I'm trying to get a head start on tomatoes and chiles. I've heard
that incandescent lights, while not worthless, are not really adequate
to grow the seedlings for transplant. The LED panels out there look
By "incandescent," do you mean regular light bulbs? Not very good spectrum
range or efficiency. There are various gas-discharge/halide lamps that are
better. And many of us use fluorescent lamps, which work well, especially
with solid-state ballasts fitted. The LED fixtures are interesting, but
the claims don't seem realistic, and the prices are well beyond my amateur
status, not to mention living in genteel poverty.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic
Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
I know that I'm a visitor here, and not to be rude, but I--and all
others with half a brain--know how to search Wikipedia. I was hoping
for expertise, not reference librarianship of the lowest order. I
will post back here with my experience. I plan to use the LED panel I
ordered to grow edible Solanaceaes. I've never had luck with eggplant
outdoors, and out of season decent tomatoes would make me very happy.
Next year, if this turns out nicely, I might expand my operation to
help provide seedlings to the other members of our city's new
community garden. I'm of the opinion that if one has the means,
failing to grow a Victory Garden--at least for USA residents--is
Again, Frank, I didn't mean to be an a$$hole. I had searched this NG,
plus the web, plus--of course--Wikipedia.
Actually his post posed an interesting question about LCD lights as a
light source for growing plants indoors.
His comments pointed out an all too common response to questions on
usenet - "Google It" ((Wiki-It)
Except for obvious cases of "do my homework for me" I like to assume
that the poster has done the basic research and is looking for personal
experiences by those who have a similar problem.
Since his expertise exceeds mine(and yours) I did not respond to his
question. It is unfortunate you didn't do the same.
Bryan, I bought 4 of the LED EBay model grow lights as an experiment
last year to supplement the CFLs in the nursery. I was not impressed. 15 x
15 on a square foot
panel, blue and red spectrum, each panel is about 12-15 watts total, they
generation LED, which despite the proper spectrum, do not have the horse
power to be of value except maybe as supplemental light. The newest
generation LEDs are coming in at about 10 watts a piece, very spendy as yet
but offer the best promise of the technology. What you see on EBay and some
of the Hydro stores appear unused
Christmas lights from China, repackaged as grow lights and at very Starbuck
prices. I would wait
a while yet to see when the prices are going to come down on LEDs with real
For nursery starters, I would stay with 40W fluorescents, but w/ 6500k
tubes, about 10$
for pack of 2 vs. 4$ for2 of the 4000Ks at Home Depot. The CFLs in the
range of 85-150
watts are nice, but again you are back at more watts/lumens. Watch to
ensure overlapping area coverage in any
light system and think about the law of inverse square . I would again
consider 6500K bulbs in as high a wattage
as you can in CFLs. Then turn them out to play in the sun to save $$$s.
The 54w HD T5 link below is a nice system for starters and growing to term
for even most flowering plants.
these are 2-3 times less than similiar setups at the Hydro and Gardening
If you do buy them, please let me know the particuliars and how you do
I'm using the 14w, 12" x 12" one to raise tomato and chile seedlings.
The first thing I noticed is that under that light, while the
surrounding area is illuminated, the cotyledons appear almost black,
as if they are reflecting almost none of the light. Above, you
mentioned the inverse square law. That is an advantage because you
can put the plant 1/2" from the panel, as they put out very little
heat. A coworker gave me a 4', 2 lamp growlight, and another that
just has regular tubes in it. They are standard fixtures. Replacing
those with the above mentioned 6500k would be nice if I really could
get them for ~$10. If I could just grow tomatoes for my own household
in Winter and Spring, I'd be pretty happy.
Is this what I need?
Bryan, I picked 2 packs up at Home Depot about 3 weeks ago. Don't have the
receipt handy, but pretty sure they were under 10$/2, nine and change,
the bulbs are Phillips F40T12/DX ---Alto (low Mercury) Collection. Googled
the nomenclature and came up with this:
$1.43 in quantity. but 30 is more than I will use in 5 years,. even changing
them out at their half life. .
has them in single for $6.50.
these are 2200lm at a CRI of 94 but 15$ a piece
so the HD Phillips lights look pretty good at $10/2.
http://www.nationalgardenwholesale.com/ngw/downloads.aspx This link has
some download info that you may be interested in.
I've got 4 similar ones that I use for supplemental. Here is some info
for consideration that you may already have:
I am interested in the LEDs because of the low watts, trying to design a 12V
DC photovac system with lights and pumps for a greenhouse. There is new
technology coming out of Konarka Technologies
http://www.konarka.com/index.php/site/tech_solar/ where PV
cells will drop to $.10 a watt and be efficient enough for use here in
Seattle lowlight winters. I have 80-120 ft Doug firs trees everywhere around
sunlight is at a premium
It is spooky to see plants grow under LED, very foreign to our senses .
Have you checked out YouTube videos? Most LEDs are the Cannabis growers but
there are some earnest Veg growers with very promising results to view,. but
as I said, these low watt units we have are just JR. High Science
I am glad you know the Law, 1 foot away is 1/4 the light. Consider hanging
them vertically when your peppers and toms get bigger so as to get
penetration on the lower part of the plant.
I would rig up 4 shop lights vertically and have a 100-150w CFL ( again,
Home Depot- outside lights, approx. 50-60$) at the top of the plants in
say a 4x4 or 6x6 foot space, and a small fan to blow the limbs around a bit
using determinate plants.
Yes. These price out @ 2$ ea. in quantity of 30. Your link lists a mean
lumen of ~1700 a tube and a CRI of 88. I don't know if that is with a 32 w
ballast or 40w. I'm betting that the 40w tubes are probably being run on a
32 w ballast so you are losing some power there. Even the expensive
AgroBrites and AgroSun "grow
lights" are only ~2200-2400 lumens. That is 2200/32 h lm/w per tube.
As you know with these type "gro lights" you are really paying the
"gardener's gimmick tax" of 2-3x the actual worth. I assume you know about
the light timing cycle and changing your Nutes when you go to fruit the
I realize Lumens are not exactly apples to apples when it comes to plants
but are good indicators for our purposes. I would still like to see the 54 w
T5s in play @ ~5000 lumens a tube. That is 4 tubes for $169, or 6 tubes
for $249 (with bulbs) plus 15 $ shipping to have a ~ 20,000 or 30, 000
Lumen set up. The 6 tube about the same cost as a 400W HID but using 1/2
the power. A 400w HID is ~ 27,750lm; 27750/400 that is 68.75lm/w, so
the amount of the Agro-tubes.
For comparison a 4 tube T5 is good for a growing area of 2x5 or as
supplemental lighting for a 4x7' area, the 6 tube is 3x6 and 5x8'
respectively @ 4-6 inches about the plant height. so the 40w shoplights will
be a bit less area coverage than the 54w. As for lm/w, the 5000lm/54w92.59. very good.
Regardless, in your case for 20$ for 4-6500k tubes and the two shop
fixtures you should be able to grow Toms and Peppers in the winter and
spring even here in the PNW where we get little to no winter sun. Just get
the heat right. I have
a large hot water closet w/ 3x4.5 ft of nursery space which is 78f year
round w/ the fluorescent.
I don't want an HID light in there because then I would have to rig up an
your quite welcome Bryan, let me know what you come up with and how you do.
This is an area of great interest
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