Indoor Gardening for Beginners

September 18, 2023

Don’t think gardening is for you? Or don’t have space for a garden? Thanks to modern technology and upgraded traditional systems, indoor herb gardening for beginners has never been easier. There are even a few vegetables you can grow indoors with ease. Use the tips below during the fall and winter or year-round if you don’t have space to garden outside. 

Why Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetables?

You can always head to the farmers market and grocery store for your produce or order what you need online. However, there are a variety of benefits to growing your own fresh herbs and vegetables at home:

  • Getting back in touch with nature—during the spring and summer gardening gets you outside but even if you only garden indoors, it reminds you that you’re one with nature. 
  • Farm fresh—many fresh herbs lose some of their flavor and nutrient value after they’ve been clipped. When you grow at home and clip as needed, you’ll enjoy the full flavor and nutrient profile. 
  • Cost-savings—store-bought herbs are expensive. Especially since you may only require a fraction of what you’ve purchased for your recipes. At home, you’re more likely to spend less money and only clip what you need, so you waste less. 
  • Culinary inspiration—having fresh herbs nearby may inspire you to try new recipes and experiment with seasoning your go-to recipes in new ways. 
  • A fun challenge—whether gardening is something new or it’s been a while, learning how to set up indoor gardening systems is challenging. Expect trial and error with every new item you plant, and excitement as each crop grows! 
  • Convenience—how many times have you wished you had a fresh herb for flavor or garnish but don’t want to run to the store or wait for delivery? Now, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. 
  • Nutritional value—herbs and produce are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Grow your favorites but “eat the rainbow” to increase the range of nutrients in your diet. 

What does it mean to grow the rainbow? This is a term used to define eating different colored fruits and vegetables. Produce of the same color typically has a similar nutrient content. So, the more colors of the rainbow you eat, the wider the range of nutrients. 

What Herbs Can You Grow Indoors?

All of the herbs below can be grown in the house. In fact, you may have an easier time growing some or all of these indoors! Why? Fewer pests and overall control. 

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Garlic chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Chervil
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Lemon balm
  • Bay leaves
  • Marjoram
  • Fennel

How to Grow Herbs Indoors? 

Indoor herb gardening is nothing new, but there’s an exciting new generation of options that make it easier than ever. Choose from a mix of any of the following. 

Seed or Storebought

Go to your local gardening store and purchase seeds to grow your herbs from scratch. Just ensure you purchase the right kind of dirt and a planter with proper drainage. Or skip the wait time of growing from seed and purchase a miniature herb plant. Grow in the window or outside when it’s warm enough. 

Window Box

Window box herb garden kits can be found online and seasonally in your favorite big-box retailers. These kits typically come with small planters and seeds or with pre-seeded planters that you water as directed. These are beginner-friendly and require a window with regular watering and proper sunlight.  

Wall Mounted

The primary draw to mounting your herbs on the wall is so that they double as home décor. It is also ideal if your windows don’t have ledges, or you have ledges—but they don’t have adequate lighting. Or maybe you just want to add more greenery to your home.  

Vertical Planters and Shelves

Vertical planters or shelving systems maximize space. This can be a simple bookcase, or a shelving system designed specifically for growing herbs indoors. You can find ready-made or easy-to-assemble systems to meet a variety of design aesthetics.  

Grow Light Gardens

Countertop herb gardens with built-in grow lights are exciting new technology! The grow light enables you to place the garden anywhere while ensuring even lighting and proper temperature. Many models are “smart” with humidity control features built in, self-watering systems, and systems designed to minimize the likelihood of mold growth. 

Why mold growth is a concern? It doesn’t matter what you grow indoors, there’s always the concern of mold growth. Mold grows when plants are overwatered, or the indoor humidity levels are too high. Mold typically grows in the roots of the plant where you can’t see it. So, invest in a digital humidity monitor and don’t overwater your plants. Or use a soilless system, such as a hydroponic, aquaponic, or aeroponic system. 

What Vegetables Can You Grow Indoors?

Indoor vegetable gardening typically requires a bit more room for a plentiful harvest than herbs. 

Below are some of the easiest vegetables to grow indoors:

  • Carrots
  • Pepper plants
  • Lettuce
  • Microgreens
  • Scallions
  • Potatoes 
  • Radishes

Lettuce and microgreens can be grown in grow light planters and other soil-free options. They’re super easy crops that grow quickly and infuse you and your family’s diet with vital nutrients. Pepper plants can grow in a medium-sized planter. All other vegetables on this list require a larger container to grow. 

What to Do When You Can’t Eat All You Grow?

We’ve all been there. We have more than we can eat before it wilts or spoils. Perform a quick online search to learn how to preserve the specific herb or vegetable in question. For example, you can pop many herbs in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag or container. Or you might invest in a dehydrator and start making your own herb blends

You can also:

  • Share—give to neighbors, friends, and family.
  • Donate—donate to a local food bank.
  • Exchange—see if you have a local garden exchange.  
  • Preserve—dry, dehydrate, pickle, freeze, or can. 
  • Compost—when it goes bad, compost it to use as fertilizer. 

Even if your garden is small or you only grow 2 or 3 of your favorite herbs, it can make cooking more flavorful and more fun! 

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