I noticed some of my daisies were getting a little leggy so added 60 more LEDs (red) to my LED grow box. This time I was a little less calculated about positioning but still fee like I got a decent pattern going. I also decreased the drill size and didn’t even need to use the hot glue gun.
As you can see from the pictures below the plants (cucumbers, onions, cilantro, purple coneflowers) have a dark green complexion and are less leggy compared to the results I would get from my window sill. The cucumber plants after two weeks have grown up enough to move into the LEDs grow box’s big brother.
I have been pretty impressed with the results of the Christmas lights LED grow box so far. I did have some preconceptions that I may need to double the lights or upgrade the LEDs, but so far the plants look healthy without white leggy stems, though still need to wait until the true leaves come in. As you can see in the picture above I have quite a selection of pots reused from previous years. The one exception are the newspaper pots which I discovered last year and am definitely a fan of. You can also see from the gross white stuff that my grow box probably could use a fan or at least prop a corner open.
Here is a picture of one of the cucumber plants up close.
My experiment is being conducted in the LED grow box so for its update, looks like is in the lead but hard to say with just germination occurring.
I had great results using coconut coir last growing season it was great to work with, retained water great for young seedlings, and was economically priced. The only challenge was actually finding some to use this year. No luck in local stores, last year I only could find a single block in one hardware store. Online there are plenty of locations that sell them, but unless you have a need for a couple metric tons, the cost of shipping can be more than the the product itself.
Finally, I found a solution to my problem WonderSoil Their main product line consists primarily of the same core component but they sell it in many different convenient sizes for various uses. One great feature of the product is it expands up to 12 times its original size. For someone like myself that does not have the space to store bags of peat/potting mix around my already full garage this is a great feature. You can check out all of their products but the ones that felt matched my growing needs were the following:
- Shake, Water, and Plant — 1/2 inch mini wafers that can be added to any of your pots. In my case I underestimated the expansion of these little things and made a little mess and it overflowed on my table (apparently 3 was the magic number not 4)
- The Tube — There are larger wafers made specifically for 4 inch pots, in my case this would be newspaper pots
- Reground Wafers — This is basically a loose version available in 2 or 5 lb bags. This is a more economical option which I will plan on using when doing larger seed trays.
For Christmas I got indoor seed starting kit which came with pots/seeds/peat pellets. I decided this would be a great opportunity to do a little side by side comparison. From the start I was WonderSoil seemed like the obvious winner. After adding a little water, it fully expanded in just a few seconds and was fluffy and ready for me to drop a seed in, the peat was a swampy mess.
Peat pellets Left, WonderSoil Right
After a few minutes and fluffing with a fork the peat was ready to planting. I put cucumber seeds in both peat and WonderSoil pots and I will provide some updates on how things progress on my little experiment.
After the WonderSoil had some time to settle in my cheap LED grow box I did see some strange formations appear in the soil.
I little concerned I went back to their product and I believe this is their “water saving polymers” in action which I would assume is some sort of gel crystal which is supposed to save up to 50% water. They also boast about use of worm castings which I am definitely a fan of as well as addition of a balance of various micronutrients.
I will have to wait and see if the product produces as well as it claims, but I must say I am definitely impressed at this point and have high hopes for WonderSoil for this years seedlings.
Christmas light LED grow box – Update #1 (WonderSoil)