Best Soaker Hoses: Top Rated Options for 2022

Every homeowner wants a green lawn, a lush flower or vegetable garden, and a vibrant flowerbed. Of course, achieving those goals requires a lot of watering. You need a solution that guarantees reliable hydration but doesn’t require constant monitoring.

A quality soaker garden hose could be your ideal watering solution. Soaker hoses are more targeted and reliable than sprinklers and more affordable than an in-ground irrigation system.

Quick glance at the best soaker hoses:

Related:

Best Soaker Hoses Reviewed

Depending on your specific irrigation needs, there are many quality soaker hoses out there. All other things being equal, you can get a highly-rated product for relatively little money.

In terms of pure value for money spent, we think these options have a lot to recommend them. They all come in under $30 for a 50-foot model and receive high marks, both from consumers and garden-supply experts:

  1. The Green Mount 04070P is a high-impact, workable option. It works above- and below-ground.
  2. FLORIAX’s Heavy Duty Rubber is a small-diameter round hose with a unique porous shell.
  3. Rocky Mountain Goods is a fabric-covered PVC flat soaker made from 100% environment-neutral recycled material.

Don’t feel bad if your main priority is affordability. The options listed above are great all-around soaker hoses, and price is a valid concern that you should address in your search.

If you are looking for a specific type of product for a particular gardening need, though, we will take you through some more exemplary models.

Water Rights Soaker Hose - Best for small areas

Water Right SKR-050-MU Soaker Garden Hose, 50-Foot, Bristle Grass

Amazon 

Not everyone has acre upon acre of land to water. For those of us working with a relatively small plot of plants to hydrate, the best soaker hose option is Water Right’s SKR-050-MU Soaker Garden Hose. This hose comes in three lengths, but we are specifically speaking about the 25-foot and 50-foot options.

It's built for flexibility and longevity. Made from a proprietary FDA-grade polyurethane foam material, it boasts superior water flow and unparalleled strength against the sun and elements. It's especially useful in maneuvering tight spaces. Its chrome-plated brass connectors promise a long work life.

However, this hose is a bit more expensive than other models out there, and it is not flat-laying, which may impede walking in your garden.

Pros

FDA-grade poly-foam is strong and resilient

Maneuverable in tight spaces

Strong brass connectors

Cons

More expensive than other products

Does not lay flat on the ground

BUYOOKAY Soaker Hose - Best 100ft soaker hose

BUYOOKAY Soaker Hose 30ft with 1/2’’ Diameter Interface Saves 70% Water Great for Gardens/Flower Beds Black (30' x 1/2'-a, Black)

Amazon 

If you have a lot of area to cover, your best bet is the BUYOOKAY Soaker Hose 100ft with 1/2’’ Diameter Interface. We find this model to be just about as durable, adaptable, and flexible as anything in the 100-foot range.

Made from recycled rubber, it's kink-resistant and specially designed to curve around trees and other obstructions. It's strong material can take a beating. It is also UV-protective, which promotes longevity even when exposed to harsh sunlight for days on end.

On the other hand, the length and tight-coiled packaging mean you will need to lay it out in the sun to straighten it for yard work.

No 100-foot soaker hose can guarantee the consistent water flow of a shorter hose, so you should expect some variation at the far end. That said, this product is as reliable as you will find for its length.

Pros

Durable, kink-resistant recycled rubber

UV-protective material

Strong pressure throughout the hose

Cons

Requires extra work to straighten for use

Some variation in water flow at the end of the hose

H2O WORKS - Longest Lasting

H2O WORKS Garden Flat Soaker Hose 1/2 in x 50ft,More Water Leakage, Heavy Duty Metal Hose Connector Ends, Perfect Delivery of Water,Garden Flower Bed and Vegetable Patch,Landscaping, Savings 80% Water

Amazon 

While we cannot promise that any of these soaker hose options will last forever, some products on the market last longer than others. Our pick for the most durable soaker hose is the H2O WORKS Garden Flat Soaker Hose.

This soaker resembles a firehouse hose and for good reason. It’s constructed from tough-yet-flexible PVC, and when the water pressure increases in this hose, it transforms from a flat soaker to a round one.

Even after this transformation, the hose continues a regular soaking regimen. Moreover, its brass couplings are serious hardware, meant for the long haul.

Unfortunately, this soaker hose’s bright blue color does not make it easy to hide in your mulch. Also, if its brass fittings break on you, they are not easy to replace.

Pros

Tough PVC material

Innovative, adaptable design

Excellent brass couplings

Cons

Not easily camouflaged

Replacing its fittings is not easy

The Swan Element - Best Hybrid Sprinkler/Soaker

Swan Products GIDS-2496287 Element Sprinkler Soaker Hose, 50 Ft. -2496287, 50'

Amazon 

If you’re split right down the middle on whether a sprinkler or a soaker hose is right for your project, why not have both?

The Swan GIDS-2496287 Element Sprinkler Soaker Hose is as good a hybrid sprinkler/soaker hose as we have seen. On one side of the hose is a strong spraying line. On the other is a traditional porous soaker. Both sides work fantastically. Plus, it is made of thick, strong rubber.

Because of its unique design, though, laying this hybrid out requires more care than other soaker hoses. Also, this is far from the cheapest option on this list. However, we see a lot of value for the money.

Pros

Smart alternate-side design

Strong sprinkler component

Consistent soaking and reliable flow

Thick, durable rubber

Cons

High price point

Hybrid design requires more careful installation

Gilmour Flat Weeper - Best Flat Soaker

Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose, 25 Feet, Black (870251-1001)

Amazon 

Gilmour is one of the premiere names in lawn care, and the Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose is the finest flat soaker hose on the market.

Its fabric-over-PVC design offers the best of both worlds. It is resilient against wear-and-tear but also easy to work with.

That fabric cover also protects against UV rays to prevent brittleness and abrasions. This model has strong plastic fittings with easy-to-turn cranks. All this material is extremely lightweight and easy to stow.

Unfortunately, because it does not have metal couplings, this soaker hose is more prone to hardware cracking. While it is exceptionally maneuverable and light, its water flow is more vulnerable to obstruction.

Pros

Extremely flat to the ground

Great combination fabric and PVC design

UV-protective material

Lightweight and easy to store

Cons

Plastic fittings can crack

More prone to blockages

Melnor Flat Soaker - Premium Choice

Melnor 65061-AMZ 50' Flat Soaker Hose with 2 Washers Set, Amazon Bundle

Amazon 

We are fans of all the products listed here, but if you’re looking for a premium option for your garden, look no further than the Melnor 65061-AMZ Flat Soaker Hose. Melnor has a devoted fanbase, and with top-quality craftsmanship like this, we can see why.

This soaker hose is constructed from long-lasting vinyl. It lays napkin-flat in storage but can handle watering duties above or below the soil. Its hardware is rust-resistant, and even its 75-foot model maintains constant, steady water flow for every inch.

This level of quality is not cheap. Still, when you compare it to the cost of an embedded drip irrigation system, this soaker hose is a downright bargain!

Pros

Tough, resilient vinyl material

Works well above or below the soil

Rust resistant

Remarkably consistent water flow, even in longer models

Cons

High price for a soaker hose

Benefits of Soaker Hoses vs. Sprinklers

For home gardeners, soaker hoses represent the least expensive drip irrigation option. A high-quality hose costs a mere fraction of the price tag for a permanent sprinkler system installation.

Soaker hoses are also far more customizable. You can place them and replace them over and over to accommodate each season’s annuals.

Perhaps most importantly, they provide a more efficient watering option than attachable sprinklers or sprinkler systems. As we know, most plants need to be watered at their roots, but above-ground sprinklers tend to focus most water on leaves and blooms.

Pro Tip: A good soaker hose system placed amid your mulch will get hydration exactly where it is needed. Soaker hoses also reduce waste from runoff and evaporation.

Some fringe benefits of localized, ground-level soaker-hose watering are reduced weed infiltration and less risk of plant disease from kicked-up soil.

Finally, there is no specialized installation with a soaker hose. You can simply screw it into an outdoor tap and let it flow!

Potential Soaker Hose Pitfalls

Of course, no yard care option is perfect. While soaker hoses are more efficient than sprinklers, they are not totally targeted. Because they emit water through the full length of the hose, they will waste some hydration on unplanted areas.

Additionally, soaker hoses are designed to be used on mostly level terrain. This creates some limitations in where they can be placed.

Finally, they are less durable in the long term than below-ground irrigation systems. Their lifespan is closer to two to four years. However, we will take you through some tips to monitor and address wear-and-tear later in this article.

Learning the Terminology

The terms soaker hose and sprinkler hose can seem interchangeable, but these products are actually quite different.

As stated before, soaker hoses provide steady, direct saturations along the length of the hose. Sprinkler hoses, on the other hand, have individual holes that emit water in a stream like a sprinkler.

To be clear, a sprinkler hose might be the best solution for your lawn and garden. They are less efficient than soaker hoses, but their more elevated, projected water curtains might prove more fitting for your plants.

