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  • Grow lights

    What I'm using at the moment.

    T5 lights, (4 tube x 120cm size) currently over a Vitepod heated propagator, although a large tray works well too to keep any compost or water spills contained (I'm messy!). I switch the lights on and off manually, but I would think a simple timer would work well if needed.

    Click image for larger version

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    To give an idea of size the black pots at the back are 1 litre, 4 rows of 8 pots each would fill this area. The small tomatoes are in 9cm pots.

    Click image for larger version

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    The lights are suspended on a metal frame, which I bought some years ago along with a single T5 light, the frame has been so useful. Although the original hanger system ( white cord showing in the middle of the top piece and holding the two rings further apart) is very lightweight and would not cope with the added weight of the 4 lights I'm using here. I added a set with more suitable size hangers (black hanging from the bar) Though I can only adjust one side at a time as they take two hands to move the lights down, up is easy just pull on the cord. I usually use this set of lights with a homemade frame so in the photo is also another hanger (closer to the light) and these work well and are easy to move the light up or down.

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    Looking in at the plants through the plastic side. If I wasn't using the Vitepod the lights could probably be a bit lower, but as it is they are at the lowest point and resting on the plastic frame of the propagator. Which still works well and small seedlings can be lifted up by putting a tray or pot under them until they grow a bit.

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  • #2
    Very impressive. I've seen the vitopod, I've seen one with the lights from greenhouse sensation website looking into also. Look at those plants they seem to be growing very quickly.

    o you ever get those gnats on black flies using compost inside the house?

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you,

      Yes. I hate them with a passion!
      Fungus gnats also known as sciarid flies, flit around the top of the compost or just under. The little maggots they produce (from eggs) can cause a real problem with germinating seeds and developing seedlings. If you ever sow something and you get a very poor showing or no germination check your compost for these horrors! They may be tiny but they have voracious appetites and will burrow into seeds through the weak spot just as the root starts to emerge and they eat the seed from the inside. If the seed does get to germinate they attack and appear to feed off the roots, stunting growth or even killing young seedlings.

      Sometimes they are already present with our house plants, but more often they are within the potting compost. So it pays to keep compost well covered or wrapped up. If I'm sowing in in a propagator I'll microwave the compost for a few minutes and let it cool in a sealed bag before using it to sow seeds in. After some heartache, I've found as long as the compost is clean to start I don't get a problem with them. But if I do spot a fly you'll see me hopping and jumping around, clapping my hands together until I've squished it!

      Comment


      • Galina
        Galina commented
        Editing a comment
        Hate them too and they caused some germination failures here too. Especially for the late sown plants. No problem earlier in the season when it is still cool. I took affected pots from the conservatory into the greenhouse, hoping that cool and natural predators would take care of them, but no! They are as bad as greenfly in the conservatory.

      • jayb
        jayb commented
        Editing a comment
        Worse than greenfly I think, I've lost several rare seed lines because of them.
        I would add my experience of them damaging emerging seedlings is mostly with tomato, chilli, sweet pepper, aubergine and that sort of size seed/seedling. Whether larger seeds would be affected?

    • #4
      I'll need to do pot the chilli plants when they are big enough normally I just plant them in the greenhouse since this is way early I'm looking at alternative's. Dread the fungus gnat. If I use the compost I'll microwave it as advised by jayb.

      Comment


      • clumsy
        clumsy commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll have ask how bad is the smell going to be? I have comfrey on the plot I cut it and put straight in the water butts and it starts to smell when it's say fermenting, hoping it's not bad as that. I'm also looking at rockwool never used them before still researching.

      • triffid
        triffid commented
        Editing a comment
        If you are having a bonfire or using the garden incinerator you could place the compost in a metal pan, covered, and keep it in the heat for a while.

      • clumsy
        clumsy commented
        Editing a comment
        triffid that's not a bad idea might have a bonfire at the allotment in December could do it then.

    • #5
      I'll have ask how bad is the smell going to be?
      Heated compost, more a hot earthy/leaf smell sometimes a bit more pungent! I don't mind it much. But nowhere near fermenting comfrey, that has a level all of its own! I think if your potting compost smells ok, then heating it will just make the scent somewhat stronger. If you have strong smelling compost to start, once heated it will be unpleasant.

      Comment


      • #6
        Mum's Garland growlight. Nice and compact, this is easier to fit in around the house. It's got it's own waterproof base, so no leaking pots to worry about and comes with a removable stand so capillary matting can be used to keep pots watered. Obviously no heat with this unit, and the hood only has 2 T5 lights. But the lights have their own support which fixes to the base, so handy and no extra expense. One downside is moving the lights up is a bit sticky and fiddly, going down is not so bad.

