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Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?

 
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 11:52 AM
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Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
I have one hydroponic light but can't afford another but I do have a very nice sun lamp made by Sperti used for giving humans a suntan (model # DEL SOL).

I've done some research on the subject but never came out with a definitive answer.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 12:15 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
I think you can only use it for propagation. Not 100% sure on that though. What you growing? Different plants need different light.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 12:18 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Try it and find out, what is the worst that can happen? My garden is an ongoing experiment, seems when it comes to indoors, no one really seems to know for sure.

Its just trial and error.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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04/28/2011 12:35 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
I think you can only use it for propagation. Not 100% sure on that though. What you growing? Different plants need different light.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1075099


I'm looking to have the option of growing vegetables inside my house. Tomatoes, green beans, swiss chard, zucchini.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Try it and find out, what is the worst that can happen? My garden is an ongoing experiment, seems when it comes to indoors, no one really seems to know for sure.

Its just trial and error.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1086216


I am finding you are right. There isn't much out there for the average home grower. I know soil nutrients are very important and of course lighting. Thanks
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 12:38 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
I think you can only use it for propagation. Not 100% sure on that though. What you growing? Different plants need different light.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1075099


I'm looking to have the option of growing vegetables inside my house. Tomatoes, green beans, swiss chard, zucchini.
 Quoting: linen


You should be ok with it then as long as you are not trying to grow tropical fruit and veg.
Also a good halogen security light will do the job, just keep it in a very cool place and keep one eye on it.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 12:57 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Try it and find out, what is the worst that can happen? My garden is an ongoing experiment, seems when it comes to indoors, no one really seems to know for sure.

Its just trial and error.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1086216


I am finding you are right. There isn't much out there for the average home grower. I know soil nutrients are very important and of course lighting. Thanks
 Quoting: linen


But don't let that discourage you! This has been an excellent experience for me, trying to grow veggies inside. All winter, when it was snowing and dead outside, I was able to work in a garden every day :-)


Its not hard, and you don't really need 'that' much to get started. Just plant a seed or two, put it under your light and see what happens. If it takes well, and you should know in about 2 weeks when true leaves show up, plant more.

there are things like light spectrum and timing and what not, but I started with a few CFLS, when I saw that I could in fact grow a tomato plant inside, I bought a sunlamp... I was saving enough $$ to afford one... next when I get the garden going well again, I'll invest more $$. But I started with not much at all.

It does take time and dedication and daily care, but its so well worth it! The experience is wonderful. I am also realizing that a lot of it is an instinct. It just 'comes' to you.

Give it a shot!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 01:01 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Ordinary flourescent lights do the job as well, are much cheaper, and produce more light per watt. You can grow plants in a basement with nothing but flourescents.

But why would you? Sunlight is free!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 01:03 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
it is all about the lumens
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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04/28/2011 01:04 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Try it and find out, what is the worst that can happen? My garden is an ongoing experiment, seems when it comes to indoors, no one really seems to know for sure.

Its just trial and error.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1086216


I am finding you are right. There isn't much out there for the average home grower. I know soil nutrients are very important and of course lighting. Thanks
 Quoting: linen


But don't let that discourage you! This has been an excellent experience for me, trying to grow veggies inside. All winter, when it was snowing and dead outside, I was able to work in a garden every day :-)


Its not hard, and you don't really need 'that' much to get started. Just plant a seed or two, put it under your light and see what happens. If it takes well, and you should know in about 2 weeks when true leaves show up, plant more.

there are things like light spectrum and timing and what not, but I started with a few CFLS, when I saw that I could in fact grow a tomato plant inside, I bought a sunlamp... I was saving enough $$ to afford one... next when I get the garden going well again, I'll invest more $$. But I started with not much at all.

It does take time and dedication and daily care, but its so well worth it! The experience is wonderful. I am also realizing that a lot of it is an instinct. It just 'comes' to you.

Give it a shot!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1086216


So you're using fluorescent lighting. All good information. Thanks
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 01:05 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Ordinary flourescent lights do the job as well, are much cheaper, and produce more light per watt. You can grow plants in a basement with nothing but flourescents.

