The garden is a Memorial Garden, a garden of benevolence, garden of love. It is a gift to our community from the God of Love, Jesus the Christ. The first “seeds” for our garden have come from members of the congregation and a designation from the congregation’s memorial funds. These seeds have brought us to the beginning of a journey that will last for many years. Guided by the Holy Spirit we will plow forth until row upon row of our work is accomplished and our community is better nourished. The Lord invites you all to be part of His work on earth strengthening and feeding His children. The garden is made possible by generous donations from the community, a Domestic Hunger Grant from the ELCA World Hunger, generous support by the congregation of Lutheran Church of Hope, and support from the Alaska Synod of the ELCA.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lighting

T5 or T8 Fluorescent
Pulley system
I use fluorescent lights in my grow operation. They are not full spectrum. They are not grow lights. You can spend a lot of money on special lights that you don't need. Just plain fluorescent, same kind you use in the garage work just fine. Prices can range from $1.30 each to $27 or more. The $1.30 lights work great. The Cooperative Extension Service has a publication on this you may find interesting. Unfortunately you have to order the publication it's not available online right now. You will save some money on electricity if you use tube type LED lights but often they won't work in the same fixtures as the regular fluorescent. It has something to do with the ballasts in the old fixtures. But it's only for a couple of months and if you already have the fixtures why not use them. I'm not sure how many months it would take to recover the difference between LED and fluorescent lights and fixtures. If you have a burning desire to use LED you can change the old fixtures. There are many videos on YouTube that will step you right through it. I do plan to do this since I will be using my lights all year long now.

You need to set up the grow operation so the lights can be lowered to just a few inches above the seedlings and then raised to keep them just a few inches above the plant tops. I purchased a "pulley" system from Amazon but I'm sure you can find them other places as well. You could also do it with a rope or a chain.

Timer
I usually have the lights on the plants 12 hours a day. I do this regardless of the window location or how much sunlight comes through the window. If you don't use the lights the plants always lean toward the window, the light source, and they tend to get leggy and spindly. Leggy plants don't support fruit very well so use the lights. I have the lights on a timer so they come on at 7 AM and go off at 7 PM. The on/off times are not important. The 10 to 12 or mores hours of light is the important thing.

Moving the Light
If you try to grow your plants with incandescent lights you will have a problem. If you get them close enough to the plants to be effective the heat from the bulbs will burn the leaves. If you are growing things like peppers during the winter in the house you will be temped to put them outside in the summer. You can certainly do this. Just keep in mind you will probably get an aphid infestation or something else while they are outside and when you bring them back indoors you will have aphids or something else in the house. You probably don't want those little green bugs in your house. They do attack houseplants as well.

There is much more to come on common pests. There's not much to worry about with the snow still on the ground.

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