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Enough/right light?

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Enough/right light?

Post  NatalieWatersSeum on 4/13/2014, 5:32 pm

Greetings! 

I am new to starting seeds inside, so any advice is greatly appreciated. You are all such a wealth of information!

My first flat of seeds have germinated and are just starting to show their true leaves. In the photo you will see lettuce in the foreground, basil in the back left and jalapeno peppers in the back right. They are under a light with two Sylvania Gro-Lux bulbs and kept within 1-2 inches of the light. Now to my questions ... 

1. The seedlings in the outer rows seem to be stretching toward the light. Is that okay? Is there anything I should/could do to prevent that, like raise the light? Is it okay that those are a bit taller than the middle rows, or is that length indicating that they are getting leggy? The peppers in the back right are particularly long and looking leggy.

2. When should I thin them? Next time I definitely will not plant three seeds each as pretty much 100% of my seeds germinated!

Thank you in advance for your help!

Natalie

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Last edited by NatalieWatersSeum on 4/13/2014, 5:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/13/2014, 7:31 pm

hi Natalie! Welcome to the forum! I can't help you with the grow light issue because I use the window. But on cloudy days when I place my seedlings under the kitchen counter fluorescent light I turn them once or twice during the day so that everyone is directly under the light at some point. As far as thinning I believe Mel says in the ANS FG book to thin them when they are an inch tall. Do you have the book?

CC
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  NatalieWatersSeum on 4/13/2014, 9:15 pm

Thank you, CC. I do have the book (two of them at least), but I feel like I've read many different opinions regarding when to thin. When once inch? When they've developed two sets of true leaves? Ugh, I am trying to do all the right things! 

I hope someone else can provide some input on my light set-up. 

Thanks so much for your reply!
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  68carguy on 4/13/2014, 9:26 pm

Does you lights have a reflector, or hood? It appears the spread of the light isn't reaching the outside plants, just the 2 rows right under the lights. I would try raising the light just a inch or so to see if the light spread out better. Maybe you could rotate the flat of plants each day so the other get some more exposure to the strong light right under the lamps.



Oh and as far as thining I would use sissors to cut all but the strongest plant in each cell, no need to wait if you aren't wanting to have more than one plant per cell. The sooner the better the strongest one left will just get bigger due to all of the room.


Last edited by 68carguy on 4/13/2014, 9:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  jimmy cee on 4/13/2014, 9:32 pm

I have been using plain old daylight bulbs and their doing me great.
Last year I made up 4 lights with t-12 bulbs, this year made 4 t-8s.
Cannot notice any difference, I keep my plants barely touching the bulbs when they pop out.
Had a sugar pea that wrapped around the bulb, now he's out in the garden.
I also rotated my pots ,just about every day, I'm thinking this made the light as even as possible.
I'm very satisfied with the way my seedlings are flourishing under daylight bulbs.
Cannot say the same for this weather tho.
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  boffer on 4/13/2014, 9:53 pm

Your picture looks normal to me.  Adjust the tray a couple times a day so each row of plants gets a chance to be directly under a bulb.  Keep the plants as close as possible to the bulbs.  If you can touch the bulbs and they don't feel hot, your plants won't be hurt if they touch the bulbs.  If you can, put your set up near a window, that will help too.

I got tired of doing  the things I just mentioned, and decided that the long term solution was to add another bulb.

As Carguy suggested, do your thinning with scissors anytime it's convenient for you.
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  NatalieWatersSeum on 4/13/2014, 9:56 pm

@68carguy wrote:Does you lights have a reflector, or hood? It appears the spread of the light isn't reaching the outside plants, just the 2 rows right under the lights. I would try raising the light just a inch or so to see if the light spread out better. Maybe you could rotate the flat of plants each day so the other get some more exposure to the strong light right under the lamps.



Oh and as far as thining I would use sissors to cut all but the strongest plant in each cell, no need to wait if you aren't wanting to have more than one plant per cell. The sooner the better the strongest one left will just get bigger due to all of the room.
Thanks, 68carguy -- you have some great ideas. I am not sure what you mean by a reflector or hood (so I must not have either!). I will try rotating, which may be more practical if I cut some of the cells apart. And I will thin tomorrow -- thank you!
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  landarch on 4/13/2014, 10:08 pm

One thing that I've learned is not to mix different seeds in the same tray so that each can independently be placed as close to the light source as possible.

Another thing is that I probably started my seeds indoors too early...I followed the soonest date on Johhn's Seed Starting Calculator instead choosing a more conservative date in the suggested range.  My tomatoes and tomatillos have rapidly outgrown my ability to adjust my indoor lights.  I also don't want to pot up another size because of the volume of soil mix required.

