Day light savings, a timer and your life schedule

This year I have my home garden flowering 10 pm ‘off’ 10 am ‘on’. I like this because a couple days a week I get home at 9 and I like to unwind by watering, caring or just staring at my plants. With day light savings, I went down stairs after work and the light was OFF. Ohhh man. It took me 3 days to remember to alter the light back to my schedule and I figured this was a good topic to write about.

So, what is the best way to get your plants back on your schedule? Well, you could just leave the light at 9 pm ‘off' 9 am ‘on’, but I don’t like that. So, the second choice is deciding if you are you going to shorten a day or lengthen a night. It won’t make or break your growing but I would recommend having a longer night. I say this because as you may know plants keep track of day length with a molecule called phytochrome. There are two forms of phytochrome, light and dark. Light energy makes light phytochrome, and light phytochrome changes to dark phytochrome without light. The ratio of light to dark phtochrome molecules is what triggers a plant to flower. So, if you lengthen the day by an hour, you will have more light phytochrome than dark which may confuse the plant and if you are already stressing plants with too much nutrients, or light contamination at night etc. this added little stress might be the final straw that makes your plants have problems.

What I did is changed the on time an hour, so that the light would come back on at 10 am. This gave my plants a 13 hour ‘night’, which if anything would speed up the flowering response. Then, the next day with the lights on I moved the lights off time back an hour and now I am back to my original time of on and off.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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