7 Best Vegetables to Grow in Your Indoor Vegetable Garden (2022)

Growing vegetables indoors - tomato plants growing in pots by a window

In recent years, growing vegetables in an indoor vegetable garden has become a popular choice and new age growers are utilizing sustainable LED lights for all-year-round germination.

Growing your own veggies indoors is a rewarding experience.

It’s also good for the environment and can save you some cash in your supermarket shop. That extra cash can then be spent buying other indoor plants online for your home.

With a little care and patience, your indoor edible plants will be ready for harvest in no time.

Just pluck your fresh vegetables from your indoor garden when needed and enjoy a tasty organic meal!

How to Care for Your Indoor Vegetable Plants?

Most indoor vegetables require at least 4-6 hours of direct light every day to thrive.

When it comes to watering, remember that less is more. Plants in an indoor vegetable garden aren’t exposed to the elements, so your veggies won’t dry out as quickly – make sure to not overwater them!

Keep reading to learn about the 7 best vegetables to grow in your indoor vegetable garden:

1. Carrots

Carrots are super easy to grow both indoors and outdoors. I’ve personally had great success with them and would highly recommend this veggie for beginners.

Baby carrots can grow in any size container but bigger varieties (like the ones you’d find at the supermarket) will need a deeper pot/planter/bag (roughly 10+ inches in height).

Planting carrots is pretty simple. Just add some potting soil to your container, moisten it and carefully place your carrot seeds in. You should make sure to space them out 1 inch apart so your carrots have room to grow.

Indoor vegetable garden - Carrots growing in dark soil, with the green foliage and base of the carrot showing

Carrots can grow in any season (even winter!) and require about 12 hours of light to thrive. The best seasons to plant carrots are spring and autumn when the weather is mild.

I’d recommend watering your carrots frequently, especially when the seedlings are small. A handy tip for a more sustainable garden is to use your kitchen scraps as compost to nourish your carrots.

When to Harvest Carrots

Once you have planted your carrots, it takes between 70 and 80 days for them to be ready to harvest.

You can set a calendar reminder or you can check them visually to see when your carrots are ready to be pulled. The base of the carrot stem should be thick and the foliage tall and lush.

2. Potatoes

Potatoes are another great vegetable that can be easily grown throughout the year. To start growing potatoes in your indoor vegetable garden, you can either purchase potato seeds or – more fun – germinate an existing potato!

Put your potato on a window sill and expose it to direct sunlight for 1 to 2 days. It should start to develop sprout eyes. Wash the potato and cut it down the middle. Take a shallow tray, add a small amount of water, and submerge the cut side.

Put the tray back on your window sill to get direct sunlight for 5 to 6 hours a day. After 7 to 8 days you’ll notice a root system starting to develop.

Now take a container (with drainage) and add 1 to 2 inches of regular stones to the bottom. Add some potting soil on top and plant your potato.

Cover the potato with soil and keep your container near a window so it can get indirect sunlight for 6 to 10 hours every day. Make sure to keep your soil moist for the best growth.

Check out this video by Daddykirbs Farm – A Homesteading Story to see how it’s done:

When to Harvest Potatoes

Potatoes take between 80 and 100 days to grow big enough to harvest. They grow best in spring but you can plant potatoes indoors at any time of year.

The leaves of your potato plant will turn yellow when they’re ready to harvest. Gently turn the soil to loosen the potatoes and pull them out.

2. Kale

Kale is a fun and healthy garden plant that can be easily grown from inexpensive seeds.

Kale is a superfood that boasts many health benefits and important minerals our bodies need. This includes vitamin A, C, K, and B, among others. I recommend keeping your soil moist and watering your kale plant regularly.

Leafy green kale also needs lots of nitrogen to grow large like store-bought kale. You can achieve this by adding old coffee grounds to your potting mix as it’s an eco-friendly way to source nitrogen naturally.

Indoor vegetable garden - A kale plant growing in a pot near a window

Kale grows best in late winter or early spring but can be planted in any season.

It needs 10 to 12 hours of light each day for the best results, so place it where it will get light for as much of the day as possible.

When to Harvest Kale

Transplanted Kale grown in a well-maintained indoor garden can be ready for harvest in less than four weeks! When it is grown from seeds, it takes a little longer, usually 55 to 75 days.

Kale is ready to harvest when the leaves are around the size of your hand. If you harvest the lower leaves and leave the inner leaves, your kale plants can continue to grow more produce for you.

Harvest the mature outer leaves first as kale continues to grow from the middle of its stem.

3. Spinach

Any leafy plant, Spinach included, is relatively easy to grow indoors. Spinach needs moist, well-drained soil to grow best.

To begin, fill a container with some garden soil and homemade compost. Homemade compost can be made from manure, tea, fish emulsion, or coffee grounds.

The addition of compost will help enrich the soil so your spinach leaves will grow large and also prevent them from getting a bitter taste.

Indoor vegetable garden - a male hand showing a leaf from a baby spinach growing indoors in a white ceramic pot.

Spinach is usually grown in winter but it also has a summer cultivar. This special variety of spinach can happily grow in partial shade.