To solve the light problem, I've been setting my plants outside to get sunlight...but this cold front, forecasted snow, overnight temps in the 20's, and severe thunderstorms (wind and hail) will put a dent in my plan next week.
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  68carguy on 4/13/2014, 10:11 pm

H
@NatalieWatersSeum wrote:
@68carguy wrote:Does you lights have a reflector, or hood? It appears the spread of the light isn't reaching the outside plants, just the 2 rows right under the lights. I would try raising the light just a inch or so to see if the light spread out better. Maybe you could rotate the flat of plants each day so the other get some more exposure to the strong light right under the lamps.



Oh and as far as thining I would use sissors to cut all but the strongest plant in each cell, no need to wait if you aren't wanting to have more than one plant per cell. The sooner the better the strongest one left will just get bigger due to all of the room.
Thanks, 68carguy -- you have some great ideas. I am not sure what you mean by a reflector or hood (so I must not have either!). I will try rotating, which may be more practical if I cut some of the cells apart. And I will thin tomorrow -- thank you!
Here is a picture of a refector or hood on this light

http://www.ebay.com/itm/T5-EnviroGro-4Ft-8-Tube-GROW-LIGHT-FIXTURE-/390817445892?pt=US_Hydroponics&hash=item5afe88f804#ht_1371wt_884
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  boffer on 4/13/2014, 10:16 pm

@NatalieWatersSeum wrote:...I am not sure what you mean by a reflector or hood (so I must not have either!)...

You are right-no reflector or hood.  But you could try a simple experiment with aluminum foil.  Make a shroud with the foil to enclose the light fixture and plants within.  The foil will reflect some light back onto the plants.  You'll know in a day if it's worthwhile.
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  68carguy on 4/13/2014, 10:29 pm

Believe it of not my set-up is on top of my water heater with a small clamp on light, a CFL bulb, and a sunscreen over the top to reflect the light down. The sunscreen is like the picture below, like you use in a car.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/181153130725?lpid=82
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2014, 3:55 am

This spring, I had 6 flats of seedlings under one 2-tube, 4-foot cheapie.  The outer edges of the trays were almost dark so I bought a second one and spread them apart.  Much better and only cost total of $20 at HD.  I will get a third one for next winter/spring seedlings.  A whopping $30 for really good coverage.  With 3 sets of lights, I can put taller plants together in a line and raise just that light.  The heights are easy to adjust with the metal wire. The seedlings were pretty tall when I found out they should have been way, way lower to start with. Live and learn.

I use 2 1/4" x 3" seedling cups so I can mix and match plants around as needed.  I had some luck using medium vermiculite for sprouting and then transplanting to individual cups.  Very gently.  Very Happy 

Others are probably tired of seeing my set up but here it is for you.
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/14/2014, 9:01 am

Hi Natalie!  Welcome! wave smile 

This is my first year using SFG.  I'm using a large east-facing window and everything seems to be doing fine that way.

Unfortunately, I don't have room in the house or garage to put in a light area.  We're discussing a small greenhouse for next year.
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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  camprn on 4/14/2014, 9:01 am

@NatalieWatersSeum wrote:Greetings! 

I am new to starting seeds inside, so any advice is greatly appreciated. You are all such a wealth of information!
They are under a light with two Sylvania Gro-Lux bulbs and kept within 1-2 inches of the light. Now to my questions ... 

1. The seedlings in the outer rows seem to be stretching toward the light. Is that okay? Is there anything I should/could do to prevent that, like raise the light?
Raise the light a few inches and rotate the outer plants into the middle directly under the lamp, for a day or two. This will help with the leggyness. THey get that way because they want more light.


@NatalieWatersSeum wrote:

2. When should I thin them? Next time I definitely will not plant three seeds each as pretty much 100% of my seeds germinated!

Thank you in advance for your help!

Natalie
You could start managing the plants now. Be very gentle with them. I suggest lifting the cell plug and separating the seedlings and planting a single plant into a single cell. If you don't have cell packs try recycling other containers you have in the house. yogurt cups, paper or plastic milk containers. Cut those down the middle, top to bottom for 2 small planting containers, etc.

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Re: Enough/right light?

Post  NatalieWatersSeum on 4/14/2014, 11:42 am

Boffer -- I am trying the aluminum foil today! Thanks, great tip! 

And Sanderson -- I really like your set-up! I have four shelves with one 2-ft light with two bulbs on each shelf. I am thinking the way you did it is better. I'll remember that for next year, but if I suggest a major change to my hubby at this point, he may loose it! 

Thanks, everyone!
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