Indoor Winter Gardening

Indoor Winter Gardening

Have any of you tried indoor winter gardening?

Indoor plants will not only improve your mood during the cold winter months, but if you plant and succeed at indoor vegetable gardening – wouldn’t that be nice?

The two big issues with winter and gardening are COLD and SUNLIGHT.

We can overcome the cold weather by gardening indoors.

We cannot completely compensate for the low angle of sunlight during the winter months (and fewer hours of daylight) however we can help a little in that department…


Indoor Winter Gardening
( Sunlight )

As you might expect, having good light is crucial to success for indoor gardening.

Plants that don’t have enough light will grow ‘leggy’ (long and spindly). When a plant is deficient of light, the photosynthesis process won’t work so well – the plants won’t have enough energy to grow well.

Look for areas in your home that receive direct sunlight through windows. Southern exposure is important because it will get the most hours of sunlight.

Even with southern exposure windows, the problem is that there still may not be enough sunlight to work with (depending on what you’re trying to grow).


Indoor Winter Gardening
( Grow Lights )

You can supplement the requirement for sunlight with grow lights. And today’s LED grow light technology vastly reduces the cost of electricity to run those lights compared with the grow lights of yesteryear.

TIP: The following three products will set you up:

LED Grow Light – Full Spectrum
Clamp Light with Reflector
24-hour timer

More: LED Grow Lights For Indoor Plants


Indoor Winter Gardening
Give it a try!

Start from seed, or, at the end of the normal growing season you might choose a particularly hardy plant and move indoors.

For example you could dig up the root-soil ball of a good looking tomato plant, bring it indoors placed in a cleaned pot (with drainage). Cut back the plant some to encourage root growth. Add soil and compost as needed to fill the pot about 3/4-full with room for watering.

You might do the same with peppers too.

Some veggie plants like cool temperatures anyway, like lettuces, collards, green onions, and peas.

Consider vegetables like bunching (green) onions, herbs, kale, and beans – which grow fairly fast.

Plant Maintenance

If the plants have insect infestations like white flies, aphids, or spider mites, you can wash-spray the leaves with a mixture of slightly soapy water.

More: Homemade Recipes For Garden Pests – Organic Insecticide

During the winter, it’s often quite dry inside the home, so you may want to mist the plants every day.

Use a soil moisture meter to determine when the plants need watering.

Professional Soil Moisture Meter Tester

Attempting to successfully garden indoors during the winter will be a challenge.

If any of you have tried indoor winter gardening (especially with vegetables), let us know about your experiences and tips!


  1. I grow at least 1 tomato plant, lettuce and this year some beans. There is nothing like a fresh BLT at Christmas time! I have never tried using my grow lights but will now (duh)
    Also, not advocating this but, If you can grow a marijuana plant near your indoor veggies you will not have any bug problems.

  2. Having green and growing truly does improve mood. They improve air quality too. Having a big solarium/green house is a treat. I know its beyond what some folks can afford, myself included but is a nice project

    1. Tomas, old saying, outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man. IMHO, gardening same thing!

    2. Yes, I remember my mom used to have geraniums in some south facing windows during the winter. That smell of the plants when walking into the room was second to none when everything outside is sleeping and covered in snow.

  3. Almost always have something growing in the Windows.

    Summer it’s Herbs and Spices, Adding Veg’s in the winter, sort of feels like holding onto a little of the Summer when there is 2-3 feet of snow on the ground.
    I do find the “cold weather” crops do best, aka Swiss Chard, Spinach, even Beets do well.
    I will admit there is nada better than a Fresh Ripe tomato picked on Christmas morning.

    As mentioned I also enjoy the Plant Life in the house during Winter, just seems to warm the Home.

    Will also agree over watering can be a problem, less evaporation in the cold weather. And turn the plants once a week or two, let them work back and forth in the pots. And try to keep them well pruned, don’t let them get straggly.

    Bugs are easy to fix, Liquid Seven, Malathion, Napalm, or even a little C-4 will work just fine… NOOOO Just kidding, use a little Dawn Dish soap in a spray bottle, 1 TBS in a quart is plenty.

    Old lady;
    Would NOT suggest you grow your marijuana plant in the Window, kinda obvious to the neighbors HAHAHA
    Hence the Greenhouse in SO CO. hehehehe
    “I have smoked but I never inhaled” to quote the President, as he flat out lied to us all.

    1. NRP,
      If i gots 2-3 feet of snow on the ground here we got big problems,,,,

    2. Old man won’t let me grow it, even for the plants. Not legal here yet, which surprises me.
      WHen I was young and real dumb and married to my first old man I tried to grow it and put it in the window with the curtains in front so he wouldn’t see and turn me in. DUH good thing it didn’t work.
      Now that I am older and less dumb (I hope) I only want it for it’s magical bug repellent properties. Someday

  4. I have grown tomatoes inside with minimal success. They were spindly and didn’t produce much fruit. I will add a grow light this year and see if that helps. A friend told me about pollenating them with a small paint brush to get them to produce more fruit. I will try that as well. I have squash, cucumbers and tomatoes already growing voluntary. We are still having highs in the 80’s and lows in the 60’s. It’s supposed to cool off this week so I will dig them up and move them inside this weekend.

