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Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Posted by Jerry71 6a (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 6, 11 at 11:48

I can not find any thread regarding sunlight versus artificial light so I have to ask for help.
Some of my seedlings are about 4 inches tall with sturdy thick stem. Would they benefit from sun exposure? If so, how much? Direct or filtered? For how long? How big the seedlings have to be before I can expose them to real light? It is all very confusing for a newbie.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Depends on the type of seedling which in return depends on the plant. This isn't a one for all answer to give here. Some plants are shade oriented which means they grow best in shade, they will not need light as those plants that are full sun plants.

With that said, there is no in particular stage for a seedling that is for a full sun plant that it can not handle full sun. Just take for instance rudbeckia, it is a full sun plant therefore the seedling of rudbeckia can take full sun the same day it germinates. You have to take each plant into consideration and know how it grows as a mature plant before you can answer your question.

What type of plants are you growing??


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Thank you Carolyn for great answer. I should have thought of that! The biggest seedlings are sun loving snapdragons and zinnia, cosmos, Salpiglossis, petunia, black eyed susan vine, lobelia, sweet pea, red millet, nasturtium for now. It is a lot of plants! Last year our store bought lobelia did well on our covered front east facing porch. It had full sun about 6 hours a day.


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RE:Your welcome

Sounds good!! Just make sure if your growing them inside to harden them off before putting them outside.

Hardening off is simply slowly acclimating them to the outside elements!! I know somewhere on this forum there are some easy to follow instructions on hardening off. I do not know where or I do not have a link to them because I do not grow inside. Next year maybe try growing your plants outside, there is no hardening off required for this technique.

By the way you are quite welcome!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 6, 11 at 13:14

Jerry, in transitioning your seedlings to the outside world you need to take it slowly, not give them too much exposure all at once. How many hours over how many days will depend on your weather and climate but your indoor pampered seedlings have been in a sheltered environment and have never been stressed.

They've been grown in conditions that have produced slightly broader leaves than if out in the open, and those leaves will have a thinner cuticle. They won't be used to wind, up and down temps, and no matter how bright, no fluorescent light can compare to the sun.

To get them ready for the real world, a week or more out from your wanted transplant time, start slowly exposing them gradually to outdoors.

Put them out in a shady, protected place for a few brief hours - keep in mind that wind will be as hard on them as sun. Bring them back in and if they don't show any negative results from the previous day, put them back out and add an hour or two. Slowly ease them into a sunnier area if they are plants for sun....Slowly is the key here, you can't harden of plants in just a couple of days. We've probably all rushed them at some point and paid the price with burned seedlings. Take your time, be patient.


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Here is something I just searched out. I have never tried it cause of like I previous said I do not grow indoors. Ha Ha, when I was younger I tried growing indoors and I always had damp off before I even got to the point of hardening off. I had no idea that I was experiencing damp off, so I just stopped growing indoors. Talk about a noob, lol!!

I hope this helps a little. This pretty much is what morz was saying just broke down a little more.

copied from the link provided below

" 1. Begin 7 - 10 days before your transplant date.

2. Place plants in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors. Under a tree or even on your back porch is fine. Leave them for 3-4 hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by 1-2 hours per day.

3. Bring plants back indoors each night.

4. After 2-3 days, move the plants from their shady spot into morning sun, return them to the shade in the afternoon.

5. After 7 days, the plants should be able to handle sun all day and stay out at night, if temperatures stay around 50 degrees F. Keep an eye out that the soil doesn't dry and bake the plants, if the weather is warm.

6. After 7 -10 days your plants are ready to transplant. Try to do so on a cloudy day and be sure to water well after planting. "

One thing that I do is I put the plant in the hole fill the hole with water then add my dirt, I do not know why it works so much better then planting the plant then filling with dirt then watering. I guess cause the water gets to the root quicker. I notice I do not have such a transplant shock when I do this method.

Here is a link that might be useful: about . com


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

I do know about hardening off from years of growing vegetables. In my zone 6 for most of these plants I have to start indoors or I will never see them bloom. The trailing snapdragon variety takes 140 � 160 days from seed to flower. May 3rd is last frost day here so add 160 days to that and we are in October. Nope, it will not work. I started in late January and I think it is too late.Only plants I know gardeners grow here outside from seed would be sweet pea and maybe nasturtium.


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Where are you located Jerry??

Not many grow outside here either. Here is my growing area on February 2nd. 131 approximately different types of plants here in my containers.

2-2-11

Here is one that I am extremely proud of this is lycium chinense (goji berry)

Lycium Chinense/ Goji Berry

Another one I am very proud of is my alpine strawberry this was taken today, I am just starting to get true leaves.

Photobucket

This a troublesome little container, Lupinus perennis (wild prairie lupine) also taken today. Grr I have had more problems with this little plant, but I got 2 that look good and healthy, so I am ok with that.

Photobucket


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RE: Forgot to mention.

