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Food you can grow indoors?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I do sprouting and grow herbs. I grow stuff outdoors too but I would really like to grow some edibles indoors year round.

I have spent tons of hours researching and haven't come up with a whole lot of viable ideas.

Basically I have several low/medium light spots and then one room that gets bright sunlight most of the day, but the way the shading is the plants end up getting indirect light half the day. I have herbs in there plus some ornamental plants that do well.

I'd really like a nut, fruit or vegetable tree. I suppose this is unreasonable?

I'd like your thoughts and ideas. So far this is what I've found out:

nectarella--can't find this in the US

grapes--it seems the roots need to be outdoors to frost over, plus pollination is an issue. Therefore not suitable.

sweet potato vine--i'm trying this out now

hardy kiwi vine--pollination seems to be an issue plus the vines die off each year. kinda messy.

Holiday dwarf avocado tree--10' tall, really too high.

Washington Navel and Valencia dwarf orange tree--I saw 1 article recommending these but there's not much more info. I hate to just buy them--it gets expensive if they don't work out.
Beanitarian.
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post #2 of 16
Well, I had a cherry tomato plant in my dorm room that did quite well, although this might not be what you're asking... just sayin.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I had a cherry tomato plant last year. It got 2 tomatoes and they never ripened. And by never, I mean I left them on there until winter.

Not enough sun?
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post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post

I had a cherry tomato plant last year. It got 2 tomatoes and they never ripened.

Did you speak kind words to it everyday?
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post

I had a cherry tomato plant last year. It got 2 tomatoes and they never ripened. And by never, I mean I left them on there until winter.

Not enough sun?

Tomato flowers need to be pollinated to produce fruit, the good news is they can be self pollinated. You can use something that vibrates like an electric razor (or whatever you have in your nightstand drawer )and put it on the flowers, this should pollinate them. As far as the two tomatoes that never ripened, if they are full sized pick them and wrap them in newspaper, they'll ripen then. Tomatoes do need a lot of sun.

Edit to add, if your house is too cold in the winter months you might try risking a wall o water (though I wouldn't do it if I had pets in the house).
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
No I did not speak kind words to it.

Nor did I pollinate it.

I can't help but smirk at the irony of using a faux penis to fertilize something. There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere.

Never heard of a wall o water so I went searching. Interesting. I bought a topsy turvy this year for tomatoes but the wall o water would probably help with stuff I plant indoors.
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post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post

I can't help but smirk at the irony of using a faux penis to fertilize something. There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere.

lol, I learned the pollinating trick from a wise old gentleman who was teaching organic gardening at an adult ed class about 20 years ago. Guy was a font of information.
post #8 of 16
You should do it. I used to have a calamondin tree indoors that bore lots of fruit. (It's a cross between an orange and a kumquat, I think?) When I was a kid, we had a Meyer lime tree in a pot that did well, and a friend of mine has a really pretty dwarf banana tree inside. Citrus will want several good sun hours and chilly nights. http://www.guide-to-houseplants.com/calamondin.html

Eta: my mom was a master gardener with our state cooperative extension, and she used to pollinate our vegetable garden with a paintbrush. Lol.
post #9 of 16
I was going to suggest tomato- the indeterminate(?) types are perennial; but you've already tried that. Bell pepper plants are also perennial and actually quite ornamental (I think), but if your cherry tomato didn't ripen I don't know if you'd have any better luck with a pepper. I mentioned elsewhere that I took two cuttings of my tomato plants last fall and they're still alive; they have small tomatoes in stasis on them, not doing anything, but that could be because the pots are too small- I was going to plant them outside again this spring.

I would like an indoor citrus bush/tree, but don't know how one would do- I've never grown one (unless you count the citrus fruit seeds I planted which sprouted, grew a few inches, and died). Lots of people have miniature indoor bananas and they make great-looking, lush, jungley house plants, but they almost never bloom or set fruit. Ditto for pineapple plants.

