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grow lights vs. natural sunlight Empty grow lights vs. natural sunlight

Post  landarch on 3/31/2014, 10:00 pm

My tomatoes are very quickly out-growing my grow-light set-up.  With warmer weather ahead I can start hardening the plants off by moving them outside during the day.  I've read that tomato seedlings need about 16 hours under the grow light at a time.  If they get 8 or so hours of natural daylight, do I still need to put them under grow lights for another 8 hours when I bring them in at night?
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grow lights vs. natural sunlight Empty Re: grow lights vs. natural sunlight

Post  sanderson on 4/1/2014, 3:56 am

I hope someone can help answer this. I was so irregular with my lights and they still grew. Someone on the Forum used stacks of books to get the lights higher. Low tech.
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grow lights vs. natural sunlight Empty Re: grow lights vs. natural sunlight

Post  landarch on 4/1/2014, 10:05 am

me too...I would like to know if the plants get sunshine for 8 hours do they need to go back under the grow lights for another 8 at night.

EDIT:  I just heard back from a local seed company...they though that seedlings would not require additional grow lights once they are hardened off and are getting full day natural sunlight.

Now, if the gale force winds would just stop I can set some plants outside.


Last edited by landarch on 4/1/2014, 10:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  mapspringer on 4/1/2014, 10:16 am

I think ideally you would phase down the number of hours as you're hardening them off.  S.a. if outside for 8 hours, put them back under lights for 4, then 3, then 2, and so forth until they're in the ground.
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grow lights vs. natural sunlight Empty Re: grow lights vs. natural sunlight

Post  quiltbea on 4/1/2014, 4:15 pm

If your plants are outside for several sunlight hours, they just need darkness at night to rest.
But usually when hardening off, you start with one hour in the shade the first day, then increase the time the 2nd day, then into the sunlight a couple hours before moving them to the shade, always increasing sunlight and taking the plants indoors at night away from possible cold temps.  
If you bring them in early, put them under the lights.  Keep the same schedule you had before hardening off.  Under the lights if only outdoors a couple hours but in darkness at night from 11 pm to 7 am.
You need to give them additional growlight time during this period if they are not getting full term sunlight.
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Post  quiltbea on 4/1/2014, 4:20 pm

I don't have my lights suspended from the ceiling but stacked on old VHS tapes, bricks, packing foam,  plastic containers.....anything that works.    I increase more on one side or the other as needed for closeness to the tops of the seedlings.  Works great.
grow lights vs. natural sunlight Light_11
See how my lights are angled for better light?
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Post  landarch on 4/1/2014, 6:11 pm

Quiltbea...here's my problem, and I knew it when I was setting everything up.

The lights I have (T5 four-bulb) have a funky mounting wire...it wastes about 6-7" of vertical space...couple that with some limitations on the adjustability of my metal shelving system.grow lights vs. natural sunlight Lights13























Here is my entire shelf...lights are as high as they will go with my set-up.
grow lights vs. natural sunlight Lights14
Here is older set-up...cheaper 4' shop lights from Walmart...lighter weight and easier to adjust for height.
grow lights vs. natural sunlight Lights15
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grow lights vs. natural sunlight Empty Re: grow lights vs. natural sunlight

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/1/2014, 7:21 pm

@sanderson wrote:I hope someone can help answer this. I was so irregular with my lights and they still grew. Someone on the Forum used stacks of books to get the lights higher. Low tech.

Awesome though! heheh! I love it when people find some clever and/or funky way to something on the cheap.
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