store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chives

Why are they healthy?

Like garlic, chives are part of the allium family of vegetables, which is linked to cancer prevention and can help protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals.

How to grow them

Chives win the prize for the easiest cooking harvest. To grow them, just buy a bunch, wrap the bulbs with a rubber band, and put the whole cake (vegetables, bulbs, and everything) in a glass with an inch of water.

Change the water daily. When new green shoots appear and the roots have doubled in length (in about 7-10 days), plant the chives in a shallow pot or another small container.

Keep plants evenly watered (that is, don’t let the soil get too dry before watering) and in full sun.

How to harvest them

Cut off the green ends (leave at least an inch of the plant in the ground) if necessary. To use the white part of the chives, harvest the plants when they are 6 inches tall. Gently scoop the white cluster off the ground.

Washed and cut chives can be kept in the refrigerator for a week. To maximize freshness, wrap them in a damp paper towel and keep them in a plastic bag.

The Best Fruits To Grow Indoors

Avocados

Why are they healthy?

Avocados are packed with healthy fats. Two-thirds of your fat is the monounsaturated variety that is good for you.

Plus, they’re packed with vitamins E and B6 and high in carotenoids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers. It’s no wonder these fruits are one of our favorites!

How to grow them

It is possible to grow an avocado tree from an avocado seed, but that may not produce edible fruit … and you can wait a long time to realize your dreams of home-grown avocado toast.

If you want to eat what you grow, it is best to buy a dwarf avocado plant. (The varieties that produce the largest green-skinned fruit or the most common black-skinned fruits are just as good.)

To care for your tree, add some sand to the bottom of a large, well-draining pot before filling it with a regular potting mix and plant. Water regularly, but make sure the soil is never soggy – avocado roots don’t get soaked properly.

Prune the shoots regularly and make sure to place the tree in an area with high ceilings – even dwarf trees can reach over 3 feet in height!

How to harvest them

The green varieties are ready to harvest when the skin of the fruit turns light yellow, while the dark avocados are ready to harvest when their skin is almost black.

Ripe fruits can hang on the tree for a few weeks, but if you wait longer, they will start to lose their flavor and texture.

Lemons

Why are they healthy?

Lemons are full of Vitamin C, which helps the body synthesize collagen, absorb iron and metabolize proteins. And while it’s a myth that megadoses of vitamin C can cure a cold, it’s an important nutrient for the immune system.

How to grow them

If you want the opportunity to harvest fruit right away, buy a 2-3-year-old dwarf tree from a nursery. Bonus: These little trees are so cute, they can become your new favorite decorative statement.

Choose a clay, ceramic, or plastic pot that is slightly larger than your tree’s root ball, and make sure it has several holes in the bottom. Fill the container with stones to allow air to circulate.

Use a potting soil specially formulated for citrus trees, or choose a slightly acidic clay-based potting mix.

Place the plant in an area that receives 8 to 12 hours of sunlight per day and ideally maintains a temperature between 55 and 85 ° F (12 to 30 ° C).

Water regularly, but be careful not to over-saturate the soil. (It should be moist, not soggy). Citrus trees like moist air, so spraying the leaves regularly with a spray bottle will keep the leaves vibrant.

How to harvest them

Most lemons ripen in 6 to 9 months. Test for maturity by looking for full color and gently squeezing the skin. A slight “yield” indicates that the lemons are ready to be used in spicy drinks, muffins, main courses, and desserts.

Mandarin oranges

Why are they healthy?

Your favorite children’s snacks, tangerines, are not only sweet. They are also a good source of calcium, vitamin C, and fiber. If you grow yours, you can enjoy it without the added syrups of the canned variety.

How to grow them

Buy dwarf tangerine trees for the best chance of growing fruit successfully indoors. Trees like spacious pots with bottom drainage and fertile soil.

They also need a sunny position (rotate the plant regularly to ensure that it receives even light on all sides). Water regularly, let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.

Trees can grow up to 6 feet tall and their root system grows with them. When the roots begin to grow on their own or out of the drainage holes, it’s time to transplant them into a container that is at least 2 inches in diameter.

How to harvest them

For the best flavor, harvest tangerines as soon as they turn orange. When they have reached their revealing color, carefully cut or twist the fruit from the tree, making sure to keep the “bud” at the top of the fruit intact.

Tomatoes

Why are they healthy?

These red, fleshy vegetables contain a surprising amount of vitamin C and potassium, and they are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid associated with vascular health.

How to grow them

Start by selecting a 6 ” pot (for one plant) or a larger pot (about 12 ”) if you want to grow two plants. For a continuous supply of tomatoes, start one or two new plants from seed every 2 weeks.

Fill the containers with the starter potting mix and plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep. Water, keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Place the container in a spot with a lot of sunlight, turning the pots occasionally so that all sides have even access to the sun. Expect the seeds to germinate in 5 to 10 days.

