Growing your own food in your own garden is a terrific way to make sure that the food you are putting on the dinner table is 100% organic and completely healthy. Even the process of gardening itself is healthy, providing an opportunity for you to burn calories, relieve stress, and be more active. Unfortunately, gardening is a pursuit that can be strongly limited depending on where you live. Spring and summer are great gardening seasons, but fall and especially winter are more questionable to yield a crop.
Gardeners or farmers looking for ways to grow plants or crops in the off-season should consider light deprivation as a possible strategy. By controlling how much light (and how much darkness) a plant sees in a given day, you can trick it into producing flowers and fruit outside of the regular flowering season. In turn, you can continue to enjoy the health benefits of gardening—both as an activity and a food source—all year round.
The Advantages of Light Dep Gardening
If you live in an area where the climate stays relatively warm and mild all year, you might be able to accomplish light deprivation just by covering your plants with tarps for part of the day. In most cases, though, the best way to grow using light deprivation techniques is to invest in a light dep greenhouse. However, light deprivation greenhouses—similar to any other type of greenhouse—are hardly a cheap investment. Is the investment worth it? Here are a few benefits of light deprivation growing that should help you decide.
- You get more out of your growing space: When you buy a house, you want to get the most out of your space. We don’t just mean in terms of strategically using your home’s square footage, either. On the contrary, we also mean maximizing the use of your outdoor areas. Gardening, while fun, may not be the best use of outdoor space if you can only get much use out of your garden for about half the year (give or take, depending on where you live). Growing with light deprivation techniques—with or without a light dep greenhouse—allows you to enjoy the spoils of your garden all year round. And when you are getting more out of your garden, you are getting more out of your yard space in general.
- You enjoy the perks of indoor growing without the cons: If you are extremely interested in growing herbs, fruits, vegetables, or other crops out of season, then you have probably looked into indoor growing. Indoor gardening has its own list of benefits, chief among them that you can harvest more frequently and enjoy year-round access to homegrown produce.
Unfortunately, there is also one big disadvantage that comes with indoor growing: cost. Indoor growing relies largely on grow lights, which means that you end up paying a lot of money in energy costs to keep an indoor garden going. Light deprivation harnesses strategic light exposure and light blocking tactics to nourish the plants. In other words, you aren’t using lights to grow your plants; you are using the sun itself. Here’s some info on how light affects plants as well.
- Your crops are well-protected: With a light deprivation greenhouse, you can keep your entire garden indoors. Threats that can normally destroy crops—unexpected frosts, uninvited guests like rabbits and deer, etc.—are therefore kept away from whatever you are growing. This added security means that you get to enjoy higher yields on your crops—not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing your plants are in a safe and controlled environment.
Start Using Light Deprivation Strategies Today
Perhaps you live in an area where the winters are tough, and gardening is a half-year pursuit. Or maybe you are a farmer and your livelihood depends on having crops that you can either eat or sell year-round. In any case, light deprivation is a strategy worth investigation if you want to extend your gardening operations into more months and seasons. You can start trying out light dep growing just by using tarps and light schedules for your plants. However, if you want to get the benefits that light deprivation has to offer, you will want to think about adding a light deprivation greenhouse to your property.