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Using Grow Lights

This is a discussion on Using Grow Lights within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; All right all of you light experts--can you help me out? I would like to ...

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  1. #1
    sadie's Avatar
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    Default Using Grow Lights

    All right all of you light experts--can you help me out?

    I would like to start using some grow lights for my phal seedlings and compots (deflasked last summer), but haven't ever used them. Here's the set up. My greenhouse has a 20" brick knee wall, so that bottom couple of feet really aren't usable from a sunlight standpoint. I'd like to rig light fixtures under the shelving there, add a bottom shelf and use that space for my seedlings. There will be 12-18" under there, total.
    Here are the questions:
    1) is that enough space or will I end up with baked seedings?
    2) What kind of lights -- T5s? could I use T8s? (I'll be honest, I don't really know the difference--yeah, yeah I know that is probably a dumb question.)
    3) how close can/should the seedlings be to the lights without burning?

    Thanks for any and all advice. I've always grown using natural light, but seeing all that unused growing space has me itching to make use of it.

  2. #2
    cindiras's Avatar
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    Can you set the shelf forward from the brick knee wall so there is a couple of inches space for air circulation? That should help prevent over-heating. I use 4 foot long shop light fixtures with T-12 bulbs in my basement. since that is only 50 to 60 degrees during the winter and the fixtures are mounted beneath each shelf so the 'chids above on the next shelf recieve some gentle warmth.

  3. #3
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    I don't have any lights currently but I've been told that the T8's give off much more heat and also use up more electricity (gotta watch them $$). The T5's are a little thinner but more expensive than the T8s so there is a bit of a trade off. Most of the people I know around here use the T5s but I'm not sure which ones in terms of colour you need. The person I purchased my phal species seedlings from used blue looking T5s that are about 6" to a foot above the plants in plastic domes with air holes.

    Thanks for starting this thread though; I'll be watching in closely especially to find out what people are using.

  4. #4
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    Sadie, your husband will approve of the T5's which are replacing the older style less energy efficient lamps.

  5. #5
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    I find LED lights to be perfect for "low" light plants such as phals and seedlings, they generate no heat and draw hardly any power, no ballast or reflector needed.

  6. #6
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    Default

    All right -- I decided to take the plunge. Here's my set up--with two T-5 bulbs. THey have such small fixtures that I put them in tubes intended to protect t-12 bulbs in order to keep them a bit dryer. I don't have reflectors or anything yet and I realize this is pretty basic, but we'll see. If it works then I'll invest in more hardware. Any pointers are welcome. Thanks for all the previous (and any future) advice!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #7
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    Sadie, That looks pretty good! You can hold a hand between the bulbs and the plants to test for excess heat. You can also do that for the shadow test (if your hand makes a distinct shadow against the plants, then you have fairly high light, if the shadow is faint or diffused your light levels are lower).

  8. #8
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    Looks like a great set up.

  9. #9
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    Cool. Looking good!

    Cheers,
    BD

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