Whether you’re a complete novice or you have a green thumb worthy of the Chelsea Flower Show, creating a food garden in your own kitchen is a great way to work on your gardening skills.

As well as being a convenient way to have key ingredients on hand, an indoor garden can really brighten up your kitchen and bring a touch of greenery to your home.

There are a variety of different ways to style your indoor garden to make it unique to you, and plenty of different ingredients to grow. Homeware and ceramics brand Denby explain how you can get your indoor kitchen garden started, the benefits of growing your own ingredients, and some of the best ways to style it.

Why grow your own kitchen garden?

You may be wondering what the benefits are of an indoor kitchen garden, especially if you already have a large outdoor green space for growing flowers. However, there are actually a number of advantages of having an indoor garden — listed below are just a few of the benefits.

Enjoy year-round gardening

From hot days in the summer sunshine to dark, bracing winters, we experience all sorts of weather throughout the year in this country, which can put limitations on what we can grow in different seasons. However, with an indoor garden, you can grow a variety of herbs year-round in the warmth of your own home.

Save on your food shop

You may have noticed the price of your food bill rise in recent months. So, if you’re looking for small ways to save money here and there, growing some of your own produce is a great place to start. While it won’t drastically slash your food bill, growing some of your own herbs is a good way to watch the pennies while honing your gardening skills, making it a worthwhile pastime.

Gain a new appreciation for the food you eat

While shop-bought fruits, vegetables, and herbs may be easy and convenient, growing your own produce can help you appreciate the time and effort that goes into crafting your favourite foods. Plus, you get to enjoy the satisfaction of your hard work paying off by making delicious dishes with ingredients grown with your own two hands.

Allows everyone to enjoy gardening

If you live in a block of flats, terraced house , or any other type of home without an outdoor space, growing your produce indoors may be the best option for you. Even if you do have a small yard, the conditions may not be best for growing produce, especially if the area is shady. So, if you have a nice sunny spot by a windowsill in your kitchen, this could be the perfect place to set up a mini garden.

Choosing your plants

You may think that your options are limited when growing indoors, but there are actually a variety of fruits and vegetables you can grow in your own kitchen, such as:

  • Carrots: As well as being easy to grow indoors, they can be grown in containers just eight inches deep, which is surprisingly small. If you’re short on space, opt for growing smaller varieties, such as Royal Chantenay and Little Fingers carrots.
  • Celery: A staple in many spring and summer recipes, celery can easily be grown indoors by propagating a celery stalk from the supermarket.
  • Leafy greens: If you have a space with a lot of sunlight, leafy greens like spinach and kale will thrive in your indoor garden.
  • Cress: Cress is a type of microgreen, which are particularly easy to grow. It should only take three or four weeks of growing this vegetable before being able to harvest your first batch!
  • Spring onions: Like celery, all you need is the stalks of spring onions to be able to grow them from scratch.
  • Strawberries: If you’re looking to enjoy fresh berries year-round, an indoor strawberry plant is a great idea. Make sure the plant gets plenty of sunlight to help it thrive — six hours a day is ideal.

There are a number of other fruits and vegetables which can be grown indoors such as potatoes and tomatoes, but these can be a little trickier to grow, so are best attempted by those with some  gardening experience. There is also a vast array of herbs which thrive in indoor kitchen gardens. These are ideal to have on hand for seasoning some of your favourite recipes, so why not consider growing them in your own indoor herb garden? The following herbs are relatively easy to grow as long as they get six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day, so consider trying them out at home:

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Chives

Styling your kitchen garden

One of the many great things about indoor gardens is that they can become a staple feature in your kitchen, as they’re a great way to include some natural elements into your home design. There are plenty of ways to style your kitchen garden, so you can easily find a way to make it fit your own personal taste. To incorporate the garden seamlessly into your kitchen, opt for plant pots in shades which complement your ceramics and the rest of your kitchen interiors. Alternatively, if you’re looking to make a statement with the area you can opt for a selection of bright and vibrant contrasting shades.

If you’re looking for ways to use what you already have, you may want to find ways to incorporate unused ceramics into your design. For example, if you have an old mug or bowl that you don’t use anymore, this can be great for planting herbs in. You can also repurpose unused side plates by using them as plant pot saucers.

Using your fresh ingredients

There are plenty of ways you can use the produce in your indoor kitchen, from fresh and vibrant salads to hearty stews. Another great way to use plenty of vegetables is in the form of soups. Try out the chicken noodle soup recipe below to put some of your home-grown ingredients to good use.

To make this dish for two, you’ll need the following:

  • 900ml chicken stock
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 50g rice noodles
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots (or around ten baby carrots for those growing small varieties), finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of sweetcorn
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • Basil to serve (optional)

Simply follow the steps below to cook this healthy and tasty meal:

  • In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and add your onions, carrots, celery, and cook until the onion turns translucent (around 8 minutes).
  • Add the grated ginger, garlic, and two chicken breasts.
  • After a further 3 – 5 minutes, pour your stock into the pan, and simmer.
  • After 10 minutes you can remove the two chicken breasts, finely chop them, and add them back into your pan with the spring onions, sweetcorn, and soy sauce.
  • In a separate pan, cook your rice noodles according to the instructions.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, take the soup off the heat and mix the noodles with the rest of the soup.
  • Serve in your favourite soup bowl and top with a garnishing of basil leaves if you wish.

“If you’re interested in growing your own produce but don’t have the space in the garden, or you just want to try something new, indoor gardening is a great activity to try. As well as not being as reliant on the weather, creating your own indoor garden can make for a fantastic statement area in the kitchen. It’s also a good way to bring a natural element into the home, and if you’re looking to save on new plant pots you can even recycle your unused ceramics by turning them into planters.

“No matter your gardening skill level, there are plenty of different ingredients for you to choose from. If you’re interested in getting the kids involved, try starting off with the easiest produce first, like spring onions and different types of herbs. It makes a fun activity for all of the family to get involved in and enjoy. ”- Zoe Turner, Head of Brand Development and Marcomms at Denby

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