Grow lights, recommendations needed

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by planter, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. planter

    planter New Member

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    Hi guys, new to the forums. And also a novice when it comes to growing stuff. Although I have grown a lot of stuff, normally it dies within a few years or I give up. But for the last 6 months I am trying to get a little bit more serious about keeping these things alive and taking care of them. And I have done a fairly decent job.

    I live in the city, in a high rise building, and although I get sun on my balcony, it just isn't enough to keep things alive long enough, and definitely not long enough to get them to grow. So recently I would like to purchase a grow light, problem is I really know nothing about them..

    Here is what I am trying to grow.

    Catnip
    Basil

    I might try other things once I get these two going long enough to actually be able to harvest seeds.

    They are both in pots, weather is between 12C and 40C yearly. It does not snow nor freeze here.

    The plants get morning sun for about 4-5 hours and then that's about it. So I want a grow light to set a timer on it to give them light during the night hours. But I have no idea how long I should leave the light on or if it matters or the type of light needed. You would think with plants like weeds I wouldn't have a problem, but behold I do!

    The pots are prety small, diameters are 15cm for one 10cm for the other.

    I don't want something too big nor too expenisive. But something easy to use, has a timer, and light bulbs relatively cheap but long lasting.

    Any help would be highly appreciated.
     
  2. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Sun is the best. South, East and west windows have differing amounts of light.

    Sans that since you are in an apartment, I would recommend Fluorescent bulbs such as: Philips 392282 (48") F40T12/PLANT/48" Fluorescent Plant Aquarium Terrarium Tube Light Bulb, or LED. I do not recommend using high intensity light at all. Fluorescent bulbs need to be replaced every 6 months to maintain a proper level of light energy getting to the plant. It may look bright to you, but after 6 months there is a significant loss that can be measured. LED lights have come along way, but are more expensive.

    Good luck, apartment permaculture is difficult. :)
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Search the archives for plants that grow in shade. There have been long lists of them developed here over the years. Why spend $$ and generate greenhouse gases trying to grow something that doesn't want to when you could grow something that was really happy in the shade?
     
  4. planter

    planter New Member

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    Pakanohida, what you mean is that a Fluorescent bulb will give me enough light? That's wierd. I thought those plants needed sun light. They get about 2-4 hours a day of direct sun, and then they get another 4-6 hours of indirect light. They seem to do better on my back balcony so I have moved everything there. Many people around me have plants and things that grow well, so I am sure they will grow fine, they just need more light. I just don't understnad how a regular fluorescent light can replace the sun.. However, those bulbs are two feet long, I do not have such space for those. If there is something similar much smaller that would be fine.

    eco4560, Although I appreciate your reply, I have no interest in shaded plants. The two I mention, basil and catnip are both growing, but they are not doing as well as I would like, perhpas I expect too much. i.e. taking too much time to grow or dying prematurely, perhaps this is just my great plant killing skills that is doing it. The catnip plant I have in the back has been going for at least 4 months now, it is getting bigger, I just transplanted it to a bigger pot so it can grow taller. The basil just suddenly died and I have no idea why. Perhaps it was sun, as I know they need it, but it could have been I over fertilized it.
     
  5. grantvdm

    grantvdm Junior Member

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    AH!!!!!! (LIGHTS GO ON! NO PUN INTENDED!) I've been making the same mistake! I'm also only starting in permaculture and live in an apartment with a balcony. Been growing ornamentals mostly, but have decided recently that i would also like to grow food on my balcony! Living in Swakopmund, Namibia (22deg41min South). Temperature ranges from 10C - 23 on monthly averages (we do see min 6C and max 16C in winter and min 22C and max 34C in summer though). Balcony faces NW so gets reasonable sunlight in the afternoon, but because it is misty here at the coast most of the time (and mostly in the afternoon and morning!), I say we get about 3 hours decent sunlight on avergae a day on the balcony.

    Any sugestions for plants we can plant in pots ECO, to get us going? Balcony not very spacious either!!!
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Try this one
    Or
    This one
    for some plant suggestions that may work for you.

    Depending on the variety - basil is an annual so they just die when they are ready. Could be that.
     
  7. grantvdm

    grantvdm Junior Member

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    Thanks ECO!

    Everything is already here!! Just need to dig!

    Will start searching for seeds!!
     
  8. planter

    planter New Member

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    Hi I am still waiting for a reply on the type of fluorescent light bulb I need.. See above.

    My back balcony for all intensive purposes faces south. So it has light all day, but not diect sunlight, I only get that about 2-4 hours a day but not every day, it is usually cloudy here so... But it still gets indirectlight for 10+ hours a day.

    I just planted basil, they started sprouting in a week.
     
  9. PlantingPete

    PlantingPete Junior Member

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    Every plant needs a certain amount of light to flourish and if it isn't getting enough (that is why you are posting) supplementary lights maybe the answer.
    As a previous poster has mentioned avoid HID lights for many reasons which leaves you the viable alternative of large compact florescent lamps like the one you have at home but bigger.
    https://www.philips.com.au/c/energy...=1C2B0C60C0F0659BBBBACF1684CCF8DF.app101-drp2

    I have used this one for seedlings, cuttings and small plants successfully and it has a colour of 6500k which is good for vegetative growth. Because of its thread it needs a special lamp holder / shade however all this is available through the internet.
     
  10. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I would aviod if posible, using lights to supplement. A more sustainable way and a better use of design principles would be to reflect/deflect extra light to the area. Is it possible to erect a couple of screens at each end of the balcony to deflect firstly morning and then afternoon sun into the area to extend the plants access to light?
    This is often done on a larger scale with screens, light water tanks and ponds in larger gardens and I have also designed a garden using the trunks of spotted gum (or some other light trunked tree to reflect light to a dim area.
    A couple of silver shade cloth panels could be used or even one and swap ends each day.
     
  11. kimbo.parker

    kimbo.parker Junior Member

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    hello planter
    white fluoro light does not contain the correct spectrum for growing.
    grow lights are different.

    i have a set that runs at 60w
    this isn't enough to bring a plant to maturity - the problem is, to get plants to perform well under lights you invariably need some serious wattage over long hours.....presuming the objective is good harvests.
    this can cause an issue with heat, and power consumption.

    you can use the latest LED grow lights - and this may work for catnip and basil....LED's use small power and generate low heat
    but rumour has it - that you don't get hard compact buds with LED's.

    Is your plant system hydroponic or dry?

    :)
     

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