Post Your Grow Light Setup

horseflysgardenApril 13, 2010

Make this thread for people who would like to post there grow light setups so others can see how to get started and accurately position their lights above their seeds!!!!! This should be a fun thread!!!!

I personally would love to see some setups as I love to continuously update mine!!! Include your specs too! Lights, wattage, height from seeds, what your growing... etc.

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anna_in_quebec(z4 QC)

Yes - please post your setups. Some have already in other posts, and I dare not post mine - too newbie.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:31PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Quick over view...

(3)- 4' T12/40W fixtures with a mix of warm and cool bulbs per 4 flats of seedlings. The fixtures run perpendicular to the flats and are 1-3 inches away from the top of the plants at all times. I now have (12) of these set-ups in my basement/rec room.

I am only growing flowers (on my own) this year:
(I have a staff that does most of the upkeep of the greenhouse, but I wanted an 'all by myself' project)
begonias (tubers)
corkscrew vines
dahlia (tubers)
African Daiseys
and many more

I hope that includes all your rules : )


    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:05PM
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One of my grow chambers is ~4'x8'. It has four 125-watt 5K CFL bulbs spaced equally, about 18" from the floor. I can put about 13 tray flats (234 18" cells) inside it. The ceiling and walls are painted white and the front folds down to give me access to the plants. The top board lays on it so if I want, I can close the doors and keep heat in or use a couple of small pieces of lumber to raise the top and let heat escape.

Newly transplanted seedlings set on boxes, nursery trays, whatever, to raise them up within a few inches of the lights, these are removed as the plants grow.

Used mostly for tomatoes, but also have cotton, peanuts, broccoli, walking kale, strawberries, rice and sorghum.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:20AM
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that is SOME setup you have there with some very interesting plants in it... Cotton? and Rice? and Sorghum... lol... what in the world are you growing those 3 for... lol. Anyways, thanks for posting!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:31AM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

Mike- isn't it an on-going battle to keep the temps low enough for stocky plants?


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:41AM
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Not really, if I sit on my hands long enough. I didn't this year (though I waited a month longer than last year!) and I have one flat that the plants are getting rather large. I'm moving those into gallon pots.

My first big sale day is May 1 so for the most part, I'm in good shape.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Here is mine... My plants a still germinating but once they do, we will be all set to go!!! I'll probably lower the light even more though, it's just up for convenience right now.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 2:47PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

hfg what's the board for? The lights should have a notch in the top for chains. Looks like a lot of extra work to me.

Here's my inside grow area consisting of 6 sets of dual T12s of which 3(one set on each shelf) are overdriven. Each lower shelf gets approx. 16,000 lumen. The top shelf gets more like 20,000 lumen in the center with the added T8s on the side. I grow numerous plants, too many to list again. My member page already has the list.

This picture was taken in winter just before I started planting seeds. Well there is one tray of seeds there.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 4:39PM
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i use the wood so that I can be totally portable and so my lights are very sturdy. It may be extra work but I'd rather not have grow lights that are unstable (sway around). Just a small piece of plywood, and you've got a shelf, and a grow light that is really sturdy.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 7:11PM
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One advantage of hooks at the end of each light - it is easy to adapt to plants that grow at different rates. Nothing wrong with the way you have done it, though.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:36PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

The top lights are suspended from the ceiling and they sway a little but far from unstable. I came home one day and found my cat dangling from the extra chain. Her claw was stuck in it. She don't play with the chains any more!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:58PM
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anna_in_quebec(z4 QC)

@taz - oh no! poor thing! I hope it wasn't injured :S

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:46PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

She was sore & limping around for a few days but recovered.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:22AM
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Here is one of my seedling tables powered by 12-4'(HO)T-5's.

This is a flood and drain table, where I am growing 10 different varieties of peppers. It houses a 600 watt Metal Halide and a 600 watt HPS.

This is underneath the pepper table. It's my water reservoir, where I grow 24 lettuce in a styrofoam raft. Down there I have 8- 26 watt CFL's and 4- 4' T-5's.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 12:01AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

I'd drop those HOs at least 6".

