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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:22 pm
Location: Amherst NY

Indoor lighting for vegetables????

I live in Buffalo NY and have been vegetable gardening outdoors for 3 years. I am attempting to start plants indoors this year and then transplant them outdoors to get more time of harvesting.

Will regular florescent lighting work in my basement to start vegetables from seed?

Which vegetables will start best?

Any suggestions would be helpful.



Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Welcome to The Helpful Gardener!

We've had several very active recent discussions on lighting for indoor seed starting. But since this post is under Container Gardening, and the discussions I'm thinking about are under Vegetable Gardening, they may not have been visible to you. (And there are most likely even more threads; I only looked under Vegetable Gardening just now.)

Here are threads on lighting for seedlings from just the last two weeks:

Any Grow light suggestions? at

Light color and its effect on plants? at

What lights do you use for your seedlings? at

Grow Lights, Where To Find Seeds, and When To Start Them at

When to turn the lights on?? another seed starting ? at

Start inside or direct seed? at

Height Above Seeds For Metal Halide Light at

Light Too Hot For Seedlings? at

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:22 pm
Location: Louisville KY

well as the lighting goes and the plants you can grow ANY kind of plant under CFLS ( compact florescent lighting) the are also known as energy save bulbs or you can use the florescent tubes found in shop lights... and you can start any plant under florescent lighting if you use the CFLs then try to use about 3 of the 23watt+100 watt this should be good for about 10 to 20 seedlings ... hope this helps

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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Napa, CA

There are three types of lighting that will work for this:

1) Compact fluorescent

2) Metal halide

3) High output T-5

You don't want regular incandescent.

I've seen people use metal halide in hydroponic systems. They're the most expensive and they'd be a complete distraction to any room you're growing the vegetables in unless they're somehow curtained off from the surroundings.

Compact fluorescent would be a decent budget option.

T-5 might work well too, but it's going to be pricier.

Wattage doesn't tell you the whole story because different light types will have varying lumens per watt.

You can improve the performance of any bulb by installing a reflector panel out of polished sheet metal. Or if you're not much of DIY'er, I've seen aluminum foil used as well.

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Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:12 pm
Location: Lutz Fl.

Dan - I think regular fluorescents that you have in your house are great for seedlings and cuttings it is not too much for them. As far as the next stage I would recommend T-5 Fluorescents they can work for Veg Stage and the flowering stage just with the change of the bulb. T-5's pull a lot less electricity than your Metal Halide or HPS. T-5's also do not put out nowhere near the same heat as your MH and HPS would. I have attached a website that has all your lighting and you can see the difference between all of the difference kind of lighting. If you have any other questions please let me know. I hope you have a great day!

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