100% Indoor Plans w/T5 HO (6500K)

Phantom2487January 22, 2014

I plan on growing 4x 12'' pots with a two sweet peppers, one habanero, and one tomato (we'll see how that goes).

I hung a 4x 2' T5 HO fixture above the plants with 6500K bulbs, the rated output is at 8000 lumen. It's suspended by a chain for variable height adjustment.

I attached a picture of the setup prior to anything growing but I was curious if this would work, and actually 'produce' anything.

I considered a hybrid indoor/outdoor during prime time but due to the surrounding agriculture the outside isn't really a good environment (due to pests, chemicals etc). I don't have any windows in my house that would allow me to do a window setup either so this is going to be 100% basement vegie program.

Just worried that time/effort/money invested is going to be a waste of time.

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its never a waste of time with plants..:) i think a significant part of gardening..is the experimenting..what works..what doesnt..and the learning in the process..
keep us posted on how your peppers do..
and good luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:25PM
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Thanks for the reply lomodor, basically what I'm seeking here is how to get the most out of my setup. Or in all reality just verification that I can get a fruitful plant in fully artificial light.

I'm one of those 'new guys' that will try most anything; like at work I 'smuggled' a grow light (an unfocused 2' T8) in and run it 24x7 on a couple of pots. Attached is a plant I took from work and (trans)planted at home under my focused T5HO setup (which I run on a 16on 8 off schedule) i.e. its awake and asleep like me. I'll keep this updated since I've not seen anything similar here...

In all reality I find that the majority (like 90% or more) of indoor grow-light forums are for 'weed'. Which I really don't care about... at all, I'm trying to grow legit stuff here and its like a vacuum on the internet for real sources.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:25PM
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Hi Phantom and welcome to GardenWeb!

I definitely agree with lomodor, trying something new is never a waste of time (but always fun and educational). Okay, I use mostly 4 foot T8 bulbs but I do have one small fixture that contains just one T5 bulb. The bulb is new and just like yours (2000 lumens and 6500k). Using my light meter, and measuring one foot below the bulb, I get 360 foot-candles. Multiplying that by 4, to simulate what you have, gives 1440 foot-candles. Actually youâÂÂre probably not getting quite that much because some light will be trapped above the four bulbs. In any case, if your light seems to be covering the required area okay, you probably do have enough light for now. When the plants get quite a bit larger however, IâÂÂm not so sure :-) IâÂÂm thinking you may have to add a CFL or two.

For growing tomatoes (and most other warm weather crops) indoors, 1000 to 2000 foot-candles for about 14 to 16 hours a day is usually recommended. Also, at least for tomatoes, a 5 gallon container is usually recommended. I guess it would depend on the kind of tomatoes youâÂÂre growing and how large the plants will really get.

One last thought, I assume you donâÂÂt have any bees in your house :-) ⦠donâÂÂt forget to come up with a way to pollinate the flowers later on.

Hope this is helpful,


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:13AM
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Thanks art33 for the reply.

The readings are really indicative of how to augment my configuration later during moderate/advanced growth. In the meantime I'll be looking for 2800K 100W (actual not equivalent) CFL, these things are nasty bright in fact they rate higher than my 96W 4x 2' T5 HO's. (I actually have 2x of these in the ~6000K spectrum in my 2x car garage and they are awesome..)

So when the time comes (6-8 weeks) from now I'll more than likely build a fixture and of course share pictures/idea(s).

Attached is (native) first life from my setup. While I notice that most people start plants in a 'biscuit' I go straight for gold by planing direct into the pot I intend them to live in. That other pepper plant (in the first post) is a trans-plant as I've indicated. The remaining peppers have a few more days to go according to my research.

I'll follow up with how I've adjusted since sprout, the more mature plant (wifes orange tree) will be moved to the side and the 4x pots will be 'brought into the light'. From what I've seen its still going to do better here than in a shaded southern window due to an overhang.

Also, does anyone have a method of attaching multiple images to a post?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 8:16PM
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i had another thought..should have posted it in earlier posting..i find using reflective mylar is great to get as much light to your plants as you can..
when i get my tomato/squash plants going..i have a t5 light set up.. 20,000 lumens..the whole area is enclosed with reflective mylar. it shoots all the light all around the plants.
just an idea..good luck to ya !!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 8:23PM
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Follow up:

Attached is how I re-arranged the growing bed.

I made everything closer together and kicked out the bigger orange 'shrub' or 'tree'... (It's the wifes, I have no clue what it really is).

There is some heat being delivered but not really enough to burn, but time will tell.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 11:31PM
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Just secured a 6x 4' T5 HO to augment my growing setup.

Tomatoes are coming strong, and the first habanero started last night.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:23PM
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I'm learning quickly how important light is. I have a 4'x2 bulb t5ho and it's just not enough.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 9:45AM
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My light is now installed, unfortunately it didn't arrive as I intended (T5 HO) it's actually a (T8 SO).