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 9:38AM
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Considering the amount of light from those 12-4'(HO) T5s, those tomato seedlings in dsc01019e.jpg look too spindly. Maybe, not green enough either.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 10:01AM
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hey urbangardenfarmer...

your setup looks really nice... i like it.

I'd be interested to know if you germinated in those solo cups or did you germ somewhere else and transplant...and then what was your procedure for transplanting...


    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 2:32PM
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The light on the right is what I use for starting seeds, its wired for 2x overdrive. Just for comparison on the left in a normal light. Both are 48-inch long.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:30PM
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    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 11:44AM
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I have one 8-bulb fixture with HO T5 florescent bulbs to grow plumeria during the winter. It works great for the plumeria, which need high levels of light to flower, so I assume it would work for other plants. Here's a couple of pics:

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 11:12PM
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I'm a licenced by Health Canada medical marijuana grower and I use three different rooms for 3 different functions.

My main grow room uses 3 400 watt bulbs with reflectors in a row to cover a 4' X 8' grow area., The lights are all fastened to gether on a rack which is raised and lowered by a boat triler winch and ropes with pulleys. Being able to raise and lower the lights as the plants grow is essential. Marijuana needs to have two different light spectrums whitish blue for vegetation and orangy for flowering. Two of my bllasts are unswitchable (I wish I had bought switchable ballasts at the start) I use dual element lamps in these. Dual element lamps have one element which is MH (The bluish light) and one element which is HPS (high pressure sodium kingd of orangy coloured). Both elements are on at the same time and these bulbs are on for both flowering and veratative groth cycle. My middle bulb has the switchable type of ballast and I use a metal hallide bulb in it for groth and switch to high pressure sodium for flowering or budding as some call it. The middle fixture I have to change bulbs and throw the switch on the ballast. There are also 10 ordinary CFL bulbs along each side of the high intensity lights. I use the 50 watt CFL bulbs available at Walmart that are equivilant too 200 watt incandesent bulbs. These bulbs are only turned on for flowering stage to increase the light intensity and give better light dispertion. I use CO2 and try to stick to natural nutrients it is medicine after all. I use a large volume exit fan 3000 sq ft per minite. Helps cool the room and heat my house in the winter. I try to keep the light height at 12" above the plants and don't get any leaf burning at that height. I do trim my plants through the veratative stage to keep them all at similar height.

I have one room for clone mother maintenance and another for clone growing. I use CFL lights for this purpose also. Again I have the lights on racks so I can raise and lower them. I used to use tube florescents but I found the heat would take ballasts out (what a black gooy mess) and the CFLs are much easier to change and exchange at the store counter. They are gauranteed for seven years.

The maximum temperature in the rooms is 90 degrees F and the minimum set by the heaters is 65 degrees F.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 10:55AM
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Your setup is looking very nice.....

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:35AM
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ozzz(5b AZ)

Im just starting an indoor bhut jolokia grow. The equipment seen is a 600w digital HPS with and agromax enhanced spectrum bulb (30% more blue), 6" easycool aircooled hood, 6" vortex type fan 424 cfm and a secret jarden DR120 grow tent (48"x48"x78"). The seedlings arent ready to be transplanted yet but Ill update my thread as I progress. I saw this thread and thought Ild post in it! High five to indoor growers.

Screw aphids, Im going indoors...

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The seedlings are coming along .... about time to give them some week ferts though.

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    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:35PM
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Question for arctictropical: at what age are those plumerias flowering under lights?

Here's my low-tech basement setup as of today, with all of the potted plants that had been summering outdoors returned to their winter home:

The three-shelf units on either end are FloraCarts; the one on the left has the original four-tube T-12 fixtures, while the other has a variety of replacements, including a 10-tube T-5 fixture for higher light-requiring plants. The middle, four-shelf plant stand is based on a cheap utility shelf with added shop lights. No wheels, but easy to move and has worked out well.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 8:37PM
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Just starting to finish my set up. Question:

Should I be using aluminum tin foil to wrap the sides of my area? Or is there some specialreflector material i should use?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 5:04PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

It's called Mylar and it's available at most party/hobby and some big box stores.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 6:35PM
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ozzz(5b AZ)

Eric - what are you doing about pests?? I swear to god if I brought that many plants from outside to in, in a months time I would have a swarm of nasties everywhere! lol ...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 11:44AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Good Golly Miss Molly! That's some contraption you have there but look what all you have growing there.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 10:21PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

ozzz swearing to God is probably why you have problems with pests.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 2:00AM
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This is what I built. My third and final design after three that worked but had various inefficiencies. I have two of these and they have met all my needs for 7 years now. Only maintenance has been a few bulb replacements and one bad ballast.

