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Starting seedlings under lights
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Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 12570

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

No experience of it, but doesn't sound a bad idea. You would need to insulate the area though I would have thought, and you will have to harden off the seedlings before putting them out.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5860
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I'm going to be putting together a talk about this for sometime in February. Would probably be good for me to work through any questions you have specifically!

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 39173
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Ventilation, internal and through flow
pest/disease/fungal control, can be a big one, best planned for
electrical safety, very big one.
heating may not be an issue, cooling might be even with LED kit in a confined space, see ventilation etc

moisture levels in soil/media need close control and are different for different plants
hands on matters, shadow of the gardener and all that so access to all the grow trays etc is needed at the planning stage

as kit has improved the ability to change the spectral composition of the lights to suit the objective that day is rather nice, see led kit

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5860
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

It's always fun to agree with and contradict dpack. Consider temperatures for germination versus seedling growth. Can you geminate somewhere small and very warm and then grow somewhere bigger that doesn't require as much heat? (A bit species specific, so ideal situation is warmer and cooler spots for different crops) Avoid day/night temperature swings as they exacerbate legginess.

I wouldn't bother spending money on fancy lights unless you're trying to do a full indoor grow. You just need cheap LED shoplights to provide lots of light for little power, for the first few weeks of the plants' lives. Reaching peak photosynthetic efficiency through expensive LED setups won't really be noticeable (would maybe have them ready to be planted out a day earlier - why not just seed a day earlier?)

Last edited by Slim on Mon Jan 04, 21 1:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5860
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Consider an oscillating fan, both for ventilation and making the seedlings hardier and used to air flow so you have less hardening off to do (or simply get a greater success from it)

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 39173
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

small can be even more tricky to control conditions

re the lights, for the first couple of weeks a very basic rig is fine for seeds or cuttings, through a full growth to harvest cycle needs a bit more sophistication

fan in the space+in/out ventilation is good, if you use a gallon of watering water it needs to go somewhere

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15047
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I’ve actually already got three lights. I was vaguely thinking of getting one more and adding them to one of those mini greenhouse thingummies. I’m just not sure how warm the garage is (not terribly, I should imagine. I doubt it freezes, but I wouldn’t think it gets into double digits before may, either.)

So said growhouse is going to need some insulation, and heat mats, I reckon. I think that will be enough. I usually germinate seeds in small trays in the house, and then prick out into modules so it’s the modules that will go in them.

The heat mats are all the wrong sizes, naturally. I’d wondered about boxing it in with rigid insulation with a vent at the top (doesn’t need to be waterproof) and a fan at the base. But I’ve no idea what sort of temperatures to expect.

Why can’t you ever find a thermometer when you need one?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 39173
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

amazon have a selection of greenhouse thermometers from about ten quid

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15047
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 21 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

dpack wrote:
amazon have a selection of greenhouse thermometers from about ten quid


I know, but I must have three or four weather stations somewhere around.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5860
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 21 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I've got a soil probe thermostat for my heat mat, probably the best place to set the temp.
LEDs can still generate a fair amount of heat as well, even though they're efficient - in an insulated space

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 12570

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 21 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

That's interesting Slim. I didn't realise that the fluctuation in temperature between day and night affected legginess. I always assumed it was trying to get to the light.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 39173
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 21 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

wellington womble wrote:
dpack wrote:
amazon have a selection of greenhouse thermometers from about ten quid


I know, but I must have three or four weather stations somewhere around.


like my claw hammers and tape measures, i have plenty, but they hide

seconded that led and lp fluorescent lights do give off heat, not as much as incandescent or hpmh bulbs(the latter are amazingly warm)

re temp control, soil in trays or pots is not as good a heat sink as a large nutrient reservoir or similar but a few large containers of water will serve as a decent "ballast" to assist your temp control
that might be 3 lt pop bottles or 1000 lt drums depending on scale

from seed/cutting to ready to plant out is fairly small and only involves a little transpired/evaporated water but humidity /ventilation control is still important

you need to balance heat in, water in, fresh air in+all of those out in order to create perfect and stable grow conditions of humidity and temp.

timing the lights is easy but has a dramatic effect on the outcomes

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5860
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 21 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Mistress Rose wrote:
That's interesting Slim. I didn't realise that the fluctuation in temperature between day and night affected legginess. I always assumed it was trying to get to the light.


It is largely the plants reaching for light. But if you provide enough light, or are just measuring with a constant light level, you'll see the temperature differential also has an effect. I know this is true with tomatoes, I'm assuming also with other common crops, but can't promise.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15047
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 21 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

dpack wrote:
you need to balance heat in, water in, fresh air in+all of those out in order to create perfect and stable grow conditions of humidity and temp.


Yes, I think it might be a bit of a pita. I can’t find anybody doing it either (what is the internet coming to!). Systems are usually designed for spaces that already have stable heat (micro greens in American basements, usually)

Perhaps I’ll go back to the spare room, as the heat is stable. It just feels weird, and it’s not designed for sloshing water about in, plus then there’s no room for the laundry. I don’t suppose we’ll be having any guests this spring, at least! Humidity hasn’t been a problem there so far.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 39173
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 21 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Slim wrote:
Mistress Rose wrote:
That's interesting Slim. I didn't realise that the fluctuation in temperature between day and night affected legginess. I always assumed it was trying to get to the light.


It is largely the plants reaching for light. But if you provide enough light, or are just measuring with a constant light level, you'll see the temperature differential also has an effect. I know this is true with tomatoes, I'm assuming also with other common crops, but can't promise.


temp control matters, not just min/max but day temp/night temp

it is fairly easy to create perfect conditions if you know what they are

re "leggyness" the spectrum of the light has quite an impact as well as the intensity
with modern led rigs that is an easy parameter to adjust

re garage vs spare room i would go for garage as it will be more "robust" ie waterproof, easier to sterilize against pests and diseases and easier to do the mechanics of the heat/vent stuff

another thing is that there is full climate control including light intensity and duration if you use a room with no windows(garage) but if you are just using booster lights in "daylight" you have to work with the daylight times from nature.

some folk even get extra fancy and adjust the atmosphere for a little extra CO2 or add extra UV to the spectrum when it is most useful

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