Plant Lights (part 1) - Guest entry

on Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Since Andy over at Chicken Thistle Farm posted such an informative entry recently on plant lights (the good, the bad and the bright), I got permission from him to include part of his posting here to lure you in, and then I'll link over to the rest of his posting. Trust me, if you're thinking of setting up your own grow lights for your plants (and I DO recommend it), you should read his posting. It'll definitely save ya some money! And then later I plan to do a follow up posting with my dad's very handy trick for hanging grow lights from basement ceiling joists - this technique makes it so you can easily raise and lower the light as your plants are growing.

But first, let's see what Andy has to say about the ballasts and bulbs!

Plant lights - The good, the bad and the bright

If you plan on starting seeds indoors you are going to need lights to accompany your efforts as plants need light for photosynthesis. The question often asked (see the previous post’s comments) is – what’s the “right” light for starting plants indoors? Since I spent a fair amount of time researching this very topic years back I figured a concise post about what I do might offer some mild guidance and insight (or not).

First off – the reason why home seed starters struggle with this question is the fact that the light you “see” is slightly different than the light plants “use”. On a technical level there are really 4 peak light wavelengths that plants use for photosynthesis. The goal of seed starters – hit as many of those peaks as you can so your plants don’t grow up leggy, tall and unhealthy.

Back when I spent a good deal of time looking into this I referenced articles published by Cornell and Purdue’s agriculture departments. The classic question being – incandescent or fluorescent. And if fluorescent – which bulbs? The easy starting point was NOT incandescent.

Read the rest of Andy's article at Chicken Thistle Farm...


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