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folding light set

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a ( on
Tue, Feb 8, 11 at 16:30

I found something in a seed catalog that is for starting from seed, a 48" (4 foot) folding light set.

It's already assembled. There are similar products from other seed catalogs I order from, but this is the cheapest one I could find.

However it's still expensive; with shipping, it's $84.

Does anybody know of something I could find online that is similar to this? Using shop lights aren't feasible for me.
If you find something, please provide the link, and please
make sure that the shipping isn't something that is really expensive.

I'm on a limited budget with gardening, that's why I'm trying to find something cheaper.

Also does anybody know of where I can find seedling heat mats for a reasonable price online where I won't get ripped off with shipping?

I realize that I could save money by just putting my seedlings on top of the refrigerator, because it's always warm there. However I don't know if that will be a feasible option.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: folding light set

Here's one for under $60 from Amazon:

I use a 2 foot shop light that's plugs into an outlet and hang it on a bookshelf. I've seen posts on other forums where people have used a plug in shoplight hanging on a frame built with pvc pipes from Home Depot. Their 4' shop lights are about $12 and the pipes can't be that much, along with a couple of hooks and chains.

I place my seed pots either on top of the radiators in the rooms or right on top of the cable box, as that's always on. Good luck, and be creative!

RE: folding light set

Well I managed to find a heat mat for 22.49 and it says it's eligible for free shipping.

However for a 48" light set, what size mat what I need?

I also found a 24" light set for about $46, but would this be big enough to start tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, broccoli, and cabbage seedlings?

the three sizes are these....

20" x 20" (1-1/2 feet by 1-1/2 feet)
48" x 20" (4 feet by 1-1/2 feet)
9" x 20" (almost a foot by 1-1/2 feet)

Is the size of the mat I need dependent on the size
of the gro light I get, or does this not matter?

RE: folding light set

When I was first starting out I screwed two hooks into the ceiling above the shelf in my closet and hung a four foot shoplight from that using chains. It worked great, and I grew hundreds of seedlings that way. The seedlings sat in trays on the closet shelf.
Everyday that it was warm enough I would move the seedlings outside in full sun and then take them back in at night.

RE: folding light set

You would just need a heat mat for germination. So a small one would be fine.

I am not sure if I understand you correctly.

Lights sets are WAY more expensive than a 10 dollar shelf at a big box and one strip light (48" florescent 2 bulb fixture).

It depends on how many seedlings you are planting in regards to how many lights you will need. On AVERAGE one 48" fixture will be okay for 30 mature plants (mature enough to plant out in the garden in the Spring).

If you are trying to save money, I would skip the heat mat and use a CPU unit or cable box or the top of your fridge to germinate your seedlings

I hope that helps


RE: folding light set

Well the one question I had about the heating mats is that
there are seed starting sets (flats basically) where they are essentially mini greenhouses. They have a clear cover that keeps light in. Would this give the seedlings more heat and allow them to germinate?

If I were to use this, would a heating mat be necessary?

I'd love to use shop lights, because they're more affordable, but as stated before, it's not feasible for me.

Also when you start from seed initially (as in you just plant them) how many inches does the light need to be above the seeds? Once they germinate, do you move the light further up or keep it at the same level? If you keep it at the same level, for how long (how many weeks basically)

People also say you should pot up seedlings to make their root systems stronger. How old should the seedlings be when you transfer them from flats to bigger containers?

If you use bigger containers to start with, can you just skip potting up?

RE: folding light set I am more confused. I think you are using the term feasible when you mean practical. It is not practical to use shop lights and your fridge, because feasible is relating to money and shop lights are cheaper, thus being more feasible.... Regardless.....

The commercial or "home/hobby" greenhouses that are set-up indoors have plastic that goes around them, but that is too keep humidity up, not light. You can't really hold in light unless you have a reflective surface. Other systems include a plain 1020 tray with a clear dome one top of the flat and a light that is adjustable above it, that serves the same purpose.

