Grow Peanuts, Cucumbers, Eggplants and More-Indoors!
Space in the urban garden is usually quite limited, but don't despair. You can harvest a bounty of veggies and even some fruits
Living in the city often makes having a regular garden next to impossible, but with a warm, sunnywindow and the right varieties, some fruits and vegetables can be successfully grown indoors. The results won’t be as spectacular as they would be if grown outdoors in a traditional garden, but it is possible. Here’s a guide to help in choosing the right types and caring for them.
Several vegetables will tolerate being grown indoors. Choose compact “bush” varieties whenever possible and make sure they get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Once plants set fruit it’s critical to water regular and evenly. Overwatering can cause cracking while underwatering can cause them to shrivel. Warmth is also essential-keep plants away fro cold, drafty areas.
Eggplant- These elegant purple fruits do well in containers. The plants grow to about a foot in height and will need to be staked. Mist regularly and pinch back if the plant exceeds the 1 foot mark. Whitefly can be a problem. To treat, use a sticky trap. Do NOT spray with pesticide unless the label specifically says it is formulated for food crops, and even then use sparingly.
Like Eggplants, this plant will need to be staked. Choose a “bush” variety like Fembaby and keep soil moist. Cucumbers are very thirsty plants and must be watered regularly to avoid misshapen fruits. The vines, which grow to about 3 feet in length, can be trained around supports.
Tomatoes- Only the tiny cherry sized varieties can be grown successfully indoors, but they can be just as flavorful as their big brothers. A warm and very sunny windowsill is essential. Grow in pots or as a hanging plant. Keep moist and fertilize regularly. Pollination may need to be assisted by gently tapping the stems once the plant blooms. Try dwarf varieties like Tiny Tim and Tumbler.
Strawberries- Strawberries can do quite well in pots or other containers. Try the Alpine Strawberry variety for best results. The berries will appear about 5 months after the seeds germinate. Like vegetables, plenty of sun is needed.
Kumquat- This is about the only citrus fruit that can adapt to indoor growing. The fruits will be small-about an inch or 2 around, but very edible. As a bonus the flowers will add a sweet scent to the air all summer. Keep warm.
Peanuts- Kids will have fun planting unshelled and unroasted peanuts and watching them sprout into a plant that drives its fruits into the soil. Warmth is critical to the success of this crop.
With a little care and patience, a bounty of produce can be harvested from any warm, sunny windowsill.