Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tips For Growing Your Own Vegetables Indoors

By   01/20/2016

Starting plants indoors for your own vegetable garden is one of the most satisfying improvements you can make. A lot of people are nowadays willing to start growing vegetables indoors because the vegetables that are available on the market do not taste the same as in the past.

tomatoes that were grown indoorsIn addition, this is a very good hobby and pastime that brings in many different personal rewards. The problem is that many farmers believe that they are not going to be able to grow vegetables indoors. This is false, and the truth is that you can find tremendous results if you learn exactly what you need to do.

Container gardening

One of the standard technique that is currently used for starting plants indoors is container gardening. You have to buy some bottles that are going to hold soil and accurately drain water. Almost all container types can be used if proper drainage is offered. What is crucial is to have the best possible soil. Also, you are going to need sunlight although growing lights can also be purchased.

Natural sunlight

Most people will want to use natural sunlight. In this case growing vegetables indoors needs to be done in areas that have access to a lot of sunlight. In different cases, you have to move containers for those plants that need more light exposure to grow properly.

The alternative is only to grow those vegetables that will have enough light in your home if grow lights are not to be purchased. However, if your budget allows it, you might want to seriously consider growing the vegetables indoors with the aid of horticultural lights. There are lights of different intensities, and they enable you to use any area of the home to grow your vegetables.

Information

One of the most important parts of growing vegetables indoors is information. You need to make sure that you know exactly all that you are doing. The soil has to be suitable for the plants that you are growing and the nutrients included have to be what the plant requires.

The good news is that there are many people that you can talk to in order to learn this information. Gardeners are going to help you if you ask questions, and the internet can also be used for info. Keep in mind that whenever looking for information online, it is highly important that you only trust the big sites or articles that are written by gardeners that have a lot of experience.

Conclusion

It is recommended that you start growing vegetables indoors by using containers and then try to opt for other technologies in the event that you notice that this is an activity that you like. The truth is that some are not going to enjoy growing vegetables because it is an activity that will necessitate a lot of time and attention. Make sure that you learn everything properly and that you end up doing every single step correctly. This is the only way to grow vegetables and enjoy it at the same time.

LED Grow Lights May Soon Grow The Tea in Your Cup

By   01/09/2016

I’ve tried thousands of different teas in my life and have gotten to the point where nothing I try is really new. Sure, I might find a variety of tea grown in a region or a greenhouse or using a gardening technique that is new to me, but it’s still just the same old tea plant grown in the same old way apart from the one thing that’s different and, while it may taste slightly different than other varieties, it still tastes like tea. This all changed on a recent trip to Japan, though.

On this trip, I spent some time in Ibaraki Prefecture, a mountainous area of central Japan. While there, I got to try a tea that was completely different from anything I tried before. Its taste wasn’t different. In fact, if I had tried it in a blind taste test comparing this tea to any other average tea, I wouldn’t have even known there was a difference.

And that’s just what it was. It was average. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anything special either. Just your basic average green tea.

So why was this tea completely new to me? It was because of the way it was grown. Of all the thousands of teas I’ve tried in my life, they all had one thing in common: they were grown outdoors or in  greenhouse where they are still exposed to natural sunlight. This new variety, however, was grown in an indoor garden. Not a greenhouse, mind you, but an indoor grow house, lit up entirely by artificial grow lights.

It was a local farmer, who wanted to grow tea, but couldn’t on his farm because of the climate in the area. It simply isn’t conducive to growing tea. That’s when he decided to move his grow operation indoors. He’d read about people growing all kinds of other plants indoors and he figured: why not tea as well?

He had a spare bedroom in his house and while it had a small window, it wasn’t enough to provide the tea plants with all the PAR and lumen they needed to grow. He ended up just boarding up the window and going completely with artificial lighting anyway.

He got a bunch of boxes and filled them with soil and planted tea shoots in them. Then he had to find the appropriate lighting. Like many growers, he started out with an HID (that stands for high intensity discharge) lighting system.

HPS grow lights indoor grow

HPS grow lights lighting an indoor grow room

HID lights have been used for decades to grow plants indoors and they are very effective. If you use a combination of metal halide (MH) bulbs and high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs, you can take plants through the whole grow cycle. The MH bulbs are high in blue-spectrum light and work well for the vegging stage of growth, while the HPS bulbs are high in red-spectrum light and are perfect for flowering.

The main drawback of such a system is a higher electricity cost. It uses a lot of power to run. Additionally, the system creates a lot of heat and you need to use more power to keep your grow room cool.

Tea generally prefers to grow in slightly cooler, but still humid climates. It can grow in very hot climates too, though. As such, the cooling requirements for tea aren’t quite as strict as they would be for other plants, but you still have to spend a lot of money.

They do make reflectors that contain the light inside a ventilated glass tube, which keeps most of the heat from escaping. This air cooled hood reflector kit the Japanese farmer used was one such fixture. It’s a lot cheaper to operated than standard fixtures, but the power costs are still pretty high.

Then there are the bulbs. HID bulbs simply don’t last that long. On average they last about 10,000 hours. This means you have to replace them quite often, which also gets costly. Furthermore, MH bulbs contain mercury, which causes harm to the environment when it comes time to dispose of spent bulbs.

Because of all these drawbacks, this farmer decided to turn to a new technology. He decided to use LED grow lights. He had no experience with them, but he did a lot of reading and liked what he saw. They run much cooler, they cost much less to operate in terms of electricity, and if you buy a good one, it will give you the perfect spectrum for growing plants. It will give your plants so much more nutritious light than an HID system does. The main drawback is price. A good LED grow light is very expensive. And if you buy a bad one it will actually cost you more, because you will lose a lot due to bad harvests.

Our farmer ended up going with a light made by Kind LED. They one of the top LED grow light manufacturers and the lights have been proven to grow plants effectively. After a few grows, he started seeing great results with these lights. He was getting wonderful tea bushes and beautiful leaves and as I can attest, the resulting tea tasted pretty good. Now, he still has a ways to go before this tea becomes world-famous, but what he has done is a start.

A Kind K5 XL750 led grow light fixture

The Kind LED K5 XL750 grow light. This is what he used.

He is shown that you can grow tea anywhere these days, not just in the famous tea growing areas. For now, he is only growing this tea as a hobby but I imagine someday he will be looking to sell his tea commercially. So keep your eyes open and maybe someday you can buy a batch of this amazing new tea. A tea grown indoors. A tea that could eventually revolutionize the industry.