Garden Grow Lights Guarantee
Great Seedling Success
We have spent a lot of time and some effort here getting our tomato
seeds to germinate and in some respects that is the easy part of the process. Once the seedlings emerge from the ground, their requirements change. You have to be prepared for this in advance because a day or two’s delay is devastating for our tiny tomato plants. Can't Get Enough Sun!
The primary requirement now, is for sufficient light to drive the growth process. Most of us do not have a small heated and empty greenhouse just sitting, waiting for our seedlings so we have to find that light somewhere else. Nice bright windowsills have produced some reasonable tomato plants but they are far from the ideal. The light is unidirectional and the plants will naturally bend toward it. Yes, the dedicated among us can turn the plants every day to overcome some of this problem but that’s not me and it’s probably not most of you.
Buy Some Tubes!
For the vast majority of our seedlings, ordinary fluorescent light will be more than sufficientfor our garden grow lights. The most important thing to remember about the light from fluorescent tubes, is that it drops off rapidly with increased distance from the tubes. Keeping the tubes within an inch or two of your plants is the big secret to success. This obviously requires some method of adjustment so that the distance can change as the plants grow. There are several commercial light and tray structures available.
Build Your Own!
If you are a bit handy you can create your own that fits the space that you have available. Your seedlings need that light as soon as they have emerged from the seed coat and I find the easiest way to ensure this is to do my germination under the lights as well. There are a few plants that like to germinate in complete darkness as the seed catalogues will point out. I just cover their seed tray with something opaque and check daily for little green things, looking for light. You can spend a
bit more money and buy daylight or plant growth tubes
for your fluorescent fixtures and they may make some difference as the plants get bigger.
Save Your Money!
For germination and the first few days to weeks, that extra cost is really not worthwhile. I use a combination of cool white and warm white tubes for my garden grow lights and have excellent results. Fluorescent tubes also die gradually. Tubes that have been used for a year or two over your seedlings will not be putting out as much light as they did when they were new. I replace my tubes every second year even though they appear to be working just fine. The lights over my workbench and in my garage get the older tubes.
For plants, light is energy. Some is not enough! 16 hours per day is great.
subscribe to Ken's free newsletter
Dallying In The Dirt
return from Garden Grow Lights to Growing From Seeds Main page