How to Growing Herbs Indoors With Artificial Light?

As we all know herbs will do a lot of benefits to our health. This is why it is in demand nowadays because people are becoming health conscious. However, not all people have the privilege to have them because they are mostly expensive.

One way of having them is by having your supply of herbs in your home. Let’s tackle the topic of growing herbs indoors with artificial light.

Why grow herbs indoors?

Growing herbs outside is a pretty good idea if you have a tidy garden and clean surroundings. But the problem arises if you don’t have sufficient space outdoors or the air outside is polluted. 

The only way is to grow it indoors if you want to pursue that goal of having your supply of herbs. Since herbs are dependent on sunlight for them to maximize their growth, growing them indoors can be a challenge.

The Solution: Artificial Light

Do not worry, because there is a solution. By using artificial lights it can substitute for sunlight. As a result, the herb will grow according to its size. So as a result, you’ll get a nice supply of herbs that you can use for various purposes. 

Well, you can use herbs for various purposes such as the following:

  • To give a nice flavor to the dishes that you are cooking
  • It can be a good remedy for various illnesses
  • It will be able to provide fresher air mot especially if it is placed indoors
  • Herbs can be a good ornamental design for your home

How do you set up an artificial light for growing herbs indoors? 

To grow herbs with artificial light, you’ll need to know the basics. It will make sure that no problems will arise on this attempt of your to grow herbs indoors.

  • Ensure that the light has proper mounting. Since the light will be on several times a day, you do not want it to loosen and eventually drop on your herbs. It can cause accidents too. This is the reason why you should mount it the right way. Make sure that the screws are tightened carefully as well as the bulb.
  • The proper distance of the light and your herbs. It is known that herbs do need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. So the rule of the thumb is if you are using artificial lighting then 14 to 16 hours exposure to it is a must. Always put the herbs on the part of your house which has a lower ceiling for them to get more exposure from the light.
  • Use LED grow lights or HID bulbs. Not only that they consume lesser power but also much brighter compared to their incandescent counterpart. 
  • Put a sturdy container. Since the herb will grow exponentially, it is a must that they have sufficient space. This will ensure that their growth will not get stunted over time.
  • Proper ventilation. The place must have proper ventilation so that the plant will get a significant amount of air which is better for growth.

The Best Plants to Grow Indoors Under an Artificial Light

But before anything else, it is important to know the herbs that you will plant. Generally speaking, there are thousands of herbs on our planet but there are only a few ones that you can grow indoors successfully. 

Here are the herbs that you can consider growing indoors with artificial lights:

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Thyme

The list of herbs is not limited to that but those are the most popular herbs to grow indoors with artificial light. You can try out other herbs if you want to and check if they respond perfectly to artificial light.

How to maintain good growth of the herbs indoors with artificial light?

There are several ways for you to ensure that your herbs will grow properly. In this part of the article, we will discuss some of the tips that you can use immediately.

  • Check for bug infestation. The main enemy of plants is a bug that is why makes sure that there are no bugs present on the area where you planted your herbs. What you must do is to check the containers from time to time. Since bugs multiply quickly you must prevent it from happening beforehand.
  • Water them regularly. Aside from artificial lights, you’ll still need to water the herbs regularly. This will ensure that the right moisture will be met. As a result, the herbs will not dry out easily.
  • Harvest just the right amount. Harvesting the one you planted will give you a lot of satisfaction. But be sure not to overdo it. This is because it can damage the aesthetics of the plant making it inefficient in absorbing the light from your LED or HID bulbs.

Specialized Lights

Nowadays, growing herbs indoors with artificial light became easier. There are specialized lights made to supply better heat to the herbs that are planted indoors. It is called “UV Lights”, they mimic the same levels of sunlight heat which is beneficial for all kinds of indoor plants. Some also use them to supply heat to pet animals.

Conclusion

No doubt growing herbs indoors can be made easier with artificial lights. It gives a sufficient amount of heat required for those herbs to grow. So you don’t have worries anymore if you have no space to plant outdoors. Just try it out and see for yourself how rewarding an experience can be once you successfully planted herbs inside your home.