It is always a good idea to talk to a garden center employee about your specific needs to determine which type of product best meets them.

What to Consider When Buying a Soaker Hose

The sheer variety of soaker hoses out there can feel overwhelming, but you shouldn’t be dissuaded from seeking one out. The large number of products on the market just means you can find one that meets your needs exactly.

As with any purchase, you need to consider many variables when deciding which is the best soaker hose for you. We suggest you consider the following items as you shop:

Material

Vinyl soaker hoses are lighter-weight and cost less than their rubber counterparts. However, they have a shorter lifespan. So, a rubber soaker hose might be worth the extra money.

Length

Like most hoses, you can buy a one in incremental lengths, normally ranging from 25 feet to 100 feet. While a longer one will cover more area, it might not be as efficient. The longer the hose, the lower the flow rate will be.

Lay

Some are round, while others lay flat. While a flat hose will be easier to mask and less likely to trip you, it is also less durable than a round hose.

Water Pressure

Most home water taps have a release pressure of 60 pounds per square inch (psi) when fully open. Sprinkler hoses have a water pressure of around 30 psi. A soaker hose’s pressure should be lower to accommodate a more stable, constant drip. Look for a pressure of 10 PS.

Fittings

As we mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of a soaker hose is that you can hook it right up to a water tap. However, we recommend you double-check the fitting size before buying a soaker hose to confirm it lines up with your tap. Also, plastic fittings often wear out or break faster than brass. Always opt for reinforced fittings.

Did You Know The Environment Benefits of Soaker Hoses?

The benefits of a good soaker hose extend beyond a greener garden and healthier flowers. They also play an important role in water conservation. A recent Bellevue, Washington Utilities survey found that soaker hoses achieve comprehensive irrigation with 50% less water than sprinklers.

It is no surprise, then, that a utility company would encourage its customers to invest in a soaker hose. They are a great way to save on your water bill and do the right thing by Mother Earth.

How Long is too Long?

Remember that water pressure and soaking rate will decrease with hose length. As a general rule, you should avoid any soaker hose that is longer than 100 feet. Beyond that length, you risk having suboptimal flow across the entire length and potentially zero soaking at the extreme ends.

Moreover, we recommend you think conservatively about how much soaking length is necessary for your lawn and garden. If a 50-footer will cover the necessary area, there isn’t any reason to purchase a 100-footer.

The 50-foot model will almost certainly provide a superior water flow, and an extra 50 feet won’t do you any good. It’s all about right-sizing your irrigation!

Looking Out for Blockages

Where there is water, there is always the potential for bacterial buildup. Just because water is flowing constantly doesn’t mean it can’t become blocked.

Gretchen Voyle, writing for Michigan State University, warns of the prevalence of bacterial iron in soaking hoses. These are the same deposits you might see causing discoloration in toilet bowls. In soaking hoses, they can block the pores through which water flows.

Bacterial iron is just one of the potential impediments to water flow in these hoses. You should also look out for calcium deposits and sediment. You can address the occasional block yourself, but eventually, you will need to replace the soaker hose.

Additionally, using a product with a backflow preventer will also help.

When Should You Replace Your Soaker Hose?

There are two telltale but somewhat contradictory signs that your soaker hose needs to be retired.

One sign that the product has reached the end of its natural life is when sediment and grime have built up to the point that water is not flowing evenly.

You can scrub and scourge this away for a while, but eventually, it will be too much. Your hose will begin to swell from the pressure. Worse, your plants won’t get the hydration they need.

The other indication that the soaker hose is done is when cracks and abrasions cause water sprays. Again, you can probably remedy these issues in the short term with duct tape or electrical tape. Once a few of these breaches become clear, you will need to call it a day.

We strongly advise you to pay attention to your manufacturer’s warranty. Many of the products listed above have warranties of five years or more.

A couple even have no-return exchange policies, where you can receive your replacement before returning the damaged item. This can save you the headache of hand-watering while waiting for a new hose.

Conclusion

Now that you have a clear idea of the benefits and varieties of soaker hoses on the market, you can choose the product that is best for you.

We think it is best to start your search by thinking about the area and the types of plants you need to irrigate. If you live near a good nursery or tool store, try speaking with a representative there.

Once you have settled on the best soaker hose for your home, you can sit back and enjoy a reliable, low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly lawn care solution.

Beginner’s Guide To Planting A Vegetable Garden

If starting a vegetable garden has always been an ambition of yours, this guide is going to help your dream come true. Whether it’s a hobby or you’d prefer to save some cash by home-growing produce, a vegetable garden is ideal for sourcing your own favorite vegetables and learning more about our world in the meantime.

In this guide, you’ll find sections on the following that’ll turn you from a beginner into a practicing gardener.

These are three simple sections that cover all you should know when starting out, from the prep work required to the best vegetable-growing beginners can grow, and how to grow them. You’ll also find linked materials that add more information to this guide, for those of you who want to dig deeper and get your hands dirtier.

Let’s start with the tools that you’ll need as a gardening beginner.

Interested in growing vegetables indoors? One of the easiest, fastest and environmentally friendly ways to grow plants is hydroponically. Here are the best hydroponic systems for growing vegetables at home for beginners.

Garden Tools You Will Need

Like with any hobby or job, you’ll need to have a toolkit. Gardeners swap out their hammers and wrenches for shovels, rakes, hoses, and hoes. Here’s a brief rundown of each piece of equipment and what it’s used for when creating a vegetable garden.

A Round-Tipped Shovel For Digging

Round-tipped shovels will penetrate the ground much easier when you’re working with softer soil, making them ideal for turning soils and transplanting plants when needed.

They distribute pressure more evenly and they’re not sharp at the tip, so you won’t inadvertently decapitate your favorite plants at the root.

A Fork For Turning And Loosening Soil

Having mentioned soil turning, this is best done with a garden fork. The size should vary, you can’t swing a large fork around in a small plot, after all.

The bigger forks are heavier too and, as a beginner, you may not have the farming brawn yet that’s required to spend some hard time turning soil.

A Steel Bow Rake For Cleaning And Leveling

You’ll also need a bow rake, which is distinct from a leaf rake and vital for cleaning the land and leveling off the dirt.

The tines are tiny, so it’s clear that they’re supposed to flatten land instead of horde leaves and other debris like most other rakes you know. The flat back end of the rake is ideal for making the soft ground even smoother, too.

A Hoe Or Cultivator For Weeding

Another tool you’ll need to prepare your seeds bed is a hoe and/or a cultivator. Hoes come in many different styles that you should check out but we’d recommend one with a heart-shaped blade for creating seed furrows.

Cultivators do much of the same but they look like a smaller rake that’s ideal for breaking the soil surface and turning up shallow weeds all at once.

A Hand Trowel Or Hori Hori Knife And A Hand Cultivator For Transplanting/Weeding

Trowels are tiny shovels that are ideal for the smaller jobs a gardener does. If gardening is surgery then the trowel is your scalpel, a small and specialized instrument for adding and removing things into your garden.

Hori-hori knives are one of the most popular types of cutting instruments for gardens. These impressive Japanese knives are heavily serrated on one end for quick and decisive plant cutting while the other side has a smooth, sharp edge. The knife is also broad, allowing it to be used as an impromptu trowel.

Hand cultivators are smaller cultivators, it’s that simple. They’re what happens when you graft the tines of a cultivator onto a trowel handle for a simple and portable means of weeding your garden, for when you need to get up close and personal.

A Garden Hose And Nozzle, Or Watering Can

Lastly, you should have a watering can or a garden hose to water your plants.

Whichever one you have, the important thing is to have a nozzle that divides the water, so it sprinkles out instead of becoming a blast of “solid” water. This is kinder on plants and more conducive to their growth.

Looking for a hose? Best Garden Hoses For Beginner Gardeners


How To Plant A Vegetable Garden

Now that you know which tools you should have when first establishing your vegetable garden, it’s time to talk about the process. The process isn’t as simple as turning dirt, it also involves vital planning before you ever buy your first seeds.

Do Your Homework On What Veggies You Can Plant, Based On The Season & Climate

Right off the bat, there are plants you won’t be able to grow because of the current season or the prevailing climate of your country.

The most common vegetables that we eat daily are some of the hardiest plants that can survive through many climates and seasons but there are always times and places where you can’t grow green beans or cherry tomatoes.

Quick note: After you’ve identified your location and how it changes which vegetables you can grow, you should also look at which vegetables you actually like. You could be growing for multiple people but, if it’s for you and you alone, then you don’t want to expend effort on plants that you don’t like.[\note]

If your growing seasons are short, you’ll need faster-growing plants. You’ll also need to be acutely aware of the plant diseases in your local area to keep your vegetables healthy until harvest.

Ultimately, you’ll want to do your homework on which veggies fall into these three criteria:

  1. Can be grown in your climate.
  2. That you enjoy eating.
  3. Those are easy for beginners to plant, maintain, and harvest.

Let’s go into some more detail on some of these ideas below.

Choose The Right Garden Site

Everything starts with the location of the garden since this dictates which plants you can use and how many of them will fit there. You’ll be working with this plot of land for a long time, so make sure you like the place before you commit to anything.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of getting a garden plot that’s too large or complex for you to manage as a beginner. Instead of growing into it, you’re much more likely to neglect the garden because you can’t keep up with it.

Prepare The Soil

Soil prep is vital for your garden. If you don’t have working soil, you don’t have a garden, period. You should use a square-ended spade to mark the plot out clearly and lift it with a pitchfork.

The soil should be turned quite deep, we’d say eighteen to twenty-five inches deep but you could get away with only twelve. As you turn the soil, a lot of rocks, weeds, and other detritus are going to rise to the surface. Remove these and then top the turned soil with a fertilizer, preferably rotted manure or compost.

Plan Your Layout/Blueprint

Like with any landscaping project, you should plan the layout of your vegetable garden and how much space you’ll need to properly pull it off. Try for an economical setup that fits as many plants into the plot as possible.

Create a blueprint if you’re handy with a pencil. Keep seed packet information so you can discover the spacing and light requirements of individual plant types.

Keep the height of plants in mind too, especially since tall plants can create shade that smaller plants will suffer in. The northern perimeter of your garden is typically best for having more shadow coverage.


Choose The Vegetables You Are Planning On Planting

Now that you know where the garden will be, it’s time to find the vegetables that’ll go there. Before you do anything, you’ll need to decide whether you’re getting seeds or you’ll buy plants that have already germinated and can be installed in the garden with ease.

You should collect some gardening magazines and catalogs that’ll tell you all about seeds and the plants that come from them. Make a list of your favorites and pick from these. Purchasing extras is a good idea if you ever need to replace any plants at some point.

[note]Important: After you have a list, you’ll need to check which ones can be sown like seeds and which ones need to be nursed before you plant them in the garden.

Get small plants if you only have a limited vegetable garden space. Make sure they’re resistant to disease too, this will limit how much trouble you have.

Gauge the surrounding area. Online you should be able to find out your region’s ideal dates for planting, as well as the approximate times where the ground becomes frosted over. To better protect against pests, you can also companion plant your garden.

This is where plants of different species are intermingled in their planting spots. Flowers are great for protection and they bring pollinating bugs to the garden, the most notable being bees!

Once Planted – Plants Will Need To Be Watered Regularly

Obvious? Maybe, but even beginners can mess up watering a plant. Seedlings require some tenderness when they’re being watered, so the shower setting on your hose is best.

You don’t want to blast the poor plant away, after all. Aim for the soil nearby rather than individual plants, so you don’t damage them. Watering is best done in the morning as this prepares the garden. The garden will be moist for the rest of the day.

If the day is hot, watering at the end of the day won’t do them much good, they’ve already been scorched without having any moisture to keep them healthy. Try to avoid watering young plants during hot afternoons too, it can scorch their leaves.

Regular Weeding

Over time, your garden will gather weeds that’ll sap valuable water and minerals from the other plants in your garden. We’ve all seen weeds growing in gardens but now that you’re a gardener, you’ll want to limit how many of them grow. You can control weeds for as little as ten or twenty minutes of gardening every few days.

When the soil is moist, you can easily remove weeds. Whether you’re using a hoe, a hand cultivator, or your own bare hands, you can uproot pest plants with ease. Make sure you get the roots, otherwise those weeds will be back and taunting you before you know it.

Fertilizing

Once the plants in your garden reach between four and six weeks, you can start fertilizing them. You should keep seed packets around with your plants as they should have the ideal fertilization suggestions on them.

Check out our top recommendations for the best organic fertilizer

You should especially do this with leafy greens and rooted vegetables, as their needs often vary. Adding compost to your soil is a great way to keep them fertilized, particularly for heavy-feeding plants like tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and corn.


Beware Of Plant Insects Too

There are a lot of pests that’ll want to get their pesky mandibles on your plants. We couldn’t possibly begin to list them all here, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common.

Slugs & Snails

Found in almost every garden where there are plants to munch on, these slimy swindlers will creep up to your vegetables and ruin them.

Unfortunately, they’re not fussy either, they’ll go for just about anything. That’s why they’re the first pest that comes to mind and why you need to stop them in their tracks.

If possible, you can encourage populations of birds, snakes, and amphibians like frogs to nest in your garden. They naturally munch on slugs and snails.

Otherwise, you need to create some kind of bait that keeps the slugs away from the good stuff. You can make bait at home or buy specially made products. Avoid metaldehyde and methiocarb, and other substances that are toxic to other wildlife.

If you catch them in the act, just pick them off and put them elsewhere. This could be at your bait but some prefer to exterminate the pests for good by putting them in beer or soapy water.

Aphids

Aphids are small, pear-shaped, and come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. There are even some species that have wings.

If you’re a fan of nature documentaries, you may have seen the symbiotic relationship between aphids and ants. Fascinating stuff, sure, but that won’t save your precious plants.

Aphids feed on many of our favorite veggies, mainly juicy tomatoes and popular greens like cabbage, lettuce, and kale. This is because they feed by sucking on the plant juices, harming the plant’s growth.

The best thing you can do is get plants that flower. They look great but they also encourage predatory insects that’ll take care of the aphids with ease.

You can remove them from plants with a blast of your garden hose. Commercially sold plant covers can also keep them sheltered.

Cutworms

Cutworms are the larvae of moths, so they’re pretty much anywhere a moth can land. They are two inches long, at most, and are known for the C that they curl into when intimidated.

Like with any caterpillar, they can come in all earthy colors, brown, yellow, gray, and green. Any seedlings are vulnerable to these pests.

They munch on these seedlings which, so early in their development, can be dangerous. Look for chewed stem tissue to diagnose cutworm presence.

Coat seedling stems with aluminum or paper, buried a half-inch into the ground, to keep cutworms away. Till the garden in autumn to expose their pupae to predators and the cold. As always, you can buy repellents at the store too.

Flea Beetles

These tiny beetles are one of the smallest garden pests there are. They’re about one-tenth of an inch, darkly colored, and they hop around, hence their name.

This also makes them practically impossible to catch. They go for vegetables like tomatoes, radishes, potatoes, corn, and eggplants.

There they make small round holes in them. They can also eat roots because their larvae live underground.

Crop rotation is the best way to keep them at bay, though you can also trap the adults by using brightly colored sticky cards over your plant. Garlic oil or hot pepper wax is great for repelling adults too while you can use nematodes to cull their larvae in the soil.


Easy Vegetables To Grow As A Beginner

So we’ve learned a lot about gardening for beginners, from the tools needed to the things you must do when planting your garden.

As we near the end of this guide, let’s wind down with some vegetables that are simple to grow. With the right information, you as a beginner can cultivate and enjoy the eight vegetables below!

Lettuce

This light and leafy green is a staple of any salad. Head lettuce will need some extra cultivation while loose-leaf lettuce is easier to grow in an outdoor vegetable garden if you follow the below steps:

Prepare

Prepare the planting bed by tilling the soil where there’s plenty of suns and drainable soil. Remove debris from the soil as you turn it. Fertilize that soil with the fertilizer of your choice.

Plant

Plant the seeds two to six weeks before the next spring frost and lay approximately a half-inch of soil on top of them. Water thoroughly after planting.

Water

Water the lettuce whenever the leaves start to look wilted. They should also receive sprinkles of water every day from a hose.

Harvest

When the lettuce is suitable for harvesting, it’s as simple as using a cutting implement to remove the leaves. Only remove mature leaves and, once you have them all, you should remove the whole plant because it’ll turn bitter. The leaves are best harvested in the morning when they’re crispy from the chill in the air, and they’ll last approximately ten days in the refrigerator.

Cherry Tomatoes

While ordinary tomatoes may be intimidating for beginners, cherry tomatoes are just as tasty while being easy to grow and more convenient! Check out how to grow these in a step-by-step format below.

Seeds

First, get the seeds that you’ll be using. They’re commonly available at farmer’s markets or online through seed orders. There are several types of cherry tomato too, like Sungold, Sun Sugar, or Sweet Treats. Read up on their qualities and go with your favorite.

Location

They need to be planted in a sunny location that receives at least eight hours of direct sunlight during the daytime. It should stand relatively independently so other plants don’t shade it.

Wooden Stakes

Use wooden stakes or a metal tomato cage to support tomato vines. Cherry tomatoes grow quickly, so you want something that’ll support them. This is done by tying the vine around the stakes. You could even grow cherry tomatoes from pots in your garden too.

Plant

Plant the tomatoes in warm weather, a week after the previous frost date when the weather is approximately seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Dig a small hole, a few inches deep, and plant each seed two feet apart. Cover the hole.

Fertilize

Water regularly and fertilize once a week, pruning sprouts as needed. After eight weeks, you should have small cherry tomatoes that come off the stems easily when pulled.

Radishes

Radishes are pretty easy to grow, growing fast under the earth in less than a month (for Cherry Belle radishes). Here’s a quick guide to growing them.

Prepare

Prepare by deciding on a radish species and preparing the soil. The area should have full sun with a little shade sometimes. Fertilize the land before planting.

Sow

Sow radish seeds half an inch into the ground and one inch apart from each other. If planting in rows, there should be one foot between each row. They’re great companion plants, so you can plant them with carrots, parsnips, or cabbages if you please.

Water

Water them and watch them grow until they can be harvested, which is when their roots reach one inch in diameter. Seed packets will have more details on when to harvest but you could also take a peek to see if the bulb has grown yet. They’ll store for up to two weeks after being harvested.

Zucchini

Zucchini, also called courgettes, are one of the easiest summer squashes you can grow. If you’re a fan, follow the steps below:

Timing

As a species of summer squash, they’re typically best planted in the warmer seasons. They don’t like cold soil much, so the first or second week of spring is the best time to plant.

Plant

Plant them in an area where they can spread out and bask in the sunlight, between six and ten hours of light a day on draining soil. If possible, prepare the soil with fertilizer and test soil pH to create an environment with a pH level between six and seven.

Soli

Cover each seed with a half or quarter-inch of soil and then water them. Maintain them through watering and fertilization, and weeding since they’ll harm the zucchini. Encourage pollinators in your garden too, this will help growth.

Harvest

Zucchinis are ready when they’re four inches long. Picking them as they reach maturity is best as it makes the plant more efficient at growing more squash. Cut zucchini away with a knife.

Peppers

Peppers are a unique vegetable that’s welcome in any salad and, fortunately for you, can be grown quite easily by beginners. This is done by following these steps:

Prepare

Prepare a sunny and well-drained planting site with loamy soil. Fertilize it and plant the seeds in spring or early summer in interior pots. As they grow, gradually expose them to the outside world and, when there are two fully-formed leaves, transplant them into the prepared soil. They should be twelve to twenty inches apart.

Water

The plants should receive approximately one inch of water a week. Water even more during extreme heat and mulch too if you live in a consistently warm climate.

Blossom

It may seem counterintuitive but you should pinch away any first blossoms on the pepper plant. This saves the plant energy that is then directed to pepper growth, creating larger specimens from your first yields.

Harvest

Harvest when they turn from green into their mature color. They should pull off by hand without damaging the plant.

Carrots

Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables and for good reason. They are easy to grow and packed with healthy carotenoids that everybody should fit into their diet. Here’s how to grow them:

Soil

Turn the garden soil to a depth of twelve inches, minimum. Planters and raised beds are great for carrots, so make use of those to get the best results. Sprinkle bone meal to fertilize the soil. Nitrogen-based fertilizers can cause the roots to get “hairy.” Water the bed a lot when it’s prepared.

Mix

It’s easy to sow too many carrot seeds because of how small they are. Mix them with sand and sprinkle across the bed so you can see your coverage. Give an inch between plantings and make small trenches if you’re planting them in rows, approximately a quarter-inch deep.

Protect

Use plant covers to protect your seeds from interference, whether that’s by the environment or carrot flies. Water the bed twice every day until the seeds start to sprout and, when they do, make sure no weeds are interfering with them.

Thinning

Thin carrots by separating seedlings once they’re sufficiently grown and you can tell they are too close together. The carrots left will be ready whenever you decide they are big enough. We’d recommend waiting until you can identify a half-inch of roots spreading out from the carrot shoulders.

Spinach

This leafy green is considered a superfood because of how much protein, vitamins, and chlorophyll you’ll find in these deep green plants.

Soil

After you’ve prepared the soil by removing weeds and debris, and used fertilizer if necessary, you should plant seeds two inches apart for thinning later. If you’re not a fan of thinning plants, plant them four to six inches apart and a half-inch deep.

Water

Water the seeds with a low-pressure setting on your hose regularly. The soil should be moist without becoming too soggy, after which it’ll germinate after five to ten days. You’ll see the seedlings emerging, protect them for approximately forty-five days until they’re ready for harvest. Some will grow faster, in which case you can pick them sooner.

Peas

Everybody knows what peas are, they’re a staple of many diets and they’re one of the signature plants that beginners should start growing. You grow them by doing the following:

Fertilize

First, fertilize your plant bed, avoid too much fertilizer, and make sure the soil has a pH level above six but beneath six-point-five.

Sowing

Sowing is best done in early spring or summer. The earlier you sow peas, the sooner you can typically harvest them. Don’t sow into the soil when the weather is cold, it should be sufficiently warm to receive the pea seeds. Plant into two-inch trenches that are six inches wide, using a hoe to turn the soil as you dig. Plant each seed three inches apart and cover.

Flowering

Within two weeks of watering, you should see them flowering. If the soil is drying out, mulch can keep it moist. You should also have a support system so that the plant can climb canes or trellises. Keep the soil moist so that juicy pea pods can form. Harvest through summer and early fall by picking them.


Summary & The End

Now you have reached the end of our guide. When you started reading you were a beginner but you should now have a lot of knowledge that you can use to get started.

With some experience, you’ll get better at planting and caring for your vegetable crops until most of the information in this guide comes as second nature to you.

Until then, check back with us whenever you’re unsure about something. You don’t grow a green thumb overnight and even the best gardeners had help along the way. Fortunately for you, online materials like this guide allow ordinary people to learn about gardening, all without spending time or money jumping through hoops.

With what you’ve learned in this guide, even a beginner should be able to create a successful vegetable garden.

Can You Leave Grow Lights on 24 Hours a Day?

You can technically leave grow lights on your plants 24 hours a day to speed up plant growth, but you probably shouldn't in most cases. While it's enticing, it has severe disadvantages.

All light and no period of uninterrupted darkness are bad for plants for multiple reasons. First, it's costly for you. But more importantly, it can lead to weakness, disease, and stunted growth, since it robs the plant of a balanced photosynthesis + respiration cycle.

Bellow, I'm going to go over the effects of 24 hour grow lights usage and how to better light your plants.

Also read: Grow Lights That Professional Growers Use

Length of Light-Dark Cycle in Plant Growth

Most plants have a 24-hour light cycle called a photoperiod. However, it can be short-day, meaning more than 12 hours of darkness (uninterrupted) and less than 12 hours of light.

There is also a long-day cycle, characterized by less than 12 hours of darkness (uninterrupted) and more than 12 hours of sunlight.

Advantages of 24-Hour Lighting

Unfortunately, there's only one real advantage to leaving your lights on full time.

Faster growth

24-hour lighting leads to more rapid growth, which we all want at the end of the day.

Disadvantages of 24 Hour Daylight

There are several disadvantages that you need to take into consideration.

Photosynthesis and Respiration

24-hour lighting negatively affects the plant's ability to respire or rest. In addition, continuous light keeps the plant working hard at all times, which means it can tire and become vulnerable to developing diseases.

Additionally, the lack of respiration means constant photosynthesis. But healthy plant growth requires both parts of the cycle (photosynthesis and respiration).

Extra Costs

Another downside to 24-hour light for your plants is the added cost. Grow lights run on electricity, and running them constantly can spike your utility bill.

And, grow lights themselves can get expensive, as you need multiple to light multiple plants. They can be as cheap as $20-$30 and as expensive as hundreds of dollars.

Added Stress on Equipment - While you can leave a grow light on 24 hours a day, this will significantly reduce the number of days you get out of one light bulb, which means you'll have to buy more.

Added Heat

Intense and overly frequent light and heat from grow lights can damage a plant by drying it out, hindering photosynthesis processes. No photosynthesis means no growth.

Light Duration Factors to Consider

The ratio of light versus darkness you give to a plant depends on the type of plant (mentioned above) and the growing conditions.

Have you read: How Far Should Grow Lights Be From Plants?

Type of Plant

Long day plants - such as root veggies, peas, spinach, and chard - need more light than darkness. On the other hand, short-day plants - such as soybeans, rice, and onions - need more darkness than light.

Some "neutral" plants rely on their age to bloom rather than sunlight versus darkness in a day (tomato plant and corn, for example).

Growth Phase

The color wavelengths LED lights emit (blue and red) are helpful for seedling growth, the flowering stage and those just beginning to fruit.

Type of Light

The type of light exposure (halogen bulbs or LED) will affect indoor plant growth, too. LED is more powerful and still energy-efficient.

Temperature and Humidity

Humidity and moisture are necessary for photosynthesis and growth. However, keep in mind that grow lights may get hot and dry out your plants. So, it's good to supplement humidity with a humidifier or watering from below.

Size of Grow Space

If you have a small grow space, you still need to make sure your grow light isn't too close to the plant. LED grow lights need at least 12 inches of distance from the plant.

The intensity of the grow light changes based on its Watts, affecting how far it should be from the plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions that might spring to mind.

Does more light mean more yield?

No, more light doesn't necessarily mean more yield unless it is in moderation. However, more light can help, as long as there is still time for the plant to sit in darkness.

How much light output do plants need?

Most plants need at least 8 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day. 12 to 16 hours of light is ideal, with more light necessary for flowering plants.

