Propagating Dahlias - Fall 2008
So, here's my second post in my Fall experiments theme. In this thred I'm going to post pictures of my frame construction effort.
As you can see, these are simple 2x4 spruce frames sized precisely to hold 2 large garden trays from Lee Valley. Each tray holds 24 4" pots perfectly, so 72 pots in a frame. The frame is 36" tall on the outside, allowing for ~30" of growth height.
Each frame will be enclosed on all sides, including the top, with light reflecting material. My first experiment will be using tile board, 1/4" water-proof board used in shower enclosures. A single 2 bulb T5 fixture is going to be mounted in each unit. As soon as we have this one enclosed (later today) I will be doing some light meter tests to see, for example, how much difference it makes to move the light up and down or have a top piece of tile board.
I am also going to try light tests with nothing on the front. If the light is sufficient, I could then have these units in my sunroom housing existing Dahlias over the winter. I will also be testing using standard T12 shop lights.
Each unit will have locating posts (small pins) in the top, and corresponding holes in the bottom, so they can be stacked on top of each other. In my dinning room my plan is to have 2 stacks of 3 units.
I plan on sealing each unit in such a way that any bugs in one can't travel to another (easily.) Also want to keep in humidity, but I'll have to see whether I'm holding too much.
The front side will be completely removable so I can get at the plants.
The entire unit can be disassembled easily (wing nuts) so it can be dismantled and stored during the summer. I could put it on wheels, but so far I haven't decided if that's a benefit for me or not.
Cost-wise, each unit is running ~C$300 including the T5 lights and trays. The T5 lights are the most expensive component (~C$120) and the trays next (~C$80).
Comments and/or suggestions welcome.