See also:

How to grow watercress indoors?

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How To Grow Watercress Indoors?

It is known that watercress has lots of benefits for health. This is why it is a good idea to have a bountiful supply of watercress in your home. But if you do not have any idea of how to grow watercress indoors then it can be stressful. So in this article, we will help you with that, so let’s start.

The Uses of Watercress

Before we discuss how to grow watercress indoors, we must know the uses of watercress. This will give you an idea of how you will utilize it.

  • Can be a therapeutic herb. It is known that watercress can help relieve stress away from our bodies. As a result, we will feel revitalized and prevent certain illnesses.
  • Perfect for making tasty dishes. It can be used to add some flavor to the foods that you are cooking. It will make them more desirable to eat. 
  • For interior design. There is no contest that watercress provides an elegant atmosphere inside our homes. It adds up some sort of design without the need to spend a hefty amount of cash.
  • Used as a vegetable to consume. Since it belongs to the family of broccolis then expect that you’ll get the same nutritional content. A lot of people particularly in Europe use this as an added ingredient on their salad.
  • Good for soups and sandwiches. It is a great addition to those foods to make them healthier.

How watercress is formed?

Watercress is not that demanding when it comes to requirements for it to grow. So growing it in the wild is an easy thing to do because they can grow anywhere as long as there is a supply of water.

Its roots and stems are known for its good suction power. As a result, it can sustain its life for long periods.

The Health Benefits of Watercress

Before we proceed to teach you how to grow watercress indoors, let’s tackle its health benefits first. In this part of the article, we will list down its health benefits on bulleted points.

  • It is good for brain health
  • It can enhance vision
  • It can improve the immune system
  • Strengthens bones

The perfect timing to plant one

Just like any other plant, you must have the right timing before you plan to grow watercress. This will heighten the chances of successfully growing the watercress.

It is suggested that you plant them when the cool season arrives. This ensures that the plant has enough moisture to maximize its growth potential.

The Essentials

For you to grow the watercress successfully, be sure to follow these tips correctly.

  • Find a shady spot. This will make sure that the watercress will not dry out particularly in the summer season.
  • Put it in movable containers. It will allow you to change the location of the plants much easier. So that if there is extreme contact to sunlight on a particular time of the day you can move them to a cooler area.
  • Never use garden soil. Watercress is known to be responsive to peat with vermiculite compared to garden soil. This is because peat retains more water which is beneficial for their growth. Although in wild, they grow in an absolute water surface being unable to mimic its natural environment is not a problem. You can just fill its pot with water from time to time to ensure that the plant will not experience dryness.
  • Use dual containers. It is a standard operating procedure to use in growing plants such as watercress which is completely reliant on saturation. The smaller container with holes beneath is placed at the top then a wire is used to connect it to the bigger container. For the smaller container, you can cover up its big holes with a coffee filter.
  • Plastic containers are better than clay pots. Water evaporation is reduced with the use of plastic containers. As a result, water retention is achieved which will be beneficial for the watercress’ growth.
  • Proper propagation. Stem cutting is one of the best ways to grow watercress indoors. You just have to place it in the container with sufficient vermiculite and peat then add some water, and then you are good to go.

Step-By-Step Instructions 

We have finished discussing the tips regarding growing watercress indoors. Right now, let’s discussed the step-by-step instructions for better comprehension of the subject matter.

  1. Cut out some stem from fully-grown watercress.
  2. Put it on a container that is filled with water. Let it sit there so that its roots will absorb the moisture that is brought by water.
  3. Get a container then put vermiculite and peat then sprinkle it with some water.
  4. Plant the cuttings in it by putting 1 to 3 cuttings per container.

However, if you opt to choose seedlings over cuttings then it’s alright. The method is pretty simple too, you just have to stuff the seedlings on the substrate then put some moisture to it by sprinkling some water.

Conclusion

Now you know the basics on how to grow watercress indoors, the next thing that you have to do is to take action. Growing one will require patience since it is just like the same with other plants that you have to wait for the results. It is not an overnight process but everything will be worth it once you reap the fruits of your labor.

