60 watt bulb?

lilangel181(zone 5)April 26, 2009

I was wondering if a regular 60 watt light bulb would be enough to help some leggy seedlings? What else would yall suggest or have you used? Im really low on funds and cant afford a fluorescent light so only things found around the apartment are options Im afraid!

Thanks in advance!

Laura

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karenrei

A 60 watt incandescent is pretty much worthless. A 60 watt CFL will work if it's inches away from the plants.

I know this isn't the answer you wanted to hear... sorry :( But I think pretty much anyone here will back me up on that.

Are you really so broke that you can't afford a CFL or two? Then whatever you do, don't look at how much you'll be paying to *power* your lights, or you'll probably die of a heart attack! ;)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:01AM
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lilangel181(zone 5)

Unfortunately Im on extended medical leave from work, so I have no paycheck coming in and medical bills going out. Im not worried about the cost of powering the lamp because its one I use regularly, I just moved it and the seedlings together (also, its only been a day, thank you for the quick response!) By CFL do you mean the corkscrew looking bulbs?

Sorry for all the questions. Im brand new to gardening, as I took it up to fill all the time left from not being at work! My seedlings and I thank you,
~Laura

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:14AM
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karenrei

Unfortunately Im on extended medical leave from work, so I have no paycheck coming in and medical bills going out.

Then, to be quite honest, you shouldn't be wasting your money on incandescents. Have you ever done the math on how much those things cost?

Let's look at plants. A typical *fluorescent* setup designed for a couple trays of seedlings uses a couple hundred watts of fluorescents (that's many hundred watts or even thousands of watts of incandescent -- not that you can effectively use incandescents, because they put out too much heat). Going with 16/8 (I recommend 24/0) and only 200W, that's 96kWh a month, or $10 a month. A year of 24/0 with a better 400W setup is $350. And that's with *fluorescents*, which use a quarter as much energy (that you're billed for) than incandescents.

To put it another way: one common way the police find people who grow marijuana indoors (under lights) is by looking for unexpected spikes in power consumption on their electricity bills -- so much so that some pot growers try to steal power. That's how much energy it can take to effectively grow non-shade-loving plants indoors.

Even just around the home, not for growing plants, incandescents cost you a fortune. The difference in bulb price is trivial compared to the value of the electricity saved. But when it comes to growing plants, incandescents will burn/dry them, so they're not even really an option.

By CFL do you mean the corkscrew looking bulbs?

Not all of them look corkscrew-y; they actually come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. But yes, if you have an existing socket, and you're not going to buy a fixture for tube fluorescents or invest in LEDs, then CFLs are the way to go. You can fit them in any normal socket. You should be able to find CFLs as big as 40W or so at a local hardware store. That's equivalent to a ~150W incandescent. It'll probably cost about $4 or so. Note that it will only be good for a relatively small area of seedlings -- only whatever can be within a few inches of it. Perhaps half a foot if you have a really good reflector setup. Some plants are more low-light tolerant than others -- make sure things like brassicas and lettuce are directly underneath, while tomatoes and peppers, and especially things like squash, can tolerate the lower-light areas further away.

The bluer the light (the higher the "color temperature"), the harsher it'll probably look to you, but the more your seedlings will prefer it. It's not a huge difference, though -- the biggest factor is how much light they're getting, period -- so if you plan to reuse the bulb on your own, get one that you can live with.

CFLs aren't quite as efficient as the larger-diameter tubes (and not nearly as efficient as LEDs), but if capital costs bother you more than marginal costs -- which they clearly do -- then that's the answer. But please, if you're this pressed for money, do look at how much you'll be spending on power and decide if it's really worth it to you. And again, if you're on this tight of a budget, please consider CFLs for your home; they save you a huge amount of money overall.

Sorry for all the questions. Im brand new to gardening, as I took it up to fill all the time left from not being at work! My seedlings and I thank you,
~Laura

Oh, no problem -- we're here to help! :) I just don't want you to think you're saving money when you'll actually be wasting far more money (on power) and killing your seedlings (via either heat or insufficient light) at the same time. Most plants need a *lot* of light!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:09PM
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lermer

the cheapest grow light would be a two bulb shoplight
with cool white/warm white tubes, from Home Depot.
About $15 total. If you don't have that, use natural
sunlight by the window.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 2:21AM
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colokid(5)

There has/had been a promotion here in Colorado where some stores..King Supers- Ace hardware, had CFL for one dollar. any old desk lamp, bed lamp will work with them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:49AM
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