How Does Your Garden Grow?

How to grow an indoor garden: Part one

By Katherine Clarkson
Posted 11/21/19

It is that time of year: the days are getting shorter, the nights are longer and the chilling weather succeeds the warmth of the sizzling sun.

Winter seems to sneak up on me with the first …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in
How Does Your Garden Grow?

How to grow an indoor garden: Part one

Posted

It is that time of year: the days are getting shorter, the nights are longer and the chilling weather succeeds the warmth of the sizzling sun.

Winter seems to sneak up on me with the first snowfall and I am reminded that the ground will soon freeze and the garden covered with a dense blanket of snow — which means it is the time to transition to indoor gardening.

Whether you are craving a fresh harvest or just yearning to see something grow, it is amazing what you can grow indoors with some determination. 

There are several factors to consider when growing an indoor garden. This month I want to focus on light. You will need a source of artificial light plus natural light.

When determining the proper light you want to take into consideration the spectrum of the light, light intensity, and light duration. These factors work cooperatively for vigorous plant growth. 

Sunlight has a complete spectrum of light, which is evident in a rainbow. Plants need these wavelengths for various functions and for photosynthesis, the process in which plants produce food. When choosing a light, keep in mind that red wavelengths encourages stem growth, flowering and fruit production. Blue light encourages vegetative growth, root development and photosynthesis. You can purchase grow lights that are full-spectrum and have different settings that replica red and blue wavelengths.

The intensity of light is determined by the brightness of the bulb and how close the light is to the plant. Not all plants require the same intensity but in general, flowering plants and vegetable plants demand a stronger intensity. One indicator that your plant is receiving too much light is that the leaves toward the top will turn yellow, while the inside veins remain green.

Light duration is also important, no matter what plants you are raising; darkness is just as significant as light! When the lights go out, plants typically grow more because they have an entire day of energy built up and flower production is provoked.

Plants are customarily separated into three categories pertaining to their preferred day length. Day-neutral plants are commonly satisfied with eight to 12 hours of light. Short-day plants will flourish on fewer than 12 hours a day. Long-day plants require 14 to 18 hours of light each day.

We have touched on different and important functions of light and next month I will provide some examples of day-neutral, short-day and long-day plants, explain different growing mediums and present what plants flourish best indoors.

While you are waiting for your indoor garden to sprout, here is a wonderful recipe for fall harvest fruit. Apple Chutney is a marvelous accompaniment to curries, rice, lamb, or cheese.

You will need:

  • 1 pound apples (cored and diced into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger (peeled, sliced into thin matchsticks)
  • 1/2 cup monk fruit
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Directions: Warm the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat, then add the cumin and fennel seeds — they should sizzle upon contact — and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the onions, stir often and cook until the onions turn golden. Now add the garam masala and crushed red pepper; cook and stir vigorously for about 30 seconds.

Add the apples, ginger, monk fruit, apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper; stir and cook until the monk fruit melts. Keep cooking until the apples soften, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasonings. 

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, suggestions or comments please email me at katherineclarkson2@gmail.com — and have an excellent Thanksgiving!

(Katherine Clarkson of Wapiti is the president of the Park County Master Gardeners.)

Comments