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is there a max distance between plant growing light

Posted by coeng NE NJ (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 17, 13 at 0:31

Now that I transplanted a bunch of my tomatoes, cukes, zucchini, yellow squash, and string beans (see pics) to larger containers, I no longer have enough space under my growing lights to give them all 16 hours of light.

For the time being I decided to move my growing light up so that all of my transplants had "some" light. Is this too high?

Suggestions on how to manage this situation? Is it okay to bring my seedlings outside on days where the temps are in the 60s. I would obviously put them out of direct sunlight. What is the maximum number of hours I should leave them out? Was thinking from my lunch break (12pm) to about the time I came home from work around 6pm.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

Way too high. Needs to be as close to the plants as the light on the right side of your picture, or your plants will soon reach up to the light, and you will be starting over.


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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

So basically I have to give up on half of those transplants so that the other half can receive the amount of light that they need?


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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

Or you buy more lights or more powerful lights. Having a light that high above them is worse than having no light on at all. Makes them stretch even more.

Or you start less things (like only those that cannot be direct seeded). Or you start things later so they can be moved outside sooner, etc. It is a balancing act..

The more things you start from seed, the more things you have to transplant and the more lights you need. For each flat of seeds, transplants will take up an average of 4x more space. So you plan ahead accordingly.

Is it okay to bring my seedlings outside on days where the temps are in the 60s. I would obviously put them out of direct sunlight. What is the maximum number of hours I should leave them out? Was thinking from my lunch break (12pm) to about the time I came home from work around 6pm.

Out of direct sun and protected from the wind but not in the afternoon when the sun is the worst and definitely not for 6 hours. They could easily all be dead after 6 hours.

hardening off is a very gradual process, not cold turkey. 1 hour at a time off and on for the first couple of days (start on the weekend when you can monitor them). Read through all the info on "how to harden-off transplants".

Dave


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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

A solution I devised today was to make two "sets" of seedlings. One set gets the lights from 12 noon to midnight, the other gets the lights from midnight to 12 noon. The 16-hour timers are out now of the equation.

Each set consists of three seedling trays (just the bottoms): two trays will sit under my 4 foot light workshop light, and one tray will sit under my 2 foot growing light.

The first set consists of the larger seedlings that I started three weeks ago (cukes, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, string beans). The second set still contains cell packs for stuff I planted last week (several varieties of annuals, eggplant, strawberries, more cukes, and more tomatoes). Eventually I will run out of room when I transplant the second set so some of the weaker seedlings will end up meeting my compost tumbler.

This is my first year starting anything from seed and I am very well aware that I am overdoing it. Based on my success rate I will adapt my seeding habits next spring so I don't have to constantly worry about juggling seedlings around.


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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

Yeah cukes, squash, zucchini, and string beans are normally just direct seeded in the garden. Works better than transplants anyway and saves you lots of room indoors.

Dave


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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

Lesson learned for next year. Reason I planted those is because for the past 13 years I've just bought flats at the garden center and planted the seedlings right into the ground. I never once considered starting from seed in the ground. Furthermore I never considered hardening off the flats of seedlings that I purchased. However 99% of the time what I planted grew and produced so I had no reason to change my formula. For some reason this year I decided to change things up a bit so here we are.


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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

Let me tell you about an experiment we did with cukes years ago. I had only had my greenhouse for a couple of years and every year I started my cukes in the greenhouse. The year we did the experiment I started them as usual. My husband set them out in the garden and 2 feet away started some seeds. 3 weeks after the seeds sprouted the plants in both plots were the same size and they started producing at the same time. Since that time we have always planted them from seed. The only veggies we set out as plants are Tomatoes and Peppers and sometimes things that take longer to grow or that we are experimenting with. Almost everything we grow is direct planted


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RE: is there a max distance between plant growing light

You will be learning this shortly any way as your tomato transplants are planted too shallowly and as the plants grow those cups will start falling over since they will be very top heavy.

But if you have more tomato plants to transplant

1) the cups do not need to be full to the brim and it is better if they aren't. Use the sides of the cup/pot to support the seedling.

2) nothing requires any plant to sit right at the top of the cup or container.

3) it is better for the tomato plants if all that exposed stem is buried.

Fill the cup about 1/3 to no more than 1/2 full and put in the seedling burying most of the bare stem. Then as it grows add more mix to the cup so the bare stem remains mostly buried. That is where all the new roots will develop, all along that stem.

Dave


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