Indoor Plant Update, and the Cost to Operate Plant Lights

Six weeks ago, I received four kale leaves and four tufts of lettuce growing in a pot of dirt from my friend. She also gave me a standing 11-inch plant light that hovered over the plants, yielding a steady stream of light.

Unfortunately, I did not provide the lovelies with enough light.

I soon discovered that the plants need at least 14 hours of artificial light, preferably 16 hours, in the winter time. I was only giving them 10 to 12 hours. All of the lettuce died. Three kale leaves dried away.

I am happy to report that the remaining kale leaf is thriving and has developed beautiful little clusters at its base. The only misfortune is that it will not grow into an actual kale plant.

Still, I am so grateful for this “experiment.” I have learned a lot. If I am to grow herbs and vegetables indoors, I must have the proper equipment. I’m reading as much as I can about grow lights.

I was pleased to learn that operating plant lights are really not that expensive if you buy the right ones. To determine the operating costs per hour for a light, you need to add up all the wattage from your lights. Then, divide it by 1,000 to get the kilowatts used. That number is multiplied by the amount your electric company charges per kilowatt hour. Just check your last statement.


(light wattage output / 1000) x electricity cost per kilowatt hour = Operating cost per hour operating cost per hour x hours used per month = Operating cost per month

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share a nice indoor garden (below) that is housed in the basement under grow lights. The blogger at Chiot’s Run is certainly successful.