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GROW LIGHTS

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by Spider Lady on October 20, 2005 06:40 AM
Hi guys...Can anyone steer me to a good place to get a grow light without breaking the bank? Most of the systems I see are over $100. I have a basement room with one small window. Most of the room is pretty dim. The plants I have in there are okay with this, but someone suggested a grow light to give me more options. Is there something else besides the g. light that would work?
Thanks for any help! [flower] [flower] [flower]
by Jiffymouse on October 20, 2005 07:58 AM
get a large flourescent shop light! just as good as a grow light, and much cheaper...
by Spider Lady on October 20, 2005 08:21 AM
Thanks Jiffymouse! That's a great idea. My hubby has three hanging over his workbench. I think he'll notice if one is missing...I'll ask him to pick me up one. L. [thumb]
by comfrey on October 21, 2005 08:17 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Jiffymouse:
get a large florescent shop light! just as good as a grow light, and much cheaper...
[thumb] I agree, they are what I use and if you want you can buy different florescent tubes for a wider color spectrum range, instead of the common tubes, which I have found the common ones work fine under most growing situations.

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by Will Creed on October 22, 2005 09:58 AM
I would add that if you are using a 2-tube fluorescent fixture, one cool white and one warm white tube is the best combination; just as good as the more expensive full spectrum tubes.

The two big advantages of fluorescents are that they use very little energy so you can leave them on for 12 hours per day and because they are cool, you can place them very close to your plants.
by comfrey on October 22, 2005 10:34 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Will Creed:
using a 2-tube fluorescent fixture, one cool white and one warm white tube is the best combination;
WOW I didn't know this, [thumb] [thumb] I'm going to look at the tubes I have and see if I can see which kind I have, and then try your advice when I start seeds in April...I probable have both already, as I noticed last season that some lights were hotter then others.

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by wayner2000 on October 22, 2005 06:14 PM
Hi comfrey, I use the flourescent lights as Will suggested and they work amazingly well. I even use them for seed starting in the spring.

Wayne [Smile]

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Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..........
by Will Creed on October 22, 2005 09:18 PM
Comfrey,

Just for clarification, with respect to fluorescent tubes, warm and cool refer to the color of the light, not the temperature of the tubes. Warm white has a pinkish cast and cool white has a bluish cast.

Glad you may not have to invest any money in lights. More to spend on plants!
by comfrey on October 22, 2005 09:48 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Will Creed:
Comfrey,
Warm white has a pinkish cast and cool white has a bluish cast.

Glad you may not have to invest any money in lights. More to spend on plants!

Ok..glad you mentioned that, I have 8 double tubed shop lights and a large amount of extra tubes, so I am certain I should have some of both, just didn't realize how to tell the difference. Some one gave me some what they called "grow tubes" years ago and they did have a pinkish cast. Of course they are long gone.

Ok another question about this...I hang two double tube lights side by side.. alittle space between the two...now would it be better to to say pink, blue, pink, blue? Here's a picture of my tomato seedlings with the lights hanging over them for reference to what I am talking about.

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by Will Creed on October 22, 2005 10:13 PM
Yes, alternate the colors. The pink and blue each cover different portions of the light spectrum. By combining them, you get the full spectrum that the plants require, but without paying the premium price for full spectrum tubes.

That's a nice setup you have there. Will you send me a tomato when they are ready?!
by comfrey on October 23, 2005 01:19 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Will Creed:
That's a nice setup you have there. Will you send me a tomato when they are ready?!
LOL...these were from early spring..Tomatoes all gone now, And I must say they were mighty tasty.

Thanks for your help Will very appreciated, I am always looking for ways to improve!

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by cLoud[GLPong] on October 30, 2005 12:15 PM
**NOTE**
each spectrum of light does different grotwth
just so everyone knows...

red - for flowering.. tomatoes love this spectrum when in flower...

blue - for vegative states spider plants like this spectrum

i hope this helped... [Smile] for tomatoes i would use strictly blue until flowers start then strictly red [Smile]

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- "i love this show!" - G.I.R.
by margaret e. pell on October 31, 2005 04:16 AM
Hi, all. I read somewhere (probably a fluorescent tube sales site!) that the tubes should be replaced every year for their use with plants as the photo output deminishes. Even though we can still see it fine, it's not enough for the plants. Is this true? How often do any of you replace your tubes?

