9 Nutritious Plants That You Can Grow Indoors Easily
DIY gardening is growing faster than a zucchini plant in midsummer. Vacant lots, back yards and patios are sprouting up everywhere as places to grow locally-sourced produce for healthy food and environmentally-sound agriculture. But what if you live in a place that's too cold or with days that are too short for healthy plant growth and good yields? Move your garden indoors, of course.
People have grown herb gardens on windowsills for centuries, but with modern LED lighting, you can now have other varieties of produce year-round without relying on seasonally-inadequate natural light.
From herbs and tomatoes to exotic fruits like mangoes, guava and star fruit, Black Dog LED grow lights have been proven to dramatically increase yields. Most edible crops require quite a bit of good light every day to thrive. And when we say good light, we mean light that has intensity and all of the wavelengths that plants need to grow their best.
Here are a few examples of plants you may have thought you couldn't grow indoors.
You can grow tomatoes indoors from seeds or starts. Sow seeds about ¼" deep in 6-inch pots filled with starting mix and transplant them to regular potting soil when they're about 3" tall. Keep them moist but not soggy and give them plenty of light- 12-20 hours per day. Use an organic fertilizer about two weeks after transplanting. Eat and enjoy when the fruits are red and firm with a slight give to the touch. Because tomatoes are large plants, we recommend using our larger LED panels for lighting and trying a cherry or other smaller variety to start.
Mature greens like lettuce, spinach and arugula are the foundations for great salads and are easy to grow indoors. Start with seeds planted about 4 inches apart indoors in well-drained soil that gets plenty of light. Thin the plants and keep the soil moist to the touch, but not soggy. Pull or cut off the outer leaves gently without disturbing the roots and the plants will keep you well supplied. Lettuce and spinach can get bitter and "bolt" (flower) if given too many hours of light, so 12 to a maximum of 16 hours of light each day is best.
Micro greens are simply the seedlings of herbs and vegetables harvested before they mature. Combinations of radishes, kale, chard, beets, and herbs like basil and dill all make quick and easy additions to a salad. Simply scatter the seeds over moist soil in a shallow tray about 2 inches deep and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Keep them moist with a spray bottle daily and as soon as they have leaves about an inch or two in height, they're ready to eat. For best results, give them 12-18 hours of Black Dog LED light daily.
This kitchen staple is part of the allium family that includes garlic, onions, shallots and leeks and may help prevent cancer and protect your body from free radicals. You can grow chives from seed in a 6-8" pot, keeping the soil moist, with 12-20 hours of Black Dog LED light per day. Simply trim off leaves as needed for cooking.
Plant seeds or start cuttings in a 4" or larger pot with good drainage in a warm, bright location. Pruning after the plant grows to about 6" will help maximize yield. Lightly fertilize monthly, keep the soil warm and moist, and give it 12-20 hours of light each day.
Start seeds in a well-drained pot at least 8" deep, leaving the soil an inch or so from the top. Press the seeds into the soil and moisten it gently but thoroughly. Cover the pot with plastic wrap until the seedlings reach the plastic, then remove it and keep the soil moist and make sure the plants get plenty of light, 12-20 hours per day. Cilantro is a short-lived plant so it may be useful to start a new crop every 2-3 weeks.
Mint is a sprawling plant, so give it a deep container about 10" in diameter. Start from seed or cuttings, keep the soil moist, and give the plants 12-20 hours of light.
You can start rosemary from seed or cuttings. It likes a well-drained soil that's slightly alkaline, so add coarse sand to make about 1/3 of the total volume and a teaspoon of lime for every 5" of pot. Let the top of the soil get dry before watering. It needs 12 to 20 hours of very bright Black Dog LED light.
There's no reason you can't grow tree-bourne fruit indoors if you have the space. Lemons, mandarin oranges, and other dwarf citruses love warm, airy, well-lit environments whether they're indoors or out. Most any dwarf tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees can be grown indoors under lights if given the right conditions; we've grown and fruited mangoes, guavas, star fruit, miracle fruit, mulberries and many more tree fruits exclusively under Black Dog LED lights.
If you have any questions about specific plants, leave a comment below!
Black Dog LED makes it easy for even inexperienced DIY gardeners to get started. We offer individual LED grow lights, grow tents up to 10'x10', and grow room accessories, as well as complete grow room kits with footprints ranging from 2'x2½' to 9'x9'.
Visit our website, BlackDogLED.com, to see a full selection of grow room products for DIY gardeners. You'll also find plenty of information about the benefits of LED grow lighting. While you're there, take a look at our photo gallery to see for yourself the amazing results you can achieve with Phyto-Genesis Spectrum™ grow lights from Black Dog LED.