Flourecent lights for over wintering and starting seeds?

richiebaker1245(8)August 4, 2012

Hi all,

I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm planning on kitting out my brew room out ready for overwintering and starting seedlings early when the winter comes, so I've got a head start for next year.. I'm a bit lost on temp / colour, etc. and can I buy easily? I can buy like a twin tube fitting in 5 or 6 foot length, and run it off a timer, but what tubes, and for how many hrs in winter, etc, etc... Gonna get a heater too, but to fit my plants in the space Im gonna need to chop them and downsize the pots. New to all this over wintering stuff, just left them to die, and then spent a bomb on buying established plants from garden centres and on line come next spring. Help appreciated, Ta.

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rockguy(7a)

4 ft length is more common light fixture and easy to find bulbs for. Use one "cool" and one "warm" bulb. Keep the light 1 to 2 INCHES above the leaves, whether new seedlings or established plants. Usual thing is to put the fixture on chains so it can be lowered/raised one link at a time. Good idea to plan ahead. Make sure you cut your plants waay back and spray them for bugs even if you don't see any. Aphids, scale and spider mites are famous for sneaking inside with the plants in the fall. What varieties you planning on?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 5:57PM
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richiebaker1245(8)

Cheers rockguy, help welcomed, I normally let them die, and start all over again late. I've got habs, bhut jolokia, naga morich, choc jolokia, Dorset Naha, apache, cayenne, Cheyenne, numex Twighlight, sparkler, pompeii...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:09PM
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esox07

I would go with 6500K bulbs in the 4 foot shop lights. The 6500K are usually labeled "Daylight". Get the 40W T12 bulbs in 6500K. That is the least expensive and effective set up in my opinion. You can add additional banks of lights as your set up grows. I would also suggest bottom heat mats. The seedlings do best at about 80-85 degree soil temps.

Here is a photo of my setup. I made the stands out of 3/4" PVC which makes them very inexpensive. I can raise and lower the lights as the plants grow by moving the chains up on the hooks. Notice the heat mats under the plants.
Bruce

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:19PM
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homefry319(5b NE)

with that many plants you may want to look at a MH or Induction light, not sure what your space or budget is but a MH will increase the electric a bit, induction will be the most expensive initial investment but will prob last the longest(and it works great just for veg and starting) I plan on picking 1 up this winter as a few friends have been testing some at the local hydro shop

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:22PM
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tsheets(5)

As they get bigger, either 2 2-tube fixtures or a 4-tube one would be better. With keeping the lights so close to the top leaves, you don't get much light spreading out. But, a 2-tube fixture will suffice.

Also, I think a lot of people just use the plain cheap bulbs/fixtures. But, if you want to splurge, I have heard the T-5 HO (High Output) bulbs/fixtures work a lot better. I just haven't splurged on those.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:23PM
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esox07

Dont know why my photo didnt show up. Here is another try. After this picture was taken, I had added a third bank of lights to the existing two. Once the plants get bigger, you will have to increase the light coverage too.
Bruce

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:07PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I agree with homefry. For sun-less growing you want as much intensity as you can get, which generally means MH. I've used fluorescents, and they are marginal at best.

Peps are high-energy plants like the notorious hemp varieties. Just about anything that applies to hemp will apply to peppers. There are many experienced sun-less hemp growers, so the web resources should not be lacking.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:10PM
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esox07

As far as the overwinter plants go, I would suggest putting them in a place where they can get a little window sun. They really don't need a lot of sun to make it through a winter and with the sun lower in the sky and shade trees bare, you will probably be able to get them some good sun October through May. They will take up a lot of room under your lights. But if that is the only source of light you have for them, then so be it.
Bruce

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:10PM
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esox07