I am actually in zone 6b. Northwest corner of tennessee. Some zone maps have me listed as zone 7a but most have me listed as 6b. I just put both zones.

Here are my containers in january. Oh I started sowing on December 21st. The picture was taken from my window, no way I was going out in that cold, lol.

1-07-11


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Wow, Carolyn, this is incredible! Is this what is called winter sawing? I�ve never heard about it until I joined GardenWeb. I assume that you cut the plastic bottles about 80% around and I guess some drainage holes in bottom. When do you start? I have to read on this!
When I inquired about the sunlight I didn�t mean direct sun outside but filtered by glazed sunroom window. I can also shade them with venetian blinds from full to partial sun. I noticed that some plants love it and others will wilt a bit.
BTW, how did you attached pictures to message? I can�t figure it out. I noticed that if I hover over picture with mouse it says "Photobucket".
Thanks for great post morz8 and Carolyn.
Tonight I'll be posting update on my seedlings. Some are almost ready for a bigger pot!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Carolyn,
I am amazed at your winter sowing project! I am starting to collect bottles for this fall. Since we don�t buy any pop or water I will have to bum them out from neighbors, Any leads where I can get some more detailed info, preferably for my area? We watched some videos on YouTube and it is incredible. I am surprised that we do not see it here in Canada. Thank you for opening my eyes.
I did check the Winter Sowing forum but did not find any detailed info. I guess that Google is the best bet and maybe Amazon.


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

I start annuals under lights: lobelias, impatiens, browallia, tuber begonias (got lucky last year). Since I start them in March-April, I put them on a south facing windowsill as soon as they get leaves on them. Then I suppliment with additional fluorescent lighting the rest of the 14 hours that I don't have direct sunlight on the sill. When it's warm out during the day but cold at night in late spring, I put them outside in direct sunlight during the day. I put them outside at the end of May here in the Northeast, no other hardening off. The flowers are really sturdy, and can withstand the sun much better than any that I've bought in the past from retail, even the tuber begonia gets full sun without any leaf burns. I think it's because they are raised in the environment they will eventually grow in.

That's just my experience, but please take into consideration what other posters have said. There's a lot of great gardeners on this site!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

How is your lobelia right now? My still looks like a moss but it is growing. I do take my plants to sunroom if it is sunny. They get 16 hours a day of light. I will be posting my weekly update later this afternoon so if you can have a look and let me know if I am on time or behind I will appreciate that. I will post it with links on this discussion.


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

I haven't stared my lobelias for this year yet; waiting until April 1st. I started them in mid March last year and they got too big by the time I planted them out at the end of May: 6" tall and in full bloom. Too big for indoor growing in the house!!

I did check out your blog and the lobelias look good! I usually thin mine out to about 6-10 per 2 square inches. I plant mine in recycled kids juice boxes, as I find that they need the soil depth to be happy. You may not have to thin them out as they are a real pain, and they don't do that in nature, right? I just pinch off the top leaves instead of trying to yank them out of the soil. Nail scissors would work well also.

They do seem to grow slowly at first, but they do take off once that first set of leaves come in! Definitely keep exposing them to sun, as it is still not very strong this time of year, and they're going to be really sturdy. Mine were in full sun outside from about noon to 6pm during the season, and look better than the ones that are purchased from stores as the summer progresses. Don't let the seedlings dry out and I find that I end up watering the seedlings every other day once they are about an inch or 2 tall. They can be watered less frequently at the early stages.

Grow them once, and you'll wonder why you would ever buy a 6-pack from the nurseries again!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Is it same Lobelia Erinus I am growing? The packet says 20 days to germinate and it will flower 12 weeks after transplant following last frost day. That amounts to 15 weeks or almost 4 months. I thought I started too late and so far it looks like I might have. We will see. First time is always crap shoot.
I never considered thinning them out by pulling unwanted plants out. I have these small Japanese spring scissors that are great for the job and will use them with care. It is too early, I think, it is hard to see individual plants. What a ride this has turned out to be! Thank you, started_with_bean.


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Jerry sorry about the delayed response hee hee been way to busy to remember where I post, lol.

Some things that need a warm cool warm season like helebores I started those in september but I wonder if I was to late for those. Most of my containers I have started on december 21st to february. I have several things I need to get going but sometimes life just gets in the way, hopefully I will have time this weekend to get in the dirt.

As for information the winter sowing forum has a ton of info under the faq's and then Trudi has a website also it is called wintersown.org. There are a ton of people willing to help with any question you may have in regards to winter sowing for the first time, though pretty much you have the concept down. I use water bottles but most use milk jugs. I use whatever I have, whether it be cottage cheese containers or grated cheese containers to water bottles or juice bottles. I think I have in the picture one of those rotisserie chicken containers that is in use also even an ice cream bucket.