I no longer use reflective side walls. I find the ventilation to be more valuable than any lighting inefficiencies that may occur. No disease or mold/fungus issues, no damping off. I sterilize all potting materials used, and use sterile soil medium.

Non-adjustable shelves set at height for maximum sized seedlings. I simply use upside-down home-built wooden crates to set freshly seeded flats closer to lights. Seeding is planned so that by the time the plants max out for the light box, the weather outside is moderate enough to have them get their light requirements from the real thing in my outdoor knock-down grow boxes (cold frames). This acclimates the plants as well so I never have to worry about that step.

The light shelves are in a small, well-insulated room in an outbuilding. The light fixture ballasts heat the room enough during the day, only need supplemental heating at night.

Specs: 1 x 4 pine construction, sheetrock screws, 18 four foot flourescent shop light fixtures, 24 cool white flourescent lamps, 12 flourescent grow lamps. Three shop light fixtures, 4 cool white lamps, 2 grow lamps per shelf.

Capacity: 30 - 1020 flats. Max. starts - 2,880 plants using 812 inserts. Max transplants - 720 at 24 per flat.

I unfortunately misplaced or deleted most of my photos but have one you can look at on my seed exchange page. I also have a photo of my knock-down grow boxes (cold frames). I will take a nice series of photos when I start the 2011 growing season in February.


Here is a link that might be useful: My Seed Lists

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 10:42PM
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Keys to keeping pests under control:

Eliminating as many harmful insects as possible by repeat spraying before the plants come in.

Inspecting plants to detect small populations which can be washed off or sprayed. Plants that are especially susceptible (i.e. brugmansias to whitefly) get particular attention. Everything is sprayed with a low toxicity spray (I generally use a horticultural soap/Neem mix) every week to 10 days. Gesneriads prone to cyclamen mite receive a regular miticide treatment.

If something is a pest magnet and doesn't have a lot of redeeming features, out it goes.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 5:56PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Bump! For the newbies. It would be nice if they would read the instructions before posting.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 1:07AM
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This is 3 2-bulb, 48" T8 shop lights fashioned together. It adjusts as one unit. It takes care of all my starts and another identical system takes care of hydroponic lettuce and herbs.

I posted running costs and material cost on my blog as well as coverage area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grow Light Setup

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 7:19AM
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amigatec(7a Oklahoma)

Here's mine a 125 watt CFL and a Overdriven T8 behind it.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:04PM
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Here is my Grow Light Setup built today!!!

Total cost of materials is $156.23
1. HD 5-Shelf Storage Organizer $45.32
2. Shoplight fixture (2 tubes) $84.24
3. Tubes 10*2 boxes (40W) $26.68

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 1:01AM
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I think LED grow lights are best idea for Hydroponic gardening .I really like your grow light setup.Its quite beautiful and effective.Really nice idea dear thanks for posting.......

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 5:50AM
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I have two 400watt metal halide fixtures at my printing company.
The one on the left is running a conversion HPS bulb that works in metal halide fixtures.
Growing 4 varieties of tomatoes in hydroponics as well as basil. Some flowers and carrots on the floor in dirt as well.
Smells wonderful!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 3:46PM
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Looks like everyone has some nice setups. Here is mine composed of some free shelving (from a friend) and a couple heat mats, some generic lamps and a fan. It worked last year I just upgraded the station some. This is just used to germinate the seeds and keep them happy until planting time.

last years setup.
Plants 2010

This years. 2011-01-16 misc

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 10:41PM
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I just added seven more four foot 32 watt T8 fluorescent tubes to my seed starting rack and now have 21 tubes total. I pack seven strip light fixtures as close as I can per a shelf so my tubes end up being on 3.5 inch center so the ceiling of each shelf is a continuous wall of light. Each fixture has its own power cord so I can turn on as many or little as I want just by plugging them in or disconnecting them. I also use seven outlet power strips with a switch if I want to turn the lights on or off on a whole shelf. Each daylight deluxe bulb puts out 2750 lumens so with all them turned on I am putting out 57750 lumens. I use 6400 K bulbs with a life expectancy of 30,000 hours, almost as much as some LEDs.
I cover the whole setup with reflective emergency blankets that reflect otherwise wasted light back at the plants, plus they keep the heat and humidity in. In fact the temperature easily goes above 90 degrees F if I keep the blanked completely closed up, so I have to adjust the temp by opening and closing flaps.
The shelves are a commercial epoxy coated wire rack with shelves 54 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Epoxy coated wire racks are better than chrome plated racks which usually end up rusting if used for growing plants.
I put a thick rubber mat on each shelf for insulation and to prevent spills on one shelf from leaking to a shelf below.
I can adjust the distance from the lights to the plants three ways. I can move the whole shelf up or down as they are adjustable. The lights are hung by long threaded eyebolts that I can use to raise or lower the light fixtures. And last I can put pieces of wood under individual plants to raise just that one.
I plant my seeds ten to a shoebox sized clear plastic container, and can fit 12 containers per shelf, so right now I can raise 360 seedlings at a time, each having a lot of space to itself.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 11:48PM
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Great setup Californian. Any pics?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 2:19PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

That's what I was thinking! A picture's worth a thousand words but not necessarily visa versa.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Halfway, my camera went kaput so I can't take any pictures. I had planned to make a series of pictures as I built it so readers could see how it was done and the setup in use. I did post a picture on the tomato growing forum last year when I only had a 14 light setup.

As for taz6122, why don't you keep your snide comments to yourself.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 5:46PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Californian maybe you should read the topic! The OP made this thread for visual aid as I see it. I posted my setup!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 3:56PM
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The link at the bottom shows how all of my lights are currently arranged. Pictures should be available on the attached facebook page.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Light Setup

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:14PM
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I see biradarcm is using the same utility shelving I have pictured in the center of the photo I posted previously. It's a good, cheap, lightweight unit (if only the shelves were a bit longer and wider so you could more easily accomodate standard plant trays and use more of the space under the ends of the fluorescent tubes).

Here's one of my two upstairs setups, using more expensive (but still reasonable), solid and better-looking metal shelving from the Container Store. They are up against east and south windows for supplemental light, and flowering plants have been thriving in them.

The top fixture is an 8 tube T-5; the rest are cheap shoplights (the bottom two shelves are not seen in this photo). The shelving is adjustable to a degree, but shelf heights can't be readily changed while the unit is loaded with plants.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 8:02PM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

Wow, I am both impressed and a little bit scared (i.e. noob). I have some work to do. Thanks to everyone for sharing, this has been really helpful.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:00AM
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here's my 150 watt LED array

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:06PM
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Here's my system (if I can figure out how to post a picture -- this is my first post). It is in part of my wall-mounted lumber rack, in a southwest facing window. Two 2X6's support four T-6 shoplights at each of three levels; the middle two plus a forth level below support 2'X4' sheet metal pans that hold water and support flats. The lights are all on chains (I replaced those wimpy ones that come with the lights), and the shelf supports are adjustable, so the system can accommodate plants of any height. The pans are about an inch deep, and have hardware cloth stapled to wood strips in/on them. Then there's capillary mat on top of the hardware cloth, with wicks draped into the pan below, which holds several gallons of water.

OK, I can't figure it out. How do I post a picture? From my computer.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:28PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

You have to upload it to a hosting site like photobucket then copy the HTML code under or next to the picture then paste the code here in a follow-up. The only way to post pictures from your computer would be to start your own thread or in the gallery which you can then link to.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:46PM
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Here's my newbie setup. Some old adjustable shelving and shop lights (with standard 40w T12 cool white bulbs) I had lying around in the basement. I straightened out some metal hangers and use the existing holes in the shelving to adjust the lights up and down.

