organic gardening

Indoor Gardening and Organic Herb Garden Lighting

You can easily grow culinary and medicinal herbs year round indoors, and have a continuous supply of the fresh herbs you love. Many herbs are well-suited to container gardening, and they are attractive plants to have in your home and they smell wonderful, too. The key to growing herbs year round is making sure you have the right organic herb garden lighting.

Light Requirements

Before you rush out and buy an expensive organic herb garden lighting system, you need to know what your herbs’ light requirements are. All plants need light for photosynthesis. Animals eat food; plants manufacture all of the food for any ecosystem by combining carbon dioxide and water in the presence of chlorophyll and sunlight to make sugars. These sugars provide the building blocks for all other nutrients.

Different plants have different light requirements. Some plants prefer to grow in the shade and burn easily in full sun. Some prefer full sun and don’t grow well in shade. Most herbs prefer full sun, but there are exceptions. Check with a local gardening expert or a good organic gardening book to see what the light requirements are for the herbs you plan to grow. Plants also need dark periods for optimal health. Most plants will grow under 24/7 lighting, but they do better with several hours of darkness every day.

Incandescent Lights

Incandescent lights are a poor choice for organic herb garden lighting, even if they are called “grow lights.” Incandescent lights have the wrong type of light to stimulate plant growth because they are too “hot.” Incandescent lights are an excellent choice for display lighting on your indoor herb garden, but they must be placed at least 24 inches away from the plants to prevent burning.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights are a good choice for your indoor organic herb garden lighting. Fluorescents are inexpensive, easily available, easy to set up and they have full-spectrum lighting. Fluorescents need to be placed no more than four inches from the plants, so you have to keep moving them as your herbs grow.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lights

Even better for organic herb garden lighting are high intensity discharge lights. These are very affordable and more efficient than fluorescent lights. There are two types of HID organic herb gardening lighting: MH (metal halide) and HPS (high pressure sodium).

MH lights give off energy in the blue end of the light spectrum. This is similar to the light at midday in midsummer. This light stimulates plant growth, especially of leaves. It is ideal for many herbs and for leafy vegetables, like lettuce or spinach. HPS light gives off energy in the orange part of the spectrum and is similar to evening light or fall light. Orange spectrum light encourages flowering and fruit production. An HPS organic herb gardening lighting system will help herbs like nasturtium, calendula and lavender to bloom.

You can get combination and convertible HID organic herb garden lighting systems, so that you can start seedlings under MH light and then switch to HPS light to encourage flowering. Adding an organic herb garden lighting system to your indoor herb garden will ensure that you have plenty of fresh, healthy herbs all year long.

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Gardening Tip #11

Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth but there are others that resent having their roots disturbed. Or their roots system may be small enough that they don't require re-potting. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant.