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NorthernMonkeyGirl

LED grow lights

For legit vegetables!

Is there any middle ground between Ikea's £30 light strip and the professional kit more like £300? I don't awant to waste the £30 if it's rubbish.
Or can you just use the cheap general purpose LED strips if you have the right colours?

It's for "topping up" a windowbox of veg for winter, but if it works well then I have a currently unused cellar to play with.
Slim

I actually assisted a class that did a small and informal test of fluorescent tubes (as were traditionally used for seed starting, etc), fancy LEDs with appropriate color spectrum, and $30 LED shoplights.

All were hung about two inches above plants

The flats were on a concrete floor, so the fluorescent tubes actually did the best, which we concluded was because they gave off a good bit of heat.

The $30 shop lights out-performed the fancy LED setup. This may have been because the fancy LED kit was a new product from a new company and they may not have gotten things quite right.

Either way, if it's not your livelihood, I would start with the cheaper option, and only go more expensive if you feel like it's not working.

If you really go digging around the internet regarding appropriate spectra of LED, you'll quickly get to marijuana growers' websites and you'll see that there's alot of theory out there, and beyond "this is the spectra that chlorophyll absorbs" we're just starting to scratch the surface of how plants respond to different colors. My feeling is that modern LEDs are so efficient, why not just attempt to recreate natural light and "waste" some of the light.
Nick

Led lights pretty much last forever and there's some great Chinese stuff available now that allows you to change colours and blends. You absolutely need different wavelengths to promote growth.

Fluorescent tubes work better but really need replacing every six months.

The other market this is studied extensively in and provided for is marine aquaria. Tons of second hand stuff available.
Nick

Where are you? I've a spare one you could play with. It's about two foot long.
dpack

being able to change the colour mix of the spectrum is useful if your crop has to grow and then flower/fruit.

for just vegetative growth a fixed spectrum rig will be cheaper

led is far better than the old metal halide rigs which not only use a lot of energy but turn most of it into heat which then needs extra ventilation to remove the hot air so as not to cook the plants

i have never tried big fluorescent tubes but the low energy tube type bulbs work ok for seedlings and cuttings

whatever sort of lights you use make sure there is adequate ventilation and the electrics are safe . leccy and water etc etc Wink
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Thanks Nick, but no need for now.
I've gone for a budget friendly LED strip, if the plants don't appreciate it the fishtank might! I figured that the natural light they do get will help ith a weaker supplementary light.
We'll see....
Just Jane

The Ikea led growlights worked wonders for getting my chillis/peppers/aubergines off to a good start without getting too leggy this spring
wellington womble

Im very tempted to try. My undercabinet kitchen lights are horrible fluorescent strips, with no concealment so they blind me, because they are almost at my eye level. I wonder if I replaced them with less I could grow things and feel happier about them.
Mistress Rose

Don't forget LED lights are also very bright. Replacing the fluorescent energy saver lights in our lounge with an LED one has made it very bright under it, although for some reason it seems to drop off faster than others with distance.
Slim

Mistress Rose, IIRC LEDs are by their nature very focused emitters of light. So to mimic the dispersal of other lights they either need good reflectors, or more diodes arranged at angles. They make really good "spot lights" for this reason (which is fine for plants if you have them pointed directly at them from a short distance) but you'll want to steer towards the more expensive designs if you want to replace typical general purpose household lighting.

Hopefully you can get good rebates on them over in the UK. Our local utility and the state energy efficiency agency periodically make "good" LED bulbs available for $0.95 (when did we take the cent sign off of our keyboards?) and discourage people from buying the cheap ones that are less likely to perform over a longer lifespan.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Im very tempted to try. My undercabinet kitchen lights are horrible fluorescent strips, with no concealment so they blind me, because they are almost at my eye level. I wonder if I replaced them with less I could grow things and feel happier about them.


When I remember to go and collect them from the post office, I'll let you know how they are. They nearly always have a sticky backing to attach to cabinets, back of TVs, etc etc. Sounds perfect for what you want?
Mistress Rose

We can just get LED light bulbs that are supposed to replace ordinary ones. No, our power companies haven't been promoting them that I know of. They did got all out on the 'energy saver' fluorescents, but seem to have let LEDs just wander in. We don't get promotions, except on energy bills here, although I think one of the gas companies is doing a sort of points scheme for all sorts of things.

Look forward to hearing how the lights work for your plants and under cabinet uses.
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