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My LED Garden Project


 

How do I make my garden grow?


 Good question. Is it Luck? Maybe Experience? How about time tested strategies?

No matter 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?

Click HERE...



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 fluorescent lights.
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.




The Experiment
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 progress.
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.


The Pots
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 12 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.
The 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.

 

The Plants
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.
And Impatiens - Because my wife said so.
OK, that was an easy decision.




Dividing The Plants
Using 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 and healthy.




The Light Board
I now 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.
I 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 Click Here...

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.








Tube Holder?
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.

 

 


Wondering What's Happening With The Flowers?

To see how the project is doing, Click HERE...


 

Conclusion
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.

 


 

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