Will plants grow faster under 24 hours of light?

Yes, at first, they can grow quickly with 24-hour light. However, the stress this puts plants under can stunt their growth later by making them vulnerable to disease.

Can plants get too much artificial light?

Yes, plants can get too much artificial light because too much light keeps the plant from respiring. Unfortunately, this means it won't get a chance to release sugars into the rhizosphere or microbes in the soil.

What happens when you leave grow lights on for 24 hours a day?

The photosynthesis and respiration cycle will be offset, and the plant will get dry and weak. Basically causing the flowering phase to fail.

Conclusion: Use Artificial Lighting Properly

Using an LED grow light or grow lamp 24 hours a day is not recommended because it can cause severe damage to plants. Consider a balanced light/dark cycle based on the plant's photoperiod instead.

Further reading: The Difference Between Led Vs Fluorescent Grow Lights

How to Clean Outdoor Solar Lights in 5 Easy Steps

An outdoor solar light can light up your yard in an affordable, eco-friendly, and convenient manner. You won’t need to worry about extension cords or replacing batteries because they recharge on their own. Nonetheless, even the best outdoor solar lights still require maintenance every month or so.

Harsh outdoor conditions like sun, storms, and snow can affect the performance of your solar garden light, especially if it is dirty. Keep reading to learn how to clean outdoor solar lights.

How to Clean Outdoor Solar Lights in 5 Easy Steps

Cleaning outdoor solar lighting will require you to clean the solar panel and light fixture.

Get the right tools.

1. Get the Right Tools

The right tools will facilitate the cleaning process without damaging your solar lamp. You will only need a few household items. Ensure to complete the process at dawn or dusk when the panels are cool in an outdoor space.

Gloves

You can use gardening gloves while cleaning the solar light. Make sure to wash and dry the gloves before to prevent the spread of dirt.

Washcloth

To play it safe, gather two washcloths for the cleaning. You can use a kitchen or bathroom washcloth.

Soft Bristle Brush

Soft bristle brushes can scrub stuck dirt. Washcloths cannot always extract dirt from nooks on your solar path light, so choosing an appropriately-sized soft bristle brush helps.

Water and Mild Detergent

Filling a bucket with a mix of warm water and mild detergent can protect the solar cell surface while removing dirt and germs. Make sure to use a non-abrasive detergent.

Vinegar

Cleaning white vinegar mixed with mild detergent and water can remove grease, dust, grime, and debris while cleaning your solar panel.

Absorbent Towels

A dry towel can rub off any unneeded water from the solar panel after cleaning.

2. Clean the Solar Panels

The above materials work together to clean buildup off your solar panels and artificial light without damaging the electronics. Removing dust lets the panels charge fully in the sunlight so that they can store more energy.

Clean the solar panels.

Spray with Water, Rub with Damp Cloth

You can start by spritzing the solar panel with water. Then, rub a damp cloth along its length. Make sure to wring it before use as excess fluid may damage the system. This method should remove debris, and you can do it monthly.

Scrub with Brush/Detergent

If you find that water alone leaves behind smudges, then you should try washing it with dish soap and a brush. A drop of soap in a bucket of water should do the trick.

Dipping a soft cloth in the soapy water and rubbing the panels should displace more dirt, and you can go in with a toothbrush to take off any stubborn grime.

Important: While cleaning the panel, go ahead and clean the light cover and light bulb. You can improve the appearance and longevity of your light cover and LED bulb by reducing dirt.

Try to clean the plastic components as well to minimize corrosion. Dirt in the plastic globe can prevent light from shining through, so you will want to keep it clear.

Avoid getting water under the panel. Generally, you can wash your panels with soap every three months to reduce dust. However, those who live in dusty environments will need to clean them more frequently.

Wash with Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural cleanser that can effectively remove debris from your solar panel. Mixing vinegar in a 1:8 ratio with water and adding a sizable squirt of detergent in a spray bottle can create a powerful cleaning agent.

White distilled vinegar works best because of its high acidity. You spritz the panels with vinegar and rub it with a paper towel to cut dirt. You can use this method every three months.

Rinse with Water

If you use soapy water or vinegar on your solar panel, you will want to rinse it with clean water. A paper towel or dishcloth submerged in water and brushed over the surface will remove any soap scum that could collect more dirt.

Dry/Polish with Towels

Finally, you can dry the solar panel with a dry cloth to remove excess water. Otherwise, it could seep into the solar lighting unit and damage the electronics.

3. Maintenance

Now that you have clean solar panels, you can optimize the performance of your solar light by maximizing the amount of direct sunlight that reaches the panel, maintaining the battery, analyzing the wiring, and changing the LED light as necessary.

Solar light maintenance.

Remove Blockages (Shrubs, Trees, Bushes)

Shrubs, trees, and bushes can all impact the amount of sunlight absorbed by the panels. Most photovoltaic cells have a 20% to 23% efficiency, so you should increase the sun exposure to ensure that the solar panel absorbs the most radiation possible.

Quick Tip: By regularly trimming nearby nature, you can maximize sunlight exposure. Try to prune the area around your solar-powered light monthly.

Check the Batteries for Corrosion

If you have cleaned your decorative solar lights entirely and find that the rechargeable battery fails to charge, it may have corrosion. Try to dismantle the outdoor lighting unit to access the solar battery housing. After exposing the batteries, search for dust or colored specks.

Check for Damage (Wires, Panels, Connections)

After dismantling the solar light, inspect the wires, panels, and connections for any damage.

A frayed wire, cracked panel, or loose connection may require professional attention or a replacement part. Also, check the plastic components for any cracks or dents so that you can replace them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the cleaning and maintenance of your solar landscape lights.

How Do You Clean Cloudy Plastic Solar Lights?

A cloudy or frosted plastic solar light can reflect light away from the photovoltaic cell and reduce efficiency. You can use clear nail polish to refresh a plastic-covered cell to make it appear translucent. Try to keep the layer thin to avoid blocking UV radiation from reaching your solar outdoor light.

How Do You Clean Solar Light Batteries?

Solar energy batteries can oxidize, so make sure to check them every other month for damage. Open the compartment and use a soft brush to remove any white powder. You can use sandpaper to scrub more stubborn corrosion as well. If that does not work, you will need to replace it.

Does Rain Ruin Solar Lights?

Rain can ruin a solar light if it gets inside the housing and touches the battery, wiring, or other electronic parts. However, it should not damage the external parts of your decorative light. You may wish to clean solar lights after the storm to remove stains and optimize sun exposure to your landscape lighting.

Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Solar Panels?

You can use vinegar to clean solar lights. This natural antimicrobial agent can remove germs from the surface without damaging the lighting. Make sure to dilute it with water and soap or detergent first. Also, you will need to wipe it off once you have finished cleaning to preserve the functionality of the panels.

Can I Use Regular Rechargeable Batteries in Solar Lights?

You cannot use regular rechargeable alkaline batteries in solar-powered outdoor lights. Solar power must run through an inverter to store in a battery and dispense to the lighting, requiring a special unit. Solar panels produce DC electricity that must convert to AC before being usable in solar light.

Conclusion

Dirty solar panels impair the conversion of radiation into electricity by reducing the amount of usable cell space to harness the sun’s power. By cleaning the panels, fixtures, and batteries, you can extend the longevity of your system and improve the appearance of your backyard.

You can use a combination of soap, water, and vinegar with a soft towel or bristle brush to remove excess debris and create a clean surface.

I recommend you start with water and a cloth and only add more ingredients if that proves insufficient. Make sure to wipe any cleansers off to avoid damaging the light.

How To Grow Jalapeños In Your Garden

The jalapeño is the only fruit that's fully ripened before it's picked. If you love a good hot pepper, this is the place to be. Here's how to grow jalapeño peppers in your garden.

Important to know: A healthy product can be as big as two to three feet in height. One pepper plant can grow up to 30 pods. Pods captured at maturity will be dark green. If they've fallen off the vine, they will go through a purple stage before going as red as cherry tomatoes.

How To Grow jalapeños The Right Way

Jalapeno peppers are tropical natives. Here's a look at the steps for producing a nice crop.

1. Planting your Seeds

Here are your steps for planting the pepper seeds.

When

Find a place in your vegetable garden eight to 10 weeks before the last spring frost date. Keep your seed pot or tray in a warm area until you're ready.

Get a soil kit and test the temp. It should be no less than 70° Fahrenheit. Do not plant until all final signs of frost are evident and nighttime temperatures are higher than 60° F. In colder or cooler climates, use black plastic mulch to warm the soil before planting.

Where

At least seven days before the growing season, prepare the area, putting aged compost into the soil. Plant in the sunniest location. You can also grow in containers under the full sun. The soil must be rich in organic matter and well-draining. Stay away from areas where you recently grew members of the nightshade family.

How

Harden seedlings for at least 10 days if you transplant seedlings. Once night temps are in the desired range (at least 60° F), take jalapeno seedlings outdoors. Set them with a spacing of 14 to 24 inches apart. Now, deeply water the foundation.

