The Q&A Archives: flourescent lighting

Question: I am trying to prepare for winter (yes, already) and have never tried to grow vegetables in a garage but this is where I have the most room. I am trying to find the most adequate lighting and have some understanding of the needs for the red and blue ends of the spectrum. Do those small flourescent bulbs that replace the

Answer: Glad you're planning ahead! I'll bet you'll be successful in your seed starting venture. If you're starting only a few plants and have roomy window sills, a south-facing window may be all the growing space you need. But it's much better to grow seedlings under fluorescent lights. The small bulbs made for lamps won't be adequate. You'll find grow lights designed to provide light in specific ranges required by plants, but I've found that standard shop lights with two fluorescent tubes per fixture also give plants adequate light and are inexpensive. Use cool white fluorescent tubes or a combination of cool white and warm or natural daylight tubes.

Hang lights from chains to ease raising them. Keep lights no more than 4" above the tops of your seedlings as they grow; lack of light is the major cause of elongated, skinny stems.

Plants need 12-16 hours of light daily. Don't leave lights on continuously as many plants need some dark period each night to develop properly.

Best wishes with your project!

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