        Lights are extended to their maximum height. For an idea of size, I've put in five 1 litre (ish) pots in the back row and three 9cm ones in front. I estimate you could fit in a maximum of 5x3 of the 1 litre pots or 6x4 of the 9cm ones. Actual growing height if using a one litre pot would be limited to under a foot without the watering tray (which is about 2'' high)

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        With the lights down, it looks plenty bright.

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        And again from the end

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        Removable watering shelf

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        Again I think a simple electric timer would allow this to be automatic and with the reservoir full it should be able to go for a while unaided.

        Comment


        • Galina
          Galina commented
          Editing a comment
          Looks like somebody had the anglepoise idea already and turned it into a commercial product. No advertising intended, Just for info. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spectrum-Go...dDbGljaz10cnVl

        • clumsy
          clumsy commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks galina they look like an interesting concept. Do you one, if so 50w or 600w?/

        • jayb
          jayb commented
          Editing a comment
          They do look neat, thanks for the link.

      • #7
        That looks a very neat unit Jayb and with capillary matting and a timer it would need little attention. How high do you expect the Micro Blues to get?
        Last edited by Galina; 16-11-2019, 07:47.

        Comment


        • #8
          Thanks Galina. From memory, I think Micro Blue grows to around 15-20 cm, so a true micro. Though they do spread out a bit and with the weight of fruit they carry they tend to flop a little. Staking helps, but I don't always bother.

          Comment


          • #9
            Originally posted by jayb View Post
            What I'm using at the moment.

            T5 lights, (4 tube x 120cm size) currently over a Vitepod heated propagator, although a large tray works well too to keep any compost or water spills contained (I'm messy!). I switch the lights on and off manually, but I would think a simple timer would work well if needed.

            Click image for larger version

Name:	021.jpg
Views:	101
Size:	441.8 KB
ID:	10148




            To give an idea of size the black pots at the back are 1 litre, 4 rows of 8 pots each would fill this area. The small tomatoes are in 9cm pots.

            Click image for larger version

Name:	022.jpg
Views:	93
Size:	531.9 KB
ID:	10149




            The lights are suspended on a metal frame, which I bought some years ago along with a single T5 light, the frame has been so useful. Although the original hanger system ( white cord showing in the middle of the top piece and holding the two rings further apart) is very lightweight and would not cope with the added weight of the 4 lights I'm using here. I added a set with more suitable size hangers (black hanging from the bar) Though I can only adjust one side at a time as they take two hands to move the lights down, up is easy just pull on the cord. I usually use this set of lights with a homemade frame so in the photo is also another hanger (closer to the light) and these work well and are easy to move the light up or down.

            Click image for larger version

Name:	023.jpg
Views:	94
Size:	379.3 KB
ID:	10150




            Looking in at the plants through the plastic side. If I wasn't using the Vitepod the lights could probably be a bit lower, but as it is they are at the lowest point and resting on the plastic frame of the propagator. Which still works well and small seedlings can be lifted up by putting a tray or pot under them until they grow a bit.

            Click image for larger version

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ID:	10151
            Interesting. Found your explanation rather late in the day.

            My system is relatively under-powered which is why plants can become a little leggier. For the most part, except for aubergines and peppers, I rely on moving plants out to the greenhouse after a fairly short time.

            I was given some standard T8 (I think) 120 cm tube fittings about four years ago and with some help adapted a cheap polythene greenhouse frame to attach them to. So I have three shelves with lighting but they’re just single or double strips. With some juggling they’re not bad, but not suitable for very long term growing. I’ve just replaced one which packed up with an LED strip so I’m waiting to see how effective that is.

            I have a couple of heated trays separately and move seed trays or pots off those as soon as there’s any sign of life and quickly onto the light frame.

            Do your 4 tubes fit into a single quadruple light fitment of some kind? I get the impression they’re not that easy to find. Perhaps from hydroponics suppliers?

            Comment


            • #10
              Yes, I bought it as a ready unit, pricey but I hadn't a clue what bits and pieces I'd need to make one up.

              It may have been from here https://www.greenhousesensation.co.u...n-lights.html/ can't quite remember. I think you can just buy the housing or other parts if you already have some items you can use.

              Comment


              • #11
                Thanks. Looks really good. Think I’ll have to get by with my slightly underpowered system for now but I can see why your winter garden works so well.

                Comment

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