Urban farming: Grow your own food on your windowsill

Did you know that you don't need a plot of land to grow your own edible plants? With just a little bit of desire and patience, you can grow your own vegetables on your windowsill! 
In this article, you'll learn how to get a harvest without leaving your house, which is also perfect for those who want fresh vegetables during the fall and winter, during the dormant period.

Every year more and more people try to grow vegetables, berries and herbs at home and it is quite realistic.
At first glance, it may seem that the list of plants that can be grown indoors is very limited. However, this is not the case. The list of plants that thrive in containers is quite extensive. Here are some of them:
  • dill,
  • parsley,
  • arugula,
  • garlic,
  • scallion,
  • watercress,
  • leaf lettuce,
  • spinach,
  • basil,
  • rosemary,
  • mint,
  • thyme,
  • tomatoes,
  • cucumbers,
  • peppers,
  • eggplant,
  • strawberries, and more. 
But if you want, you can try to grow any crop at all. The key is space, fertile soil, a large container and a love of growing. 

How to choose a variety to grow in a container at home

Unfortunately, not all varieties can be grown in your home. When selecting seeds for indoor gardening, it's important to look for varieties that are specifically made by the producer as suitable for indoor growing. This will ensure that you have the best chance of success and a healthy harvest. However, if you cannot find such varieties and hybrids, here is what you need to consider for choosing seeds to grow:
  • Plant size. Pay attention to varieties that are as compact as possible, or preferably dwarf varieties. Small plants will not take up too much room space and they have a small root system so this will make it easier to choose a container and reduce the amount of soil used.
  • Self-pollinated varieties and hybrids. Bees are necessary for most plants to set fruit: they carry pollen from one flower to another and thus the plant is pollinated. In the indoor conditions there's nowhere for the bees to come from, so it is important to choose self-pollinated varieties and hybrids.
  • Fruit size. Not only the size of the bush, but also the size of the fruit plays an important role in home gardening. The smaller they are, the less effort it will take for the plant to grow and mature. It is also more likely that your plant will not need extra support and will not break under its own weight.
Note: This point applies primarily to cucumbers, since tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are originally self-pollinated plants.

What you can't do without when growing plants indoors


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Pots and containers of different sizes

From small to large to grow from seedlings to adult, fruiting plants.Although everything is clear with the seedling containers, containers for adult crops can vary. And the size of the container depends directly on the size of your plant's root system.
Also, don't forget about drainage holes, as stagnant water in the soil can lead to diseases and sometimes death of your crops.

Quality soil

We do not recommend taking soil from the outdoors. There are two main reasons why you should avoid using outdoor soil for indoor gardening.
Firstly, you cannot be sure of the soil's composition, quality, or what microelements it contains that your plant may need or that may harm its health.
Secondly, outdoor soil can contain pests that are difficult to get rid of, especially in indoor conditions where most insecticides are not recommended to use and can be harmful to your health.
But if you do decide to use outdoor soil, you need to make it as safe as possible. For example, you can sterilize soil in your oven at a temperature of 200°F.
The composition of the growing medium can vary. When buying soil, first of all, pay attention to the pH, because each plant needs its own specific pH level. But if you are not yet an experienced grower, it is better to give preference to a neutral pH, that is, around 7.
If you decide to make the soil yourself, then mix in equal proportions of garden soil, compost, coarse sand, and vermiculite or perlite.


Under container conditions, plants can only rely on the elements that are in the soil in their pot. But even the richest soil can't provide a plant with nutrients for the entire growth period. If you decide to make your own growing medium, you will need to pay attention to the additives you use from the very beginning.
As a rule, the plant needs the most nitrogen at the beginning of growth, and phosphorus and potassium during flowering and fruiting stage.

Additional lighting

This is not a must-have item if you grow your plants in a bright room and during the summer. But to make sure your plants are growing in enough light, be sure to use the Light Meter feature. But if there is still not enough light, you will have to resort to additional, artificial light to make sure your plants feel good and don't die.

Stakes and supports

These items are necessary for plants that need extra support.

How to plant seeds

Plant life begins primarily with seedlings. Initially plant the seeds in small containers and transplant them into larger ones as the root system grows. This way, you'll have better control of your plant in its early stages of development. You are less likely to make mistakes with watering or fertilizing. And to make sure you don't get the watering wrong, use the Watering Calculator.
Over time, strong seedlings can safely be planted in a large permanent container.
Note: However, you don't have to plant seedlings at all if you are growing herbs or greens. They grow great right away in big containers.

To do this, place drainage at the bottom of the selected container and pour the prepared soil to the top of the container. Water the soil abundantly and let the water soak in. Make a notch for the size of your seedlings, place the sprout in the soil and bury until the first true leaves. Top up with the required amount of soil and water the soil again. Place the container in a permanent bright and warm place.

How to choose a spot to put plants

For an indoor vegetable garden, a spot with bright, indirect sunlight is perfect. Note that there needs to be plenty of light and the daylight hours have to be at least 8 hours. If natural light is not enough, you need to buy additional lighting. 
If you're growing plants without phytolamps, it's natural for them to lean towards the light source, which is the window. To prevent this from happening, make sure to rotate the pots at least once a day, or even several times a day, to keep the plants growing straight. To make sure your plants have enough light, use Light Meter.
The temperature and humidity need to be high. Humidity is desirable around 60% and the temperature is 74°F (23°C). But high humidity is unpleasant for humans to live in, so you can at least spray your plants regularly or use a humidifier.

If you're unable to maintain a vegetable garden, don't worry! You can still meet your growing needs at home. 
Growing your own crops is an exciting process and you can even involve your children, who will love growing and then eating the fruits and vegetables they've grown themselves. 
If you have decided to undertake this experiment, we sincerely wish you good luck and believe that you will definitely succeed!