Are you tired of only having fresh produce during the growing season? Here are more than 18 plants to grow inside during the winter for fresh food all year long!
My garden is one of my favorite places to be. I love growing food for my family, plus it’s a great hobby for my mental health.
Unfortunately every year the days get short and the weather turns cold, which means no gardening. But luckily you can bring the garden indoors!
While it’s not quite the same as planting outside in the garden, and space is definitely not as plentiful, you can successfully grow lots of plants inside all winter!
What can you grow? Here are more than 18 plants to grow inside to help provide homegrown food all year long!
18+ Plants to Grow Inside All Winter Long
There are 2 types of plants you can grow inside. Those that need pollination and those that don’t.
The plants that produce fruits require pollination, which makes growing them a little more difficult to grow inside. Those that don’t flower don’t need pollination which makes them very easy to grow indoors.
All crops will need plenty of light- either via a sun room, sunny window, or artificial grow lights. Choose good quality organic soil to fill your containers as well.
Crops You Can Grow Inside Without Pollination
The following plants don’t flower or require pollination. They are mostly leaf and root crops. These plants don’t take up a ton of room and most grow pretty quickly.
Spinach is a cool weather crop that can be grown outside even in cool weather. But if you get a lot of hard frosts then growing it indoors might be a better option.
Spinach is quick to grow and it a long harvest.
Here’s how to grow spinach.
Lettuce is another cool weather crop that can grow quickly indoors. It doesn’t need a lot of space and can grow in fairly shallow container.
Grow a come and cut again variety as opposed to a head so you can pick off leaves as you need them.
Carrots take a little more time and space- at least in terms of depth- but they can be successfully grown indoors.
Choose a deep container with light soil for the best root development.
Here’s how to grow carrots.
Basil and Other Culinary Herbs
Herbs such as basil, rosemary, sage, mint, and more are perfect for growing indoors. They are simple, quick growing, and don’t require a lot of upkeep.
Mushrooms are pretty easy to grow and very quick. We grew oyster mushrooms one year from a kit my son got in the mail and it was a lot of fun and very rewarding.
Want to know more about growing mushrooms inside? Check this out: Growing Mushrooms
Microgreens and sprouts are about the quickest and easiest plant to grow inside. In only a couple days you can have a large amount of fresh greens or sprouts to cook, eat fresh, or use in a salad.
Here’s how to get started growing microgreens: Growing Microgreens Year Round
Chard is another great green to plant indoors. The plants can get a little bigger than plants like spinach or lettuce, but if you harvest young you can keep the plant from getting too large.
Here’s how to grow chard.
Like chard, Kale can tend to get larger than some of the other greens, but it’s still a great plant to grow inside, plus the leaves won’t get quite as large when grown inside.
Harvest the outer leaves and you can cut from the same plant multiple times.
Radishes are one of the quickest crops to grow. To grow them indoors choose varieties that are more round as opposed to long.
Here’s how to grow radishes.
Onions are a great plant for indoor growing in the winter. You can grow green onions (and then replant to get another harvest!) or wait longer to harvest the entire bulb.
Here’s how to grow onions indoors.
Arugula is another cool weather crop that can be grown inside in the coldest months. Since it doesn’t need as much light it’s perfect for those who just have a window sill to grow on. You can even put it outside on sunny days if the weather is above freezing.
Here’s how to grow arugula inside.
Crops You Can Grow Inside With Pollination
If you have space and a little more time to invest, you can try your hand at growing vegetables that are a little more difficult to grow inside.
The following crops can be grown inside but since they are flowering and fruiting plants, they do require pollination. Outside, the bees and other pollinators do this job for us, but indoors it will be up to you.
For most plants, simply shaking the plant can do a good enough job to pollinate. In others you may need to get out a paint brush!
Either way, the following crops can be successfully grown indoors.
Tomatoes are one of everyone’s favorite garden crops. But guess what!? They can be grown indoors too!
Tomatoes will need more room and more light than greens and roots. I’d suggest planting a cherry or grape variety as opposed to large slicers.
Zucchini will need more space- such as a 5 gallon bucket, and you will likely have to pollinate with a brush or your finger, but it can be grown inside.
Harvest the fruits when they are small- or you could even harvest and eat the flowers!
Another plant you might have though was only possible to grow outside is eggplant. Eggplant is a heat loving crop that you can grow indoors under the right conditions.
Eggplant needs lots of light, so adding supplementary light is a must when growing it indoors.
Peppers are another heat loving crop that can be grown inside over the winter. You can even try digging up a pepper plant from the garden in the fall and bringing it indoors.
They need lots of light just like eggplant.
We have had a large potted lemon and lime tree for the past 9 years, we bring them outside in the summer and inside in the winter.
They are beautiful plants that are covered with flowers in the winter and it’s great to harvest fresh lemons in December! Watch out for spider mites on your trees and make sure they get plenty of light.
And finally, bush beans can also be grown inside. Beans are fairly quick growing and just one plant can give a pretty good harvest.
Here’s how to grow beans.
Tips for Growing Vegetables and Other Plants Inside
Growing inside is very different than growing plants outside in the garden or even in containers.
You have to recreate their growing environment inside and meet all of their water, light, and nutrient needs.
Here are some tips to growing plants inside:
- Choose the right container for the plant. Greens have fairly shallow roots so a 4 inch planter is usually sufficient. Larger crops such as eggplant and tomatoes will need a larger container.
- Add supplemental light. Even if you have a south facing window, many crops need more light than winter provides. Adding grow lights can mean the difference between success and failure.
- Water correctly. Watering is often the root of many gardening problems. It’s kind of like Goldilocks- not too much, and not too little, but just right.
- Pollinate as needed. If you are growing a fruiting plant pollination is a must and you won’t get a harvest without it.
You could also consider growing aeroponically- in a container like a Tower Garden. These amazing towers grow plants more quickly, without soil, in any kind of location. They even have an option for a tower that includes lights that is perfect for growing plants such as tomatoes and zucchini.