CONSERVATION AND THE HYBRIDIZER
Carl A. Deul, Northridge, California
Reprinted from the Southern California Chapter Newsletter
The saving of energy is becoming more and more of a concern these days. With the cost of electricity going up the hybridizer must try to cut his costs for lighting used to force the growth of seedlings. The sun has been the main source of light plants have received since the beginning of time. Why not utilize this source?
Since high light intensities and warm temperatures will produce the most rapid growth, the most economical place to put that seedling box is in a window with southern exposure and inside a warm house. The seedlings should have a sheet of Filon greenhouse panel material between them and the sun. The Filon will filter out the ultraviolet radiation, giving the tender seedlings some protection from burning. In addition, a layer of 50-65% shade cloth can be used if more protection is needed.
To produce maximum seedling growth the day length should be from 16 to 18 hours. Fluorescent lights (one "Daylight", to one "Cool-White") turned on and off by a 24-hour clock can control the supplemental light.
A more sophisticated system would be to use a 24-hour clock plus a light actuated switch. The clock would set the day "length" and the light-actuated switch would turn on the fluorescent lights during the "day" period any time the available sunlight was less than 50 lumens/square foot. Anyone interested in this type of set-up should contact me for more information.