Yes, you are going to find a lot of variations in opinion on this just as you do with fertilizers and soils. But it comes down to what you have to work with. A Chevy Cruze will get you back and forth to work but a Cadillac will get you there in style and maybe a tad bit faster. Are you a cadillac guy or a chevy guy? Can you afford a cadillac?
I guess I am a Chevy guy. I would put the extra expense into heating mats and a thermostat. If you can afford the cadillac with heating mats, then go for it.
Bruce

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:16PM
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homefry319(5b NE)

Also remember when looking for information about lights that their just talking about under veg and not flowering as most info from hemp guys they'll be doing both

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:23PM
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esox07

I have had plenty of blooms and even pods set under Floros. But I normally pinch them off until they are ready to go outside for the summer so I dont know how well they progress with floros after setting fruit.

RICHIEBAKER: Let us know what you decide on when you finally do come up with a plan.
Bruce

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:34PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Fwiw, my winter situation is like that of esox. I have a southern exposure window in the garden room that is under trees but in the winter gets a smidgeon of sunlight. I use no lights and plants are not productive but they do survive - if I remember to water them. :-(

This year may be different. There are more plants, bigger pots, and bigger plants. I may nave to add lights. I'll use fluorescent tubes. But I'll be augmenting the sun - not replacing it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:38PM
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homefry319(5b NE)

@esox07

they'll still flower and produce under fluros but you dont get as much production from them as you would say a HPS.

MH = short and bushy

HPS = flowering

LED = can be both wave lengths

Fluorescent = with multiple bulbs you can get both

Induction = full spectrum( not much info on these as there fairly new to the grow industry, a lot of BS info saying there magical)

so you can group MH/HPS together as most kits are switchable, decent price, high coverage area, effective, negative they cause a lot of heat(may need to vent) and will raise your electrical bill the most.

LED Ive personally never had any experience with but they are comparable to Fluorescent with much longer bulb life.

Fluorescent work great for starting seed/vegetative growth if you have the proper bulbs negatives, not that much coverage area, and bulbs dont last that long + expensive to replace

Induction, these are fairly new(a few years) and from what Ive seen are pretty promising for seed starting/veg, I havent seen anyone flower with them yet nor do I care about indoor flowering, but the bulb life is way longer than the other, and the watts/coverage area is roughly half of a HPS/MH setup, big negative they are very expensive for an initial purchase

Currently we have 3, 400 watt MH we start roughly 4000 plants under, we also have some fluro for other things this year were expanding a bit so we'll prob add couple of everything

I plan on picking a induction to test mainly because the long term cost could save us a ton, if they work as advertised and what Ive seen my buddies test them at the hydro store. As only want them to veg/start seed so flowering/forcing flowering isnt a concern

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:10PM
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richiebaker1245(8)

Thanks for the replies, I only want to keep them alive over winter, so figure a couple of fluorescents, and a fan heater. I guess I will have to trim the plants and roots back to nearly nothing, and hope they grow shoots in spring! Thought about keeping them going all winter, but that would mean a proper grow room with a hid with ballast, proper heating, etc that will eat my eleccy. Might just get 2 or 4 tubes, a fan heater, and cut them right back. Just hope they survive. Months away yet, but I'm attached to these guys, wanna play with 'em next summer! ;-)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 3:35PM
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esox07

Sounds like you have a good plan. Yep, don't be afraid to cut them back in the fall. Put them in a small pot (1 gallon or so) and they just water them sparingly and get them some light. Room temps are fine for overwinter plants. The heat is more for germination and seedlings.
Bruce

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 4:56PM
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willardb3

Induction lighting is less efficient than either HID or fluorescent.

Lowest MH = 90-100 lumens/watt
T5 Fluoro = 90-100 lumens/watt
Induction lamps = 80 lumnens/watt

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:01AM
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homefry319(5b NE)

you may want to mention lumen decay, as both fluro and MH have about a 60-80%(over a year) decade while induction has a 1%

and finally lumens measure "visible light"(sometimes referred to as brightness) coming from a light source it doesn't actually means a light is more efficient for plant growth or plants at all

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:25AM
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