Nifty Food & Plants To Grow Indoors {May Surprise You}

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If you don’t have any garden space or you live in a climate with a short growing season, you can still exercise your green thumb with these indoor plant ideas…a few will even produce fresh produce too! You’ll find tips for growing assorted herbs, a couple vegetables and a few neat-o plants to try your hand at. You can grow them inside year round but many will thrive outdoors during the summer months (if you have the space) but move them indoors once it gets a little chilly and before the first frost (imagine having garden fresh tomatoes over the winter!).

Never Pay For Onions Again

Fresh Onions Year Round

Enjoy Garden Fresh Onions Year Round With This Tip

Here’s a great tip from MyByrdHouse: Onion Recycling Tutorial:

I learned this tip a couple of years ago and have tried it and found that it works and is quite marvelous. I love to use fresh green onions but am always out or there is a slimy little bag of them in the bottom of the fridge.

Here is my marvelous tip for growing them yourself and recycling a bit.

The trick is to take the cut end (root side) and plant it in a pot, water well, give it some time and voila! You have fresh (and free!) onions at your disposal. This will work for a variety of different onions and the beauty of this tip is that as you use the onions, you replant the cut root ends to grow more. You can use a tub just for onions and haul it indoors during winter months (will need lots of sun) or if it’s just green onions you’re interested in growing, a large flower pot will do.

Please visit the site for complete details, great tip! (This was previously featured in 2008 on Tipnut and moved to this page for better organization).

Yes Tomatoes Can Thrive Indoors

You Don't Have To Settle For Store Bought Tomatoes Over The Winter

You Don't Have To Settle For Store Bought Tomatoes Over The Winter

We get spoiled with juicy, tasty tomatoes during gardening season, but then it gets tough to settle for store bought over the winter months. Why not try growing some indoors! Mother Earth News has a good article that’s full of tips to get you started:

Although many varieties of “compact” bush tomatoes are advertised as good for container production, they won’t perform well over a long winter. These are “determinate” varieties – plants with branches that grow to a certain length and then stop. They produce a finite number of fruits over a limited period, certainly far less time than a long stretch of northern winter.

Better options for indoor winter tomatoes are “indeterminate” varieties, those that continue growing and producing indefinitely. Furthermore, I’ve found that cherry and plum types, bearing small fruits in abundance, are more productive than large slicing types.

You’ll find all the details here: Growing Tomatoes Indoors All Through The Winter.

Bean Sprouts In A Jar

Here’s a great idea for cutting grocery costs, grow your own bean sprouts just using a jar and lid–no garden space required, you can grow these in your kitchen! Here’s a video tutorial I found that shows how easy it is:

Notes:
*Watch the video for full details

  • You can grow sprouts in your kitchen using lentils, a large jar and a lid with a screen that you can buy at a health food store. I’m sure you could also use a scrap of cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and a ring screwed on over top (or use a thick rubber band to secure the cloth).
  • Pour some of the beans into the jar (about 1/2 cup), put the lid on top then cover the lentils with water (use at least 4 times the amount of water than lentils).
  • Leave overnight to soak.
  • The next day, pour the water off and leave the jar upside down to drain all the water out.
  • Rinse the beans in the jar daily, drain very well, lay the jar on its side with the beans evenly distributed along the jar.
  • In about 4 days you’ll be able to eat them (wait until the sprout is about as long as the bean).

I didn’t realize how easy it was to grow these, and the tools and space needed are so basic that anyone can afford to grow as many sprouts as they want! (originally published here on Tipnut January 27, 2009, and moved here for better organization).

Plant From An Avocado Pit

Save The Pit From An Avocado To Grow Indoors

Save The Pit From An Avocado To Grow Indoors

Did you know that if you save the pit from an avocado, you can grow an indoor tree from it? You’ll need a pit from a very ripe avocado, wash it well to remove any traces of fruit and then allow it to dry for a few days.

