Growing leafy edibles indoors can help promote healthier eating habits. You’ll be amazed how quickly you start planning meals around what you cultivate. If you have space for an indoor vegetable garden, lettuce, microgreens and mushrooms are good options for beginners.
Indoor gardens can be pricey to set up—particularly if you want to install a hydroponic system. But according to Nicole Spring, founder of Veg in YEG and a community garden manager, if you continually grow your favourite greens at home, the cost balances out in about a year. And there’s also an instant payout: the pleasure of nurturing plants.
“To get started, choose something you love eating that doesn’t take long to produce,” Spring says. Microgreens are an easy, cheap and space-saving option. Grow them in glass jars by a window or in larger trays under grow lights.
You’ll quickly have a crop of nutrient-dense sandwich- and salad-savers. Vertical gardens have also grown in popularity. Spring says she’s had success with greens like kale, bok choy and lettuce. Self-pollinators such as snap peas and jalapeno peppers also do well: “A little shake now and then helps them pollinate, then they just need light, nutrients and the flow of water.”
3 IDEAS FOR INDOOR GARDENERS
1. Growing vegetables indoors can be a big commitment. Start small with a few jars of microgreens, then decide if you want to scale up.
2. Mushrooms are another low-maintenance option for beginners. Cultivation kits typically have everything you need—including a growing medium and spores from which your fave fungi bloom—and require little more than a misting of water a few times daily.
3. It’s possible to DIY a hydroponic system with some common tools, engineering savvy and instructions sourced online. Just be sure you build it in a waterproofed space where the sound of pumps and trickling water won’t disturb anyone.
Find AMA’s Good to Grow community on Facebook to connect with Albertans and share tips for growing plants at home