DIY LM561C Build – Grow Update

Hey all,

It’s a long weekend for me (Canada day – huzzah!), so I’m really phoning this week’s post in so I can get oot and aboot. The wife and I are making super-deluxe poutine tomorrow with ALL the fixin’s (sour cream, onions, bacon, smoked meat, cheese curds [of course], and 2 types of gravy), and I’m SO excited to laze around, eat poutine, and drink beer tomorrow. I racked my brain for something simple to write about tonight and decided I’d snap a few quick pictures of my plants that I’m growing under my DIY LM561C strip build and share.

Overall, things are going pretty well under this light. I’m growing lettuce, kale, basil, swiss chard, and a cabbage (why not?).  The lettuce is thriving – the color of it is a beautiful burgundy and green, and I’ve already harvested from it twice.

Merlot lettuce.

Lovely white roots.

It’s neat how they all link together in the middle.

The kale is a complete failure – I’m not sure what it was, but the first three plants died very quickly after they sprouted, and the last three are just barely holding on, though I’m about to put them out of their misery. I’m not sure what the problem was; everything about the nutrient solution in that container was the same as the other 3, but the plants didn’t like it and the solution had sort of a film on the surface of it.

Poor bastards.

These roots don’t look so hot. The water has a gross film on it as well.

The basil is chugging along. I just topped each of the plants at the second node today and took a good handful of basil up to the kitchen. We’re going to try making pesto next week with this harvest, combined with our outdoor basil haul.

First basil haul. It looks a bit wilty since I had cut it 10 minutes prior to the picture, but it was nice and crisp on the plant.

All basil plants were topped at the second node today. Hopefully they’ll branch out.

The basil roots are shorter and coarser.

The swiss chard and cabbage seem to be doing quite well. These roots are incredible! I love the look of the red swiss chard roots.

Swiss chard and cabbage. Once the cabbage needs more space, I’m going to chop the swiss chards and let the cabbage take the room it needs.

Beautiful red stems.

Cabbage looking good.

Aren’t these roots incredible?

I started 2 new chards for the end. This guy looks like he’ll have yellow or white stems.

That’s all for now. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and see you next week!


  1. Hey man, beautiful plants! Thanks for the post!

    Do you cycle your nutrients, or aerate them in any way? Everything looks nice except for the kale, and it looks like a buildup to me.

    • LEDGardener

      July 1, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Hey Sensi, thanks! These are pure Kratky – no aeration or cycling or anything. I think I’ll take another stab at the Kale.

  2. poutine, and cheese curds.. sounds like a great time. – I grew up on Quebec border of Vermont.

  3. Yes, half the fun of growing red Swiss chard is the roots!

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