A single bulb system would not provide enough lumens for your plants. You need a dual bulb system at the least; 4-ft. preferably. The best price I've seen for such a unit was about $142. For the sacrifice of appearances, I bought the Tek light on yardlover.com - It was $187. If I had it to do over again, I would buy two of the $142 units. One for my seedlings and one for my mature plants. The seedling lamp would have two 6500k blue spectrum bulbs while the mature lamp would have one 6500k blue spectrum bulb and one 3000k red spectrum bulb. Reason being that flowering/fruiting plants require some red spectrum light to flower/fruit. If I remember correctly, the perfect rate is 9 (blue) to 1 (red).GeorgiaGirl wrote:I'm trying to find a high-output T5 system, but the cheapest I've found has been a set with a single 48" full spectrum agrosun T5 High Output Fluorescent tube. It costs about $60 (as opposed to sets I had been seeing on gardeners.com for $200+).
Is that a reasonable price for a single-bulb system? (That's not just the bulb but the fixture, adjustment chain etc.) Or can I get T5 lights at Lowe's and rig up my own system for a lot less?
You won't be able to find comparable systems for cheaper prices at Lowe's. It is sad, but that is just how much these high-output systems cost nowadays. The bulbs themselves are an additional $10-15. Most companies that sell these units can switch up the bulbs spectrums for you if requested.
Keep in mind that if you are not rearing your plants 100% indoors to maturity then a standard shop light fluorescent fixture (which are much cheaper than HO's) will suffice. By using these, you can successfully grow seedlings indoors with decent, albeit weaker results.