Initially I used toilet rolls and egg boxes to germinate seeds, but I found these went mouldy quite quickly. I’m not sure but I worried the mould might cause infection to the seedlings, however many have not been troubled by the mould which I have since re-potted. I started off the seeds at the beginning of April and have spotted certain problems which need correcting to ensure better growth.
The potato plants are growing extremely well and looking very promising. They are situated under the old office table and as you can see, I have installed a white LED strip light, along with a cheap reel of the red/blue LED lights. I had managed to germinate an avocado in a glass jar in front of a window, last year. I have since transferred that to this small room and it appears to be growing new leaves. It had been struggling in the window so I will keep an eye on it. I have a fruit plant (either raspberry, blackcurrant or blackberry- I didn’t label it next to the potato plants) which is doing very well also. The tomato and cucumber plant seedlings appear to be doing well also. They are located on shelves. The peas (behind the fruit plant)are also doing very well.
The lettuce and spinach has become very leggy, possibly because I started them off on the top shelf where the lights are at a greater distance to the seeds. Approximately 20cm away from the seed trays. The lights I used to start them off were white LED strip lights along with the brightness control red/blue LED lights. That distance is too much for germinating seeds and young seedlings, I believe. I now leave a 5-10cm gap between the trays and lights. Once the seedlings are strong I move them to another shelf with a 15-20cm gap, and keep moving to plants to appropriate shelving.
What do seedlings need to prevent leggyness when growing indoors using LED lights?
I learned that the blue and red LED lights are better for starting off seedlings and the light should be close to the seed tray, approximately 5-10cm away.
I also learned that once the seeds germinate and start to get stronger, white LED light is apparently best for leafy plants like lettuce as it helps provide fuller leaves, whereas the red/blue lights provide strength.
What is the cost to grow indoors?
Some of the lights I already had. They were under cupboard LED strip lights and I believe they cost around £20 for the two at the time of purchase for two lights. However, I bought additional lights which have been predominantly blue/red LED lights most of which have USB plugs, listed below:
What was my best buy?
The reels which I bought have probably been the best since they are very cheap and can be bent around shelf edges, since it is very flexible. However, what I notice with the cheaper blue/red LED’s is that one of the colours tends to blow out, be that the red or the blue leaving only the other colour intact. As you might expect, the more expensive lights do not blow.
That is not something I have discovered at this point so will come back to this at a later date. What I will say though is that I run the lights during off-peak times so as to cut the cost. However, I learned that growing with LED lights requires longer periods of light. 16 hours are recommended, so I do use peak time electricity also, but only a few hours.
Is indoor growing worth it?
I have to grow indoors as I have no outdoor space at all, not even a balcony. Otherwise I would much prefer an outdoor container garden solely on the basis that it would be far cheaper. Beyond the necessity due to my living situation, indoor growing can be a great idea for periods when the weather is extremely wet and cold and therefore the production of growing vegetables is limited. There is obviously a clear benefit in growing food indoors and can surely be done on mass as a farming technique, but so far, my little converted cupboard has not been converted to the extent to do mass farming…at this point. I will follow up with updates of the growing in later blog posts.
Is indoor growing something you have tried or want to try? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.