GARDENING: Let's shine a bit of light on growing seeds

Disco inferno ... it's all gone pink in the conservatory.
Disco inferno ... it's all gone pink in the conservatory.

I'm stepping into unknown territory -­ using a grow light for my seedlings.

I've been toying with the idea for a few years -­ even though the conservatory has good light, a few extra hours a day or to boost dull days would be a real boon.

The red and blue LED components produce the wavelengths of light young plants need most.

The red and blue LED components produce the wavelengths of light young plants need most.

It also means there's less chance of legginess with early seeds, like half-­hardy annuals, tomatoes and sweet peas.

Grow lights can be used to supplement natural light if there's not enough sun; as the sole source of lighting, or during propagation.

It's important to note this is not an ordinary light bulb ­- there are nine red and three blue LED elements.

The red and blue parts of the spectrum are for compact foliage growth, while orange-­red simulates noon time sun and encourages flowering.

Simple fitting ... the bulb fits into a standard desk lamp.

Simple fitting ... the bulb fits into a standard desk lamp.

As I want sturdy plants, my bulb is red and blue.

My bulb was under £16 (LED Plant Grow Light,THZY 12W, E27, 3 Bands) and it fits into a desk lamp with an E27 fitting.

i bought a tall one with a clamp fitting for £15 - ­both bulb and lamp came from Amazon.

This means you don't have to invest in a permanent fixture and it's moveable.

Obviously, make sure there's a plug nearby -­ but out of the way of any potential water spillages.

I'm still experimenting using a basic light timer, giving the plants an extra three hours of light a day (up to 8pm, giving them 12 hours of daylight).

This can be increased to about 16 hours, but plants also require at least eight hours of darkness each day.

For seedlings/cuttings, the light source needs to be placed as close as possible to the plants.

Also, as the plants are in more active growth than they would be, make sure you increase watering.

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