The Ultimate Guide To Growing Vegetables Indoors

For many of us, growing vegetables at home is starting to sound more and more appealing. It saves you a trip to the grocery store, and it's a great way to put your green thumb to work. But if you think living in an apartment (like me) or not having a yard counts you out, think again! With a little care, growing plants indoors is easy. Here's everything you need to know about growing plants indoors, plus our list of the best vegetables to grow in your indoor garden.

 If you’re looking to start growing your own veggies indoors, there are a few varieties that are well-suited to indoor growing, as well as other vegetables and herbs that can also be grown indoors. 

How Do You Choose Indoor Plants for Your Garden?

When choosing seeds or seedlings for an indoor garden, there are several things to keep in mind. How much space do you have? Looking closely at a plant label will indicate how large the plant is expected to be. How much light will your plants have access to? A south or west facing window is ideal for many plants, but grow lights can be substituted in for a lower light space. Take some time at the nursery to look over some favourites and choose a variety for your new garden with these considerations in mind.

Which Plants Can You Grow in an In-Door Garden?

Sprouts and micro-greens

  • Microgreens are 40 times as nutrient-dense as mature crops. You'll grow them the same way you would leafy salad greens, but you can harvest when the new growth is two to three weeks old. They can be a rewarding first try for a new gardener. 
  • Plant your microgreens on a grow mat or pad (which can easily be found online) and place in a shallow dish near a window. 

Garlic (greens)

  • Garlic greens easily grown indoors. Without a wintering period, you won’t be able to harvest garlic bulbs indoor. However, garlic sprouts garlic greens, new growth coming from garlic bulbs. 
  • Garlic greens are a delicious crop that taste something like a cross between garlic and onion. You can use them the same way you’d use scallions, raw or cooked. Cut off a few inches of the stem and slice or chop it into your food.
  • To plant them, plant individual garlic cloves 2 inches apart and 2 inches deep, with the pointy end face-up. You can start harvesting the leaves lightly once they reach a height of about 6 to 8 inches.


  • Carrots require less space than other vegetables (about one inch of space around them), but they do require a deeper soil than other vegetables. They are cool-tolerant vegetables that thrive at about 60 degrees F. 
  • They ideally want to receive at least 12 hours of sunlight a day.
  • However, they can make do with as little as 4 hours of direct sun. In such a case, you might have to wait a few extra weeks before you can harvest. 
  • When growing carrots in containers, you’ll probably want ‘fatter’, stubbier varieties that don’t need a lot of depth.

Green Onions/Scallions

  • Green onions are some of the easiest plants to keep indoors, inexpensive to begin and rewarding over time. Once you have used the greens of a green onion, save the root and about an inch of the whites and place in a cup with some water in a sunny window. Over the span of a week, the onion will begin to grow! Replace the water regularly, and enjoy a neverending supply of green onions. 
  • Green onions grow well in water, but they can also be planted. Similarly to the prior method, once you have used the greens of the green onion, plant the root end in soil. Water once a week, and enjoy similar results. 


  • To ensure that herbs (which are a subset of vegetables!) get enough sunlight, you'll need to provide them with 12-16 hours of sunlight daily, i.e. they do need a prime seat in your window. They prefer temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees F. Some excellent candidate herbs include chives, parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme. 

Hot Peppers

  • Pepper plants are tropical perennials that come in colors such as red, orange, yellow, and white. They can be grown indoors, and they do well in bright light, between 14 and 20 hours a day. Pepper plants thrive at about 70 degrees F, so water them once a week rather than once every day. 

Leafy Salad Greens

  • Some of the most reliable cool-tolerant leafy greens grow very well in small indoor spaces. You can grow a variety of crops such as loose-leaf lettuce, spinach, chard, arugula, kale, sorrel, and mustard greens. They can mature in as little as four weeks and as little as 12 hours of sunlight per day, around 60 degrees F. Don’t forget that you also have the option of harvesting them in the baby leaf stage!
  • Lettuce is a crop, like green onions, that can be begun from kitchen scraps. Once the head of lettuce has been used, save the root end and place in a shallow dish filled with water in a sunny window. Over the space of several weeks, new leaves will from the root to be harvested. 


  • You can grow beets indoors for their roots or for their nutrient-dense leafy greens. The greens look and taste very similar to swiss chard.  
  • Once they germinate, go between the new plants and pull the smaller ones until your beets are 3 to 6 inches apart. Use the greens from the discarded beets in salads or sandwiches and compost the rest. 


  • You can grow both sweet and regular potatoes by starting with a sprouted potato and cutting it into chunks. Potatoes grow ‘eyes’, which are the points of the potato where roots will form. Ensure that your potato has several before beginning. 
  • A container for growing potatoes is becoming easier to find commercially, but a plastic laundry bin, a large pail or a storage bin works just as well. Just ensure that it is leak-proof before beginning.
  •  Place four inches of soil at the bottom of your container, place the potatoes on top and cover with an additional four inches of soil. As your potatoes grow, continue to add soil to ‘bury’ the new growth. Water regularly and harvest within two months.  


  • Radishes are quick-growing vegetables with a harvest period of around 40 days from germination. Keep them spaced out so that their bulbs can grow, as radishes will require less light to grow than many other vegetables.

Bush beans

  • Unlike the climbing (a.k.a pole beans) varieties, bush beans stay firm and upright. They’re also one of the very few crops that can produce a respectable harvest with just 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. Bush beans need to be spaced 6 inches apart, take care to remove smaller plants inbetween to ensure a larger crop. 
  • To have beans all year round, sow new seeds in a new container every six weeks. 


  • Despite their preference for warm temperatures, tomatoes are not completely helpless as indoor plants. For normal varieties to succeed, you really need an extensive grow light system. However, that is not the case with mini-varieties.
  • These top out at only 9 inches in height, but they can bear significant amounts of juicy cherry tomatoes. These can be grown in a pot as small as a six inch pot, but larger (1 gallon) pots will yield better results as the root system will have more room to develop. 
  • Give this plant plenty of sun (at least 8 hours) and run a fan nearby for a few hours a day to pollinate the flowers. Alternatively, you can give the tomato plants a light shake every day to help distribute the pollen.

How to Grow Vegetables Indoors

Growing vegetables indoors can be very rewarding. Unlike herbs, vegetables generally produce a steady supply of harvest throughout the year, so you don’t have to be concerned about harvesting your crop for just a few weeks. And, of course, growing your own vegetables means you know exactly what is in them - including pesticides, herbicides, and herb seeds. Growing your own vegetables indoors doesn’t have to be time-consuming, either. You can grow a few select varieties of veggies to get yourself acquainted with the process of growing them indoors. It’s also a great idea to look into growing herbs in your indoor garden, since herbs can grow much more quickly than veggies and don’t require the same amount of space.

Tips for Success With an Indoor Garden

These are just a few things to keep in mind when growing vegetables indoors. For example, you want to choose a location that receives at least six or seven hours of sunlight each day, and you’ll want to make sure your soil is well-drained. You can use pots or containers to save space in your backyard, or grow your veggies outside in a pot, tent, or hoop house. As you get more comfortable with growing vegetables indoors, you can try different varieties and see what works best for you and your climate. And don’t be afraid to experiment - if you’re growing onions, but they don’t seem to be growing very well, try growing some herbs instead! 


Gardening can be a healthy activity, and growing your own vegetables is a great way to stay active, save money, and limit your exposure to pesticides. You can grow healthy and nutritious crops year-round, and you don’t have to worry about the weather or the time of year. You can grow a great number of vegetables and herbs, and the best part is that you don’t need a lot of space to do it!

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