For you people that grow indoors "under the lights", how did you get started, and how did you learn what works and what doesn't? Is there a book out that tells you how to get started. I see instructions about growing such and such at ___degrees F. What if you have many different plants and they all have to be grown at various temperatures. I don't understand how you know what temperature you are growing them at. I know you need a fan for circulation, and a heater to keep the room at a specific temperature. Heat pads, timer. How do you know what supplies you ned for planting and where to order them from? I notice that people grow "under the lights" in less potting mix in less than 3 or 4 inches as recommended for WS outside. I would thnk with that method, you'd need to keep more detailed records.
Pippi, I have grown plants under lights over many years. I grew houeplants such as African Violets along with others. There are books for growing under lights. I had one years ago. Can't remember who wrote it. Actually, you could probably find book in your local library.
As far as temp. the plant stand was in my livingroom and temp set at 70 F.day and a bit lower at night. The lights were on 12 to 16 hours/day. Plants are pretty tolerable to conditions as long as they don't dry out. Most plants will grow in a wide range of temperature. I never used a fan, nor needed one.
I think that you are making more out of growing under lights than you need to. It is easy and you don't need a lot of stuff to do it with, Main thing is a stand that will hold the plant lights. As Karen stated, Google for information. I bought my plant stand by mail order during the 80"s and still have it. Now I use it for perennials that I started from seeds. Had seedlings of daylilies and Irises growing under light all winter. Just transplanted them in my coldframe.
Photo is of my plant stand before it got filled with plants.
Gymgirl..why do you ask how much yard space I have? I know the length and width of the one flowerbed by the garage is like 20 ft. long X 5 ft. wide. The other flowerbed is maybe about 15 ft. x 4 ft(I'm guessing) plus I have 2 foundation beds in the back. I'm assumming you're wondering if it would pay me to set up an indoor "under the lights" system, right? Another entire side of our house, has about 8 or 9 mature hydrangeas and two forsythia bushes planted there by previous owner before we moved here in 2005.
An idea spot would be in garage but it gets between 35-40 degrees in there in winter and we have two vehicles parked there. I have a sunroom that stays quite warm from sunshine that would probably be ideal, but don't think hubby would let me set anything up there, plus there is beige wall to wall carpet in there. Not practical in case something gets spilled like dirt or water, etc. I've been trying to convince him to let us take up carpet and put tile down but he's afraid it will get too cold out there in winter, but there is electric baseboard heat in there. I just mentioned to him that I want to find an good indoor thermometer for out in that room that i can visably see. I've come to rely on the digital thermometer rather than the old fashion type. Just told him we'd probably find one at Plow & Hearth the next time we are in that area. I figure if I go to the expense of buying plant stand/shelf and shop lights, timer, heat pads, etc. if I don't like it, I can always put the shelves in the garage for more storage, and sell the other things to somebody that does grow indoors" Under lights"
Here is the set up I have. I bought this rack from a store that was going out of business, Linens and Things. I can raise and lower the florescent lights as the plants grow. I have used this when I start seed in baggies. Heliotrope works particularly well in this set up.
I asked how much yard space you had because I was going to suggest that, instead of going with a whole indoor light set up, you could just start your seeds in one-gallon milk jugs, placed outside, in the cold and snow, in the middle of winter (YES!), and let 'em rip! You'd get all the seedlings you want for springtime.
Check out the WINTER SOWING FORUM. There are scores of people in your growing zone who are veterans at this ridiculously simple, fuss free way to start gazillions of seedlings for spring.
The setup you see here is the veggie seedlings (tomatoes, peppers) I started last December 21st. It was my first time, and I got the best, prettiest tomato and pepper seedlings I have ever had. Most of them went to friends and co-workers who grew them in their yards. I'm about to start again in a few more weeks for my spring veggie garden. I'll also be doing flower seeds, too, for the first time..