A heating mat is not necessary for the plants you are growing, but it will speed up the germination process.

Light for germination: I keep mine just over the humidity dome to 4" away. Once they germinate I keep them 1-2" away from the plants. I adjust the lights as the plant grows so it is always 1-2" away. This is impossible to calculate into days because all plants are different and all environments are different.

Potting up: you could start in larger containers so you do not have to pop up into a large one, but I like to transplant A: because my germination and seedlings with only their first set of true leaves are in a different grow area. B: I believe transplanting builds a strong root system and C: many of my seedlings need to be potted up deeper than germinated and this is easier to do when moving from a smaller container into a larger one as so I do not disturb the roots too much. (others only fill their containers 1/2 way and then continue to add soil as they grow).

Age of seedling for transplant: Anytime you can safely handle the true leaves. I usually transplant between 2 and 6 sets of true leaves depending on the plant variety. The longer you wait, the more tangled the roots could become with another plant or become root bound, but if you don't wait long enough, you may snap the stem off while transplanting.

I hope that helps! : )


RE: folding light set

Well with the heating mat I found something that is useful.

It has a setup with a plastic tray and 72 peat pellets. Included is a heating mat. Somebody said earlier that a foot grow light can hold 30 plants. This set up with the plastic tray is 22" long according to the description.

My question is, would you have to with the size of it, (the size of the pellets)
have to pot up the seedlings to bigger size containers?

When you transplant the seedlings if you choose to do more than 30, is it going to be too big for a 4 foot grow light?

Also when seedlings have 2-6 true leaves, how old are they (roughly). It would be easiest for me to keep track of when they're ready to be transplanted by keeping track of their age (in weeks).

Also I've been told you can add a weak fertilizer solution to the seedlings when they're old enough, but how old would they have to be? I don't want to fertilize them when they're too young, as I realize this may kill them.

I was going to repot them to peat pots, but is this a good idea, or would you advise against it? Some people say that peat pots are seedling killers and advise against using them, others say they're great; so I'm getting mixed signals.

RE: folding light set

Kawaiineko, I'm new to starting from seed, but I've purchased the items that I think you're looking at. (I know it could be done more cheaply but I have small children, limited space, and nowhere to rig up shoplights.) From Amazon, I have the

Hydrofarm JSV2 2-Foot Jump Start T5 Grow Light System

Hydrofarm Seedling Heat Mat

and from Walmart, I picked up the

Jiffy Professional Greenhouse with 72 peat pellets
(also sold on Amazon but more expensive there)

The seed mat and greenhouse seed tray fit well below the 2' Grow Light system, with an inch or so of extra space on each end. The seed mat is long enough for just one greenhouse seed tray.

The 4' Grow Light system (also sold on Amazon) would therefore probably fit two seed mats and two greenhouses.

The pics on the front of the Jiffy seed tray show seedlings being transplanted directly from the seed pellets into a garden. If seedlings were potted up into larger containers prior to transplanting to the garden, I'd say probably only half of the original 72 seedlings would fit under the 2' grow system.

The clear cover on the seed tray is, I believe, mainly for humidity, not heat. The seed mat (or other source of warmth) is what raises the temperature of the soil, in order to speed up germination.

Hope this helps


RE: folding light set

30 plants for approx. 4ft shop light.

a 22" set up could hold 10-15 mature seedlings in my opinion.


RE: folding light set

I managed to find something that is essentially a seedling flat. It's normally used for hydroponic gardening (the flat I found).

Below is the link for the product. You'll have to manually copy and paste it into your internet browser, click 'send' the wait for it to reload the site via opening it in a new window. / Reservoir / Grow Systems&type=product

Also I did manage to find heat mats, but since I'm on a budget, even $20-$30 is expensive for me. Is there anyplace else I can find them cheaper? I don't mind if they're used, so long as they're in good condition. Also this is going to seem like a really stupid question, but are all heating mats used for seedling transplant germination waterproof?

