Friday, March 29, 2013

More Light For The Greenhouse

Last year's plant starts were terrific but became quite "leggy" as we simply cannot depend on enough natural sunlight – even in the greenhouse. We have had a few "official" grow lights and moved the plants in and out of that artificial light but it still wasn't enough.
I did some research on artificial light and came up with a plan to add light to our growing carts with less expense than an investment in "official" grow lights and stands.
Arthur attaching the lights to the plant carts
We used 48" shop lights with T8 or T12 fluorescent tubes and selected (after much deliberating) natural sunlight tubes. The lights are on chains so they can be easily moved up and down to accommodate the growing plants.
Seedlings waiting to get under the new lights
These carts have been extremely helpful for the greenhouse. They were created from a couple of old broken library carts that had been put in the dumpster at the school where Arthur taught. He modified them to accommodate cell flats and plant trays. We've even used the carts to display potatoes in baskets at the Potter County Farmers' Market!
Grow Lights on Greenhouse Carts
The plants you see in the window behind the cart are headed to the high tunnel this afternoon. It's the first planting of lettuce and spinach.
Speaking of the high tunnel, here's a photo of the carrot/beet/potato planting with its extra layer of protection. I hope to see some of those little seedlings peeking up through the earth before the end of the weekend! The seed-grown shallots deemed too small to harvest last fall are also pictured here. It will be interesting to see what happens with them this spring.
At the other end of the high tunnel, the wintered-over Swiss chard and lettuce have awakened from  winter dormancy and are growing again along with some radishes recently planted.
And lest all this conversation about green things leads you to believe it's really spring here in northcentral Pennsylvania, I leave you with this photo to show that as we make out way back and forth to the greenhouse and high tunnel, we do so in barn boots, crunching along in the snow pack!

This post linked to the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest:


louise aucott said...

Can't wait to see it all the week of the 8th !!!

Cathy Burgess said...

Great article! I really find this very interesting. This is great for growing plants indoor. Grow lights are very much essential if one decides to cultivate plants which sunlight is not possible or even in greenhouses such as this. Thanks for sharing!

jelly andrews said...

I am glad you shared this one. It seems a good idea to grow plants indoor. But I just wonder if plants grown under lights would have the same structures with those grown outside?