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I wanted to share a few fun facts from a new, old book I’ve been reading from when fluorescent tubes were the pinnacle of artificial lighting for plants. Click through to learn a little bit more about the history of gardening under lights.
Scientists didn’t consider sunlight as a crucial part of photosynthesis until 1779!
Phytochrome, the plant pigment that controls responses to light, wasn’t isolated until 1959.
Plants respond to to a wider spectrum of lights than humans. Plants utilize light in the wavelengths of 280-800 nanometers compared to the visible range of 380 to 760 nanometers for people. That’s why plants need things like far red light.
A good rule of thumb for light levels in plants: flowering plants require more light than foliage plants.
Liberty Hyde Bailey was the first widely recognized horticulturist to use artificial lights to stimulate plant growth in 1893.
Below is the old formula for calculating the cost of operating a light garden in a home and not much has changed. The 1.1 accounts for adding 10% for the ballast.
((combined wattage of lamps)*(number of hours of operation)*1.1)
=daily electricity consumption in KW hours.
The book is called Gardening Under Lights and you can get it for less than $5 at that (affiliate) link. While I wasn’t suspecting it at first, it’s actually not all that surprising that a lot of the key methods for using artificial lights to grow plants hasn’t really changed.