When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, plant the starter mixture in the potting soil. About 2 weeks after transplanting, add an organic fertilizer to the mixture.

Water the plants thoroughly; again, keep the soil moist but not soggy. As the plants grow, you may need to stake them out to keep the stems from breaking.

When the plants are in bloom, touch the main stem and largest side branches with your finger; This will help promote pollination.

How to harvest them

Tomatoes grown indoors don’t get as tall as tomatoes outdoors, so don’t expect baseball-sized steaks. Still, they’ll be packed with the homegrown tomato flavor.

When the fruits are red and firm but feel a little “yielding” to the touch, they are ready to eat. Cut or twist gently and pull the fruits off their stems. Then start cooking.

Characteristics Of Indoor Plants.

Short production cycle.

Given the high costs of growing crops indoors, crops that can be grown in weeks rather than months are excellent for growing indoors. The longer it takes to produce a crop, the higher the cost of electricity for lighting and operating heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, as well as the higher fixed costs (rental, depreciation of equipment, etc.) to be incurred. earmarked. for that harvest.

High harvestable yield.

This refers to the part of the crop that can be harvested and sold. For crops such as lettuce, almost the entire plant can be sold and therefore has a very high yield. On the contrary, only the fruits can be sold for a crop like a tomato. The energy used to generate and maintain leaves and stems is essentially “lost” because there is no market for those parts of the plant.

Short stature.

Plants with a compact habit are best suited for vertical cultivation because the distance between the growth layers can be relatively short. With taller crops, space is used less efficiently. Unless the distance between the bulbs and the plants can be adjusted (which is often not practical), more light capacity is needed to reach the plants when they are young. As the plants get closer to the light, the intensity of the light in the canopy increases, but it also becomes more variable.

Demand all year round.

Profitability generally requires continuous operation and therefore there must be sufficient market demand for the cultivated crops all year round. Producing the same crop all year round is much easier from a horticultural point of view and makes it possible to design and optimize cultivation systems specifically for that crop. One can imagine the crop rotation per season when the market price of each crop is higher, but this makes automating the cultivation and harvesting processes difficult at best.

Limited manpower.

Vertical farmers often report that labor is one of their greatest costs. Therefore, crops that can be “sown and cultivated” with little labor lend themselves to vertical farming. Automation reduces labor input, but generally requires significant upfront design, purchase, and installation costs.

Limited shelf life.

One of the benefits of growing indoors is the ability to grow crops close to where they are sold, such as in large cities. The shelf life and/or quality of perishable crops can be increased when the period between harvest and arrival on the market is short. Short harvesting time for the market can also reduce waste compared to long-distance crops.

High value.

Due to the higher costs of growing indoor crops, they have to charge a relatively high price. We can grow any food crop indoors, but is the price obtained high enough to be profitable?

Value-added.

It is possible to grow a higher quality crop compared to conventional or greenhouse horticulture. Besides, crops grown indoors are often more reliable and uniform than other production methods. Additional added value attributes that are possible include more nutritious; “Better” texture, taste and/or color; and longer life. Can these higher quality products get a higher price than conventionally produced products?

Tips For Growing Plants Indoors

Regardless of the plants, you choose to grow, consider these best practices before you start.

Leave space for drainage

All of these plants need well-draining soil, which means you should use a pot with holes in the bottom or stack some rocks in the bottom of your pot before adding soil so the water can run through the rocks.

If you choose to use a pan with holes in the bottom, make sure to place a shallow drip pan underneath the pan. (Eco-chic aesthetic aside, no one wants a puddle of dirty water on the floor.)

Provide a good potting mix

Buy a potting mix for each of these plants at a garden center or make your own. (You can choose whether or not to stick with organic soils.)

While each plant grows best in a slightly different soil environment, an all-purpose potting soil is, well, what it sounds like: suitable for a variety of growing purposes.

Find the right lighting

Many of these plants do best in areas that receive a lot of sunlight and that stay quite warm during the day, so look for the sunniest spot instead.

However, if you don’t have sunny windows (or the area is cold) you may want to invest in some grow lights.

These specialized bulbs help maintain optimal light and temperature for plants regardless of the outdoor climate or conditions. The really good news? They are not terribly expensive and start at around $ 15.

Conclusion

When it comes to full-time maturity (career, dating, laundry, finally learning to cook more than spaghetti, etc.), remembering to even water your spider plant to keep it alive is a huge win. Get out, Glen Coco.

But if you’re ready to take your food prep game to the next level, try these indoor gardening tips. There’s nothing like trying pizza night knowing the tomatoes and spices will come straight from your home.

Lindsey Glenn

I've been learning about gardening since 2015, helping friends and family to grow their trees. I am passionate about trees and love sharing everything I learn about them.

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