Ask a Question forum: Help with indoor seedlings, please :)

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Northeast
AMB333
Mar 31, 2018 7:27 AM CST
I have planted vegetable gardens over the years, but, this is my first attempt at planting indoor seedlings.
I have read a bit about it online and see that I need artificial lighting.
My question is if I use overhead shop lights, how many seedlings would I use per shoplight?
I would truly appreciate any and all advice anyone cares to give about beginning seedlings.

Thank you so very much!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Mar 31, 2018 10:44 AM CST
Welcome!

What kind of bulbs are in your shop light? The answer doesn't matter but the results you can expect will change. You will have to put the shop lights very close to the seedlings - probably less than a foot. So the number of seedlings you can grow under your shop light will depend upon how big a footprint your light is providing.

The danger is that excessive heat from the light will either sunburn the seedlings or make them grow so fast that they become leggy anyway. Its all a balancing act - you are going to have to do some experimenting to find the best of all worlds: good light without excessive heat.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Northeast
AMB333
Mar 31, 2018 11:45 AM CST
Hi Daisy :)
Thanks so much for the info. I did not by the lighting yet, but, have read that one white bulb and one red one are a good way to go.
Is there a better way to do it? Would love to hear if there was.

Thank You! for the welcome too!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 31, 2018 1:27 PM CST
Here's what you have to think about: heat versus light versus cost.

Incandescent is the cheapest but also produces the most heat for the amount of light given. The heat is also a sign of inefficiency - they will cost more to operate.

CFL's (fluorescent) are more efficient so cost less to operate but are a little more expensive than incandescents. You can use tube shop lights or the little spiral ones, as long as the light produced is bright white (about 6000k). K stands for kelvin and is a stupid way to measure light output because its actually a heat measurement but that's the way its done.

The most expensive to buy but the most efficient is LED lights. They produce more light per heat ratio than any of the others.

White light is a blend of all the colors in the spectrum. Plants use most of the colors (they don't use green and that's why they appear green to us). The marijuana farmers have gone to a lot of trouble figuring out exactly what their plants need and how much of each.

Personally, I find the red/blue lights really hard to live with and haven't noticed any difference in the growth rate of my plants with just white light. The plants can sort out the colors they need very well on their own. On the other hand, red plastic mulch has been shown to help tomatoes and peppers produce better faster.

I use CFL's and LED's. If you are concerned about cost, buy CFL shop lights and add tubes rated for 6500k. Work out a system for raising and lowering the lights as you will have to constantly monitor the heat/light ratio. But, if you put a small fan at the end of your bench so a gentle breeze flows through your plants, they will be sturdier and it will help dissipate the heat.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 31, 2018 2:55 PM CST
The "K" rating is actually the color spectrum of the bulb. 6500 K is best for seedlings. Lite is white, and not a harsh color. LEDs burn very cool, so cool that seedlings can grow to touch bulb and not be burned.
LEDs, last twice as long as CFLs, so with that, and there efficiency, they will more than defray the extra intial cost.

Coverage rate for all, is basically the size of reflector.

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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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