Lighting question

chele519(5)April 12, 2011

I've read thru posts and looked at pictures and can't seem to find a definite answer.

I recently bought one of those wire shelving units from Sam's. It works great and I have 4 flats on 2 of the shelves. I have 3 of the Home Depot shop lights on each shelf. I'm new to this and wondering if the lights need to be directly over all the plants? The flats stick out a little on the front and back so they are not directly under the lights in those areas but of course some of the light spills over. I try to not use the full amount of the tray so that there are very few that are not right under the lights. Should I move those plants on the end to another shelf with another light or is it ok the way it is? I see some people look like they only have 2 lights on those same shelves in some of the light setup pictures but I can't be sure.

Either way, I will need to be picking up another light soon as I've been transplanting like crazy and they won't all fit. I bought the box of Philips cool white but I'm wondering if with the next box I should go with the daylight deluxe and mix them in with the cool whites? Do they make a big difference for the price?


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Sticking out "a little" is kind of vague. If you notice the plants on the end leaning dramatically in towards the lights, then you might want to rotate them every few days with ones in the center. Mine stick out almost 2" past the lights and I dont notice any difference in the plants.

I personally am sticking with the cheaper cool white bulbs. I am not trying to get anything to flower or fruit inside. Even in zone 4 we are getting warm enough weather that I have started moving the older/bigger seedlings outside on my screened-in porch during the day. They get dappled "full spectrum" light out there, and give me room to start new plants under the lights.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:13AM
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It's about 2" that these stick out, they don't seem to be leaning but I will keep an eye on them.

I can't put anything outside in my area yet, we had 1 or 2 warm days but tomorrow will be only in the 40's again. I do have some pvc and plastic that I'm going to use to make a temporary cold frame. I just haven't had time because I've spent so much time transplanting this week. As I'm transplanting to bigger containers of course I need more lights to cover them all. It's fun though.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 2:18PM
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40 degrees is fine for Lettuce, Broccoli, Cabbage, Peas, and quite a few other things - not Peppers, Eggplant or Tomatoes. I am bringing mine in at night, if it looks like it will drop below 40 (which it usually is right now). They dont need lights at night, so my growing shelves are full of other starts. We are going to get colder, and possible snow at the end of the week, I'll keep them inside then, but a few days by the window wont hurt them.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 7:28PM
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I wasn't too concerned with the temps but the wind has been strong lately. Since I am gone all day, I can't bring them in if I need to. I am going to start the lettuce outside this weekend when I will be around. I have the pvc all ready and will just wrap plastic sheeting around it for now. If the lettuce goes into the cold frame, does it still need to go out for only a few hours initially or can I put them in there for the whole day right away? I also wasn't going to put any cover over it so they wouldn't get too hot but still be protected from the wind since they will be down inside the frame. Will this work ok? Oh, and they will be brought in at night.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 2:38PM
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Seedlings love lights. I don't have the fancy set up you have. I have three tables in my basement where I keep my seedlings. From the ceiling I hanging lamps I bought from HD may be it is called shop lamps I don't know. Each lamp has 60 watt flourcent. I discovered that the plants directly under the light are growing bigger and faster and more healthy. So I kept adding Lamps now up to 8 lamps. I keep them on 24/7. The problem is my tomato almost 2 feet, squash went wild and cucumber and Cantaloupe following and all are growing the pots. It is too cold to take them outside now at least three weeks to go. I have no time or patience to report them. I was thinking to turn the lights off at night but I hesitated and told them babies hold just for few more weeks.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 12:27AM
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Sounds like we're in the same boat =) I'm a second year newbie and I just bought one of the wire shelves and hooked up a bunch of lights etc. I am so excited about mine! Last year was my first doing a ton of seedlings and I had them in every corner of my house. It was driving me bonkers! And wow, do the plants ever appreciate this new setup too. Much more light control etc.

I used 2 each of 2 bulb shop lights from home depot and other ones I got for free from friends etc. on each shelf, I don't think I could fit more if I wanted. I think I bought the 48" x 20" shelving unit. My trays are not directly under lights on each edge a little, maybe 1-2" on each side. I usually pull a tray out at a time to bottom water and I rotate them around when I do that, so haven't really noticed any issues at all.

I'm using Phillips and GE plant and aquarium bulbs. Overkill maybe, but it was high on my birthday wish list and the family came I've heard using 1 cool and 1 warm mixed together works really well though and I did some research and I'll probably go that way when I actually have to buy them :)

Here's a pic, the ends of the flats definitely don't get as much light. I think rotating is important.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:20AM
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Yep, same setup as me. Although I have 2 shelves with 3 shop lights and 1 shelf with just 1. My lettuce is going outside now so that frees up some space under the lights, thank god!

Originally I had bought a 2 pack of warm and 2 cool at Walmart. THey were GE and the cool is much brighter than the cool Philips at HD. One is 6500k and the other is 4100. The rest I'm using all cool Philips. I think I would have preferred the daylight deluxe, they would have been closer to the GE but the Philips seem to be working well too. Aren't those shelves terrific? It was expensive but it will last forever.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 6:20AM
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