Reflected Seedlings

seedlings salonThis time of year every single space with any kind of light source at all in my house is taken up with trays full of seedlings. I’ve got windows, but no windowsills, so they end up being balanced on piles of books, trays across the bed, and my dining table. seedlings bedroomSadly the light sources are all really poor which means the seedlings grow leggy and reach towards the light in an alarming way.

racksThis year I’m using three three-tier seed tray racks that I bought at the Edible Garden Show a couple of years ago, which has set-back my dining table even further.

In the past I’ve ended up turning every pot every day for weeks and they still grow leggy, but this year, after listening to the Guardian podcast on tomatoes where they discuss light, a chance mention of using reflective surfaces got me raking around in my cupboard for a reflective windscreen shield I got from the pound shop for my car bloomin’ years ago when we actually used to get some sun in the summer.

silver backingIt’s propped up on the dining table and I can already see the difference. The seedlings are shorter, straighter and happier. Of course it means I’m sitting in the dark, but that very darkness proves how much light I must be harvesting for the seeds. It’s a small price to pay.

seedlings closeupI just went to the pound shop to get some more but they don’t have any yet. I’m going to experiment with cardboard and tinfoil. When the seedlings are ready, I shall move the windscreen reflector to line the cold frame in readiness for melons. It’s worth a try…silver backing portrait

May 2016:

I can report back that this method works extremely well. I still needed to turn the seedlings, but once a week, if that, as opposed to every day without the reflector. I shall save them – I made four – for use next year.

reflector works well

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