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growing lights?

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growing lights?

Post  Grey.tea on 3/15/2012, 5:31 am

so im interested in buying some growing lights, do you guys have any tips on what brand i should buy, and how to save money on them?
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Re: growing lights?

Post  BackRiver_SFG on 3/15/2012, 5:56 am

Really good lights are expensive if you do your research.
However, With good success I've been using a shop light (extra wide reflector plate) and two 4' fluorescent light tubes. Between the two tubes the full light spectrum is covered. One bulb is the low to middle end and the other is from the middle to high end.

Total cost for this setup should be under $50.

Good luck!
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Re: growing lights?

Post  camprn on 3/15/2012, 6:45 am

joe.patmos wrote:Really good lights are expensive if you do your research.
However, With good success I've been using a shop light (extra wide reflector plate) and two 4' fluorescent light tubes. Between the two tubes the full light spectrum is covered. One bulb is the low to middle end and the other is from the middle to high end.

Total cost for this setup should be under $50.

Good luck!
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Re: growing lights?

Post  TN_GARDENER on 3/15/2012, 7:00 am

The hydroponic folks seem to be ones that do a lot of research on this topic.

IMHO, I think you can have decent results with Bright White fluorescent bulbs. I think you want to look at a bulb with a high Kelvin rating (i.e. 6,500). The 2 main ways to work with fluorescent bulbs are to use shop-lights and/or those clamp lights. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, and both should be positioned real close to the plants.

It is my understanding that the T-8 & T-5 fluorescent bulbs are more efficient that the older, T-12 (I think the T-12 are being phased out, but I could be wrong about that).






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Re: growing lights?

Post  Lindacol on 3/15/2012, 11:40 am

What an economical way to set up lights for a small space! I'd have never thunk of that. I just might try it.

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Re: growing lights?

Post  quiltbea on 3/15/2012, 12:10 pm

I bought a double bulb shop light (4 ft) and a pair of Daylight tubes for around $26 last year at Lowe's so now I have 3 sets. The plants do just fine.



here are some tomatoes for the commnuity gardeners under lights last April
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Re: growing lights?

Post  Squat_Johnson on 3/15/2012, 12:22 pm

I got this rack from a florist that went out of business. I added a couple of extra lights. I am using some normal bulbs, and some 6100k lights.


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Re: growing lights?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/15/2012, 12:47 pm

I bought a 4 foot t8 white shoplight fixture at Walmart (without bulbs). Then I went to Menards and bought a two-pack of T8 grow light/aquarium bulbs. I too have heard t12 is being phased out. I also bought a cheap analog Walmart timer. Both the light and the bulbs were probably $12-15 each and the timer was around $4 so it cost me about $30 for one setup.

Initially, I propped mine (thanks QB for the idea) on upside down coffee mugs, and as the sproutlings grew, I just set the coffee mugs on top of books or boxes or whatever to prop them higher. I've also propped the lights on large jar candles. I figure anything designed to take a little warmth and not conduct electricity is probably fine, right QuiltBea?. Smile

Here's another cool idea if you want to start out REALLY SMALL. Walmart also sells an "under cabinet" type of growlight with a bulb already in it - it's only about 24" long - for about $10. Since the light is encased on 3 sides with a clear shield, I prop it sideways (with the part that is supposed to be on the cabinet facing out instead). Then I put sproutlings underneath it, and I've actually set cups of vermiculite on top of it (it gives off a bit of warmth) to sprout and VOILA, instant heat mat. Smile

WARNING though - I started out really small and it wasn't long before I had to go back and get the 4' light...like everything else SFG, it's addicting! Smile
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Re: growing lights?

Post  quiltbea on 3/15/2012, 1:07 pm

Undertheblack......Yes, its addicting. I started with a growlight I found on sale at a feed store for around $50, marked down from around $70. I was a novice then so thought that was a bargain. It had a stand so the light itself could be lowered and raised but it was only 2 feet long. I use it for my houseplants now. I thought I had saved myself some bucks til I bought my first 4-ft shop light and daylight bulbs for about half the money. I just kept buying 4-footers til I now have 3 and no more room for any more so that's got to be my limit.
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Re: growing lights?

Post  BackRiver_SFG on 3/15/2012, 4:06 pm

@Squat_Johnson wrote:I got this rack from a florist that went out of business. I added a couple of extra lights. I am using some normal bulbs, and some 6100k lights.



Excellent seedling station!
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Re: growing lights?

Post  BackRiver_SFG on 3/15/2012, 4:08 pm

@TN_GARDENER wrote:T



Do you have any more photos of this system? This looks intriguing.

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Re: growing lights?

Post  Grey.tea on 3/15/2012, 10:59 pm

thanks for all your replies everyone, im really pumped about getting these lights now. Very Happy

annyone have an idea though on how to figure out if the 4' bulbs are a low spectrum or high spectrum? would it say on the box or something?
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Re: growing lights?

Post  quiltbea on 3/16/2012, 12:25 am

I can't answer that, but I just buy the ones tha say 'daylight' on the box.
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Re: growing lights?

Post  CindiLou on 3/16/2012, 12:29 am

I have two bulbs in mine..one is soft white.the other is cool white...
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Re: growing lights?

Post  Windsor.Parker on 3/16/2012, 7:10 am

@Grey.tea wrote:thanks for all your replies everyone, im really pumped about getting these lights now. Very Happy...
Don't forget a timer (3-prong type)for your new light(s). The mechanical ones work great.
Here's one I use.

Have fun.
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Re: growing lights?

Post  Grey.tea on 3/16/2012, 9:26 am

how do they work? are there instructions on the box?

[edit] also, would i need to buy one for each light?
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Re: growing lights?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/16/2012, 12:47 pm

If you are referring to the timers, yes there are instructions. Smile You plug the timer into your electrical source (usually an outlet in your home). They make simple mechanical/analog timers where the front looks similar to a clockface with both am and pm hours. You set an arrow to the current time and then you press down a little tab for the hours you want the electricity to go on/off. The digital ones you set similar to any other digital timepiece. The timer then has one or more plugs that you can plug the device(s) into.

You would need to buy one for each outlet you plan to use in your home. I actually only had one outlet and two lights so my choices were either to get a timer with two spaces for plugs, or an extension cord for the one-space timer that I plugged the two lights into. I opted for the extension cord (because I had it), but as with everything else, you do have to be careful how much load you put on your outlets and not over use them. Some people also put a fan on a timer as well... Smile


Last edited by UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/16/2012, 12:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : answered second question)
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Re: growing lights?

Post  TN_GARDENER on 3/16/2012, 12:50 pm

The boxes ought to have some sort of description on them that indicates their spectrum rating. Look for a high Kelvin rating (5,000 K to 6,500 K). Other things to look for might be words like daylight or cold-white or bright-white. Soft white is usually in the 2,500K area. Not the best, but better than nothing.

As I understand it, the higher the Kelvin rating, the better they are for young plants (has something to do with red-blue light spectrum stuff). Lower Kelvin is better for blossoms n fruit n such.

As to how to build a grow light, I don't have any instructions, but it's really not too difficult. A lot of power strips have screw holes that allow you to attach them to boards. You can use wire ties or duct tape if you want.







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Re: growing lights?

Post  Grey.tea on 3/16/2012, 9:53 pm

cool Very Happy thanks a lot everyone! im going to go buy them today, yay! *dances*
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