How to Use UV Light to Grow Vegetables Inside

Overview

Adjusting the type and amount of light emitted indoors can yield improved conditions for vegetable growth. Ultraviolet light (UV) can mimic sunlight and fool plants into growing much more efficiently than they grow indoors under regular fluorescent or incandescent light. Even with prolonged exposure to UV light, vegetable seedlings grown indoors need regular attention. Gardeners should monitor other growth factors, such as watering, temperature and soil conditions, especially when vegetables are in the seedling stage.

Step 1

Measure the distance between your ceiling and the surface upon which you'll keep your vegetable plants. Measure the lengths of chain you have to suspend your UV lights above the surface. Plan to allow about six inches of space between the bottom of the UV light and the top of the seedling pots.

Step 2

Mark spots on the ceiling lightly with a pencil to indicate where you'll situate your UV lights. Screw the eye hooks into the ceiling.

Step 3

Attach the tops of the connector chains to the ceiling eye hooks. Connect the bottoms of the chains to the designated portals on the top of the UV light casing.

Step 4

Add S-hooks as needed to extend the chains if the distance between the UV light fixtures and the surface exceeds six inches. Plug the lights in to be sure the system functions properly before planting your vegetable seeds.

Step 5

Prepare peat pots for vegetable seed plants. Fill pots individually with potting soil. Moisten well. Potting soil becomes difficult to water when dry.

Step 6

Plant seeds according to directions on the packet. Use UV lights only with seeds that require light for germination.

Step 7

Use a small spoon to make indentations in the soil to accept the seed. Place up to three seeds into each pot, evenly spaced. Moisten soil when seeds are planted.

Step 8

Install peat pots into seeding trays as you complete planting each pot. Keep seeding trays under UV lights as you work to give newly planted seeds an early boost.

Step 9

Maintain temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit while seeds are germinating. After seedlings emerge, keep plants at 65 degrees Fahrenheit during daytime hours, and 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Leave the UV lights on at least 15 hours each day.

Step 10

Adjust the temperature in the room up to about 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day two weeks after the seedlings emerge. Maintain a night-time temperature of about 62 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Step 11

Move plants to larger containers when they have two sets of leaves and are at least three inches high. Add a handful of compost to the new soil and water well.

Step 12

Adjust the length of the chains to keep a six-inch gap between the plant tops and the bottom of the UV lights. Water whenever the soil begins to feel dry to the touch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't allow the soil to dry out. Dry soil can damage or kill seedlings.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat pots
  • Sterile potting soil
  • Baby spoon
  • Watering can
  • Compost
  • Measuring tape
  • Ladder or step-stool
  • Pencil
  • Ceiling hooks
  • Screwdriver
  • UV lights with connector chains
  • Ceiling eye hooks
  • S-hooks

References

  • University of Illinois-Urbana Extension: Teachers Guide: Growing Plants Indoors
  • New Mexico State University Extension: Greenhouse Vegetable Production
  • Texas A & M University Extension: Ultraviolet Light Improves Bedding Plants, Vegetable Transplants Quality
Keywords: UV lights, growing vegetables, indoor gardening

About this Author

Kate Sheridan is a freelance writer, researcher, blogger, reporter and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and trade publications for 35 years. She attended Oakland University and The University of Michigan, beginning her journalism career as an intern at the "Rochester Eccentric." She's received honors from the Michigan Press Association, American Marketing Association and the State of Michigan Department of Commerce.

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