Not a total setback but it will hopefully work anyway. It currently has 5000K bulbs, will be replacing with 6500K's soon enough.

Attached is a picture of the updated setup. (See an original setup @ top of post.)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:07PM
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Just curious, how many lumens is your T8 fixture rated at, phantom?

And what does the "SO" stand for? Standard output?

This post was edited by Cherokee_ on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 17:14

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 4:41PM
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@ Cherokee_

SO - Standard Output (correct)

That T8 has 6x F32T8/XL/SPX50/HL/ECO bulbs rated at 3000 lumens, and 2820 mean lumens.

So conservatively the output is ~16,920 lumens. Of course there are other factors which most likely diminish that lumens figure. But according to the label it's only eating 207 Watts of power.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:35PM
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Here's an early 1 month update:

Green Pot: YOLO Wonder (Bell Pepper)
Blue Pot: CA Wonder (Bell Pepper)
Off-White Pot: Contender (Green Peas)
Mason Jar: Caribbean Red (Habanero)
Orange Pot: Cayenne, Orange Habanero
Pink Pot: Beefsteak (Tomato)

Fungus Gnats: Added 1' of sand to ruin life-cycle, so far so good.
Purple Leafs on Tomato: Apparently this is 'normal' as root system catches up. Also some curling/droopy leafs, either it'll grow out of it or die (oh well it's going to be to 'big' for this experiment anyway).
Rolling Leaf on Cayenne: Apparently this is 'normal' also, but I 'pruned' a few of it's bigger leafs off because it was shading my Orange Habanero (which is higher priority than the Cayenne).

Using melted snow for watering, our rural water is pretty nasty (for people too).
Added thermometer, temps are around 80-82 during the day at dirt level, ~70 at night.
Light cycle changed from 6am-10pm to 7am-9pm, saves power and didn't make a difference.
Using 20oz water bottles with a 1/16 hole in the top for watering, good water placement vs the spray bottle.
My 3 year old talks to my (baby) plants, (she planted most of them under strict adult supervision of course)...

4' 6-lamp T8 SO with 5000K bulbs is doing all the lighting now for the small pots, lining up some 6500K's but I think its an un-needed expense.

Peas, after moving the 'runt' orange tree to a 10-gallon I had an extra pot so I planted peas. (wife's request)
Now my mother wants me to start seedlings for her, this could be the best or worst of things!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 7:37PM
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Figured an update was due.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:17PM
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From the side.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:19PM
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Got some flowering going on, peas already setting a few pods up too.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Current Status...

Few green bell peppers set on good already, and a ton of cayenne peppers set, also a couple habs (have to warm it up to get real results).

Also... 'self-polinating' means you have to still pollinate them manually (lame)! Just used rolled up toilet paper.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:50PM
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Don't disdain cannabis growers, there is a lot to learn from them.

Really, how many crops are worth $1000+ a pound? It is in their interest to examine and learn.

And never trust anyone that uses foot-candles as a means of measurement :D

Plants look great as well :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:09PM
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I just started a simple, ebb and flow hydro, indoor grow for the first time. I have a 400 W MH/HPS that is bright and hot as hell, but I see some good deals on Amazon for a 4 bulb HO T5 fixture, and I have been thinking about returning the MH and getting the T5's.

I would be interested in a follow up on your grow. How did the tomato turn out? I noticed you stopped mentioning it. Would you recommend T5 bulbs?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:52PM
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Unfortunately the tomato got a little out of hand for the space I could allocate to the project, so that was one part of this experiment that got terminated prematurely --- it got big, stinky fell over and my 3 year old kept attacking it because she liked the tomato smell.

I would definitely have liked to went with all T5 HO fixtures, unfortunately I'm bound do my budget and I couldn't stick with the T5 HO's. That being said I wold definitely go T5 HO setup given the financial means.

I've moved all my plants outside now and I'm getting more habeneros and green bell peppers than I know what to do with, -- of course starting plants in February in South Dakota makes a big difference. I'll dig for an updated picture and post when I find it.

I can't speak on whether this setup is superior to MH's though. But I did get some good peppers off of the T8 SO even before putting the plants outside. From what I do understand the MH's will offer more comparable intensity to the sun VS the T5/T8's.

So in summary I'll say the T5/8 config will work, but can't say whether it's better than an MH. I do know they run cool and didn't even notice a difference in my electricity bill.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:22AM
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Here are the plants now, the tomato as I've previously indicated is deceased and a new one is starting.

I put these plants outside once they started to overgrow all the living space I could allocate to them. After the last frost of course when the night time temperatures were well above 50F -- of course I had to bring them in a few times due to sub 30F nights and hail storms (it's been an interesting year).

As you can see the bell peppers seem to be doing fine I've got a few zip-lock bags full of chopped ones for later. Also had a huge habanero harvest and round two is on it's way -- I may bring the habanero plant in for winter, we'll see when that time comes. Personally I have very little use for the habs and my kids love the bright colors, bad combination.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:23PM
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