Winter light gardening in a basement-- what vegetable options?

CaraRoseAugust 30, 2013

Last winter I grew lettuce and chard pretty successfully under lights for winter harvest. I was thinking about trying to expand to a few more things, even if just to experiment. I was thinking of trying potatoes and seeing if I could get to the point of getting new potatoes. Also maybe carrots (to be picked young). Root vegetables in general I'd love to try, turnips/beets.

Any other suggestions?

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I know it's been a couple of weeks, but I just read a houseplant book with a chapter on the subject, so...

The author suggests (in addition to lettuce and tomatoes and a number of smaller fruit trees) strawberries, ground cherry, beets, carrots, radishes, chinese cabbage, cucumber. eggplant and peppers.

I would aim for high density/high reward plants. Things where you either get a gourmet treat or a high yield for the space. I find ground cherry very decorative, btw, and intend to try to overwinter one of my plants!

Also, if you're looking at tomatoes, consider a dwarf like Rosella Purple or New Big Dwarf, or a micro like Red Robin.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 11:41PM
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sorry about the long list :)


Days to harvest


BEANS Three to nine inches apart
Dwarf Bees 80 18- to 24-inch runner
Thorogreen 68 18-inch tall Lima
BEETS Two to 3 inches apart
Burpee’s Gold Beet 55 1-inch diameter
Galdiator 54 Golf-ball size
Spinel 52 1½-inch round
Chioggia 55 Italian heirloom
CABBAGE 5 gallon container, 10″ apart
Baby Head 72 2½-inch heads
Modern Dwarf 65 4-inch heads
CANTALOUPE 5 gallon container per plant
Early Sugar Midget 60 Medium vine
Midget Muskmelon 60 3-foot vines
Minnesota Midget 63 4-inch melons
Short ‘n Sweet 62 Bushy
CARROTS One to 2 inches apart
Bunny Bite 65 1½ inch root
Little Finger 65 Cylindrical
Short ‘n Sweet 68 4-inch roots taper
Thumbelina 60 Bite-size
Tiny Sweet 65 3-inch roots
CORN 5 gallon container, 3 plants per
Baby Asian 65 4-5 inches ears
Faribo Golden Midget 60 30-inch plants
Golden Midget 60 2- to 3-foot stalks
Golden Miniature 54 5-inch ears
CUCUMBER 5 gallon container, 15″ apart
Baby Cucumber 52 Bushy vine, early
Bush Whopper 55 No runners
Little Minnie 52 Bushes to 2 feet
Midget 50 2-foot vines, early
Patio Pik 55 Slicer for baskets
Pot Luck 56 18- to 24-inch plant
EGGPLANT 5 gallon container, 15″ apart
Early Black Egg 65 5-inch fruit, tender
Easter Egg 65 2-3 inches long
Little Fingers 68 6- to 8-inch long fruit
Morden Midget 65 Bush, earliest fruit
Nagaoka New Kissin 65 4-inch fruit, early
Ornamental White 60 Early, 2-inch fruits
Purple Pickling 70 Tiny eggplants
Slim Jim 65 Pickling, very small
LETTUCE Four to 10 inches apart
Midget 55 Buttercrunch
Sweet Midget Cos 60 5 inches tall, upright
Tom Thumb 65 Tennis-ball size, Buttercrunch
ONIONS Two to three inches apart
Barletta 70 Small, round pickling
Quicksilver 70 Small pearl
Silver Queen 70 Small pearl
PEAS Two inches apart
American Wonder 61 12-inch plants, early
Greater Progress 62 18-inch vine
POTATOES Six to 8 inches apart
Ladyfinger 80 4- to 5-inches long
PUMPKINS 5 gallon container per plant
Jack-Be-Little 90 3 inches across
Mini-Jack 90 3- to 4-inch fruit
Wee-B-Little 85 2- to 4-inch fruit
SQUASH-SUMMER Twelve to 20 inches apart
Benning’s Green Tint 50 Scallop squash
Cousa 50 Lebanese, 4 inches long
SQUASH-WINTER Twelve to 20 inches apart
Jersey Golden Acorn 50 Pick golf-ball sized, compact growth
TOMATOES 5 gallon container per plant
Droplet 65 Determinate, abundant
Early Salad 45 6- to 8-inches
Patio 70 15- to 30-inches, early
Pixie 50 24-inch vine
Presto 60 Long season, early
Pretty Patio 70 30 inches tall, abundant
Red Cushion 65 18 inches high, cherry
Salad Top 50 18 inches high
Small Fry 60 Heavy cropper, early
Stoke’s Alaska 55 18-inch bush, early
Tiny Tim 50 15-inch vine, early
Toy Boy 60 2 feet tall, early
Tumblin’ Tom 55 20- to 24-inch vine
WATERMELON 5 gallon container, 12″ apart
Burpee Sugar Bush 80 6-8 pounds
Family Fun 88 Slightly oblong
Golden Midget 65 8 inches round
Lollipop 70 3-5 pounds
Market Midget 69 3-5 pounds, sweet
New Hampshire Midget 68 7 inches in diameter, short season
Petite Sweet 65 8 pounds, extra sugar
Sugar Baby 80 8 inches in diameter, sweet
Sugar Ball 65 12-15 pounds, multi-fruit
Sugar Doll 72 8-10 pounds, sweet
Sugar Lumps 78 8-9 inches in diameter
Yellow Doll 68 3-5 pounds
You Sweet Thing 70 12-13 pounds, round, striped

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:27PM
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That list is awesome -- thank you for sharing it! Lots of good ideas and varieties.

I never thought of trying to grow melons or squash inside. I'm picturing melon vines all over my guest room now!

Do eggplants do well under normal house conditions? My outside ones never seem to do much until it gets hot.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Thanks! List is awesome for sure!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I'm new to all of this but I'd love to give it a go...Would it best to use a grow-light system or can you get away with full spectrum lights.. Which are more cost effective to use from an electricity standpoint? I would be interested in growing tomatoes (dwarf varieties) from seed. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:28PM
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