Low Light Gardening

Greenhouse Low Light Quick Yield

With careful planning and some diligence, a bountiful harvest of fresh edibles can be cultivated in just about any environment, even indoors. Though it may seem daunting, indoor growing offers some advantages to conventional growing. Chiefly, indoor environments are not susceptible to the wide range of fluctuations in temperature, humidity and other conditions that are part of outdoor cultivation. Healthy, fresh food can be grown any time of year, no matter how harsh or unpredictable outdoor conditions might be and with a fast yield.

Indoor Gardening

Indoor Gardening
Challenges to Indoor Gardening?
Indoor GardeningLight and space are the principal challenges to gardening indoors. Most crops, including those conducive to indoor cultivation, require at least 5 hours of natural sunlight per day. Artificial lighting may be used to supplement natural light, but for every hour of natural sunlight needed you should plan on supplementing with 3 hours or more of artificial light. To account for the limited space of many indoor growing areas, you may need to apply a little creativity and some resourcefulness. Shelves and reflectors to make optimum use of available light, window planters and other space saving measures can all be utilized to bring about a fertile and sustainable indoor garden.


Indoor Crops

Crops Suited for Indoor Growth
If sowing in traditional soil-type growing medium, leafy greens are among the crops best suited for indoor growing. Relative to root vegetable or fruits, leafy greens require a short time to harvest and do not require completion of the entire growth cycle. Other types of crops can be grown, but are more likely to require supplementation with artificial light or special attention. In addition to leafy greens, other types of edibles such as sprouts and microgreens, are especially appropriate for indoor gardening.

Window Garden

One of the major challenges to gardening indoors in most situations is the relative shortage of available light for growing. A shortage of light can result in very slow growth, delaying the time to harvest by days, weeks or even months. With an excess of water, or poorly-drained soil, plants deprived of light may begin to show root rot or similar deleterious conditions. Conversely, excessive light can cause plants to bolt to seed, or result in crops that do not have ideal size, taste, texture or other quality.


Low Light Indoor GardeningThe low light gardener has several options for promoting healthy growth in less than ideal conditions. Plants should be placed strategically to take advantage of available light. In the northern hemisphere, windows and openings facing south will typically have the best access to long hours of intense mid-day sun. Eastern and western exposure may also provide essential light to growing plants, though will likely be of lower intensity.


Indoor TomatoesThe best crops for low light gardening are those that do not require a high input of energy from sunlight. This precludes flowers, fruiting crops, and root vegetables which may take excessively long to harvest in low-light conditions. The best crops are those that require relatively little time to harvest. Young crops such as sprouts, microgreens, and even baby greens make great choices for the low level gardener due to the relatively low energy needed to produce an edible harvest. Mature greens can also be successfully cultivated in low light conditions, but will require additional time compared to those grown in ideal conditions.


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