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LED grow lights......any advice?

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LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  lyndeeloo on 9/22/2014, 4:25 pm

I would like to bring in some tomato and pepper plants for the winter and was thinking of investing in LED grow lights. I have done a lot of reading online and in store research, but I find it difficult to make heads or tails of all the technical information.  I was wondering if anyone has used them and had any advice. It's a big investment and I'd love to hear from someone that actually uses them before I make a decision. Thanks!
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  boffer on 9/22/2014, 4:52 pm

I get lost in the technical data too.

Plantoid is a proponent of LED lighting and is using them.  If he doesn't respond in this thread, you should PM him.  Here are his and my opinions about lights for indoor growing:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t18101-grow-lights#198881

I haven't tried LEDs.  From what I've read about them, I'm not ready to make the investment yet.  Developmentally, they are in their infancy, akin to color televisions and desktop computers when they first became available ie. high priced and lots of room for improvement.

I'm learning the hard way that tomatoes need a certain amount of light every day, as well as heat.  I tried growing 2 tomato plants indoors under a HID Metal Halide 600 watt light.  The plants grew well and were healthy, but fruit production was low, despite the hand pollination I did.  

I haven't tried growing peppers under lights.
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  plantoid on 9/22/2014, 5:10 pm

I have  only used them in conjunction with a heated temperature controlled bed , they are in a three sided lidded enclosure . i only used the bed and light to germinate  and grow plants to a suitable size for transplanting or planting out in the gardens
 
As I also have a glasshouse  I usually moved the germinated seeds with at least two  leaves on them out into the glasshouse which also has a heated bed in 12 x 16 inch seed trays full with 32 or 33 of my bottomless seed growing tubes . then grew them on in cooler frost free conditions till planting out time arrived.

The reduction in electricity costs from using strips or incandescent lamps to me using the LED's should have easily paid for the two LED full spectrum lights I have as they are now two years old and have been used for about five months solid for each of the two years .

 The lamps were suspended about five inches above the seeds , the walls of the enclosure are made from foil backed insulation foam with theh reflective foil on the inside to reflect any  light back to the plants .
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 7/30/2017, 3:46 pm

I just found these, too. I might just have to spring for a couple of these and see if they're any better than those blue-painted grow-bulbs from Walmart.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VSMVWEC?psc=1
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 7/30/2017, 4:03 pm

Well, DUH! Another lesson learned the hard way!

HGTV wrote:Incandescent lights are good for lighting up a room or growing low-light houseplants, such as vines, ferns or dracaenas. They have limited utility for growing plants with higher light requirements. These lights put out only about 10 percent of their energy as light while 90 percent is heat. 

No wonder I failed so miserably at indoor gardening. To make things even worse, I just kept adding more and more of those stupid lights, thinking the problem was quantity, not quality. Embarassed
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  plantoid on 7/30/2017, 5:15 pm

@lyndeeloo wrote:I would like to bring in some tomato and pepper plants for the winter and was thinking of investing in LED grow lights. I have done a lot of reading online and in store research, but I find it difficult to make heads or tails of all the technical information.  I was wondering if anyone has used them and had any advice. It's a big investment and I'd love to hear from someone that actually uses them before I make a decision. Thanks!


 There are broad spectrum " Growlux " tube lights that people use in their vivariums ( reptile tanks )& aquariums ( fish tanks ) to grow greenery all year round indoors .  If you use them you're best to also get a light testing meter to keep & eye on the outputs of infra red & ultra violet light etc. being given out .



 The LED multi coloured grow panels do work well for germination so long as you get the moisture & bottom heat correct  .   .  I have used the same pair of blue & red mixture 4 inch dia lamps for about six months each year for the last four years to  germinate & grow seeds into health seedlings in my indoor cable under the sand heated bed propagation .

 I've not bothered trying to grow any of these seedlings to cropping size under the LED lighting as I also have a heated bed growing out in my glasshouse where they can get natural daylight .


Wink  These people also use sodium & mercury vapour lamps & all manner of devices to disguise there growint activities for the law enforcers .
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 7/30/2017, 5:34 pm

I have no problem getting seeds to germinate. The problem is getting plants to produce inside or in the greenhouse in the winter. I've spent hours trying to find a real person who has actually used these for that purpose, but so far, no luck. I was going to go all out on this, but since it looks like I'll be the guinea pig, I think I'll scale back and only try a couple of these. Rolling Eyes
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/30/2017, 6:03 pm

How serious are you in this endeavor? Are you wanting to produce food? How much are you willing to spend?

