Saturday, 17 April 2010
Let There Be Light
One of the reasons I became a gardener is that I need lots of sunshine. Most Winters I'd happily hibernate and by February I'm hanging on by my fingernails. This year's been not bad though, and I put that down to lashing out on an SAD lamp and an alarm clock which simulates dawn. No more abrupt awakening on bleak black mornings for me. It's worked like a charm, and despite all the hassles of recent months I've remained reasonably unruffled. You may be cynical but all I'm saying is that sunlight gives me energy.
So it is with plants.Sunlight powers photosynthesis, the mechanism which turns soil, air and water into plants. Once your seedlings have germinated it's important that they receive adequate light, or they will put their energy into stretching towards the light instead of becoming strong and stocky. Professional growers spend huge sums on artificial lighting as it's a cost-effective investment.
We don't need to go to these lengths, unless we're trying to grow giant veg or unseasonal crops or living in areas with low light levels. If you're growing seedlings on a windowsill a reflector will help, or simply being patient and sowing two or three weeks later will make a difference. Low light levels and high temperatures are an unhealthy mix, so it's better to turn down the heat. Slow steady growth will be more pest and disease resistant than plants which have been forced.
Here endeth the lesson. Hope I've not bored you, but I do feel this subject is neglected in most books.