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Ordering seed garlic for your fall garden

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Ordering Seed Garlic for your Fall Garden

Are you sensing a theme yet? It’s July, it’s hot and humid outside, and I’m up to my ears in tomatoes and beans. I’ve only just harvest the first few okra pods, but here I am thinking about this year’s garlic seed order.

For those of you who are new to garlic cultivation: it goes in the ground in the late fall, lies dormant through the winter, and then does most of its growing in the spring for an early summer harvest. Although it occupies a place in the garden for seven or eight months of the year, it does so during a time where there is less garden activity and less of a demand for that space. And homegrown garlic is such a revelation that it’s worth the wait.

My relationship with garlic is…unique. At times, it’s bordered on obsession. I’ve spent many seasons fretting and fuming over garlic-growing challenges, wept over losses to rain and rot, skipped an entire year of growing it because I couldn’t handle the stress of bringing it to market anymore, and when I finally let it go and mostly ignored this past year’s planting I got incredibly lucky with respect to the weather and had my best harvest to date. I’ve read garlic books cover-to-cover, pored over varietal descriptions online, grown more than a dozen different cultivars, and performed garlic taste-tests complete with sprigs of parsley to cleanse the palate between samples.

I might have a bit of a garlic problem.

I could wax poetic about all the reasons to grow garlic, but I’ll leave that for another post. Today, let’s assume you’ve already decided that you would like to grow some this year and need to source some seed.

What Is “Seed Garlic,” and Why Is It So Expensive?

The term “seed garlic” can be a little confusing–with a name like that, you might expect it to come in a nice, neat little packet like the seed of other allium family members like onions and leeks. But modern garlic doesn’t often set seed as we know it. Over hundreds of years of domestication, garlic has almost entirely lost the ability to reproduce sexually–that is, by flowering and setting seed. Some hardneck varieties can still perform this type of reproduction with the help of a human hand, but seed viability is extremely low (less than 10% germination).

The reason for this loss of reproductive ability is because humans have long capitalized on garlic’s ability to reproduce asexually through clove division. So when you see a reference to “seed garlic,” it’s actually a reference to a whole bulb of garlic, which is composed of multiple cloves. Each individual clove will yield a new plant.

Here’s the rub, though: the bulb size of the new plant is directly related to the size of the original clove. So the biggest and best garlic bulbs will come from the biggest and best cloves…which in turn come from the biggest and best bulbs of the prior year’s harvest. So when garlic farmers sort their crop, they save back the biggest bulbs to plant or sell as seed, sell the mid-sized bulbs at market for fresh eating, and keep the smallest bulbs for their own use. Since seed garlic is literally the cream of the crop, gardeners and farmers can expect to pay a premium for those big, beautiful bulbs.

Sourcing Your Seed Garlic

So seed garlic is going to be expensive no matter where you look. But it’s sometimes more economical to purchase your seed garlic directly from garlic farmers rather than from seed companies. The seed companies are usually purchasing the garlic from the individual farmers anyway, but then have to mark up the retail price to get a return. There’s certainly nothing wrong with purchasing seed garlic from a reputable company, but you will often pay more per pound.

On the other hand, ordering from seed companies can be convenient–some carry enough different varieties that they can serve as a one-stop shop for your garlic-growing needs. Some of them also offer smaller units of purchase or even sampler packs, which can be helpful if your growing space is limited but you’d like to try several different varieties. Whether you order direct from farms or from seed companies, it’s fairly easy to find certified organic stock.


And in case you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about just getting garlic from the grocery store to plant: it’s really not a great idea. Sometimes it’s been sprayed with chemical growth inhibitors to prolong its shelf life, and more often than not it hasn’t been handled very gently during transport–which can lead to damaged or rotted cloves, which you definitely don’t want to plant. And most of the garlic you’ll find in the stores is “California Early” or a related softneck variety grown more for storage than for flavor. Of course, I see local newspaper articles crop up every few years sharing the tales of backyard gardeners who just “planted what [they] got from the store” and swear by it. So it can work in a pinch. But there’s a whole world of garlic out there for you to explore!

