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Transplanting Light

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Last week we had talked starting transplants and the need to provide enough light. The question from one of our listeners is “How much light do I need to give my transplants and where should I grow them.” Deciding where you want to grow the plants might be the most difficult decision. This might seem like a straightforward matter but make certain you have the best spot. A sunny window might seem ideal, but check the temperature uniformity. Typically the windowsills will get very cold at night and then overheat during the day when the sun shines through the window. The light is highly directional so when the seedlings start to grow they must be turned frequently to keep them from bending toward the light. Since good windowsills are hard to find, I prefer to germinate my seeds under artificial lights. A shop light suspended with adjusting chains is ideal. Add a timer to turn the lights on and off so you can extend the daylight and optimize plant growth. The light tubes need to nearly touch the flats so that the newly germinating seeds will get enough light. If the lights are too far away or they are not on long enough, the seedling will stretch out and become unusable. Good lighting is essential if you want them to grow well and develop into strong husky transplants. Most people need some sot of growing structure to be successful. Greenhouses, hotbeds cold frames and other devices will help extend the growing season. They can be simple and inexpensive or very elaborate. The Tooele County Extension is offering a Solar Greenhouse Class starting this week. I have taught the class in Salt Lake County and other areas for more than 20 years, but this is the first time the class has been offered in Tooele County. Matt Palmer, Tooele County Extension Agent will be assisting with the class. Topics covered in the class include; Should I have a greenhouse? Should I build it myself or use a kit, or have someone else build it? Other class sessions will cover solar design, glazing materials, heating and cooling and space utilization. This class is Wednesday from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at the Tooele County Extension Office, 151 North Main. Classes will be held on February 6 and 20,and Mar 6 and 13. The class fee is $25 and includes the greenhouse design booklets and other written materials. Please register to get more information by calling 843-2350 to guarantee your place in the course. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Thanksgiving Point Office

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