Anybody know anything about grow lights?

hassman789

Arachnobaron
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Dec 2, 2009
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I started growing peppers and tomatoes a little after mid summer this year, and now as winter is coming, I need to bring them inside. My only issue is lighting. I dont have any windows that are very sunny (I live in the woods), so I'm guessing I need some additional lighting. I am having a really hard time finding the right light for them, and from what I understand I need a high powered one for producing vegetables. So has anybody here grown vegetables indoors with added lighting? If so I really need some help on what you used or what should do the job. I see a lot of things that are hundreds of dollars and thats not in my budget lol. Any help on this is appreciated, I'm really confused.
 

BillMNJ

Arachnosquire
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Aug 30, 2011
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I think you are going to be out of luck my friend. I tried this a few years ago with a few starter trays of assd veg plants using a 4' florescent fixture with 4 gro lite bulbs. I the trays near a white painted wall and on a white surface to better reflect the light. It was fine for a month or so till the plants got taller. Then the lower leaves began to drop and the plants got tall and lanky the further I had to raise the fixture. Tried suplementing with incandesant bulbs, but the setup started kicking up the electric bill a lot.

I use a few terrarium specific Exo Terra style bulbs for the small tropicals I grow when I bring them inside now that the nights are getting cooler as you pointed out. I'm in North Jersey so we have pretty much the same weather. Pain in the neck bringing them in and out and with all the recent rain... Wish I lived in Florida sometimes.

There is really no option like the sun if you want to grow vegies unless you want to spend a small fortune. Guess you're gonna be stuck with Shoprite for now <grin>.

Good luck!
 

pavel

Arachnobaron
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Oct 18, 2008
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How many plants are you looking at?

Grow lights are not really worth what they cost. Incandescents are useless for plants. Most of the energy passing through the bulb is wasted as heat.

An inexpensive route is to use a bank of shoplights. The most economical are the standard 48" fixtures that use T12 lamps/bulbs (with flourescent lights, you will often hear the term "bulb" and "lamp" used interchangably). You would, I expect, need at least 4 lamps -- so 2 two lamp fixtures. Plants will need to be as close as possible to the lamps. You may find it best to have 4 two lamp fixtures with two positioned vertically and two horizontally. As far as which bulbs you could use either all daylight spectrum lamps or an equal number of both warm and cool lamps. Having the plant stand against a white wall will enable some of the light that would be otherwise "lost" to be reflected back to the plants.
 

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
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I think you are going to be out of luck my friend. I tried this a few years ago with a few starter trays of assd veg plants using a 4' florescent fixture with 4 gro lite bulbs. I the trays near a white painted wall and on a white surface to better reflect the light. It was fine for a month or so till the plants got taller. Then the lower leaves began to drop and the plants got tall and lanky the further I had to raise the fixture. Tried suplementing with incandesant bulbs, but the setup started kicking up the electric bill a lot.

I use a few terrarium specific Exo Terra style bulbs for the small tropicals I grow when I bring them inside now that the nights are getting cooler as you pointed out. I'm in North Jersey so we have pretty much the same weather. Pain in the neck bringing them in and out and with all the recent rain... Wish I lived in Florida sometimes.

There is really no option like the sun if you want to grow vegies unless you want to spend a small fortune. Guess you're gonna be stuck with Shoprite for now <grin>.

Good luck!
I have to bring some plants in when it freezes, I put them in the garage. On warmer days I open the garage door so the sun hits them. I've never tried to bring in veg plants though. I wonder if part of the problem had to do with temps being too low for too long for your plants and not so much a light problem. Do they need to be kept warm?
 

hassman789

Arachnobaron
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Thanks for all the replies. Hm I'll figure something out and hope they do well.
 

BillMNJ

Arachnosquire
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I guess some of the tender stuff is. All of the plants I grow now are tropicals for terrarium use. The OP said he had no direct sun on the house, so veg plants would be difficult. I also bring in the tropicals to my garage, but it is heated. Thats where they winter. Not sure what I'm gonna do with the larger items, umbrella tree, rubber plant, palms. Just don't have room for them all.

I have to bring some plants in when it freezes, I put them in the garage. On warmer days I open the garage door so the sun hits them. I've never tried to bring in veg plants though. I wonder if part of the problem had to do with temps being too low for too long for your plants and not so much a light problem. Do they need to be kept warm?
 

argolupin

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Sep 12, 2011
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Just a thought, but you can buy the aquarium bulbs for planted aquariums (or reptile uvb bulbs) and put that in a floresscent light bulb fixture. the uv rays in them last around 6-8 months so i believe that would work.
 

zorora

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May 26, 2011
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standard T4s and T12s will do for seedlings, but mature plants you will need something a little more expensive. In CA we have a lot of hydroponic shops for growing vegetables(weed) and they sell a lot of indoor growing equipment, If you don't have these shops in your area, take a look online at indoor hydroponic equipment. You don't need to use hydroponic methods to grow but they have the lights. It is definitely possible to grow indoors, think of all the weed grown indoors. I grew peppers indoors when I liven in the UK but had a bit of trouble with aphid type bugs tearing up the plants without any natural outdoor predators.
Honestly though I would say let them go every year and just use your T4s to get an early start on seedlings for the spring season.
 

