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using mirrors to reflect light & heat to assist plants to grow in shaded areas  RSS feed

 
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hi has anyone tried this? if so does it work?,in theory it should but ive never tried it,any info please
 
pollinator
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I don't know about mirrors but I can relate a story from my youth. I worked for two years at a commercial greenhouse operation. During the winter months the interior of the houses were freshly painted white in order to reflect more light around. The plants in the freshly painted houses grew faster and got larger than those in the houses we never got to painting. So white painted surfaces reflect light. If I had a shed wall in a semi shaded spot, perhaps I'd paint it bright white in order to help the plants grow better.
 
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I was thinking the same thing as Su Ba! It's good to know that someone has real life experience though. I'm sure mirrors would work but white paint seems more practical. Similar to the rain barrel vs. pond idea. Just like storing only 50 gallons out of thousands that fall on to a roof is fairly insignificant think about all the sunlight that falls on to an area. Unless you have a huge supply of mirrors that don't have anything better to do (in that case go for it!) you'd probably be better of with the white paint or maybe shiny metal. Also remember to stack the functions for example a white painted wall could serve as a windbreak, livestock fence, privacy for an outside shower or an infinite possibility of things.
 
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The reflected light applies to bodies of water as well. The surface of a pond makes a pretty big mirror Lots of discussion in the forums on how much impact placing a pond with the right aspect can have on the plants around it, some of which definitely comes from the reflected light.
 
steward
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Welcome to permies Derek!
I have never tried it ...but...
I would think that it would reflect a lot of heat and light so you might have to be careful that it doesn't fry the plants like a magnifying glass?
 
Peter Ellis
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Welcome to permies Derek!
I have never tried it ...but...
I would think that it would reflect a lot of heat and light so you might have to be careful that it doesn't fry the plants like a magnifying glass?



As long as you don't make a parabolic mirror that focuses the sunlight, it won't be a problem. A flat mirror just reflects, and less comes off than strikes the surface. But yeah, you would not want to make a sort of mirrored "sun scoop" - that would focus the sun and could be not just bad for the plants but outright dangerous, potential firestarter.
 
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This is something I've been intending to try for some time. I haven't heard of anyone doing it and didn't find anything when I googled about it, but I have seen designs for insulative panels on greenhouses that had reflective inner surfaces that would serve to direct additional sunlight into the grow space when they were open during the day. It's an idea that needs experimentation, but the idea appears sound.
 
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