• Urban Green Farms

The 6 Best Healthy, Edible Plants to Grow Indoors


Urban farming and rooftop gardens are paving a new sense of community. Everyday Australians are embracing farm-fresh food. And for good reason.

Locally grown fruit and vegetables are better for the environment, our health and our bottom line. In recent years, we have given up our food production to big corporations that have only taken advantage of our natural assets for financial gain.

Growing food ensures that growers know exactly where their food comes from and how it was grown.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a farmer (or even live near a farm) in order to reap the benefits of home-grown produce. If you have a sunny window (or two, or five) and a bit of extra time on your hands, then you’re capable of growing your own food right at home and cultivating indoors.

General Growing Tips- (if you are not growing hydroponically)

Before you get started, here are a few tips that will be handy to keep in mind no matter which of the plants from this list you choose to grow.

  1. All of these plants require well-draining soil, which means you will either need to use a pot with holes in the bottom or pile up some stones in the bottom of your pot before adding soil (so that the water can drain through the stones). If you choose to use a pot with holes in the bottom, be sure to put a shallow drainage container under the pot so the water doesn’t drain onto your floor, shelf, or windowsill.

  2. For each of these plants, feel free to purchase potting mix at a garden center or make your own (You can also choose whether or not you want to stick with organic soils). Each plant grows best in a slightly different soil environment, but this general potting mix recipe will help get you started.

  3. Many of these plants grow best in areas that receive lots of sunlight and remain fairly warm throughout the day. Sunny windows are extremely helpful for growing plants indoors. However, if you don’t have sunny windows (or if the area is a low temperature), grow lights will be your new best friend — they help maintain optimal light and temperature conditions for plants regardless of outside weather or indoor conditions.

1. Avocados

Why They’re Healthy:

Avocados are chock full of healthy fats in addition to vitamins E and B6 and carotenoids, which are high in vitamin A and have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and eye degeneration. No wonder these fruits are one of our favorite superfoods!

How to Grow:

It’s possible to grow an avocado tree from an avocado pit, but doing so may not yield edible fruit. If you want to eat what you sow, it’s best to purchase a dwarf avocado plant (varieties that yield the larger green-skinned fruit or the more common black-skinned fruits are equally good) . To tend for your tree, add some sand to the bottom of a large, well-draining pot before filling it with regular potting mix and planting your tree. Water the tree regularly but make sure the soil is never soggy — avocado roots don’t take well to being waterlogged. Prune the shoots regularly, and be sure to place the tree in an area with high ceilings — even dwarf trees can grow higher than 10 feet!

How to Harvest:

Green varieties are ready to harvest when the fruits’ skin turns slightly yellow, while darker varieties are ready when their skins have turned almost black. Ripe fruits can be left hanging on the tree for a few weeks, but any longer than that and they’ll start to lose their flavor and texture.

2. Carrots

Why They’re Healthy:

Carrots are a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, niacin, folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. They also supply carotenoids, which are a big boon for eye health.

How to Grow:

Purchase carrot seeds and a pot or window box that’s at least a foot and a half deep and wide, with drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container to within an inch of the top with a humus-rich potting mix. Water the soil before planting the seeds. Plant the seeds one inch apart in rows that are six inches apart from each other, pressing the seeds gently into the soil and covering them with a thin layer of soil. Water. Place the container in an area that receives tons of light. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked. To help preserve moisture, soak some peat moss in water overnight and then spread it on top of the seeds. Expect the seeds to germinate (i.e., start sprouting) in about two weeks.

How to Harvest:

Carrots are ready for harvest when they’ve grown to about ¾ of an inch across the top (just below the green stem). If you can’t see the carrot itself, gently brush aside some soil around the stem so you can size it up (Note: Though it may be tempting to see how big carrots can get, they’ll start to lose their sweetness and flavor once they surpass their peak size.). To pick the carrots, grab them firmly at the root and wiggle them around a bit, then pull straight up. If you find that the soil is quite hard, water it and then wait an hour or so before retrying the harvest. Once the carrots have been pulled from the soil, remove the greens immediately, wipe off any excess dirt, and let them dry before storing them in the fridge.

3. Lemons

Why They’re Healthy:

A superfood, lemons are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, which could help decrease heart disease risk, reduce inflammation, and fight some cancers .