BillMNJ

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LOL, I was thinking the same thing, but in NY/NJ that kind of "vegetable" growing equipment may get unwanted attention from the cops... We are not as liberal as you west coasters, at least not yet <wink>.

The OP also mentioned cost as a factor, I'm guessing that that type of lighting is pretty expensive to buy and operate.

Bill


standard T4s and T12s will do for seedlings, but mature plants you will need something a little more expensive. In CA we have a lot of hydroponic shops for growing vegetables(weed) and they sell a lot of indoor growing equipment, If you don't have these shops in your area, take a look online at indoor hydroponic equipment. You don't need to use hydroponic methods to grow but they have the lights. It is definitely possible to grow indoors, think of all the weed grown indoors. I grew peppers indoors when I liven in the UK but had a bit of trouble with aphid type bugs tearing up the plants without any natural outdoor predators.
Honestly though I would say let them go every year and just use your T4s to get an early start on seedlings for the spring season.
 

hassman789

Arachnobaron
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I do have SOME sun on the house. I have a window that will let in sun but not enough I think. And yeah watch as the police raids my house to find I have a stealth tomatoe and pepper grow in my room. Lol. The reptile uv bulbs sounds like a good idea, I'm just honestly unsure if that's the right kind of light (not saying your wrong, I legit have no clue!). And yeah, a real hydroponic light won't work for me because of cost, and I am only going to be doing this for this winter, because I got a late start this year.
 

zorora

Arachnopeon
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May 26, 2011
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Ha ha, no one is going to raid your home for purchasing a lighting setup, people get raided for drawing attention with customers and getting ratted out, besides who cares if they come knocking on your door, unless your "growing"(if you were, you wouldn't need to be asking about lighting, you would already have an awesome setup)
In the first post it was said clearly, most of what you will find will be at least $100-$300 to get any production out of your plants. You just cant replace the sun for 20 bucks.
if your trying to just get the plant to last through the winter, you may be able to hang/place it in the sunniest window you have, or as many t12s you can afford to put around it.
Good luck!
 

hassman789

Arachnobaron
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Ha ha, no one is going to raid your home for purchasing a lighting setup, people get raided for drawing attention with customers and getting ratted out, besides who cares if they come knocking on your door, unless your "growing"(if you were, you wouldn't need to be asking about lighting, you would already have an awesome setup)
In the first post it was said clearly, most of what you will find will be at least $100-$300 to get any production out of your plants. You just cant replace the sun for 20 bucks.
if your trying to just get the plant to last through the winter, you may be able to hang/place it in the sunniest window you have, or as many t12s you can afford to put around it.
Good luck!
Yeah thats what I think I'm going to end up doing. Can I put t12s in any fixture that they fit in or does it have to be a certain kind? And when buying, more lumens = better? Thanks.
 

jake9134

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Jan 5, 2011
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you might want to try compact fluorescent bulbs + and high wattage clamp light. attach 2 socket dividers to make the lamp hold 4 bulbs instead of just 1. oh and make sure to use a small fan to stop the plant from stretching too much (there are a few other ways too) best advice I can think of on a small budget. tried this to light my frog vivariums and it worked great for the plants but it gave off too much heat for the frogs, not sure on how well it will do on larger vegetable plants.
 

Shrike

Arachnoprince
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I'll be honest, I don't think your veggies will do well inside under standard grow lights. These lights are really intended to start your seeds in the spring, just prior to planting. Plants that thrive in dart frog terrariums need significantly less light to thrive, whereas your standard garden vegetables need at least 6 hours of full on sunlight. Your plants will probably get very "leggy" and not produce much, if at all. I wish you luck though! Nothing beats home grown food. If you give it a shot, keep us updated with some pictures of your set up and plant conditions.
 

hassman789

Arachnobaron
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Dec 2, 2009
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I'll be honest, I don't think your veggies will do well inside under standard grow lights. These lights are really intended to start your seeds in the spring, just prior to planting. Plants that thrive in dart frog terrariums need significantly less light to thrive, whereas your standard garden vegetables need at least 6 hours of full on sunlight. Your plants will probably get very "leggy" and not produce much, if at all. I wish you luck though! Nothing beats home grown food. If you give it a shot, keep us updated with some pictures of your set up and plant conditions.
Yeah I am just going to try and hope for the best. I will definatley post pictures along the way to document it!
 
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