I use my containers as I would a starting seed tray, just make sure there is plenty of drainage and of course ventilation. For the water bottles we just toss the lid for the cottage cheese or rotisserie chicken containers we just cut some holes in the top. I have even used a lasagna pan inside a comforter bag. I have drainage holes in the bottom and I cut ventilation holes in the top.

comforter bag

This is the most recent picture I have of the lasagna pan, I think it was taken a few weeks back.

Photobucket

As for the pictures I know there is a link somewhere how to add pictures. Though a simple way to tell you is upload your pictures to a third party photo client. I have been using photobucket some use flikr. They will provide you with an html code and just simply copy and paste the code into the message box. inside the brackets > insert height="500" width="600" for the size of pictures here in this message. I sure hope that helps.

People on the wintersowing forum are extremely eager to help and extremely friendly, they love questions don't be afraid of them. They will welcome you with open arms!! Oh and there are several from canada that winter sow!!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

*Sorry about the size

Here's what my lobelias looked like mid August 2010, after a couple of "haircuts" over the (unusually hot)summer. They looked better at the start of the season. I grew them with sage and basil, so you know it gets a lot of sun. The sage, btw, were extras from a supermarket purchase that was rooted in water and really did well for me afterwards.
Photobucket

The impatiens (also grown from seed) took over the containers.

mid Aug 2010

Carolyn, can you please tell me where and what I'm suppose to insert into the html code to change the size of the pictures? Thanks!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

How can I thank you Carolyn! My wife and I are so excited to try this method. Not that we are looking forward fall and winter sowing season, we just want to start gardening and play golf, the regular retiree stuff.
I will definitely frequent the winter sowing forum and I will read on it. I have a lot of time before we start, right?
You have quite a setup! This morning I threw out some strawberry container and then realized that they could be used for winter sowing, there are holes at bottom and sides and it has a lid. They are now squirreled away. Thank you so much for your information. You are one of the reasons why this board is so great.
Started_with_bean, the lobelias are so beautiful! It is hard to imagine that the moss like looking plant will one day be like this.
Thanks for the pictures.


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Started_with_bean--not to thread hijack, quick question re your supplementation with fluorescent light during the hours that you don't have direct light on your window sill. Do you keep the fluorescent very close to your plants, or do you have it up and a little away from them, just adding to the general amount of light in the area?

Thanks!
Deanna


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Deanna, I grow my seedlings in the basement but when it is sunny or very light I do bring them to our sunroom. As you can see on my blog they are just couple of inches away from tubes. It is a bit complicated because they are all different height, lobelia is about quarter inch high and some snapdragons are 5 inches tall.
My question is, do the tall ones have to be so close to light source? I understand small seedlings but one that are almost ready to be moved to larger pot should be more tolerant, no?
Check my blog and then click on "The Garden" at top to see more detailed pictures.
Jerry
There is so much to growing from seeds then meets the eye!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fluorescent light setup


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Started with bean you can insert insert height="500" width="600" for the size of pictures I used in the post earlier on. Just change the 500 and the 600 for smaller or wider pictures. I have also used 350 by 470. Just play with the numbers a little and you will find a size you like. I will add I think your pictures are just fine the size they are.

Jerry you are very welcome, I received your email late last night and I figured I would have a better mind set to respond this morning.

You can winter sow now if you would like you do not have to wait till the end of the year. The official container count for winter sowing ends on may 1st, if I am not mistaken. Many have already started and are still sowing, I may sow my last container around april.

In regards to the strawberry container I like those I have to figure how to close off my drainage holes just a tad bit but they already have the ventilation holes for you. I have containers squirreled away everywhere and my family saves them for me, they say don't you have enough by now. It is an addiction major, cause I reply, no no I need more, lol.

Thank you so much Jerry for your kind words, and I can't wait to see pictures of your plants!!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Deanna--I usually keep them about 2 inches from the tops of the seedlings. It gets a little trickier when there's different types all crowded under the lights. I've burnt some leaves before when the taller ones touch the tubes, so the little ones end up not at the optimal distance away from the lights. That said, the sunlight is what gives them the light they thrive in, so I guess the supplemental is just that, supplemental. Of course, it's been pouring outside today, so my browallia, laurentia, and wahlenbergias are enjoying their fluorescent tanning!


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

It definitely is a challenge to have dozen plants that range from 1/4 inch low to 4 inches high in different height containers under 4 feet long tubes. As you can see on picture on my blog I have to improvise a lot to have them all 2 inches away. I still do not know if taller plants have to be that close.

Here is a link that might be useful: Light setup


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RE: Natural light versus fluorescent light � when to expose?

Jerry and Started with Bean, thanks for the pictures and feedback. My issue is how much supplemental fluorescent light my hyacinth bean vine plants will need if I put them in front of a large east-facing window that gets northern light too. They germinated and are growing more rapidly than expected. I should really solve the problem by tossing and starting over later, but no, I'm looking into additional light investment. :-) So I share Jerry's interest in knowing if larger plants continue to need lighting 2" away.

Deanna


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