Master gardener offers expertise to those who want to learn to grow indoors

Indoor gardening is one way to keep those thumbs green during Saskatchewan's brutal winters. 

While it might seem intimidating to start an indoor garden, master gardener Sheila Bonneteau — who has been growing indoors for about 20 years — offered her expertise at a workshop hosted at the University of Regina on Saturday.

"Indoor gardening can be challenging, there's no doubt about it," Bonneteau told CBC Radio. 

"Your success depends on how well we mimic the outdoor conditions when we're normally planting." 

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The workshop covered things that ensured success while trying to grow plants indoors, because putting some seeds in a pot and putting it in front of a window doesn't quite cut it.. 

Humidity, temperature, nutrients in soil are all important factors, but Bonneteau said she would spend a good amount of time discussing one of the more challenging aspects of gardening indoors: lighting.

She said every plant has its own lighting spectrum where it will thrive. A tomato, for example, requires blue lighting to start off, before it moves into a more red-toned light when it's ready to flower. 

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When it comes to finding space to grow indoors, she said a utility shelf with underneath grow lighting will suffice. It can be economically friendly to grow indoors — a set up for indoor growing can cost between 100 and 150 dollars.

Bonneteau said one of the biggest mistakes that people can make while trying to grow indoors is setting up structures in rooms that are too warm. 

"That can cause spindly growth, so we unfortunately have to, at night, turn the thermostats down," she said. 

"We're trying to mimic what's going on outside, so we need to drop our night temperatures."

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