Garden Quest 2015 #002 – It’s working. Maybe?Posted: February 3, 2015
I think things are going okay. It’s been 14 days since I sowed mesclun mix indoors. I’ve played around with the light position of the HPS grow light. I’ve wondered if HPS was a mistake (spoiler: I think yes) versus a T5HO fluorescent option. But plants ARE growing. That’s what they’re supposed to do. I am a bit worried about how leggy everything seems, so I’m strongly debating adding a T5 fixture so that the good crops like lettuce and broccoli aren’t set back by a bad grow light.
The math in my previous post is pretty wrong. No way does this fixture provide enough light for three trays. I’ve tried a few different heights, but I’d guess one tray, maybe two, tops.
The spinach I sowed, however, was a miserable failure. I got <15% germination, so I’m starting over with a fresher batch of seed and the old seeds will get tossed somewhere out of the way once the soil is workable.
To ensure very little light is wasted, I rigged up some reflectors using stockpiled cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, and generous amounts of painter’s tape. To the naked eye, it does seem brighter over the tray. Not pictured is a little gap in the reflector to allow a fan to blow through, as I’d forgotten about how important air circulation is when growing indoors. (A gentle breeze stimulates stronger stems and helps avoid fungal growth.)
I decided I should probably plug in my heat mats just to make sure they work. And no matter what happens with the grow lights – success, failure, whatever – it’s better than looking at the current state of my outdoors garden: