It may be cold and gray, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some good energy inside. (Goodbye, winter blues.) If you have a green thumb and time for a hobby, an indoor garden might have an appeal, especially if you enjoy cooking and like to experiment with different vegetables.
For one, you ultimately have agency over all aspects of the plant's growth and environment. You have control over the water, soil quality, etc. Another consideration: You’re not at the mercy of the weather or pests and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor year-round.
If you’re new to the discipline or need a refresher, take some cues from the pros. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, think more in terms of guidelines than strict rules. Whether the plant will best weather indoor and/or outdoor-only conditions is based on your experience, personal preference, geographic location and the plant itself.
Generally speaking, crops that fare well initially indoors include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and tomatoes, per the Almanac. The same goes for cauliflower, celery, eggplant, and peppers. Nightshades like tomatoes and eggplants don’t do well in the cold, so it’s best to start them inside to spare them from a potentially chilly spring (and premature death).
One mistake to avoid? Assuming that all plants are candidates for starting indoors. Some varieties do not transport easily. It’s recommended to start cucumbers, muskmelon, pumpkins, squash, and watermelon in containers indoors or waiting until temperatures rise. Their tender natures means it’s wise to wait to sow them outdoors if there’s a possibility of frost.
Be mindful of other finicky veggies. For instance, carrots, beets, dill and parsley don’t respond well to having their roots disturbed. With this in mind, it’s prudent to start their seeds outdoors in the ground rather than transplanting them when it warms up.
If you decide to try your hand at indoor cultivation, keep the following in mind:
Here’s to you and your horticultural pursuits!
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