Grow Lights

valley ranch

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Yes, LED Shop lights work fine ~ I use Fluorescent lights ~ It use to be said: you need so many Incondecent watts with Blab, Blab many Florescent watts ~ but I found ether alone will do fine ~ plants can't read the books on wattage requirement, they believe what ever you tell them and grow very nicely on Florescent alone ```
 

Zeedman

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Thank you dickiebird. I didn't see the Kelvin rating either. Perhaps because they are white lights.

Mary
According to the manufacturer's website, the bulbs are 4000K.
koda 46 led utility shop light
At that price, Mary, just buy two and see how they work for you. They should be fine for seed starting!

Some folks say that the higher brightness of LEDs can lead to more purple pigment (anthocyanin) in the leaves (just raise the lights if that happens) but that the seedlings also may be easier to harden off before you plant out. Because LEDs are more efficient, they also produce less heat, so if your rooms are cold, the seedlings may grow a bit more slowly, but that is about the only down-side. As my 4 ft fluorescents finally die out, I am switching over to LEDs. As @majorcatfish said, there are a lot of threads on different forums about folks making this change, and most have been very happy with them for this application. For more extended growth and blooming, plants may benefit from the extended spectra of plant growth LED units, but they are expensive - like the special plant growth fluorescent tubes that Rich mentioned (which I paired in my fixtures with cool white tubes).
I concur with @PhilaGardener 's comments. The lights I use for seed starting are fluorescent 6500K, and I do get some of the purpling mentioned... but the plants are stocky, and very easy to harden off. Even onion seedlings don't get leggy, which says a lot.

The light output of those fixtures should be adequate, and that is a very good price - especially with bulbs included. If your only intent is to start transplants, they should work fine. I used T12 2-bulb shoplight fixtures with similar power for years, although a slightly higher light output in my current setup works better. I'd recommend at least two fixtures to get better light coverage, or reflective sides if you only need a few transplants.

Having lived & gardened in the Bay area (East Palo Alto) for several years, and gardened year round, I'm assuming that all you need is transplants. But if you intend to grow plants indoors for fruit or flowers, you would need a different setup, with a different light spectrum.

P.S.: just before I retired, my plant exchanged their old dual-bulb T8 fixtures with a remote controlled, variable brightness LED system very similar to this (but 5100K). They are amazingly bright.
 

ninnymary

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Thanks Zeed, I only plant on growing transplants so I don't need the color spectrum. I'm going to set them up this weekend. We'll see how they do.

One of my concerns is that my laundry room where they will be is quite cool. There is no heat access in there. Night temps are mid 40's and day is around 52-55. Is this too cold for them? They will have of course the lights and heat mats. I can leave the heat mats on even after they germinate if that will help. I really don't want to put a small heater in there. The space is small.

Mary
 

Ridgerunner

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Since you want transplants keeping the roots warm would be enough for germination. I think you are doing peppers among other things. Get a cheap thermometer and stick it in the dirt to get a rough measurement. 80 degrees F is a god target for pepper germination.

In those cool temperatures I'd expect the sprouts to live but the plants probably will not grow real fast. You might be OK by keeping the roots warm, I'd definitely want to do that. I generally have the room in the 70's so don't really have any experience in a room that cold.
 

flowerbug

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I find that the Florescent light do go out often and the cost of LED light is pretty low wonder how many Lumen those shop lights claim ```

Might just try one ```

3300 - 5500 lumens for a regular 4ft led shop light, don't know how many lumens for any of the plant led type bulbs.

right now 100-110 lumens per watt is the range i've been seeing.
 

valley ranch

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When the Space or Place (Growing area) is small reflective aluminum can be put on the walls or boards around ~ this will enhance the effective light ~ more for your money ```

I buy off the shelf bulbs they work well ~ the plants don't get spindly ~ you can tell they are happy with the lighting ```
 

Zeedman

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One of my concerns is that my laundry room where they will be is quite cool. There is no heat access in there. Night temps are mid 40's and day is around 52-55. Is this too cold for them? They will have of course the lights and heat mats. I can leave the heat mats on even after they germinate if that will help. I really don't want to put a small heater in there. The space is small.
Your concerns over the temperature are valid. The low ambient temperature could be a problem for some heat-loving plants. For example, a sustained temperature below 50 F. is a little too cool for peppers & eggplant. If you use reflective sides around the growing area, it will trap a little heat (even LED's generate a little) and of course, you could leave the heat mat(s) on 24 hours. But you might consider adding a low-wattage incandescent bulb for a heat source. That would not only raise the temperature, it would also provide some air circulation due to convection. In a small space with limited air flow, stagnant air can lead to fungal diseases (tomatoes are especially susceptible to this). So if you build an enclosure around the lights & plants, be sure to leave some vents for air flow.
 

GottaGo

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.

I hope the link above works. I followed his recommendations and my seedlings do great. I hope this helps!
Thank you muchly for that link! I've forwarded it to my email to peruse closer, but it already piqued my curiosity discussing lumens and Kelvin (color).

I've been using fish tank bulbs and tin foil as reflectors on a sideboard in my kitchen (my greenhouse is 95% up!) so this may help a great deal!
 

catjac1975

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I’ve done research in grow lights and am still confused as to the necessity of color spectrum. The way I understand it is the color is needed for flowering and fruiting. Since I’m only growing starts I figured white LED shop lights would work.

Can I use LED shop lights?
I watched a long tutorial regarding grow lights some time ago. There are expensive grown lights, but the bottom line from the experts were they were not worth the money for the slight bit of improvement. I use cheap florescent bulbs with great success. But again, I only use them to grow seedlings.
 
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