last night i fished out a houseplant book from my personal library. although published in 1975, the information was still relevant. it opened up a world of possibilities in terms of available plants to keep indoors, all lovingly photographed in that washed-out 70's style. after reading the page on prayer plant, the first thing i did this morning (okay, this afternoon) was take better care of my own prayer plant. although it seemed to be doing fine in the kitchen near the southern-facing back door, some of the leaves had dried up tips. first i misted the plant in the bathtub then i put it above a tray of rocks with some water to increase the humidity. i'm leaving the plant in the bathroom, where there isn't as much light (prayer plants don't need a lot of light anyway) but it's definitely a warmer more pleasant environment for the plant. prayer plants also do well under fluorescent light, but i'm going to use that to sprout seedlings instead.

the weather was dark and rainy throughout most of the day. i continued cleaning up the house to a point where i only had cd's and old diskettes left to sort, and another pile of stuff to bring down to the basement. after all this uncluttering and reduction, my closet is now half empty. that can only mean plenty of space for new junk! but in the meantime, those new shelving properties will be converted to wintertime plant growing areas.

in the early evening i went down to the ace hardware store in porter square. it was rainy and dark, but i was a man on a mission. i bought a new 40" fluorescent light bulb, this time a GE daylight tube rated at 6500K and 3050 lumens.

after i installed the new bulb, i could see the difference right away. while the philips natural sunshine was more white, the GE daylight was definitely bluish. the GE also had a higher lumens rating compared to the philips (3050 versus 2200), which means more brightness for the same wattage. i removed the natural sunshine bulb (to be returned) and put back the philips plant and aquarium (pink). now i have the perfect combination of lights, one blue and one red. also while digging in the basement for potting soil, i decided to remove the compact fluorescent tube from my 5 gallon minibow aquarium (which i'm currently not using). that light is a 10 watts coralife colormax rated at 6700K. although close to the same color temperature as the bluish GE daylight, the colormax actually glows purple. that's probably because it has red spectrum spikes making it excellent for plant growth. it'll make a good spotlight for a single plant.

i finally turned on the fluorescent lights today, set it on a timer to test it out. since i don't have anything planted yet, i've temporarily put a few lucky bamboo plants on the shelf so the light won't be entirely wasted. the next order of business is to buy some containers and seeds and start growing. i also want to add some reflective mylar on the walls to maximize the light output.