After drying, the pit is suspended in a glass of water and once there is root growth of about 2″, it can be planted in a pot of soil and tended to as a houseplant. If your climate allows, you can plant this outdoors.

If you’re looking for fruit, you’ll likely be disappointed since chances are it won’t bear any but if you’re looking for something different to try, this fits the bill. It’s also a good project to get the kids interested in plant life. This is one of the first tips published on Tipnut (in 2006) and I think it’s a fun one!

See full details on this page: Tips For Growing An Avocado Tree.

Charming Kitchen Plants From The Garden

Flowers and house plants are not the only types of greenery which will enhance the appearance of the home. Vegetable arrangements are attractive and original. A vegetable plant placed on a sunny window ledge will last for months. The best way to grow vegetable plants is in water.

Appropriate for the kitchen are the old-fashioned sweet potato plant and carrot greens. Place a large sweet potato, which has already sprouted, in a glass vase so that the entire potato is covered with water except for a small area at the top. If the plant is kept in the sunlight for a short time, foliage will appear. Vines can be trained in any direction and, as the plant grows, it will become a decoration worthy of display in any room in the house.

Sweet Potato Plant & Carrot Plant

Sweet Potato Plant & Carrot Plant

Carrots, treated in the same fashion, will develop a charming lacy green foliage, and watermelon vines–the products of watermelon seeds planted in rich soil–are an attractive addition to kitchen greenery. The seeds of lemons, oranges and grapefruit also produce tiny tree-like plants.

To grow a beet plant, fill a large shallow pottery bowl with clean sand and some small rocks. Cut off half an inch or so from the bottoms of several good-size beets (so that they will sit firmly) and place them in the bowl. Remove the largest, oldest leaves. Keep the water level so that about one inch of each bulb is uncovered and set the bowl in a cool, shady place for a few days. Add water when needed.

Other vegetables which can be converted into lovely house plants are onions, carrots, kale, common garden leeks, turnips and celery.

Article Source: Woman’s Home Companion Household Book (1948)

DIY Pineapple Plant

Save The Top Of A Pineapple To Grow As A Houseplant

Save The Top Of A Pineapple To Grow As A Houseplant

Here’s a quick tip from Old-Time Tips For Flowers & Plants: Timeless Wisdom: The top of a pineapple, planted in a pint jar of water, will sprout and root, soon making an exotic and most attractive palm-like plant.

It won’t bear any fruit but it’s another interesting plant to try. I found more detailed tips from You Grow Girl here: Save Your Plant – Pineapple Top

It seems nearly mythological that anyone can grow a tropical fruit such as pineapple in his or her own home. But as long as you have a sunny window and a moderate indoor climate you can grow your own.

Don’t expect a large harvest. Each plant produces one fruit and yours will never grow to the size of a full grown Hawaiian-farmed plant, unless you do live in a tropical climate.

Herbs On Your Kitchen Counter

You'll Need A Sunny Window To Grow Herbs Indoors

You'll Need A Sunny Window To Grow Herbs Indoors

If you’d like a garden pot full of your favorite herbs to enjoy year round but aren’t sure how to get started or which herbs are a good bet to try, here’s an article from CHOW that has lots of tips to get you started: How to Grow Herbs Indoors

WHICH HERBS TO GROW

Here’s a breakdown of what to grow, for clueless gardeners to the greenest of thumbs. Or jump to an explanation of light, water, pots, soil, food, and more.

The article shares tips for growing favorites such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil (there are just over a dozen different herbs listed) along with advice for soil, lighting, feeding and more. Good reference!

Garlic Greens

containergardening.about.com

containergardening.about.com

You can use an empty coffee/tin can, a flower pot or other container. A head of garlic is split (leaving as much of the papery skin on as possible), then each clove is planted in soil.

After a few weeks, green shoots will begin to appear and you can snip these as they grow to season your dishes.

See all the details on this page: Garlic Greens In A Can.