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by comfrey on October 31, 2005 04:48 AM
I replace mine when either one goes out or when one doesn't put out the same amount of light as the others do...I figure it means they are on there way to quitting, but I do not discard them, as I live out in the boonies and if one happens to go out, I can temporarily replace it with a dimmer tube until I can get to town, I always "try" to keep new extra tubes on hand if possible. But it is a good idea if you can to replace them each year, that way you know you are starting with a fresh tube and it "should" last the season with no problem.

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by Will Creed on October 31, 2005 05:34 AM
Good point, Margaret. In fact, fluorescent tubes begin to diminish in their light output as soon as you start using them. There is no set duration for the tubes. Obviously, tubes that are on longer each day will not last as long as tubes that are on for a shorter period. In addition, the light emitted at the center of a 4-foot tube is three times greater than the light emitted at the ends of the same tube.

I used to keep my fluorescent tubes for about two years and I operated them for about 12-14 hours per day. If money were not a problem, I guess I might change them every year. But I never noticed a decline in my plants during the second year of use.

Bottom line: Change the tubes when you notice a decline or diminished growth in your plants. And do what you can afford!
by Amber Petersen on November 01, 2005 02:34 AM
Do you guys leave your lights on 24 hours a day? I was thinking on getting a fluorescent light just for extra light for my house plants (I live in a semi-basement apartment) How much time do you recommend that I give light to my plants? (I do realize that it would vary from plant to plant, just generaly (SP??) speaking...)

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Amber
by Amber Petersen on November 01, 2005 02:37 AM
I do want to add that there is SOME sun light in my apartment, mostly in the living room, plants in the living room seem happy but I would like to be able to have plants in some of the darker rooms too.

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Amber
by Jiffymouse on November 01, 2005 02:53 AM
amber, 12-14 hours, just like it would be outside.
by cLoud[GLPong] on November 01, 2005 07:22 AM
remember that plants absorb light as food during the day, at night they use the food they stored all day at night.. if you give a plant too much light it will be unable to "eat" the food it stored.. anything more than 14 hrs is excessive... for almost all plants.. i can think of a few that can survive 24hr light cycles though...

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- "i love this show!" - G.I.R.
by cLoud[GLPong] on November 01, 2005 08:21 AM
when changing i suggest every year .. but stagger them so as not to replace them all at the same time... doing so will prevent you from spending a lot of money all at once as well if the current lights have diminished enough... replacing them all at the same time can burn the plants from the dramatic "weather" change... fyi

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- "i love this show!" - G.I.R.
by Will Creed on November 01, 2005 08:26 AM
There is no set daily period of light that can be generalized for most plants. It depends on the light intensity and the plant species. It is generally recognized that anything within an 8 to 16 hour period is safe for nearly all plants.

If lights are on for too long each day, the following symptoms may appear: leaves turn light green and turn downward and old leaves may turn crisp, curl, and fall off.

Plants manufacture food (green tissue growth) in the presence of light. They don't cannibalize themselves. They tend to store more food or grow more when they have excess light, up to a point, as noted above.
by Erich on November 02, 2005 12:18 PM
Fluorescent lights (even the inexpensive ones) work just fine for most indoor applications. They do produce full spectrum, so you really don't need to spend the extra money. As said by others, try to replace them every year.
by MJP in Atlanta on November 22, 2005 12:29 PM
The lights don't dim over time. There is a built in capacitor to insure energy level is high enough to energize the light. If the capacitor goes bad, the light goes noticably dim.

If you shop a Lowes or Home Depot for your 4ft bulbs, look for a "sunlight" labeled flourescent. It emits at 5100k which is almost the same as the aquarium/plant bulbs at 5300k which cost four times as much. The cool white bulbs are in the 4300K range. The numbering systems has to do with the color. Higher numbers are on the red side of the color spectrum, lower numbers on the blue side, hence Cool vs Warm descriptions which make more sense than the color temperature numbering system.

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