growing plants with reflected light

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by philbobaggins, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. philbobaggins

    philbobaggins Junior Member

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    Howdi forum,
    Some friends and I are thinking of making a garden in a space 4 meters lower than street level.
    As you can imagine most of it only gets the sun around midday, and some parts actually never see the sun.
    We could just put in a bunch of shade-loving plants but would like to experiment using reflective surfaces ie. white paint, mylar, mirrors, and would love to be able to grow a heap of veggies. I would appreciate any information you may have on growing plants with reflective light. Your advise is much appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Philbo
     
  2. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    I don't have any info or advice to offer, but it sounds fascinating! I'd love to read more about what you discover.
     
  3. Hamishmac

    Hamishmac Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Hi Philbo,

    Before and after pics would be great. I always forget the before pics :? .

    Water feature and white pebbles as mulch come to mind, in theory anyway. Or...could you connect the two? A version of backyard aquaponics using white pebbles on the surface instead of expanded clay pellets?

    https://www.backyardaquaponics.com.au/

    What sort of area have you got, and where?

    Hamish
     
  4. philbobaggins

    philbobaggins Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Thanks for your comments.
    The site is a basement courtyard of 32 sq. meters and is located at the Tokyo museum of modern art.
    You can look down on the space from the main lobby of the museum.
    Its a great opportunity to showcase permaculture in action, but the light restrictions are great. We are thinking of using mylar or some other highly reflective surfaces to drape the interior walls for increased solar exposure but have no previous experience in this area. Any advise further advise would be great.
    Thanks for reading this post!
     
  5. Hamishmac

    Hamishmac Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Hi there PB,

    sounds like you've got a challenge on your hands. Does the "garden" at least face South, or is the building in the way? Once you're at a higher latitude than the tropics (23.5 degrees) the sun will never truly be directly overhead, even at midday on midsummer's day.

    https://susdesign.com/sunangle/

    is a calculator where you can see how much (or little) direct sunlight will scrape into your garden in Tokyo's 35 deg latitude, and might help with planning placement of reflectors.

    Could you use direct sun to hit some solar panels on the museum roof, and use the collected energy to power some grow bulbs in the veggie patch :? . Or is that cheating?

    Hamish
     
  6. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    This is something that interests me as I have a large, too-shady garden. Designed by a blind architect I still can't work out which way it faces!
    Mirrors decompose and are no longer made with the excellent, long lasting, toxic mercury
    Any suggestions on a inexpensive, mirror-like, reflective surface that will survive NSW Australia sun, please let me know.

    There are light tunnels being used in some green buildings (Israel?) which might give you some ideas.
    They take sun- light from the roof down several stories of office.
    For a house
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_tube
    https://www.reuk.co.uk/Light-Tubes-for-I ... ghting.htm
    Some possibilities here??
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylightin ... r_Lighting
    Geeks talking about tubes
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=164959

    this is the closes I could find on what i was looking for. Googling those words might help?
    https://www.architectureweek.com/2005/02 ... t_1-2.html

    i did that and found this

    https://www.worldofrenewables.com/page.php?pageid=31

    This article is hard to read. English is obviously not the author's strong suit.
    https://www.learn.londonmet.ac.uk/packag ... ec2002.pdf

    How to build a heliostat for solar heating and lighting
    https://www.iwilltry.org/w/index.php?tit ... d_lighting

    https://www.informaworld.com/smpp/conten ... 027~db=all

    OK that's taken me an hour and I haven't solved my problem, or yours.

    Here are more words for you to google
    Keywords: alternative technologies; daylighting; energy; guidance systems; heliostats; lighting; tubular light pipes; technologies alternatives; lumiegravere du jour; eacutenergie; systegravemes de guidage; heacuteliostats; conduits tubulaires de lumiegravere, Solar energy; illumination by solar radiation; sunlighting; thermal and visual comfort; daylighting;
    renewable energy; CO2 reduction; sustainability, hollow light guide, liquid fiber optics.
     
  7. philbobaggins

    philbobaggins Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Wow! I just wanted to send an immediate THANK YOU!!! and will get back after I`ve been through all the information.
    I can`t tell you how timely this infusion of information is!
     
  8. ultradeluxe

    ultradeluxe New Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    thank you for all your comments

    here are some "before" photos of the space https://web.mac.com/namaiki/iPhoto/mot-g ... /index.rss - not sure if you can all read this rss link - apologies if you can't

    thanks also for the sun angle calculator link, the garden is south facing, approx 4 m underground and has a tall glass wall on its north side, this is a rough look at the sun angles for the site https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dmgkq9x_74cswfkjdp

    love the idea of some aquaponics ...

    will keep you posted with some "during" and "after" photos too !!

    michael
     
  9. barely run

    barely run Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Hydrophonic growers of illegal plants in Aust have used fluresent lights indoors with no outside natural
    lighting and had sucessful crops. perhaps the same ideas would work for legal plants in your low light setting.
    cathy
     
  10. raincrow

    raincrow Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    I keep coming back to this thread and wondering "what is growing there now?" Any plants at all? Moss, lichen, fungi? Is the floor of the space soil or concrete? I know growing veggies is exciting, but isn't permaculture also about using a space for what it is best suited for? What were the understory plants that grew on the site before the building was built? What about a water feature with moss covered boulders, running water, ferns and fungi? Harvesting edible fungi would be exciting also. Is there a rare salamander in the area that this site could become a sanctuary for? Moss, lichen, and fungi are a huge part of life on this planet and the variety is astounding and beautiful.
    My wife just read over my shoulder and added that it might be a great site for wasabi and ginger [with her mouth watering]
    If you are going to use plants that require lots of light, remember that they also will need the humidity variations, temperature and air circulation that a sunny location would provide. cheers
     
  11. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    coffee and ginger are understorey plants aren't they?
     
