The main problem faced by UK growers is our short growing season, and the lack of light over the winter months and early in the spring. In order to get worthwhile harvests later in the year, it is often necessary to sow early, when seedlings will often suffer from lack of light. Light starved seedlings can become tall and straggly and will be less resilient to later problems. Often, germination is patchy, and the success rate even lower. Grow lights are a solution to problems with low light levels for indoors seedlings.
Indoors, or in a polytunnel, seedlings can be started throughout the year as long as the requirements for heat and lighting are met. Grow lights are essential for any determined effort to grow for year round eating and mean that you are far more likely to enjoy successful yields from crops such as peppers and tomatoes.
In the past, the problem has been that grow lights can be cumbersome, awkward and expensive – both to buy and to run. Large fluorescent tubes had previously to be affixed to large grow light structures above your growing areas. This made it difficult for ordinary home growers, who would struggle with the restrictions placed on their efforts by space or by budget.
Nowadays, however, LED grow lights have provided an option that most home growers can use. LED strip glow lights make it easy to turn even a little space on a regular shelving unit or bookcase into a seedling growing area. This means that even those with very limited space in their homes can still manage to grow seedlings over the winter to populate their polytunnels in the spring.
What is more, these lights have now come down in price to the degree that they are now much more affordable to buy and are not out of the reach of most casual home growers. Of course, since they use low power LEDs, grow lights are now also much, much more economical to run. This means that the ongoing costs of food production are significantly reduced.
This winter, do not feel that you need to wait until the spring sunshine arrives to sow any seeds. With LED grow lights, anyone can now get started early with long season crops such as peppers and tomatoes without breaking the bank or turning over a large proportion of your space to seed starting.