Monday, April 25, 2011

That Grow Light System

The Huntington Botanical Gardens

Recently, I went out to the Huntington Library in California to do research. They take away your manuscripts for an hour at lunch, and force you out into the garish sunlight to walk through their hideous botanic gardens. You have to eat at these strange little tables in the open air (in mid April!) next to camellias and roses and hummingbirds before they finally let you back into the windowless reading room.

As you can see, it's an appalling state of affairs over there.

Whereas here in Chicago, especially on a day like today, no one would dare suggest that you spend any time in the garden. Which is why I bought a grow light...

This is my Hydrofarm Jump Start T5 Grow Light System. I got it from Amazon for about $55. It was far less expensive than the Aerogarden units, or any other grow light system. The lamp was defective, but I wrote directly to Hydrofarm and they replaced it immediately. It features a T-5 24 watt 64000K full daylight spectrum fluorescent tube.

In other words, it's nothing too special, but it seems to be working.

I think this contraption would work even better, and perhaps throughout the year, if I had better window light.

Here you can see the parsly, basil, zinnias, and some sort of lettuce doing okay. They are cute, but very leggy and delicate...I have my doubts as to how they'll take to the outdoors.

HP Produce is selling a lot of plants now. Some are quite large and it's hard not to notice the difference. But then, they've never (yet) sold live cilantro, parsley, chives, etc.

Plus, there's the joy factor--of watching things grow! And knowing that if you wreck them, no one will care!

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