buckbuster
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getting seeds started

If was buying a lamp to get seeds started in my house what type of bulb would i need to get?
brad

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hendi_alex
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Just for starting seeds, any kind of florescent will do. Buy one big enough for the space that you need to light. A double, four foot fixture will give at least four square feet of growing space. Be sure and use a fixture that has a reflector that sends all of the light down.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

mboulac
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Once the seeds are up should one switch to one of the florescents marketed as an indoor growing bulb in the fixture? My seedlings are up but are leaning for the light and getting leggy so I am planning on getting a light for them.

Thanks

Matt

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hendi_alex
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The inexpensive shop bulbs or cool white bulbs work just fine for seedlings. The grow bulbs are necessary only if you are trying to get plants to flower under artificial lights. Ordinary bulbs will give you green, stocky plants, provided the light is intense enough. Be sure and put the plants as near as possible to the bulb. Light intensity drops off exponentially as distance from the source increases, so four inches or closer works best.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

TZ -OH6
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Places like Home Depot and Lowes have a wide selection of 4 ft fluorescent tubes for inexpensive shoplights. The best light output for growing plants from a non-plant type bulb is a "daylight" tube with a color temperature of over 6000K (I think they are 6300K). Just because it says "daylight" doesn't mean anything, so look for the temperature number. Lower color temperatures (4,000K) have more red-yellow and less blue light (= warm colors). Higher numbers meant more blue light and will be a bright harsh white (white hot is higher energy/temperature than red hot). Blue light has more energy and it is a color plant chlorophylls absorb efficiently. The super cheap industrial cool whites put out mostly green light which the human eye sees well, but plant reflect (= waste of electricity). The color temp (6300K) will be printed on the tube or cardboard sleeve.

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BrianSkilton
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Right now I have two four foot shop lights. Each shop light has a daylight 6500K (Daylight, more towards blue spectrum) and one warmer bulb (4500K), the mixing of the two bulbs seems to do well, I once had both bulbs at 6500K color temp, but some many people have told me to mix a warm bulb with a blue bulb, for more of a full spectrum. There are also full spectrum bulbs you can get, which I have never used. I would say sick to daylight 6500K bluish bulbs because this encourages green plant growth, while warmer bulbs encourage blossoms, but you wont really need warm bulbs if you are eventually going to plant them outside. Oh and also, put up some Mylar/aluminum foil on your walls just beneath the light to reflect the light back towards the plants.
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
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mboulac
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Thanks for the info. I got a 2 bulb unit at menards with some T8 6500 temp daylight bulbs last night. I will put some aluminum foil up tonight. Now I have to get the area heated up as it is about 60 in my basement so I will be moving a space heater in there as well.

Matt

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hendi_alex
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Sixty degrees would be fine if you can get a source of bottom heat like a heating mat. A heating mat usually takes no more electricity than a 100 watt bulb, would likely be more effective than a small space heater, and would be much more economical, paying for itself in just a season or two. If the room drops much under sixty, then I would say that it needs general heat as well. You can improvise bottom heat by placing plants on a rack and clipping a couple of incandescent lamps under such that their heat hits the bottom of the seed trays plus warms the air around as well. Even better is to heat the bottom with those infrared bulbs that won't be giving off visible light 24/7 as most plants probably need a period of rest in near darkness.

Sounds like you're well on your way to having a great seed starting operation!
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

mbaker410
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Depends on your space. I am working with a very small area in my house and use a 20" by 4' table and I do two trays and both have 24" dual bulb fluorescent lights. I do this so I get full tray coverage and because of my limited space.

I bought the lights and bulbs from home depot and two cheap three prong extension cords. I wired them up and plugged them into a power strip that is plugged into a light timer. (don't try this if you don't know wiring. It's simple but don't want you to burn down your house!)

Here is a pic of what I did. (Yes they are jackstands! lol)

[img]https://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d187/mbaker410/IMG00007-20090323-2201.jpg[/img]

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Gary350
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I sprout my seeds in the dark. I have several fish aquariums that I bought at yard sales real cheap. I put potting soil and seeds in the plant trays then I set the trays into the fish aquarium. I have a small piece of glass on top of the aquarium to hold in the moisture. As long as I keep the temperature at 70 degrees or warmer seeds sprout in a few days. Once seeds sprout I move the aquariums outside under a shade tree for a few days. Then I remove the glass cover and move the aquariums into direct sunlight. I water the plants with miracle grow and in about 2 weeks the plants are ready to be transplanted to the garden.

I think when using a light to sprout seeds all the seeds really need is the heat from the light to keep them warm so they sprout quicker.

I have a friend that sprouts his seeds in a junk refrigerator. The 40 watt light bulb in his refrigator stays on all the time to provide 84 deg F heat to sprout the seeds. Once they sprout he moves the trays to the yard for some sun.
Last edited by Gary350 on Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mbaker410
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I feel that the lights help when the seedlings start to sprout they immediately grow towards the light and start to soak up the rays asap. But that's un-researched and unofficial theory. May be completely wrong though! lol

Mike

mboulac
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So I was down putting my seedlings to bed and noticed that they haven't really changed much since the first day or two sine they came up. All the seedlings (tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, cilantro, basil) still have only the first set of leaves and no new leaves have sprouted. I lifted the peat pots up to look underneath and most have at least one root coming out the bottom of the pot.

I moved them from a windowsill to florescent lights 2 days ago.

Am I just impatient or is there a problem? I gave them a good soaking tonight as the peat pots were dry on the sides so I though they may be searching for water.

Thanks

matt

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