How to Grow Vegetables Indoors, Even When It’s Cold Outside

how to grow vegetables indoors

Has it snowed where you live? I woke to the season’s first snowfall this morning. It’s pretty to look at and good news for skiers, but bad news for gardeners. With more than 100 days until spring, we gardeners have to get creative to keep the fresh veggies we crave growing through the winter. So, here’s how to grow vegetables indoors in the colder months.

10 vegetables you can grow indoors:

1. Beans

Plant bush beans, versus pole beans, in your indoor garden. Why? Bush beans don’t grow as tall as pole beans so they don’t require stakes or as much vertical space as pole beans.

2. Broccoli

Broccoli, even grown outdoors, can be fickle. I suggest planting more seeds than you think you’ll need so that if some don’t grow well you have back-ups. Also try other cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, and kohlrabi.

3. Carrots

These root veggies like very rich (well amended) soil and lots of it. They’ll need a deep pot to stretch their long, orange legs as they grow.

4. Garlic scapes

Growing garlic indoors can be tricky (although, if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s definitely worth a try), but the green scapes that grow from the young garlic plant will easily grow indoors.

5. Herbs

I know, I know, herbs are not vegetables. They do, however, pair well with many of the vegetables you’re growing indoors. Also, herb plants are attractive as house plants.

6. Microgreens

Their name may say micro, but these tiny greens pack major flavor and nutrition. Before they end up in your salad or smoothie they’ll add a vibrant splash of green to your windowsill in winter.

7. Mushrooms

These fungi won’t take up room on your windowsill. They’ll appreciate your cool, damp basement (or closet). If this is your first time growing mushrooms, I strongly suggest buying a mushroom growing kit that will come with everything you need and instructions.

8. Salad greens

Think how scrumptious a salad of fresh homegrown greens will taste alongside a hot cup of soup on a cold winter’s day. Don’t limit yourself to only baby greens–grow spinach, kale, and chard.

9. Scallions

Just like it is challenging to get a full garlic bulb to grow indoors, the same is true of onions. However, scallions will grow well indoors.

10. Radishes

Unlike carrots that need lots of leg room, these root veggies grow closer to the top of garden soil and therefore do well in pots indoors.

Tips for your indoor vegetable garden:

Let there be light!

Your indoor garden is going to require approximately six hours of sunlight each day. Scope out the sunniest spot in your home to place your garden. If you don’t get the full six hours of sunlight, consider supplementing with indoor grow lamps. Placing a heat pad under the plants will also help with root growth.

Don’t dry out

As your dry skin and chapped lips can attest to, indoor conditions are dry in the winter months. Routinely check your soil’s moisture level and water as needed. Also, placing a shallow tray with stones and water in it under your pots will help with maintaining humidity.


Just like your outdoor plants, indoor plants appreciate fertilizer. Vegetables grown indoors, however, grow more slowly than those outside so, they may not need to be fertilized as often as outdoor plants.

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