All Things Gardening forum: Looking for cheap DIY plant lamp

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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 8, 2018 1:40 PM CST
I need a new larger plant lamp that is cheap, but efficient. My old one can only do so much and Id like to be able to grow some stuff inside before i transplant them. My current plant lamp i have has burned plants in the past, so I don't want to use it this year. Any suggestions?
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 8, 2018 3:51 PM CST
I use regular fluorescent shop lights to grow everything except a few species. I found them at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore for something like 85% off their regular price. I don't even change the bulbs out every year or two like you're "supposed" to and they still do fine for me.

Sorry, that's not a specific answer but I have discovered you can spend a ton on very fancy grow lights but depending on the plants themselves you may not need them.
Keep going!
Name: Ronnie (Veronica)
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
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luvsgrtdanes
Jan 8, 2018 4:06 PM CST
That's what I use too Renae, cheap from Home Depot, Wallmart or Lowe's.
It happens in a flash, but the memory of it last forever. It can not be borrowed or stolen, and it is of no earthly good until it is given away. So if in your hurry you meet someone who is too weary to smile, leave him one of yours, for no one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give...

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 8, 2018 4:20 PM CST
What area (square feet) do you need to light? And what do you consider to be cheap?
I purchased a very nice LED shop light at Home Depot which cost about $39 and the plants love it. It lights up one 3 foot long shelf. Next time I went to Home Depot they had a different LED shop light, only about $19. It works just as good as the more expensive one, the only thing it that it does not have an on/off switch or a pull chain. I plugged it into a surge protector and turn it on/off that way.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 8, 2018 4:23 PM CST
Some people on here have told me the light has to be a couple inches from the seedlings. Last time I did that it burned them. I found this video on Youtube. They're using the same light set up I already have just using a container to grow the seeds in like a mini green house...maybe this will work better so my plants don't burn this time putting the light so close. I'll keep looking and hopefully I can find something else I could do too. Thanks for the input guys!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 8, 2018 4:27 PM CST
Well considering I still have to pay off the repairs made on my car, I can probably spend about $20 to $30 a month at most until that bill is paid off. And, that's a big emphasis on maybe. Blinking
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 8, 2018 4:30 PM CST
This is the one I got for just barely under $20. The plants love it and it has not burned anything.
https://www.1000bulbs.com/prod...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 8, 2018 4:37 PM CST
Thanks, greene! Thumbs up
Name: Ronnie (Veronica)
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
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luvsgrtdanes
Jan 8, 2018 8:42 PM CST
Renae did you use a florescent bulb in that light fixture? They do give of some extra heat because of the reflective metal. That may have been why your seedlings burned.

Here is what I use https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lig...
Anything like these will work, just depends on what you want to spend and what they go for in your area.
I have put mine on a timer so I don't need them to have a pull chain or an on and off switch. That cuts down on price too.
It happens in a flash, but the memory of it last forever. It can not be borrowed or stolen, and it is of no earthly good until it is given away. So if in your hurry you meet someone who is too weary to smile, leave him one of yours, for no one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give...

[Last edited by luvsgrtdanes - Jan 9, 2018 7:38 AM (+)]
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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 8, 2018 9:49 PM CST
I'm not sure. It was the only light bulb walmart had that said plant light bulb. But, I will check that link tonight. Thanks Ronnie! :)
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
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Zuni
Jan 9, 2018 3:04 AM CST
I just did a ton of research on lights because I'm going to be setting up shelves and lights for growing tomatoes to sell in the next month or so, and ironically, I'm going to go with my old system of fluorescent tubes (T-8) with GE daylight bulbs. The LED lights just don't have the spectrum I want for my tomato sprouts. This is what I've decided to buy (and what I used before to grow tomatoes indoors with no other natural light, with great success). Total cost including bulbs = $26.00 plus tax. This shop light doesn't have a turn off switch, either, but it's the cheapest option and I can run an extension cord to an outlet that's on a switch.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Li...

https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-2-...

