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Old 20-01-2011, 05:37 PM posted to rec.gardens
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Default Anybody out there use grow-lamps?

My findings are similar to Pat's, although I believe the stockier
plants would be a results of more efficient plant energy use but the
law of inverse square vs heat generation may be at play. Right now the
lower cost LED light bars/boxes are nothing but old first generations
1 w LEDs being marketed in different ways. There is limited
phototrophic use in these low powered lights. There are a few 3-5w
light bars in different combos out there that are adequate for
growing, again still retrofitting and a greater cost. The high
output LEDs are 5w ea and about =/a $ per w cost, especially the
CREE lights. A bit spendy for seedlings unless your energy cost is
really high. Also more research is being done to determine the true
wave length (nm) combos of proper phototrophic response for various
plants and actually cut through the marketing hype. So, for now
anyway, its "go big ($$$) or go home" for LEDs.

For just seedlings, unless costs drop soon, I recommend you use
fluorescent in the length you need (2 /4/8 ft). 34 w tubes are ok,
HO 54w are definitely better. Bright whites (5000k) are not
necessary (nor are "grow" lights") but will not harm your efforts.
CFLs are a good option if you get decent size(/=60ish w {200-300 w
equivalents}). You do not need to know the law of inverse square,
just that the closer the light the more energy it receives and each
foot back quarters the light output, not halves it. Adjust the
lights to where you get 68-72*f on the soil surface later, the plant
top and check often so you don't burn them up being too close nor
stretch em by being too far away, stem stretch will weaken them in
later growth. Lastly, try to find the optimum photoperiod of your
plants ( day long 12 hours, day neutral =12, day short 12) and
match it but do give em a rest.

If growing past seedlings, do consider HIDs... your return on
investment is less, for the near term anyway.

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