Winter months can transform a lush and colorful landscape into a blank canvas complete with brown grass, dried shrubs, bare trees, and white snow. While the trees will eventually bare their leaves, flowers will bud and bloom, and the grass and shrubbery will return the stark and barren winter environment is a tough pill to swallow. A great remedy to brighten your home and bolster your health is to create an indoor edible garden.
Feed your body, mind, and soul with brilliantly colored flowers, aromatic herbs, and sweet and savory fruits and vegetables from your own indoor garden!
Hibiscus is an elegant flower with a sweet, tart, and pungent flavor reminiscent of cranberry. The popularity of this edible flower has brought it to health food store shelves, generally dried or dehydrated, at a high price. Yet, hibiscus is an incredibly easy plant to grow indoors that not only offers a culinary delight but is also a colorful and exotic addition to your home.
Plant your hibiscus with a slow-release fertilizer in a wide-mouthed pot with good drainage. Keep in mind that the hibiscus plant is tropical, so it will require at least two to three hours of sunlight every day. The most important aspect of a healthy hibiscus plant is proper watering. The high humidity environment of the tropics lends to a natural state of moistness without water logging the soil. Therefore, make sure to give your flower enough water to keep the soil moist, but not completely wet.
The powerful medicinal benefits of hibiscus stem from the calyx, the flower structure that supports the bud. When taken as a supplement, infusion, or imbibed via tea or beverage hibiscus is used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, infections, constipation, and inflammation, and has links to heart health.
While hibiscus is a popular tea, it can also be used in plant-based meals and beverage recipes such as Hibiscus Tacos de Jamaica, Hibiscus and Rose Cordial, Hibiscus-Cherry Cooler, 3-Ingredient Mango Hibiscus Popsicles, or Boozy Watermelon Hibiscus Refresher.
Lavender is one of the most popular aromatics in the world. Lavender plants can grow outdoors and indoors. They have a sweet odor and have soft silvery green leaves and lilac buds. The lavender plant is beautiful and tranquil.
Growing lavender is an easy task and can be done from seed or cutting. Choose a planter that has good drainage, a wide rim, and preferably one without an attached saucer. Lavender enjoys desert environments, therefore use a sandy, alkaline soil to replicate the earth it loves. If you’re planting from a seed, select a sand-based soil, place your seed on top, and then cover with a light layer of perlite. If you already have a lavender plant in your garden, you can grow from a cutting. Make sure to cut beneath the connection of stem and leaf. It’s recommended to dip the cutting in a root hormone for best results before planting the cutting in sandy soil.
Lavender is used in teas, dressings, and sauces and is also rich in essential oils, which are a popular form of alternative healing. When used topically or in teas, lavender is a vigorous stress and anxiety reducer. This is due to its antioxidant components helping to lower levels of stress hormones. Lavender also aids those with sleep issues, is an anti-inflammatory, helps to treat infections, digestive issues, and even protects the heart.
Due to its sweet and savory flavor, lavender is a popular ingredient in desserts. Try including your indoor lavender in a few of these tasty recipes: Fig Curd Tarts With Lavender and Chamomile Cream, Banana Chocolate Lavender Bars, Lemon Lavender Pound Cake, Meyer Lemon Coconut Cream Tarts With Mint and Lavender, Lavender and Apricot Earl Grey Cake, Lavender and Lemon Sorbet, or Maple and Lavender Cashew Ice Cream.
Chives are unique and delicious herbs closely related to garlic, shallot, leek, and scallion. While the entire chive plant can be harvested, the deep green sprigs that grow above the soil are popularly for culinary uses.
First, select the variety of chive you’d like to grow. There are common chives, which offer an onion flavor, or garlic chives, which have a slight garlicky taste.
Chives are great winter plants! They flourish with partial sunlight and can handle cooler temperatures, making these a great option for one of the cooler rooms or windowsills. With that said, chives need at least four to six hours of sunlight a day and therefore grow lamps may help with indoor survival. Use a nutrient-rich soil in a pot that is at least six inches deep. Since chives grow directly below the surface, make sure to plant your seed directly below the topsoil.
Chives are chock-full of nutrients and offer natural remedies for nasal congestion, upset stomach and gas, digestive issues, and anemia, along with other health benefits including improved heart health and bone strength.
Thyme is an essential aromatic herb in any kitchen pantry. Its powerful earthy spice enlivens dull dishes and can invigorate frozen meals. Thyme’s leaves are a greenish blue that is offset by red hues in its stem. This is a great herb that can fit any interior décor.
