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Organic Indoor Gardening: A How-To Manual

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed nothing more than getting my hands filthy in a garden. Growing my first pea plant was a memorable experience because of my anticipation each day as I waited for the tiny sprout to emerge. The transformation of a tender seedling into a robust plant that, with care, may yield wonderful fruits has always captivated me.

My garden has always held a special place in my heart. It can be a source of pride or shame depending on its condition. Given these considerations and the significance of a garden as an investment, giving it as much TLC as possible makes sense.

Because gardening is so complicated, this is easier said than done.

Wrong!

Anyone with a green thumb and some soil can grow plants. Nature never fails to provide, whether it’s delicious produce for the table or stunning blooms for the mantel. When you take the time to learn the basics, growing a garden is a breeze. If you want to develop a particular plant, you should learn all you can to handle any problems beforehand. I’ll briefly discuss the fundamentals of gardening. It is your responsibility if you’re interested in learning more about a species that isn’t covered here.

Lighting

As a gardener, the coldest months have always presented the most significant challenge. It could be cabin fever, but it could also be a desire to see things flourish. While it isn’t usually a concern in certain parts of the United States, brutal winters in Kentucky make outdoor cultivation impractical.

The development of CFL (compact fluorescent bulb) technology has made it financially feasible for me to bring my garden indoors. The CFLs are similar to aquarium lights in appearance and energy use. I’ve had great success using New Wave T5 High Output Fluorescent Lights in my garden.

These new high-output fluorescent lamps are ideal for indoor cultivation because their lumen per watt rating is far higher than traditional fluorescent bulbs.

Because of the minimal heat generated by high-output fluorescent bulbs, the fixture can be placed much closer to the plant canopy than is typical. The New Wave T5’s broad throw reflector is coated with imported German 95% reflective aluminum to ensure that your plants receive every attainable lumen. This state-of-the-art reflector increases illumination by 300 compared to standard fluorescent lighting.

I position my lights so that just the very tips of the plants are illuminated, so my tender tiny sprouts are never at risk of getting scorched or dried out. And you may rest easy knowing that there is less of a chance of fire than with higher output metal halide bulbs, which are heavier and generate more heat.

Metal halides are recommended for indoor gardens if the size of the vegetative area exceeds 24 inches or the grown plants are taller than 4 feet.

Strong vegetative development can be encouraged by the high blue light output of metal halide plant lamp systems. Plants require mostly the blue spectrum for rapid action. If there isn’t enough natural light to go around, this is what you should utilize instead. A Metal Halide bulb is adequate for growing leafy plants like lettuce and herbs. You can rely on metal halide plant growth lamp systems from seed to harvest as your primary lighting solution.

The T5 replacement bulbs cost around $17 apiece (TL5 HO/54W/865) or $68 for four, while the MH bulb costs about $85 (MS 1000 hour), the LU100S/HTL/EN hortlux costs about $120 (LU1000 standard), and the LU1000 bare bulb costs about $100. The leaf’s distance from the plant will have a considerably more significant impact on the amount of light that can reach the plant than the fixture itself. The plants you have will dictate the ideal lighting conditions.

Inducing bloom with High-Pressure Sodium will cause the plants to stretch out longer, but the Metal Halide will produce more foliage. The HID lamps’ heat output may help maintain a warmer growing environment in places with less favorable natural heat and light. When heating costs are high, this is something to think about. Getting greenhouse plants to flower in the dead of winter can be challenging, especially the farther north you are. Fruit that has already been set can be allowed to ripen to maturity.

Every choice, therefore, involves some sacrifice. Decide for yourself.

Advice on Using HID Lights

Because of the heat they produce, hanging these fixtures at the appropriate height is essential. Systems with 100 and 250 watts of power should be turned around 2 to 3 feet from the tops of the plants. Hanging systems with medium wattages (400 and 600) at a height of about 4 feet from the plants are recommended. At least 4 to 6 feet should separate high-wattage systems from the tops of the plants.

When should lights be left on? The answer to this question is plant-specific. The optimal amount of light for plant and vegetable growth is between 10 and 12 hours each day. Fruiting and flowering plants benefit from up to 16 hours of additional daily morning.

Because chlorophyll production in a developing plant requires only a narrow range of the lighting spectrum, I’m curious to see if Light Emitting Diode (L.E.D.) lights will be the lights of the future. CFLs, Sodium, and Halide lights are now the only options available. However, they create a broad spectrum of light, and the plant only absorbs around 10% of the light from a Sodium or Halide lamp.

