Indoor Gardening Under LED Lights – A Challenge for the January Blues

Do you get the January blues? It’s after Christmas and all the decorations are down and everything seems so colorless and drab. Even outside, most days are cloudy and dull looking. I find a lot of comfort in my Indoor Gardening projects!

Some of the projects have gone really well, and others……not so much. I brought in a new Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) which was purely an impulse purchase. I have the red and white one already, but I saw a pink one and decided I just had to have it. But after about 10 days, I noticed some Little Flying Critters flitting around when I would go down into the garden shop in the basement. I suspect that this plant had an infestation of GNATS and I had brought it into my basement. I should have known better.

Indoor Gardening Setup under LED lights

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I had just brought down my daughter’s Baby Sun Rose from upstairs in her bathroom. It didn’t seem to be doing well since it lacked the light needed to keep it from getting all strung out. But when I found the gnats, I immediately pulled out the top inch or so from her planter and covered it that deep in sand. That keeps the little critters from laying eggs in the moist soil. Hopefully that will keep it from any infestation.

When you have an setup for Indoor Gardening, it is best to have sticky traps set up so that you might catch any insect which might go unnoticed for a while. Once I find a little insect caught on a sticky trap, I know to start up some precautions before it gets out of hand.

I have caught a lot of critters on my sticky traps, more than I care to think about. But for each adult killed, I know that’s one less egg-laying pest gone! So frustrating. Watering with a dilution of Hydrogen Peroxide is helping.

How I Started My Indoor Gardening Project

Shelving is needed for your plants, and I had already purchased shelving like this. These are really strong and sturdy and I like the shelves that allow light to filter through each level shining as far as it can.

My lighting  that I use is from LED shop lights. I purchased 2, but have wished since then that I purchased the 4 pack. I need to have 2 more. It would help to move the plants out better and space them under the lights more easily.

Plus I am always wanting to grow more. I have some onions growing now, but I am interested in trying some spinach from seed just to see how that would work.

What would I do differently? What have I learned so far this year?

  • Don’t set up your shelving right next to the outer door. Blasts of cold air are not good. ( I know this should have been as plain as the nose on my face, but I guess I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

One of the things I did right was isolating some hypertufa pots into the Old Aquarium I had. Remember it from over-wintering my Baby Sunrose last year?  It was perfect to isolate some planters so that all the Crawlers and Creepers would exit before putting them with the other plants. There were some sow bugs that crawled out of the pots, and apparently some centipedes too. Those were all caught on… you guessed it, a sticky trap.  

Thankfully, they are not into my other pots. Sticky traps are wonderful and I like the yellow ones best. I tried the others this time, but the yellow ones are the nicest!

Routine for Indoor Gardening

My basic routine is turning my lights on in the morning around 8am and then off again at night about 8pm. I am not always on time but in general, the plants get 12 hours of light each day. The onions are doing fine and taste good in recipes. The other plants are growing well and putting out new leaves and have great color.

Indoor Gardening with Tender Succulents

These Graptopetalum are keeping their pinkish color so I think they are getting enough light. I am anxious to get them outside in the spring so I can add them to the other hypertufa planters. BTW, these are planted in a large round glass bowl. Gets light from all sides and I can see into the soil to see dryness or moisture. Glass works for me.

I water the plants sparingly when I poke my finger into the pot and feel only dryness. I have some of those Moisture Meters, but they are all upstairs in the large potted plants. Need some more I guess.

Overall, I have enjoyed indoor gardening this winter and since I have kept all of these alive, I can start the spring with lots of starts for new dishes and plantings. I may even try more vegetables early. I really think I can do it this time!

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