NEW to Growing Under Lights Year round - Tips needed

nanaclaire(5b)January 27, 2008

Since I am very very new to growing indoors under a grow light, I need any tips anyone can give me. I have grown indoors under a fluorescent light before and then planted seedlings outside, but now I want to grow herbs indoors all year round so I can have them when cooking. I set this up in an 18"x16" area on my countertop... used two foil pans, one for catching drainage and the other with holes in the bottom for the seeds. Here's a picture:

I bought a Grow Light from Lowes that uses a halogen light:

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I haven't heard anything positive related to halogen lighting for plant grow. Since there are no specs on the website, I am very skeptical.

I would return it and buy a decent compact florescent if your space is limited. Better yet, from the picture you posted it looks like you have some natural light available. I would use a south facing window if available.



Here is a link that might be useful: Halogen grow lights

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 9:34PM
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OK, looks like I made a mistake. It appears it is NOT a halogen bulb but a fluorescent instead ... F15T8... I don't know how much wattage that is and the instructions don't say. Anyway, it is a fluorescent afterall. I don't know where I got the Halegen from ...

As far as the lighting, there is no natural light coming into my kitchen. What you see in the picture is a doorwall to my enclosed patio and the light is coming from there. The kitchen itself is rather dark. I also have the light turned on in the picture. I don't have any windows I can use for growing seeds so my only choice was to use artificial lighting.

I'll let you know when I see seedlings ...guess it will be a few weeks?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 8:13AM
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also, I can't put anything more than this 21" fixture due to limited space. And even the patio itself does not have a south facing window even it was heated... it only has north and west windows. It's too cold in there to grow seeds right not but come about April, I'll be able to grow seeds inside the patio to move outside later. I want to be able to have these herbs available year round so I'm hoping my setup in the kitchen will work!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 8:23AM
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Based on the picture, it looks like you're running a single tube of fluorescent, and at quite a distance from the plants too... For growing herbs, that's not going to be enough light, and you're going to find yourself with some pretty laggy and bland tasting herbs. Try to see if you can get the plants closer (2-6" from top of plants) to the light source, and I would also follow Rokal's recommendation and add a compact fluorescent (desk lamp will do) about 4-6" from the top of the plants. Aim to get roughly about 20-30 Watts worth of light for your little growing area and you should be fine.

Do remember that fluorescent bulbs fade in brightness over time, so replace them before they die (I do it every 6 months for compact flouros and once a year for straight tubes.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 10:40AM
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The light is about 13 inches from the top of the planter. It IS a single fluorescent tube. Maybe I can raise the planter. I can't lower the light. So, you're saying I need another light on top of that? I'll look for a desk lamp to add to it.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 12:01PM
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but if I raise the planter, I won't be able to put another light there.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 12:03PM
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Here's the new pic.

I could look for a desk lamp with a long flexible lamp fact I have one but it only uses up to a 60watt bulb (not fluorescent or could I put fluorescent in there?). I need that one at my computer desk but maybe I could find another one like it, if it is usable for this purpose. Now that I re-read what you said, 20-30 watts... isn't that as much as what is in that fluorescent light I have there??? Hmmm... I'm not sure since the light bulb doesn't say how much wattage it is.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 12:23PM
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would something like this work?

Here is a link that might be useful: clamp on desk lamp

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 12:27PM
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nanaclaire , I believe you are in America? You should be able to find a fluorescent 2 tubes light fixrure at least so called F 30's . It means 2 fluorescent tubes per one fixture and that should and could be the same physical size as some fixtures which have just one fluorescent tube. There are varieties in electrical supply stores. You need at least 2 tubes -grow lights to avoid legginess and discoloration of your vegies.
Good Luck, Radovan, Ontario, Canada

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 6:22PM
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Radovan, thanks. I'll check out Lowes or Home Depot for 2 tube light fix. with F30s. I SHOULD have researched this BEFORE I bought that grow light. Now I have a grow light and can't take it back b/c I threw the box away :( ... guess I can use it elsewhere (maybe). Would it make a difference if I just bought another one like the one I have and install it right next to the one I have??? prob. not

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 8:33AM
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I went to Lowes ...didn't have time to make it to Home Depot.. but Lowes has a 2light fixture tht has 20watt fluor. bulbs. Will that do? It is a 24" fixture ...I can't use longer than that. I assume they are two 20 watt bulbs... T12s .... I didn't buy it yet ...waiting on someone to let me know if this will work first. AND the lady told me I could "probably" get a refund on the grow light I bought ...they just have to make sure it is THEIR product she said, so we should be able to return it. That's good.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 10:19AM
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a 24", 2-tube fixture should work... do you know if that will take T-8's as well? Some lights will take both T12's as well at T8's, but the T8's give a same (or more) amount of light with less power, so that will be a bonus. Remember that when growing with fluoroscents, you have to get them really close to the light; even touching won't harm the plant.

As for that desk lamp, I wouldn't go for it... is uses a special bulb. You're better off getting one that uses the standard screw-in bulb so that you can put in one of those twist CFL bulbs in (only 15 or 23 W and less heat).

Good luck growing!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 11:39AM
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I couldn't figure out if it would take T8s as well. I read elsewhere that the T8s are better. I'm going to try to get one that will use the T8s. Will I still need a desk lamp though if I get a 2-tube fixture?? I thought I only needed that if I stayed with the 1-tube fix. I have right now. Lowes didn't have much in the way of fluorescent light fix's and getting a small 24" one is really hard to find it seems. Hubby told me to go to the local hardware store here (since they carry everything). We'll do that tonight. At least he can bring this one back to Lowes for a refund.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 12:53PM
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No, if you get the 2 tube, you won't need the desk lamp. Although if you put one in, it won't hurt it. Don't forget, even with all that light, you still won't get even get close to comparing with direct sunlight.

I'd also buy a cheap timer for the light... I've seen them here in canada for a little as $2 CAD. Set the light to be on for about 12-18 hours a day. Usually, longer is better, but some plants will flower early if the daylength is too long, so that'll depend on what you're growing.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 4:58PM
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OK, I called both Lowes & Home Depot. Lowes has a T5 light bulb that is more energy efficient and brighter than the T8 he said ... but only has 14 watts per bulb. He said that T5s are rather new to the USA.

Do you think a T5 will do? I CAN buy a T12 but I can't find the T8s in a 24" fixture.

I already have a timer.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 5:26PM
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T5 is good... Is it a 2 bulb fixture as well? If so, I'd get it, as long as you you can easily find replacement tubes.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 4:13PM
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Yes, it is a 2bulb fluorescent as well and Lowes sells the replacement tubes ... we're going tonight to pick it up and take back the grow lite....

thanks again for your help!!!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:02PM
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