5 Reasons to Grow Indoors in the Summer
I enjoy traditional gardening and spend lots of time outdoors during the summer months. However, I still run my indoor hydroponic systems all summer, continuing to run artificial lights even when there’s free sunlight hitting my gardens outside. Why? I've boiled it down to 5 reasons.
When growing outdoors, we cannot control the temperature. Many plants do not do well in summer heat, and cannot be effectively grown during the summer. As an example, most varieties of lettuce will bolt and turn bitter when they get too hot, even if just for a few days. Growing indoors gives me more control over temperature, especially in a basement, so I can grow cool season plants throughout the heat of the summer.
Growing indoors gives us more control over pests as well. We don’t have to worry about bunnies getting into the garden or beetles chewing through our plant’s leaves and flowers. Smaller pests, such as aphids, can still affect indoor systems if they can catch a ride in somehow, so this is why we don’t bring our hydroponic systems outside during the summer.
At this point I have utilized most of my small plot of land for gardening or other uses, and having indoor hydroponic systems adds to the space I have available and the growth output of my space. I can grow large, seasonal crops outside, such as corn, okra, watermelon, carrots and lots of different flowers, and use indoors space for smaller crops such as greens and strawberries.
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but hydroponics uses less water than outdoor gardening. With hydroponics, we can fill our reservoir with 20 gallons of water and it will last for weeks recycling within the system. When watering outdoors during dry spells, much of the water we apply either evaporates or seeps through the soil.
In Wisconsin, we have a lot of change during the 4 seasons, which can be a great part about living here. However, for growing crops that I always want available, such as salad greens, a more consistent environment is preferred. When growing indoors, I know I’ll always have a steady supply of greens ready regardless of season. I can have a fresh salad whether its 90 or -20 degrees (F) outside.
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