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I live in an apartment and both the entire south-east and the north-west sides are huge windows, so I have lots of light coming in (I think I have about 6h 40m on the shortest day of the year).

I thought that annual plants could only grow from spring to fall and that's it, but then I realised that I've only ever had a garden outside at the farm where I grew up. Is it possible to grow plants all year around indoors? I mean, most plants should do ok with 6 hours of light and the temperature is always around 18-22*C. And for the darkest months, I could probably figure out something with a grow light if needed as well.

I've been waiting for spring to come around since I moved in 6 months ago, eager to plant something delicious, but now I realise that maybe I didn't need to wait at all! (ok, I do also have big plants for the balconies which is currently covered in snow so that'll definitely have to wait!) So can all plants grow inside all year round, and if not, why?

In response to a request to be more specific, these are the seeds I have: Strawberries (Temptation and Wild), Tomatoes (Harbinger, Tumbling Tom and Sweet Pea Currant), Cucamelon, Baby carrots, Runner Bean, Snap peas, New Zealand Spinach, Spring Onion, Sweet Pepper, Jalapenos, Chives, Dill, Coriander, Parsley, Basil, English Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, Spearmint, Peppermint, Marigold and Pansies. I already have a small lemon which is about a year old, a ginger which has just started to sprout and I'd like to also have some blueberries, raspberries or similar.

  • Are you asking about food plants in particular - fruits and vegetables? Which ones did you have in mind? – Bamboo Mar 6 '17 at 19:41
  • Yes, I want to be able to use every plant in some way or another in the kitchen. I am primarily thinking herbs and other greens, but really anything from parsley and basil to blueberries and strawberries to tomatoes and peppers. But I guess it would be better to choose plants with lower light needs unless I invest in some artificial light sources? I guess plants where we eat the fruits will flower as long as there's enough light and the temperature and other environmental factors are ok? – J. Nielsen Mar 6 '17 at 20:23
  • Some of the plants you mention will need you to hand pollinate - there aren't pollinating insects nor breezes indoors, that's why I asked, but herbs won't be a problem, well, some anyway; other plants may need a period of cold and rest to fruit and grew the following year, so you need to refine which plants you're definitely interested in growing in your question please. As it stands, the short answer to your question is no., not all plants will grow healthily and fruit indoors regardless of the time of year – Bamboo Mar 6 '17 at 20:42
  • Ok, I have the following seeds: Strawberries (Temptation and Wild), Tomatoes (Harbinger, Tumbling Tom and Sweet Pea Currant), Cucamelon, Baby carrots, Runner Bean, Snap peas, New Zealand Spinach, Spring Onion, Sweet Pepper, Jalapenos, Chives, Dill, Coriander, Parsley, Basil, English Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage,Spearmint, Peppermint, Marigold and Pansies. I already have a small lemon which is about a year old, a ginger which has just started to sprout and I'd like to also have some blueberries, raspberries or similar. – J. Nielsen Mar 6 '17 at 21:24
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There's a large list of plants there and you should do your own research. But in principle, those plants that originated from a tropical, or semitropical climate that are annuals where you live are likely perennial in the right conditions.

So, tomatoes which originated from South America are perennnial vines when grown there but are annuals in climates where there is frost and colder winter temperatures. The eggplant is a perennial in asia, but semi-hardy annual in temperate climates. I've got mine to flower and fruit inside over winter but it took ages for the fruit to grow. Sweet basil is also an annual and when I kept mine inside over winter, it suffered becoming quite woody and sick.

There may also be plant requirements that are incompatible with normal living. Tomatoes need 8 hours of darkness to remain healthy which is not too bad, but June bearing strawberries need 11-16 hours of darkness at about 20 deg C before they'll flower. And there's the issue of pollination. Blueberries do best when there are two or more plants around to cross pollinate.

  • Thank you for your answer, I really appreciate it! I know I'm going to have to hand pollinate and I'm prepared for that as well. We're going to have 17 hours of darkness in the winter, so I guess it's just a matter of placing them away from any growing lights for a few days and them give them some light to make them flower? I know I need to do a whole lot of research and I've made a blog to document it all, mostly for myself to refer back to. I was really just looking at where to start and maybe how you know if a plant is suitable for indoor growing year round or not. – J. Nielsen Mar 7 '17 at 19:23
  • Photo period plants are very sensitive to light so you'll need to protect them from inside lighting and not just grow lights! – Graham Chiu Mar 7 '17 at 21:18
  • Yea, I realise how bad my comment is now, I started out by writing that I have both a pretty spacey shed and three huge cupboard that all are pretty much empty which I could use to store some plants if they needed those kinds of conditions. But I guess I'll just have to pick the plants I want, do some serious research and just try my best. But in theory, any plant could grow at any time of the year as long as it has the conditions it needs, so it's mostly about picking plants with "easy" conditions or figuring out how to simulate the conditions for plants with "difficult" conditions, right? – J. Nielsen Mar 8 '17 at 20:34
  • Sure. Easy things to grow 365 days are such as lettuce. See container farms such as cropbox.co where everything is grown inside a self container container. – Graham Chiu Mar 9 '17 at 7:27

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