Five Low Maitenence Foods to Grow Indoors

It doesn’t matter if you live on or off campus or if you are a part-time or full-time student; most collegiates are usually on a budget. When it comes to food, we often don’t have the time to prepare take-away meals at home and meal plans or eating out too much drains our debit cards pretty fast. That’s why the best way to stick to your diet this year might be to get your hands dirty and start growing your own food. Before images of women plowing fields in overalls crowd your head, keep in mind that there are several cheap, timely and simple ways for urban collegiates to grow their own vegetables and herbs in a house, apartment or dorm–even if you failed home economics in high school or struggle to keep a cactus alive. To help warm you up to the idea of trying this granola fad, we’ve put together some low maintenance and low budget organic gardening life hacks for beginners. These ideas are perfect for thrifty students willing to invest a little time, energy and creativity to get one step closer to peak physical health.  

Mini Herb Garden.

Image courtesy of www.invigorate.com.

Materials:

  1. Recycled container (egg carton, cans, jars, shoe box or empty yogurt containers)
  2. Potting soil–$8
  3. Herb seed packets–75 cents each

With a few household materials and a budget of around $12, you can grow your own tiny herb garden to add flavor to those noodles or stir-fry you’re cooking. After anytime between seven days to two weeks, your dill, basil, thyme and other assorted herbs will be ready to use in the kitchen. You can also trying growing medical herbs like lemon grass, yarrow and chamomile using these materials. 

Milk Jug Tomato Plant.

Image courtesy of www.northwoodsbookshop.com.

Materials:

  1. Empty gallon milk jug or plastic container
  2. Potting soil–$8
  3. Packet of tomato seeds–$3

Tomatoes and carrots are a good place to start for beginning indoor gardeners. Milk jug tomato plants require little to no maintenance, so they are the perfect vegetable to grow for the busy collegiate. This method also works for growing green, red and yellow peppers. 

Soda Bottle Carrot Plants.

Image courtesy of www.smallkitchengarden.net.

Materials:

  1. 2L soda bottle or plastic container
  2. Potting soil–$8
  3. Packet of carrot seeds–$3 

To create a healthy on-to-go snack, try growing baby carrots in half of a washed out 2L soda bottle. Carrots don’t need as much sunlight but they do need to be watered at least two times a day. 

Regrow Sweet Potatoes.

Image courtesy of Rik Rak Studio.

Materials:

  1. Small, runty sweet potato
  2. Glass cup
  3. Toothpicks

Mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie–just think of all of the delicious dishes you could whip up from just a few sweet potato slips. Slips are the green stems that grow out of a sweet potato to form new plants. This method also works for growing small avocado trees from avocado seeds.

Fast-growing Bare-root Strawberry Plants.

Image courtesy of http://homeguides.sfgate.com.

Materials:

  1. Bucket or large plastic container
  2. Potting soil–$8
  3. Bare root strawberry plants–$14 per 25 plants

Tired of waiting around for fresh fruit and vegetables? Bare-root strawberries are the easiest and fastest fruit to grow for the colligiate with little time or patience. These red beauties will ready ripe and ready anytime after six to eight weeks.   

Some other easy fruits and vegetables to grow indoors for under $15 are garlic greens, lemons, pineapples, mushrooms, peppers, onions and avocadoes.

Image courtesy of My Fitness Pal Blog

So the next time you want to avoid binge-eating dollar store junk food, try growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs to design healthy snacks and meals. Your local farmer’s market or Whole Foods grocery store are also excellent resources for finding good quality produce, honey, tea, coffee or grains. Try combining organic foods from these places with your own vegetables to create exquisite meals your roommates will be begging to sample. Remember, choosing to commit to a healthy lifestyle is an active decision, so we encourage you to get involved in your diet by sowing the seeds and reaping the results.