Additional Lighting


I have moved into a cottage with really tiny windows which is going to make growing tons of plants from seed extremely difficult. Has anyone tried raising plants from seeds under additional lighting such as LED's or fluorescent?

I have a cold greenhouse but I guess I can't really start to use this until the weather has heated up?



  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 6,984

    I think trying to raise seeds without natural light is going to cause major problems. You would have to keep them there, until it is warm enough to put them in the greenhouse.

    Others will disagree, but every year one of the commonest problems that gets asked is, why are my seedlings so leggy?

    You wouldn't know a diamond if you held it in your hand
    The things you think are precious, i don't understand
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,652

    It's what a lot of nurseries do - I personally don't, but if you want to..

    Look for aquarium lighting - you want T5 hi-output tubes (colour anywhere between 6,500k to 10,000K) 
    A reflector is a must also. I do have a big tropical planted tank with 4 x 50W T5's.

    I buy from iQuatics. You could get the controller (ballast) and tubes/reflectors and make your own height adjuster with twine and hooks. 

    Start off about 12" above the seedlings and bring down to about 6" when they've got true leaves.They will grow very well indeed

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,031

    I agree with Punkdoc.

    What sort of plants are you planning to grow, that need starting off so early?

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Peter-T-Peter-T- Posts: 138

    pete8, what would be the cost for a decent set up ? 

  • lissalissa Posts: 8

    Wow, that great thanks Pete8 I will look into it. Dovefromabove, I am very very new to gardening and i am starting this month with tomatoes and chillis

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,682

    You don't need to start tomatoes so early. As you have a greenhouse I think it would be more practical to look into ways of heating it. Does it have an electrical supply? If not, there are paraffin heaters. If you get your seeds germinated that is only the start, where will you put all the baby plants? You need a frost free greenhouse. When the weather warms up seeds sown later will grow better and faster.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Lissa, I am with Busy Lizzie, starting too early does not produce the best plants, it also depends on where you live, the South of the Watford gap will be two weeks ahead of us in the NE, we start things in March and can still have frost into May. Light is also essential plants grow leggy with too much heat and not enough light, growing seedlings on a window ledge needs a reflector either tinfoil or white board behind and still turn the plants daily. The cost of buying and running special lighting to my mind would not pay just to gain probably a week, we sow late but still get the length of growing season anyway, is it worth it.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,031

    I'm in Norfolk - I'll be starting my tomatoes, chillies and runner beans at the beginning of April. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,652

    Had a quick look at the iquatics site - 

    4 x 54W T5 set up including everything £150 (this is what I use for my fish tank)

    2 x 39W T5 set up inc everything £75

    Tube colour is up to you anything between 6,500k and 10,000K is fine (6,500 is a warm reddish hue - 10,000 is very white/blue)

    You'll need something to raise lower the tubes as well, I'd just use some twine and hooks

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Start you seedlings off in your greenhouse/coldframe, you will get far, far better plants as a result. As others have said, plants such as tomatoes and beans sown in late March will be much stronger and will very often overtake earlier sowings. There are many hardy plants you can start now to grow on in a cold greenhouse. 

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