Order Early for Best Selection

Depending on where they’re located, most garlic farms bring in the year’s harvest from June through August. Many of them–and the seed companies they supply–begin taking orders a few weeks before harvest, once they can be confident they’ll have a crop to sell. The demand for seed garlic–from small market farms and from backyard gardeners–is only growing, but there aren’t that many new garlic farms selling seed on a yearly basis. So many farms and seed companies sell out of certain varieties quickly, leaving the latecomers to take what they can get. If you want a good selection of cultivars to choose from, it’s best to get your orders in starting in July. But if you’re a little late, don’t panic. Some of the more exotic varieties will probably be sold out by the end of August, but more common ones like “California Early” and “Music” can often be had well into the fall because they’re grown in larger quantities.

It will usually be posted in a prominent place on their website, but do note that most farms and seed companies don’t ship seed garlic until a little closer to planting time–usually beginning in September–because fresh garlic must cure for several weeks after harvest and then the farms must sort and grade their harvest.

How Much Seed Garlic Should You Order?

Figuring out how much seed garlic to order can be a little tricky. First, seed garlic is expensive–so if you’re trying your hand at garlic cultivation for the very first time, you’ll want to start small. Second, it’s impossible to say that X pounds of garlic will plant Y row feet because different varieties have different numbers of cloves per bulb–and the number of cloves in your order determines the number of new plants you’ll have. For instance, “German Extra Hardy” has a hard limit of 4-5 cloves per bulb, while “Inchelium Red” has anywhere from 10-18 cloves per bulb. So one pound of the former won’t go nearly as far in terms of row feet as the latter. Many farms and seed companies that sell seed garlic will include this information in their cultivar descriptions, and I’ve seen some websites that even provide an “average cloves per pound” number, which is very helpful.

You’ll see a lot of different numbers for garlic spacing, but the most important thing to take away is that garlic actually does better when it’s planted more densely (to a certain point). I use a 6″ spacing both within my rows and between my rows, and plant three rows across in a 32″ wide raised bed. So if you’re mathematically inclined, you can calculate your available space and figure out how many cloves will fit in it, then order the appropriate quantity.
But if you’re a new gardener and just want to get started, here’s my advice: do not order more than 1-2 pounds of seed garlic total for your first outing, and limit yourself to 2-4 varieties total. Once you have your first year of garlic growing under your belt, then you can go crazy and grow a dozen different varieties at a time. Because if you get bitten by the garlic bug…well, it’s easy to go overboard.

Another quick note for those new to garlic cultivation: there are two primary types of garlic, hardneck and softneck. In general, hardneck varieties do better in areas with cold winters, while softnecks do well in both cold and warm winter areas. That said, I live in South Carolina and grow a mix of hardneck and softneck varieties each year. If we have a very mild winter, the hardnecks might not do that well and will produce only small bulbs–but when we luck out and get a cold winter like this past one, it’s possible to get some really nice-sized hardneck bulbs. If you live in an area with warm winters like us and are risk-averse, only order softneck varieties. If you’re comfortable with experimentation, though, I’d recommend trying both types.

A Few Seed Garlic Sources

I’ve ordered from a wide variety of garlic farms and seed companies over the years. The list below is far from comprehensive; in fact, it’s just scratching the surface. The entries here were selected mostly for their broad cultivar selections and certified organic options, not necessarily their prices. There are lots of small garlic farms selling seed out there, and most large mid- to large seed companies will offer at least a few varieties of garlic for sale. So you can shop around to get the best price and most obscure varieties, or you can do all your shopping in one place. Either way, get those orders in soon!

Big John’s Garden | Filaree Farm | Hood River Garlic Grey Duck Garlic
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply Seed Savers Exchange Territorial Seed Company

P.S. I hesitate to recommend specific garlic varieties because what will grow well for you will likely be different than what grows well for me–depending on your zone, your soil, your winter temperatures, and so on. But my favorite garlic varieties include “German Extra Hardy,” “Inchelium Red,” “Chesnok Red,” “Silver White,” “Spanish Roja,” and “Georgian Fire.”

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