Improvements in plant lighting have helped indoor gardens grow by leaps and bounds. Today it’s possible to produce large quantities of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, succulents and all kinds of beautiful flowers in your own home all year round! Here, we discuss the latest news and information related to grow lights and hydroponics to houseplants and plant propagation.
You already know about green roofs. But green walls? Yes! A friend interested in interior design introduced me to the notion of living walls and it didn’t take much to discover how fast the idea is catching on. Also called “vertical gardening,” the idea is being championed by a number of eco-minded builders of both large buildings and small. Businesses devoted specifically to living walls are popping up, self-contained living-wall units are available and some cities are encouraging their use.
Vertical gardens can be designed for both inside and outside walls. The benefits are many. Most obvious are aesthetic. “When I walk by, it’s calming, just a little more serene, maybe a little bohemian,” says one living wall owner in this Wall Street Journal story. “I call it Prozac on a wall,” says another. A living wall adds color, texture and interest. But that’s not all. Having a wall of plants will naturally filter the air, removing pollutants that make indoor air often more dangerous than out. Indoor living walls provide insulating value, reducing heating and cooling costs. On outside walls, a vertical garden will help protect the structure from strong sunlight as well as keep it cool. Outside living walls also shield the inside from noise. Inside living walls improve acoustics. (more…)
It’s August and there’s plenty of late summer chores to be done in the garden. But it’s also the time to plan for your indoor, winter garden. The bounty you’re enjoying now from you outdoor garden will be sorely missed once the frost forms and the snow flies. But if you plan now, you can enjoy fresh greens, herbs — even tomatoes! — from a carefully planned indoor garden. Or maybe you just want to brighten your indoor environment during the cold dark months with beautiful indoor plants or flowers. And, planning your indoor gardens now, allows you to take advantage of off-season special deals when buying the containers, lights, and hydroponic equipment you’ll need. Starting now means you can surprise your holiday guests with fresh salads and herbs despite the winter wonderland.
Here’s where planning begins:
• Pick a spot: You’ll want your indoor gardening location to be convenient to water and, if needed, electricity ( a dangerous mix… be sure to follow all safety precautions when using electricity around water, the first one being KEEP THEM SEPARATE!). But the most important aspect is light. You”ll need at least six hours of strong sunlight for your plants to be productive. If that’s not possible — and most places, it isn’t — start investigating light systems. Choose a place where temperatures will remain fairly consistent. And don’t forget circulation. Plants need a fresh supply of oxygen for healthy growth and to resist molds and fungus. (more…)
My grandparents always called it “setting out plants.” We know the process of introducing our indoor raised or recently purchased seedlings to the outdoors as “hardening off.” Whatever you call it, the gradual introduction of your tender young plants to the cold, cruel world of the outdoors needs to be done with attention and patience. You wouldn’t just push your children out the door without some experience of what they were about to face, would you? Your plants are like your children. They need to adapt to conditions outside the home.
Hardening off is the process of acclimating plants to outdoor conditions. In some parts of the country, this process is well under way. In northern settings or places of higher altitude where the possibilities of frosts will continue for another two or three weeks, we’re still waiting. Timing is important. Many garden books will tell you that plants started indoors are ready to go out when its roots have filled the container. But if outdoor conditions are still too cold or wet, your tender plants may be set back. On the other hand, if they’re left in pots and their roots continue to grow, it may set back their growth. Transplanting into a larger pot is called for when outdoor conditions aren’t yet right. (more…)