Plants convert sunlight to carbohydrates which is the energy that makes them grow.
This is called photosynthesizing.
The more direct sun light the faster the growth and the better the plant.
I remember many years ago attending a Horticulture seminar at Massey University where a number of people from other counties were also present.
Two nurserymen from Alaska that I become friendly with; I asked them the question about growing crops that take 9 months or more to mature and that because of their only 6 months of light then 6 months of darkness how that would affect growth?
They said no problem as during the 6 months of light they have sunlight 24 hours a day.
Plants never stop growing and what would take us say 9 months to grow they grow in half that time or less.
If you are near the equator such as in the Philippines where I saw that every day the sun came up at about 6am and went down quickly at 6pm. This is about the pattern 365 days of the years so they have about 12 hours of sunlight everyday.
Plants grow fast over there with the light, temperature and rain/humidity.
I would love to spend time there growing stuff as it would be like midsummer here all year round.
Plants can also grow under artificial lights and the newer LED lights are cheap and good to aid plant growth as they produce the ‘blue light spectrum’ which is great for plants but not so good for our eyesight.
In glasshouse nurseries artificial light is used to extend day light hours in the winter by turning the lights on a 2-3 hours before sunrise and again for two or three hours after sun set.
Direct sunlight is needed to produce flower buds on many plants and with insufficient light no flower buds.
It is again sunlight that will cause flower buds to open and produce pollen and nectar to lure the bees which will allow the pollination to take effect.
Insufficient light, either no nectar, no pollen or no open flowers which means in fruit trees no crop.
Some plants have adapted to living in shaded situations where they get little or no direct sunlight and plants like that normally have large leaves so they can catch whatever light they can get, direct or reflected.
Thats why large leaf plants such as philodendrons are suitable for growing indoors away from light sources like windows.
Small leaf plants such as maidenhair ferns must have a bright light situation which is normally within a metre of a bright light window.
Last season we have had too many cloudy, overcast, hazy days and far too few blue sky days with nice white fluffy clouds.
In fact recently when talking to gardeners from different parts of the country I ask what the weather is like and if they say sunny with blue skies and white fluffy clouds I ask have they taken a photo of it?
They ask why? And I say to show your grand children in years to come otherwise they will not believe you.
That’s how bad it’s getting which is making growing plants more difficult and that means our food crops.
It also means that solar panels are not going to produce the same amount of electricity as they do with direct sunlight, in fact I often compare solar panels to plant leaves that are both creating energy from sunlight.
There are reasons why the blue skies of times past are not any where as much as present times but if I start talking about the reasons several people will unsubscribe from these weekly articles.
But no matter what obstacles are thrown at us there are always ways to overcome by slight changes in the way we do things.
In this case take a tablespoon of molasses and dissolve into a litre of hot water and when cooled down add 10 mils of Magic Botanic Liquid.
Place into a one litre Trigger sprayer and spray the foliage of plants you want to grow bigger, better and faster.
Leave the spray bottle in a shaded spot near to where you are going to use it and so when you are walking by you can give the plants a spray till all gone.
Then simply make up another batch.
I call it liquid sunshine as it gives plants a free lot of carbohydrates that they do not need to have sun light to achieve.
If you want to see what difference it makes then plant six seedlings say of cabbages in a place suitable to grow them; then spray 3 of them with the Liquid Sunshine frequently and watch to see the difference.
Mark with a small stake the ones you are going to spray so you know the difference.
The sprayed ones will likely have larger leaves, grow bigger faster and mature earlier.
Once you have determined there is a difference then you have full knowledge to do the same with all food crops to great advantage.
As an aspect of the treatment you may also find is that the treated plants have less insect pest problems but may encourage more ant problems.
If that is the case then obtain some of our Granny Mins Ant Bait and put that out in lids as a old fashioned control that works much better than most similar products these days.
Image credit: Kent Pilcher
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Products mentioned are from Wallys Range of products and can be found in some garden shops or by Mail Order on www.0800466464.co.nz