Return to the Growing under Lights Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Growing tomatoes from seed

Posted by JoeOrganicTomatoes 6A (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 16:30

I've never tried this before (tomatoes)but want to give it a go. Is it expensive to do this from an electricity stand point? I'm considering a system using 24" lights. Not sure if grow lights are the way to go or just full spectrum bulbs. I want to be able to keep the plants alive till I can plant them in the ground and in my zone the last frost date is a SWAG. Can anyone help me out and steer me in the right direction? Thanks so much


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Just so I'm clear, are you planning to just grow seedlings from seed or you want to grow bigger and than put them outside?


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

hi slimak
TY for chiming in. .I'd like to grow them bigger till I can plant them outside. Maybe to the size of 4". This past season I purchased my plants from Bonnie and I'm estimating that they were probably about that size.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Ok that won't be a problem. How many of them do you want to grow?


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Hello again and ty "slimak". I was thinking of using a 24" fixture and growing 24 plants. I'd love to start the seeds in 4" containers so I wouldn't have to transplant them before I put them in the ground. I was also thinking of using peat pots so I wouldn't disturb the roots. Is all of this possible? Is the light fixture that will accomplish my goal energy efficient? Your advice is greatly appreciated. TY


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

:) it would be nice if 24" would be that efficient. For 24 plants in 4" pots I recommend getting a 4 foot 2 bulb T5HO fixture with a reflector and 6500k tubes. That's what I have below in the picture. In fact I'm using 4" pots as well and you could fit 10 of these pots underneath this lamp in one row. If my bulbs were spaced a little further from each other I would've done 3 rows of 10 but they are right next to each other so I just go with 2 rows.

Just use 4 inch nursery pots, every hydroponic store has them for cheap 50 cents or so. Roots will be fine don't worry. Also germinate your seeds in a moist coffee filter and once they sprout pick you your bigger ones and put them 1/4 inch under surface, that way you know that they germinated for sure and you don't have to over seed. So if you want 24 plants put 30 seeds or so since not everyone might make it.

Don't worry about how much it will cost :) Those lamps barely use any energy, you might pay extra $5 or so per month using them 14 hours a day.

If you have any more questions let me know.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Thanks for your response and the picture. Are these pots made of plastic? Can I use Dr. Earth 801 Root Zone Seed Starter organic soil for my growing medium (I already have a bag of it) and when using moist coffee filters to germinate where is a good place to put them? Do they require light and is average room temperature ok? Again thank you so much for taking your time to help me. I really appreciate it!


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Yes, they are made of plastic. Why do you ask?
You can use the seed starter mix, but it will just dry out faster than potting soil such as this:
http://drearth.net/blog/products/organic-soils/house-plant-potting-soil/

Flatten the filter, moist it with water, put the seeds spaced about 3/4" from each other on one half of the filter and cover it with the other half so the seeds get moisture from both sides. Put it in a ziplock bag, take a deep breath :) and fill the ziplock with air while closing it. Put the ziplock back in a dark place such as your kitchen cabinet or shoe box and make sure the temp. is between 70-85 degrees. Check it every day to see if the seeds germinated. Also, if it takes few days check to see that the filter is moist. Spray it a little with water if needed but it has to be just moist not dripping with water. Once you see most of them sprout delicately lift them of the paper and put them into your pots. Make sure the top of your soil doesn't dry out too much at first so the sprouts don't die. Later, when the seedlings get bigger, it's actually better to let it dry out a little between watering. Bottom water only to encourage root growth.

You're welcome, I'm glad I could help you out !


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Again thanks I think I'm almost through with my questions. LOL...yes! I asked about plastic pots because I went onto some hydroponic store websites and couldn't find any 4" pots. No big deal. I'm sure I can find them on Amazon. And last but not least (I think) Do you recommend any brand of light fixture. I see T5HO fixtures offered on Amazon with a wide range of prices. Which one are you using and where did you purchase it?


