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Growing under lights

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:34 pm
by daveinwearside
Has anyone ever considered growing under lights?

The reason i ask is because last year quite a few of my plants didn't produce or produced very little fruit. I started them off very early in january so i'm thinking the lack of fruit was due to the lack of heat and sunlight.

I have been doing some digging on the web and i'm thinking of using a light from here (the 200w compact flourescent light).

I understand that i will need two lights one for growing at 6400k and one for flowering/fruiting at 2700k.

If i go ahead with this i will post the progress of my plants with photos..

Thanks in advance for any advice

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:41 pm
by mattfuzzy
ahh thanks for the tip on light spectrums and such :D
depending on everything (amount of cash i want to "invest" and stuff like that) i would consider growing under lights if you dont have the correct conditions, who knows, mabe next year ill have my greenhouse, light setup, and everything that comes in between.
and itll be good!!! :twisted:

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:35 am
by unconcerned
Dave, do a search above for "lights".
Lots of people on here grow with lights.
Tried it myself this year and it really helps in the early months or late winter. Not sure about keeping them under once we hit summer though. I just bought a blue spectrum light and it saw me through to the start of April. Don't use it any more as the sunlight is as good/better.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:16 pm
by Tuppy_Glossop
I agree with unconcerned. Just use lights to get you to the summer. You don't need those power-hungry envirolights, there are alternatives which are cheaper to run. I use these: ... p?var=3675

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:48 pm
by Ralph_Hilton
The envirolites are CFL. They should be about as efficient as the cheaper bulbs and have a better spectrum.
MH ligts are another option ... 89&cat=182

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:31 pm
by willard3
I grow year 'round under MH/HPS lighting and it makes crop regularity very predictable.

I't certainly more expensive than the sun, but the sun's not very predictable.

If you decide to grow under lights, both MH and HPS are less expensive to run than fluorescent (envirolites).

Electricity is the long-term cost

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:40 pm
by Tuppy_Glossop
That's my point. How can a 150W envirolite bulb be cheaper to run than a 30W bulb ? Unless the envirolite rating is the output candescence and not power consumption... and if so how much power do they consume ?

200w envirolite

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:42 pm
by daveinwearside
First of all thanks for your input fellas it's nice to get replies!

I know the power consuption of a 200w lamp will be higher than the power consumption of a 30w lamp. its the lumen output that makes a difference.

The 200w cfl (envirolite for example) will output 13000 lumens while the 30w cfl (household lamp) will only output 1800-2000 lumens approx.

In theory more light means better plants.

I'm not saying that 30 watts isnt enough it may well be !

BUT... I aim to grow the plants as big as possible during the early summer months by keeping them under a 24 hour light cycle and then force them into fruiting in mid summer by changing the light cycle to mimic the shortening days of autumn.

Hope fully I will have a better harvest than I did last year.

I was very dissapointed in some of my plants last year (red savina,Jamiacan scotch bonnet,habs,Jals to name a few) as I put loads of work into them and got very little back. so this year i'm going to try the lights and see what happens.

So today I put a seedling under the light and a seedling in the greenhouse.

Both are of equal size and are meant to be Dorset Naga. (off ebay so you never know).

I've used the same compost/perlite mix and when I water them I will use the same water/fertiliser.

As this is my first go using the light I'm only going to do one plant under it the light as I'm limited on space.

I have built a box 3ftx3ftx5ft (hope it's big enough) to put the light and the Naga in, it is white inside to bounce the light around (thats the theory anyway).

I'll get my camera out and post some pics tomorrow.

any advice or criticism is more than welcome


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:38 pm
Pepper plants don't have a photoperiod so you can't trick them into flowering by changing light.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:13 pm
by Tuppy_Glossop
He's right again :roll: :wink: They flower and fruit when they are ready. I've got nine week old golden habs trying to flower.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:20 pm
by heraldo
24hrs of light will actually hinder your plants....they need light to photosynthesize and darkness to convert that energy to growth.

I'm using a 2x 55w flourescent grow light (available from many hydroponic shops) set from 8am 'till 8pm, with good results.

But as soon as the night-time temperatures improve they will just go out into the garden.

Here's a piccy.


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:47 pm
by daveinwearside
Thats that plan flawed :(

But I'm still going to give it a bash (just out of interest)

If I have poor results then I'll change to the 8-8 cycle.

thanks for your input.


Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:49 am
by chilliman64
here's my two pesos worth...

I agree with heraldo!

it might pay you to google or get yourself some reading material as it would be a shame to spend all that money and time when you can learn some shortcuts due to the mistakes/experience of others. posting here was a good start but it pays to follow good advice, especially when you've gone to the effort to seek it out. good luck dude, looking forward to those pics! :lol:


Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:54 am
by daveinwearside
Ok last night I spent hours trawling through various blogs,forums,hydroponics sites and gardening sites.

There is alot of contradiction about the light cycle issue with some saying 24 hrs of light is best until you need fruit and others saying that the plants need a dark period all the way through their life cycle.

I think the best option for my experiment (Thats what it's turning in to) is to add one more seedling from the same batch as the other two into the light.

