Tomato, lights, germinating,

NoSupplies(z6MO)February 1, 2005

I've been searching for lighting answers, I'll give you what info I can think to remember. I prolly won't be seeding my tomatoes for a bit, I will be starting some herbs, as soon as my potting soil soaks up the water )

we bought a 48" fluorescent shop light, one 40w cool white bulb and a 40w spectrum, it puts off a slightly pink glow when you look at it. What I am trying to find out, do I germinate the seeds under their dome and under the light, (also is it to warm with out the lid i sat the trays underneath the light at 2 inches and it was staying at 80f degrees. This room has a south and west window, unfortunately the neighbors have south and west trees ) My set up is in the south window though. I raised the light to 4 inches above the trays and the temp is staying at 76f If I put the domes on and the light is required should I raise the fixture 2 inches above the dome? Any insight would be helpful I'm a failing gardner that fails alot and keeps on trying )) My 3rd garden in a row. We did have lovely tomatoes last year but bought plantlings from the store I managed to kill all my seedlings, which I had parked in my kitchen in the NW window this year i want to have happier tomatoes of my own )

Thanxs Joyce

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Intense light is not required for germination. Most seeds germinate fine without any significant light at all, but I'm not sure about tomatoes. 80F sounds like a good temperature. It might want to be a touch cooler once the seeds have germinated but presumably you'll be taking the lids off then.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 5:15PM
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Thanxs, I will be starting many different seedlings in my tray and even some at different times so i have a better chance of sucess. Maybe I should go get an empty tray to set the germinated ones under the light so the ones still germinating can get the full effects of dome life )

Thank you

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 6:39PM
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cbars(z5b6a MO-Kansas City)

You are on the right track. Tomatoes do not require light for germination but do require warmth - 75-80 F would do fine.

Try to start like items in the same tray because once you see growth, the dome needs to come off. Once the dome is off, move your lights down to within two inches of the plants. Check the height of your lights several times a week because they will need to moved up as the maters grow. I also turn a fan on them for several hours a day. It helps them toughen up and make a much stronger stem (thicker).

Sometimes, when only starting 3-4 seeds of a particular item, I use a carry-out container from Applebees restaurant. It has a clear plastic lid and works great!

Good luck and come back if you have more quesitons.

I'm in Kansas City. Won't start maters seeds for a couple more weeks - plant out mid April.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 11:10AM
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Thanxs Gary, we have them ordered, I hope they get here within a couple of weeks ) we are also in the Kansas City area )


    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 12:47PM
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75-80F is fine for germinating seeds - bad for growing on seedlings, which will get very leggy in those temps. For stocky, healthy tomato plants you need another location that doesn't get above 65, and preferably drops to the high 50s or so at night.

The problem of legginess is compounded when seeds are started too early. In the case of tomatoes, I don't plant seeds until 6-7 weeks before setting out plants (which would go into the cold frame in early May here).

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 7:51PM
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Thank you Eric I will keep that in mind, I can prolly get it a bit cooler in there, Usually seed around the end of Feb. our last frost date is mid april and I think i will be able to start hardening them off then. Gotta see how the weather goes though )


    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 8:56PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Kinda the whole point of growing under lights is that you can provide warmer temperatures without etiolation and so get more growth earlier in the year. Just make sure you have enough room to grow them for 2 months :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 6:27AM
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Jess2203(z9 TX)

I have another question. This is my frst vegetable garden, and I am going to try to grow tomatoes and peppers. What kind of lights do I need to buy for them? I have 2 4ft light fixtures that hold fluorescent bulbs. Also what is the "dome" mentioned above?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 10:40AM
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the dome is just the lid to the seed starting tray its clear plastic. once you plant seeds you put it on and it helps keeps things moist because condensation builds up.

I'm sure someone else can answer your questions much better than I, everyone is so helpful here and I don't want to mis inform you on the lighting part ))
so don't take it has solid information when i say for giving your plants light before transplanting them into your garden cool white light will work fine. the warm lights, spectrum, I believe are for flowering and blooming plants... but please double check this. this is what i have picked up from everyone so far, I may have mis understood some of it ))

Good Luck

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 1:45PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)


You'll probably be looking at a couple of 40W bulbs in a 4'length, maybe a little less if you just want to bring on seedlings for a few weeks. Go and check out your local box store or lighting supply store. See what bulbs they have and then ask about them here. All will do the job to some extent, but some are better than others. No harm in getting the best bulbs if they don't cost you an arm and a leg.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 2:15PM
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"Kinda the whole point of growing under lights is that you can provide warmer temperatures without etiolation and so get more growth earlier in the year."

I'm not sure what you're getting at here, but it's possible there are transatlantic indoor environmental differences. :) The whole point for me is getting a several-week jump on the first harvest, not to mention planting varieties I can't find at the local nurseries.
Aside from the problem of plants getting too tall indoors in excessively warm temperatures (i.e. above 68F or so), they are more weak-stemmed and seem to adapt more slowly to outdoor conditions when hardened off. You also need to bury much of the elongated stems, and if you do this at an angle with part of the stem minimally buried, you risk damage later on when hoeing. The biggest mistakes typically made in starting tomatoes indoors (and I've made my share of them) involve starting seeds too early and growing them on too warm and with insufficient light, producing spindly (etiolated) plants.

Cool white tubes should work fine. Keep plants as close as possible to the tubes without them actually touching.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 2:23PM
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Beckworth(Z7 AR)

I haven't read through every word of this thread, but saw you're planning to start by germinating herbs. My seed packet of peppermint says the temp. needs to be 60 deg.F for germination, so this flat will not be under the light where I've got bottom heat and a temp of 80 deg. Check your individual herb germination requirements to see if this temp. is recommended for other herbs, too. Wishing you some great tomatoes!
Becky Jo

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 11:40AM
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Thanxs, I have my Oregano and Basil started already, they are for my indoor/outdoor planter. I'll be starting some more to go out into the garden with the Tomatoes. Which will be mid march.
none of my seeds were under light during germination I moved them to a lower shelf once they germinate then i put them under light. I had got the temp lowered a bit in there, averag 75 in daytime and down to 65 sometimes in the night but averaging about 68. Have 4 basil and 2 oregano for my planter atm )

Thanxs I am so looking forward to tomatoes, someone had a picture of bacon, lettuce tomato sandwhich the other night...yuuuuuummmmmy looking )


    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 3:24PM
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jwmeyer(Z8 OR)

I'd also consider putting a fan in the grow room as well. If stretching is a problem, the light source is not close enough to the top's of the plant's. W/ a slight breeze from an oscillating fan you should have no problems w/ weak stems, and it will also serve to keep the temp's down...

Happy Growing!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 4:56PM
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I have one oscillating fan, was thinking about putting another one in there, working on getting it stabilized by the time i start my garden seeds. Now if I can get the window unstuck so I can crack it open a bit )

The basil is staying short and stocky under the lights and fan though, I'm quite impressed with how much better they look this year compared to last year))

Thank you everyone

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 7:37PM
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