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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Light Growing Systems

Light Growing Systems

Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 96
Does anyone know whether a local source for indoor light growing systems exists? If not, how about a reputable mail order source. Thank you!
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 287
No I don't Penelope so I'm sorry I can't help you.

But I want to add: When at Johnny's Selected Seeds two summers ago we bought some grow lights that I'm eager to set up. (Can't believe I didn't get to use them yet!)

I want to grow New Zealand Spinach indoors and was going to simply put them in a container near the bow window. But realizing they'll need more light to germinate I want to use lights for indoor greens even before it's time to plant indoor seedlings.

Elaine
Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 101
Thanks Elaine. Thus far I have resisted using grow lights. Partly because I am just resistant to it. AND because I have not started tomato seed before though I have started other veg successfully. Yep, I usually purchase tomato plants. Not this coming season. I want to plant heirloom varieties thus I will be starting seed. Is it necessary to start tomato seed on a warming pad and then grow under lights for strong plants?
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 292
I don't know yet Penelope. I have everything to learn from Nancy Bubel whose book The New Seed Starter Handbook will be my guide when the time comes.
Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 103
Elaine, i ordered Bubel's book yesterday. I think there could be a permie work group focused on this issue.
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 246
I just used a mixture of daylight flourescent and warm white flourescent bulbs when I started all my plants indoors last year. Of course, I was just starting them for future planting outside, so it was no big deal.

I'll probably not go quite so crazy this year, as even a dozen 32 watt bulbs on for 14-18 hours a day can eat up electricity!

The trick in any case, is to have the bulbs within a couple inches of the top of the plant leaves. Of course, the heat pad helped also. some plants prefer 70 deree or warmer soil for germination, while others do fine in 60-65 degree soil.

While I had 20 flats under lights this year I'll probably limit myself to around 10 in 2009. The Winter Sowing worked well for most plants so I'll continue with that instead...no electric use at all, really.

I'll probably just do tomatoes, peppers, stevia again, and a few other non hearty annuals. Maybe a few hearty ones to get a kickstart in Spring.

oh yes..probably will start squash, cukes and melons inside this year also, around mid to late April. I may try spring sowing them as well in vented containers.

All the lettuce and spinach will be wintersown I think, this year. I still have to order my seeds and actually decide on what I want.
Ted M.
TedMarkow
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 132
Mark,

Could you expand a little on winter sowing? What do you sow and when? Any good info I can get to?

Thanks,

Ted
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 250
Hi Ted.

A good resource is www.wintersown.org.
gardenweb also has a very active forum on wintersowing.

Last year I wintersowed around 20 varieties of annual herbs, annual veies, and both hardy perennial and annual flowers; a total of over 75 containers, some housing up to 3 varieties of seeds. I wintersowed daylilies and, because I was overwhelmed with all the plunk and running needed I just gave the entire container of around 50 seedlings away. Most things can be wintersown successfully. In fact the success I had was beyond my wildest expectations, so many things were far too crowded in their containers, come April.

If people were interested, maybe we could have a little wintersowing workshop in January or February, or even as late as march. Seeds that need cold stratification are especially easy to wintersow as long as they have a long enough time between wintersowing and expected germination. The winter cold takes care of the stratification need. Most seds requiring scarification usually do fine wintersown with no scarification as, again, the freeze thaw effect of the outside temps has a similar action to scarification, apparently.



There are sooo many benefits and no negatives (well...except all the plastic containers sitting in the front yard until they get planted...It takes about 10-15 minutes to prep a container, plant the seeds, seal the container properly, and set it outside.









Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 105
Thanks for the input on the lights. If I did set up it would be only a couple. I checked out the wintersown web site. Interesting. I am sure over the next couple of months I will consider trying it.
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 251
Penelopy..

The only things I generally plan to start under lights this year are tomatoes, peppers, stevia and a few other plants whose seeds are marginally winter hardy and cannot withstand an early frost.

most of my flowers will be winter sown. Broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, allia, etc.. will all be winterown. I may even try wintersowing some beets and carrots and transplanting them out once they start getting their true leaves.


I'm going to try spring sowing my squash and melons and cukes (same principle, but you bring the containers in at night, and don't sow until outside day temps are typically above 55. It does entail bringing those jugs in at night, but that's relatively minor inconvenience. maybe someday I'll be able to afford a 4 season greenhouse or a 3 season one....but that' not in the cards for the foreseeable future.

Winter sowing is a far more carbon neutral method of ed tarting than grow lights.

Grow lights (broad spectrums are useful if you need more light than a South facing window will provide, IMO.

Mot people don't start winter sowing until after December 25 anyways. I didn't start until January, actually.

After my $400 2 month electric bill for March/April, I am definitely toning down the interior seed sowing. I'll probably keep it down to 6 sets of 32 watt bulbs this year, max.







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