Now that LEDs are widely available, it’s possible to fine-tune a lamp’s light output to fall inside the narrow wavelength range essential for chlorophyll synthesis. LED GROW LIGHTS are so efficient that nearly all their energy is directly applied to growing plants.

The LED GROW LIGHT’s low heat output is another one of its many advantages. LED grow lights don’t get hot to the touch like sodium or metal halide lamps do so you can grow plants right up to them.

1) No need for ventilation systems

Avoiding heat stress on plant life

No need to be concerned about using high-temperature lighting

The LED GROW LIGHT can be used with no additional ballast and plugged into any regular electrical socket. Over 100,000 hours of use are expected from these bulbs. (A year has a total of 8,760 minutes).

Chlorophyll formation, chloroplast development (chloroplast are the little organs inside cells where photosynthesis takes place, more of them = more photosynthesis = more plant growth), the circadian rhythm of photosynthesis (when lights are on and off; connected to flowering as well), and the production of some enzymes in plants are all regulated by blue light. A drop in blue light might tell a land plant leaf that it’s in the shade, too. Therefore, no matter how many photons strike that leaf, it will not generate as much energy as possible since it believes it is not in good light and therefore does not develop chloroplasts.

Red light causes various morphological changes in plants, including stem elongation and flowering.

HPS lights, which contain a higher proportion of yellow to red, promote robust blooming and stem growth. Some plants respond to red light by accumulating more starch (similar to how animals put on weight for warmth and fuel).

It can be used in addition to other grow lights, including HPS (High-Pressure Sodium), MH (Metal Halide), and fluorescent.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology is the most recent advancement in cultivating plants. These bulbs are state-of-the-art in the field of horticultural illumination. NASA is presently using LED lights to grow plants in microgravity.

Strategy and Planning

A well-planned garden is more likely to thrive. Plan lots of grow room to produce a healthy garden that will reward your time and effort. Good lighting, soil with good drainage, nutrients, fresh air, room to grow, and a reliable water supply are all essential. Your garden will quickly become overgrown if you don’t give it some extra area to water.

Create a list based on your desired garden size and the plants you plan to cultivate. Don’t be shy about asking inquiries at the garden center near you. Most people who work at garden centers have extensive expertise in all things gardening.

Create a plan, double-check it, and then let’s start expanding!

Grower of Organic Vegetables

Bio-dome is my go-to for organic seed starting. Bio-domes provide the ideal conditions for seedling growth. There are cheap kits with everything you need to start seedlings at your neighborhood garden center or Wal-Mart for about four dollars.

You should often spritz your seedlings with a spray bottle. You should spray your plants occasionally as they expand.

Once your seeds have germinated, you can transplant them to individual containers outside the bio-dome.

Please note: *This is crucial.

Put in containers with good drainage. Your plants will be stunted in growth and produce fewer, smaller fruits if the soil or containers in which they are grown do not drain adequately. Over time, this can lead to the spread of disease and the introduction of pests.

Foxfarm soil is what I use exclusively when filling containers. This premium potting mix has all the essential ingredients your plants require by combining potent elements like worm compost, bat guano, and marine by-products like fish and crab meal. Foxfarm has a light, aerated texture thanks to the composted forest humus, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss that make up the soil. Foxfarm is the place to begin if you want to see your plants flourish.

I prefer to add a small amount of perlite to my mix for even better drainage.

Gardeners often fail because they don’t water their plants enough. It was annoying until I figured out how to properly water my plants without drowning them. Remember this one piece of advice for your garden if you remember nothing else about this post.

Dig a hole as wide as your finger and as deep as your second knuckle.

See if there’s any dampness.

Wetness can be detected by touch.

Try again tomorrow.

If the ground is too dry, digging deep holes will be difficult.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your plants require watering, don’t set up a watering schedule. You should only water your plant as much as it can absorb in around 30 minutes. This will allow your roots to take in oxygen and prevent root rot. The ultimate result will be a massive mass of roots that provides your plants with all the nutrition they need to create those delicious edibles.

Water quality is crucial, so keep that in mind. Water from the tap should be stored in containers for at least 24 hours if you can help it. Earlier than watering. The chlorine and other toxins will have a chance to disappear naturally. Chlorine in municipal tap water kills beneficial bacteria that promote plant growth.

Nutrients – It’s not enough to have healthy soil. The truth is that most of the nutrients you add to your ground will be gone within a few weeks. Depending on the type of plant you’re growing, you may need to amend the soil. A quick Google search for “homemade fertilizers” should yield many results for DIY organic composting. Since I don’t go that road, I won’t discuss it.

You can build a compost pile in your backyard, but I’ve found that it attracts too many pests to my plants, so I opt instead to purchase my nutrients already broken down and packaged for convenience. Everything I require is conveniently packaged in a bottle at a low cost. Foxfarm hydroponic plant food is what I primarily use, but not exclusively. I’m a grizzled veteran of the soil, but I appreciate the convenience of the bottled nutrients. Hydroponic plant food is not necessarily safe for use in the ground. Because of how well it serves me, I never intend to look elsewhere. The labels on the bottles contain clear and concise instructions.

Foxfarm’s Grow Big is a fast-acting, water-soluble fertilizer promoting dense, healthy garden foliage development. When your young plants need a boost early in the season, use Grow Big. Earthworm castings and Norwegian kelp are blended into this particular brew to encourage more vital, more nutritious stems and leaves. This mixture also contains enough nutrients and trace elements to promote the healthy branching necessary for more great buds and flowers later in the season.

Let new plants settle in for a few days, then use two tablespoons per gallon of water every time you water. Grow Big can also be used as foliar feeding, which should be applied to both sides of the leaves in the morning. Change to Tiger Bloom Liquid Plant Food as soon as flowers appear.

A flowering in sight? What Tiger Bloom wants gets. This high-potency fertilizer works quickly and has exactly the right amount of nitrogen to promote lush green growth throughout the flowering stage. The low pH maintains consistency and guarantees that plants can access the required micronutrients. Foxfarm’s liquid fertilizer is made using a biologically active solution that includes earthworm castings, kelp meal, and essential trace minerals.

When flowers initially appear in your garden, use Tiger Bloom at a rate of 2-3 tablespoons per gallon of water. Apply it as a foliar fertilizer on both sides of the leaves in the morning. Their Big Bloom liquid fertilizer can be applied late in the season to increase flowering and fruiting.

I also use a deodorized fish emulsion for any uses. This amount of nitrogen will sustain you for a couple of weeks.

Over 19 trace minerals and 11 different vitamins, including B-1 and B-12, can be found in Alaska Fish Fertilizer. Odorless, it can be used on plants both inside and out. The use of Maxicrop in tandem with other methods is expected. The plants will not be harmed.

Formation of Roots

This stage of development is crucial for your plant. A plant that lacks a robust root system will not receive enough water or nutrients to yield a fruitful harvest. If the plant’s root system is strong and healthy, it will be robust and healthy. The two are inseparable from one another.

So, I prefer to tend to the root system and feed it delicate nutrients to help it grow from the time it’s a seedling. This will guarantee abundant tomatoes and other harvests from my garden. For a mineral boost and thicker roots, I use Maxicrop liquid seaweed.

Maxicrop Seaweed Extract Liquid (Kelp)

Over 70 minerals, micronutrients, amino acids, and vitamins can be found in Maxicrop Kelp, extracted from fresh Norwegian kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum). Growth regulators are also present, which promote healthy root expansion and overall plant growth. Promotes plant hardiness in adverse conditions, including cold, pests, disease, and drought.

Finally, I utilize Earth Juice, a catalyst that I feed to my plants to maximize their absorption of nutrients. Increased nitrogen uptake guarantees a bountiful harvest from your plants.

Catalyst: Earth’s Own Juice

The Critical Link is a versatile and indispensable tool for everyone who cares about the health and productivity of their plants and trees at home or on the farm. Catalyst supplements the deficient elements, such as enzymes, hormones, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and surfactants, to increase crop yields. Combining organic or synthetic liquid and dry fertilizers is optimal.

You shouldn’t mix this with any artificial slow-release fertilizers. A fantastic natural replacement for synthetic B-1 supplements and growth hormones. Soft-stem cuttings can be cloned using this organic cloning solution.

Exhaust and ventilation systems

Providing your landscape with ample ventilation is crucial. Assuming your garden is exposed to the elements, a simple oscillating fan can serve as an air conditioner and an exhaust system. If you have to plant your garden in a small location like a closet, make sure the door is open as often as possible. Your garden will thrive with the help of this well-ventilated space.

A healthy, flourishing garden relies on adequate ventilation. Your plants will have thicker stalks thanks to the breeze, allowing them to hold more weight. I won’t go into further detail on this topic. Get a fan and open the windows to let some fresh air into the garden. It’ll think the world of you.

Choose an oscillating fan over a stationary one if you want greater flexibility. Covering all of your gardens thoroughly.

How much ventilation your garden needs will determine how bright your lights need to be. Some lamps emit too much heat and must be immediately pointed away from the garden. Here are some images to help you visualize exhaust fans, which are unnecessary when using compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Humidity and Temperature Regulation

Insects, mold, mildew, and overheating can all be avoided by maintaining a comfortable temperature and humidity. Temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity around 50%, are ideal for most houseplants; however, this varies by species.