I will remove the third seedling from the light at 8pm every evening and place it in total darkness, then I will put it back under the light at 8am.

so i will have one plant under green house conditions, the second under 24 hour light and the third will be under a 12/12 cycle.

I don't think I can cover all angles with only three plants but it will give me a rough idea of which lighting cycle to use if I were to expand my lighting set up next year.

I will take some pics today and get them posted this afternoon.

again please feel free to add any input or criticism.


Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:29 am
by Funes
I'm running a 250w MH 17h a day - peppers thrive under it ( especialy the big jim ), when I move I'm planning on switching down to a 125w envirolite as I have a spare reflector.

It's really handy for overwintering if you can get rid of the pests and plants I sowed in November have matured, cropped and been cut back ready for the new season. During the summer it's used for plant breeding free from the attentions of pollenating insects.

I haven't got a baccatum to flower under lights yet - my balloon plants got to four foot last year in 2 gal pots and didn't flower until they put outside for six weeks or so.

I also pay green tarif on my electric to quench the guilt of running the lamp ( depsite the fact that the average plebs plasma tvs in every room probably use more on standby )

<edit> Just been to look at prices.
holy Sh1t those lamps have come down in price - enviros were 60 quid a bulb when they first came out, they're about the same as a MH bulb now.

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:37 pm
by willard3
I have experimented with photoperiod from 8 hrs/day to 20 hrs/day and, after many years, settled on 16 hrs/day.

The reasons are probably not very scientific, but my gut feel is that they produce the best fruit at 16 hrs/day.

You can reinvent the wheel if you want, but the concensus among chile growers is near 16 hrs/day.

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:11 pm
by daveinwearside
Please don't get me wrong I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel or prove anyone right or wrong.

This is just a small experiment/project that is meant to be a little fun and perhaps a learning curve for myself and any other newbies (like myself) who may read this.

Sometimes I feel the best way to learn something is to do it yourself!


Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:33 pm
by Tuppy_Glossop
The Levellers wrote:There's only one way of life and that's your own

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:05 pm
by daveinwearside
Hello all,

It's been four days since I've posted!

The plants have been in their various environments! (not strictly true I forgot to move the third plant in and out of the light so I sacked that one)

However plants one and two have shown a big difference in the way that they are growing!

Plant one on the left of the picture has been under 24 hr light for four days and plant two on the right has been in my potting shed.


I think the difference is amazing!

Here is a pic of the potting shed off last year


it lets in a lot of light transparent roof catches the sun morning till 5pm during summer.


I'll take somemore pics at the weekend and keep you all posted


Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:53 pm
by daveinwearside
Well it's been 12 days since I separated the two plants!

sorry I didn't get the pics up at the weekend (been really busy)

Again there has been alot of difference in growth between the two.



Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:25 am
by daveinwearside
Can anyone tell me when I will need to change the bulb from 6400K to 2700K?

OR should I have both spectrums on together?


Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:50 pm
by koolguymike
i only have experence with the 6500k 200w compact flourescents and they are darn nice. my plants are extrememly bushy and healthy. these will be a great way to get a jump on your season. it is what i do, but i dont know if just a jump start will help you. but you do need to keep the plants within 18 inches of the bulb still.

from what i have heard the 2700k bulbs really arent that good, and i dont know if the 6500k will do the fruiting the best.

as for you question about when to switch from 6500k to 2700k;
use the 6500k untill pods are forming then switch to the 2700k.

this is only my opinion.

some pics from about 2 weeks ago.
all grown under the 6500k bulbs.

group shot ... _517lo.jpg

back 5 are bulgarian carrot with the TFM
front 6 are mild japs ... _359lo.jpg

from top left
dital - orange cherio - cumari cross
from bottom left
Chocolate Hab - Trinidad S - Trinidad S ... _600lo.jpg

back three-Tasmanian Habs
front three-Serrano ... _359lo.jpg

hope i have helped you

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:30 pm
by daveinwearside
just the answer i was looking for many thanks.

I'm using a 200w 6400k cfl it's about 3 inches from the top of the plants at the moment!

I also have a 200w 2700k cfl for fruiting!

do you think it would pay to have them both on at once?


Lights for seedlings.

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 3:19 pm
by brc
I have sprouted some 1500 seedlings of 50+ varieities indoors over the last three months. I don't bother with growlights. I use 6ft long 100w standard flourescent lights available from any diy/electrical shop. These are in double units, and i suspend two units over each table of seedlings - so there are 4 x 6ft 100w lights over each table.

The lights are no more than 2-3 inches above the tops of the chilies. As the bulbs are cool, there is no heat to damage the leaves. The only heat comes from the power packs on the lights - however, my plant room has been over 50 degrees as i have 16 lights running in total over the tables, so the plants have been shooting away. It has been hotter in the plant room than out in the polytunnels in the last few weeks.

I have found no problem in just using these lights. I used to use growlights, but found them no better than these standard flourescents. I am not recommending using them for the plant's full life thru to fruiting, but they do the job for seedlings. Indeed, many of the seedlings start flowering and fruiting under the lights before they make it to the polytunnels.

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 5:46 pm
by mattfuzzy
brc, why do i get the impression of a dutch weed farmer with the 1500 seedlings... erm... commercial grower by any chance? or just want enough chillis to last several life times? :lol: