This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something from one of our links we may earn a commission. Thanks
Growing vegetables indoors with lights will allow you to grow your own food even during the winter months.
Even if you have an outdoor garden you will want to grow vegetables year round even in the winter. So you will want to make sure you have a grow light.
Growing Vegetables Indoors With Lights
Growing vegetables indoors with lights will open up a realm of possibilities for you. Most vegetables are sun loving plants that are used to growing outdoors.
Without enough light, they will not grow well at all. You end up with tall spindly plants that fall over and don’t produce a crop.
It is important to realize all plants and especially vegetables are photosynthetic. They need sunlight to make food.
Photosynthesis Has Greek Roots
The Greek roots of photosynthesis combine to produce the basic meaning “to put together with the help of light”. Photosynthesis is what first produced oxygen in the atmosphere billions of years ago, and it’s still what keeps it there. Sunlight splits the water molecules (made of hydrogen and oxygen) held in a plant’s leaves and releases the oxygen in them into the air. The leftover hydrogen combines with carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates, which the plant uses as food—as do any animals or humans who might eat the plant. Photosynthesis Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
Light will be the deciding factor in what you can grow in your apartment. Even on the brightest sunny day, the light will be limited indoors.
Even a sunny window will not provide as much light as is available outdoors. So you really can’t grow vegetables indoors without sunlight.
What vegetables can grow without much sunlight?
You might be able to grow sprouts or microgreens without a lot of sunlight. But you are really limiting yourself by not using a grow light of some kind. Lettuce might do OK if you have a sunny window but expect lower yields.
Can vegetables grow without direct sunlight?
Yes, they can if you give them supplemental lighting. You can use fluorescent lights for lettuce, greens, and some herbs and LED grow lights for plants that require a higher light level like peppers or tomatoes.
How can I grow plants indoors without grow lights?
Without grow lights, you will be very limited in what you can grow. A sunny window sill can work for microgreens and possibly lettuce if your plants get 6-8 hours of sunlight.
But most people want to grow vegetables indoors during the winter months. You cant get much natural light in the winter though because days are short and the skies are often cloudy.
What kind of light do I need to grow vegetables indoors?
The best light for growing plants indoors is full spectrum led grow lights. Led grow lights like this come as close as you can get to natural sunlight.
They are more energy efficient than fluorescent lights and provide more light per watt than any other kind of light. They last much longer than other lights. This is a big plus because you won’t have to change bulbs like fluorescent or HID lights.
Growing vegetables indoors with led lights will allow you to grow vegetables year round. If you buy the right sized LED grow light you can grow pretty much any vegetable from lettuce to tomatoes.
Can you use LED lights to grow vegetables indoors?
LED grow lights are the best choice for growing vegetables indoors. The spectrum of light they provide is important. White light LEDs are best for growing veggies.
White light looks white to our eyes but actually, it is a mix of all the colors in a rainbow. So it provides full spectrum light that is very close to natural sunlight.
All lights are not created equally and some have more or better PAR levels in their light. PAR stands for photosynthetically active radiation and it refers to the spectrum of light that plants can use.
Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) designates the spectral range (wave band) of solar radiation from 400 to 700 nanometers that photosynthetic organisms are able to use in the process of photosynthesis. This spectral region corresponds more or less with the range of light visible to the human eye. Photons at shorter wavelengths tend to be so energetic that they can be damaging to cells and tissues, but are mostly filtered out by the ozone layer in the stratosphere. Photons at longer wavelengths do not carry enough energy to allow photosynthesis to take place. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetically_active_radiation
Some older LED lights are red and blue spectrums only we call it blurple. These were made because red and blue cause chlorophyll production to peak.
But plants need the rest of the light spectrum to really grow properly. I would not use them for vegetables unless they are your only option.
In general, a blue spectrum promotes short stocky plants and a spectrum with more red promotes flowering and fruiting. Most reputable LED manufacturers will provide a balanced spectrum for growing healthy plants.
How much light do indoor vegetables need?
Plants vary greatly in their light requirements. As you can see from the chart below some veggies need much more light than others.
Here is a video that explains how much light vegetables need to grow and how you can measure how much light they are getting.
Growing Vegetables Indoors With Lights Final Thoughts
As you probably can see growing veggies indoors requires supplemental lighting if you expect any serious production. While a few may grow in limited light from a window most will need much more light.
Even a brightly sunlit apartment will not provide enough light for most vegetables. It is in the winter months when you cant grow outdoors that we want those fresh vegetables the most. Short days and cloudy skies will make it impossible to grow vegetables in your house or apartment without using grow lights.
So you are going to need to provide additional lighting. I think LED grow lights are the best choice for this. Standard incandescent light bulbs are the wrong spectrum and don’t give off much light and they also get hot. LED lights are long lasting, economical to run, and produce the best results.
The truth is if you aren’t growing vegetables indoors with lights then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Find out how to grow amazing vegetables indoors with coco: Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Get Amazing Results (indoorvegetablegrower.com)