According to the product description it can hold 72 seedlings, and you'll be able to transplant earlier using it (2-6 weeks, as opposed to say, 8-12 weeks for tomato seedlings, bell pepper seedlings, and eggplant seedlings).

My question is, if I were to use this, are those really accurate guidelines? Also since I would be able to transplant them out sooner (earlier basically) would I be able to fit more seedlings in a smaller area.......72 under a 4 foot light fixture as opposed to 30 (and I'm referring to using this seedling flat I found when I ask about it).

I know it's designed for hydroponic gardening, but would
I still be able to use the flat for just starting seedling transplants indoors. If it really can transplant stuff out earlier, then when I go to harden the seedlings off, could I keep them all in the flat until they're strong enough to be directly transplanted where they're to grow, or would they have to be transplanted to bigger individual containers when they're hardened off?

RE: folding light set

If you are on a budget, why would you spend 40 bucks on a hydroponic flat when you can use a seedling flat found at a big box store for under 15 bucks if you are on a budget? Plus you have to buy their plugs for it because it is not meant to hold soil.

Youc an even use yogurt containers and other containers to start and grow your plants in.

I think you are making this way more complicated for yourself than needed.

This should be a fun experience!

Heat= fridge or cable box (free)
light = 24" strip mounted under a cabinet ($15)
soil = seedling mix ($5-10)
containers = big-box flat ($5-9)
transplant container = recycled food containers (free)

No, I would not go by those guidelines. I woudl get peppers started 2 weeks ago in zone 5 and they will be ready by mother's day. Tomatoes, I start some now and some 5 weeks before mother's day.

FYI- there is a difference between transplanting and transplanting into their final places outside. I transplant 2/3 times inside before I start to harden them off for outside.

Age of seedling with 2 sets of true leaves... my tomatoes are 8 days old and my begonias are 2.5 weeks old at that point, so it depends on what you are growing and the growing conditions. In general, there are NO black and white answers in gardening. It is experimenting, trial and error.


RE: folding light set

I don't think it's practical to start them on the top of the fridge in all honesty. The fact that I can actually start them indoors as transplants is a miracle in and of itself.

I never said I was actually going to buy the hydroponic flat, it's just something I was considering.

If a 2 foot grow light will hold a greenhouse seed kit (such as a biodome) of 30 seedlings (that are ready to be transplanted outdoors and hardened off, will a 4 foot light
be able to hold a hobby greenhouse of 72 seedlings or not?

My goal is to start them early enough indoors that they're old enough to be hardened off, but still small enough
that I don't have to repot them to larger containers. I realize repotting to bigger containers strengthens root systems, however this is my way of trying to save space, which is at a premium for me, and something I have a very limited amount of.

I really need help figuring out the timing as to when to start them so they're not so large they have to be repotted to larger containers. Supposedly according to the weather channel, spring is supposed to come earlier, as is warmer spring weather (basically March as opposed to April).

However is this actually going to happen or is this 'warm weather spell' only temporary?

I live in Northern Michigan in the upper part of the lower peninsula. Normally planting dates are early to mid may, depending on if the weather is cooperating. Cool weather crops can be planted a Month earlier, at the start of April.

I'm just trying to figure out when to actually start my seedling transplants. Is it too early? I'm especially concerned about the timing issue with stuff like tomatoes and bell peppers and eggplants. Again I'd like them to be strong enough and sturdy enough to be hardened off, but not so big that I have to repot them to bigger containers while they're still being grown indoors.

Typically what is a guesstimate of how many weeks indoors bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes need to be started as transplants. I've heard eggplant transplants and bell pepper transplants take longer, but how many weeks do they need (8, 12, etc.)

RE: folding light set

I use a twin sized mattress pad instead of a heating mat to speed up the seed germination. Wal-Mart had them on clearance for $25.
I can get 9 10" x 20" flats on one mat laying flat on my kitchen floor. You can also cut it in half (leaving the heating cord intact) and cover two different shelves.

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