My Recreational Herb Garden Enhancement: Tin Foil Reflectors

I live in an Arctic wasteland...
AA = Arctic wasteland…
I have a problem recreationally growing herbs in my apartment. The northern latitude of Ann Arbor means that what little sun I get during the day comes in at a fairly shallow angle. And as a result, all of my plants lean towards the window quite severely. And because the sun is so weak, and the temperatures near the windows relatively cold, my herbage tends to be very flaccid. If my plants lean too much, they can’t support their own weight. They grow more like ivy than shrubs, which is certainly not optimal. And the rate of growth of my plants leaves much to be desired. I had been hoping to cook with them by now.

pork side

So to remedy that problem, I made a super simple reflector from aluminum foil and a plastic tray that some Costco meats came in. The trapezoidal shape of the tray means that it catches the low angle of incidence sunlight and reflects it back at the plant without having to be very tall. If I used a vertical mirror, it would’ve had to be about 10 inches tall.


I also moved my plants up a shelf, because the floor temperature by my sliding door is quite cold. The sheet of air coming down from the cheap glass doors has a pretty bad convective effect.


There’s actually a whole community of growers (of delicious plants like mine, I’m sure) who make use of reflectors, and they have all sorts of opinions about materials. Mylar is the gold standard for reflectors, because once stretched taut it provides a highly-reflective, mirror-like surface. Foil is considered bad because the uneven surfaces can focus light into localized hot spots. To that, I say: “SERIOUSLY? Who cares? I made this for a dime in 2 minutes.”

Hopefully my dill grows faster. I’m ready for some new salmon recipes.

Leave a Reply