But why would you? Sunlight is free!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


Sunlight is free, but unless you have a greenhouse, I think it may be hard to grow veggies all year even with abundant sunshine!

All I have to do to have a salad in the middle of December is go downstairs, pick some stuff, and I'm done!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 01:14 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
So you're using fluorescent lighting. All good information. Thanks
 Quoting: linen


Not anymore... I started with 150 Watt CLF curly bulbs. I had a plant stand i wasn't using outside lol so I arranged them on that with clips. At first, every plant had its own bulb, and they did pretty well. It took a bit longer... for the growth (compared now to the sun light I have), but it worked.

Once I figured out I could do it, that a plant can grow and produce fruit inside a house, I looked more into other lights and systems.

I had 10 150 Watt CLFs... they had x amount of lumen (I can't recall how many now), so I looked up lumen and what they do, then I started looking up spectrum of light. Turns out that plants do not use ALL the sunlight they get, only specific spectrum. So then I realized I could save more $$ on electricity and what not by focusing the energy I was using on those specific spectrum, at the highest lumens possible.

I bought a 650 Watt dual arc light. Half of it is the spectrum the plants need for their vegetation cycle, and the other half is the spectrum needed when they start to set fruit. Its really cool actually. It lights a 10x10 space (not all of that is direct light but some veggies can go indirect, or partly shade). I have 6 tomato plants, a huge tray of mixed lettuce, squash, eggplant, peppers, tried cukes but they didn't work out just yet.

Now my next experiment was caused by a post on GLP. Someone posted about LED Lights. I bought an LED panel from Sun Systems, and I put one pepper under the LED panel, and one under the sun lamp. The LED sure does have faster growth (veg at least), but I'm not happy that I am not seeing flowers yet. So that experiment is ongoing.

Basically what I am saying is... use what you have for now and then just look around. I think that next I am going to purchase some florescent tube lights, at least for seed starting and the smaller plants like the lettuce. Those lights don't penetrate too well past the 'canopy', so the lower leaves don't get as much light, but with squat plants, should be good.

I'll check back to see if you have more questions, but def give it a go, its a rewarding experience, and feels great!

A month ago I was with my granny in the super market, and she said "Wow, lettuce is $2 a head!" I said "Oh wow... well I grow my own" :-D Felt SO GOOD!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 01:22 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
The other thing you want to think about OP, and sorry to take over your thread lol but I love talking about my garden... the other thing you might want to take into consideration, is looking up how to hand pollinate the plants you want to grow indoors. I would suggest starting with easy ones, like tomatoes, peppers, peas, all of which can be pollinated by shaking the branch with the flowers.

I cannot get my squash, cukes, or eggplant to pollinate. The eggplant is still growing great, lots of flowers... I tried the paintbrush, q-tip, just plain water... no fruit. I have a feeling that those three plants I will be taking outside in the summer to let the bees do their work. Unless I can figure it out, those will be summer only foods for us.

Lettuce is super simple, and very beneficial. I used a cat pan that I bought and never used with the cats lol. Drilled holes in it, filled with dirt and planted. This is our second harvest of lettuce. Its amazing, and so easy.

Next is broccoli... oh and I need to get those pepper plants making flowers. I planted 3 pole beans, and wow, they took off!

I already have some support structures in my basement, beams and what not, so I am using them for support for the vine plants. I've had to rearrange things a bit, but it works out well.

Ok that's it for now. Hope that helps!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 01:25 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
No.

A sunlamp is built to emit UV radiation which will burn the plants.

UV wavelengths cannot be harnessed by plants to drive the process of photosynthesis that plants use to generate the sugars they need to sustain life.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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04/28/2011 01:37 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
The other thing you want to think about OP, and sorry to take over your thread lol but I love talking about my garden... the other thing you might want to take into consideration, is looking up how to hand pollinate the plants you want to grow indoors. I would suggest starting with easy ones, like tomatoes, peppers, peas, all of which can be pollinated by shaking the branch with the flowers.

