Best Lighting Practices

Best Lighting Practices

FINDING THE BEST LIGHT FOR YOUR HERBS AND VEGETABLES

Proper sunlight is one of the most important factors in successful plant growth. Most herbs and vegetables - including all of those offered by Back to the Roots - will thrive in a spot in your home that gets 8+ hours of direct sunlight each day. Are you stuck on how to find the best place for your herbs and vegetables? Here are three big tips!

PLACE GROW KITS IN A SOUTH-FACING WINDOW

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing windows will receive the most direct sunlight throughout the day. Whether during the Summer or Winter months, the sun's daily path starts in the East, swings South, and then sets in the West. Placing your plants in south-facing windows will expose them to day-long sunshine and help them grow as strong as possible! Not sure which direction is south? Check your phone - most smart phones now include a digital compass app built in!
Note: if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun's path - as well as your seasons - are mirrored, so north-facing windows are best for plant growth.

The sun travels East to West along a curved path that swings South. During the winter, the sun appears lower in the sky, but south-facing windows still get plenty of direct light.

 

NO SOUTH-FACING WINDOW? THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS!

While east-facing and west-facing windows are your next best locations, plant growth will be noticeably diminished without the full sun of a south-facing window. We recommend supplementing the natural light from a east- or west-facing window with a grow light. We sell one on our site here! Try your best to avoid placing your plants in a north-facing window, where natural light alone will not be enough to sustain growth. Check out the photo below - the plant on the right was grown in a south-facing window, while the one on the left was grown in a north-facing window. Huge difference, right!? In this situation, a grow light will drastically increase plant health and allow it to flourish.

A Tale of Two Windows - basil grown in a north-facing (left) and south-facing (right) environment. Light is the most important determining factor in successful plant growth!

DETERMINE LIGHT INTENSITY WITH A QUICK SHADOW TEST

Short of purchasing a light meter, determining exactly how much light your plants will receive can be difficult. Fortunately, there's a low-tech way of measuring your light intensity with a 'shadow test'!

 

  1. Around mid-day, place your hand ~1ft above where your plant will sit and spread your fingers wide.
  2. Look at the shadow cast by your hand. A well-defined shadow means your light is strong, while fuzzier and fainter shadows mean you may need to supplement it with a grow light.

With your hand just above the proposed plant location, examine your shadow to determine if you have direct light (like the left image) or indirect light (on the right).

 

Armed with this info, you’re well on your way to healthy plants! Still confused? Have other questions? As always, Back to the Root’s team of growing experts are here for you. Reach out and we’ll get you growing!

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