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How to start an indoor vegetable garden

Enjoy fresh organic produce at your fingertips – no matter where you live.

Enjoy fresh organic produce at your fingertips – no matter where you live.

Growing your own food isn't just fun and rewarding. It also means you'll have access to incredibly fresh produce - with a side serve of impressive savings. Happily, you don't have to be a green thumb to successfully grow veggies. In fact, you don't even need a garden.

If you have an airy sunroom, a cosy balcony or just a sunlit spot on the benchtop under a kitchen window you have all the ingredients needed to grow a few vegetables – light, warmth, water and shelter from the elements.

Some of the easiest vegetables to grow will thrive in an indoor environment. Be sure to invest in a container offering decent drainage and some good quality potting mix, and with regular watering you could find yourself harvesting a crop of nutritious greens within weeks – even days.

Start simple

At the impossible-to-fail end of the veggie spectrum are bean sprouts and water cress. You'll find seed packets sold in major supermarkets.

Just grab a shallow bowl, plate or takeaway food container, line with damp cotton wool or paper towels and sprinkle seeds over the surface.  Keep the base moist and germination should occur within a day or two. Your crop should be ready to harvest within five days. A simple addition to salads and sandwiches.

Next, the green leafy veggies

Lettuce, silver beet, bok choy and spinach are also remarkably easy to grow. A rectangular planter box works best - grab a punnet of seedlings and transfer each young plant to the planter allowing room between seedlings for growth. Water well each day or use a gentle mulch like a layer of moist wood shavings to ensure the soil doesn't dry out on days when indoor temperatures climb.

When the plant is ready to harvest (allow around 4-6 weeks), be sure to pick leaves from the outside and your greens will continue to grow for several months.

Tomato anyone?

Capsicum and tomatoes are another failsafe indoor veggie. Both form vines and will benefit from the support of stakes (regular bamboo stakes cut in half lengthways work well). You may not even need to spend money on seeds or seedlings.

The next time you use shop bought tomatoes or capsicums, set aside some of the plant's seeds. While still fresh, gently push individual seeds into the soil of your planter pot allowing room to grow. Water well and enjoy watching your new seedlings emerge.

Once you have enjoyed success with these hardy - and hearty – veggies, try your hand cultivating other vegetables – even fruits like strawberries. Bon appetite!  

Posted in: Lifestyle

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