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Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

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Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  momvetkat on 2/19/2015, 11:22 pm

I did read the seed starting threads but didn't find an answer to my dilemma
. I had some success years ago starting my tomatoes indoors. I do have a grow light system (I believe it is Hydrofarm but I am out of town right now so can't check and a heating mat) and started some seeds indoors this year after digging my things out of the closet. I started tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, spinach, kale, parsley, onions and shallots in peat pellets (I used one of the 72 cell Jiffy systems). Kept the dome on until some things sprouted and kept the heat mat on until almost everything sprouted. I kept the lights within 2 inches of the plants. Most of the plants look pretty good, but they seem "leggy" to me and I have had a couple (parsley, zinnias) just keel over (yet the adjacent same plant looks fine. Sorry this is so long, but at this point they are like my babies. Do I need to put them in bigger containers, and when? Also, I only have one light (hanging by a tripod over them). Once they are in bigger containers, where does the light hang? The little ones will be far away. This probably sounds silly but I truly don't know what to do. I need a better lighting system?


Last edited by camprn on 2/21/2015, 8:02 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : expand title)

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  slimbolen99 on 2/20/2015, 7:21 am

I would estimate that the plants that are keeling over are not getting enough light.  Even for seedlings, 2" is quite "high"...I like to keep my lights right on top, not touching, but close, to my seedlings early on.  You want to make sure you have good light coverage as well, any plants not directly under the lights will get less light.  You may need additional lights that you can raise and lower easily.

Hope that helps.  Don't give up.  With every failure, you learn. Trust me, I've been learning for a LONG time.  Smile

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  mschaef on 2/20/2015, 7:34 am

I can't help with the lights but as for the leggyness ( is the even a word Embarassed ) when you put them in bigger containers you can plant them deeper. That will give the a better root system as well as fix the leggyness.

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  jimmy cee on 2/20/2015, 8:48 am

This picture may show you the lighting I am using, I'm happy with the results.
My lamps are fixed to the frame, I moved the trays down as needed\
I also rotate my trays every 2 days. Using a crock pot full of water, set on low with everything covered at night is giving me nice seedlings.

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  yolos on 2/20/2015, 9:29 am

@momvetkat wrote: Also, I only have one light (hanging by a tripod over them). Once they are in bigger containers, where does the light hang? The little ones will be far away. This probably sounds silly but I truly don't know what to do. I need a better lighting system?
This is only my second season for starting seedlings inside so this is the only part of the question I can answer.  I also only have one light and different veggies growing under it.  The tomatoes are taller and the lettuce is real short.  So I use something underneath the shorter plants pots to raise them up.  I have a lot of scrap pieces of 2 x 4's that I stack or unstack as needed under each size pot.  Therefore, the shorter ones can be raised up higher to the lights.

I keep the lights right up next to the leaves.

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  sanderson on 2/20/2015, 1:45 pm

Momvet, Is your weather warm enough to put the seedlings outside during the day? Nothing like real sunshine for plants. PS: I've got some legginess in some seedlings and this is my 3rd year of seeding indoors! Embarassed I think I need to take them outside when the weather permits.

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  AtlantaMarie on 2/20/2015, 2:56 pm

I'm not currently using either a heating mat or lights.  I put the seeds in Jiffy pellets and put them in an east-facing window with the drapes open.  They seem to be doing fine. 

10/12 tomatoes have sprouted and are about 1" high.  The mini bells (6) haven't sprouted yet.

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  momvetkat on 2/20/2015, 11:55 pm

The weather has been extremely warm and I wish I had known about putting them out into the real sun. Unfortunately, I spend part of every work week out of town and I have to remind DH to turn the lights on, etc. Now it is supposed to cool off (rain Sun and Mon) but I will try to gradually get them out into "real" sun. Thanks. This forum is the best!

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

Post  sanderson on 2/21/2015, 12:07 am

Timer. A seedling's best friend. DH found one with two 3-prong outlets so I can plug the outlet strip to it. I have 4 fluorescent tubes plugged into the outlet strip.

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Re: Another newbie question: Light for seedlings

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