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Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

Posted by phishead03 53403 (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 14, 11 at 20:05

I live in the midwest, and as such do not have a very long summer. I created a seedling planter to get all my seedlings started early this year, and began seeing the first seedlings last week.

The first seedling to pop was Broccoli - it seems to have grown a very long stem. I'm wondering if my lights are positioned too far away or if this is normal. The leaves of the broccoli are quite green, but I just want to make sure I'm not having lighting problems.

Here are a couple pictures of it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60584848@N05/5527901778/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60584848@N05/5527902372/

I'm hoping I'm just worrying over nothing!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

If you search or go to the FAQ there are lots of lighting threads. Its not that easy to see the light fixture in the pics but it looks like you could use a second fixture and the seedlings should be closer to the lights (2-3 inches away max)


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

You will need more light, at least 4 bulbs for your shelf. See how they are all leaning towards the light?

They will continue to stretch for it. And like mandolls said, you will need ot drop it down to 1-3 " away from the leaves.

Keriann~


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

I lowered the lights and wrapped the entire shelving unit in aluminum foil leaving one side open to the window to receive natural light on the sunny side of the house. More seedlings have popped up and are craning toward the light, but not growing exceedingly long. Also the initial plant which was getting leggy looks to have stopped extending its stem, so I'm hoping it will curb the problem until I can afford to buy some more lights. Thoughts?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60584848@N05/5533219977/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60584848@N05/5533233805/


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

For lack of another light, I would suggest running that light 24/7, and moving it every 12 hours. Put it over half the seeds in the morning and then move it to the other half in the evening. It certainly wouldn't be ideal, but it would be the best you can do currently.


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

"phishhead'", hmmm . . . are you sure that's Broccoli you;re growing? :-)

I had the same problem in my (distant) past experience starting Broccoli from seed. Ultimately it came out OK, but-- I recall it being a fairly fast-growing plant-- I think it may be a little early for it now.
I second eagle's suggestion.


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

"are you sure that's Broccoli you;re growing? :-) " - HA! Yes, I'm sure.....although I'm sure that the neighbors are getting suspicious since one side is open to the window!

Anyhow, I thinned out the broccoli shown in the picture to one plant per pot, and transplanted the rest of them a bit deeper into a planter and placed it in the window. The broccoli that had the longest stem is actually growing its first set of true leaves. Does this mean its getting enough light?

Also, it seems that all of the plants are craning toward the light, but it doesn't look like any of them are getting long and leggy. Here are some updated pictures....thoughts?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60584848@N05/5539461783/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60584848@N05/5539462295/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60584848@N05/5539462953/


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial L

eagle - Do you think the plants will be confused by getting light 24 hours a day?


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

I also wonder about the 24-hr question.
FYI here are the panels I've been using happily for a few years:
http://cgi.ebay.com/225-LED-Hydroponic-Plant-Grow-Light-Panel-14w-all-Blue-/320673658795

Here is a link that might be useful: LED panels


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

I agree with eagle, but a new set of lights is pretty inexpensive, I'd probably just go out and buy another set. That one set is just not enough light.


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

LCDSoundsytem.....

THANKS!! I had seen those lights on amazon, but had no idea they were so cheap on eBay. From what I've seen, LED lights need to be placed a bit further away. Is that correct?


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

Would the plants be "confused" by 24 hours of light? I run my lights pretty much 24/7 with no rest period. (I rest them one night a week.) I've read some research on whether or not the plants actually require a period of dark. The results I've seen seem to indicate that they actually are able to grow much BETTER in 24 hours of light. (The study I am referring to was specific to peppers, and I don't have a link handy...sorry.)

The other thing is that I mentioned that it certainly wouldn't be the "ideal" set-up. They would be getting a period of "dark" while the light was over the OTHER section. It wouldn't be truly "dark" but it would be less light than the plant would need to grow properly.

Arctic plants seem to thrive during the periods of "white nights", but they are plants that naturally have that type of growth cycle.


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

Thanks to everyone for their help. I have four layers in my planter (each with a two light T5 ballast). I think I am going to purchase a couple of LED panels and then move the extra fluorescents to the other two levels, so I'm hoping that will be enough light for ALL my seedlings.

Thanks again!


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

Don't Buy Cheap (14 watt) LED lights unless you simply have money to burn. The simply are ineffective and pretty much worthless for seedlings, unless you are getting all-blue panels. Even then, for the cost of them, their coverage area vs. what a shop light with daylight bulbs will do, you will come out way behind with LEDs.

I've been promoting LEDs for three years - love them. But quite simply, they are not ready for prime time --- yet! Unless you want to get into the pricey ones, the 125-300 watt panels that offer multiple spectrum of lights and allow you to adjust the red/blue ratio.

Mike


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

Mike -

Yeah, after a bit of research I found that 14 watt systems aren't as effective. What is your opinion on a 90 watt 45 LED fixture (2W bulbs)? I'm currently looking somewhere along the lines of this.....thoughts?

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Spectrum-LED-LEDwholesalers-2506RB/dp/B001NE1PWO


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

I am relatively new to this too, but have been doing lots of reading up on the subject. (beats watching the snow come down)

Unless you are trying to grow them from seedlings to harvest, entirely inside, I suggest you stick with the cheap $10 new T-8 fluorescent fixtures. With the cheapest "cool" bulbs you can find. (2 packs in the $5 range). The cool/blue spectrum is best for foliar growth and that is all I am trying to get inside.

I got the ones without reflectors and they are narrow enough that I can put three fixtures per shelf. 6 bulbs per shelf at $45 seemed like a good deal and the seedlings are loving it.

Regarding the 24/7 lighting; I read another study focused on tomatoes that marked a positive effect of 24/7 lighting for the first 6 weeks of growth, but after that it didn't seem to be helpful (but not harmful either, other than a waste of electricity)


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

mandolls,

Thanks for the update on the research regarding tomatoes. 6 weeks is all the time that my tomatoes stay inside, so that study is perfect for me! Mine don't always get the full 6 weeks inside either, sometimes. If the weather seems to break early, I put them outside as soon as possible and let them start hardening off in a cold frame during the day (and if the temps are due to drop off at night, I bring them in - but don't use the lights, since they don't need it).

Generally, my tomatoes only spend about 4 weeks inside, and then they start to be hardened off and go outside.


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

Just wanted to update you all since you were so helpful with your advice. OK - so I did a few things since two weeks ago. First, I began giving the plants 24 hours of light instead of 14-16. Because the lights only have the ability to move up and down, I was not able to rotate the lights to different locations. I did, however, begin rotating the flats in order to give any plants that were getting leggy (or in general just having trouble growing), so that they were closer to the lights.

Second, I bought some mylar film and stapled it to some wood frames that I built in order to keep as much light in as possible. As you can see in the photo, the Mylar is nearly as reflective as a mirror, so I think it has been helping quite a bit.

I also purchased a 90 watt LED hydroponic grow lamp. It wasn't cheap but after it first blinded me, I think it was well worth it. I began moving some of the higher growing corn over to it because the corn was getting taller than the fluorescent lights and leaning severely toward it. I'm hoping they will correct themselves with the new light directly above them.

I have attached pictures of several levels of my flats and also a picture of the grow lamp that I bought.

IMG_0046[1]

IMG_0044[1]

IMG_0034[1]IMG_0038[1]


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RE: Growing Seedlings with Artificial Light

One of my cucumber seedlings started flowering.....it's not very large, but otherwise looks healthy. Is this a problem?


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