Fluorescents for vegetables.

joliverpaulJanuary 14, 2010

I'm growing some vegetables but none will need to flower or fruit, just leaves. After reading a million posts my conclusion is to use standard fluorescent fixtures (4 ft). The question for you guys is what size is best? I'm looking for cost efficiency but still good growing power. T-5's T-8's T-12's? Thanks for the help

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penfold2(4b, MN)

T5's will be the most efficient, but T8's are easier to find and much cheaper so they will give you the most bang for your buck. T12's are on their way out as the more efficient T8's replace them.

I'd also try to find a fixture that has a reflector which wraps all the way around the sides of the bulbs. This will ensure that all your light is being directed downwards towards the plants. Other fixtures may have a small reflector or no reflector at all in order to spread the light over an entire room.

And for bulbs, you'll want anything that says daylight, which should have a color temperature around 5000-6500K. If you can't find those, a lot of people also have luck with cool white bulbs, which are typically around 4000K.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:16AM
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I am using four t8 32s 4100k bulbs in a 1'x4' area. There is plenty of light for lettuce and bock choy. I start to harvest Buttercrunch in 4 weeks. I needed more light for Swiss chard I think it is because of the height of the plants. It grew but was slow and thin. now I use more light on them. I use multiple cfl's to concentrate the light in a 2'x2' square.

Curt~ Got to love it!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:10PM
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These forums make this stuff way to easy! Imagine having to make trial runs on purchasing fluorescent light fixtures!
thanks y'all!
A link to my blog is below and you should see the lights up in a couple days... if your interested

Here is a link that might be useful: Grow Your Own

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 12:55AM
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I don't have a lot of space or plants, but I am growing from seed. Do my veggies have to have light indoors?

I'm also on a limited budget. How's this?

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Light Option

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:29PM
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Expensive. For that price, you can almost buy two 105 watt CFL bulbs and cover at least 20 square feet unless you plan to raise things like tomatoes or peppers to maturity.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:10PM
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These bulbs below work very well for us. Philips Alto daylight can be found at Home depot and I believe I seen them at Lowes. The fixtures I used had mirror wrap around reflectors. I have a realative that has a sign business.
He has self gluing reflective mirror material on rolls 32" wide I believe. This material would work very well if you can't find mirror reflective fixtures.

85 CRI/6500K (CRI>Color Rendering Index and K stands for Kelvin, a measure of color temperature) fluorescent strips..from Home depot around $7 for two.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mom's Garden

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 6:32PM
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Wordwiz, you were right. I did some looking around at HD and found lots of fixtures, bigger fixtures for a lot less money.

If I go with them, what's the best way to suspend them? (Short on space)

Also, will any old 40 watt fluorescent light do? I think I'm making this harder than it should be. lol.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Go to Wally World (Wal-Mart) and pick up a shop light. $12-15. They come with short chains (usually), if not go to your fav hardware store, pick up a couple of screw-in U-type screws and some cheap chain, along with a couple of S hooks (unless you have paper clips - the bigger ones work just as well.

Seriously, KISS works great!



    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:18PM
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