Our Grow Light Adventure...
It's been a minute!
I've honestly never been someone who was able to keep a diary or journal, so it isn't all that surprising that my blog posts are sporadic at best.
We have so much growth going on at our little homestead! Not only is this human I'm growing making me look more and more like I swallowed a beach ball every day, but our little 6x10 greenhouse is pretty much at capacity at the moment, AND half of our kitchen has totally been taken over by seedlings.
Oh, and 10 more baby chicks come this week...
Eeeeeep! I love it.
I've never been one who handles winter all that well. Realistically I whine a lot for someone who has lived in New England their entire life. Snow is great for like 2 months, but then I'm done. It is what it is. However, having fresh green growth in the house, and being able to escape to a nice toasty greenhouse, has absolutely been a game changer for my seasonal depression.
About 5 years ago Jon and I decided we wanted to jumpstart our growing seasons and get serious about starting seedlings indoors. Being in Maine and having limited sunlight in the winter time, we knew that meant investing in some grow lights.
Well, here we are 5 years and wayyyy too much money later, and we finally have found a set up we really like for starting our seedlings. We fell victim to the cheap LED lights too many times. I mean really, it's a little ridiculous. We have bought new grow lights every year for the past 5 years. Ugh.
However, THIS WAS OUR YEAR!
This year we bought a nice mental shelving rack, and T5 fluorescent lights for each of the 4 shelves. GAME CHANGER! I feel like we actually know what we are doing!
Side note: as I was typing that I looked over to see my toddler literally licking the window....
So I mean I like KINDA know what I'm doing sometimes?
Anyway, we have tons of seedlings and everything is looking so healthy and happy!
I will say that I ran out of room super fast (I know, shocking right?) so I pulled out one of our past LED purchases to stretch my growing space a bit. Now this light was NOT one of the cheap ones. That sucker was expensive, and is a really nice light.
I still don't like it.
I have about 8 luffa plants growing right now and they have all been looking awesome. I moved a couple under the LEDs for a bit more space, and they started yellowing. Now, that normally is from water issues, but my luffas under the T5s had gotten the same amount of water and looked great. I'm pretty convinced that even though I had the LEDs pretty high off my plants, they were being scalded by the strong lights. I moved them back under the T5s and they are back to their vibrant green selves. Now again, this is a great light and I'm not 100% against LEDs by any means, but this light was like $350 and my seedlings are doing better under $40 T5 fluorescent bulbs. LEDs have a time and a place. Good luck growing anything all the way to harvest inside with just T5s, or growing anything through to flower. If you just
want to get a jump start on your season and start your own seedlings however, the T5s are where it's at. This of course, is just my opinion and experience.
I'm pretty proud of our little (and not so little) seedlings. A few of them (lookin' at you luffa) are getting a little crazy and have me wondering if they are going to last the next 3ish weeks before I can get them outside into the ground.
For now, the luffa are vining up the sides of my shelving unit, and the peppers and tomatoes have me wondering how in the name of physics I can raise my lights again, when they are pretty much strapped to the top of the shelf as it is.
These are all the little learning adventures that I love. As my seedlings grow, I do too, and that's pretty darn neat if you ask me.