Growing vegetables indoors cheaply
It’s always a good time of year to start growing vegetables indoors. However, summer and fall are the best times to start growing vegetables indoors cheaply. Why?
Cheap vegetable seeds
In the late summer and fall, many stores put their remaining seeds on sale. Sometimes the sale price can be up to 75% off the retail price. Don’t ever afraid of “old”. Many seeds are good for years. The only problem with older seeds could be a reduction in the number of seeds that will grow plants. I.E. if your seeds are older you may want to put a few seeds in each hole in case some seeds don’t germinate. If the seed does germinate the plant will grow as normal.
A typical number of years seeds are good for if stored correctly, that will vary depending on the type of seeds but many will last for 3 or more years. For a list of seed types and years that they remain good check a good list at Iowa State University
For a good, quick way to tell if your seeds are good:
- Put seeds in a glass of water
- Wait about 15 minutes
- The seeds that sink will most likely be good to plant and sprout
- The seeds that float most likely are not good so don’t bother planting
Cheap vegetable plants
Many big box stores and garden shops are looking to clear out leftover vegetable plants. In mid-summer store reduce plant with big discounts.
These leftover plants may not be good for outdoor gardening but they are perfect for indoor gardening. Most vegetables have a limited time to be planted outdoors because the climate is not right. It may be too hot for young plants, there may not be enough time left to grow out the vegetables before it turns cold, etc.
When you are growing vegetables indoors you can control the climate. Most people keep their homes within a good temperature range for vegetables. You can put vegetables like lettuces in a cooler corner, vegetables like peppers in the sunniest hot window, etc.
For some tips setting up an indoor garden please read here “Setting up an indoor garden”
Soil for growing vegetables indoors
Garden shops don’t typically put soil on sale. Stores like Walmart, Target, Dollar General, and others with Seasonal sections do often put soil on sale. Keep your eye out for sales.
If you want to know more about how to pick the best soil read Organic vs nonOrganic soil.
Containers for indoor vegetable gardens
Many stores put their containers and pots on sale in the summer and fall.
A great place to find a nice pot for free is on Craig’s list or Facebook. Many garden shops and gardeners will clear out pots that they used for their spring plants. Often you can find these for free.
Many times the pots that were used to sell the plants are no longer needed after the original plant is put in the garden. Don’t overlook these pots! They are typically 6″ or 8″ pots and will be just what you need for growing vegetables indoors cheaply!
Using recycled plastic containers is a great way to grow your indoor garden.
If you buy greens in plastic rectangle containers or tomatoes in the round plastic containers, you have containers to grow your indoor vegetables.
These containers are perfect for all kinds of greens and herbs. The containers usually have small holes that will work as drain holes. You can use the lids as a saucer.
It is also a good way to help you decide what to grow. If you find that you have a number of spinach containers then spinach would be a great choice for your indoor vegetable garden.
Starting plants from cuttings
There are a number of plants that you can continue to grow indoors using cuttings from your outdoor garden.
You can grow new herb plants by taking a cutting from a healthy outdoor plant. Put the cutting in water until you see roots growing. This can take up to two weeks.
Once the roots get to be about 2″ long, plant your cuttings in a container with good potting soil. You will have a nice new herb plant that you can enjoy long after the outdoor plants die off.
You can root tomatoes the same way. Take a cutting from your favorite tomato plant before the outdoor season ends. Root the cutting in water then plant in a container that is at least 3 gallons. You will have fresh tomatoes all winter long!
For more about growing tomatoes from cutting read here
There are also many vegetables you can grow from scraps
You can grow green onions, celery, lots of greens and most herbs can be grown. Garlic and ginger are also easy to grow from leftover supermarket scraps