With fall’s crisp temperatures soon turning to winter’s frost, your summer garden has certainly seen sunnier days. Just because the warm weather harvest has come to an end doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fresh veggies in the coming cold season! Cultivate your indoor kitchen garden to bring summer back to your salad this winter.
Start with a sunny spot.
Kitchen box window? Skylight? Sunroom? Natural light is key to your success, so the brighter, the better. Some experts say a south-facing window is best for most exposure, but any space that receives a sufficient amount of sun throughout the day is ideal. Need more sunshine in your (plant) life? Add artificial grow lights to keep your plants happy—fluorescent grow lights are a popular household choice.
Pick your (non-poisonous) plants.
Ready to recreate your favorite recipes with fresh produce from the comfort of your own kitchen? There are many vegetables, fruits, and herbs that can successfully be grown indoors, but it’s essential to do your research first, because planning an indoor garden means keeping pets safe, too. Many plants and herbs that are innocuous for people can create toxic reactions in animals. If you have curious cats, keep aloe, chives, and laurel out of reach. To deter daring dogs, eliminate their access to homegrown garlic, lemongrass, and tomato plants (the leaves and stems are surprisingly toxic, but not the tomato itself).
Find the right growing home.
When choosing a planter for your produce, there are a number of factors to consider. First, give your greens room to grow with enough vertical space for roots to take hold below. Also, some varieties grow well in each other’s presence—like spinach, cabbage, and strawberries—so opt for a larger planter to contain them together. Finally, to save your plants from overwatering or accidental rot, choose a planter with a drainage plug so water doesn’t sit around and sink your best potted plans. Pro tip: let the potting soil dry out a little bit between watering for optimal growing results.