When to Harvest Spinach

Baby spinach can be harvested when the leaves reach the desired size but on average, spinach takes about 37 to 45 days to mature and be ready for harvest.

Spinach leaves should be picked before they begin to turn yellow, or within a week of being fully formed.

4. Peppers

If you want to add some spice to your meals and are looking for an aesthetically pleasing houseplant, get a chili plant for your indoor vegetable garden!

Peppers thrive on hot sunny days with 14 to 16 hours of light per day. Bear in mind indoor peppers usually grow to be a bit smaller than outdoor peppers.

Pepper plants can come in a wide range of colors and heat levels. This includes green, yellow, orange, and finally red fruit.

Indoor vegetable garden - an image of a variety of peppers and chilis in a bowl

You can sow pepper seeds or plant pepper seedlings depending on your patience. Indoor pepper plants can also self-pollinate which makes them well suited to growing indoors.

Water your pepper plants twice a week and let the soil dry between watering. You can add homemade fertilizer or utilize a store-bought fertilizer that has an NPK ratio of 4:1:1 for best results.

If you want a bigger harvest, remove the first flowers down to the stem as the plant grows.

When to Harvest Peppers

Similar to kale, peppers grow best in late winter or early spring. Most varieties of Peppers take between 60 and 90 days to grow. A general rule to go by is that the hotter the pepper, the longer it takes to mature.

The best time to harvest peppers varies, depending on the variety you have chosen. They’re usually ready to be picked once the color starts to darken from its original shade.

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are slightly more challenging to grow indoors as they need warm weather and direct light. But in the right conditions, you can grow delicious tomatoes indoors.

They need 14 to 20 hours of light per day and also self-pollinate. Tomato plants require more space than most other veggies in your indoor vegetable garden.

Small varieties like plum and cherry tomatoes are your best option to grow indoors.

Indoor vegetable garden - tomato plants with red cherry tomatoes on the vine in a white pot indoors

I’d recommend using a heating pad to germinate your tomato seeds. They should begin to sprout in 7 to 10 days. After germination, move the seedlings to the bigger container.

Tomatoes love heat, but not too much of it. The best time to grow tomatoes is late spring or early summer. After the flowers have bloomed, shake the plant to assist with pollination.

When to Harvest Tomatoes

Tomatoes will begin to change color when ready to harvest. Depending on the variety, it’s usually green to red. Tomato plants take 70 to 80 days to be fully grown and ready for harvest.

Make sure to harvest your tomatoes when they’re starting to show a bit of color (a mix of green and red).

6. Radishes

Radishes have lots of different varieties to choose from. Smaller radishes like the cherry belle and easter egg are fast-growing and perfect for indoor vegetable gardens.

I like to substitute potatoes for radishes in some meals for a nice flavor change. Some people even bake them for a delicious snack.

Indoor vegetable garden - a small bunch of fresh radishes on a wooden chopping board

Radishes take 30 to 40 days to harvest after germination. It’s best to grow radishes from seeds as they don’t propagate from cuttings.

I’d recommend planting your radishes in Spring or Autumn for best results.

Radishes need 6 to 7 hours of sunlight per day and moist soil to thrive. Your container should be at least 6 inches deep and have a drainage hole to support a healthy root system.

When to Harvest Radishes

You can tell a radish is ready for harvest when the roots are about 1 inch wide at the base of the stem.

Radishes grow very quickly and can be ready for harvest in less than a month!

Be aware that they can develop a bitter taste if they stay in soil too long, so make sure to harvest them within a month of planting.

Final Thoughts on Indoor Vegetable Gardens

Growing vegetables indoors is a great way to supplement your pantry with fresh produce. It also allows you to reduce food waste by using food scraps, stems and cuttings to grow new vegetables – a win for you and a win for the environment!

About the Author

Adam is a passionate plant lover and entrepreneur. He established UpPlant in early 2021. UpPlant is the very 1st online plant marketplace based in Australia. It allows people to easily buy and sell plants online securely. The UpPlant brand aligns itself as eco-friendly and highly regards zero waste as a goal each and everyone one of us should strive for.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best vegetables to grow indoors for beginners?

There are many vegetables that will grow well indoors but the following seven are easy and fast growing - ideal for beginners:
- Carrots
- Potatoes
- Kale
- Spinach
- Peppers
- Tomatoes
- Radishes
Check out the full guide for how to grow and care for these indoor vegetables, as well as when to harvest them.

Do you need a grow light to grow vegetables indoors?

This depends on where you're located and how much light your home gets. If you have plenty of natural light and the days are long where you live, you can probably get away with not having grow lights. If you can't achieve 4 to 6 hours of bright natural light, investing in an LED grow light will help your indoor vegetable garden flourish! Check out the full guide for more on indoor vegetables and their light requirements.

How long do vegetables take to grow indoors?

This depends on the type and variety of vegetable. Some, like Kale, will grow and mature in less than a month and others will take considerably longer, up to 3 or 4 months. Check out the full guide for the best vegetables to grow indoors and how long they will take to grow and harvest.

References and Useful Resources

LED lights for all-year-round germination: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1140/epjp/i2017-11298-x

Kitchen scraps as compost: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960852410009260

Kale is a superfood: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/kale-nutrition-and-cooking

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