So, if you’ve read my last post, you might now be thinking of starting your own coffee garden. Or, similarly, you might want a tea garden. Also you’ve likely deduced that you can’t grow this outside, because of the climate in your area.
If that is not the case, you are lucky. You live in an area with a good climate for growing tea or coffee, so you can grow outdoors. This will naturally present a bunch of additional problems that you wouldn’t have when growing indoors, but you also avoid a lot of problems, like the need for artificial lighting and for watering.
Places where you might be able to grow outdoors in the US include the South and, of course, Hawaii. Hawaii actually already has a pretty good tea growing reputation. There’s a fairly good oolong tea being grown on the slopes of Hawaii. This shouldn’t be surprising, since the climate in Hawaii is fairly similar to the climate in the mountains of southern China, where the world’s most famous oolong teas come from. Similarly, Taiwan has that same kind of climate. It is the other area with famous oolong teas.
Anyway, if you are one of the ones having to grow indoors, then the rest of this post is for you. You will want to get some artificial lighting. And we will discuss which ones are the best for this.
Since tea does not need to flower and the same is true of coffee, you can stick to fluorescent lighting. It is cheaper and it generally gives you enough output to foster plant growth, but not enough to really get plants flowering well. Again, since tea and coffee plants don’t need to bloom, fluorescent lights are great. If you have a large garden, however, then you need a lot of fluorescent lights, which will cost a lot in terms of power costs and bulb changes. They also generate quite a bit of heat.
HID lighting is another option, but this generates even more heat and uses even more power. Overall it is more efficient than fluorescent lighting, though, so it makes more sense for a larger garden.
HID lighting is further split up into high-pressure sodium and metal halide lighting. High-pressure sodium lighting has a lot of red spectrum light and is great for flowering and blooming. For tea and coffee you do not need this, so you can go ahead and forget about these bulbs. There is no point in buying them.
Metal halide lighting has a spectrum similar to fluorescent and to the daylight sun. It has more blue light and is perfect for vegging plants. A good metal halide system would work wonderful for a larger tea or coffee garden.
If you can afford it, you might want to go with LED grow lights. They are much more expensive to purchase, but they use far less power and emit far less heat. For this reason they are much cheaper to operate.
Again, for a small garden it wouldn’t make as much sense. You could get one LED grow light fixture, but you might as well just get a fluorescent light. But if your garden is larger, you can save a lot of money. I would recommend one of the more cost-effective, but not one of the cheaper brands.
There are some cheaper ones that just won’t work well. While they do veg decently, if anything goes wrong you’ll have trouble getting it replaced. I would definitely recommend going with a more reputable company. You do not need to get the most powerful and most expensive ones, however.
A brand like platinum LED would be perfect for this. Their line of advanced platinum LED lights are cheaper than other similar lights, but they are are still high quality and would work excellently for this function.
These are the lights I would consider getting. They have six different wattages and something in the middle might be best, but it really depends on the size of your indoor garden. You can find a lot more info on the advanced platinum line of lights here.
So whatever light you go for, it will cost you some money. But if you do a good job with your tea you can sell that tea for money and make your expenses back. And even if you just drink all the tea yourself, you should still be able to make it back, since you won’t have to buy any more tea. But ideally, your tea will be very high quality and you can sell it for a pretty good price. Good luck with the growing!