Thyme is one of the easiest herbs to grow and care for. Three of the most important necessities are sunshine, nutrient-rich soil, and a self-draining planter. It’s recommended to use a clay planter with a large drainage hole, which allows the soil to dry between watering. You can buy pre-mixed soil garden supply stores such as Home Depot and Amazon, or you can create your own by mixing “sand, potting soil, peat moss, and perlite.” Place your thyme in a semi-sunny spot in your home. Thyme benefits from indirect sunlight, so windowsills, sun-filled rooms, or your kitchen counter work great.
Thyme is rich with “volatile oils, minerals, beneficial phenols, and flavonoids.” It has antioxidant properties, can relieve digestion issues, has been seen to reduce acne and possibly lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and is used as a natural cough remedy.
When your Thyme plant has sprouted a sufficient amount of new growth, begin harvesting. Try using fresh time in these vegan-friendly recipes: Healthy and Satisfying Quinoa Vegetable Soup With Microgreens, Fettuccini With Oyster Mushrooms and Thyme, Chocolate Almond and Thyme Tarts, or Luxurious Lemon and Thyme Cream Tartlets.
These beloved fruits are a great option to grow indoors during the long winter months. Avocado prices in the grocery store can skyrocket as temperatures drop between November and April. Growing your own avocados indoors can save money, provide higher quality fruit, and offers a jaunty bit of life to your home.
When investing in your indoor avocado tree make sure to find the right variety. Traditional avocado trees can reach a staggering 80 feet high. Therefore, make sure to purchase a dwarf plant. The second rule of thumb is to avoid growing from a pit. Pits are either male or female, so you risk the chance of your avocado tree failing to flower and produce fruit. Instead, find a rootstock grafted dwarf tree. Plant your tree in a clay planter (or terra cotta pot) that is “at least 10 inches across and twice as deep as the roots.” The avocado tree soil needs to be fast draining, therefore either make or purchase a compost-sand blend. Avocado trees require bright light during the day and cool nights which makes them perfect for window placement. As the tree grows, use a stake to keep it strong and straight, prune regularly, and replant into larger containers as needed.
Avocados have high levels of healthy fatty acids and fats, nutrients, minerals and low levels of cholesterol and sugar. This powerhouse fruit has calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, copper, manganese, and fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals such as A, D, C, E, K, B6, and B-12. Avocados have a broad range of health benefits including the promotion of healthy liver, kidney, and heart function, and high levels of antioxidants.
When it comes to creating avocado concoctions, there truly are no limits. Yet, for plant-based eaters, avocados are a great substitute in desserts such as these recipes: Blender Brownies With Chocolate Avocado Frosting, Raw Superfood Avocado Cake, White Chocolate Avocado Mocha Truffles, Raw Gingerbread Cheesecake, Crunchy Caramel Slice, or Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Mint Pops.
Depending on the variety, tomatoes generally have a rich, dark green stalk and delicate wispy leaves. A ripened tomato stalk offers a beautiful accouterment to brighten a room.
The most important aspect of growing tomatoes is sunlight. They need at least eight hours a day, meaning you may need to purchase a grow lamp during the winter, and they should be kept in a room that remains above 65 degrees. Use a pot that breaths, preferably made from clay and unglazed. If you’re growing your plant from a seed use a seed starter soil, plant 1/4 inch deep, keep the soil moist and warm and use indirect sunlight until germination. Once the seed has germinated move the pot into a location where it can gain full sunlight. If you’re transplanting an already sprouted tomato plant, make sure to use nutrient-rich soil. For the best indoor tomato production, try your hand at hand pollinating. You can do this by either tapping the stem of the plant or by inserting a cotton swab in each of the flowers. Also, make sure that you are rotating your tomato plants routinely for full sun coverage. Remember, indoor tomato plants generally produce smaller fruit at a slower rate.
One hundred grams of tomato offers 18 calories, 3.9 grams of carbs, 2.6 grams of sugar, and 1.2 grams of fiber. They also offer a handful of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and K1, potassium, folate, lycopene, beta-carotene, and chlorogenic acid. Due to these properties, tomatoes have been linked to healthier heart function and skin, and they also have high antioxidant properties.
Due to their high water content (95%), tomatoes are a great filler option that adds a sweet tangy taste and meaty texture to plant-based dishes. Try your home-grown winter tomatoes in these dishes: Tomato Curry With Roasted Vegetables and Turmeric Hummus, Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwich, or Lentil Curry Balls With Creamy Tomato Curry Coconut Sauce.
For more ideas on how to use your indoor edible plants, we recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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