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Reccy for a Grow Light for for Seed Sowing and Apparatus

pinkskyinthecitypinkskyinthecity Nottinghamshire, England Posts: 40
I'd like to find something to start my seeds off ready for next year but I wasn't too sure how to do the research. I noticed that there are lights for seeds and also for plants so I wasn't sure what to choose? Is there a light that can do both? I shall be using my spare room for this but don't have any shelving/apparatus to site the lighting on, so a recommendation will be good to have too. Normally, I grow about 30 (it could be more, I can't quite put a number on this!) packets of seed mainly in half trays. My budget is up to £50 or so for everything. 
Thanks for reading. 
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,747
    Unless you have a system to grow seedlings on with adequate light, warmth and moisture there's little point in starting seedlings early under grow lights.  Better to wait till outside temperatures and light levels are better.  The only plants that will really benefit form an early start are tomatoes and chillies and even those catch up quickly once days lengthen.

    The RHS offers this info and advice - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=1033 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • pinkskyinthecitypinkskyinthecity Nottinghamshire, England Posts: 40
    Obelixx said:
    Unless you have a system to grow seedlings on with adequate light, warmth and moisture there's little point in starting seedlings early under grow lights.  Better to wait till outside temperatures and light levels are better.  The only plants that will really benefit form an early start are tomatoes and chillies and even those catch up quickly once days lengthen.

    The RHS offers this info and advice - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=1033 
    Hello Obbelix, 

    Thanks for replying so soon :):smile:

    I'm thinking about buying the equipment in advance of spring sowing, not sowing now. Yes, I shall be starting tom and chilli seeds in Feb. at first, but by March, its all raring to go!

    I start all my flower and veg seeds indoors, (under heat) but due to the lack of window space, I have found that some of the seedlings become etiolated, hence, my asking for lights as this way, they can be growing with adequate lighting. I have a plastic greenhouse to transfer my seedlings when the springtime temps are suitable for them. 
  • KiliKili Posts: 439
    edited November 2020
    I have two of these https://www.greenhousesensation.co.uk/electric-propagator-with-propagation-lights-90cm.html/

    They didn't cost as much when I bought them about 4 years ago . If you don't want to buy the propagator you can buy the T5 grow lights separately and just hook them up above your existing propagator . The T5 lights are good because they give off very little heat so you can get the lights very close to the plants without frying them.

    The sell them here along with LED lights but I avoid LED in favour of T5
    https://www.greenhousesensation.co.uk/propagators-and-seed-sowing-essentials/accessories/propagation-lights-and-accessories/

    You should also check other outlets online as you may be able to find them cheaper at places like Amazon.

    The caveat is that once they have propagated you need to get them out of the propagator and for most young seedlings you will need an environment of at least 15 -20 degrees and 16 hours of light to keep them growing until ready to go outside. I do this by keeping them in my home office with T5 lights above them giving them 16 hours of light each day to bring them on. 

    I'm sure there are others with better solutions than mine and no doubt they will be along to advise soon but, that's what works for me.

    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • pinkskyinthecitypinkskyinthecity Nottinghamshire, England Posts: 40
    Thanks for replying, Kili. 

    Could you recommend a shelving unit that you can recommend, too. I'm not sure how the lights can be fixed onto each shelf - do they have clips or something? 
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,935
    I have the T5 "sunblaster" light as well, there are "eyes" at each end you can attach hooks to and suspend them from shelving above with cord or fine chain, you can get small pulleys to raise & lower them if you really want to get sophisticated.
    AB Still learning

  • Have a look at aquarium lighting too. Most of those T5 and halide light systems have fixing points for the canopy, ballast etc because they are designed to hang over tanks. 
  • KiliKili Posts: 439
    edited November 2020
    Thanks for replying, Kili. 

    Could you recommend a shelving unit that you can recommend, too. I'm not sure how the lights can be fixed onto each shelf - do they have clips or something? 

    The T5 lights usually come with hanging eyes and clips.

    I bought this shelving unit:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B072B6Q3NJ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    It just clicks together no screwdrivers needed.

    The shelves are just fibre board and I replaced mine with thin plywood but it does what I need. For £30 its the cheapest option I could find.

    Kili

    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,173
    As @strelitzia32 says above aquarium lighting is ideal.
    I used to have a planted tropical tank and bought my lamps and accessories from here over many years
    https://www.iquaticsonline.co.uk/product-category/t5-controllers/t5-controller-kits/

    The most suitable tubes would be the Tropical T5 tubes. They don't get hot, so you can keep them just a few inches above the plant tops

    I did have 2 x 150w halide lamps too (and CO2 injection) - the growth was overwhelming, so I stuck with the T5's
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • pinkskyinthecitypinkskyinthecity Nottinghamshire, England Posts: 40
    Thanks for all your replies everyone. Would I have to buy a tube and a reflector for each shelf?
  • Ferdinand2000Ferdinand2000 Posts: 433
    edited November 2020
    I use LED lights, and I have 4 of these units at £30 each (enough for 2 IVAR shelves, or about 6 seed trays of microgreens) :
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07LFC9NT8/

    Not available via that link, but easy to find.

    I think one difference to watch for is whether you are tuning your colour spectrum to grow foliage or flowers.

    I am using two bays of the big iKea IVAR shelving units to grow microveg as I have endless quantities of it or it comes off Ebay for tupppence, and I am using 2 of these units under a 80cm x 50cm shelf over 3 seedtrays to experiment. I attach them with screws to the wooden shelf above :smile: .

    There are a lot of options using shopfitting type kit or warehouse type stuff. You just need to make sure it all fits together.

    It soon adds up, but there are wrinkles such as getting your 'trays' for standing pots in from Pets at Home using their spare liners for dog crates, which do the job but are about 1/3 of the price.

    I wrote an introductory article on my blog here:
    https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/blogs/entry/774-an-introduction-to-m-m-microgreens/

    Ferdinand


    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
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