There are so many gardeners that start growing vegetables indoors to get ahead of the growing season, germinating some seeds and chitting their seed potatoes. If it’s still frosty outside and you need to start growing indoors with a lack of light, then using grow lights is a great idea!
Grow lights can help you get a head start of the growing season, by using lights you can start sowing things like tomatoes, sweet peppers and chilli peppers a few months earlier and get a head start on the year ahead.
Not just an early start but your plants should start to produce fruit longer and earlier compared to the March sowing.
Sadly grow lights can be expensive to purchase, fragile to store and expensive to run. Below you can find a cheaper DIY (Do it Yourself) alternative to LED grow lights.
All you require is:
- A Plastic Box with a lid
- A Roll of Tin Foil
- Clip on Light with Plug – SAD Day light bulb–full spectrum
I purchased a large plastic storage box from B&Q the box is black, has a lid and is strong and sturdy. Cheaper alternatives can probably be found in the cheaper pound stores.
The one in the photo I purchased with wheels was on discount at the time for the same price as the one listed in the link above. Using a box allows for me to store everything away once I’m finished with it ready for next year.
Plus I can stack ontop of it until it’s ready for next use 🙂
- Line the inside of the box with tin foil this will help reflect the light back and around the box maximizinglight.Use sticky tape to fix in place.
2. Now take the lid and cut a square hole in the centre large enough for the bulb to fit through and clip the light to the side of the box (don’t make the opening too large –just enough to fit the bulb and holder)
3. Once the holder is place –again line the lid with tin foil.
4. Now your done you have a DIY grow box and light for under £30! Once you start your plug plants you can transfer them to the grow box for additional lighting and help promotes strong growth.
We start using our grow lights from Boxing Day and light is provided 24hrs a day. As soon as we get to Februaryevery other day we turn the light off in the nights to start to train the plants to spring time light levels. From mid-February the light is no longer running during the evening and nights.
March is the ideal time to start to introduce your plants to “normal” day light –you might find the plants are a bit tall and leggy at this point now is the time to be potting them on, on a regular basis.
From mid-March the plants should be growing without the aid of any additional light support from this time onwards it’s recommended to start to harden off your plants ready to transplant them to the polytunnel or greenhouse once all risk of frost has passed this is normally (depending on location) the start of April for most.