You want to grow your own fresh, healthy food. But something is stopping you. Maybe your growing season isn’t long enough. Or maybe your outdoor space didn’t get enough sunlight. Or maybe you don’t even have open space.
This guide covers what equipment you will need, what plants you need to grow, and what the ideal growing conditions look like.
1. Grow Lights
For indoor gardens, lighting is most important. Without proper light, plants become long-legged (ie tall, thin and weak) – if they grow at all. I have found that even when grown next to a sunny window facing south, most plants tend to struggle. For best results, you should supplement the natural light with growth lights. If you don’t, you’ll probably be disappointed.
There are several types of cultivation lights to choose from, ranging in price and efficiency. As you read about the advantages and disadvantages of each of them below, keep in mind that the light for growth is not just a light bulb. Unless you buy a complete set, you will also need to find compatible reflectors, cables, ballasts, and other parts.
Not much has changed about incandescent bulbs since Thomas Edison invented them in 1879. Although they are cheap and easily available, incandescent lights are the least effective option for indoor gardening. They will increase your utility bill, produce more heat than light, and burn faster than other options. I would not recommend using them for Indoor Growing Canada plants.
A common – and perhaps most popular – choice for home gardeners, fluorescent lights use ¼ energy, last about 10 times longer, and produce more light compared to incandescent bulbs (energ.gov). They are great for starting seeds and growing greens, herbs, and other plants with low to medium lighting requirements.
The primary disadvantage of fluorescent bulbs is that they do not produce enough light to efficiently grow fruit-bearing plants, such as pumpkins and tomatoes.
There are several different types of fluorescent bulbs that are commonly used for indoor gardening:
The T5, T8, and T12 bulbs are long and tube-shaped. T5 is the narrowest and most efficient of them. Due to its smaller surface area, the T5 bulb produces the most intense light with the least energy. In addition, it does not produce much heat, so it can be placed very close to the plants to maximize its effect.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the same size as typical incandescent lamps – but much more efficient. CFLs are useful for lighting individual plants or seedlings, but not necessarily for the entire Tower Garden.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
HID lights are commonly used for larger growing spaces, such as commercial greenhouses. They produce higher light intensity, they are more efficient than fluorescent lights. But they are also large and expensive, which makes them less popular among home gardeners.
There are 2 types of HID lights that are commonly used for indoor gardening:
Metal halide (MH) lights produce cold light (which, remember, is best for compact leaf growth).
High-pressure sodium lamps (HPS) emit warm color light. But using only HPS light often causes plants to become long-legged.
If you decide to use HID lights for cultivation, pair MH with HPS to encourage balanced growth for all types of plants.
Light-emitting diode (LED)
Relatively new in the world of indoor gardening, LED cultivation lights are incredibly light, compact, and efficient. But as with HID lights, they often cost quite a penny in advance compared to fluorescent lights. Or at least they used to be.
Tower Garden now offers LED growth lights that are both very efficient and pleasantly affordable.
You don’t need a timer, but it will make your life easier. For healthy development, plants need sleep (ie darkness), just like us. Using a timer to turn the lights on and off automatically will save you the trouble of remembering to do so.
It is important to facilitate the circulation of air around your plants, and starting a small fan is an easy way to do that. Maintaining air movement will help prevent problems such as leaf fungus and garden pests.
3. Carpet with rubber base
The credit goes to Tower Gardener Nanci Kroupa for proposing this on the Tower Garden Facebook page. Place your indoor Tower Garden on a mat or rubber mat to protect the floor from any accidental spills that may occur when refilling water tanks or performing other maintenance tasks. Like the timer, this is not necessary, but it is useful.
Ideal conditions for indoor gardening
It is easy to create the right conditions for a successful indoor Tower Garden. In addition to typical maintenance tasks, there are only a few important variables to manage:
Turning on the lights for at least 14 hours a day should bring good results. But you can experiment with a longer duration, as long as your plants still have 6+ hours of darkness.
2. Pump timer setting
When growing outdoors, you should set the pump timer to 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. But in a colder environment with a controlled climate, the roots of the plants do not dry as quickly as outside. Changing the timer to 15 minutes on and 45 minutes off when Indoor Growing Canada is a way to save some energy and prevent excessive watering.
Most plants will grow best between 65-75 ° F.
Congratulations – with this knowledge, you are ready to grow your own food indoors all year round! Season, light, and spatial obstacles are a thing of the past.
The easiest way to get started? Order the Garden Grove Lights Kit. It comes with everything you need, so you can quickly assemble, connect and grow it! Just make sure you are ready for all the fresh produce. I had to be creative with my abundance of kale!