Hot Fact: Jalapenos are one of the top resources of vitamin C.

2. Caring for Your Peppers

Some botanists advise starting growth indoors up to three or months before transferring them outside. Without overwatering, keep the area and budding jalapeno plants moist at all times.

Sun and Temperature

You get the best growth when day temps stay around 65°-85° F. During blossoming, spread a little composting fertilizer around. Use, if you'd like, fish fertilizer at the base.

Water and Humidity

When it's particularly hot, make sure pepper plants get at least one inch of water per seven days. Keep soil moist and even. Take a soaker hose to the base.

Soil

Jalapenos grow best in well-drained, loamy soil that contains a good amount of organic matter. Loam material consists of equal amounts of silt and sand. There's less clay than comparable compounds.

Fertilizing

A quality fertilizer fuels growth. Spread around an all-purpose garden solution with a 5-10-10 potting mix. Use approximately 1½ pounds of mulch for every 50 square feet of the gardening bed.

Pruning

Pruning encourages solid branching, sturdy stems, and reduced disease and pest pressure, and promotes a good harvest.

Propagation

Propagation is the production of young plants. Remove node leaves above the cut. If another node sits on the first, remove the leaves from that one too. You then put the stem bottom into the hormone.

Hot Tip: Plant your growth at the far end of the vegetable garden away from any potatoes. Potato bugs love the peppers for a change of taste.

3. Potential Problems you Might Face

Here are a few issues that can hinder good growth in a jalapeno plant.

Pests

Common pests are aphids, cutworms, and flea beetles. Use an organic insecticide to get rid of them. Check your chile peppers daily for pests.

Hot Tip: Other major pests are the weevil, frog-eye leaf spot, and caterpillars.

Diseases

Southern blight, bacterial leaf spot, mosaic virus, and a powdery mildew are common. Here are some things you can do.

Growing Hot Peppers Issues

You should be mindful of over-watering and sun scalding. There's also the possibility of calcium deficiency.

Harvest and Storage

You can harvest jalapenos when they're bright green and firm or leave them until they're red. Store them in clear bags in the crisper. They're good for two weeks, but pickled jalapeno will last longer.

Hot Fact: History records the Ancient Aztecs were the first civilization to use jalapenos. Only they didn't eat them. They dried and smoked the pepper plants!

How Hot is the Pepper?

The Scoville heat rating is the gold standard for gauging the impact of hot fruits on your taste buds. According to their scale, these hot pepper plants are at 2,500-8,000 units.

That rating is similar to Fresno peppers (2,500-10,000). Compared to bell pepper like serrano (10,000-23,000), habanero (100,000-350,000), or ghost (855,000-1,041,427), our favored taste may appear mild. But it's spicy enough to give a food or meal a nice charge of hot sauce.

Hot Fact: Health benefits of eating jalapenos are combating migraines, lowering blood pressure, and loss of weight.

Every Pepper Variety You Should Know About

There are many types of jalapeno peppers you can grow. Here are a few.

Mucho Nacho

Maturing red, the mucho nacho is fatter, heavier, thicker, and mildly hotter than its spicy cousin.

Señorita

The Senorita measures only 400 on Scoville, making it an extremely mild chili pepper.

Sierra Fuego

This is a hybrid that produces a greater number of growing peppers. The Fuego typically takes about 80 days to mature.

Hot Tip: Looking to avoid the heat of a stuffed jalapeno dish? Go with chiles that have no striations. If you want to feel the burn, get a red or green produce with a lot of white stretch marks.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can't find an answer to your question below, get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

How Long Does Growing Jalapeno Pepper Take?

The early jalapeno plants start as seeds indoors or get planted in the spring from nursery starts. As long as temperatures and other conditions are properly managed, expect your growth to go from germination to tasteful fruit for harvesting anywhere between three and four months.

Do Jalapeno Peppers Grow Well In Pots?

Jalapenos do well in containers and you can look forward to a fast harvest. You'll need to keep the soil warm. If your environments are cold, get a seed heating mat.

Seed trays have a humidity dome. It prevents soil from drying out too soon. Make sure your potted babies get plenty of light. A sunny window won't grow the results. A grow light will be helpful.

What Month Do You Plant Peppers?

We suggest you start growing jalapenos indoors. Now, the frost end period happens between January and March and it's advised you get started six weeks before that. When it's time to transfer, you want to get out there in April or as close to the start of Spring that allows soil temperatures to reach 65° F.

What Can You Not Plant Next To Jalapenos?

Peas and beans are good companions for our spicy growth. In fact, you should place nothing in the brassica family near your spicy plants. They can detract from the flavor or feed on minerals and create unnecessary competition for natural growth.

How Many Jalapenos Do You Get From One Plant?

You can get around 30 to 40 catches from a single seed germination. The results are dependent on the variety and the size of the fruits. Under the right conditions, the jalapeno plants bear catches from summer through the fall. There's also the possibility of overwintering your growth to get in a second year of spicy produce.

How Often Do You Water A Jalapeno Plant?

After the transplant seedlings, you want to deeply soak produce after putting them in soil. After, your jalapenos garden should receive a weekly dose of one inch of water. Go up to two inches when the days are hotter. You want to do everything possible to ensure the soil stays moist without getting oversaturated.

How Long Do Jalapeno Pepper Plants Take To Grow After Flowering?

If you have successful fertilization, there will be the development of full-grown peppers within 55 days. Some will see this stage as unripe, but you can safely cut most of these peppers from the plant while others continue to grow. Harvesting in this way, there's the chance you'll stimulate growing jalapeno.

Can You Grow Jalapenos From Store Bought Habanero Peppers?

You can pick out the best store product and they may not grow to harvest. If you want good growth in the garden, keep napkins moist when you perform a seed viability test. Use your heat map to germinate at the right temps.

Hot Fact: Every August 19th is officially National Hot & Spicy Food Day.

Conclusion: Other Important Things to Know

Besides a great taste, our favorite pepper is potassium-rich. They contain vitamins, A, C, K, and B. Capsaicin is a health booster that also gives the pepper its spiciness.

There's a lot to gain from indulging your love of jalapeno peppers beside the taste, including overall long-term health benefits.

Last year, the American Heart Association dared to pose the question, "do people who eat chili pepper live longer?" Dr. Bo Xu, a researcher on the impact of chili in-take and cardiovascular mortality, was "surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chili pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality."

If you love jalapeno pepper, tomato, or sweet peppers and love to garden, we hope this guide inspires you to try growing your own.

LED vs Fluorescent Grow Lights: What Should You Use?

As the indoor gardening community continues to blossom and technology improves, the debate about which lighting to use continues. Which grow lights are best? More specifically, what should you use when it comes to LED vs fluorescent grow lights?

Below, I'm going to help you make an informed decision for your growing operation. We detail the basics of fluorescent lights, LED lights, and conclude with final thoughts to answer this question.

LED vs Fluorescent Grow Lights: Our Verdict

There are many things to consider when choosing between LED vs fluorescent grow lights. We hope we’ve given you a lot to think about. Remember these points:

You might also like:

What is Fluorescent Lighting?

When we discuss fluorescents for grow lights, we’re generally talking about the long tube fixtures you are probably familiar with. These lighting fixtures, notably the T5, are highly effective for grow lighting.

The T in T5 grow lights refers to the shape of the LED lamp. These grow lights contrast with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which are now the mainstay of household lighting. CFLs screw into the traditional sockets used for home lighting with incandescent bulbs, while T-shaped lamps require a long, tube-shaped socket.

While CFLs are used for growing plants indoors, we’ll mostly talk about the T-type lamps in this article. Specifically, we’ll talk about the T5, which is the most efficient CFL for growing. Further on, we will go a bit into CFLs for indoor growing operations.

Did you know: Fluorescent lighting is more than six times more efficient than traditional incandescent lighting!

We won’t go much into the magic of CFLs here. Essentially, this type of lighting at its basic level consists of a long tube filled with a small amount of mercury. When electricity is sent lengthwise along the tube, this mercury heats up. That reaction allows a phosphor coating on the tube to emit light.

Special Case: Compact Lamps For Plant Growth

Some amateur indoor horticulturalists claim success with compact lamps. These bulbs, which screw into traditional lightbulb sockets, actually burn with less heat than T-shape lamps.

However, their intensity is lower, which means you need multiple bulbs.

This may be a good idea if you want to grow a single indoor plant at home or will only use artificial lighting sparingly.

However, the hassle and expense of multiple bulbs, along with an efficiency that won’t match a simple LED fixture, CFL bulbs likely aren't even on the table for anyone considering even a middling grow operation.

Fluorescent Grow Lights: Pros and Cons

Fluorescent lighting is a popular choice for indoor horticulturalists, especially when the growing operation is on a small scale.

The appeal of these lights is easy to see. It has low upfront costs and a cooler light spectrum that is excellent for plants during the germination and seedling stages.

