Greenhouses forum: Question about lighting

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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
Jan 17, 2016 12:53 PM CST
How many hours a day should I be running the grow lights on my seedlings? Do they need to be in darkness for a while each day/night?
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Jan 17, 2016 11:48 PM CST
Hi Jeanne -- this might depend on what kind of seedlings you have growing... but for pretty much everything that I start under lights, veggies and flowers, I have the lights on for about 16 hours/day and keep them pretty close to the plants. That depends, again, on what kind of lights you have -- mine are just the "old-fashioned" shop lights, with T12 bulbs. (The newer, high-output bulbs don't need to be as close to the plants, from what I've read.)
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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Jan 18, 2016 7:58 AM CST
If in an area that gets little bright, natural light, I too would burn the lights about 16 hrs./day. In greenhouses, with lots of light, I still burn my fixtures 6 hrs./day, from around 3:00 PM till 9:00 PM. I'm simply supplementing light while the sun is very low in the sky and during early evening.

You are correct, @weedwhacker. You can position plants extremely close to T12 and T8 tubes. T5 tubes produce some heat so you would want to keep the plants further away. T5 HO tubes produce a good bit of heat (as well as intense light) so plant position would have to be altered pretty drastically. The number of tubes/fixture is very important too. Just place your hand near the fixtures tubes and you'll immediately know what heat is produced by what.
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