I cannot get my squash, cukes, or eggplant to pollinate. The eggplant is still growing great, lots of flowers... I tried the paintbrush, q-tip, just plain water... no fruit. I have a feeling that those three plants I will be taking outside in the summer to let the bees do their work. Unless I can figure it out, those will be summer only foods for us.

Lettuce is super simple, and very beneficial. I used a cat pan that I bought and never used with the cats lol. Drilled holes in it, filled with dirt and planted. This is our second harvest of lettuce. Its amazing, and so easy.

Next is broccoli... oh and I need to get those pepper plants making flowers. I planted 3 pole beans, and wow, they took off!

I already have some support structures in my basement, beams and what not, so I am using them for support for the vine plants. I've had to rearrange things a bit, but it works out well.

Ok that's it for now. Hope that helps!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1086216


You've given me a lot of information to digest and I appreciate it. No, please don't worry about taking over the thread. It's not mine. I'm here just like anyone else. I am especially interested in tomatoes and pole beans but zucchini would be nice also. I'm going to put you on my Buddy List if that's okay with you so I can watch your posts.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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04/28/2011 01:39 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
No.

A sunlamp is built to emit UV radiation which will burn the plants.

UV wavelengths cannot be harnessed by plants to drive the process of photosynthesis that plants use to generate the sugars they need to sustain life.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 919411


I was wondering if the plants might get sunburned. Thanks for the info. Now I know I won't try it, but I will look into User ID: 1086216's lighting solutions.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 02:02 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
No.

A sunlamp is built to emit UV radiation which will burn the plants.

UV wavelengths cannot be harnessed by plants to drive the process of photosynthesis that plants use to generate the sugars they need to sustain life.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 919411


I was wondering if the plants might get sunburned. Thanks for the info. Now I know I won't try it, but I will look into User ID: 1086216's lighting solutions.
 Quoting: linen


I doubt it would put out enough uv to worry about burning your plants. However, like another post said, it's all about the lumens. I'd go with a standard floro tube instead of as UV one for that reason alone.

But, if you can swing a 250W+ Metal halide or High pressure sodium bulb you'll have a much more efficient system. If your electronically inclined there are kits available that you can assemble for pennies on the dollar.

Check this out: [link to www.ballastkit.com]

I personally would not go smaller than a 250W system, a 400W to 1000W will do you wonders.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 02:11 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
No.

A sunlamp is built to emit UV radiation which will burn the plants.

UV wavelengths cannot be harnessed by plants to drive the process of photosynthesis that plants use to generate the sugars they need to sustain life.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 919411


I was wondering if the plants might get sunburned. Thanks for the info. Now I know I won't try it, but I will look into User ID: 1086216's lighting solutions.
 Quoting: linen


I doubt it would put out enough uv to worry about burning your plants. However, like another post said, it's all about the lumens. I'd go with a standard floro tube instead of as UV one for that reason alone.

But, if you can swing a 250W+ Metal halide or High pressure sodium bulb you'll have a much more efficient system. If your electronically inclined there are kits available that you can assemble for pennies on the dollar.

Check this out: [link to www.ballastkit.com]

I personally would not go smaller than a 250W system, a 400W to 1000W will do you wonders.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1242303


I have a 1000W system. It worked GREAT. I went with the 650w dual bulb to see what it could do. Cut back my electricity by a pretty penny, but if I get the garden really, really going, I'll happily go back to the 1000W bulbs.

Also OP you don't need a special 'plant set up' really. You can get a decent T-5 Fluorescent set at Home Depot for under $100 bulbs and all.

But those sun bulbs the poster here is talking about are excellent. Expect to spend $50-$100 per bulb (my 650 watt was $59 I think), but it is WORTH IT. And you only need one for a good while!
Conejo Diablo

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04/28/2011 02:32 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Sunlamps are terribly inefficient (lumens per watt). Also if you spend any amount of time tending to your garden with the sunlamp on you will end up with one hell of a sunburn. If you go with HID you will get great growth but heat buildup becomes a consideration. If you can achieve your desired results with fluorescents that is the way to go.
May You Live In Interesting Times.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 02:34 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
I think you can only use it for propagation. Not 100% sure on that though. What you growing? Different plants need different light.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1075099


bonghit
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 02:44 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Hmm, let me start out by saying I do not grow marijuana because it is illegal and I do not like jail. That said, UV light makes marijuana have stronger potency.