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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 7/30/2017, 6:05 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:How serious are you in this endeavor? Are you wanting to produce food? How much are you willing to spend?
Yes, I'm serious. Yes, I want to produce food. I don't mind spending a few hundred, but I'm not willing to go any higher.
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/30/2017, 7:15 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:I have no problem getting seeds to germinate. The problem is getting plants to produce inside or in the greenhouse in the winter. I've spent hours trying to find a real person who has actually used these for that purpose, but so far, no luck. I was going to go all out on this, but since it looks like I'll be the guinea pig, I think I'll scale back and only try a couple of these. Rolling Eyes

It's one thing to start seeds indoors and transplant outside when ready. It's a whole new ballgame growing indoors and actually producing food. It's expensive. Requires good equipment that includes other things besides lights...like cooling, watering, and timing methods. Food produced will not be to same production levels as grown outside. You can grow some herbs indoors and maybe a few other things (tender lettuce maybe?) easily enough, but you are going to spend big money to produce much more than a bowl or two of salad for more than one person once or twice.
There are ways to get more light production out of bulbs and tubes, but you will spend money to make them work and it will not be very cost effective to run them.
I highly encourage you to do some deep reading to see if it really is an adventure you're willing to take on. For a few hundred dollars, I think you'd be largely disappointed.

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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  plantoid on 7/30/2017, 7:22 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@RoOsTeR wrote:How serious are you in this endeavor? Are you wanting to produce food? How much are you willing to spend?
Yes, I'm serious. Yes, I want to produce food. I don't mind spending a few hundred, but I'm not willing to go any higher.



 Put .... " crop growing under artificial light " into Goggle & have a look to see if anything takes your fancy ..it's a massive subject .
I could use a paraffin wick heater lamp / burner to give back ground heat in my glasshouse all through winter .
 I could also use a thermostatically controlled propane tank gas burner to keep heat at 65 oF or so but it would be expensive
  Yellow sodium lights with heat & light deflectors used to be used in large commercial glasshouses  along with mercury vapour lamps & similar sized "  GROW LAMPS " .
 

 The banks 18 x 20 inches or so of specially produced mixed frequency light wave LED panels are appearing the be the way forward but if the winters in your area are going to be cold then you will need heat too .

 Re heat ,
 A sub surface bed heat system where a thermostatically controlled under sand heat cable set up that then has a layer of polythene on top of the damp sand with  MM soil on top of it is one way of getting bottom heat tyhat rises to keep th plant roots & growth warm ,
I have an automatic timed water misting set up on my heated propagation bed too .

 This year I haven't  filled the top half of the bed with MM & grown any thing in it nas I've been in & out of hospital but it is a viable method for a 3' x 4 'bed that has 6 " of mm on a separated by plastic sheet 4 " layer of silver sand thtt contains the heat cable & thermostat  .

Making an inner tent of small bubble wrap in a glass house heated by two or three 60 watt incandescent bulbs can often keep your glass house free of frost & allow you to grow salad stuff & certain hardy crops in the glasshouse if you also use th LED set up. for artificial sunlight .


 Some folks are resorting to solar panels & an " immersum water heaters " to heat insulated tanks of water to provide low flow rates of  pumped heated water 24/7 .. I don't know how effective or expensive it is .  Some of these water tanks are set two or three feet in the ground in fully insulated chambers below the mean floor of the glasshouse so that any heat leakage  that  conducts through the soil can be used by the plants too  .
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 7/30/2017, 8:01 pm

NUTZ! Mad Thanks to both of you for all the info and advice. I think I'll get a 4' 2-tube fluorescent fixture for the greenhouse and a couple of LED bulbs and lamps for the sun room and see what I can do. It's cucumbers and tomatoes I'm after. If I can grow some late ones outside in containers and bring them inside when the nights start getting cold, maybe I can make them last a little longer this way. Maybe I can also get an earlier start in the spring, too, and actually get a few tomatoes before the heat hits. I've solved the cucumber problem with Armenians, but I guess I'll have to give up on tomatoes.

3 years ago, I brought a cherry tomato plant and a cucumber plant inside and they produced all winter with just natural light. I had no idea it was a fluke. Every year since, I've worked harder, spent more money, and had nothing but failures. This is breaking my heart. Sad
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  yolos on 7/30/2017, 8:34 pm

I solved my problem in the spring by using what I call a Tomato Wagon.  I ate my first tomato approx 30 days after I planted it in the garden.  Start early and roll the wagon in and out of the garage when it gets cold.  Plant the tomatoes outside after the last frost date.  Also use an early variety of tomato.  This year I grew one Early Girl.  It worked for me because most days our temps get up above 50*F during the day.

