When does Autumn start in the UK? The Autumn Equinox and what it means.
The Autumn Equinox occurs in September every year and is the mark of summer coming to an end in the northern hemisphere. As the earth orbits the sun, it’s tilted on an axis. This means that as it orbits, it illuminates the northern or southern hemisphere differently, depending on where it is in orbit. At two points in the year, the sun will illuminate both hemispheres equally – these are Autumn and Spring Equinoxes.
When is the first day of Autumn 2022?
This year, the Autumn Equinox occurs on Friday 23rd September at 02:03am signalling the end of summer. The equinox should result in approximately 12 hours of daylight, followed by 12 hours of nightfall.
After the Autumn Equinox, the amount of nighttime becomes longer compared to the daytime. The tilting of the axis away from the sun causes more darkness than before the Equinox meaning the days get shorter and darker.
What does that mean for growing food?
Let’s start with the darkness that’s coming our way. Grow lights are often something discussed in relation to greenhouses and polytunnels, but did you know our 4-Season Sprout Mini-Greenhouses come with LED grow lights? They are fully waterproof, low voltage units designed specifically for the Harvst growing system. They plug directly into the control unit and are controlled by a timer which you can run twice a day, meaning you can easily extend the daylight hours for your plants.
They serve to replace or supplement natural light, emitting the right wavelength of light to mimic daylight – keeping your plants growing all year round. These lights would be a welcome addition to your growing environment, especially during the winter months when the days are short and the natural light levels are low.
Why use artificial lighting?
If you were to invest in a Sprout Mini-Greenhouse with added grow lights, you would find growing in the winter months much easier. Artificial lighting will increase your chances of a fruitful harvest during these slower months.
Grow lights can be used all year round, not just in the darker months. In the run up to Spring, artificial lights can help start Spring seedlings much earlier than you would be able to plant without them. Getting a head start with your seedlings means they will mature quicker and be stronger when it comes to planting out in Spring. Some good choices for early planting could include; lettuce, sweet peas, rocket and chicory.
Don’t grow lights use buckets of electricity, you might ask. Traditionally, yes. With LED technology, you get a remarkable amount of light for a small amount of watts. All the lights in a 4-season mini greenhouse only uses 80 watts!
As well as saying goodbye to the lighter days, we can wave away the warmer weather we have been so accustomed to this Summer. Every greenhouse offers some level of protection for your plants but the cold weather can be a tricky one to overcome successfully.
Like grow lights, if you add some artificial heating to your greenhouse you can extend the growing season much further, keeping the frost away! Not many greenhouse heaters can raise the temperature much though, a regular greenhouse is too big and inefficient at keeping in the warmth. Most seeds need at least 15 degrees to germinate, and once they have germinated the plants won’t grow much (if at all) if the temperature falls below 10 degrees or so. You would have to put a lot of electricity into an 8×10 glass greenhouse to keep the plants healthy when it’s freezing outside!
Here’s where our Sprout Mini-Greenhouses are different. They are much smaller in size than a standard greenhouse, which means they’re easier to heat. Featuring twinwall polycarbonate panels, our mini-greenhouses are better insulated, as this holds the heat better than glass.
Adding heating to our regular self-watering greenhouses will give you a 3-Season mini-greenhouse. It’s mains powered and only uses a fraction of what it would take to heat a regular greenhouse. Low voltage, waterproof, self-regulating heater cables run through the shelves warming the plants above it. The heaters are thermostatically controlled via the smart control unit, and you can monitor and manage the temperature using the Harvst web-app.
The 3 and 4-Season mini greenhouses are set up to help you grow more, all year round. As well as having huge benefits in the colder months, they can help you in the summer too. With an automatic self-opening roof to vent unnecessary heat, twinwall polycarbonate panels to shield plants from direct sun and overheating, as well as automatic sensor-driven self-watering, they are a great addition to any growers arsenal for their versatility.