Figs and passionflowers are often grown indoors, but I don't know how big they have to get before you get fruit. The edible passion fruit vine doesn't have flowers as pretty as some other passion vines.

The problem might be giving indoor fruiting plants enough light. The fruit takes lots of energy for the plant to make.

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

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"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply
post #10 of 16
Whoa! Those small tomatoes in stasis I mentioned have suddenly turned orange-red. It took a long time, and they're not nearly as big as beefsteak tomatoes normally get. I think I would have had better luck if I had transplanted them to larger pots over the winter, but I've always heard that transplanting plants into larger containers is a bad idea in winter because they're generally dormant. The plants are blooming and definitely alive, but there are a lot of dead leaves on them... of course plants in the outdoors garden get dead leaves too, so maybe I just noticed these because they're inside and I can examine them more carefully.

Imagineaa, from your description of your indoor growing area, I think your plants weren't getting enough direct sunlight to produce. The window I have my tomato plants in is a triple-casement window maybe 6' by 7', with an unobstructed southern exposure. It's HUGE- I installed it primarily to help heat my house in the winter, which it does, but plants really go for it too.

Truthfully, it's a kind of funky setup. This is the second floor of my house, and the only place to install the window was over the stairs. The plants are on a plank in front of the window; one end of the plank rests on a ladder, and the other end rests on the top stair. On top of all this, I tape a few little bits of dark paper on the inside of the glass here and there so that birds won't think it's an unobstructed opening, try to fly through the glass, and get injured.

Like I said: funky.

But I like it- it's a temporary greenhouse! Not the sort of thing Martha Stewart would approve of, most likely, but it's fun to be sitting in the hall near my indoor jungle, looking out on the cold neighborhood on a sunny winter day. I no longer have cats, but when I did, they liked it too. I just had to be careful not to put any plants that might have made them sick in that area.

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

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"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
I think you're right Tom, based on my plants' symptoms.

What's odd though is it's in direct sunlight all day. The setup is 2 large windows, 4 windows with a half moon window above, sliding glass door. There is not a 4th wall because it opens into another room. Most of the wall space is just strips between windows.

I might try removing a loveseat I've got in there and use it for plantings. I think my cats will kill me but it's got the brightest sun. Or I'll just forget the idea.
Beanitarian.
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post #12 of 16
Have you considered growing mushrooms? There are many types that can be grown indoors, and for the most part, light is not much of an issue since they don't photosynthesize. You could convert a closet into a year-round mushroom factory! Or you could just buy a small, pre-made, easy to use mushroom grow-kit.
post #13 of 16
I just ate my two homegrown mini-beefsteak tomatoes this morning. VERY nice flavor, even if they were cherry-tomato-size and took forever to ripen. There weren't any seeds in them that I could see... maybe the flowers weren't pollinated... but then how would they have produced any tomato at all?...

Imagineaa, have you consulted any other sources? My copy of Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and Farming has a chapter about growing fruit indoors, but that thing is HEAVY and I don't have it with me. But if it's in direct sunlight almost all day I would think it;s getting enough light. I know mine are cramped for space in their pots, but I wasn;t planning on keeping them indoors past this coming Spring. As tomato plants being sold in stores go, they're quite large.

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Have you considered growing mushrooms?

I have considered that, yes. I eat a lot of mushrooms. The only info I found suggested they do not perpetuate themselves, IOW you need to keep buying spores or whatever...so it is just as cheap to buy them. This was a few yrs ago though so maybe more options are now available...thx for the reminder...I will check into it again.

Quote:
Imagineaa, have you consulted any other sources?

Just a lot of Googling actually. I'll see if that book is available at my local library.
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post #15 of 16
Nah, you don't have to keep buying spores. All you really have to do to perpetuate them is add more substrate (the medium in which the mushrooms grow) occasionally, which is often something as simple as sawdust. If you wanted to regrow frome spores though (which is much more time consuming), you could always just collect them from the mushrooms you grew the first time, anyway.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Interesting. I'll check into buying some. Thanks
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