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icon Day 1: September 9, 1998

The initial seeding source is a standard commercially available styrofoam plant starter kit with 28 slots(4x7). We are starting with 4 plant varieties, 3 bean varieties(yellow bush, green bush, red kidney) and heirloom slicing tomatoes - 7 of each. The seeds are not hybrids. The lighting source is a Quantum Device snaplite, placed 1” above the top of the plant starter kit. The Quantum snaplite emits a maximum 45 watts of power, though the power source itself has a higher and as yet undetermined wattage. The diode combination is 92% red and 8% blue. The red to blue diode ratio is 2:1. The increased differential is obtained by maximizing the red diodes and minimally increasing the blue to obtain the 92:8 ratio desired. On this unit, that is a red level of 1000 and blue at 160. At this level, there is direct light on 12 center plant slots with peripheral coverage of the other 16. Room temperature is 67 degrees F. There is no other light source. The room chosen could be used as a darkroom if necessary.

The water provided has a pH of 6.5 and the nutrients used have an NPK ratio of 8-5-18. This ratio is a standard commercially available ratio and was purposely chosen because of its commercial availability. While it is known that tomatoes and beans have slightly different nutrient requirements and this NPK ratio is not the perfect nutrient requirement, that is exactly why it was chosen. Most amateur gardeners do not have the capability to mix a perfect ratio. The objective is to simulate real world conditions, with the only variable being the light source.

The soil in the plant starter kit is a mixture of perlite, vermiculite and a touch of top soil for coagulation as previous experiences with perlite and vermiculite have shown that by themselves, the soil has a tendency to lack cohesion. Prior to placement on the plant starter kit, the soil was moisturized with a small amount of water containing the same attributes as the base water in the plant starter kit. In fact, that was where the water was obtained from.

The noise in the room is primarily from the Quantum Device snaplite, with occasional machinery noise from a water softener, iron filter, washer/dryer and furnace.