I planted the seeds inside and grew them inside under T-8 bulbs.  Then when our days stayed above 50*F I up-potted them to larger pots and put them on top of the wagon.  Rolled it outside when we had nice sunny weather and temps above 50*F.  I had tomatoes setting on the plants before our last frost date and my first ripe tomato on 5/11.

One year I did this in the fall/winter using a smaller variety of tomato.  I had ripe tomatoes all the way up until New Years.


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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/30/2017, 9:25 pm

I have a total of $60 in my shelving lighting unit....

I use T8s, have 2 rows. And that is sufficient.
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/30/2017, 10:30 pm

Just to be clear. My responses have been to growing food with 'artificial' light ONLY. Not transplanting, or moving in and out as weather permits. My responses have also been geared towards PRODUCING FOOD (as I think I clarified in one of my original questions) and not an occasional snack or nibble or two.  
Others have offered up good suggestions at extending a growing season, but I am/was under the impression the question was actually producing food indoors under lights. Perhaps I have misunderstood the intent. sunny

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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  sanderson on 7/31/2017, 4:32 am

CN, It costs hundreds of dollars in electricity for a true indoor mini-farm. Starting at $500 on up for a 10' x 8' room. And that is just the electricity cost. The lights and air conditioner are extra expenses. The lights produce a lot of heat and an air conditioner is needed to keep the temps and humidity down. If you know anyone who grows specialty crops, they can give you the costs.

I think a small PVC and plastic sheeting outdoor green house, with interior perimeter large old-fashion Christmas lights and a bed room lamp in the center works good. Set a timer for the lights to go off around 7:30 - 8 AM in the winter or the plants will suffer when the sun is up. Extra money for automatic opening and closing vents might be worth the cost, also.


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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  plantoid on 7/31/2017, 6:09 am

@countrynaturals wrote:NUTZ! Mad Thanks to both of you for all the info and advice. I think I'll get a 4' 2-tube fluorescent fixture for the greenhouse and a couple of LED bulbs and lamps for the sun room and see what I can do. It's cucumbers and tomatoes I'm after. If I can grow some late ones outside in containers and bring them inside when the nights start getting cold, maybe I can make them last a little longer this way. Maybe I can also get an earlier start in the spring, too, and actually get a few tomatoes before the heat hits. I've solved the cucumber problem with Armenians, but I guess I'll have to give up on tomatoes.

3 years ago, I brought a cherry tomato plant and a cucumber plant inside and they produced all winter with just natural light. I had no idea it was a fluke. Every year since, I've worked harder, spent more money, and had nothing but failures. This is breaking my heart. Sad


 Interesting  that you had crops in the first year ... I don't think it would have been a fluke event .
Especially as you didn't use LED  grow light for extra strengths of the  wave lengths of light that reduce in winter .
 Were your plants in flower when you brought them inside perhaps having already been pollinated by insects or the wind whilst outside ?

Did you pollinate the indoor tomatoes indoor flowers  by hand such as tapping  a cluster of flowers with a finger several times to put pollen in the air ?  Did you hand pollinate the indoor cucumbers indoor flowers with a paint brush ( you get male & female flowers )

If not that could be your problem.
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 7/31/2017, 10:39 am

@plantoid wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:3 years ago, I brought a cherry tomato plant and a cucumber plant inside and they produced all winter with just natural light. I had no idea it was a fluke. Every year since, I've worked harder, spent more money, and had nothing but failures. This is breaking my heart. Sad

 Interesting  that you had crops in the first year ... I don't think it would have been a fluke event .
Especially as you didn't use LED  grow light for extra strengths of the  wave lengths of light that reduce in winter .
 Were your plants in flower when you brought them inside perhaps having already been pollinated by insects or the wind whilst outside ?

Did you pollinate the indoor tomatoes indoor flowers  by hand such as tapping  a cluster of flowers with a finger several times to put pollen in the air ?  Did you hand pollinate the indoor cucumbers indoor flowers with a paint brush ( you get male & female flowers )

If not that could be your problem.
I figured it out in the middle of the night. Rolling Eyes That winter was in the height of the drought. We had beautiful sunny days all during that short winter, so those plants got 3-5 hours of direct sun every day (large south-facing window). The tomato plant was half dead but came back with TLC. I hand-pollinated with an electric toothbrush. I wouldn't have known to hand pollinate the cucumber, so it must have come in with pollinated blossoms. 

