10 March 2011

Grow Lights - a How-Not-To guide

I was supposed to be in California this week, something that would have been relatively new and exciting for me. I've never been to CA for work before, and I've really only been to San Francisco. Sadly, the work trip didn't generate enough appointments, so it was canceled. That's bad and good. It's bad because I really need to get there sometime soon, and rescheduling is sort of a pain in the butt. It's great because I won't be traveling over the giant's 30th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Giant!

Tuesday night, the giant was out and about doing what giants do, and I stayed home and played spinster gardener.  I hadn't been tending to my seedlings quite like I should have been.  One of the bulbs in my tiny, expensive grow light burnt out, I dawdled replacing it, thereby leaving a portion of my seedlings leggy and sad. Upon attempting to purchase a non-hard-wired 2' shop light, I found out that they don't really sell them - at least not affordably and not at your standard home improvement stores.  A person or two has told me that they stopped selling 2' hanging shop lights because they were being used for the cultivation of some illegally cultivated substances.  The only hanging shop lights...are 4' long.  That's a big big for my tastes...and for the giant's.  Online, I could purchase what I need for $200+ and I wasn't interested in the wait, the shipping and handling or the pricetag.  So, I went to Lowe's and bought me some non-hard-wired grow lights, which can be cabinet mounted.  With no cabinets from under which to mount them, the giant and I were struggling to come up with a good way to hang them.

I went first.  I thought to myself.  Well, I have some scrap wood at home.  I'll just put the two lights parallel.  Then, I'll hang two pieces of wood perpendicular to one another.  I can simply hang said contraption from the curtain rod and have it push out from the wall.  I thought, most likely, it will just push off from the wall, worst case scenario, I can just have the long ends be supported in the blinds.  Wrong.  All of it was wrong.  Every part.  I'm, of course, not an engineer.  And, I was in a hurry.  And, I was overly optimistic and desperate to get this finished.  The end result:

It, of course, did not work. It wouldn't balance against the wall. It couldn't be stabilized using the blinds. And, it really wouldn't hang.

Then, it was the giant's turn.  We went to Lowe's with out any measurements, without any preparation...oh, and after a few beers.  He walked into Lowe's like he owned the place.  While I puttered among the seeds, he headed directly for the wood.  When he emerged 10 minutes and $12.00 later, he had wood, some metal thingies and some screws.  We headed home.  I went upstairs to the bedroom to work on scaled drawing of the backyard and my plans for where everything should go.  He set to work.  Rather than measuring in advance and having Lowe's cut the wood for him, he opted for a more DIY approach.  He had the grow lights, a pen and a tiny hand saw with a blade smaller than some of my Henckels.  For about 30 minutes, I could hear sawing in the garage.  Then, he migrated to the kitchen for "construction."  Upon hearing swearing, I came for the initial viewing.  It wasn't a horrible idea, but the end result was neither able to hold the grow lights, nor able to stand on its own.  At that point, without speaking, we went to bed.

Today, upon the recommendation of a friend, I called one of our local garden stores, and they have many, nay, a plethora of different grow light options.  My normal garden store didn't, but this mecca, well, they do.  I will be buying one of their 2' hanging grow lights for an arm and half a leg.  Logic finally prevailed.

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