|Mountain Magic cherry tomato grown under lights|
Google search. 'Weed' sites have taken up the 'grow box' problem with vigor. Pot head solutions seem a bit complicated and expensive. I need a simple, cheap and energy efficient solution.
My seedlings sit on a 4 tier metal wire shelf positioned up against a south window. These shelving units are inexpensive and easy to put together. Big box stores sell them.
|An industrial clamp light|
Clamp on to the shelf, over the plants, an industrial clamp light with a 100 watt (aka 23 watt) compact fluorescent bulb (CFL). According to the package, this bulb lasts 9 years - so shine away!
At first, I had a reflective space blanket around the shelf, but the lights give off some heat and the blanket keeps heat in. I removed the blanket.
Update: January 2017. I could not resist planting a cherry tomato seed (Mountain Magic) much too early. Below is a picture of the plant at about 4 weeks. At the first site of the stem, before it even fully emerged from the ground, the lights were on. They shine for about 16 hours a day. If the leaves are too close to the lights they dry and crisp, so I keep the bulbs at least 4 inches away. The extra heat is a plus near the cold windows, but if too close the leaves will be damaged. As the daylight hours lengthen, the sunlight from the window compliments the artificial light.
|Tomato plant - 4 weeks- under lights- next to window in mid January.|
Update: February 16, 2017
|Same plant - cherry tomato Mountain Magic 8 weeks from seeding.|
|Tomato plant growing in southern window with lights. Lights on 12 hours/day.|
|Box fan on low speed, circulates air and strengthens leaves and stems.|
In the basement, I set up the same wire shelving system with tube fluorescent lights that hang 2-4 inches above the plants. The lights are on a timer - and they shine for about 16 hours/day. The baby arugula is ready to harvest.
|Arugula growing under fluorescent lights 6500K.|
|Baby arugula, ready to harvest, grown under fluorescent lights in the basement.|
Update: The fluorescent tube lights in the basement have worked out really well. I started peppers, impatients, rosemary, sage, and parsley in early February and tomatoes, kale, butter lettuce a few weeks later. I replaced one of the four 6500K bulbs with a 2700K bulb. Lesson learned - keep the plants a good 4 inches from the bulbs, as the leaves will fry easily.
|Microgreens sunning outdoors in a mild February in Edmonton.|