This past winter was an absolute disaster. Now I realize that part (or most) of the problem was that the sun rarely came out at all, so the whole burden fell on my inadequate, incandescent lighting system. I've learned a lot this year, so I won't make the same mistakes, but I'm sure I can come up with some new ones. Rolling Eyes
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 10/31/2017, 4:58 pm

Bump! I ordered 2 big, pricey full-spectrum LED grow light bulbs from Amazon. They are here and I will start using them next week, after the nights start getting cold and Daylight Savings Time goes off. I'll keep you posted on whether these puppies are worth the money or not. Rolling Eyes
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Post  No_Such_Reality on 10/31/2017, 7:37 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:Bump! I ordered 2 big, pricey full-spectrum LED grow light bulbs from Amazon. They are here and I will start using them next week, after the nights start getting cold and Daylight Savings Time goes off. I'll keep you posted on whether these puppies are worth the money or not. Rolling Eyes

I'm curious which ones.  I've seen the  little individual lights, the aerogarden light meant to stand alone plants.  Been debating on ordering one since doing starts may be better.

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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  countrynaturals on 10/31/2017, 11:36 pm

@No_Such_Reality wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:Bump! I ordered 2 big, pricey full-spectrum LED grow light bulbs from Amazon. They are here and I will start using them next week, after the nights start getting cold and Daylight Savings Time goes off. I'll keep you posted on whether these puppies are worth the money or not. Rolling Eyes

I'm curious which ones.  I've seen the  little individual lights, the aerogarden light meant to stand alone plants.  Been debating on ordering one since doing starts may be better.
I ordered 2 of these.

https://www.amazon.com/Industrial-Grade-LED-Grow-Light/dp/B01CLPVIF2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508613645&sr=8-3&keywords=full+spectrum+led+grow+light

I also have several of the regular grow light bulbs from Walmart. They've never done much good. When we have a mild winter, with lots of sunny days for my southern-facing windows, my plants do okay. When we have a "dark" winter, like last year, nothing works. I think those regular grow lights are a joke. Mad
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  No_Such_Reality on 11/1/2017, 12:09 pm

I spent years with live plants in a 80 gallon aquarium.  Specialized daylight bulbs and plant bulbs, but ultimately, it boiled down to wattage which with florescent bulbs translated into lumens which was brightness.  If I open the light hood, the bulbs burned like stepping outside into a sunny day.

It's the same with plants, IMHO.  Some plants, particularly the currently hydroponic of choice under going legalization in many areas responds very well to spectrum control.

I equate it to factory farmed chicken and beef versus wild game or pastured animal. I kind of like the aerogarden bulbs because of the white light with red and blue.  The red and blue are good, but I just go with my gut that full spectrum may result in trace nutrition/growth.  Granted, LED white isn't full spectrum.  I'd love to see spectrum charts for the bulbs.  While red and blue drive most of the plant, there is some action in the yellow and green portion of the spectrum.

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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/1/2017, 8:17 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:Just to be clear. My responses have been to growing food with 'artificial' light ONLY. Not transplanting, or moving in and out as weather permits. My responses have also been geared towards PRODUCING FOOD (as I think I clarified in one of my original questions) and not an occasional snack or nibble or two.  
Others have offered up good suggestions at extending a growing season, but I am/was under the impression the question was actually producing food indoors under lights. Perhaps I have misunderstood the intent. sunny
Truth.  I do not grow indoor food.  Totally different situation!
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Re: LED grow lights......any advice?

Post  No_Such_Reality on 11/2/2017, 1:02 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:
@RoOsTeR wrote:Just to be clear. My responses have been to growing food with 'artificial' light ONLY. Not transplanting, or moving in and out as weather permits. My responses have also been geared towards PRODUCING FOOD (as I think I clarified in one of my original questions) and not an occasional snack or nibble or two.  
Others have offered up good suggestions at extending a growing season, but I am/was under the impression the question was actually producing food indoors under lights. Perhaps I have misunderstood the intent. sunny
Truth.  I do not grow indoor food.  Totally different situation!

Whole mini farm in a box is available.  https://www.freightfarms.com/product#lgm-2017

Just a 1000 KWH electricity per week...

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