How many hours per day under lights?

northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)March 13, 2012

Hi everyone: I am not new to growing seedlings under lights in my basement, but since discovering hot peppers, my former requirement of two fluorescents has doubled. In addition, not only have our hydro rates increased, but we have been converted to 'smart' meters with different rates at different times of the day. In former years, I had my lights on 16-24 hours, but with this increase in seedlings, I am trying to minimize my hydro bill. The longest low-cost period is 12 hours, and I was wondering if that would be sufficient to produce healthy seedlings. So how many hours do you use, and what do you think of 12 hours per day?

Thanks.

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capoman(5a)

I used to do 18 hours, but I'm in Ontario too and have moved over to TOU. I am currently running 13 hours per day with no ill effects. Still getting vigorous growth. I am using T5H0's though which are more powerful then T12's. I would think 12 hours would probably be ok given sufficient brightness. You won't hurt the plants by testing it out. For peppers, the only side effect if it's not enough would be slower growth. You can rectify it easily if it doesn't work out. Since they aren't photoperiodic, you can split the photoperiods to avoid peak times. I am doing that now with no ill effect.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 8:42AM
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capoman(5a)

Note: I would probably be doing 12 hour as well, but the off peak hours are not convenient for me to look after the plants, so I've put an hour in mid peak to give me a chance to look after the plants. Working ok so far.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 8:49AM
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willardb3

Inasmuch as the in growing season where chiles are native, the sun shines 14-16 hrs/day, this seems a good photoperiod.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 9:11AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Thanks for the info. Capoman & Willard. I gave it a try and found the growth was too slow. Probably because my lights are a bit worn - this is the third year and they are the hydroponic ones. I'll continue with the 24/7 and maybe it won't cost too much because it looks like summer is here already. Amazing temperatures. I'll probably be putting them out soon.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:03AM
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capoman(5a)

Are your lights T12's? The T5HO's I run are almost twice as bright as T12's. As such I don't think I need as long a photoperiod as when using less efficient lights. I am actually getting faster growth under 13 hours of T5HO's then I was getting under 18 hours of T12's in previous years. Plants look much better too.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:11AM
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capoman(5a)

I am actually starting to get concerned about plants getting too big too early. I may have to move my start dates again next year.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:13AM
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esox07

Seems like peppers never grow on the time lines we set for them.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:43AM
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willardb3

If your growth is slow you may have too little light or old lamps that should be replaced. Fluorescent lamps lose lumens the longer they operate. Check a lamp mfg for times.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 7:59AM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

I think it matters also if the lighting is in isolation or near a window for sun supplements.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 10:02AM
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