More Ideas:

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Published: May 28, 2011
Updated: April 11, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
50 Comments to “Nifty Food & Plants To Grow Indoors {May Surprise You}”
  1. mary says:

    I love this site.Thanks sooooomuch for all your tips-if you are wondering if it is all worth it—-IT IS. I have been looking for just such a variety of information for a while but didn’t know what keyword to use and now you have put it all together for us. Again THANKS

  2. calley says:

    can you sprout sweet potatoes if they have already been peeled?

    • michael says:

      probably not.but it is interesting to grow them as decorative plants,and you may get a few small tubers. it is worth the sacrifice of a potato or two ,and the vines can be cut(called slips) and propagated by rooting.I have done this and still been able to eat the original sweet potato.

      • elsie wallace says:

        You can grow potatoes and sweet potatoes from the peels. Just be sure to have good cut pieces with the eyes in them. I have grown them in my garden like this and I am sure they would grow the same way in the house.Good luck.

      • Whitney Price says:

        Sprouting vines takes a lot of energy and nutrition from a tuber or bulb, so, although you could eat the potato, it’s probably similar to junk food at that point.

        • Kirby says:

          hello…
          Just want to share that sweet potato sprouts can be eaten as well. You could either blanch them and with a squeeze of lemon, some chopped tomatoes and onions for a quick salad; or put the leaves, together with other leafies and/or fruits, in a juice maker/blender for a refreshing drink.

  3. Debbie says:

    Here in the south the pineapple will produce a large edible fruit if summered outside and wintered inside in bright sunlight. The plants get quite large and require a good size tub.

  4. delores says:

    I HAVE NEVER GROWN BEAN SPROUTS.DO YOU EAT THE BEAN AND THE SPROUT
    OR JUST BREAK OFF THE SPROUTS? DUMBO

    • Amy Smedley says:

      Small beans are the best to sprout like alfalfa. I’ve tried to sprout mung beans and have not succeeded. Eat the whole thing after it has sprouted.

  5. Susanne says:

    You eat all of it, the beans and the sprouts.

  6. marc says:

    can you grow jumbo carrots? I realllly like them hmm hmmm

  7. Deena says:

    How much light do the onions need to grow?

    • michael says:

      I do this in the winter in Illinois,in an enclosed back porch heated between 45/60 degrees f. and bright indirect or when possible full morning sun.thay can be clipped several times throughout the winter or used whole and replant the roots maybe 2/3 times before they run out of energy and die off.

  8. maggi says:

    this was very informative. i just moved into an apartment with only east facing windows. i plan on getting a grow light and planting some good veggies. this has given me a few good ideas on where to start.
    thanks.
    mag

  9. Rebcca says:

    I lived in Hawaii for several years and learned a lot about pineapples while I was there. They will produce, but it takes 18-24 months!

    • Karina says:

      I have been patiently waiting on my pineapple, I planted it two years ago Christmas! It is huge and growing beautifully. What a great surprise if a pineapple emerges for Christmas this year.

  10. Mitch says:

    There is actually a much easier way to grow green onions that requires no soil. Simply take the root end and put it in a pot/cup of water. Change the water once a week or so and you will have a stead supply. They continue to grow from the greens. I find that they add about half an inch or a little more every day.

    • Niky says:

      Mitch, I tried growing my green onions this way and it works!!

    • Michael says:

      Without soil, however, the green onions will steadily contain less nutrients, flavor and cell stability. I use this method all the time to keep the onions fresh and get a little “extra” but if you truly want to grow them long term, you’ll need soil.

  11. donna says:

    i love this site,learn something new each week. thanks for all you do.

  12. Veronica says:

    Your blog is awesome!!! kisses from Argentina

  13. erica says:

    I plant the onion bulb portion of my green onions and then I just go out and cut off the long green “chive” portions as I need them. they continue to regrow repeatedly! I used 5 onions for almost a YEAR until they accidently had an run in w/ my son’s first time using the weed eater :(

  14. CR says:

    It is actually better to skip the water stage when you grow an avocado. Put in directly into soil. It gets better oxygen this way. I grew one in water and one in dirt. The one in water did grow but it died pretty quickly after I moved it to soil. The one in soil is still going 5 years later (only 15 more until it produces fruit-though I hear the fruit isn’t very good)

  15. Felicia says:

    Could never imagine planting tomatoes inside… the fruit flies would have a field day!