    1. you don’t need a paint brush. Just use your finger, then you are ready to pollinate anytime,

      1. Or just shake the blossoms. Modern tomatoes have closed flowers with the pollen on the inside, and they’re self-fertile.

  5. We have 1 pure German Shepherd and 4 German Shepherd/Mastiff mix dogs.
    Thus, we do not garden indoors- LOL

  6. We have two cats, so real plants are out for us too unless they will grow in northern kitchen window. Cats do not get on the sink, too old and fat to jump that high LOL how ever I must say the poinsettia from last Christmas is still hanging in there. It sits on the sill in the kitchen, I haven’t killed it (yet) LOL

    1. My mom raised some kittens in the house one winter because they would have died if left outside in the cold since they were pretty small. In the same room the kittens were kept my mom had a hanging plant. One day I went back to the room to feed the kittens and saw one of them about two feet off the floor literally swinging on the hanging plant. Needless to say, that hanging plant was eventually destroyed by those buggers.

  7. This is my weakest area. I kill any and all plants that come into the house. I have been reading and trying to learn. I actually was successful in sprouting a seed to about a 12″ high plant before I killed it. The fact that the weather is so wild these days with possible crop failures I feel this life skill could be the difference between life and death possibly in the future. I will continue to practice this new skill and hopefully in the future I can actually grow something from scratch.

    1. Peanut Gallery
      The wild weather is perplexing for sure,
      We have gotten rain every day the last 4-5 days, on monday afternoon it rained so hard that it flattened even the weeds growing in whats left of my garden that i gave up on after everything turned to a mildewed mess after 2 weeks or rain and muggy weather. The only things still upright were the tobacco, a few huge bunches of lemon grass and some rather impressive comfrey, even the much neglected jalapeno pepper plants were laying down,
      The muggy weather during the day, with cold early morning temps and rain is a mixture that would be hard to overcome if the garden was really needed. I suppose i could work around all of that with some covers etc, and spray more, but i got to tell ya its worrysome.

    2. Peanut Gallery;
      Ahhh come on now, it cant be that bad??? Can it?
      Here’s a hint, get a few Swiss Chard Seeds and plant em in a 12-16″ pot with Garden Soil.
      Stick then close to a window and water them ONCE for the first 2 weeks. FYI, most indoor plants die from overwatering.
      Once they sprout, water them again, than once every one-two weeks. Fertilize it once every two months.
      I have one (1) plant in a pot that’s probably 2-1/2 years old now, I just keep cutting it back eating the stalks and leaves, and it grows like crazy. It’s probably a good 3″ diameter at the base and a good 3 feet tall now.
      BTW, Singing to it helps…. hehehehehe

  8. NRP, yes I kill everything, except mold and mildew. I do tend to over water everthing. I even killed a two year old cactus that was given to me.

    1. Peanut Gallery;
      HOW in the ‘help’ can ya kill a cactus????
      Stick it a window and walk away… HAHAHAHA

        1. Peanut Gallery;
          My friend, I live in an area that gets less than 8″ of rain a year, the Cactus grow like weeds here, just the moisture in a house is enough water for them, maybe 1/2 cup of water every 3-4 months……

        2. Peanut, took a chainsaw in to be fixed, fella asks ” What’s wrong with it?”, I said,” I worked on it.”. He just stared at me for a moment and said” Most people would never have admitted to that”. Got it fixed by the next day cause they knew where the problem was.

    2. Peanut Gallery, I can help with that use ACV , spray full strength on Mold and mildew… I confess, I have also killed cactus and aloe vera…

  9. If you love tomatoes, and space is a problem, consider dwarf varieties such as Tiny Tim and Red Robin. They can be grown in small containers, and only grow to about 14 inches tall. You’ll get bunches of good tasting cherry tomatoes. You can order seeds on-line.

    1. I have several mini pepper plants planted in cloth grow bags in the window. Also some red onions. Both just sort of go dormant, hope they hang in there for the next 6 months.

      1. Old Chevy, I had some pepper plants that bore all winter in bedroom, south facing window… just have to pull them back a little- off window, when is really cold in… zone 7A.. I fertlized pretty heavy with plant starter then with blooming fertlizer for veggies… ( about every 7-10 days fertlize.. water when needed..) I had a pot with soil placed in a larger tray to catch the water…, would suck it up from bottom as needed… and tray would catch if i over did it a bit. last year was new mexico and a poblano..

  10. Over at Mother Earth News they’ve got a nice article on root cellaring and overwintering some garden crops.

  11. Thanks Anony Mee a good primer on root cellaring.

    For seed savers keeping biannual crops like beets, carrots and such keeping them in a 5 gallon bucket planted in damp sand in a non-freezing area like my garage keeps them ready for spring re-planting in cold places like NH.

    I’ve tried mulching my beets in the garden for next years seeds and simply fed the voles well.

    A friend of mine cut off his cabbage heads at harvest, left the roots and a few leaves and mulched them. He SUCCESSFULLY got them the next year to leaf out and create a seed stalk. We have hopes the seeds will produce well next spring.

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