As it's getting nippy here in Cleveland, Ohio, I moved some container plants
from outside to my basement. I attached a pic, the big plants in back are
stevia (which isn't doing too good) and cilantro. Smaller ones are chives,
more stevia, and a green pepper plant. I may want to try some patio tomatoes
too, but I don't have that plant yet. Presently there's 2 15 watt
fluorescent grow lights on the plants, and limited window light. I know I'll
need something a little brighter, but cheap. Any recommendations? Higher
wattage fluorescent tubes? Compact fluorescents? I can't afford HID's and
the like. I probably have about a 5 X 4 foot area right now, but would like
to expand a foot or two each way. Thanks much.
There's a difference between "survive and look pathetic by springtime", and
"thrive". If you want these plants to thrive (especially the tomatoes),
you'll need 1000-2000 watts worth of bulbs. Even then, you won't duplicate
Cheap is not a word that fits into this plan.
Without going into a long song and dance about the frame I built with
pvc pipe and two banks of double lights, I had to go on the cheap.
I bought those cheap shop lights at Menard's, then my True Value had a
better price on another pair. Bulbs cost about $6.98 each, have
Sylvania warm and cool 48" and GE Lux something warm and cool. A rose
propagator recommends GE Sunshine, says it is much brighter, but I don't
know where to buy them or how much they cost.
I have the whole system hooked up to a cheap timer from Menard's, bought
a surge protector, and extension cord, all set with some cheap plastic
shelving system (one level) I set my plants on that my son parked in my
garage and then didn't want.
Probably all your plants should be the same distance under the lights.
Yes, I see you will have to compensate somehow because some of those
plants are too large. I would trim some of them down if it won't damage
I don't think that one light you have there is enough, and maybe you can
rig up a reflector (people are using mylar, haven't looked into the
how's of that yet).
I experimented last spring with my seedlings and used compact
flourescents. The data that I could find, which was pretty skimpy,
indicated a fairly broad spectrum so I tried it.
It worked very well. I think one of the advantages is that CF in a
painter's lamp can be placed very, very close to the plants. I will
use them again next spring.
I'm trying a bunch of cheap solutions including 75 watt grow lights and 60
watt daylight CFL lights in reflectors in addition to my original lamp. I
also trimmed down the larger plants. I'll see what happens. Not the end of
the world if I lose the plants.
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