Starting Your Indoor Garden: The 10 Best Edible Plants to Grow in Your Kitchen
Spring is officially here and April is one of the best months to start planting your garden. Even if you’re not the outdoorsy type, there are plenty of plants you can grow indoors right in your kitchen! Edible plants have the bonus of bringing fresh, organic produce into your cooking regimen without having to go to the farmers market. From herbs to vegetables, here are the best indoor plants that can spruce up your kitchen and your home-cooked meals.
This herb is a great kitchen plant because it thrives in humid conditions and your cooking area naturally tends to be a bit moist. Parsley is a great addition to soups, sauces, and salads. It grows well with many of the other herbs listed in this article so it’s possible to plant an entire herb garden in one planter for easy maintenance. This plant grows best with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day but if your kitchen doesn’t allow for that, using fluorescent lighting as a substitute also works.
Aside from needing a lot of sunlight every day, mint is pretty easy to grow. Depending on your windows and the room’s exposure to the sun, you may need some artificial light to keep the plant healthy. It’s hard to over or under-water mint. Often it’s recommended to grow mint indoors as the plant is quite prolific and grows quickly, taking over the rest of the garden. By growing indoors, you have access to this herb indoors year-round and have a constant supply of fresh mint for your tea or mojitos.
Chives are another great kitchen plant that like mint need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day or supplemented with fluorescent lights. As far as cooking goes, chives make awesome additions to potatoes, seafood dishes, and omelets!
4. Aloe Vera
The gel made from aloe vera is famous for soothing burns but did you know that it’s also an edible plant? Meat and juice from the aloe plant contain antioxidants and are full of vitamins and minerals. Aloe vera juice is naturally bitter but it’s a great addition to your favorite smoothie. If aloe vera is one of your house plants of choice, you’ll want to grow it in bright, indirect sunlight and water it about every two weeks.
Basil is another wonderful herb to grow indoors, especially if you’re a fan of pesto sauce and want to try your hand at making your own! This herb also loves warm sunlight so if you have a southern facing window, set your basil plant up there. Be sure to trim away overgrown leaves so your basil has plenty of room for healthy growth.
As another classic herb, rosemary is grown easily in your kitchen. Like basil, it does best by a southern facing window. When you’re ready to harvest some rosemary to spruce up your favorite dish, try to only cut the top two inches of the stem off. Leave six inches of stem behind so the plant can keep growing big and strong.
If you’re new to indoor edible plants, oregano is a great place to start because it’s relatively low maintenance and yields well. It’s most delicious in Italian dishes and loves bright light, so make space on your windowsill for it or invest in some grow lights if you haven’t already.
Some lettuces are actually better suited to be houseplants than grown outdoors; Green Oak Leaf, Red Oak Leaf, and Baby Leaf lettuce in particular are known to thrive inside. Your lettuce of choice will require at least six hours of sunlight per day but he careful; the plant can can burn so do not leave them in the hot summer sun, even if they’re indoors. Lettuce prefers cooler temperatures, too––around 55-65 degrees fahrenheit––and can become bitter if grown in a warm environment. The best thing about lettuce is that you can harvest it whenever you’re satisfied with the size of the leaves for your next salad; just be sure to leave the inner leaves to promote further growth.
Radishes are a more advanced plant but can still make a great addition to your kitchen garden. In order to produce high quality radishes, it’s best to keep them in a darker corner of your kitchen. This plant also likes cooler temperatures and its growth will start slowing down if left in 70 degree or warmer weather for too long. Radishes grow fast so make sure you harvest them when you see a wide dome above the root. They’re great in a slaw or salad with your home-grown lettuce!
Consider making potatoes your new favorite kitchen plant. Make sure you have a deep container, at least two gallons in size, to plant in; these plants grow to be pretty big. You will also need a well-draining container and since it’s so large, it’s probably best to put the potatoes under grow lights for 10 hours rather than try to squeeze them on your window sill. Potatoes are rather undemanding in their care needs, only needing to be watered and fertilized occasionally to grow and flourish.
Adding plants to your kitchen is a great touch especially if they’re growing fresh ingredients you can include in your cooking without even going to the store. You only have so much space for plants, especially if they need a lot of light, and the design team at Kitchens by Oaks would be happy to help any aspiring indoor gardener create the best kitchen, not only for your family, but for your new plants. Contact us for a consultation today!
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