Compass Greater NY, LLC
Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES, Compass Greater NY, LLCPhone: (917) 623-0624
Email: [email protected]

Grow Your Own Vegetables in Any Hardiness Zone

by Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES 09/26/2021

Using the map of USDA Hardiness Zones is incredibly helpful in planning a garden. Knowing your zone means knowing what plants are recommended for growing in your area and which ones might not survive. However, no matter what zone you live in, it’s possible to grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs indoors. Here are some tips for zone-proof indoor edible gardening:

What You’ll Need

In order to grow veggies and other edible crops inside, you’ll need the right equipment. Here are the most important things you'll need:

Lights - Vegetables need a lot more light to grow than your houseplants. While it’s possible to rely purely on natural light, your crops will be much more efficient with some extra help from fluorescent or full-spectrum grow lamps.

Containers with Drainage - Size requirements will depend on what exactly you’re growing, but drainage holes are essential. This allows extra moisture to filter out of the plant rather than stay in the soil and cause potential issues like root rot or fungus.

Potting Mix - If you’re starting your indoor garden from seeds, get a potting mix specifically formulated for seed starts. Once the plants sprout, any organic potting mix made for vegetables will work.

Fertilizer - An organic liquid fertilizer works best for indoor edibles. Most vegetables and herbs will need regular doses of fertilizer to help them grow more efficiently indoors and can help them produce bigger yields. Make sure to research what your specific plant choices prefer.

What to Grow Indoors

The edible crops you can grow indoors break down into three major groups: cool-tolerant greens, sun-loving vegetables and herbs.

Cool-Tolerant Greens - This group includes salad greens like arugula, kale, spinach and mustard greens. Other plants that do well in this category include carrots, peas, radishes and Swiss chard. These crops will thrive with moderate light and cooler temperatures around 60 degrees F.

Sun-Loving Vegetables - This group of plants demands full sun or bright light and warmer temperatures (70 degrees or above). This category includes tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. You also may find success with strawberries and dwarf citrus varieties. Note that the yield will be small and very slow compared to growing outdoors, so prepare to be patient.

Herbs - Herbs can be the trickiest to grow indoors if you don’t have a lot of natural sunlight. However, with a good grow light setup, you can grow oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme and peppermint. Basil also works indoors, but even expert gardeners consider it fairly demanding in needing a perfect environment. Try rooting your basil in water instead of planting directly into a pot and you may have more success.

Like all plant care, setting up an indoor edible garden will probably involve some trial-and-error. However, with these tips you will have the freedom to grow your own herbs, veggies and fruits no matter what hardiness zone you live in. With an easy-to-control indoor environment, your plants can thrive even in the coldest winters and hottest summers.

About the Author

Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES

Ann Marie Damashek has always been a natural at helping people prepare their homes for sale. She started out with a successful business selling goods for people on eBay. "Nine times out of ten they were hiring me because they were down-sizing,” Ann Marie says. "So I decided to get my license. I said, ‘Might as well sell their house too.’” The transition was a smooth one and for nine years she’s had a thriving full-time real estate business that allows her to marry her entrepreneurial spirit with her passion for helping others. With an office in Larchmont, New York, she serves all of Lower Westchester County, with her primary market in the Sound Shore region. The majority of her business is "sphere of influence” with former clients referring her to friends and family. A gifted communicator, Ann Marie quickly builds trust and rapport with her clients by being both thoughtful and responsive; she understands that during the purchase or sale of a home, a quick response time is crucial. "I am very accessible,” Ann Marie says. "I always make time for my clients. They can call me, text me, email me up until 10 o’clock at night and I will respond. I’m available on weekends. I get back to people very promptly. I’m very customer service-oriented.” Her clients appreciate her professionalism, passion and enthusiasm and as a result her repeat and referral rate continues to grow each year. While selling real estate is serious business, Ann Marie knows that at times humor and a moment of levity can be a relief to clients. While she has a laidback and easygoing personality, she can be assertive when needed on her clients’ behalf. She loves being of service to them, and the continually changing nature of the work keeps her engaged and fulfilled. "It’s never boring,” Ann Marie enthuses. "Every day is different. That’s probably what I like most about it. But I also enjoy helping people sell or buy and educating them about the process. I love helping them achieve their goals.” This ethic of service has resulted in well-deserved recognition. Ann Marie has received the Westchester Magazine Five Star Real Estate Agent Rating four years running, in 2015 and 2016 she was the #1 agent in her office, and she’s a Zillow 5-Star Premier Agent. To keep in touch with former clients, Ann Marie sends cards to mark special occasions or reaches out via email. To market her listings, Ann Marie uses Multiple Listing Services (MLS), as well as, a service that allows both agents and their clients access to MLS data. She also uses a Facebook business page and ads to boost new listings or promote upcoming open houses. "That drives a tremendous amount of traffic,” Ann Marie says. She also uses the most popular real estate websites such as Zillow and Trulia. A strong believer in giving back, Ann Marie sits on the Board of Trustees of her church and is involved in a variety of social justice projects. She’s affiliated with Furniture Sharehouse, a furniture bank for Westchester County, which collects and distributes gently used furniture free of charge to those in need. "I love it on so many levels because as a realtor, it’s helps my sellers downsize through charitable donations. I like the environmental aspect of it as well. And it helps people who truly need things.” She’s also involved in Impact 100, a women’s philanthropic giving organization. In her free time, Ann Marie enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. For the future, Ann Marie wants to continue expanding her business and developing her brand, and she someday hopes to grow a strong team. But her main goal is to stay in the real estate business, helping her clients to achieve their dreams.