What to put under 54w T5 lamps

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by oil pan 4, Mar 14, 2018.


  1. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I tried searching around on the Internet for some ideas for how to grow food crops, maybe start some fruit trees under T5 lamps.
    Well it looks like just about everyone growing pot uses T5 lamps. I don't have any interest in it. If I don't have time to play video games, or deal with hangovers I sure as heck don't have time to go get stoned like some biblical whore. Call it "Priorities" if you will.
    I have a whole pile of 54w T5 fixtures and 4100k tubes that cost me nearly nothing, just a ballast here and there and a few bad tubes which I happened to replace with 6500k tubes.

    About all I can tell is the pot growers don't typically use 4100k tubes for growing the bulk of the plant. 4100k is mostly what I have, assuming all plants derive energy from light the same way, 4100k might not the best for food plants too, but should work at least for experimental stages?

    All I have ever grown inside were game bait crops, sun flowers, deer corn, fruit tree to seedling status on the window ledge, then when it was warm enough I would put them out side, in the ground and let nature take care of them. Well most of them I put on the edge of the septic tank leaching field because I didn't fully trust nature. So this is kind of new to me.

    I have observed what farmers grow here for crops, it's never anything I ever tried to grow on the east coast. Who thought Maine and NM, different ,ha.

    Why? Global cooling, increased crop failures lately, years with out summer (haven't had one of those in ages, no reason it wouldn't happen again).
    I'm assuming the power stays on most of the time during this slow ride into oblivion and that it doesn't start immediately.
     
    Ganado likes this.
  2. sdr

    sdr Monkey+

    Few years back I made a small experimental ebb and flow hydroponic system. Very simple and easy. Used fluorescent lights. It was amazing how well it worked. Tomatoes and lettuce did great. Had it set up on a timer so I really didn't have to do anything.
     
  3. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    After changing my search wording a little bit I was able to find some results not dominated by the pot growers.
    Having mostly 4100k isn't necessarily bad, jut not ideal for most things. Having 5500 ot 6500k probably be better for most things. At least it's not mostly 2700k, they do have grow applications but not much.
    Also found out that they grow grapes here in the 88130 zip code. Freaking grapes. Had no idea.
     
  4. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I was watching AgDay news and they are talking about food shortages by 2023.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
    Ganado likes this.
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @oil pan 4 great post, i have been experimenting with indoor gardening with low inputs... without electricity has been my goal, i dont have good results yet... alot of failures but when i get a successful outcome i will post it. I am having trouble with indoor humidity over the course of several weeks or months, the humidity is high in a closed environment and i end up with white flies and aphids.

    Using a kratky system of hydroponics is a great way to start but the sunlight for +6 hours is critical. If i supplemented with lights i would have better success but i really am going for window growing at this point. and no or little soil Fun stuff
     
    oil pan 4 likes this.
  6. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++



    This guy is a talker so skip to minute 5:00 where all the good info.
    He breaks this down into a 4 quadrant way of looking at growing indoors. Productivity vs energy requirements
     
    oil pan 4 likes this.
  7. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Lucky for me I already have the light fixtures as they can be a little expensive.
    A basic 4 tube T5 hight output fixture will cost around a $100.
    A 6 tube, more like $140.

    The 4100k tubes ate not ideal but they will work. 6500k would be better.
    Instead of buying a bunch of 6500 tubes, I was going to add some 10,000k tubes to the mix to blue up the light.

    The idea is to grow plants in dirt, put them out side during the day when it warms up to give them natural light and cause I'm cheap, then when it warms up enough to where it won't freeze at night then plant them out side.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  8. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Sticking with what I know on growing things, which isn't much I got apple trees.
    I figure trees should come back every year, then if they die you still have the wood.
     
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  9. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I have put the trees out side and let the natural warmth and sunlight bud the leaves. No point in paying money to shine light on a bare stick.
    Now bringing them in at night and putting them next to a T5 HO fixture.

    It has barely rained at all over the last 5 months. This has highlighted where the septic tank leach field is, its actually about twice the size I expect and what I am used to seeing on the east coast.
    I will probably ring the leach field with apple trees to start. Exactly like I did in Maine back around in 1999-2000.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
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  10. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Well I started dragging in the trees at night and putting them near a single 4 tube T5 high output fixture.
    The first 1st nights not much happened as the leaves were still tiny but after 2 full days of sun to grow the leaves out another overnight with the T5 lamp made a noticeable difference.
    Almost like the sun was up for another 10 hours.
    Electrical cost, around 14 to 20 cents per night.
    I'm definitely ordering bluer light bearing bulbs. I found some pretty fairly cheap 6,500k tube on ebay. I will try those then get some more expensive 10,000k tubes, which are around double to triple the price of the good quality 6,500k tubes.

    I already know fom work, all the T5 HO lights we use that the German tubes are by far the best. I have seen tubes I know were made in Germany one time, they were around 4x the price of the cheap Chinese tubes.

    Unless you are going to be putting 5,000+ hours or more per year on your tubes probably just get the cheaper ones.
    This is from an industrial/commercial stand point, not as a grower. The German tubes may grow better and I just don't know it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
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  11. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I almost put them in the dirt today.
    Then tonight they are calling for 35°F low, which means it could easily dip below freezing since their low forcast can easiy be off by -5°F to +3°F of what they call for.
     
  12. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Again April 2nd with the freezing.
    I put the trees next to 6500k and 5000k tubes inside. They seemed to like it.
    Turns out what I thought were 4100k tubes are actually 5000k.
     
  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I spoke too soon.
    Hard freeze tonight.
    This is turning into a year with out much of a spring.
     
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  14. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    The weather service was showing a 40°F low for tonight, went outside this morning and frost again.
    Then there will probably be more freezing this coming weekend.
     
  15. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Yep it's going to be below freezing again this weekend.
    I also ordered a 4 pack of 10,000k 54w light tubes.
    I have also experimented with using LED flood light focused in on individual plants.
    For spot application of light their fairly efficient. BUT over all they suck, only making 40 lumens per volt-amp.
    Where my T5 with high efficiency industrial/commercial ballasts make around 92ish lumen per volt amp.
    But the LED uses 25VA and makes 1000 lumens. Perfect for lighting up an individual sprout.
    Using much less power than firing up two 54w tubes just to light up one sprout.
     
  16. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I got the 10,000k tubes in, none broke.
    Yeah, they're nice and blue.
     
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  17. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    April 20 is calling for freezing temperatures and possibly of winter weather.
    WTF.
    Mid April we should be in the 90s some days with nights in the upper 40s at the coolest.
     
    Ganado likes this.
  18. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    No freezing temperatures it looks like be we got a ton of pea size hail, which I'm sure caused plenty of crop damage.
     
  19. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    We might have our freezers cleaned out by then.......
     
    Ganado likes this.
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