In a previous post, I discussed why/how I built an LED lamp for growing leafy herbs and vegetables.  All this in an quest to grow the happiest and tasty plants.  This post is about my practice with a bunch of basil plants.  I love basil.  I put it in my salads, tomato sauces, and just love the smell.  I am very grateful to go into our kitchen and be greeted by a happy, great smelling plants.  More to come!

The Goal

The goal of this post is to chronicle the growing of basil plants using the LED lamp setup.  

September 20, 2016

The plants are not using the LED lamp setup.  I have them under an older LED lamp setup as I built the new one.

9 20 2016 Basil

I am using nutrients I had got awhile back.  At this point I am not doing a good job tracking pH and EC.  Dr. Paul Fisher‘s Nutrient Management 2 (Advanced) was extremely helpful in giving me a stronger grasp of how to best use pH and EC readings as well as keeping plants healthy through visual clues.

I am concerned about the color of the leaves.  They appear to show signs of chlorosis pointing to a nutrient deficiency.  I plant on changing to a different nutrient so I’ll reset at this point.  Next week’s photo should show positive growth signs.

September 28, 2016

Jack’s Hydro FeEd – Nutrients for Leafy Plants

After course lectures on quantity/quality of nutrients, I read this Cornell University paper.  One of the recommended fertilizers is Jack’s Hydro FeEd.  I got some from Amazon, but won’t put the link here because I was unhappy with the delivery.  The nutrient packs were mushy instead of dry, making it impossible to use a little dry mix in a couple of gallons of water.  Instead, I called JR Peter’s support and was told to mix one of the nutrient packs in two gallons of water.  This is wonderful.  Now I use a measuring cup to measure out exactly how much of the diluted nutrients to add to every gallon of water.  This is a really easy and relatively inexpensive way to deliver a high quality nutrient mix.  I plan to use Jack’s Hydro FeEd for all my leafy plant growing needs.

Here’s the basil plants after a week sipping up Jack’s Hydro FeEd’s nutrient mixture and use the DIY LED lamp:

9 28 2016 Basil

 While there appears to be a minor amount of inter veinal chlorosis on one or two of the leaves, I am very happy with the growth and color of the leaves.

The roots look to be coming along nicely:

 9 28 2016 BasilRoots

I’m experimenting with a lamp neck and base fixture.  I’m using a gooseneck iPad stand I got on Amazon


This attempt is a “sacrificial draft prototype.”  I hope / plan to evolve the lamp neck and base.  

October 8, 2016

We went on a mini-vacation and when we came back I was thrilled with the growth.  Leaves look healthy:

10 8 2016

Roots look to be growing well:

Roots 10 8 2016

October 9, 2016

A YIPPEE! moment…first time using – basil growing about two feet away from stove:


October 14, 2016

I have started to use the basil leaves on my salads.  I typically have two salads a day.  I started using about 2-3 leaves each time but then decided the leaves were very big.  The large size of the leaves is expected given what I have learned about the effect of red dominant light wavelengths on plant leaves.

BasilLeaf 10 14 2016

I see some “little white dots” particularly on the upper part of the leaf.  I am not sure what is causing this.  I’ll monitor to see if this spreads/gets worse.

Little White Dots on Basil

October 17, 2016

The “bucket” I was using was higher than I liked.  So I moved the plants to a different container.  I’ve been picking one or two basil leaves about twice a day.

10 17 2016 Basil

I waited a bit over a week to change the nutrients.  The upper leaves look a tad yellow.  I’m thinking it is best to change nutrients every week.  Here is an image of the roots:

10 18 2016 BasilRoots

Roots appear to be growing ok.  They are starting to connect together…which is probably suboptimal, caused by the smallish container.  I’m not going to do anything about this since I don’t see it risking my basil harvest.

Here’s a few PAR values:

Par Values taken 10/27/2016

There is enough (high level) of PAR smacking into the leaves.