Hydrofarm 400Watt convertible ballast grow light
After much research on which lighting system to get I ordered my grow light and temperature controller from ACF Greenhouses online.
There were many things to consider. I currently have a 8X8 greenhouse, I had to think about how I'm going to use my greenhouse not only now, but in the future. I'm just getting started with greenhouse growing, and the first thing on my to do list is starting some seeds. I debated getting just some T5 high output florescent lights to get me started, it was limiting me to just that, seed starting. What if in the future I would like to grow a wider variety of plants that require greater light levels. So I thought of an HID light, (the difference in price between the 4 tube 4 foot T5 high output light system and the HID light was only $5 if you can believe it) but then there was the question of what type, Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium, both serve different purposes. So I decided on both, with a convertible ballast. Then was the question of what wattage. On the ACF website it gave a helpful chart on optimal light outputs on all their lights. After going over that I decided on the 400 Watt as the optimal growing area is 5X5 and secondary is 8X8 which covers the entire area of the greenhouse. Well this should take care of my needs for now and years to come. I think this initial investment will be well worth it in years to come
Sentinel Temperature Controller
Also from ACF Greenhouses online, there were many thermometers to choose from, some were static, maintaining a constant minimum temperature, but I didn't want to go that route. Again I wanted something that would suite my needs now and for a long time in the future. I opted for the Sentinel Digital Day and Night Controller with a built in photo sensor. It has a button for the min/max temperature for the last 24 hours, it also works for heating and cooling (not at the same time)
The all important heater, I opted for the oil filled space heater purely because it was something I already had and wasn't currently using, and it has been working out great.
The current set up with a bottom heat/propagation box.
When I bought the greenhouse they gave me an unused 3m heating cable with a built in thermostat, I built a box, layed out the cable on a piece of hardware cloth, fasten it with zip straps and buried it in between 2 layers of sand, which I keep moist. This should warm my seed trays, or anything I place on top of it, to about 20'c.
Some seeds that I am going to plant in one of the trays today.
I'm new to this, but I have sorted through my seeds and picked out these ones to start today, Snap Peas, Sweet Peas, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Spinach and Green Onions.
The lights are on and are flooding the greenhouse.
My seed tray is filled and labeled, along with the yogurt containers with some Strawberry seeds I planted last week. You can see in the back ground my rooted Geranium cutting I potted up today.
It looks kinda empty right now but I'm sure it's not going to take long to fill.