||[Mar. 18th, 2012|02:51 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables
A rather naive question, I am afraid.
I am about to start a herb garden in my flat, and am aware that I will probably need extra lighting. Is it at all possible to use a standard table lamp with a particular bulb to achieve this? I don't really have the space for a bigger set up! If this is feasable, can anyone explain to me which bulb will be best?
Tried to have a look online but it all got rather complicated rather quickly.
A standard light bulb is not sufficient to grow plants. Special "grow light" bulbs are available at good hardware stores or nurseries (or your local pot growing outlet).
That said, most herbs flourish in full sun. That is difficult (and expensive) to provide inside. If you have any opportunity to get your pot or planter out on a fire escape or porch where it will get sun that would be the best idea.
It is possible
to use a compact flourescent bulb in a standard lamp (there are some suggestions here: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/houseplt/msg012138543586.html
), but the light of one bulb will be insufficient, unless maybe you're only lighting one plant.
For starting my seedlings, I used a shop light with two flourescent "plant light" tubes installed (you can get those at Home Depot or similar places). I had the light hanging from some shelving (the shelf itself is grillwork, looks like a baker's rack...again, Home Depot or wherever), on chains. The light was pretty much as close to the plants as possible without touching; as they grew I would shorten the chain and raise the lighting. This works well, but it takes up most of my entryway.
Full-grown plants are a bit more flexible about their light requirements. But a sunny window is still best.
I know a couple of people who say good things about the AeroGarden setup. I've never tried it. It's pricey, but prettier and much smaller than my Home Depot setup, and it has that same adjustable light-height thing. It has a water pump, which I guess they've had some problems with in the past. Like any small fountain pump, I'm guessing it needs regular cleaning in order to work well.
Many herbs will do well in pots and with just a few hours of sun a day. I have a west-facing window I keep them in and I do not supplement with any additional lights, but they get about 6 hours of sun a day from that window. If you can get them 6 or more hours of good sunlight, you shouldn't need additional lighting.
If you do need the additional light, I've had plenty of success starting seedlings of all types of vegetables with just regular shop lights and compact florescent bulbs. Just make sure you have 2 lamps or lights, and one bulb needs to be a 'full spectrum' bulb and the other a 'cool' or 'green' light bulb. These are not fancy grow light bulbs, they are designations you can find on regular light bulbs.
One thing that will help keep them growing and strong in addition to enough light is moving air. A room with a ceiling fan, a stand fan near them, something like that will do as long as you can give them a gentle breeze for a little while each week.
At walmart, for $10 they have growlights that plug right into the wall. i'm using one right now for my veggie seedlings.
2012-03-19 03:13 pm (UTC)
It may be worth mentioning roughly where in the world you are, and what natural light, if any, you have access to?
Might also be worth mentioning which herbs you have in mind too - mint, bay, chives and marjoram seem to be quite shade-tolerant for me, basil and thyme are much more picky and really like to bask.
Thanks everyone for your great answers!
Bun; I am in the UK and have a south facing kitchen that gets a lot of light, same with the livingroom, so I think they will be ok overall.
As to what herbs I want to grow - all of them!
(particularly rosemary, parsley, cress and coriander)
2012-03-21 09:47 am (UTC)
Ah OK, I'm in the UK as well. If you have a nice sunny windowsill, I don't think you'll need any additional light spring-summer-autumn. Might do if you want to grow basil in the winter, I never have any luck with winter basil, and I think it's the light. The seeds germinate, but then the seedlings just sit there...
Rosemary can get to be quite a big bush, so if you definitely want to have it inside long-term, you might want to pick one of the smaller-growing varients, and find a space where you can give it a big pot? It's dead easy though. I wouldn't bother growing it from seed myself, unless you want to give a lot of it away. I'd just buy a bush.
Parsley and cress are pretty easy and will zoom away on a windowsill: don't know about coriander.
Did you found the bulbs? What about Led lights?