Home Depot doesn't carry the GE bulbs anymore, but Lowe's does.

It kind of depends on what you want to grow under the lights. The LED lights are the coolest temperature-wise, and use the least electricity, but they don't have the best spectrum/lumens for tomatoes, which is what I want to grow.

This is what I learned, and hopefully I understand it correctly.

Daylight color spectrum is roughly 4000K - 6500K.

The higher the numbers = the bluer/whiter the spectrum = best for fruits/veggies.

The lower the numbers, the warmer the color spectrum = best for flowers.

So, for my tomatoes, the optimum is 6500 K (bluer spectrum), and I wasn't able to find that in an affordable LED bulb.

I never had trouble with the above GE bulbs burning my plants.

The LED bulbs are getting better all the time. When they can give me the spectrum I want at an affordable price, I'll be switching. I love that they don't give off heat and are cheaper to run.
[Last edited by Zuni - Jan 9, 2018 3:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 9, 2018 8:20 AM CST
RenaeC said:I'm not sure. It was the only light bulb walmart had that said plant light bulb. But, I will check that link tonight. Thanks Ronnie! :)


Those are $1-2 more expensive than the regular fluorescent bulbs right beside them but if you carefully inspect the packaging they're often the exact same bulb, just repackaged.
Keep going!
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 9, 2018 2:27 PM CST
I actually try to avoid Home Depot as much as possible if I can help it. The staff always seems to be rude and the prices are twice as expensive as other places. I generally stick to my local Lowes store. They're always nice, & helpful, and everyone there already knows me cause I go in there so much. Wish they had an rewards system though, but i think they only have credit cards.

I actually ended up finding this shop light last night on their site for $11 and it has some good reviews for plants. I'll be heading out Friday to see if our local store has them. You guys think this one would work for my plants?

https://m.lowes.com/pd/Utilite...
Name: Ronnie (Veronica)
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
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luvsgrtdanes
Jan 9, 2018 4:31 PM CST
That will do just fine Renae Thumbs up
It happens in a flash, but the memory of it last forever. It can not be borrowed or stolen, and it is of no earthly good until it is given away. So if in your hurry you meet someone who is too weary to smile, leave him one of yours, for no one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give...

Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
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Zuni
Jan 9, 2018 7:54 PM CST
@RenaeC that unit doesn't include bulbs, and it requires the really old type of bulbs - T-12. To put it into perspective, the T-8 unit I'm going to get will be 30% more efficient (cheaper to run and better light output).

Basically, the bigger the "T" number, the older and less efficient it is.

Lowe's does carry the GE daylight bulbs for that T-12 unit for about $10:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-2-...

So, $12 + $10 = $22. But, it will cost you 30% more to run than the T-8 unit which will cost you around $26.

You could get cheaper bulbs, but they wouldn't have the full spectrum for veggies, which is 6500K.

Plus, the older bulbs are getting harder to find. It would basically be a disposable unit (soon) that costs more to run.

Even buying a T-8 unit is kind of like buying a dinosaur. At any rate, I'd go for a few more bucks to get the T-8 unit. For what it's worth.
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 9, 2018 8:29 PM CST
I found this one that's still in price range.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utili...
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
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Zuni
Jan 9, 2018 8:32 PM CST
@renaeC Oooh, I like the black one. Nice.
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 9, 2018 8:34 PM CST
I don't think that one comes with a light bulb either. My local store says there's only one left in stock, so hopefully it is still there on Friday.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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lauriebasler
Jan 9, 2018 11:44 PM CST
Nice choice. Makes me want to get about 5 more of them in my plant room! Good luck.
[Last edited by lauriebasler - Jan 10, 2018 11:15 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 10, 2018 7:50 AM CST
RenaeC said:I found this one that's still in price range.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utili...


No, there are no bulbs included in that one either.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

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