For years, I had lived in tiny studios and struggled to keep my plants thriving. So I was overjoyed when our first sunflowers grew at the same time our first baby was born. Lo and behold! It seemed I could actually keep things alive. Just in time for parenthood.
Fast-forward 14 years, and we now have an urban homestead with plants thriving both indoors and outdoors. (The kids have survived too; thanks for asking.)
Through trial and error, I’ve learned that it doesn’t require a lot of space to grow food at home, just a sunny spot. If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor garden space, the indoors can become a greenhouse to nurture vegetables before planting them outside.
Here are some easy ways you too can grow food indoors.
Microgreens are a great way to start growing fast, nutritious and fresh food at home that will be ready to harvest in as few as 10 to 15 days. These tiny, immature plants harvested shortly after germination are often seen on the menus of gourmet restaurants and in specialty grocery stores.
Microgreens come in a range of colours and flavours, from peppery and spicy like radish and mustard to relatively sweet like cabbage and kale. Their shades of white, pink, red, purple and green make them beautiful to grow. The best part? They’re packed with nutrients. Researchers at the University of Maryland in the US discovered that microgreens have four to 40 times more concentrated nutrients than when they mature.
The best way to grow microgreens is in a sunny spot like a north-facing windowsill. Start with about 2.5 centimetres of moist soil, and then sprinkle the seeds on the surface, lightly pat to seat them, and keep them moist until they’re ready to harvest in about a week (depending on the variety). Since they are not fully mature vegetables, they are ready to harvest sooner and don’t require deep soil.
Microgreens take up very little space (only the footprint of their seeds), so a sizable harvest can be grown in a tiny container. Here, microgreens are grown in a special under-bench garden with a full-spectrum grow light, a great idea for homes that may not have a sunny windowsill.