How to Grow:

If you want the option of harvesting fruits right away, purchase a two-to-three-year-old dwarf tree at a nursery. Choose a clay, ceramic, or plastic pot slightly larger than the root ball of your tree, and make sure it has several holes in the bottom. Fill the drainage dish with stones to allow air to circulate. Use a potting soil specifically formulated for citrus trees, or choose a slightly acidic, loam-based potting mix. Place the plant in an area that will receive eight to 12 hours of sunlight each day and will ideally maintain a temperature between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Water regularly, but be sure not to over-saturate the soil (it should be moist, not sopping wet). Citrus trees like moist air, so regularly misting the leaves with a spray bottle will help keep the leaves perky.

How to Harvest:

Most lemons will ripen in six to nine months. Test for ripeness by looking for full colour and gently squeezing the rind — a slight “give” indicates that the lemons are ready for eating.

4. Microgreens

Why They’re Healthy:

A big bowl of leaves

can be a stellar source of vitamins A, C, K, and folate. And microgreens (a.k.a. seedlings of herbs and vegetables) might have even more nutrients than their full-grown counterparts .

How to Grow:

Start by purchasing a variety of seeds,

such as radishes, kale, Swiss chard, beets, basil, and dill. Fill a shallow tray(no more than 2 inches deep, often called “seedling trays”) or a shallow pot with a drainage hole and fill the tray to the top with potting mix. Moisten the soil with water, making sure that it’s damp but not wet. Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the soil (they should be close to each other but not touching). Sift a thin layer of soil over the top to cover the seeds. Using a spray bottle, lightly mist the soil. Place the tray on a sunny windowsill in a room that’s between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Mist or lightly water the soil daily so it remains moist; don’t let the soil dry out, but also make sure that it isn’t waterlogged. In about three to five days, the seeds will likely germinate — once they do, make sure they get 12-14 hours of light every day. Keep the soil moist at the roots, but avoid soaking the leaves.

How to Harvest:

Once the seedlings have grown to one or two inches in height (expect this to take three weeks or more) and have about two sets of leaves, they’re ready to eat! To harvest the greens, hold them at the stem and use a pair of scissors to cut off the leaves, making sure not to cut into the root (by leaving the roots intact, you ensure that your greens will yield multiple harvests). Eat the microgreens right away or store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.

5. Tomatoes

Why They’re Healthy:

Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent coronary heart disease.

How to Grow:

Start by selecting one six-inch pot (for one plant) or a larger pot (approximately 12 inches) if you’d like to grow two plants. For

a continuous supply of tomatoes, start one or two new plants from seed every two weeks. Fill the container(s) with starter potting mix and plant seeds about ¼ inch deep. Water, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Place the container in an area that receives substantial sunlight, turning the pot(s) occasionally so all sides have even access to the sun. Expect the seeds to germinate in five to 10 days. When the seedlings are about three inches tall, transplant them from the starter mix to potting soil. About two weeks after transplanting, add an organic fertilizer to the mix. Water the plants thoroughly; again, keep the soil moist but not soggy. As the plants grow larger, they may need to be staked to avoid broken stems. When plants bloom, tap the main stem and larger side branches with your finger — this will help to encourage pollination.

How to Harvest:

Tomatoes grown indoors will not grow to be as large as outdoor tomatoes, but they’ll still be full of tomatoey taste. When the fruits are red and firm, but with a slight “give” to the touch, they’re ready to eat. Either clip or gently twist and pull the fruits from their stems.

Herbs

6. Basil

Why It’s Healthy:

This flavourful herb is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the oil eugenol, which can block enzymes in the body that cause swelling .

How to Grow:

Start by purchasing seeds or a starter plant online or at a nursery or grocery store. Choose a container that’s at least four inches wide and has good drainage holes. Basil likes warm temperatures and lots of sunlight (at least six hours of direct sunlight each day). Fertilize the soil about once a month with organic or slow-release fertilizers such as compost tea. Water often— about once a day when the temperatures are really hot, or every other day in less intense conditions (If the soil is dry, water it!). Pruning will also help you maximize your basil yield: When the top leaves reach about six inches in height, start pruning them. Continue to prune as the plant gets bushier, also being sure to pinch off any flowers that appear.

How to Harvest:

Gently snip a few leaves from each plant, making sure not to remove all of the leaves from any one plant.

#Indoorgardens #AustralianAquaponics #sustainableliving #Homegardening #vegetables #organic #Hydroponics #UrbanFarming #Cleaneating #vegan #sustainability

242 views

© 2017 Urban Green Farms PTY LTD

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram