Best Crops to Grow Indoors With Tower Garden

In recent years, indoor gardening has continued to increase in popularity among gardening veterans and novices alike. When you consider all its benefits, that's certainly no surprise. Imagine having delicious, crisp lettuce available at your fingertips to create the perfect salad, or fresh, nutritious spinach within arm’s reach to sauté with your favorite dish. 

While there are hundreds of crops you can grow with Tower Garden indoors, we thought we’d highlight some of our favorites below.

Top 5 Crops for Indoor Gardening 
Narrowing down our favorite indoor crops to a list of just five was no easy task. But we chose the following crops because they are easy to grow, versatile in the kitchen, and taste amazing when picked fresh and grown on a Tower Garden! For more crops you can grow indoors with Tower Garden, click here

1. Kale
Offering vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, kale is the perfect indoor crop candidate to keep your immune system healthy all year long. This leafy green comes in many shapes, colors, and textures, and it can be prepped in a variety of ways. While kale is often eaten raw in salads and smoothies, it can also be baked, boiled, steamed, and sautéed. 

Whether you decide to grow Curly kale, Lacinato kale, or Red Russian kale, start by planting  about four seeds per rockwool cube. Seeds should germinate within 1-2 weeks and will then be ready for transplant into your Tower. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, your kale may be ready to harvest in as little as one month’s time. 

When harvesting your kale, pick the bottommost leaves first, allowing at least 3–4 leaves to remain and keep growing. You should harvest often, as this will encourage continued growth (which ultimately means greater yields). Prune dead or diseased leaves as needed.

2. Basil
Ever wanted to make pesto? Or add a little flair to a homemade pizza? Basil is the source of so many delicious dishes, and its affinity for warmer temperatures makes it a great crop for indoor growing. Not to mention, it smells delightful once it’s picked. Like kale, there are several varieties to choose from, though the most common and popular versions are in the sweet basil family.

When starting to grow basil, we recommend planting about six seeds per rockwool cube. They should germinate within a week. After this happens, place the seedlings outside in the sun or under a grow light to increase their hardiness. They should be ready to transplant two weeks after sprouting.

We recommend planting basil near the top of your Tower Garden, where it can comfortably grow upward and outward — which it will do rapidly.

Once your basil has six leaves, you should start pruning. To prune basil, pinch (or snip) the main stem just above a pair of leaves. You’ll likely see small leaves sprouting in the axil of the stem and mature leaf. After you prune, these little leaves will develop into new branches.

3. Chives
The smallest and mildest member of the onion family, fresh or dried chives are great for topping dishes and adding to soups for extra zest. We love chives because they’re easy to grow, easy to prep, and add so much flavor to whatever you’re cooking. Outdoors, chives thrive in full sun, but they will tolerate light shade. For indoor growing, we recommend six to eight hours of grow light exposure for optimal results. 

Chives require cooler conditions (around 60˚F) to germinate and can take as long as three weeks to sprout. We recommend planting about four seeds per rockwool cube and placing your seeds in a dark, cool place until they germinate. After this happens, move the seedlings outside in the sun or under a grow light to facilitate strong, healthy growth. Your chives should be ready to transplant about two weeks after sprouting. 

Like basil, we recommend planting chives near the top of your Tower Garden.

You can harvest chives once they’re about six inches tall. When harvesting, keep the following tips in mind:

  • With clean scissors, cut the outermost leaves about two inches above the base of the plant.
  • Always leave about half the plant intact so that it can regenerate. This will allow you to make several consecutive harvests.
  • Harvest often to encourage new growth and discourage flowering (which will end the growing cycle).

4.  Spinach
A mainstay in salads, stir fries, smoothies, and sides, spinach is one of the most versatile and popular greens there is. An excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate, this supergreen has been known to support brain health and help us manage blood pressure. 

Like kale, we recommend planting about four seeds per rockwool cube with germination in one to two weeks.  Spinach prefers full sun to partial shade, and it grows best in temperatures between 35–75˚F. Seedlings should be ready to transplant to your Tower Garden 2–3 weeks after sprouting.

Harvest spinach as soon as the leaves are big enough to eat. Cut the outer leaves first to encourage continued production. Regular harvests will extend your plant’s life cycle. But if you notice signs of bolting (e.g., sudden vertical growth), harvest the entire plant to prevent the remaining leaves from becoming bitter.

5. Swiss chard
The last crop on this indoor gardening list is Swiss chard. Not only is this leafy green an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, and K, it also provides us with much needed calcium, copper, iron, and potassium. It’s among the healthiest foods you can eat and easy to grow with Tower Garden! 

When starting Swiss chard, plant about 4 seeds per rock wool cube. Seeds should germinate within 1–2 weeks. And seedlings should be ready to transplant 2–3 weeks after sprouting. Because it grows tall, we recommend planting Swiss chard in the top section of your tower. 

Ready to go Tower-to-Table? Leaves are most flavorful when the plant is 50–60 days old. But you can begin harvesting leaves when they are 4–5 inches long.

Keep these tips in mind when harvesting Swiss chard:

  • Cut leaves near the base, being careful not to cut the stems of the inner leaves.
  • Harvest the mature leaves first, leaving smaller leaves for continued production.
  • Pick no more than 3–5 mature leaves from a plant at a time.
  • Harvest often, as this encourages new growth.
  • Remove old leaves that have lost their glossy sheen.

Swiss chard leaves make a convincing spinach substitute, as the stalks do for asparagus or celery. The healthy green is delicious simply sautéed with lemon juice and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. But Tower Gardeners also use it in salads, fried rice, scrambled eggs and even pesto! (Get those recipes here.)

 

Ideal Indoor Gardening Conditions
Unpredictable weather and rapid fluctuations in temperature can make it challenging to keep a garden flourishing outdoors. With indoor gardening, you’re in complete control of the conditions by determining the temperature, light source, air flow, and much more.

Here are a few important variables to manage to ensure your Tower Garden succeeds indoors:

Light
UV light is essential to the success of any indoor garden. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend allowing your garden to receive at least 14 hours of light and at least six hours of darkness per day. Natural light from the sun is not only hard to come by, it’s not always adequate for an indoor garden. 

Fortunately, the Tower Garden LED grow lights are strong enough to keep plants healthy year-round. Plus, the lights operate on a timer, making it simple to set and forget. 

Temperature
While the ideal growing temperature varies from one plant to the next, most crops grow best when the temperature in your home sits between 65-75°F. This opens the door to plenty of plant options that you typically wouldn’t be able to grow year-round. Since most homes, offices, schools, and other indoor environments typically stay within these temperature ranges, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. 

Space
Whether you own a Tower Garden FLEX or a Tower Garden HOME, you’ll need just 4 square feet of space in your home. This will give your garden enough room to grow without interference. The unique shape of a Tower Garden makes it easy to fit in homes of all shapes and sizes. Tower Gardeners who grow indoors typically keep their gardens near the kitchen, but there are really no right or wrong places to grow.

While there are hundreds of crops you can grow with Tower Garden indoors, we thought we’d highlight some of our favorites below.

Indoor Vegetable Garden Inspiration
Check out our Instagram and Facebook pages for more tips and inspiration from Tower Gardeners around the world!

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