However, while fluorescents offer short-term cost reduction, the long-term benefits are hindered by bulb lifespans that remain significantly shorter than their LED counterparts. Concerns regarding energy efficiency and environmental impact are detailed below.

Fluorescent Grow Lights Pros

CFL is one of the most popular kinds of lighting for small-scale, amateur indoor horticulture operations.

Why is it so popular amongst the amateur hydroponics crowd? Well, the most significant draw of CFL must be the price. 

The mass production of these lights coincided nicely with the blossoming of the indoor gardening industry. You can find effective CFLs for reasonable prices, especially when held up against traditional grow lights such as high-pressure sodium vapor lamps (HPS lights), HID light, the incandescent light bulb, or even a modern LED tube light.

Furthermore, though the light intensity is low, CFLs are useful in a wide range of indoor horticultural activities. Fluorescent lighting has a cooler temperature (blues and whites) that is excellent for small plants or plants in the early stages of growth.

CFL's use is naturally confined to a smaller scale and is the ideal lighting in small propagation areas (although as LED technology is continuously perfected, perhaps not for long).

Fluorescent Grow Lights Cons

As we mention above, fluorescent lights burn with low intensity.

Along with their lower intensity burn, this artificial light will burn a bit hotter than LED bulbs, which produce virtually no heat at all when equipped with a heat sink. Thus, with CFL, you have a lower intensity bulb that needs to be kept further away from your plants.

What does this mean for your indoor grow room? It means that your lighting simply doesn’t have the strength to bring forth large-scale harvests.

Though fluorescent bulbs are more efficient than other types, their lighting is not as efficient as LEDs. The upfront cost for the equipment is low, but energy bills will be higher.

Finally, fluorescent grow lights have a much shorter lifespan than LED lights--almost 10 times shorter.

LED Grow Lights: Pros and Cons

Though light-emitting diodes, or LED, grow lights were looked down upon by the indoor gardening community for many years, LED technology has steadily improved since its inception in 1962.

Now, it surpasses even the HID grow light HPS (remember: high-pressure sodium, historically the favorite for indoor horticultural).

There is a lot to love about LED. The full-spectrum light means one light fixture can be used from germination to elongation and from maturation to harvest.

They have a lifespan that far outstrips any other types of lights with a highly efficient, almost heatless burn. It is easy to see why horticulturalists choose LEDs for growing operations.

Most LED grow lights feature cooling systems that allow the LED bulb to produce virtually no heat. Mounted to a heat sink, you can move your LED very close to your plants, allowing the plants to absorb more of the light emitted by the LEDs.

LED Grow Light Pros

LED grow lights are lights with the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation. For the layman, LED lights produce the kinds of light that plants of all levels of maturity need to grow.

In addition, LED lights have an incredibly long lifespan. While a fluorescent bulb may last you 10,000 hours, an LED light will last you as many as 100,000 hours! Yes, that’s right. Five zeros. That’s almost 12 years of continual use.

Finally, these lights are highly efficient. Long-term use of LEDs is likely to save the indoor gardener on costs when energy bills are added to the net profit.

LED Grow Light Cons

The only criticism of an LED grow light is the upfront cost. While LED grow lights can be bought very cheaply, a solid LED system can add up on your credit card bill.

Depending on the size and longevity of your grow operation, buying nice LEDs outright may be overkill. Scale also needs to be considered. For a very small-scale home operation, full-spectrum, highly customizable LED lights are simply too much hay for one horse, as the saying goes.

Further reading: Can You Leave Grow Lights On 24 Hours A Day?

How to Build a DIY Grow Light System for Indoor Plants

As an avid gardener, I find it troubling when I can't cultivate the crops I want due to the inconvenient weather and climate in my area, along with pests that want to devour them.

In this rundown, I’ll tell you the best ways to help indoor plants thrive with a DIY grow light system. You can avoid these inconveniences when you have an ideal amount of space and an affordable set of tools.

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What Are the Benefits of Placing DIY Grow Lights in My Home?

Many gardeners believe setting up DIY grow lights make ideal additions for their homes. Without natural elements acting as barriers to their growth, they can cultivate their crops year-round and provide a balanced environment to enhance them.

Many people enjoy getting a head start on their growing season due to controlling their plants’ growth environment.

I recommend creating a space in your house to install these lights to meet your gardening needs. Even the smallest room in your home can hold enough plants for a plentiful harvest. Some benefits of using a DIY grow light system for your indoor garden include:

What Do I Need to Gather for My DIY Grow Light System?

Before you begin your indoor gardening process, you must gather the necessary tools to construct a light system that works efficiently and compliments its installment area. Although your room size might vary, the supplies you need relatively stay the same.

When I built my grow light system, I measured the dimensions of my indoor garden space to ensure I have enough space for placing my shelves before planting the seeds indoors. Some of the things you’ll need to gather for a DIY grow light system include:

Shelving Racks

A sturdy rack should hold as many seeds or plants as you desire, assuming you want to grow a large surplus of greenery for your home garden.

I recommend using a five-level shelving rack if you’re an avid gardener. By choosing the larger option, you don’t need to keep your plants cramped on the same level.

Another budget-friendly solution you can consider is buying multiple smaller racks to accommodate the types of plants you want to grow.

When purchasing my racks, I measure the average shelf height and length to determine how I can place my seedlings, lighting systems, and whether I may need a light stand.

Collapsible racks might be ideal if you need to move your station when performing renovations or other room household tasks. Metal wire makes an ideal material that’s appropriate for storing anywhere.

LED or Fluorescent Lights

One advantage I enjoy from growing indoor plants is controlling how much light I can give my plants daily. The plants can thrive much longer when inconvenient weather and the night don't interrupt the growth cycle.

The best types of lights you should consider adding to your DIY grow light kit are fluorescent and LED lights. For my light setup, I incorporate alternating warm and cool light bulbs to balance my plants’ growth.

Here are a few tips I recommend you do when placing the lights you prefer:

  1. Consider the number of shelves you have - you’ll need space to hang them above the plants, so consider which spots you want to place them.
  2. Consider how long you’ll keep them on - the average time frame most gardeners use is between 16 to 18 hours.
  3. Balance the distance between the light panels and the plants - if you place them too far, their intensity won’t reach the plants and if you place them too close, they can damage the plants.

Which Lights are Best at Which Stage?

Fluorescent lights might not have a large yield or work effectively on flowering plants, but they are ideal for gardeners seeking options that match limited budgets. They’re more suitable for the early stages of seed and plant growth.

You can also place fluorescent lights closer to your plants, depending on their size. They don’t give off too much heat, making it excellent when you use smaller spaces for indoor gardening.

LED lights won't require an exorbitant power supply, making them ideal if you prefer creating an eco-friendly DIY grow light system. They also emit less heat than traditional light, allowing gardeners to use them for extended periods at reasonable distances.

LED lighting might be a more suitable option for plants further in the growing and blossoming stages. It would be wise to measure how many hours you leave them on since too much close range light might damage sensitive plants.

Did You Know?

The colored wavelengths of LED lights play an essential role in plant growth. Typically, the red light promotes flowering, the blue light promotes the growth of thick leaves and chlorophyll levels, and the green and yellow lights assist with photosynthesis.

The amount of light you use depends on the type of plants you want to grow; some grow better in warmer LED tones while others thrive with cooler tones. I recommend balancing your plants’ DIY LED grow light intake for the best results.

Hanging Chains or Hooks

After acquiring your lights, you should start hanging them up. However, not all shelves have the proper equipment for supporting LED or fluorescent lights. One solution that helped me out was using chains and s-hooks to support each light over each shelf compartment.

I enjoy using hanging chains for my DIY grow light since I can adjust their height freely to suit my plants' needs. As the plants grow, you’ll need to move the lights further away to prevent damage.

Quick Pro Tip: Most steel s-hooks have the strength to withstand an LED light’s weight. These limits might differ between manufacturers, so I recommend comparing your options to determine which ones are sturdier.

Extension Cords and Power Strips

Depending on your indoor plants’ location and the number of lights you place on your DIY grow light unit, you might need to use extension cords or power strips to ensure excellent growing conditions for your indoor harvest.

I recommend using power strips for your lights because you might have limited outlet space in your home if you plan on harvesting multiple plants. This method typically lets you save more space without sticking too many plugs everywhere.

Timers

As someone with a busy schedule, it’s sometimes difficult to track how long I monitor my plants’ light exposure. Although most people leave them on throughout the day, they might forget to turn them off before bed.

One way to remedy this process is by getting a timer. By setting the timer for a maximum limit of 18 hours, you can focus on other tasks throughout the day after observing and caring for your indoor plants.

Growing Trays

It would be best to purchase growing trays without mesh bottoms to prevent water from leaking onto the floor or seeping into lower shelves that might cause excessive watering.

Watering Systems

Another accessory you should place on your DIY grow light rack is a reusable water bottle or canteen for water storage. Some models might have accessories that allow you to hang them, so it would be wise to put them close to your supply shelves. Your local sports store should have some in stock.

