LED grow box gets an upgrade

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In our family we are not just cheap in the garden we also keep our house pretty cool to save on heating costs.  Unfortunately since the LEDs in my grow box do not put out very much heat the inside is only about 68 F degrees even placing it on top of my refrigerator.  For most seeds 77 F degrees is a great ball bark number to shoot for to get the best germination percentage as well as  quicker germination times.  This was the number I was shooting for, so I decided to add a string of mini incandescent bulbs to help bring up the temperature.

To do this I did exactly what I did for the LEDs just drill a hundred or so holes into the side of the box just slightly smaller than the bulb.  Then had the fun job of pushing them all through.

I first tried having all the lights on but that brought the temperature up to 85 degrees, next I tried only half the lights on…70 F degrees.  Then I got the idea of adding the blinker bulbs and tada 77 F degrees on the nose (ok technically 77.1 F).

So far everything is looking good have some onions, peppers, basil, and Swiss chard already sprouted and expecting more shortly.

9 Responses to “LED grow box gets an upgrade”

  1. Blossom Says:

    This sounds interesting.


  2. Red Icculus Says:

    Do these stretch at all? Have you ever considered a compact fluorescent for filling in missing color spectrums and heat?


  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Depends on plant type. I have noticed lettuce and broccoli do stretch a little more in there so I normally move them to the larger grow box shortly after sprouting. Though tomatoes/peppers/cucumbers do well until they begin to outgrow the box. As for color spectrum given I have a variety of white leds and mini incandescent the only thing I am worried about is the intensity, though I do find it strange that the lettuce/broccoli seem to be lacking something…
    I may have to think about maybe adding a small CFL, at least the holes I made for the mini incandescent could work for ventilation πŸ™‚


  4. Lisa Says:

    Very interesting…thank you for posting this! I’m always looking for new diabolical fun/experiments/helpful ideas! πŸ™‚


  5. Nancy Garso Says:

    Sounds like a lite-brite for plants…and something the kids would enjoy helping out with. Mark Garso


  6. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Funny way of looking at it. Is also a nice conversation piece on top of the fridge


  7. Lori Says:

    I tried this with blue and red in the top and “warm” lights around the side. I had great success with getting peppers and tomatoes to germinate, but they were very leggy. I am doing a second round with raising them very close to the lights to see if they won’t be as leggy. My dad says to turn off the warm lights once they have germinated, so I will try that as well. Any suggestions for having them be less leggy? This is fun!!


  8. cciuwoa Says:

    You could always add a propagation mat underneath the box to regulate the temp. this mat raises the the soil temp by 15-20 degrees above room temperature. mats are UL listed 3″ by 24″ cost about $19.00. The sunleaves comes with a thermostat, cost a bit more.

    If you wanted to be cheap use a heating pad set on low with several dry towels and a timer to go on and off every hour etc.


  9. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Good point, though one benefit of using lights for heating you also get the bonus of additional light…though not sure which one would be the most energy efficient.


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