By Jimmy Deaton
Hi Folks. Can you believe it’s October already and yet we are still harvesting tomatoes and sweet peppers as well as chili’s including Jalapeno’s, Serrano’s and another one of our creations the Del Ray Cajun. This is a very versatile chili that has gotten a great review by national chili pod reviewer, Jim Johnson. You can watch the video on our website’s main page at lynnhavengreens.com. This particular plant measures over 6 feet in width and is now just a tad under 6 feet tall.
I want to touch base on what we will be doing this winter to ensure that we have some fresh vegetables and fruits available. Our set up consists of growing – in our finished basement – tomatoes, baby salad greens, microgreens and lemons and limes. We grow our plants under different lighting depending on the variety.
The microgreens and baby salad greens are grown on an industrial metal shelf that stands 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide with a 20 inch depth. They are 4 shelves each having a 48″ T-5 HO fluorescent tube to illuminate the shelf. For the microgreens we use 10’x20′ nursery flats using Sure to Grow mats which are inert, ph neutral and sterile. I personally love using these because you don’t have to worry about soil borne pathogens which could wreak havoc in an enclosed area such as a basement. Our microgreens go from seed to harvest in 10 days
The baby salad greens are grown the same way and we allow them to get about 3 sets of leaves before they are harvested. I’ll sometimes grow them in coco coir mix which I find superior over peat based mixes. Coco’s air to water ratio is greater than peat, does not compact like peat does and can be reused after harvesting by allowing it to dry out. I then use a bonsai soil screen to remove old roots which get tossed into the compost bin. From a nutritional standpoint microgreens and baby salad greens are superior to their full size cousins and are a superfood. The problem though is the nutrient value is only good for 2-5 days from harvest and the ones we found in 3 different organic markets had been on the shelves 6 days average. This is why we grow them ourselves and offer them for sale to the public. Our company guarantee’s is “From harvest to your hands in under 60 minutes” and we can also supply flats of uncut greens as well for you to harvest as needed.
For the lemons, limes and tomatoes, we grow them under what’s known has a High Pressure Sodium light, commonly known as a HPS. They come in various wattage’s starting at 70 watts. We have 150 and 400 watt’s. The 150 will cover an area approximately 2’x2′ and the 400 watt a 4’x4′ area. These lights will illuminate not just the aforementioned plants but also our bonsai’s of tropical origin such has the bougainvillea.
Our lemon and lime trees are of the Meyer’s variety and are kept compact by pruning. They are grown in 2 gallon containers in cactus soil mixed with course contractor grade sand. I personally like to have a quick draining soil and treat all my houseplants in this manner. This way I never need to worry about root rot due to over-watering.
For the tomatoes, we grow what is known as the Lizzano variety which is a patio type. It averages 18 inches tall and wide and has the sweetest baby cherry tomatoes. For those that are adventurous there are cucumbers of the bush/patio types that I would imagine can be grown inside as well. Your best bet to find anything small is to go to rareseeds.com which is owned by the Baker Creek seed company.
The tomatoes are also grown in 2 gallon pots using a coco coir based mix. We foliar feed using the following schedule: On weeks 1 and 3 Neptunes Harvest Fish and Seaweed is used at 1tbsp. to a gallon of water. Weeks 2 and 4 Epsom Salts at 1tbsp. to a gallon of water. Spray your leaves paying attention to make sure that the underside of the leaves are covered with the solution as well. Neptunes Harvest is a complete organic fertilizer and will give your plants everything it needs to be healthy. The Epsom salt will bring in the much needed magnesium that fruiting plants need. We also mist our fruit trees every other day since they are of a tropical origin.
We also grow herbs – mainly basil and thyme. Both are compact and what we use in the kitchen the most. Angie, being Italian, has to have fresh basil and I love thyme. If I was to pick another herb to grow inside it would be oregano since it too stays petite.
As you can see, growing vegetables, fruits and herbs inside is possible. It just takes a little more diligence and making sure you select the right varieties for your growing environment.
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