    • michael says:

      a fruit or mason jar with a little apple cider vinegar(I put a small funnel in the mouth of the jar,the flies go in and don’t come out)will help on the fruit fly problem.If you plant from seed and grow tomatoes like a house plant ,fruit flies should not be a problem,usually.

      • Kay says:

        Got to try this for the fruit flies..between canning and starting new slips the fruit flies drive us crazy..thanks for all the great idea’s

      • Sheila says:

        I use a 1/2 litre water bottle, cut the top off, flip it over (funnel) and put it into the bottom part of the bottle, put in some apple cider vinegar, some water and a squirt of dishsoap. The apple cider vinegar gets them in there, the dishsoap traps them and the water drowns them quite efficiently. Have to change it once a day or the vinegar smell fades.

      • Mindy says:

        I have done this with just a little (1/2 inch) of apple cider vinegar in a cup and then put saran wrap over the top. I poke 4 small holes in the top and it lets the flies go in but not come back out. It controls the smell of the vinegar too to have the plastic wrap on the cup. It takes a couple of days and you have to change the plastic wrap every day or so, but it works great to get rid of the fruit flies!

  16. Silvina Pángare says:

    Great ideas!!! thanks for sharing them!!

  17. Anna says:

    I have an avocado tree that my mom rooted from a seed from her tree. She did this 9 years ago. I have enjoyed beautiful fruit from this tree for the last 3 years. This season we have gotten 50 from it so far. We live in South Florida, I have 2 trees ready to plant in the ground that I started 2 years ago, and have 4 more in the window now. Hope this helps

  18. Betty says:

    I have tried this with success before. My only issue was gnats or fruit flies taking over my kitchen. Any ideas how to do this without getting the gnats in the house?? Would love to stick with this, i don’t know if it is something I am doing wrong or if it is just natural to have them take over with indoor plants??

  19. Jenny says:

    If you grow tomatoes inside….how do the flowers get pollinated to produce fruit? I don’t normally have bees or ants inside.

  20. ben says:

    im about to start growing my own garden inside 100%. ok i would like to know do a grow light makes the food grow faster? i also would like to know what are some foods that i could grow that i can make meals off of. anybody have ideas or steps. i will really appreicate your advice. do i need some special spray or, i never done this before but this is what i want to do now. help me somebody please.

  21. Sandra says:

    I tried to plant potatoes and pineapple with putting each in a water filled dish, keeping a part out.. but both became rotten after several days instead of sprouting.. any advise?

    • Margaret says:

      Pineapple cannot be rooted in water. Pineapples are very easy to grow, but one needs to know a few details to do it properly: 1. Pull off a ring or two of leaves down at the base of the top to expose the growth nodes (small light green/yellow nodules visible after removing the leaves) and trim off excess flesh leaving only about a 1 inch thick disk. Extra flesh can aid in rotting if there is too much watering happening. 2. Plant in good soil, just covering those growth nodes. 3. Keep soil very lightly moist and in some sun.
      It won’t take long at all to grow roots, once it is established (1-2 months) you can transplant to a larger pot. IT IS UNLIKELY TO BEAR FRUIT only because pineapples REQUIRE 9 months of full strong sun in order to develop. That’s why Hawaii does the best job because they are the closest to the Equator. But they make beautiful decorative houseplants and to keep them in optimal health, I usually set them outside in summertime.

      • Kathy says:

        I rooted a pineapple inside, I did it just like an avocado, I peeled all the fruit off from around the greenery stuck 4 toothpicks in the sides and put just the bottom part in water, the tooth picks keep the top above the water line.
        Also when you get your pineapples from the store make sure the center part of the green leaves is still there! Some farmers pull the center part out so you cant re grow them. They wont grow without this center.

