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New to growing under lights

Posted by MissMoss 5 (My Page) on
Fri, May 3, 13 at 8:21

I have been growing my veggies from seeds for a few years now but never used grow lights. I always just kept them on a very sunny window sill. Yes, the plants grew thin and leggy but usually were able to catch up quickly once transplated to the garden. I ususally had a bumper crop. This year I wanted to give the growing lights a try but I need to go the do-it-yourself route since I am a grower on a budget. Can you advise me on what fluorescent tubes and fixtures to buy? I understand I should be looking for T12 or T8 bulbs but what spectrum and lumens? Also, the cheap fixtures I glanced quickly at at Lowes are meant to be hardwired into the house electrics. I assume it's ok to put plugs on their wires and convert them into the plug-in fixtures?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New to growing under lights

I just used a plug-in shop light w/ 2 T8s - one a kitchen (warm/red) bulb, and the other was a bathroom (cold/blue) bulb. From everything I've read, as long as you have a good spectrum of light from a cold and warm source, you don't need anything fancy. And let me tell you, I had great success... still hardening off my light-garden subjects to be transplanted into the garden within the next few weeks. I got some incredible tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, zucchinis, melons, squash, cucumber, ground cherries... my brassica (lettuce, brocolli, etc) didn't do so well, though I have enough to move into my garden.

So I had the shop light plugged into a timer along with an oscilating fan. It was on from 5:00am to 10:00pm each day.

This is my first year growing under lights and by seed as well, so hopefully you get someone else with experience to respond :)


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RE: New to growing under lights

I'm kind of a novice like you. I found a plug-in shop light fixture at home depot. It is designed to take 4 32 Watt T8 bulbs. You don't need to worry about lumens. Just make sure the bulb wattage and type match the fixture. The bulbs I bought were, I think, a daylight color temperature. I don't think the color temp is critical, but daylight logically seems like what you need.

I had only so-so results this year, but the problem was that I had to go away for a week, so I left the light kind of high above the plants and they got leggy. My sister-in-law also over-watered them while I was gone (long roots in the water tray underneath the plants). I didn't have a fan, either. That may help keep the plants from over-extending. I gather that a lot of people use fans. I do use a timer for the lights.


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RE: New to growing under lights

Hi
This is budget growing and it works fantastic and uses scraps from the garbage can
Clic on the pictures below to open photo albums of my scrap

55 week old Meiwa kumquat  sharing bucket with three  9 week old sweet lee tangerines photo IMG_3685_1_zps483061c0.jpg

grow box under construction  2-20-13 photo IMG_3610_1_zps6d036d85.jpg

1:   4 X 4 X 2 FT HOT-BOX WITH PEPPERS UNDER COMP. FLOUR. LIGHTS---ABOVE THIS;  PLANTS NEEDING ROOT HEAT ARE GROWN--TEMPS HERE RUN ABOUT 90 DEG AND SEEDS GERMINATE FAST-- CITRUS ROOTS GROW WELL photo IMG_3597_1_zps2877c51c.jpg

GROCERY STORE ITEMS FOR STARTING SEEDS,--ALL THESE MATERIAL CAN BE FOUND IN TRASH AFTER THEY'RE USED photo IMG_3598_1_zpsd627a3a9.jpg

4)---16 brocoli plant in 1 gal. cans under 8 lights of 650 lumens, Above, Meiwa kumquat tree's roots are warmed by lights to 85 deg. photo IMG_3691_zpsd744827b.jpg

Almost all the pic have a write up on them to explain there purpose

Here is a link that might be useful: https://plus.google.com/photos/111099372377958308731/albums/5864651368775846321?banner=pwa&authkey=CI763rvAj8eLAg


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RE: New to growing under lights

Last year I used the one warm and one cool T8 tubes but I noticed this year that the plants on my one shelf with the single cool daylight tube was doing better than the mixed, so I switched them all to cool daylight tubes and my seedlings have been much happier. I think if you need flowering inside, then you would need the full spectrum.


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RE: New to growing under lights

if you use only cool white u will be fine. so called full spectrum will not grow as well as cool white - i have a PAR meter, and the best PAR comes from the NOT-full-spectrum either cool white 4100K, or 5000K, either one is excellent - look for a high output tri-phosphour lamp for best results - paul m.


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