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10 Delicious Indoor Garden Vegetables, Herbs and Fruits

Whether you're short on outdoor space or cold weather is coming, don't give up on gardening. Many vegetables, herbs and fruits can grow indoors.

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Grow an Indoor Vegetable Garden

You don’t need much space to grow fresh, nutritious indoor garden vegetables, herbs and fruits. Look for varieties that won't outgrow your windowsill or tabletop and make sure they'll get as much light as they need.

If you don't have enough light, use a grow light with a timer. Your seed packets or plant labels will tell you how to space your indoor garden vegetables and other plants. Use containers with drainage holes and a well-draining potting mix, and avoid overwatering. When you fertilize your indoor vegetable garden — or your indoor herbs and fruits — follow the directions on the product label.

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1. Grow Lettuce Indoors Year-Round

If you’re new to indoor vegetable gardening, start with easy-to-grow leaf lettuces instead of head lettuces. Varieties like 'Baby Oakleaf' or 'Tom Thumb' are good choices. Lettuce needs 6 to 8 hours of sun per day, but no direct sunlight. Mix a slow-release vegetable fertilizer into the top 2 inches of potting mix, sow the lettuce seeds over it and gently press them down. Use a spray bottle to water them and keep the soil moist until sprouts appear in a week or two. Lettuce is a cool-weather crop but you can grow it year-round; ideally, give it a spot that stays between 50 and 65 degrees or choose a slow-bolting variety. (Bolting occurs when the temperatures rise and the plants flower and set seeds. Lettuce becomes bitter-tasting when it bolts). Harvest the leaves when they're about six inches long, removing the outer ones first and letting the inner ones keep growing. Lettuce is sold in cell packs if you'd rather start with young plants than seeds.

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2. Grow Carrots Indoors in Pots

Small carrot varieties with short roots, like 'Little Finge' or 'Royal Chantenay', are good choices for indoor vegetable gardening. These root veggies dislike being transplanted, so grow them in pots at least 8 inches deep (deeper for longer or standard varieties). Scratch a slow-release fertilizer into some vegetable potting mix, using the amount directed on the label, and scatter the seeds over it. Carrot seeds need light to germinate, so cover them no more than 1/8 inch deep. Mist them with water and keep them in a cool, sunny spot that gets at least six hours of light each day. Depending on the variety, they'll germinate in about 14-21 days. After they're 3 inches tall, thin out the weak seedlings and start applying a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Keep the soil moist, not wet. The carrots are ready to pull when they reach the mature size indicated on your seed packet. Keep the harvest going by starting more seeds every couple of weeks.

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3. Grow Small Spinach in Windowsills

Lettuce isn't the only leafy green that's easy to grow in an indoor vegetable garden. Try arugula, kale, Swiss chard and spinach. Small spinach varieties like 'Baby Leaf Catalina' and 'Plymouth' are good for windowsills. Use shallow pots (spinach doesn't have deep roots) and give the leaves plenty of room to spread out. Sow the seeds 1/2-inch deep in moistened potting mix and cover them lightly with plastic wrap. Remove the plastic daily to let out excess moisture and leave it off after the sprouts appear. Don't the soil dry out. Carrots need 4 to 6 hours of light per day and grow best at 50 to 80 degrees. They'll bolt in full sun and at high temperatures. Thin the seedlings to every 3 inches, but don't compost them. Toss them into salads, sandwiches or other foods. Feed your plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer as directed on the label or use a time-released fertilizer.

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