MEG’s Edible Knowledge Base
If you’ve recently purchased a grow bag or are interested in learning more about growing edible plants, access MEG’s Edible Knowledge Base below.
- Knowledge Base
- Outdoor Growing
- Indoor Growing
- Other helpful links
Click on a photo below for growing information.
MEG’s Edible Knowledge Base: Outdoor Growing!
Mother Minnesota seems to have a sense of humor. That’s really the only way to describe it considering the temperature and weather pattern fluctuations we typically experience. One day it might be 70F, pleasant and clear. The next day might involve a frost warning and a high of 40F. What do you do if it’s past Mother’s Day and your plants are already tucked into the traditional, in-ground garden? Unless you have a mobile garden, your options involve covering your plants and hoping for the best. We don’t like “hope” as a strategy when it comes to gardening. Sure, bad things can happen, but it’s better to put the odds in our favor through strategic steps rather than leaving anything up to chance.
Here are 3 variables you’ll need to monitor for growing your plants successfully outdoors:
Figure out how the sun travels past your little part of the world. Plants need sunlight (I vaguely remember learning this in elementary school :). However, the sunlight will have a different intensity at different times of the day. Positioning plants accordingly will help set your plants up for success. What does this look like? Position sun-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, and melons in a spot that will get the most sunlight possible during the day. Position plants which would prefer a slightly shady spot in a … slightly shady spot like young leafy greens. You get the idea!
Some plants like warmer temperatures. Some plants like cooler temperatures. Knowing which ones like which isn’t difficult. However, battling the MInnesota weather forecast can wreak havoc. Don’t leave anything up to chance, because if you do, you’ll probably regret it. MEG’s rule of thumb is this: if the weather forecast predicts temperatures between 33-40 degrees F, protect the plants. It only takes one experience of losing a plant (s) to frost death to cause paranoid cynicism when checking the weather forecast. Frost and freezing temperatures are your number 1 hurdle to a successful growing experience in Minnesota. Yes, we have hot temperatures too, but you’ll need to pay attention to the lows rather than the highs.
Humidity directly impacts water usage in your plant. When the humidity is low, your plant will pull more water at a quicker rate from its roots—especially in warmer weather. You’ll need to apply water to your plant more often. As a side note: grow bags naturally dry out quicker due to the permeable fabric. You may even need to apply water a couple times a day, or you can place the grow bag in a shallow tray with water.
MEG’s Edible Knowledge Base: Indoor Growing!
Growing plants indoors can be an exciting experience in Minnesota—especially when there’s multiple feet of snow on the ground outside! However, there are a couple of variable (just like outdoor growing) which need attention. Here are the two primary factors of concern for indoor growing:
Light is a critical input to a plant both for both its health and for its productivity. Sunlight or artificial light will work for a plant. However, the quality and intensity of light need to be considered. Even though your eyes may interpret a light source as adequate, it doesn’t mean the plant will agree. Unless you have a fancy PAR meter for measuring the light intensity, you will need to use an alternative approach. A simple observation of a plant will tell you if it’s getting enough light. If a plant is growing tall and thin, it means it’s reaching for the light because it isn’t getting what it needs. If the plant is laying over, it means it’s getting too much. Easy peasy.
Similar to growing outdoors, you’ll need to pay attention to the humidity levels indoors as well. Most Minnesotan homes are very dry or experience extremely low humidity levels during the winter. If you have any type of fish tank, you’re most likely aware of this issue. Due to the low humidity, you’ll need to add more water. Typically, for most grow bag herbs and leafy greens indoors, you’ll need to add water every other day to every couple of days.
In all seriousness, growing food is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging journeys on planet earth. If a plant fails for some reason out of our control, we thank the plant and offer it back to Mother Earth for the next cycle of life. Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Boron, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Chlorine, Zinc, Molybdenum, Phosphorus and Potassium are all essential to a plants healthy life. When a plant returns to the earth, these chemical elements are recycled into a beautiful and continuously changing biosphere.
If you’re into geeky plant information, this section of the website will be for you. One of our goals is to provide the most relevant, science-based information pertaining to growing food. We will be zeroing in on growing food where it’s needed the most—at home! There are many challenges with growing food in urban and suburban locations. We’re going to break these challenges down in to actionable steps to successfully grow food.
Keep Growing !