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Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

Posted by samweiser (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 28, 07 at 16:04

I have abandoned my plans to grow Peppers Hydroponically.. Due to lack of funds to buy a light HID Lighting system.

I recently purchased a used Ebb and Flow system. It has 4 trays in a 2'by 2' flood tray, with a 10 gallon resevoir.

It came with Nutrients ( BC Grow/bloom/boost)
and hydroton clay pellets.

the lighting is 3 - 4' dual fluorescent (plillips grow lights)

I have been making green smoothies a lot and I use a lot of Leafy Greens ( Kale, Collards, Swiss Chard, Spinach)

Does anyone know if I can grow any of these without using an HID system and just using my Fluorescents?

Any help/advice/tips would be great


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

I have been happily growing lettuce and spinach under florescents. (not as much luck with the spinace as it is more difficult to get to germinate.) Anyway, I actually have not had much luck growing salad crops outdoors since this is central FL and it is too hot here most of the year for such. Florescents are also good for getting seedlings started. Do keep in mind that you want to be growing plants of roughly the same size under a florescent fixture since you need the light to be only a few inches from the plants to be effective. Make sure you have an easy way to raise and lower the light as the plants grow and to do maintinance.

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

Thanks for the response. Yeah I'm not going to try leafy greens outdoors until the Arizona Blast Furnace turns off 9 months from now.

What do you think about collards or Kale? as I use those a lot more than lettuce and spinach.

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

You can grow peppers just fine with only fluorescents.
What kind of peppers do you want to grow?
You need to choose a pepper plant that is bushy.
No more then 12-16 inches tall. You need to prune it to keep it small and have all the leaves exposed to the light.
Also make sure the pot for ebb & flow is small. Small pot equals small root sysstem equals small plants.
Ornamental plants will work best(pretty purple is very cool).
If you want hot peppers the peach habanero is a good choice.
6 X 40watts = 240 watts
240/4 = 60 watts/feet

To grow peppers 40 watts/feet or more is good.

You should also add mylar to reflect all the lights on the plants.

This is a Chilaca plant grown in Ebb & Flow with 2 X 80 watts CFL

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Good luck!

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?


you have no idea how much this helps. I really don't care what kind of peppers I grow, I just want peppers. I love the hot stuff.

We started 24 seeds in quickgro cubes (composted bark). They are full sized Jalapenos-we had 23/24 sprout =], we are going to transplant them into the garden in a few weeks. But I bought this hydro set and Its been sitting in the closet for a month!

I never thought about smaller plants, I was going to maybe try rigging the fluorescent tubes to hang vertically over the system, with one plant... that would have all 6 lights covering 3 sides of the plant.. wasn't sure if it would work but I like your idea!

Sam weis Err

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

Have you concidered setting up the hydro system outside?

I have started chineese kale inside but it is kinda like brocklee so I put it outside where it would get more sun.
I think there might have been some type of kale in the mesclun mix I grew and it did fine under florescent light. I expect any crop that doesn't need to flower and doesn't get too tall would do just find under cool florescents. Your idea about setting the lights up vertically around one plant might work too. If you want flowering you can switch from cool bright tubes to warmer redder tubes at the appropriate time.

Good luck

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

I personally prefer fluorescents to HIDs for non-flowering vegetative growth of all plants. it allows you to move the lights closer (2inches) from the tops and does not produce as much waste heat (wasted money in generated heat and wasted money in heat dissipation). i would stick to t5's and not t12 bulbs and stick toward the blue side of the spectrum (cool spectrum lights not warm). No need to buy from a hydro store either, the fixtures at a hardware store work fine. Also the compact fluorescent 150 watt bulbs that fit in normal fixtures are cheap and nice. Just my 2cents. GL

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

If you have trouble finding inexpensive T5 fixtures you can use T8 which are less $$ and almost as good as T5. Both definitely better than T12 the really big fat tubes.
I ordered some really nice T5 fixtures from a hydro store and they are nice but some basic utility fixtures from the hardware store would probably work just as well even if they don't look as sleak

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

Fluorescents actually make more waste heat than HID lamps, it's just not so concentrated.

HID is a more efficient light source than fluorescent.

RE: Crop to grow using ONLY fluorescents?

40 watt compact fluorescent lights go for about 10 dollars & they put out about 2600 lumens. You can pick up clamping shop-light fixtures already wired with extension cords & a round metal reflector for another 5-7 bucks a piece. Both of these can be found at lowes or home depot. The shop lights are on the same isle as the extension cords.

They are cheap, come in both blue & red spectrums, & work great. Since they are small, they are easy to re-position wherever you need them. Remember, the key to using fluorescent lights is keeping the lights within a couple inches of the plant, like 1-3" max. The light intensity decreases exponentially as you move the lights farther away.

Still, nothing beats an HID lamp.

If you want a LOT of good info about growing plants indoors under lights, don't be scared to check out some of the other "herbal" growing boards. Those guys really know what they're doing.

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