GREENING YOUR WINTER BLUES
Bringing sunlight inside.
by Simon Hart, The Organic Mechanic
For larger plants or ones that need more light intensity the best option is a High Intensity Discharge (HID) light.
These are the same types of lights used in commercial greenhouses and street lights.
Metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs are the two options. In most cases the blue light produced by a metal
halide light is the most appropriate choice. The sodium light is very red and mimics the fall sun to induce flowering.
The metal halide is much better for vegetative growth and will let the plant flower as well.
These types of lights are great for citrus trees moved inside to avoid the cold Canadian winter or to grow tall vegetables
indoors such as tomatoes and peppers through the colder months.
For starting seedlings and for lower growing plants the use of fluorescent light is recommended. It is possible to
go with the old standard of mixing warm and cool white bulbs in a T8 system, but there is a newer option.
The T5 systems have a smaller bulb so they take up less space and you can get ones with professional horticultural
bulbs for a reasonable price. These specialty bulbs produce an enhanced light spectrum which mimics a midday sun.
This light will give your seedlings the jumpstart they need. These bulbs are also excellent for growing trays of mesclun
greens mix over the winter months, which is an excellent way to efficiently supplement your diet with the most local
Whether you are extending the season or pushing your hobby to a four season adventure, choosing the
right lighting for your situation will ensure healthy plants and a happy grower.