Not everyone has a spacious garden in which to grow their favourite vegetables. For green-fingered people residing in apartments, growing your own produce is a challenge. You’ve probably taken the route of potted plants, wooden crates or even pallets.
Growing plants on a balcony or indoors is certainly more difficult, but not impossible. You’ll need a suitable pot with adequate drainage, indoor potting soil and a window with adequate sunlight. If you take pride in growing your own vegetables, then these are the best options for indoor gardening.
Microgreens took the culinary world by storm a few years ago. They are basically tiny versions of other vegetables that are typically used as garnishes for dishes. They are harvested as shoots before the vegetable has a chance to mature.
Microgreens are said to contain 40-times more vitamins and nutrients than other vegetables. The most common microgreens are lettuce, spinach, watercress, kale and beetroots. Chefs use microgreens to enhance the look and taste of dishes as the tiny plants have various flavour profiles, from sweet to peppery.
This is the obvious edible plant family to grow indoors. Herbs can grow in small pots and don’t take up much space. You can even buy already-potted herbs from your nearest supermarket.
Some herbs don’t like cold weather, so keep them away from open windows during the winter months. The best herbs to grow indoors include basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives and coriander (if you can stand its stink-bug taste).
Most leafy greens grow well indoors, including lettuce, but spinach is more interesting. Make sure the pots have good drainage as spinach doesn’t like being too damp. Indoor potting mix will ensure that not too much moisture is retained and that the roots get enough air.
Baby spinach is a delicious vegetable, especially when wilted down with butter, cream (or milk) and mushroom soup powder. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over and tuck into an amazing creamed spinach. The only downside to growing spinach indoors is that you need a lot to make a substantial cooked portion.
Also known as green onions, these delicious plants are just very young onions that are harvested before the bulb has a chance to grow. The long, slender leaves and the small white bulb are edible and make for delicious garnishes.
Spring onions are easy to grow and don’t need as much sunlight as other vegetables. They’re perfect for beginner gardeners or foodies who like to add a bit of flair to their dishes. Sprinkle some finely sliced spring onions over sticky barbeque chicken wings for a zingy hit.
Russians rejoice – you can grow baby potatoes indoors. The larger your pot, the bigger the potatoes. They are relatively easy to grow but they do need a lot of sunlight once the shoots have sprouted.
Once you harvest them, you’ll be able to make your own potato salad with some spring onions and mayonnaise. If you’re feeling adventurous, plant some sweet potatoes too. Thinly slice the sweet potato, place onto a tray and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them under a grill for 20 minutes and you’ll have crispy sweet potato chips as a snack or side.
These vegetables grow well on vines, so you may need to support the stem with a wooden rod and some twine. Cherry tomatoes grow fairly well indoors, but they do prefer to be outside. Once they have sprouted, move them onto the balcony where they can get between 8 and 10 hours of sunlight every day.
Cherry tomatoes are a very versatile food. Have them raw in a salad or on a slice of ciabatta with cheese. You can also roast them, fry them or blend them into a tomato and red pepper soup.
These peppery root veggies are easy to grow indoors. You just need a deep pot that will allow the bulbous roots to swell. Radishes don’t need a lot of light either, but they do need a fair bit of water while to roots grow.
The red-coloured root is usually eaten raw but it can be steamed too. Finely slice the radish and add it to a leafy salad with apple and a dressing. You can also slice the radish and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar, then place it under a grill for about 20 minutes to make a delicious and crispy chip snack.
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