In the past, winter meant months and waiting and nothing to do but plan ahead for spring without any reprieve and without any way of practising the hobby of gardening.
Times have changed thankfully. Today indoor growing is becoming much more popular. Especially in winter. Indoor grow lights have advanced and there are choices for you to do indoor growing from tabletop light stands to full-blown grow tents or Climate Rooms. Lights stands are perfect for growing herbs and the like in your kitchen. These are great for putting into sunny areas in your home where you wish to grow and you just add light as needed. So, if we are getting only 10 hours of light then you set up your timer to add another 6 hours or so of artificial light which makes a sufficient amount of light to grow confidently. Of course, the great part is that if you don't have a sunny area the lights can be set to run 16 hours a day and will work perfectly even without natural sunlight.
Winter is a stressful and damaging season for indoor plants,
so they may require some care and attention to maintain good health. With the shorter, darker days, plant growth slows dramatically. Watering and feeding schedules must be adjusted accordingly.
Plants use much less water and food under winter conditions so the soil in the pot need longer to dry out. Open blinds and curtains during the day to let in as much natural light as possible. Consider moving plants to brighter spots for the winter. Installing grow lights may also be an option for some plants that require longer daylight periods.
Indoor houseplants can be fickle at times, depending on the plant and location, a lot of gardeners tend to look after their houseplants as they would their garden. It is common practice to mist houseplants to increase humidity. This method is acceptable but is time consuming and the benefits to the plant are often short lived. There are alternative ways to combat dry air problems such as we have here. One way is to stand the plant on a tray of damp pebbles. The subsequent rising water vapour is trapped between the leaves. This "trapping" of the water can also be achieved by setting dishes of water around the plant. The other way to increase humidity is to bunch plants together with strength in numbers as more foliage can "trap" more water that's in the air. In this way they can create their own little micro climate.
Giving your plants a solid spray with water to wash off the leaves is a good practice this keeps dust from clogging up the stomata (essentially these are pores) in the leaves that they breathe through. A leaf cleaner will give them a beautiful shine!
These tents are perfect for gardeners who like to start plants that need a long summer which we don't have, or plants that you would like to start from seed that take a long time be ready before they can transplanted into our gardens. Things like petunias, strawberries and peppers need months to come to fruition and a great way to get well ahead of summer is to start growing these plants in the deep winter. You can also grow tomatoes and other veggies that can be harvested all through the winter, which is an amazing way to get your gardening fix! There are many types of lights that you can utilize in your tent from LED to full spectrum metal halide and everything in-between. This means you don't limit yourself and that you can grow hydroponically, or in soilless mixtures, or even speciality growing mediums. Pretty much anything you can grow outside and maybe a few that you can't, you can now grow inside no problem. Here are a few tips when looking into your new indoor garden:
Choose a set up that will fit your needs. If you only plan of growing small amounts of plants a t-stand light will do. Larger amounts will need bigger lights that cover more area.
Choose your grow tent in person to check that the frame is robust enough to carry your lights and that the canopy is well made and the zipper is easy to use and well sewn in.
Consider using two tents one for propagation and one to transfer to, or use one tent for plants that need less light and one for plants that need more.
Choose a good spot for your tent. It will need access to water and power. Although most tents catch water overspill you may want to avoid carpet or hardwood.
Ensure you have enough light to adequately cover the plants you are growing. It might be a good idea to know what is happening in your tent when you are not watching. High low temps and humidity gauges are good things to know.
Consider venting your tent. Air movement is critical and a vent can also evacuate excess moisture. Good ventilation will also ensure your tent doesn't get too hot.
If you're not sure about indoor growing or have questions just come in and see us.
Hydroponic gardening may seem intimidating but is actually really simple: it's literally just growing without soil. There are a number of different methods to grow hydroponically, but one of the best is with a recirculating system.
The Root Farm™ Hydro Garden System is a water-based, recirculating growing device that continuously pumps nutrient solution to your plants. You control the growing environment so it's easier to give your plants exactly what they need to thrive.
The first step to growing with the Root Farm™ Hydro Garden System is starting your seeds or cuttings. Once they're big enough and you can see roots growing outside of the plugs, pellets or tray they're ready to be transplanted.
The Root Farm Hydro Garden System is easy to use and takes the guess work and measuring out of the equation when using Root Farm fertilizers and nutrients.
Find out more here in Root Farm's video:
Most people think that growing hydroponically means growing in water. Although water-based growing is one hydro method, you can also grow hydro using a felt pot, growing mix, and liquid nutrients. Using a hydro growing mix is usually easier for beginners, because it acts as a buffer against nutrient mishaps.
To get started, you'll need a Root Farm™ Felt Garden Pot. Felt pots are great for hydro gardening, because they are made of a breathable material which allows for better aeration and drainage than traditional pots.
Root Farm™ Felt Garden Pots come in two sizes to fit a wide range of plants. Our small felt pot is great for growing smaller plants like oregano or lettuce. In the larger pots, you can grow medium plants like peppers or a few small plants like Swiss chard. You could also grow larger plants that need a little more space, like tomatoes or hydrangeas.
Come in and check out the Root Farm systems here at greengate Garden Centres.
Spring and Re-potting
Moving Houseplants as the days get longer, and the sunlight more intense, our houseplants are waking from their winter "sleep". This time of active growth, around the end of February is the best time to repot.
Select a new container about 2 inches (5 cm.) larger than the old one. Add a layer of soil, so that the plant will be at the desired height. You do not want to bury the plant any deeper than it is now. Loosen the root mass slightly; especially if it is solid from being constricted by the old pot.d practice this keeps dust from clogging up the stomata (essentially these are pores) in the leaves that they breathe through. A leaf cleaner will give them a beautiful shine!