I only grow houseplants and roses.
You can buy a 400w HPS grow fixture from ebay for about $120.
If you have the resources, retrofit it with a CMH lamp.

Also I am quite fond of the Sunmaster lamps.

If you're electrically competent I could also give instructions on how to make your own grow lamp setup on a small budget.
Bowyn Aerrow

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04/28/2011 03:27 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Sunlamps are high on the UV side. Plants can receive sunburn just like humans. While they are more tolerant of UV rays, constant exposure can result in a plant loosing needles/leaves.

I have a yew what is 'sunburned' on its south (sun facing) side. The top needles are brown (dead and dying) from being newly exposed to full sunlight after the oak tree came down.

UV exposure and the effects on plants: [link to www.sciencedaily.com]

You can use a regular florescent tube light (more than one of course) the modern florescent tubes give off strong, full spectrum light and the plant will adapt to a wide variety of visible light spectrum and even a less wide brightness/dimness spectrum.
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Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 03:33 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
I have one hydroponic light but can't afford another but I do have a very nice sun lamp made by Sperti used for giving humans a suntan (model # DEL SOL).

I've done some research on the subject but never came out with a definitive answer.
 Quoting: linen


You could experiment by strategically placing mirrors to help reflect what little light is available, not to increase it. Also make sure the room is painted in a color that reflects light not absorbs it, same with furnishings and flooring. What about adding reflective material to the walls and ceiling. Worth researching.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:06 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
I have one hydroponic light but can't afford another but I do have a very nice sun lamp made by Sperti used for giving humans a suntan (model # DEL SOL).

I've done some research on the subject but never came out with a definitive answer.
 Quoting: linen


You could experiment by strategically placing mirrors to help reflect what little light is available, not to increase it. Also make sure the room is painted in a color that reflects light not absorbs it, same with furnishings and flooring. What about adding reflective material to the walls and ceiling. Worth researching.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1284555


What about reflective red material? I saw this:

[link to www.parkseed.com]

and started thinking about using it on my tomatoes and peppers.

Have not tried it yet, but it something I'm considering!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:09 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Hmm, let me start out by saying I do not grow marijuana because it is illegal and I do not like jail. That said, UV light makes marijuana have stronger potency.

I only grow houseplants and roses.
You can buy a 400w HPS grow fixture from ebay for about $120.
If you have the resources, retrofit it with a CMH lamp.

Also I am quite fond of the Sunmaster lamps.

If you're electrically competent I could also give instructions on how to make your own grow lamp setup on a small budget.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1360155


So what does UV do for veggies? Anything? Do you know?
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:12 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Sunlamps are high on the UV side. Plants can receive sunburn just like humans. While they are more tolerant of UV rays, constant exposure can result in a plant loosing needles/leaves.

I have a yew what is 'sunburned' on its south (sun facing) side. The top needles are brown (dead and dying) from being newly exposed to full sunlight after the oak tree came down.

UV exposure and the effects on plants: [link to www.sciencedaily.com]

You can use a regular florescent tube light (more than one of course) the modern florescent tubes give off strong, full spectrum light and the plant will adapt to a wide variety of visible light spectrum and even a less wide brightness/dimness spectrum.
 Quoting: Bowyn Aerrow


I don't mean to seem dense...

I checked out that article, it talks about UV radiation. Is a UV light bulb a source of UV radiation?

I am not a radiation tard, and I honestly want to understand the answer to this :-)
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:15 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Hmm, let me start out by saying I do not grow marijuana because it is illegal and I do not like jail. That said, UV light makes marijuana have stronger potency.

I only grow houseplants and roses.
You can buy a 400w HPS grow fixture from ebay for about $120.
If you have the resources, retrofit it with a CMH lamp.

