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Lighting - Growing Vegetable Plants Indoors in New York

Posted by toddbaker Central NY (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 13, 10 at 17:47

Very curious about what kind of light is best for growing vegetable plants indoors in CNY winters. I read an article that stated light from several areas of the visible and non-visible light spectrum are important for good plant health. Can this various light be obtained from artificial lights sources, and if so, which light source is best?

My second thought was perhaps I can "recycle" natural light coming from the sun. I don't know if all needed light from the sun passes through a glass window. But I thought if I were to surround my plants with a reflective material (ie mirror or mylar) the "good" light would be reflected onto the plant. Do all the "good" visible and non-visible light bounce off a reflective material?

Do you have a list of vegetable plants that will produce while indoors throughout the year?

What guidelines should be used for intensity and number of light hours for these plants?

Thank you,
Todd


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RE: Lighting - Growing Vegetable Plants Indoors in New York

Todd,

Doing a search would help answer several of your questions, especially how much light you need.

Mylar helps a bunch but in the dead of winter, if your place is like Cincinnati, you can go days and days without any sunlight. I counted about 16 hours total over three weeks. It was okay for small banana plants but not much else except maybe spider plants!

What type of light to use is like asking what flavor of ice cream is the best. Everyone has their favorite. Shop lights work fantastic for seedlings and even some lower-light plants like lettuce. But if you want a ripe tomato, you are going to need to surround the plant with them. Ditto for CFLs, though the higher power ones are much better (IMO) than shop lights for larger plants. Then you have the HID lamps, metal halide and high pressure sodium. I've not found them better than shop lights or CFLs for small seedlings (watt for watt) but the HPS seems to be good for getting fruits from pepper or tomato plants. Then there are LEDs. Very (very) expensive systems will grow huge plants with lots of produce, but then again, it may be as cheap to drive to Florida and get a bushel of tomatoes as to raise them under an LED.

Mike


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