Ask Adam

Ask Adam #2: Indoor growing and surviving the winter

Kel who lives in Poland has a thriving set of indoor plants and has an interesting range of plants and indoor growing apparatus the likes of which I’ve never seen!

She’s kindly sent me a whole range of questions this week.

1: Left: best way to plant red radishes indoors? They grew but died (perhaps the container is not deep enough?)

2: I was successful getting the lemon seeds to sprout and they were very healthy until up to about 10cm, they started dying – that was during winter time. When’s the ideal time to plant lemon indoors for countries with winter season?

3: Basil in the middle: grows really fast and also gets out of control really quickly as well. What to do with those long stems with flowers? Should I prune them? (Any use for basil flowers)?

4: Tropical plants like hibiscus looks great at first, but when winter came it died. Any advice for keeping tropical plants indoor alive (especially during winter and cold months)?

5: Clearly my avocado is alive. I can see the roots growing and growing, but that’s just it – only roots growing like a long octopus, and the leaves never sprouted. I then buried it in soil, then it rotted. 
what went wrong?

6: Indoor garden: tomatoes – I see some garden with line for tomatoes. Indoors, do you suggest I use a line or is stick sufficient for support?

  1. It looks like your radishes have bolted – which means they’ve been exposed to too higher temperatures. As temperatures rise, they’ll want to go to seed. It also looks pretty crowded in that box, so you might want to thin them out.

    I see they’re kept under some lamps, so I’m curious as to how much direct sunlight they get? A lack of sunlight can also stop radishes from developing.

    Looking at the foliage, I would perhaps start again with these as I can’t see radishes forming in the not to distant future – but it’s your call.

  2. The death of the seedlings is definitely down to the change in temperatures. I’ve done a quick Google search and seen that too much water, a lack of humidity and a lack of sun light is the main culprit for indoor lemon tree deaths.

    With the above in mind, I would look to move your seedlings into smaller pots and look about increasing humidity levels with some heat and wet stones.

    For plants of that size, you could utilise a heated propagator perhaps?

  3. Wow! It looks like you have a lot of basil there. Definitely take on a little and often approaching to pruning. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what you would keep the flowers for other than for the seeds.

    Basil like that is very resilient – if I were you, I would look into drying the leaves out for cooking or even making up some pesto. Fresh herbs can really assist in the kitchen.

  4. Similarly to the keeping the lemon seedings alive, I would look to increase humidity during the winter months.

    You can try keeping them covered in a plastic bag (making sure the leaves don’t touch the plastic) to increase humidity levels. A self watering pot with a gauge might also be useful as this will help you keep track of moister levels in the root system.

  5. Root Rot in avocados is quite common and is attributed to too much water and not enough drainage. When you plant the avocado root stock I’d make sure that your pot and equipment has been washed and is clean, this would reduce the chances of you having any mould spores present in your plants.

    To help with drainage, you might want to mix some organic material and some gypsum into the potting mix.

  6. Goodness me, you have so many tomato plants – awesome work there! Presuming you’re planting each of the plants into individual pots, I would look to use a stick to keep them up right and stabilised.

    Personally, I’ve only seen lines being used when growing on an industrial scale… However, looking at your plants, I don’t think you’re far off!

    Put them next to the basil and that’ll reduce aphid attacks for sure.

I hope the above helps you out Kel! 🙂

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