A greenhouse with low light, such as a lean-to with a traditional ceiling or side walls, may not produce the amount of natural sunlight required by certain plants. An easy solution is the addition of grow lighting.
Conversion lighting kits are also available through Solar Innovations®. This grow light allows metal halide and high pressure sodium light bulbs to be interchanged. The bulbs can be rotated as the greenhouse evolves and plant selections change.
When starting seeds or propagating plants, a heat mat may serve as a helpful propagation accessory. This water proof rubber mat simply plugs into an outlet and creates heat. The heat generated warms seedling trays and helps germinate plants faster. New seedlings can be housed on the mat until they are ready to be transplanted into an outside garden or greenhouse bench. Solar Innovations® offers 2 options: a single mat measuring 10″ x 21″ and a 2 tray option. The 2 tray mat contains 2 seed trays on a single mat; up to 10 mats, measures 12″ x 48″ can be connected. A heat mat thermometer which monitors the mat’s temperature and allows the user to control the temperature with a control dial can be added for user convenience.
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The lighting keeps plants healthy and promotes new growth. There are many grow light models on the market today, including incandescent lights and compact fluorescent grow lights. These basic models will not last long and present danger if water comes into contact with their bulbs. Solar Innovations® recommends lights featuring metal halide or high pressure sodium bulbs.
Metal halide grow lights provide a blue tint, which mimics true sunlight and has a life expectancy of 20,000 hours. Plants will become fuller when placed under a metal halide lamp. If you wish to extend daylight growing hours, the metal halide system is the correct option, as the grow lights can be turned on before sunset and again a few hours after sunset.
High pressure sodium grow (HPS) lights have a yellow glow, which is not as visually pleasing as the blue light metal halide bulbs emit. HPS bulbs have a life expectancy of 24,000 hours (approximately five years). High pressure sodium bulbs are recommended for greenhouses that already have sufficient lighting and wish to produce more vegetables, fruit, or flowering plants.