if it wasn't so damn cold in the mornings i'd be out of bed in no time. but these new england winter days make me want to stay under the covers where its warm and not go through the shock of waking up to a freezing house. fortunately winter seems to go by pretty quickly, with these shortened days and all. before i know, it'll be spring again, then summer, then fall, then back to winter. the vicious circle of seasons. what i'd give to live somewhere that just had one season all year - warm.

one more cilantro container sprouted today and i moved it into the closet. cilantro seem to be unusually delicate, and the one cilantro i have on the bottom shelf (not pictured) is even yellowing a bit. all the plants are growing fast and things are changing everyday. the nasturtiums seemed to be doing better now (straighter) now that i've raised the lights. their leaves remind me of either geranium or ivy leaves. i read the instructions again, nasturtiums only grow as tall as 12", which is surprising because they seem to be the fastest growing plants in my indoor garden. i'd imagine they could easily overtake everyone else.

i should've done this early, but i figured people might be interested in seeing what these plant seeds look like. starting from left to right, we have: nasturtium, parsley, cilantro, basil, and cypress vine. it's hard to say which seeds will germinate first, although normally the bigger seeds are the first to sprout, like the nasturtiums. but the cilantro seed is just as big as the cypress vine seed but it took longer to germinate (although the cypress vines have an unfair advantage because i soaked them overnight). the tiniest seeds are the basil, but it was the 2nd plant to sprout, tied with nasturtium. i'm still waiting for the parsley to show up.

i went to the dollar store to get more plastic cups. the man in front of me in line paid for $9 worth of merchandise with a $100 bill. who goes to the dollar store and pays with $100? what surprised me more was the cashier seemed unfazed and gave him a handful of bills in change.

my father dropped by briefly in the afternoon to help drill some more holes into the bottom of my plastic cups. i don't have anything more to grow yet, but i'd like to be ready when i do. i just don't want it to get to a point where i have way more plants than i know what to do with them. i don't want to be the plant version of the proverbial cat lady.

i'm at a point where i've noticed actual differences between plants grown under the red/blue fluorescent combo versus the generic kitchen & bath fluorescents. here are the lights i'm using:

light color temp. K lumens price
philips plant & aquarium 2700 1600 $10
GE daylight 6500 3050 $8
GE kitchen & bath 3000 3400 $4

on my top shelf i have the plant & aquarium light coupled with the daylight light. one is red and one is blue. the blue light is almost twice as bright as the red light but it's hard to notice visually. on my bottom shelf i have a pair of kitchen & bath lights. they glow yellow.

the difference in growth is most apparent in the nasturtiums. just by looking, there's a color difference because of the lights: the plants on the top shelf are illuminated by a combination of red and blue, so there's a fuzzy purple white hue to the plants. the kitchen & bath lights give a warmer yellow cast to the plants on the bottom shelf. but when i take out the plants and compare them side by side underneath the same light, they are obviously different. blue/red nasturtiums are darker green and show more details, like the veins in the leaves really stand out. the yellow nasturtiums are slightly bigger, and they seem almost bloated, their leaves more rumpled compared to the nearly flat leaves of the blue/reds. yellow nasturtiums are more neutral yellowish green in color. also it seems at the expense of slightly faster growth, there doesn't seem to be as much details on these yellow nasturtiums.

the different colored lights and their different intensities are definitely doing something to the plants. superficially, unless you're like me and study these plants everyday, the plants on either shelves seem to be growing at about the same rate. maybe when more leaves come out i'll be able to make some more comparisons. what's the deciding factor when it comes to optimal plant growth? is it the color temperature of the fluorescence? if that's the case the blue/reds should be doing better. is it the overall brightness? blue/reds have a total of 4650 lumens while the kitchen & bath has a combined 6800 lumens. if that's the case, then the kitchen & bath should have better plants - which, in the week of growth so far, seems to favor slightly over the blue/reds.

the small leaves on the new nasturtium buds are starting to unfurl. i'm still not quite sure what those white stirrups are on the plant stems. the basils don't seem to be getting any taller, but instead have opted to grow fatter. i wonder if it's transplant shock? but many are starting to form small buds at the terminal end.

the plants are growing so fast that in less than 24 hours i'm forced to raise the lights another 2 inches, otherwise the plants start bending inwards again towards the light. i see the problem more with the top shelf nasturtiums: i wonder if it's because i'm using 2 different lights, and the plants are pointing towards the brighter blue daylight fluorescent tube.