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Geopod Propagator with Grow Lights & Storm Doris Cleanup

Geopod with Lights On

Geopod Propagator with Lights On

Geopod Propagator with Grow Lights

I’ve not grown under lights before. In fact, I’ve always been uncomfortable with growing under lights because it involves the cost of the electricity. Not just financial, but the environmental cost.

Looking at it more logically, the lights use little more than a propagator. Over the propagating season, these will use at most 12Kwh – about £1.80 worth of electricity and that’s probably a high estimate. And, of course, light equals heat so the amount of time the propagator is drawing power is reduced, probably halving the extra cost of the lighting.

Of course, the lights themselves have a cost, £40 for mine. Since they have a lifespan of 10,000 hours and operate around 500 hours each season that’s a 20 year life or £2.00 a year. I should live so long!

Is horticultural lighting worth it?

The proof of the pudding, as they say. Well the results are excellent. Strong plants, very healthy colour to the leaves and a very good rate of growth. I must emphasise, I’m not growing in the dark with lights. I use the lights to extend and supplement the natural daylight available early in the season which is weak and short length.

Currently I’ve only got the Geopod with lights so I’m concentrating on peppers and aubergines. What I’d really like to do is get more lighting so I can bring more plants on – especially as I’ve got the polytunnel now which means a lot more room for growing under shelter.

Plants Growing in Geopod

Plants Growing in Geopod – Aubergine, Sweet Peppers & Chilli Peppers

Clearing up after Storm Doris

Friday was beautiful; blue skies, fluffy white clouds and sunshine – if a little cold. Looking how others got battered, we did very well. Not even a power cut. I suspect part of the reason we got off lightly was high winds being so common here. We’re generally prepared for them.

Despite that I’d got pots and plants blown around all over the place along with the table chairs. Got those cleared up and then to the greenhouse. At one point during the storm I quite expected the whole thing to go as it was flexing in the wind and the next thing would be glass popping out all over.

It turned out that some of the bolts in two of the corners had worked free and the strengthening bars had popped off. I think the house has twisted a bit as I had a right job getting the one at the front back together. The other corner is at the back and I had to wait for my hefty son-in-law to push the frame whilst I pushed the bar back on to the bolt and put a nut on.

Got the glass refitted properly with stripping. I’d fixed the glass back in with W clips during the storm. It took a while to find the strips that had flown off but tracked them all down. We had more strong winds over the weekend thanks to storm Ewan but not as bad as Doris and happily everything was OK, even the plastic patio chairs didn’t go flying. A ‘rain and wind stopped play’ weekend, nevertheless.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
11 comments on “Geopod Propagator with Grow Lights & Storm Doris Cleanup
  1. Steve Watkins says:

    Hi John,

    Just a question regarding the Geopod, can the grow lights be switched on/off independently of the propagator ?

    Best Regards
    Steve Watkins

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Steve

      Yes. I’ve got the propagator on 24/7 but the lights are on a cheapo Ebay timer so they come on at 7am and go off at 7pm with a break from 11am to 3pm when the daylight is strongest.

      This means the plants get a 12 hour daylength and the lights are on for 8 hours a day.

      I’ll alter it soon to start at 6am and off at 6pm as sunrise is moving earlier. Not long to the equinox now 🙂

  2. Steve Fayers says:

    Hi John.

    Glad you are looking into lights, i’ve been trying to find more info on LED lighting but there is not a lot of up to date info. My main idea is to try and grow my seed onions to a better size before getting them into the green house. At the moment there is not enough light to thicken them up and I lose a few at the base where they go thin and collapse as I transfer them to the green house to stop them getting leggy. Seen some units up to a couple of hundred pounds Blue/Red LED lights at various wattage, low on power and heat, so may be a little more research into lighting could help us all? Many thanks and a great site you have…. Steve

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Steve
      I’m sure LED are the way to go, especially for larger scale, but the problem is poor electronics with cheaply made models. The diodes may be OK but when the electronics go phut it’s scrap.
      With house lighting I’ve learned Ebay bargains sometimes only last weeks! Buying from major UK stores I pay more but they actually keep working
      The sunblaster lights with the nano reflectors certainly do work, the technology is proven and 10,000 hour life translates to 15-20 years for propagation. The running costs are higher than LED in theory but they’re pretty small costs to start with.

  3. Steve Watkins says:

    I’m on the case here, have been looking into buying the lights separately also, this is what I have found so far.
    For the Lights
    5 sizes available 30cm to 120cm
    Kit includes:
    – SunBlaster 6400k Lamp
    – Power Cord with Switch
    – Link Cord
    – NanoTech T5 Reflector
    – Flush Mount & Suspension Brackets
    Still looking for a UK stockist for the Sunblaster T5 universal stand holders.
    Best Regards

    • John Harrison says:

      Don’t forget the lights come with clips which you can attach thin wire or fishing line to, to hang them – assuming you’ve got something above you can connect to.
      Looking at the stands online I’d reckon making something that would do the job wouldn’t be too difficult.

  4. Kathy says:

    I like that you are several steps ahead of me with using lights John! I have been looking into the running costs as I was wondering if the outlay plus costs are worth it… so thank you for sharing this. Much appreciated

  5. Chris Smith says:

    Given that all the energy used to run the lights will be converted to heat, then its probably not worth bothering with getting LED lights.

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