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Flourescent bulbs as grow lights?

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5, MI (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 4, 10 at 17:55

If possible, I plan to grow some seedlings indoors with the ones that have a longer growing period. I'd start
with tomatoes and oregano and they'd be grown in peat pots.
Later I'd do watermelon, butternut squash and kabocha which is a Japanese variety of pumpkin. I know with
melons they're planted a month ahead of time as opposed to 6-8 weeks, but does this rule apply to squash as well if I'm doing them as transplants?

I'd be using a 4 foot board, so how many bulbs would I need for it in order to get adequate lighting for the seedlings? How far above the seedlings would I need to put the board so the seedlings aren't burnt to a crisp?

Also can I use flourescent lights for the light source or will this not be feasible? The reason I ask is cause the specialty bulbs designed for plants and seedlings are too expensive. I only have about a $30 budget to do this, so if it's feasible to use a grow light without compensating the quality and health of my seedlings I will.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Flourescent bulbs as grow lights?

This is a very common question with many discussions on it on this forum as well as several other forums too and I have linked both the FAQ and some of the previous discussions below if you wish to review them. They include pictures, prices, types of bulbs to buy and sources. FAQ on lights to use.

As explained in the other discussions the lights need to be kept no more than 1-2 inches above the tops of the plants. Fluorescent bulbs put out minimal heat so they can't "burn" your plants even if they touch the leaves.

For a 4' wide board you would need 2 4' shop lights with 2 bulbs each hung next to each other, one in front of the other. Check out the many pictures in some of the linked discussions. Just scroll down to the discussions with the blue borders.


Here is a link that might be useful: Discussions on the lights to use

RE: Flourescent bulbs as grow lights?

This is the first year I am growing from seed/under lights and my budget is pretty tight as well. I purchased a 4-foot shop light at Wal Mart using 2 "regular" fluorescent bulbs as recommended on this site...working fantastic! Price was right...less than $15. I am now considering adding another one, as I have transplanted some of my starts into larger cups and will soon be running out of room.

I installed this light suspended by 2, 4 feet sections of light chain over a dresser in a spare just have to figure out a way to add another light...I am thinking of mounting them together in some fashion so that they can be moved up and down with the chains. (I am still trying to keep the $$$ down so that I may spend on other gardening supplies later this spring ;-)

I can easily see how this is going to be addictive!

RE: Flourescent bulbs as grow lights?

I was searching the web and came across a site that talked about using cool white (more of the blue spectrum lights)and regular flourescent (more of the red spectrum) bulbs side by side to give you more bang for your buck. In theory it would cover the same light spectrum as the grow lights. Since most people use shoiplights with 2 bulbs in them, you just get one of each. $10 for the 4 foot shop light and about 2 bucks for ewach of the you have the equivalent of growbulbs. However Ican't say if it is really any better than just a regular flourescent bulb yet, because I am just now trying it out.

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