With fall upon us it’s important to make sure our plants and gardens are prepared. While growing an indoor garden means the majority of cold weather problems don’t apply, there are still things we should be doing to ensure a healthy garden. In this article we’ll look at a few easy steps to keep your plants healthy during the fall and winter months.
One of the biggest issues gardeners will face during the winter months is sunlight. It’s natural that sunlight becomes less intense as well as is available for shorter periods in the winter months. This can be problematic, especially for very light hungry plants like fruits and vegetables.
The best option for many gardeners is to supplement with grow lights. A good LED grow light is a fine choice that can provide extra lighting. This can help make up for the lack of natural sunlight.
Keep in mind, in most cases grow lights don’t provide the same “quality” as the sun. This means you’ll usually have to run the grow lights for a bit longer than you would if it was natural sunlight.
Humidity & Temperature
Another important consideration that often changes in the winter is the temperature and humidity. Both of these factor into your plant growth and can cause issues if not properly managed.
Temperature wise, it’s not a surprise that the winter is cooler, and most plants don’t do well in the cold. While this usually won’t be present throughout your home, drafty areas can be problematic. Windows are often the culprit, and plants too close to them might experience a bit too cold of weather.
On the flip side, plants too close to a vent or heater might get too warm. This can be just as harmful to your plants. You want to avoid any areas that might experience larger temperature swings. If you’re noticing your plants begin to wilt or look sickly, check the surrounding area for temperature issues.
That warm air also has the effect of reducing the overall humidity. This can be harmful to your plant depending on how humidity dependent they are. There are multiple ways you can combat this, and we have a great article that goes in-depth about it.
Watering & Feeding
You also want to watch how much you’re watering and fertilizing your plants. Many plants will go through a period of dormancy in the winter where they slow down their growth. During this time, your plants likely don’t need as much care.
If this is the case for your plants, you’ll want to cut back on both watering and feeding. With watering, you’ll want to be extra sure that you’re not overwatering. If you notice that you’re giving more time between waterings that’s perfectly okay. Fertilizing will depend on your plant, but many won’t need any feeding during this time. Fertilizing too much can actually harm your plant, and this is especially true during this time.
As noted above, many plants will go through a period of dormancy in the winter and slow down their growth. This often means you can take a break on things like pruning, or do it more sparingly.
You should also hold off on anything that puts extra stress on the plant. This includes things like taking cuttings for propagation or repotting. Since the plant is growing more slowly it’s less well equipped to deal with these types of stresses. You should generally wait until spring for these types of activities.
Preparing Your Garden for Fall
While an indoor garden removes a lot of that fall/winter prep it doesn’t get rid of it completely. Fortunately, the work needed for an indoor garden is minimal. With the above tips in mind you’ll be ready to keep your garden healthy during the dark, cold months of winter.