newbie qs on grow lights for winter greens

joannaqcw(NY 4/5)February 2, 2009

I've been growing kale, chard, tatsoi and Chinese cabbage in a greenhouse attached to my house during the last 4 winters. Spring and fall production id quite good, but during the darkest part of the winter the plants recover fairly slowly. (I'm in upstate NY in a Lake Effect area where winter tends to be fairly cloudy.) I'd like to try enhancing production with grow lights next year. I have some shop light fixtures and full-spectrum CF plant bulbs. I have a few questions:

How far above the plant tops should I keep the grow lights?

Is it OK to rotate a couple of grow lights among several boxes of plants (For instance, each box might be under lights for 4 hours/day...)?

Has anyone grown lettuce under lights? Our attempts to grow lettuce in the winter greenhouse have failed so far; I'm guessing it's light not temp. that's the limiting factor.

Does adding white reflectors around the sides substantially enhance the amount of light plants receive?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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I just got into the indoor gardening, so I'm certainly not an expert. I have done lots of research. I ended up with an Aero2-36 hydroponic system, and my light is a 600 watt fixture, using a Metal Halide bulb. I have the lights on for 18 hours a day off for 6, I get noticeable grow each day. I can barely eat the lettuce fast enough.

I'm having a blast and making lots of greens!

Bottom line nothing beats a metal halide, I know they can be expensive but if you want to be successful you have to use the correct components.

Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Lettuce Project

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 10:36PM
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