Lights Lights Baby

By Bonnie Grant | October 8, 2021
Image by Zyabich
by Bonnie Grant
October 8, 2021

It is almost fall as I write this, and the days are getting shorter. We’ve even had a few frost alerts, which thankfully did not transpire. It does have me starting to put away the summer items though, slowing the irrigation system, and harvesting like a crazy person. We are on a short leash when it comes to the warm weather, and it is time to consider saving some of my favorite plants.

Old sheets and drop cloths stand at the ready. The fountain has been drained and covered. The kitchen is filled with the hum of the dehydrator. The food sealer is hot with effort. It must mean it is the end of the growing season, or is it? There are some winter food plants that can keep feeding your family when grown indoors, while some of the plants outside can be brought into the warmth of the home. 

Using Grow Lights

I like to keep a basil plant inside, so I already have one lounging under the plant lights. It seems to have adjusted nicely and is already sending out new leaves to flavor and scent my dishes. In fact, I will have to keep an eye on it, lest it flowers and stops leaf production. Next to it is a miniature pomegranate plant, which spent spring and summer outside but is already indoors due to cool night temperatures. The Meyer lemon has also been brought inside and is doing nicely under its LED grow lights. 

I love to have some winter food plants growing indoors to add a fresh touch to meals. This wouldn’t be possible without plant lights. I have an indoor, five-level greenhouse with LED grow lights on each level. In it, I have some lettuces I just started, a few herbs, and plant things like radishes to zing up winter salads. When late winter comes, I am growing in my little greenhouse, the first springtime treats. 

LED Grow Lights

It used to be fluorescent lights were the grow light of choice, but today’s LEDs are more efficient, put out more light, use less energy, and don’t put out a lot of heat. They come on stands with casters, so they are easy to move. You can get them in an attractive lamp, on tape, and many other types of fixtures. If you want to go basic, you can just replace the bulb in any light fixture you have with an LED grow bulb. LED lights have the best color spectrum for any kind of plant growth. With an LED set up you will get adequate violet-blue light for foliar production, combined with enough red for flowers and fruit. 

Using LED grow lights is the best way to extend my growing season and food production. Without the lights, I don’t have enough natural interior light to keep many of my plants happy, let alone produce any fruit. My current system should allow me to get some citrus in late winter and keep my fresh seasonings happy. It will all serve nicely to keep me passive and content, until the big warm up of spring.

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