Gardening is not only a relaxing hobby, it’s also good exercise and a great way to play a role in feeding your family — even if it’s just a few sprigs of herbs or a handful of leafy greens. As most of us know, local is always better when it comes to sourcing our food, and what could be more local than harvesting from your very own windowsill? Here are some terrific plants from the Savvy Gardening team to get you started.
This fragrant herb is easier to grow than you might think. It’s leaves and thick stems are used to flavor stir fry recipes, soups, and stews. To grow lemongrass indoors, choose a high-light area where the plant receives a minimum of 6 hours of sun a day.
This is an easy herb to bring indoors in the autumn if you already have it growing in a patio pot during the summer months. Alternatively, you can purchase a new starter plant from your favorite nursery, or better yet, find a stalk of lemongrass at the grocery store with a few small roots still attached and pot it in a container of high-quality potting soil. Water it deeply when the soil is dry, and your little lemongrass sprig will soon turn into a large, harvestable plant.
Lettuce is a terrific edible plant for indoor growing. Select a moderately bright window, or purchase a tabletop grow light if you do not have a sunny room. It’s easiest to grow lettuce and harvest it at the baby leaf stage indoors, but if you have enough light, you may even be able to get it to grow into a full head.
Try different varieties of lettuce for an extra boost of flavor, nutrition, and texture. Grow them together in a single pot for a colorful salad harvest. Be sure the plants do not dry out between watering’s and feed them a liquid organic fertilizer every three weeks.
One of our favorite kitchen ingredients is hot peppers. You can use them almost daily, adding spice and flavor to meals. Growing your own means, you’ll be able to provide healthy, organic food for your family.
The easiest way to grow peppers indoors is to bring some of your plants inside in early to mid-autumn before the first expected fall frost. If they’re in the garden, dig them up, keeping a good-sized root-ball intact, and pot them in a container (with drainage holes!) using a high-quality potting mix. If they were potted peppers, you can bring the pots inside, place them in a sunny, south-facing window, or if you have a grow-light, use that to maximize light.
Keep an eye on soil moisture and water, regularly keeping the soil lightly moist, not wet. Harvest as the peppers ripen to their mature color.
Basil is essential in the winter kitchen. Not only does it provide a signature, spicy-sweet flavor to pastas and salads, it’s good to simply rub the leaves and inhale the rich aroma – it’s a feel-good herb!
Like hot peppers, basil needs a lot of light to grow well indoors. You can place the plants in a sunny window or under grow lights. For the best results, keep at least three plants so you never run out of fresh basil leaves. Harvest often because pinching back the plants promotes fresh growth. Simply use your fingers or a pair of garden snips to cut the plants back to a fresh set of leaves.
Parsley isn’t just a pretty garnish. Many recipes call for this nutrient and antioxidant-rich herb. A south-facing window is the best location for the plant to get the most light. Be sure to give your parsley lots of moisture and water when the soil feels dry.
Grow a few pots of curly and flat leaf parsley so you always have lots to harvest. Use scissors to snip off the outside stems as needed. Trimming regularly also encourages fresh growth.
Growing kale indoors is a great way to ensure you’re always well-stocked with leafy greens. This superfood features vitamins A and C, and calcium, among other nutrients.
Plant seeds or small seedlings in a pot filled with organic potting mix and place it in a spot that gets lots of natural light. Make sure there are drainage holes in your pot, and water your kale when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Baby kale leaves are a bit sweeter, so if you’re harvesting them for a salad, you may prefer baby leaves to the more mature leaves you’ve bought at the supermarket. Experiment with different varieties, like curly and Lacinato.
As you can see, with a little planning and the right plant choices, you too can grow fresh produce indoors by a sunny window. It’s so satisfying to pick fresh, homegrown herbs and veggies for mealtime. Happy planting!