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

:) no worries about the questions, that's what this forum is for.
You should be able to find them on the net no problem. Just get the square ones so the plants will have a little more soil compared to round pots.
As far as the light goes , I'll look it up for you and let you know later. Look on Craig's list first, you can find some really good deals on used ones. I bought a used4 foot 4 bulb grow lamp with tubes for only $50 and new one would cost me $130.
The bulb that's in the picture is a strip light from home depot but I had to make the reflector myself and the bulbs are jus to close to each other. The grow lights that have the individual silver finish reflectors is what you want. They perform much better. The brand doesn't really matter as long as you get them with those reflectors. It just all depends on how much you're willing to invest in your lights. T5ho 2 bulb is around $100 , 4 bulb about $130. If that's too much than look at T8 bulb fixtures . You'd need 3 bulb, if such exist, to equal the output of 2 bulb T5ho. Some people also overdrive the T8 to get more light out of them


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

These are they types of lamps that I I'm talking about

2 bulb:
http://www.amazon.com/Sun-Blaze-T5-42-Includes/dp/B003106Z0K/ref=pd_cp_hi_0

or 4 bulb
http://www.amazon.com/ft-F54T5-HO-Fluorescent-Spectralux-Included/dp/B003E7BBZO/ref=sr_1_7?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1381427014&sr=1-7&keywords=sun+blaze+t5+ho+fluorescent+light+fixtures


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Hi again thanks...I checked out both the 2 bulb fixture ($36+) and the 4 blub one ($118+) on Amazon..2 of the 2 bulb would cost $72 compared with the 4 bulb at $118. Is the more expensive one a better buy in quality and performance? Also with the 4 bulb fixture how many plants could I grow?


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

write me a links for the 2 bulb fixtures, $36 seems awfully low.

With 4 bulbs you can grow a tree!! :) kidding :) You can basically grow almost twice as many


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

See, here is one example how good Craigs list could be :

http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/grd/4102931218.html

I offered $50 :) lets see if he bites


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

LOL....a tree? really....Ahh the "Tree of Knowledge" growing in my basement. Now if we could only find the Garden of Paradise and get a DNA sample!! LOL...All things are possible...
Now to answer your question.I took the link that you gave me and plugged it in and it came up on Amazon at $36 dollars and change:
http://www.amazon.com/Sun-Blaze-T5-42-Includes/dp/B003106Z0K/ref=pd_cp_hi_0


I'm really looking for quality at the best price. When you average out the difference in prices over say a few years it comes out to pennies. I'd rather get something that is going to grow my plants, not cost me an arm and a leg to run it and will last a decent amount of years.
I'll also check out Craigslist as you suggested and the link that you sent to me for an idea of what is out there. Again thanks


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

LOL :) yes it's $36 but shipping is $54.49 ;)


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Yes I caught that after I posted it, LOL Well shipping on the 4 blub fixture is only $13 and change. Is the 4 bulb fixture from a quality stand point the better buy? 2 sets of the other would be out of the question cost wise. Are the bulbs in the 2 bulb fixture better than the 4 or vice-versa. Hmm I'm getting to sound like a real boob,,err bulb now..LOL thanks


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

:) no , there is no quality difference between a 2 bulb and 4 bulb fixture from the same brand. You just get twice as many bulbs and ballasts in the fixture :)
Therefore you get twice as much light :) and you can grow twice as many plants but not for twice as much the cost compared to if you'd buy two 2 bulb fixture. Did I clear it up? LOL

If you can spend the money just buy the 4 bulb, you won't regret it. You'll have room to grow your tomatoes and could grow other seedlings or fresh herbs, lettuce at the same time. This will offset your electricity cost a little :)


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Hi,
Just checked out craigslist. That fixture that you offered $50 for looks just like the one I'm considering on Amazon. Here is something I found on CL. What do you think of this? Is it overkill? Brand new it is selling for $999.

http://harrisburg.craigslist.org/grd/4026928899.html


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

I think that it's an over priced toy :) they don't even tell you information about lighting on their website for this unit. Their next model up kg3000 puts out only 11000 lumens so this one does less for sure. 4 bulb fixture that you're looking at puts out 20000 lumens :)
Also that unit keeps them totally enclosed which is in my opinion bad. It's harder to keep the temperature down and humidity as well which will cause all kinds of problems. Plants love the light but don't like excessive heat. Furthermore, it's good to not only have fan pointing at the bulbs to push that heat out of the growing area but also have some breeze directed at the plants them selves. This will give plants fresh air, help with evaporation and also will make plants grow thicker healthier stems. You can easily incorporate such setup if you go with open or partially open grow space.

