I was gonna call this an update, but this is the first blog, I have written about it. Back last spring, I built a grow rack for inside the the house, to be exact, my bedroom. Living in a trailer, does not give one many options. Someday, I will build a house on the land, but that is the hopeful future. In the interim, we struggle within our limitations.
My bedroom has become a dual purpose room and grow room and a place to sleep.
My first attempt at a grow rack was to use lighting I got from Lowe’s and would support three levels for the plants, etc.
I soon realized that the Lowe’s lighting just wasn’t making it, if I grouped 5 fixtures together as shown at the top of the picture, I could get 1200 lumins, the commercial plant light fixture shown at the lower level was giving me 8000 lumins. At first, I thought I would be cooking my plants, until I realized the higher the lumins the better for plant growth. The new fixtures were EnviroGro 24” T-5 HO 4 bulb fixtures. T-5 Bulbs were the latest in fluorescence grow bulbs, very low temperature emitting. A big concern with some of the other types of grow bulbs. The bulbs themselves are in the 6400K light range for proper plant growth. There are other types of lighting for plant growth, several give concentrated light at one point and diminishes as you move away from the bulb. I choose the T-5, because I could have a uniform level of light for the entire plant shelf and heat issues are not a problem with the T-5s. The 24” 4-bulb fixture is rated at 96 watts, so energy consumption is at a minimum. Using the fixture for 14 hours a day X 365 days per year = 490,560 watts or 490.56 KWH. Divide by 12 months = 40.88 KWH per month x $0.1445 per KWH = $5.91 expected cost per month. I used the average cost for Maine, your rates could be higher or lower.
The T-5 Fluorescence lighting became my choice of lighting. Because of the way these new lights were hung, I needed to make changes to my grow rack. It became a two level grow rack with a 24 inch space for the top shelf and the bottom shelf had potentially more space. I have found out that 24 inch high space is about all I will need for grow space for these 4 bulb fixtures. I am using 10” x 21” grow trays, the ones readily available at the hardware stores. I makes a good rack for growing seedlings for spring planting.
The menagerie of wires has been reduced to 2 wires now and I use a timer with 2 outlets to control the entire grow rack. The rack has multiple shelf supports, so I can move the shelf up or down in increments of 4 inches.
-- Steve, Carmel, Maine, USA (near Bangor) (Hardiness Zone 5a)