tomatoes indoors under flourescent lights

Redman-38November 6, 2012

I have been growing tomatoes and peppers hydroponically out doors, but the extreme Louisiana heat is very hard on the plants. I am in the process of moving one of my gardens indoors, inside a 14X16 boat port. That way I can control the heat. I have six 4ft two bulb T12 light fixtures already installed that can me moved up and down on their chains. In addition, I have four new T8 fixtures that can be installed. This hydroponic system is approximately 4X8 feet constructed of 4"PVC pipe that functions well. My question is what additional light is needed, when growing the plants before flowering and what additional light is needed when flowering and when fruiting takes place I want to stay with what lighting . I have and supplement AS NEEDED . Reasonable suggestions for light supplementing will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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you either need to run the flourescents in a vertical orientation very close to the plants or you need to invest in metal halides. flourescent light dissipates very quickly and won't adequately penetrate the canopy on a larger plant.
also, T8's are more energy efficient if you go that route.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:36PM
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Ideally, you would use halides until the plant flowers and then switch to high pressure sodium lights, which are the best for growing fruit or flowers. Get ready to spend more in electricity than the value of what you produce in tomatoes.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:47PM
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Fluorescent Lights produce much less heat than luminous and HID grow lights. I can refer you to set Fluorescent lights close to the plants for great results. It should not be closer than 4 inches and no further than 24 inches. Keep plants under fluorescent lights for 12-16 hours a day.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 1:42AM
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HID produces less heat than fluorescent.....the lamp surface temp is higher, but they give off less heat.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:32AM
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My setup is T5 HO and it works awesome for tomatoes so far. I will say that with my fixture at least, the light can penetrate down to 3at least 30'' effectively. I know this because I have 3' tall tomatoe plants in with some 6'' jalapenos and the jalaps are growing like champs still. In fact, the light is up higher than the 3' tom so its probably more towards 32-34'' from the jalaps.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:38AM
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Have your tomatoes or peppers begun fruiting yet, ethno?
I'm curious because there is such a wide divide in the thinking of whether fluorscents are acceptable or not.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:29AM
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I'm curious, too, and would love to hear about the taste and texture of the fruit you make under flouros. I hope they're good because I want to do the same thing, but I'm pessimistic.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 10:53AM
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Without extensive side-lighting, the flouros will have a very tough time reaching deep enough into the canopy regardless of spectrum.

I have looked at using 4 CFLs placed at the compass points every six inches vertical to chase tomato growth while keeping the big overhead fixture 1-2 inches above. I never could make the $$ come out to produce a net gain.

Please keep us posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Indoor Growing Adventure

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:39AM
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