The boy went to bed sticky and exhausted while we looked around for more things to burn keeping the night alive.
In honor of the previous post with the words "Grow Lights" in the title, I figured one entitled "Herbage" only made sense. Let's just keep up a theme here! It won't last long since a post about Peas is coming and I don't think I can tie peas into illicit drugs in any way. For now, however, we have a new herb garden and I'm very excited.
When I first began cooking for Jules, it became apparent very quickly there would need to be a revamping of the bachelor food he had been producing for himself. I would say 'cooking' but microwaving cans of cheese glop and frozen mini pizzas doesn't really count.
The problem arose because there were no spices in his house. Not even garlic or pepper. To be fair, there was an overgrown rosemary bush (which looked like an octopus) and some french lavender growing in the backyard. He didn't know what they were, but they were there. These were all well and good, but I'm slightly in love with garlic and definitely lustful of thyme. Chives make me a bit giddy and basil pleases just about everyone. A quick trip to the local warehouse/discount store and little transplants were purchased. All was lovely in spice land.
Last year, I attempted some seed sprouting. Hah! It was quite a significant failure. I figured that the seeds could do it all by themselves in the Spring time, why couldn't I do it inside. After all, they knew what they needed to do.
Well, yes. The seeds sprouted beautifully, then got really leggy and died. This year, we kicked it up a notch and put the seed starting squarely in the hands of The Barracuda. He gladly gave away his television in trade for being able to sprout our seeds.
Humbled by my complete failure, I began to read up. "Leggy" is what they call my dead sprouts. This means that the stem is too long and the plant gets top heavy. As the seed strains for light, it is undernourished and doesn't produce secondary leaves. Dead Plant.
The remedy is simple: more light. LOTS more. Complete, all-encompassing, intense light submersion. This is what grow lights are for. They give the plant strong light so that it doesn't have to over-extend itself. This makes for a strong stem, early secondary leaf production, and a really hearty start to its little life. All that light also warms the soil allowing the seeds to sprout sooner, also yielding larger plants when it is time to put them outside.
I had heard of grow lights, but figured them to be extravagantly expensive. I thought they were fancy lights with special seed starting capabilities which mimicked super specific sunlight conditions. Um, no. They are just lights. Normal, right out of your bedside lamp, lights. Completely normal, only they need to hang down REALLY close to the plant. Determined not to kill things this year, it was off to Home Depot.
The entire set up was $40 and puts out 300 watts of light. This was more than enough for our seed tray. By purchasing swankier light bulbs (which made us look even more like we were growing illicit drugs) the output could have been 450 watts. The energy efficient light bulbs were by far the most expensive part.
There are three parts to making the grow lights. Each is simple, straight forward and easy enough for even someone like me to pull off without a trip to the emergency room. Keep in mind this was what worked for us.The design could easily be modified to fit a production either larger or smaller than ours. Just remember: For every light, you need one clamp.
1 board any size that is large enough
1 1/8 inch drill bit and the drill to go along with it
1/2 inch drill bit
4 3/4 inch U pipe bends
Set the board down and line up the lights as you would like them to be. Trace the outline of ht lights and cut the board to fit, creating a rectangle.
Use a ruler to find the middle of each light and mark it with a big X.
Place a 1 1/8 inch drill bit in the center of the x and drill your hole for each light.
"...It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness, to sit on a rock in the forest and ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’ ”