Over the years we have grown a lot of plants indoors at a window: Microgreens, herbs, Aloe Vera, strawberries, lettuce, winter greens like kale, root vegetables like carrots, winter vegetables like broccoli, summer vegetables like tomatoes and even watermelons. We also grow Mayer lemons and give our fig tree an early start at the same windows.
I’m sure more plants can be grown, but here we share those we have had experience with. You can add to that list of what to grow in an indoor edible window garden whatever you like.
Microgreens are little plants that just have started growing. They do not require much space or light; nevertheless, they are very nutritious and delicious. You can go big or keep it small with just some sunflowers or pea sprouts. If grown in an ornamental pot, they also can look good. Microgreens are a great plant to start with if you have very limited space and less than optimal lighting at your windows.
Microgreens do not need good soil. If you have some potting soil left over, no good for anything else, screen it so it is light to work with and grow some microgreens. You will harvest the plants before they will need any nutrition from the soil. Plus you just need about one inch of soil to grow microgreens.
Sunflowers and peas are the most common microgreens. But there are also microgreens mixtures with all kinds of greens that are good and easy to grow.
Plant seeds as dense as you can and cover them. It is good to weight the seeds down for a few days. I have two pots that I stack one on top of the other. This way the seeds are weighed down. After 3-4 days they will sprout and will need some light to grow. In 10 – 14 days they are mature to be enjoyed. Learn more about growing microgreens and baby salad greens here.
To grow a herb garden right in your kitchen window is so fun and rewarding. I have grown rosemary, cilantro, basil, parsley, dill, celery, stevia, and thyme. I am sure this list is not exhaustive. Try what you like, and it just might be a great herb to grow indoors. Herbs look great on a kitchen window and smell good, too.
Basil is a great herb to grow from cuttings. Just take a cutting to multiply a plant in the fall for a winter indoor plant and the spring again for a summer garden. Whenever a plant gets leggy or old just cut a new cutting and you will have a beautiful plant throughout the year. Learn more about growing basil indoors here.
Also, if you have celery, don’t throw away the root end; place it in water and let it grow into a new plant. It will become the most beautiful green plant in your kitchen window.
Plant some onions and garlic for indoor greens. They might not produce a bulb but will provide you with fresh greens for months.
This is also true for scallions bought from a store. If you place them in water, or better, plant them in some good potting soil, they will grow.
Aloe Vera grows well indoors in pots with good drainage. A sunny window is great; you will not need additional grow lights since the plant can have partial shade.
Just like in its natural environment, Aloe Vera does not like it wet. Water it well (soaking) about once a month, more in the summer or if the location is very warm. Let the soil dry out between waterings.
We use Aloe Vera for all kinds of skin and health problems, or just as a refreshing Aloe Vera – Orange drink. For use, always cut the lowest leaf. It is okay to cut as much as you need at the time until the whole leaf is used up. If the lowest leaf is not big and healthy, remove it and start using the next lowest healthy leaf. After a while, when the stem gets so long that the plant starts to fall over, it needs a transplant. See how to do it here.
Lettuce is one of the plants we grow the most. We just love our daily freshly-harvested salad. It is quite easy to grow lettuce and here is more information on how.
You can grow a lettuce head for each day or harvest the bigger leaves continually. This way you will need fewer plants, to have the needed greens for each day.
Besides all the health benefits of growing your lettuce, there is also a huge satisfaction. Imagine in a snowstorm or during a heatwave still to be able to harvest your fresh lettuce.
Kale, spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard, arugula… can all be grown indoors all winter long. They are not fussy about light or temperature. If your window garden room is more on the cooler side, grow these winter greens. They are great for morning smoothies and salads.
Strawberries are great for indoor growing. They do not mind a small pot and do not need pollination. The only caution is not to bring in any disease or bugs with them (We have done that). So we have since given up on growing strawberries indoors.
Carrots, radishes, green onions, and garlic greens are also great for indoor growing.
Plant some carrots in late winter so that you can bring them out in early spring when it is still cool outside. It will make them sweeter and ready to harvest in early summer.
Broccoli and broccoli rabe, kohlrabi and even cabbage can also be grown indoors but will take longer. I’m trying to grow peas indoors for the first time. I’m not sure yet how they will do. Theoretically, they should do well, too. It is always worth trying something new.
Go big or go home, eh? Yes, you can grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. indoors. A nice sunny kitchen window could already host one plant. To grow summer crops and also get some fruit out of it, you will need a constantly warm house and lots of natural light.
During the winter months, you might want to supplement the natural light with grow lights. Don’t expect too much from your summer crops in the middle of winter. However, even if you just keep them alive to get some more cuttings once the days get longer and warmer, it is still worth it. It will give you an early start in spring.
We grow tomatoes at our big windows all summer long. They do very well there. In the winter we just keep some plants alive to have an early start on them. See also how to grow tomatoes indoors.
Pepper plants are very sensitive to bugs. We do not grow them in winter but do start them hydroponically in early spring so that we can move them outdoors in the summer.
To grow cucumbers indoors, you will need greenhouse varieties that do not need pollination. Look for seeds with all-female flowers for greenhouse growing. Also, cucumbers grow at night; they need temperatures that do not go lower than 50F at any time.
We have even grown a watermelon indoors and harvested one. However, watermelons do better outdoors in the sunshine, plus we are not as good as bees to pollinate the plants. But eh, indoor gardening is also about fun.
We would love to hear what you have been growing in an indoor edible window garden.