grow lights for seed starting

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by GREENCOUNTYPETE, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    so my best south facing window is in the dining room this would be fine exept that i have 3 children 2,3,5 and they will touch everything and besides it is still not enough light some times. i was wondering if any of you do grow lights

    how do they work for you how close do you keep them to the plants

    also how about propagation mats the heated pads to put under the trays does anyone use them

    thanks for the input ,PETE

    i have a feeling the real athority on grow lights would be the woman thay just arrested here in wis had 497 marajawan plants going in a hidden basment room but i think she has been instructed by her lawer not to talk about that.

    and bedsides i am far more interested in tomatoes ,vegatables
     
  2. nandmsmom

    nandmsmom Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was going to get a grow light, then I started reading about winter sowing. Cheaper and easier. http://wintersown.org/

    I plan to do all my veggies and flowers that way this year.

    Heather
     

  3. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    not shure how well that is going to work in wisconsin we often get snow in early may and by then my tomatoes need to be up and ready for the second week in may when i put them in the ground weather permiting

    i use a cold frame on nice days in april and may but have to put them in garage for the cold ones

    i am thinking i need to get started in late febuary when ground on a normal year is frozen 12 inches +
     
  4. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you use florescent lights put them about 1" from the plant. They lose strength really fast as the distance grows.

    The pot grower was probably using metal halide lamps. They burn about a KW per hour but put out a whole lot of light.

    I used to grow pots of mixed colored coleus in perlite with a wick hydroponics set up using strips of synthetic socks for wicks. By keeping them trimmed back it would turn into a multicolored bush and would flower all at once. The lights had to be keep almost touching the plants or they would get spindly.
     
  5. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    We have an old teachers desk in our living room. On it we have a wooden frame that holds up 5- 4 foot shop lights, hanging on chains. I start all my plants there. I don't buy any special bulbs, just the ones that come with the shop lights.
    I try to keep the bulbs about 1-2 inches above the tops of the plants. I am thinking about getting a propagation mat for my pepper seeds. I seem to be able to start the rest of my plants fine with out one. I have tred a people type heating pad and have cooked quite a few plants with it. Some times I put the pots next to the wood heater and that has helped. Watering with warm water is good too.
     
  6. oberhaslikid

    oberhaslikid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I made my own plant starting stand.I got a 4 shelf book stand at a yard sale, and set it in front of the window. I found some small florecent lights about 16" long and mounted them under each shelf to shine on the shelf under the light.I placed my shelf in an extra bedroom.My only culpret is the cat.
     
  7. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    thanks i read an old post that said to try 1 cool 1 warm florecent in each to get a broader spectrum so i will try that i think the tomatoes and peppers are the only think that will need the propigation mat to get started

    and even if they work better i think i will stay away from the metal halide
    i would rather not go broke from the electric bill
     
  8. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    I used an old crib, mattress and all, for my seed starter bed. It held about 7 trays of seedlings. The head and footboard were the same height and I attached florescent shop lights using c clamps and a 2x4. It worked pretty good. Last year I got lazy and took two milk crates put them 4 feet apart and rested the shop light between them. I only had two trays of tomatoes which slid under the light just fine. I germinated the seeds on top of my chicken incubator . They sprouted in 3 days:) Then placed them under the shop light. I had great looking tomato plants right up until the flood washed them all away.
     
  9. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    Yep,she would be the one to ask.Tomatoes and marijuana have virturally identical light requirements......Heavier in the blue spectrum for vegetative growth,and heavier in red during reproductive/fruiting cycle.

    What you need depends on how long you plan to keep the plants indoors,and how large they will be before transplant.You can use flourescent for germination,and just a little growth,but as has already been pointed out,keep them real close to the plants.I
    ve mounted flourescent fixtures to a plywood"ceiling" above plants,and suspended it with chains,and it's real easy to adjust the height of the lights by re-hanging from different links as the plants grow.
    If you are going to let them get a little bigger before transplant,and want really stocky,healthy plants with close internodes,a metal halide is the way to go.A high pressure sodium light would be second choice,as it's a little longer on the red end.
    Unless you're germinating seeds in a cold or drafty area,the heating mat isn't necessary.The heat cast down from the lights should be enough to warm the soil nicely.
    If you can provide a bit more info,like how large you want the plants to be before transplant,and square footage,as in how many square feet your starter trays will take up,I could provide a more specific answer for ya'.
    Happy growin'.
    Edited to add- The incadescent grow lights are garbage,and terribly ineffecient.They are heavy in red,low on blue,and throw very few lumens per watt consumed.
     
  10. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We found the heat mat was the only way to germinate peppers in our house. We use a commercial quality one that fits 4 flats at a time so the toms get some heat too. As soon as they sprout we move them from the heat mat to under the lights and another flat goes on the mat. We put emergency blankets on the wall behind our growing shelves to reflect back more light. We use shop lights suspended from chains on the underside of adjustable shelves and keep the bulbs 1" above the plants. The lights are on for 12 hrs a day. Here are some of our peppers from a couple of years ago.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    Swamp man the plan as is stands in my mind right now is to :

    plant the trays for leeks and onions in early febuary to be moved outside to cold frame early aprill depending on weather then into ground mid april

    early march plant trays for tomatoes ,eggplant and peppers planning to move them to the cold frame as weather permits mid april then into ground 10th of may or there about

    i would like to be planting sturdy 6 inch plants may 10 90% no more frost after may 10 but it seems like no mater how nice it is in aprill we regularily get a cold snap first week of may

    i have 1 clear plastic container that cheese balls came in about 3 gallons i am looking for more and want to try a few tomatoes outside under these containers about last week of april to see if i can get a jump on early BLT sandwiches.

    now for space i have an area about 6 or 7 feet wide on the west wall of my basment it is a seperate room so i can keep the kids out the area is between my fuel oil tank and breaker box not drafty and should stay between 55 and 60 in the winter
    the is a north facing basment window above the fuel tank but not a signifigant source of light

    i was thinking about putting up a shelf or table to set them on about 6 trays max

    we are zone 5 but it is only about 20 miles to zone 4

    what do you think am a thinking fairly strait

    misteltoad, i like the idea of the foil to reflect back otherwise wasted light
     
  12. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a 3 shelf stand that m y mother-in-law gave me when she quit gardening on a large scale (there's another story there). I use regular flourescent tubes, 4 per shelf, and the top shelf lamps are adjustable, hanging from chains.

    I use a heating mat from A.M. Leonard:http://www.amleo.com/index/item.cgi?cmd=view&Words=110lw
    It requires a seperate thermostat: http://www.amleo.com/index/item.cgi?cmd=view&Words=ft7

    Prices have sure gone up since I got mine. I have used it for over 10 years, and it helps with early plants, when I start them in the sun room/greenhouse, which has minimal heat. I can adjust the temp for peppers, tomatoes, then a bit cooler for brassicas, etc.
     
  13. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    A while back I built a light bank for plants. The sides I welded, the shelves are just plywood. It breaks down to store easily. It has three shelves and a top. I store stuff on the top. The three shelves are 2 feet by 4 feet. Each is big enough for two-2-bulb shop lights. I do the one bulb warm/one bulb cold thing, too. I have used grow lights in the past, but see no difference in results. (I originally built this for growing orchids)

    I also keep the lights close to the plants, raising the lights as the plants grow.

    I don't use heat mats. I make the assumption that the benefit from those will vary greatly based on conditions at the individual site.

    Meg