Also I am quite fond of the Sunmaster lamps.

If you're electrically competent I could also give instructions on how to make your own grow lamp setup on a small budget.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1360155


How small a budget? And, I have rewired a light switch to make it a dimmer switch, I've put up a ceiling fan, knocked down a wall or three and haven't been electrocuted yet. I have one of those meters that tells me the power is on or off, I know how to work a fuse box or circuit breaker or whatever they are called - am I electrically competent enough?

I can also solder, if I have to lol.

Anyway, if yes, I'd love to see it!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:21 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
The other thing you want to think about OP, and sorry to take over your thread lol but I love talking about my garden... the other thing you might want to take into consideration, is looking up how to hand pollinate the plants you want to grow indoors. I would suggest starting with easy ones, like tomatoes, peppers, peas, all of which can be pollinated by shaking the branch with the flowers.

I cannot get my squash, cukes, or eggplant to pollinate. The eggplant is still growing great, lots of flowers... I tried the paintbrush, q-tip, just plain water... no fruit. I have a feeling that those three plants I will be taking outside in the summer to let the bees do their work. Unless I can figure it out, those will be summer only foods for us.

Lettuce is super simple, and very beneficial. I used a cat pan that I bought and never used with the cats lol. Drilled holes in it, filled with dirt and planted. This is our second harvest of lettuce. Its amazing, and so easy.

Next is broccoli... oh and I need to get those pepper plants making flowers. I planted 3 pole beans, and wow, they took off!

I already have some support structures in my basement, beams and what not, so I am using them for support for the vine plants. I've had to rearrange things a bit, but it works out well.

Ok that's it for now. Hope that helps!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1086216


You've given me a lot of information to digest and I appreciate it. No, please don't worry about taking over the thread. It's not mine. I'm here just like anyone else. I am especially interested in tomatoes and pole beans but zucchini would be nice also. I'm going to put you on my Buddy List if that's okay with you so I can watch your posts.
 Quoting: linen


TY, I didn't know you could do that! I love talking about my garden lol. no one wants to hear it! I mean, yeah they listen, say that's nice, and I'm all excited.. its a bummer, so I do love these threads :) Hope it keeps going, all the upgrades i've been making are ideas I've gotten from GLP, like the LED light!

I have mortgage lifter tomatoes growing. I think they are 90+ days. It has been about a month and a half now and I have at least 4 tomatoes, and a ton of flowers. There is nothing like coming home after a long day at work, going to the garden, and just giving the plants your attention. Its the opposite of 'work'. Plus I have this crazy idea that being in nature as much as possible helps to realign our DNA frequency back to that of 'the universe' to allow our next evolution or whatever is coming. Its just a feeling, my words may not be right, but I think we need to get back to being 1 on 1 with caring for nature, to re-align and get ready.

Good luck (you won't need it - plants WANT to grow. They adapt a lot faster then we do)
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:22 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Ordinary flourescent lights do the job as well, are much cheaper, and produce more light per watt. You can grow plants in a basement with nothing but flourescents.

But why would you? Sunlight is free!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


That's been my experience as well, specifically for growing veggie plants.
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:30 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
Ordinary flourescent lights do the job as well, are much cheaper, and produce more light per watt. You can grow plants in a basement with nothing but flourescents.

But why would you? Sunlight is free!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


That's been my experience as well, specifically for growing veggie plants.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1356903


What do you grow, and how much food does it produce? How many meals can you get out of it, realistically?

Is there anything special you do to improve your results? How do you tend to it and are you growing an organic garden?

Serious questions, maybe I am doing it wrong. I would love to try again this year!

I'm doing 'ok' indoors, but I'd have not gotten to the point where I can produce enough to not have to do shopping sometimes for produce. If anyone with a successful outdoor garden can share some tips, I would really like to try again this year!
Anonymous Coward
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04/28/2011 05:33 PM
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Re: Can You Use A Sunlamp As a Hydroponic Light For Growing Plants?
knew a guy who swore by using street light bulbs supposedly they are the best.yes the kind in street poles.





GLP