  12. philbobaggins

    philbobaggins Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Wow,
    Plenty of food for thought reading your comments. Big Thanks! We`ve just completed the first phase of the project, which involved putting 6tons of gravel, 12tons of soil and 6tons of compost onto the concrete slab at the bottom of the `hole`. It was a terrific day of work altogether. The soil was dropped in by a 22 meter long crane in 1 ton bags, and we managed to get all the growing medium, two trees (12 year old perssimon and 10 year old uguisu kazura berry) a 4 meter juneberry and some blueberries down in the one day! Thanks to Michi, Suesan, Toru and company! We are letting the soil settle over this coming week of spring rain and plan to plant a few more trees to espallier along the south-facing wall, and another 80 species or so of perennials and self-seeding annuals (mostly edibles and medicinals) along with a mixed covercrop of legumes. We are also planning to experiment with stretching mylar along the walls to reflect sunlight into the darker sections of the garden. We are also hoping to raise a family of japanese quails in the garden to provide eggs and control bug populations. We will keep you updated on how we go. We hope to incorporate many of the ideas you were kind enough to suggest. Thanks again!
     
  13. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    that sounds very impressive! please send us photo's!
     
  14. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Yep I think so.Certainly in the tropics although possibly not at ginger farms at Buderim Qld
    Why have Buderim Ginger shares dropped by 70% of late?

    Folowing my own advice I purchased some Corsican Mint yesterday and have planted in the cracks of paving. I have never had a lot of luck with this plant. Is there a secret? Does it like it dry or limey/gypsumy?
    I will get some matting thyme seeds when I work out which one is fragrant and/or useful.

    I found a bit of broken mirror in the "Garage" (AKA 'Rubbish heap'- no car has ever seen the inside of it. Strange how we store $100 worth of crap in garages and leave a $10-$60,000 car outside))
    Anyway I set it to reflect the last rays of light on my most recent attempt to grow sage. This time I have gone for a coloured & variegated form.
    It may be a better form of Salvia officinalis to grow--invariably they die here in humid February). I got the felling that the little sage said "Thank you". :bear:

    I have a lot of large aluminium cans. Is there away of making them highly reflective?
     
  15. philbobaggins

    philbobaggins Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Michaelangelica,
    perhaps you can cut open your aluminium cans and use the reflective surface inside.
    You would most certainly want to be wearing gloves!
     
  16. Hamishmac

    Hamishmac Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Scrunched up tinfoil, or a chocolate bar wrapper, can be used to scour the parabolic bottom surface of tin cans into a highly reflective mirror. (Apparently) it concentrates the sun's rays enough to start a fire, so best not point too many of them at your sage!

    Hamish
     
  17. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Growing plants with reflected light Mirrors

    MMM
    What's parabolic about the bottom of a tin can? Do you mean the can cut in half?

    I tried stapling a couple 8' lengths of aluminium cooking foils to a shed wall with staples. One is off with the recent weather. Perhaps some sort of glue would be the go. They used to make expensive metal wallpaers. I wonder what sort of glue they used? Superglue would be too expensive.I am not sure where the light went that the aluminium reflected.
    (BTW Superglue was developed during the Korean war & used in MASH type units to save time sticking wounded soldiers-they just glued them together )


    I saw a couple of c.1M x 35cm mirrors at K mart tonight I can't remember if they were $30 or $50 .
    What if you sealed the sides and back of those with that stuff they use to seal terracotta pots with?

    This is interesting perhaps :?:
    https://www.allplastics.com.au/03/produc ... ylics.html

    Done Burke has a Garden Mirror project but attached to Marine Ply which costs an arm and a leg
    https://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/factsh ... rrors/2328

    https://www.infolink.com.au/n/Pipes-brin ... rs-n760564

    [​IMG]
    Stainless Sections
    Email Stainless Sections Printable Version


    https://www.infolink.com.au/c/Stainless- ... ct-n821123
    https://www.stainlesssections.com.au/
     
  18. Hamishmac

    Hamishmac Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Michaelangelica,

    Aluminium soft drink cans usually have a concave bottom, unlike food cans. Perhaps I should have been more specific. Videos are available on youtube.

    Hamish
     
  19. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    Philbo,

    Congratulations on being part of this project. Check the temperatures at the base and on the walls of the garden and compare them to the external temperatures. With it being inclusive in a building that will be heated/cooled etc you may be able to sneak in some real surprises like orchids on walls or staghorns etc.

    If you are going to put a permie garden into an art gallery I would put an emphasis on beauty as well. Epiphytes, and there are hundreds, would break down the starkness of the walls and could be suspended there on fishing line and superthin wire. I always planted marigolds and nasturtiums in with my vegie patch for my kids and myself but I always suspected the carrots and potatoes liked having them around too!!

    Just my 2c worth.

    cheers,
     
  20. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: growing plants with reflected light

    I wonder how silver paint would go? Such as something from an auto shop?

    Sorry ,would you beleive 9andalf and I do all this on dial up! So no utube for us!

    on kids gardening an interst of mine (have you seen the new roll out of Stephanie Alexander's programme across Oz?)
    I was always told not to plant carrots in rocky soil as you get funny shaped carrots.
    When reading a book about kid's gardening (by jackie French?) it suggested putting rocks and other barriers in you pots-so that you GOT funny shaped carrots
    Why should the kid's have all the fun!!
    PS someone also sufggested planting radish with you carrots for some unknown reason -better germination?
    BTW
    It is a myth that carrots help night sight. A myth started by the british secret service- but that's another story
     

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