Indoor gardening under fluorescent lighting

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I have an indoor garden under fluorescent lights operated with a timer. I heard that using white gloss paint or aluminum foil surrounding the plants helps, but that glass in mirrors absorb light to benefit. Anyone hear this? I've always used aluminum foil but I could get some inexpensive (free) mirrors. TIA
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"absorb light to benefit" - I don't understand. Did you mean to say "reflects light"? If not, please explain.
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On Tue, 20 Nov 2007 19:05:38 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

Eliminate "to benefit." My mis-type and fault. Perhaps this is more of a physics question. But to those who do indoor gardening under lights, what do you use to maximize lumens while keeping heat and costs down? I have found that fluorescent lights with large reflectors are much better (at least in making African violets bloom) than using lights without reflectors.
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Phisherman wrote:

Your question about mirrors still doesn't make sense. Glass doesn't absorb light. If it did, windows would block the sun and we would get no reflected image from mirrors.
Fluorescent light works very well with plants indoors. Use reflectors. Light colors on the walls and ceiling can help to reflect light back into the room. Mirrors will reflect light harshly, and your plants will admire themselves in them constantly which can be quite annoying.
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Pennyaline wrote:

Glass does block a certain amount of light that passes through it..
Don't use mirrors... Use stark white sheets.. You can get white shower liner sheets at Lowes cheap.. It's just flat plastic and will reflect and diffuse a heck of alot more than mirrors.
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Scott Hildenbrand wrote:

Search for Tileboard
$12 for 4' x 8' sheets.. Cheap.. Waterproof.. Good..
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId605-19-16605
Used alot in grow rooms.. Which, beyond the fact that all they grow is illegal stuff can be quite enlightening in the aspect of growing OTHER plants in the basement.
Funny though.. All I'd found googling for grow room information was about hash.. Oh well though.. Still translates to any other plant you wish to grow in a basement or enclosed setting.
For research only.. I don't condone the use of cannabis.
http://www.bghydro.com/mmbgh/Images/GRHH2_plants.jpg
http://www.bghydro.com/mmbgh/Images/GRHH2_sys.jpg
http://www.weed-pics.com/cannabis_garden_marijuana_weed%20 (1)%20(2).jpg
You'll note that in all of the examples, they're surrounded by stark white. It's the best way..
Amazing info they've compiled if you look.. Alot of humidity and lighting faqs and info.. See, they need to raise the stuff indoors to the point to where it will thrive.
Can easily translate the info over into doing a room for... more legal things..
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Scott Hildenbrand wrote:

Yes, dear. But if glass "absorbed" light windows would block out the sun nearly entirely, and mirrors would be dark patches on the wall.
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Pennyaline wrote:

I could comment but I'll refrain.. And please don't call me dear.
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Scott Hildenbrand wrote:

Patronizing remarks merely magnify ignorance. *Everything* absorbs light. Glass is a wonderful medium for light filtering, the type of glass will determine which light wavelengths are blocked... with today's modern glass making techniques home window panes are specifically designed to block certain wavelengths, often those necessary for photosynthesis. Reflected light, depending on the material and reflectivity will often absorb wave lengths that are benificial to plants and concentrate and even focus and concentrate wavelengths that are harmful to plants. Since it's almost impossible to determine in advance the composition of what reflected light will consist one should refrain from using any reflective surfaces near plants, stay with dull/matte finishes. And when artificial light is used choose the specially engineered plant bulbs (grow-lites and such), incandescent lamps are typically not suitable
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Sheldon wrote:

Hmmph. So which of you is mad at me, again?
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Phisherman wrote:

I've read a lot about using mylar for reflectors but other than reading sporting goods stores, don't know where to get it. I'm just using 2 pairs of cheap shop lights w/no reflectors. I built a pvc pipe frame and the lights are just a little too close together, but I could still rig up some reflectors to some advantage. I think the better lights come with reflectors.
I've read interminable discussions about lumens, other kinds of lights, can't follow all that yet. I need to keep the heat in the daytime between 72-75F, but I turn it down at night and hope enough is trapped. Mine are in the dining room because the basement is too cold and don't want to bother with thermometers and bottom heat yet.
My neighbor threw away some new white shades, one wide. I'm going to use those to block the sun and also may help with reflecting. I'm rooting roses & one stubborn clematis enclosed in plastic. The sun can fry the leaves until they are potted up, covers removed, and hardened off gradually.
The lights are cool to the touch, only have one pair going on a timer, 16 hrs/day and don't know how it is affecting my electric bill yet. Don't care. Yet.
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Phisherman wrote:

I was doing a little googling re Scott's hydroponics comment and came up with this:
http://www.tcs-hydroponics.com/doc/misc.htm#mylar
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wrote:

Smaller pieces http://scientificsonline.com/product.asp?pn053604&sid=google&cm_mmc=google-_-cpc-_-edmu-_-mylar
Probably costs more per sq ft, but if it's all you need then why get more?
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Hettie wrote:

Darnit.. You made me search eBay... I spend enough $ on eBay.. Argh..
Did a search for "Hydroponics Mylar" and pulled up quite a few for cheaper.. 25' for $27 shipped vs. $41.09 shipped at the other place..
Always check feedback.. ;)
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Scott Hildenbrand wrote:

Definitely. I've gotten myself weaned away from ebay for the most part. But why buy so much you aren't likely to use for a loooooong time? Good point. I'm going to try to get by without it for now as I think I need to tweak my setup first and get the right mix and right moisture content. Then I'll worry about that.
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Google Space Blanket. Its just a plain mylar sheet. JUst about any sporting goods store carries them. I see Target also carries them. as low as $2 average $4

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jmagerl wrote:

Thank you! I know light makes a difference, except direct sunlight is too strong. When I first set up the lights and put one of the tubes in, it gave such a low output, never having worked with lights before, I shrugged. Then when I added the second pair of lights and switched bulbs, it was much brighter. I'm using a warm and cool bulb.
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Then it needs to be diffused, there are many methods for reducing intensity without filtering out the lightwaves essential for plant growth
When I first set up the lights and put one of the tubes in,

No electric lamps produce full spectrum sunlight. The fluorescent bulbs intended for illumination such as warm and cool white are engineered to produce light within the spectrum for enhancing human vision and aesthetics but practically nothing for enhancing plant growth... essentially you're just wasting energy and money spent for bulbs that emit the incorrect type of light. The type of lamps for plant growth do not produce much illumination because the visible light spectrum necessary for photosynthesis is not very intense, to the human eye it appears more like a glow than the bright type of light one uses for reading.
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Sheldon wrote:

? For what I'm doing now (rose cuttings mainly) and for starting seeds (later in Jan & Feb) in containers enclosed in plastic. Too much sun will cook them. I lost a lot of rose cuttings that way both inside and out. Inside, it was they were to high up in the storage box and weren't getting enough humidity as the shorter ones got. Otherwise I have to mist, and that can introduce other problems. Outdoors I had them on the east side, topped with pepsi bottles, and even the little bit of sun they got in the morning cooked some of them, plus the temps got too warm. Moisture was not a problem in most cases, and I tried to use an old screen in the morning, but it was not enough for as many as I had going. Surprisingly, one under a mason jar rooted in spite of the sun, but that was the only one. They have to be in total shade outside with as bright light as you can manage unless you set up a misting system, then they can be in dappled shade.

Well, I have some natural daylight from the east window along with the lights, too dark with the leaves & neighbor's tall tree. When all the leaves are gone from the tree which spreads across the breadth of four windows, the morning sun will get in. It might not hurt, but to be on the safe side, I'm hanging some white shades my neighbor gave me over the frame. That ought to act as a diffuser.

I didn't know what the light intensity was supposed to look like, one was very dim. Hence the shrug, thought maybe it was supposed to be like that and left them like that for awhile. Then when I added more lights, I saw it should look brighter. It was a contact problem, put it in another fixture and it is fine.

That's true, I suppose. I've followed interminable discussions about the best lights, some are much stronger and much more expensive. And then they lose me. These lights are fine for what I need, just get rose cuttings rooted. Then they are out of there and in the sunroom, watch the amount of sunlight they get until they have the tents off and roots taken hold better. Same if I try some seedlings, just long enough to transplant, then they are going into the sunroom, too. I think I could leave them under the lights for a bit longer if I adjust the heights, and a little sunlight shouldn't hurt those unless they are covered. Outside it will kill them if they have covers on in the sun. As soon as they germinate, I take the covers off and mist about 3 times a day. I've never tried starting seeds under lights before destined to end up outside, so I guess I will find out.
But the sunroom is a problem for seedlings unless I open one window and get them right on the sill against the storm windows facing south. Otherwise if they are just a few inches further back, they grow crooked and leggy, even if I turn them. That's why I am starting most of my seeds in containers outdoors next spring, will lose some time on some. But I have better control rather than seeding a lot of things directly into the ground.
No way do I plan to do a complete growing cycle with the cheap setup I have. It wouldn't work. Like tomatoes, I've read they need very intense light to fruit inside. I'm not into that.
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I used aluminum foil on my old 4 tear light garden. Then surrounded it all with heavy plastic to keep in the heat and humidity. The top shelf was where I put my seed flats in spring. The fluorescent light's heat caused rapid germination.
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