growing vegetables and herbs indoors?


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I would like to grow vegetables year round indoors - but I am a complete beginner at this, and I am wondering just how difficult it is to do.

I have two grow lights which I use successfully to grow microgreens. Microgreens seem very easy to grow indoors - I never have any problems. But there are a few other plants I would like to grow indoors - lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, hot peppers.

Right now I have the Vogek LED tri-head full spectrum growing light. This light says it is 72 watts total, 24W each lamp .I also have a hanging light; this is the description for it: " Full Spectrum Plant Light - equipped with 75 High-power LED chips:47 Red 19Blue 3UV 3IR 3White.NOTE :The UV and IR LEDs are particularly DIM,but it is normal.PANEL SIZE: 12.2 * 4.7 *1.2 inches "

These seem to work fine for my microgreens, but are they strong enough for vegetables or do I need to invest in a more advanced system?

My first experiment after microgreesn was to try growing leaf lettuce and kale under the Vogek light, as I read these are fairly easy to grow indoors. I have seen a number of videos by people growing lettuce successfully indoors. But the lettuce under my light was not growing, instead each day I saw leaves drooping and withering, or turning yellow with brown spots. I did not suspect my light was the problem, I thought it might be a bacterial problem or something like that. So I called the nursery to ask what the problem might be and the person there told me you can't grow lettuce indoors, it needs to be outdoors and the problem was my lettuce wasn't getting sun. So now I'm not sure what to think! As for the kale plant, it has done fine; it isn't exactly flourishing but it does look healthy enough with new leaves slowly emerging.

Thanks for your help and guidance.
 
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The important thing to remember when growing lettuce under lights is they need cool temps. The optimum temperatures for lettuce is 60 to 65°F or 15C to 18C. If you go higher than that you will have a bunch of problem plants. The best time to go lettuce indoors is in the winter under lights unless you keep your house in the low 60s or 15C. Go to the herb forum on this site and look at the Basil with Fusarium wilt and you can see a indoor grow using lights. To be honest with you alexen, I can grow better bigger plants indoors under lights than I can do outdoors. I've been growing indoors gardens for over many many years and I have seen this time and time again. Plants grown indoors are better, bigger, and grow faster than outdoor plants. When the plants get 16 hrs of light without any cloudy days and given the best water, the growth is phenomenal. There a few of tricks when growing indoors, but once you learn how, you won't believe the results. Feel free to ask any questions you like and I will be glad to help you.
 
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I was going to post a question regarding this topic but rather include it in here. My basement has no heat and half is above ground. Temps in the basement get down to the 40's in the winter time. I have seen videos of people growing leafy greens in the winter under plastic. Can i do this in my basement at those temps? I am thinking I can and it would be ideal because I don't have to keep anything covered or deal with snow.
 
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When the plants get 16 hrs of light without any cloudy days and given the best water, the growth is phenomenal.
Not to hijack your post here alexen, but 16 hours of light? How many hours should a grow light be on when starting seeds indoors? Maybe that's why mine never grow (specifically, my salad mix greens never get more than an inch tall).
 

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