Edible Plants You Can Grow Indoors – No Yard Needed

Edible Plants You Can Grow Indoors – No Yard Needed

In the three largest U.S. cities, a significant numbers of residents live in apartment buildings. In NYC (population: 8.4 million), Los Angeles (population: 3.8 million), and Chicago (population: 2.7 million), there are a combined total of 2.46 million apartments. In the remaining large cities across America, apartments comprise 15 to 42 percent of all dwellings. If you are a city dweller, there is a good chance you live in a condo or apartment.

For several years, it seemed like people were fleeing suburbs and moving to the heart of cities. Then this trend appeared to reverse with people moving back to suburbia. Trends come and go, but the fact of the matter is that millions of people all over the U.S. are apartment dwellers without the luxury of their own backyard gardens. Some apartment dwellers may have access to a community garden, however, this requires trekking out to another location loaded down with supplies. Furthermore, in parts of the country subject to cold weather, year round outdoor gardening is impossible. Rest assured, growing an indoor urban garden is a lot simpler than you might think, even in a tiny studio apartment.

Necessary Supplies

Depending on space limitations, a little bit of creativity may be in order. Basics include light, water, containers, and potting medium. Some experts suggest using containers that already have drainage holes or ones in which you can make holes. Creative ideas include hanging plants, stacking cinder blocks, and placing small individual plants in a hanging shoe organizer! Some urban gardeners use mason jars for plants—they look attractive and can work if you are diligent about tending to the plants.

Ideal Edibles for Urban Gardens

Tomatoes: These require a 5-gallon container in a south-facing window that gets about 12 hours of light a day. They need to be watered 2 to 3 times a week.

Salad Greens: Growing your own salad greens is cost effective and a great option for winter months when commercial lettuce varieties are low quality and scarce. They require bright light for about 6 hours a day and enough water so soil stays moist. Be careful not to oversaturate.

Microgreens: Everything from chia, cress, mustard, radish and arugula can be grown indoors. It is important to use fresh soil each time you start to help prevent pathogens like salmonella. The tiny roots or mats of microgreens can be susceptible to these problems and should not be used if there is any sign of mold or decay.

Herbs: Dried herbs and spices can be quite expensive when you buy them at the grocery store. Basil, bay, cilantro, thyme, savory, sage, rosemary, parsley, marjoram, chives, mint, and ginger are some of the more common herbs that can be grown indoors. While each of these has slightly different requirements, most need a sunny spot on a window sill or fire escape and regular watering.

Radishes: A healthy, perfect ingredient to add to your homegrown lettuce and microgreens, radishes are low maintenance. You will need a one gallon pot and the right amount of moisture in order for them to thrive.

Mushrooms: The fungus among us—sure, mushrooms might seem a little gross to grow inside, but they are nutritious and delicious. There are flavorful varieties that are easy to grow if you have an appropriate place to care for them. Believe it or not, mushroom kits allow you to grow them in a laundry basket!

Avocados: The two primary things you need to grow an avocado are another one and a lot of patience! Remove the pit and rinse it well, then push three or four toothpicks into the base and suspend it in a glass of water with the pointed side up. Place it on a warm window sill and make sure it has plenty of water. In a few weeks, a brand new “tree” should be ready to plant. Place the rooted seed in a pot and leave it in a sunny place, watering frequently, but sparingly. Keep in mind it takes 5 to 13 years before the avocado tree bears guacamole-worthy delights and some never do, however, you’ll have an attractive tree.

Step-by-Step Tips

  • Before you think about planting, consider how much room and light you have.
  • Fill pots or containers with well-draining potting medium.
  • Add the seeds or transplant a starter plant and moisten the soil.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area when using seeds.
  • Keep moist and remove the wrap once germination has begun.
  • Keep mature plants in full to mostly sunny lighting situations.

Check the seed package or label to determine when the bounties of your indoor garden will be ready for harvesting.

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