do I make my garden grow?
Good question. Is it Luck?
Maybe Experience? How about time tested strategies?
how you do it, it would be really great to be able to do it for the
least amount of money possible.
One of the most expensive
parts of indoor gardening is the lighting.
Wanna See How
The Plant Project Is Doing?
LEDs Are Just Better
Not only are other types of grow
bulbs expensive, the electricity they use is out of this world. But,
LED's are coming to the rescue. It is true that LED lighting is
still expensive, but the amount of power to run them is not.
Why Am I Doing This?
I decided to do this LED Garden
Project to find out what kind of advantages LEDs have over
It has been said that LEDs can be as
effective, if not more effective, than other forms of lighting when
used to grow plants. We shall see.
This experiment will be as controlled
as I can make it and I will do my scientific best to track all
results and post them here so that you can follow along with the
Joining my Blog or using RSS would be great ways of
keeping track of my LED garden project.
Here's A Quick Overview
I will take 3 pots and put them in a
big storage bin. I'll plant three kinds of plants in each pot and
install a different type of light over each one.
First I will put a full spectrum (sun type) fluorescent over one
pot, an all white group of LEDs over another pot. And over the last
one, I'll put a combination of red and blue LEDs. I will pump air
into each pot and water them all equally.
What I Think
My belief is that the pot with the
colored LEDs will grow the best, with the fluorescent close behind,
followed by the all white LEDs. Direct sunlight is obviously still
the best light source but we all know it's not always around when
you need it.
I chose a storage bin for the LED
garden project that was large enough to hold three pots, 11 inches
wide at the top and 12½ inches deep. The bin itself is 23 inches
tall. I put two pieces of hollow plastic fencing in the bin to keep
the pots off the bottom in case any water accumulated there.
pots have large holes on the sides at the bottom so I used weed
control fabric on the outside of the pots to help contain any soil
that might want to leach out.
I added a 50/50 mix, about 4 inches
deep, of sterile compost and vermiculite to the pots.
My plants for
the LED garden project are:
Petunia's - Because I love the smell.
Alyssum - Because they only grow to about 2 - 4 inches tall.
Impatiens - Because my wife said so.
OK, that was an easy
dividers to separate the inside of each pot into thirds, I planted
several seeds of each type into each section. Once they germinate
and start growing, I'll thin them out a little so they will be nice
needed a place to mount the lights so I measured the inside of the
bin where the top of the pots were and cut out a piece of scrap
siding I had lying around. I installed a couple of knobs so I could
lift it out and then I mounted the lights.
Now for the lights
I decided to use some under-counter lights for
the LED garden project that I bought for my Product Testing Page.
They have 24 High Brightness LEDs installed in each light.
ordered 20 red LEDs and 5 blue LEDs. Removed the 24 white LEDs from
one of the lights and Installed 19 Red and 5 Blue into it and it was
ready to go.
If you would like to see how
to install LEDs, please
The white light was already together so all I needed now was a socket
for the Fluorescent Sun Light.
The Sun Bulb Socket
Problem was, the height of the bulb
and the socket made it so that the sun bulb was too close to the
plants compared to the other lights. I had to get the sun bulb
closer to the height of the others so I drilled a hole where the
bulb went and mounted the socket so that the bulb would screw into
the socket and be as close to the other lights as possible.
The Air That They Breathe
Since the plants are in a closed, but
not air tight container, I decided to put in some air for
circulation. I found an air pump that I wasn't using and just
happened to have some tubing and a 4 way valve lying around from a
Hydroponic project my wife had given up on.
It was perfect. I set
the pump in the bottom of the bin on top of a fence rail and routed
the tubes into each pot.
It's amazing how little ideas just pop up out of nowhere. I needed a
way to hold the tubing towards the top of the pots but I didn't want
to drill holes in the pots so I looked around my office and found
some small binder clips. I clipped them on the sides of the pots and
stuck the tube through one of the handles. It works perfectly.
Gotta Keep The Temperature Just Right
I put a little thermometer in the bin
to keep track of the temperature. I want to keep it as close to 70
degrees as I can. I understand these Germinating flowers like that.
And water of course. I use a squirt bottle with a mist nozzle and
try to keep the soil damp but not too wet, and of course, not too
dry. I'm just trying to keep them happy.
What's Happening With The Flowers?
To see how the project is doing,
Well that's my LED garden project. If
you have any questions or comments, perhaps you have some LED
growing experiences, please feel free to send them to me using the
Contact Me link below. I may even put them in a comments section on
the page with your name so that other readers can benefit from your
knowledge and insight.