This EcoPlus thermometer/hygrometer is what I’ve been using. They won’t break the bank and will prevent a lot of trouble down the road. They typically cost around $25.

· Ideal for keeping an eye on the weather in the garden.

Indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity readings are taken.

It keeps a record of the minimum and maximum values. Relative humidity and temperature readings inside and outside the building.

Swap between Fahrenheit and Celsius.

o Alarm clock feature

an option to toggle between 12 and 24-hour time formats

A Waterproof Temperature Probe

Extreme heat can cause the soil to dry up, killing off your plants.

Managing Pests

While some excellent organic pest killers and prevention treatments are available, I’ve found that the best ways to keep pests out of my garden are a combination of keeping things clean and performing regular preventative maintenance.

Before planting a single seed, ensure the growing space is immaculate. To disinfect, mix a few teaspoons of bleach with one gallon of water. Be careful to remove every piece of dust and debris from the corners of your grow space and spray it down before wiping it dry.

After that, I like to use an organic bug spray like Safer Brand. All the pests are scared away by this substance! It works best as a preventative approach to protect your plant buddies from pests. Seaweed extract is included to protect plants from disease and stress.

Certified organic by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), you can rest assured that you won’t be poisoning your plants or yourself. The soap, made from plant oils, eliminates pests by removing their waxy outer layer (beneficial insects like ladybugs and praying mantises, which have a hard outer shell, are unaffected by the soap).

A supply of Safer’s on hand will protect your garden from the many pests that might harm your plants, allowing them to flourish to their full potential.

Eliminating Mildew, Mold, and Fungi

My garden has a problem with fungi, molds, and mildew, and I’ve found that Safer Brand products work best. The entirety of my plant space is treated with their Garden Fungicide. Before you start planting, I recommend spraying the area down with Safer. Any remaining mold or mildew that could cause damage to your plants will be eliminated.

I believe these issues can be avoided altogether with diligent upkeep and care. In the end, you’ll have a growing area you can be proud of, and it will produce a harvest for you repeatedly if you only remember to maintain your work area clean and select an excellent organic product to keep on hand.

Rather than talking to your plants, why not sing to them?

It may seem absurd, but they enjoy it. You might whistle or develop a regular habit of breathing on your plants. You might invest in a pricey Co2 emitter, but your breath will suffice for a modest indoor garden.

I found the following online report regarding the significance of CO2:

Why Plants Need Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to Grow Properly

As part of the natural marvel known as photosynthesis, carbon dioxide (CO2) aids in plant growth. This allows plants to use light energy to mix carbon dioxide with water to produce sugar. Some of these sugars are transformed into complex chemicals that boost dry solid components in the plant, allowing it to continue growing and eventually reaching full maturity. However, when carbon dioxide is scarce or unavailable, plants cannot make full use of the sun’s energy, resulting in stunted growth or development.

There are only about 250–330 parts per million (0.03%) of carbon dioxide in the air, despite it being one of the three essential components that combine to form the products necessary for plant growth. Nitrogen makes up 78% of our air, oxygen 21%, and trace gases 0.97 %. Numerous studies have shown that greenhouses maintain significantly lower amounts of carbon dioxide than ambient air over the winter. The same thing happens in greenhouses, where conditions are carefully managed.

THE GROWTH AND QUALITY OF PLANTS ARE BOOSTED BY CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)

There is a direct correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and the rate at which plants grow under controlled laboratory conditions.

Plants may have different minimum carbon dioxide levels for growth. However, research shows that most plants will stop growing once the CO2 level drops below 150 ppm. A considerable reduction in plant growth is observed even at 220 ppm.

Carnations and other flowers were tested in a greenhouse at Colorado State University with carbon dioxide concentrations ranging from 200 to 550 parts per million. Dry plant matter formation speed, total flower production, and market value were all dramatically boosted by the elevated CO2 concentrations.

Simply put, the amount of Co2 in the air will increase the size and quality of your crops. Talking, singing, breathing, or whistling to your plants will have a considerable effect.

In addition, a carbon dioxide enhancement kit could help you sing even better. You can get one for $75 to $150 from online retailers. What a huge difference this would make! Strongly Encouraged for Use in Bigger Gardens!!

So relax and have fun with your new garden. Your garden will reward you often if you tend to it carefully and patiently.

You may find all the things discussed here at my online shop. If you’re interested in taking a peek, head over to

Best wishes,

Ward, Josh

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