By guest blogger and vegetable gardener Mackenzie Kupfer
Mackenzie gardens to her heart’s content in Boise, ID. Having recently earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology, she plans to be a lifelong student of the earth, and loves to share her passion for nature through her writing.
Growing your own herbs and veggies indoors is fun and easy – anybody can do it. These are great to bring a bit of fresh-from-the garden flavor into your life any time of year. As the weather graciously warms up you can simply move the containers outdoors to a patio or garden. These five delicious plants are the bread and butter of flavor fanatics and novice gardeners alike.
1. Sweet 100’s, Christmas Grape, Roma, Tiny Tim, Pixie, or Small Fry tomatoes.
Let’s face it: homegrown tomatoes are the most amazing thing ever. Putting my love for tomatoes aside, they deserve this number one spot on the list because store bought tomatoes are usually so lacking in flavor that they don’t even deserve to uphold the tomato name.
To grow tomatoes successfully you will need a lot of sunlight, about six hours, which you can provide with a grow light. Buy some seeds (or some toddler plants from your local nursery) and some potting soil. There are self-contained systems designed specifically for growing tomatoes which will accommodate even the bigger varieties. If using seeds, keep the soil moist, not soggy, and put some plastic wrap over the plants to get the soil warm enough to encourage germination.
Use a nutrient especially formulated for tomatoes to help the seeds along, and feed as directed.
When the plants begin to flower, gently but firmly tap the plant to make it “shiver,” allowing the pollen to fall onto the other blossoms. Remember to rotate the pots and soon you will have perfect, fresh, heavenly tomatoes ripe for the picking all year round.
2. Chives – your versatile, clean and mild friend.
This must-have herb is most known for its slight onion flavor but also adds a very fresh, clean note to any dish you put it in. Chives are not as complicated to grow indoors as tomatoes, but they do still need to get six to eight hours of light. They don’t need nearly as much room, so get yourself a six inch clay pot that drains well and get to planting.
3. Thyme can be used in just about anything!
The easy going lemon flavor in thyme makes it delicious in dishes that include fish, chicken, vegetables, eggs and even certain desserts. What makes this herb even better is that nearly all varieties are extremely easy to grow indoors.
4. Let us have lettuce!
Fresh salad greens are a wonderful thing to enjoy all year long. Looseleaf lettuce and tom thumb are great varieties to try indoors. Get half-gallon containers and put the seeds in south facing windows that allow for plenty of sun.
5. Green Onions
This is perhaps the easiest edible plant to plant indoors. Just place the root end of a grown green onion in a jar of water and it will grow! They will have a longer life you plant them in soil and water them daily.
There you have it, five delicious plants to keep your kitchen somewhat stocked with fresh vegetables and herbs. Of course there are many other plants that thrive under lights in an indoor environment… what’s your favorite?