Sunday, June 6, 2021

An Empath's Indoor Garden & A Short Note on ANSI LED grow light

My indoor garden & ANSI LED Grow Light

I've been gardening ever since I was a kid so I personally know the joy of getting your hands on the earth (I don't like calling it dirt), making do with whatever resources I had at that time, growing plants either from leftover seeds from eaten veggies or cuttings culled from the neighborhood gardens.  The resurgence of interest in gardening last year IMHO, is both a good and a bad thing.  

ANSILED 24W grow light (ANSI website)

Good because it made a lot of people connect back to nature.  Bad because even my erstwhile favorite store (not anymore as she turned snooty) at the Cartimar garden stores is charging so much for plants I used to grow from free cuttings.  Also bittersweet is that I used to see really humongous Alocasia in the forests when I used to go hiking up the mountains.

Plants such as Pothos (also called Devil's Ivy) and Adansonii (Swiss cheese plant because the leaves have holes in them when receiving adequate sunlight) were among my favorite shrubs before.  Now, a small pot of pothos (depending on the variety) can cost P200-400.  Some enterprising sellers (a lot of them non-gardeners) even sell on a per-leaf basis which is like highway robbery.

Another thing that's not nice is that we're dealing with sellers who know close to nothing about what they're selling.  Some even mis-label their plants with the names of the hottest-selling plant at the moment.  Whether intentional or not, it keeps people from being educated about the plant that they're buying and what the plant really requires.

Lush lush

I got back to more serious gardening this year.  Not that I really stopped being a gardener.  Heck, my window is the greenest in the whole building with sparrows flying round the clock for feeding on my makeshift bird feeder.  When I mean serious, I mean adding to what I have by adding supplementary lighting.  My window get little in terms of direct sun as I am on a lower floor.  The window faces west and that adds to the complication.  I tried growing herbs before but the lack of light (and the hungry birds) made it impossible to grow them to maturity.  While I'm on the subject of light, one of the funniest questions I've heard asked from a plant seller is "what plant does not require light?"  It's as if we didn't learn the basics during biology class in school.

Tip #1:  Assess your available light.  Supplement if necessary -- This time around, I did my research and found a good full spectrum light -- ANSI LED light.  I don't want to deal with blue light while supplementing the lighting needs of my plants (looks too much like a disco joint LOL) so the warm color is really suited to my specifications.  I chose the 24 watt bulb which fits into the regular light bulb receptacle which is another plus.  The ceramic receptacle makes it possible to handle the bulb while lit though not recommended.  However, it runs cooler than most growth lamps which is a bonus as it is summer and added indoor heat is not really a welcome thing.

After two weeks of supplementary lighting for 2-3 hours a day, a lot of my plants are thriving with quite a lot of new leaves -- most especially my Caladium and small pachira (what marketers sell as money plant).  

Tip #2: Buy your plants from fellow gardeners -- I bit a bullet weeks ago and bought a Black Velvet alocasia at P150/leaf but it was not meant to be.  The moral of the story: never buy a single-leaf, newly-transplanted/repotted plant.  Also buy from gardeners who know their plants.  

Tip #3: Ask if the plant or gardening item is on hand -- Another important lesson learned from buying online is to ask if the plant or item is on hand.  A seller who is supposed to be located in Taguig turned out to be based in Laguna.  After a week of waiting, I gave up on my plant orders.  Good thing I didn't pay in advance -- so the next tip is:  pay when the plant is available or delivered. 

Tip #4: Buy from the nearest gardener seller as much as possible -- There's much said about food mileage (or how much fuel is spent to get our food to us); there's also much to be said about online items mileage.  Not because it's available and you can afford the asking price should you just go ahead and buy it, especially if it's from outside the city or worse, from Thailand or another country.  Another benefit is that the less stressed the plant during delivery, the better they can bounce back and acclimatize when they get to your house.

Tip #5: Love your plants whether you're growing them for personal satisfaction or as a business -- These are living things we're talking about and regardless of whether you believe that fact or not, these are not commodities which deserve the trash bin after we've grown tired of caring for them. 

Tip #6: If you're getting plants for indoor display, get two of each plant -- This makes it easy for you to let one batch get some outdoor sun and rain while you display the other batch indoors.

Tip #7: Plants are the happiest and healthiest when they're among peers -- It's a learning from many years of practical, hands-on experience.  The plant you bought appearing so lush at the seller may not be as lush when you put it indoors by itself.  Somehow, plants thrive best among its peers.  Not to mention, they look really great in groupings.


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