    • amber says:

      Actually pineapple can root in water because I have 3 in water now that actually need to be potted…. Anyways you can actually take the top of the pineapple and the bottom, twist them opposite directions. It should come off with not to much effort. Then start peeling the leaves from the bottom. You will start to see the roots already growing after a few layers. After there is a decent amount just put it in water. It will start rooting in about a week.

  22. Mary says:

    What a great site. Got my grow light and my bulbs. Got my romains and celery ends growing. Getting ready to put them in soil. My family was amazed you could do this. I am making my health garden. Spinach, lettuce, carrots carrots, tomatoes, little ones like sweet 100, and a pepper plant. Also celery. I did slot of research before I started. I am so excited. I have gardened outside for many years. This however is new to me. Any suggestions on what else I could grow is welcome. Space is limited. What one can grow from what I can tell is limited only bry enough space and light.

  23. Sally says:

    I love sprouting beans at home, but it must be done properly. First, some sprouts, including red kidney beans, are toxic. It’s also best to cook the sprouts since the same environment that makes beans or lentils sprout allows bacterial growth. Doctors call the illness from bacteria on sprouts “sproutbreaks.” I love eating the sprouts, but it’s important to sprout safely!

    • Joan Smith says:

      I mix a little powdered vitamin C in a cup or so of water and use that to rinse my sprouts each day to inhibit bacterial growth. So far, so good. I also use a doubled square of cheese cloth held on by a canning ring on a quart jar, works very well on my favorite sprout mix, alfalfa, radish and fenugreek, from the health food store. Yummy in salads and smoothies!

  24. Amy Smedley says:

    The flesh of the pineapple has to be cut away leaving the core (center) only with the top. I’ve had a great time cutting sweet potatoes in half (making sure there are eyes), scooping out a 2″ hole in the cut end, then hanging them with the scooped side up , filling the scooped cup with water every few days. Lavish vines grow from these potatoes. If I want potatoes to grow I have to put the cut eyes into the ground.

  25. Renee says:

    Placing an apple in the pot with a pineapple plant will stimulate the pineapple to produce fruit. Place an apple in the pot with the pineapple then place a large plastic bag over the pot . The apple produces ethylene gas which causes the pineapple to produce fruit.

    • Terri says:

      i am so amazed with all of this…i am going to try the pineapple and apple plant….i live in Kentucky so we’ll see what happens…

  26. Margaret says:

    The ethylene gas is an actual fact, it is used to trigger bromeliads to bloom (a lemon is allowed to decompose inside the leaf cup). But it is highly unlikely that one will get fruit unless you live in Hawaii! I am a Master Gardener and have grown many pineapples in my lifetime and upon frustration with no fruit, I did the research.

    • Mary says:

      I have grown pinepples from the tops for a long time. It does take about 2 years for the plant to fruit. I live in south Florida and my plants are on the east side of the house so they only get the morning sun.

  27. Debbie says:

    I planted a pineapple top about 2 years ago. First try and it produced fruit last summer! I live in Florida maybe that helped. Warm humid weather conditions. I am going to try the apple trick this year with it.

  28. kevin says:

    Don’t understand, I cut the tops from several pineapples, grew them, and produced two pineapples, only four inch diameter and six inches tall, but that was in Maryland !!! I had the plants at my work office and I would move them to the sidewalk everyday for the sun. Now I have moved to Texas and brought them with me. Now both plants have new plants off the side of the original, two plants on the side of one, three new plants around the second one, and once again a flower shaft has sprounted in the center of one. Pineapple on the way!!! One last note, the new pineapple, when it grows, even though it is smaller, it is so much sweeter than the original.

  29. Carrol says:

    I have grown Pineapples by just putting the tops in the garden, not even digging them in. Eighteen months later I am able to harvest. Even Avocado seeds, place four toothpicks midway round the seed, and sit in water. A few weeks later, roots will appear. I let it grow till it is about two feet high and then pot. Have done this twice very successfully.


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