Here are some shots with my tomato and eggplant seedlings. I'll add back in the second light fixture next month when I start the watermelon and zucchini seeds.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 1:37PM
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First post for me so please forgive my newbie-ness! Great site and all of the photos and technical information has been great and gives me much to aspire to!

Again, I am a newbie, not only to this board, but to planting stuff for outdoors in general. I have plenty of experience with aquatic plants for my fish tanks, but not nearly as much for the great outdoors.

I made my set-up for use on my glass dining room table using PVC, much left-over from a pond project, a couple of eye hooks and basic shop lights outfitted with 6500K daylight bulbs. For especially chilly days and nights, I run a space heater below the table. The area gets good afternoon sun as well from the sliding glass door.

Thanks for the great posts, pictures and ideas! I see I have a lot of work to do to catch up!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Hi everyone!!
I love seeing all of these great idea's. I will be building mine soon and I need a few tips and answers regarding some of these idea's.
amigatec... what did you use for racks that the plants sit on top of and it looks like it gives a place for the extra water to go?
the other thing is do I use the same grow lights for the seedlings once they are bigger? Ive only done this one time before inside and I used a cheap fixture with regular grow light bulbs from home depot.
Thanks alot for your help.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Thanks so much to everyone who shared, this is exactly the sort of information I've been searching for online.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 9:33AM
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I grow mostly ornamental flowers for our garden. This year I am concentrating on impatiens and petunias. This is my setup in the basement and it is often cold and damp. I was looking into getting one of those Dark Room DR120 II systems to reflect the light better and control the temperature. Has anyone tried one of those "tents" before? I saw one at a hydroponics store and thought it would be nice to put such a tent around my current setup. Any suggestions?

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to my Plant Stand Picture

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 3:21PM
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4x4 reflective grow tent. 120W LED and 2 6500K T5 HO's. LED in center. T5's very low, LED around a foot higher. I put young plants under the T5's on the outside perimeter, and mature plants under LED. Light combination seems to work well. Currently growing sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes and lettuces. Currently annum peppers are fruiting. Chinense are growing low dense foliage (which apparently is normal until they take off). Some in pots, some in DWC hydroponic. Hydroponic seems to have double the growth rate of pots. Harvesting lettuce after only a few weeks in DWC.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 8:35AM
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Six bulb T8 system works well for starts. I can get at least 4 10x20 trays under them. I have 2 of these systems built. The other covers my hydroponic lettuce needs.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Growing Adventure

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 9:27AM
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A link to a picture of my set up is provided below, it is on Flickr. My plants are already much taller than what this picture shows. In my haste to get better lighting, I purchased shop lights that can hold T12's or T8's. Right now there are T12's with mixed warm (2700k) and daylight (6500k) bulbs (k's might be off a bit but whatevs, you get what I mean). Now I am contemplating getting one of the nice T5 4ft lights that I am seeing all over the internet.

Sadly, all the local hardware stores do not seem to carry any T5 bulbs or fixtures. If they do they are the 2ft one light holders. Maybe I'll just go down to T8's and proceed from there once my plants get bigger. Some will be going outside, provided the rain ever stops for more than a day.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of my wire shelf + lights

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 3:35PM
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Here is my video on the pulley system I used to raise and lower shop lights while remaining level.

ShopLight Pulley System (youtube)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Indoor Greenhouse

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:28PM
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I have used this little walkin closet as my main grow room. When I tried to add a second shoplight though it always tripped my breakers, not sure why. So I moved the other shoplight to another room.

this is my second area where I had to move the shoplight, there are no plants there now as I have those in front of my slider as they are too big.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:09PM
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This is my fairly inexpensive light setup.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 2:12AM
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Just set this up this weekend. T5 (8 lamp setup)..have (4) 6500K lights and (4) 3000K lights.

Have it set on a timer for 15 hrs. I did notice that it is a little colder than I would like (running around 65 degrees under the lights) and I don't think that is going to work for growing tomatoes / peppers next winter like I had planned.

Looking to insulate somehow and close off the section to try and trap some of the heat. Any thoughts / suggestions?


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:50AM
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