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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old April 3, 2019   #16
uzlaguzla
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Thank you Cole. I maintain at least 70 deg at night and try to keep it below 85 in daytime.
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Old April 3, 2019   #17
zendog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQWIBB View Post
I just want to put this out there so folks can maybe learn from my costly adventure into LED grow lights.
So how big of an area of plants can you light well with that Viparspectra 700 light and how high over the plants do you have them? I purchased a 300W (really 165 I think) model and was hoping to use it to cover 2 1020 trays worth of plants.

I'm also curious how much better these "pink" grow lights work than the 6000K LED T8 replacements for starting seedlings. I've been using T8 LED replacements and they seem to work okay, but I've had some weird issues I think are a result of the lack of UV or just the uneven spectrum of their light. Of course it could always be watering issues or something else as well.

Thanks.

p.s. I had my plants out all day when it was warm here last week and they showed no signs of needing to be hardened off first, at least in terms of sunlight.
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Old April 3, 2019   #18
SQWIBB
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For starts the 6000k LED's are more than enough, so I don't know why you are having issues?
The lights you are referring to as pink (my Roleadros) are heavy on the red side. I don't use them anymore.

The viparspectras I have are adjustable in three light spectrums so to speak. The lights on my seedling table are Viparspectra 450's
I have my red almost all the way off.
Two of these will more than cover my 24"x50" table, (4 trays)
One thing to consider it the spread of light changes when adjusted up and down.
I like these because I can have the lights higher than the tubes and get in there and work on the plants and water more easily.
I do have three Viparspectras 700's in my grow tent.
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Old April 3, 2019   #19
bjbebs
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After decades of using T12 4 tube fixtures, I'm changing it up a bit. I purchased several T8 4 tube fixtures and a case of 32 watt bulbs at an electrical house auction for $50. These will replace the T12's.
Then I started playing around with screw in LED's. I found that the removing the diffuser allowed much more light with greater penetration. I opened these up by drilling a few holes and snipping the plastic with a small pair of wirecutters. They could then be gripped and popped off.
I also use a 150 watt HPS fixture to start peppers and plants that need extra heat.

The following shows energy consumtion and light output. These #'s are easy for me to understand so that I can compare costs.

(5) T8's using 20, 32 watt bulbs
640 watts used. >$50

(6) 60 watt LED's
48 watts used.
> (12) LED's consuming 144 watts and providing close to 1000 W
(6) 100 watt LED's (1) 10 pack of 60W $10 (1) 10 pack of 100W $20 =$30
96 watts used (10) cheap plastic lampholders-$10

(1) 150 watt HPS
150 watts used > Have owned for many years, no idea of price paid.

Just some ideas to mull over. I have $50 in the LED's and a couple hours in wiring, mounting and removing the diffusers. The light is brighter than all but high intensity lighting at virtually no cost.

I start seeds in a chilly basement and lights are spread out in the mechanical room and laundry room. Daytime temps struggle to reach 70 and nights around 60.
Attached Images

I posted this several weeks ago. After using and comparing the LED's to the T8's for a couple months, I can say both work very well. The T8's throw off much more heat and plants do best if grow 3-5 inches from the lights. Plants can be grown several inches under the LED's without any stretch at all.

From a cost standpoint, the LED's give a much bigger bang for your buck. Any configuration can be used in mounting these with as little or as much wattage as you choose.

There are pictures in the Lights For Seed Starting thread posted in early February.

All plants are now in a greenhouse that gets heated for a few hours each night. Lows won't drop below freezing, hopefully. By the end of the month they will be in the open air getting ready for transplant.
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Old April 3, 2019   #20
zendog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQWIBB View Post
For starts the 6000k LED's are more than enough, so I don't know why you are having issues?
I'm pretty sure I had the lights too close to begin with and my young tomato seedlings were very purple and twisty - as if they were shying away from the light! Peppers seemed to handle it better, but they did that go purple thing pretty intensly. I raised the lights and they were better.

But I also had issues with my rootstocks getting weird white bumps on leaves that then yellowed and dropped. Apparently it is a known issue with some rootstocks because they have different wild types in their genetics that are more susceptible to the lack of UV. It happened on 2 of the types of rootstocks I am growing, but the third, from a different company and definitely different genetics, was fine.

There are so many variables it is hard to know what is causing what sometimes. For instance, I've had more yellowing of lower leaves than I remember under fluorescents, but I'm not sure I was fertilizing enough, plus I'm using new trays with deep ridges to make them rigid, but that actually means it takes more water to get them wicking it up when I bottom water and then they pull it all up via capillary action so maybe they're just getting more overwatered this year? Plus the fluorescents did put out more heat and the plants are in a basement that is usually high 60s, so that could be an issue as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQWIBB View Post
The lights on my seedling table are Viparspectra 450's I have my red almost all the way off. Two of these will more than cover my 24"x50" table, (4 trays)
One thing to consider it the spread of light changes when adjusted up and down.
My 300 model doesn't have separate switches, so I'll just be going with "full". I was hoping 2 300s would work in my little grow tent with a 2' X 4' base. I was looking at the 450s when I bought my current 300, which was on sale. I think the lesson is sort of like buying pants... when in doubt I should buy the next size up since I'll probably grow into it.
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Old April 3, 2019   #21
DonDuck
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Thanks to those who answered my question. I will watch the youtube videos.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #22
Nematode
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Confirming mobiledynamics observation about no hardening off required.
New LED setup 15,000-20,000 lux at plant canopy, everything went straight from grow bench to full June sun.
No sun damage on tomato, eggplant or pepper.
Box was severely overcrowded and shorter stuff that was shaded in the box did show sun damage,
Borage, yarrow, parsley had some damage, but they were under the tomatoes, and didn't have full intensity on them. All recovered now.
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