Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Seed Starting Adaptation

The large white wire shelf is hung by a simple chain draped over the rafter 
of the greenhouse.  A shop light hangs beneath that, throwing extra light 
on to the emerging seedlings to help get them started off right. 

Making Adjustments 

So today I walked into my new Greenhouse space that I wrote about last week.  I am so excited about this space and the plans and ideas I have for its use.  It's been a plan looming in my mind for a while now, and I am happy to finally have the space in a useful arrangement.  There is still plenty of small projects like more shelves and other things that I want to get done in here, but its a new use for the space which is exciting to say the least.  

Today however, excitement was met with a bit of a shock.  I was checking on the plants and when I removed their covers, I was horrified to see that the plants were all really reaching for the light.  I had been concerned that this might be an issue when we started this project.  And today, my concerns were realized.  I was worried that the old plastic covering the greenhouse might not let in enough light.  I have plans to remove the old sheeting and recover the space with newer sheeting that I know will let in more light, but for now, we had to address the immediate problem with a more readily available solution. 

The white shelf above the light is as large as the shelf the
seedlings are currently sitting on.  This space could facilitate
10 full trays of seedlings.  Just be sure to address the issue of
water dripping onto the lights below the shelf. 
For a number of years now, I have started plants under a simple shop light with some full spectrum florescent lights. These types of lights can be purchased cheaply at most home improvement stores, or even big box stores.  There is nothing fancy about them, you simply plug them in and the light is on.  Once I figured out that the light was the issue, I instantly pulled out my trusty seed starting light, and began figuring out how to mount it above the rather tall seedlings growing in my trays.

Fortunately, I had already purchased some chain for another idea I had in mind for this space.  I was fortunate enough to come across some old display shelving last summer when my best friend was clearing out some old fixtures from his store.  They are very sturdy and coated and I knew that I could find a use for them in the garden.  At the time I was thinking of trellis for peas or beans maybe, but recently have decided they make excellent shelves.  And that was the reason behind the chain.  I had figured I could hang some chain from the rafters of the greenhouse, and mount another nice large shelf for growing out plants.... lucky for me, these shelves also make great hanging points for the shop light.

And thus, the solution to my problem was formulated.  With the shelf light system I can adjust the light height by raising and lowering the height of the shelf by changing the hanging location on the chain holding it.  If one shop light isn't enough, I could easily move the first light to the back, and install a second light in the front, which would be enough to put five full 10/20 trays under light.  I am also debating putting a couple pieces of foil on each side of the shelf to further reflect the light back onto the plants.

Time will tell if this solution meets the needs of the plants I have growing in this space, but for now at least, its a step in the right direction.  I feel you could accomplish a similar solution with any sturdy fencing that would hold a 10/20 tray of seedlings.  Hog panels cut to length come to mind right off the bat as one potential option.

I'll be sure and post some updates on how this project turns out over the next few weeks.

If you are into this sort of thing, there is more information over at our website which you can view here. There is loads of information about gardening, a whole section on composting, and even some ideas about home remodeling!  Come check it out.  We'll keep posting here on the blog, and do our best to continue to add more content to the website as well.

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