In your case growing seedlings you can keep it simple, just hang the light above and have fan running. If you were to grow bigger plants you could add some reflective material on three sides but for seedlings it won't be necessary.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Here , offer him $100-110 because it would be a long drive for you and see if he takes it

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/for/4110709571.html


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Thanks....wow that is a great fixture but 150 miles from me. Here is something I found..If you get a moment can you check it out and give me your thoughts.

http://www.hydrocrunch.com/T5_4_FT_6_LAMP_6500K_BULBS_p/t5-4x6.htm

I have no idea what K bulbs are.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

:) sorry, I thought it was more like 90 miles.

Well, this is a nice lamp but they're out of stock

K stands for Kelivin rating. It's a unit of color temperature of light. That's why they say red or blue light


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

6500k is immitating the peak hours of daylight in summer , 3000k is like sunset . Just make sure you go with the 6500k bulbs, the other one is just for show and for them to make money.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

The 3000k spectrum is just not far enough red on the spectrum scale to bring any good results.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Yes ok again ty. I called them (Hydro Crunch) and was told they will be getting a new shipment in November. That's plenty of time before the start of growing season for me but I am tempted to start something ASAP.... oh well as they say, " Patience is a virtue" LOL Who needs patience? I need tomatoes. I'm almost out of the ones I grew in my garden this past season! HAGD!


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

LOL their price is not that great to justify the wait ! :)
If this is your first time growing under lights I'd start now and get familiar with indoor growing. That way you don't fup when it's time to nurture the seedlings meant for planting. Plus you get to practice when to water, see how far away you need to keep the lamp away and maybe grow other things that you can enjoy faster.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Ok Great advice again.. I purchased the fixture from Amazon. I liked the fact that it has a 5yr guarantee. The other one did have 6 blubs but for what I'm trying to accomplish I don't think the extra bulbs will matter. I also like the idea of practicing to become familiar with the procedures and techniques. Ok between now and tomato seed germinating time do you have any suggestions on which seeds I can use to practice with and with the potting soil that you recommended will I still need a liquid fertilizer (organic) and if so what would you recommend. Thanks again


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Hi Guys.
Talking grow lights: I recently bought a 48" Litonia ( for 2 T8 tubes) from HD, for under $13. With the lights total cost = $20.
I am going to get another one: So the cost will be $40, including the tubes, for four 48" T8 system. Not bad.
A 48", (using two T5) cost about $26, I think. Not including the tubes. So my two 2xT8 shoplite seems to be a better deal. Plus, if I have smaller load , I can just use one of them Of course, they have no reflectors. But the white enamel is pretty much reflective. I like the convenience of HD and I pay no shipping. I can return things easily.


 o
RE: what seeds to try before tomato starting season

  • Posted by edie_h 5aNY (Finger Lakes) (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 1, 13 at 1:05

Joe, do you like salad greens? Lettuce and mesclun blends do well under fluorescents, and you can start harvesting them pretty fast compared to fruiting plants. I think I see lettuce in slimak's photo. My plant shelf is full, otherwise I'd be tempted to start some seeds too.


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

Edie_h you're right that leafy plants do a lot better under the fluorescent lights than fruiting ones but it possible to grow them as well. In the beginning many have told me that you can't blah blah blah so did it anyway and found out that they do grow, flower and fruit all under 6500K bulbs. Sure the yields are probably not as great compared to growing them outside but if someone wants to do it just go ahead and have fun. Here are some pictures that I've previously posted on another post
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lights/msg0711593916003.html?29

and below are more recent pictures where more tomatoes are ripe. The only plants that I'm having problems with are root plants but that's maybe because of the soil mix I use or am just too impatient :)


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

.... my camp joy cherry tomatoes, what's left of them :)


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

yellow pear cherry, again some have been picked already


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

and pretty soon I'll see what Tiny Tims taste like as one of them is starting to get some color


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

my peppers are finally coming in nicely too, we'll see how they turn out. I also just started bigger fruit tomatoes such as Black Krim and Cherokee Purple so we'll see if those will grow under the fluorescents :)


 o
RE: Growing tomatoes from seed

as far as growing lettuce, if haven't tried already, use the DWC method growing in water :) they're growing out of control!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Growing under Lights Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here