Seed Pack Instructions

February 17, 2019

When starting seedlings indoors for your outdoor garden, you must prepare the seeds early enough to plant outside at the optimal time. Refer to your seed packets for seed timing, depth, and spacing instructions. Sometimes, these instructions are in the inside of the packet.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Know that your climate is unique and you may need to plant earlier or later than your seed pack recommends, based on your first and last freeze dates, and how warm your summer temperatures get.

Gardening Under Lights Book


Best Temperatures for Dendrobium Orchids

February 16, 2019

When you grow orchids indoors, you'll need to pay attention to their temperature preferences. Orchids tend to fall into warm-, moderate-, or cool-temperature categories.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Dendrobium orchids fall into the cool temperature loving orchids category. This means daytime temperatures between 60°F and 70°F (15–21°C) and night temperatures between 50°F and 55°F (10–13°C).

Gardening Under Lights Book


Temperature and Humidity Levels

February 15, 2019

When growing plants indoors, it is critical to understand how temperature affects your crops and how to manipulate it to improve your yields. I monitor the temperature and humidity closely in order to provide the correct conditions for each crop to thrive and produce.

I can provide optimum temperature and humidity levels for my tomatoes growing in a tent under a CMH lamp.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Use a thermometer with a humidity gauge to keep an eye on ideal growing conditions.

Gardening Under Lights Book


Watts Only Tell You How Much Electricity Your Grow Lamp Uses

February 14, 2019

Watts tell you how much energy your lamp is using and how expensive it may be for you to run the lamp. You can use watts to estimate the size or quantity of lights you may need. While a lamp can seem very powerful because it uses many watts, if it is not efficient, it may convert too much of that electricity into unwanted heat instead of light.

This compact fluorescent bulb uses 26 watts to operate, and it will fit into many home fixtures.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

If you base your lighting choices purely on wattage, you may end up with an unnecessarily large electricity bill and a lot of wasted energy in the form of unwanted heat.

Gardening Under Lights Book


Tips for Growing Cucumbers Indoors

February 13, 2019

There are a few tricks to growing great cucumbers indoors. Cucumbers are day-neutral, and will flower and fruit under a variety of photoperiods and you can grow them successfully with anywhere from 12 to 18 hours of light.

'Martini' Cucumber
PC: Ball Horticultural Company

If you’re growing cucumbers inside a grow tent and temperatures are warmer during the day, be sure night temperatures are cooler. Cucumbers can handle warm conditions, but perform best at temperatures between 70°F and 75°F (21–24°C). Keep plants consistently watered at all times to avoid blossom end rot.

Unless you happen to have bees buzzing around in your house or grow tent, you're going to have to do some hand pollination on your cucumber plants. Use a small paintbrush to transfer pollen from male flowers to female flowers.

New BOOK! Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers


Trouble Germinating Seeds?

February 12, 2019

Some seeds are more difficult to germinate than others because they have a very hard, protective seed coat. While most annual vegetable seeds do not require any special preparation for germination, seeds of some natives, perennials, and fruits require a bit of extra work, whether soaking, scarification, or stratification.

Borage plants are prolific seed producers.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Research the plant you want to germinate to determine whether it needs any chitting, scarification, or dry or moist stratification to germinate successfully.

Gardening Under Lights Book


Temperature Triggers Flowering in Some Plants

February 11, 2019

Temperature can trigger flowering in some plants. As temperatures cool, respiration slows and sugar storage increases in some plants. Warming temperatures, after this period of cold, can break the dormancy.

Broccoli going to flower in warm temperatures. The bees love it.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Temperature also influences fruit set, fruit ripening, flavor, and even flower color and size.

Gardening Under Lights Book


CFLs are Efficient Grow Lights in Small Spaces

February 10, 2019

A CFL is a good option if you want the efficiency and effectiveness of a fluorescent lamp but prefer to use a spotlight fixture, track lighting, or other directional lamp for a group of houseplants or a single large houseplant. CFLs look like a twisted or folded-up fluorescent tube.

A close up of a large CFL lamp.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

If you have big plants or an expansive grow area, or are growing inside a grow tent or a closet, you can use larger CFLs with light reflectors to spread the light over a larger area and quantity of plants.

Gardening Under Lights Book



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