How to Set Up Your DIY Grow Light System

Once you’ve gathered your equipment, you can begin constructing your DIY grow light system. Although some gardeners might do this process differently, here are the steps I used to set them up.

  1. Clear some space in your desired indoor gardening room or grow tent and set up as many shelving racks as you need.
  2. Place the LED or fluorescent bulbs in their frame and hang them above each shelf.
  3. Set your timer for daily power usage.
  4. Connect the lights to power strips and extension cords and plug them into the nearest wall outlet.
  5. Place your seed trays on the shelves and water them.

Quick note: Understanding how to use grow lights is a fundamental step before you should even consider the above DIY approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions about your DIY grow light, here are a few FAQ to help you out.

How far should I place my lights away from my plants?

Although this factor might differ depending on the plants in your indoor gardening space, the average distance between the LED lights and plants typically ranges between 16 and 36 inches.

If you have seeds that need extra exposure, use the chain to lower the lights closer to them. If they grow taller, increase the distance.

Is it a good idea to leave my grow lights on 24/7?

Many indoor plants do well with grow lights or minimal sunlight; leaving them under artificial lighting all the time isn’t the best option.

After spending most of the day absorbing light, plants need to rest and metabolize their energy at night. After using the lights for 16 to 18 hours, you should turn the lights off to balance their growth.

How do I get a greater yield for my indoor plants?

While DIY grow lights can help, it can also be beneficial to add a heat mat in your set up. Some other methods of producing a greater yield include increasing your light’s intensity, optimizing your room’s temperature and humidity to match each plant’s growth requirements, and giving your plants the nutrients and water they need.

You can also prune your houseplant to keep its growth under control. I typically trim the leaves that don’t receive as much nutrient or light intake as the ones above them.

Conclusion

You can create a DIY grow light system from several supplies you can gather. This strategy allows you to create an indoor garden space to help you cultivate a fruitful harvest during the winter and prepare to transfer them outside as warmer weather approaches.

I believe building a DIY grow light system can let you organize your plants more efficiently since you have the freedom to label your shelves without the wind or rain misplacing them. You can turn a simple shelf into a layered growing station for your flowers or vegetables.

Building a DIY grow light system allows you to experiment with creating a healthy harvest and save money in the long run.

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Quickly (3 Ways)

As soon as summer rolls around, it’s that time again to get that neglected garden looking shiny after those cold winter months.

There's only one problem, these pesky little bugs seem to be munching on our crops and undoing all our long hours of hard graft.

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How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

Fortunately, there are many methods available today to rid our gardens of these little suckers, be it natural, using chemicals and pesticides, or by outside help like pest control. Read on for an explanation of each method and its steps.

Humane or Natural Removal

Sure you want to get rid of these tiny critters, but maybe you don't want to harm them. Here's how to do that naturally.

1. With Your Hands

Use gloves, and don’t crush or squeeze them. Dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water- with one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing solution, causing them to suffocate.

2. Exclusion

Cover your plants with protective sheets or row covers to prevent beetles from reaching them. Great for late summer.

3. Trapping

Research has shown that traps attract more beetles than they kill. These traps contain two types of bait; the first creates a scent identical to virgin female beetles, luring in males. The second is a sweetly scented one that attracts both genders.

Both of them create an attractant so strong it can lure thousands of beetles into your garden every day.

4. Use Resistant Plants

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the following plants have been found as resistant towards Japanese beetle attacks:

  1. Red maple
  2. Magnolia
  3. Lilac
  4. Hickory Boxwood

5. Row Covers

You can protect your garden by using row covers or nettings purchased at your local store. However, this method won’t work all that well if your garden’s already infested.

Quick Tip: Wait till your plants finish blooming before you cover them up so that you don’t prevent them from being pollinated.

Chemical Removal

If natural removal isn't your thing and you don't care about killing these little plant destroyers, then here's how.

1. Neem Oil

Neem Oil works as both a pesticide and a fungicide and can obliterate more than just Japanese beetles - parasitic wasps, cucumber beetles, and mosquitoes.

Neem Oil will kill on contact only, meaning you need to spray it once every morning and in the evening as beetles can also be active in that period but sluggish.

The good news is, insects do not become immune to it over time as they do with other pesticides. It’s also biodegradable, non-toxic, and doesn’t cause harm to pollinators like bees and ladybugs.

Another advantage is that it’s capable of literally wiping out an entire generation of Japanese beetles. When an adult beetle ingests the spray or solution after it lays eggs, the Neem oil is carried over to their larvae, killing them.

2. Pesticide Sprays

There are multiple insecticides on the market geared towards Japanese beetles. However, some have drawbacks like harming plant life or affecting vegetation.

Japanese Beetle Larvae Removal (Prevention)

Killing them off is one thing, but actually preventing them entirely is a much better way of ensuring you don't get infested.

1. Natural Predators

Adult Japanese beetle predators include spiders and assassin bugs, guineafowl, and catbirds. There are no natural predators for Japanese beetle larvae. However, there are methods to exterminate them before they turn from white grub to adults.

These methods include heterorhabditis bacteriophora, a beneficial nematode. It works by targeting eggs in the soil and plant roots and can exterminate them before they turn into adult beetles. Another is milky spore powder; both are available for purchase.

2. Milky Spore

Milky spore is a bacteria that affects your soil with milky spore disease, effectively ending the growth of beetle grubs through paralysis. Its effects last up to fifteen years!

However, it might take over four years to work, making them less popular than beneficial nematodes. It also won’t work if there aren’t enough larvae to spread the infection, meaning that the more the number of grubs, the quicker the disease spreads.

Signs of Japanese Beetle Damage

It's pretty easy to spot damage made by these beetles, here are the most common:

Skeletonized Leaves and Flowers

The tell-tale sign of Japanese beetle damage is the appearance of “skeletonized” leaves. These garden pests can wreak havoc upon your crops or your lawn by eating leaves and leaving them with a skeleton-like appearance.

They also munch through flower petals - their favorites are roses - leaving them with holes and a hollowed appearance.

Unhealthy, Brown Patches in Lawn

Strange, irregular brown patches in your lawn could also signal a Japanese beetle problem.

Most Vulnerable Plants

Some plants are much more susceptible or "tasty" for these little bugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can't find an answer to your question below, get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

What Are Japanese Beetles?

Japanese beetles are species of the scarab beetle and a pest feared by many garden owners. Growing up to approximately half an inch long, they are distinguished by their metallic-looking green bodies and copper-colored wings. The appearance of one beetle in your lawn can attract more, meaning one bug in your garden can turn into 50 the following day.

Are Japanese Beetles Lethal to Plants?

Yes. As aforementioned, Japanese beetles can skeletonize leaves, destroy crops, and turn fruit and vegetables inedible.

Do Japanese Beetles Bite?

They don’t bite humans, nor do they possess any threat to them - they’re not poisonous. Their texture is prickly, though, which can sting a little if you touch them. This is why you should be wearing gloves if you plan on hand-picking them as a way of getting rid of them.

What Do Japanese Beetles Feed on?

They have a pretty large diet, feeding on over 300 types of plants, leaves, and flowers, from roses to peaches to birch trees. This is what makes them such a dangerous and invasive pest. They can have destructive effects on entire gardens and lawns.

Should You Call Pest Control?

You don’t have to call pest control if you have a mild case of infestation or a slight presence. However, if you’ve used the methods discussed in this article and still struggle with them, it might be a good time to get help from a professional.

Will Japanese Beetles Ever Go Away?

Good news, yes, they can! Using beneficial nematodes and milky spore, you can prevent their presence in your lawn for good by using them on your soil to kill them as larvae, preventing you from ever seeing them again!

Will Soapy Water Kill Japanese Beetles?

Soapy water drowns Japanese beetles, and unlike insecticidal soap, it’s not bad for you, your skin, or the environment. Simply mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent into a gallon of water to make your soap water mix, shake the tree those pesky bugs are at, and drown them into the soap.

What Is the Natural Enemy of the Japanese Beetle?

Many insects such as spiders, assassin bugs, predatory stink bugs, and ants. Also, fowl such as guineafowl and catbirds, as well as ducks, robins, crows, sparrows, turkeys, and shrews.

How Do You Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Permanently?

Hand-picking and chemical removal work temporarily. Permanent methods include beneficial nematodes and milky spores to kill them in their larvae stage.

What Time of Day Are Japanese Beetles Most Active?

In the early morning and the evening. They are sluggish in both states, so it’s an ideal time to hand-pick them.

What Smells Do Japanese Beetles Hate?

Garlic, catnip, leeks, onions, and white germanium.

What Do Japanese Beetles Hate?

They are deterred by certain smells (like the ones mentioned above) and certain natural predators that feed on them.

Are Japanese Beetles Good for Anything?

No. We don’t like to bash mother nature, but these bugs don’t seem to do much good. Neither their larvae nor their adults contribute to anything.

Will Vinegar Kill Japanese Beetles?

A concoction of apple cider vinegar mixed with water will kill Japanese beetles because of its acidity.

Conclusion