Seed-Starting Lights

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BB (not verified)
Hey Jude (one of my favorite

Hey Jude (one of my favorite songs)! Judith sounds good to me as does birdwatcher, I'd probably call you BW. I've had so many monikers over the years that I try to keep it simple, everybody tries to shorten a long name. Now I've got it about as short as possible using my initials but I like people to call me Bruce, go figger.. We're lazy computer people that like to keep things short unless we're telling a really good lie story. Other places I'm known as av8ndv8 which gets shortened to av8 and makes little sense 'til you know I'm an old balloon pilot, we fly then party hard, thus aviate and deviate. BB works much better.

As for changing hydro nutes - it's up for grabs AFAIAC (as far as I am concerned) but I'm just one guy swimming against the tide. I noticed (and gisette verified a few days ago) that doing a complete nute change every few weeks stresses your plants. If you have no way to test your mix's EC and PH then by all means, change it every few weeks. I check my nutes almost daily with good quality tools and top them off with nute mix or plain 6.0 PH water as needed to keep the EC and PH where I want it. My AG's water is about 4 months old and the plants thrive pretty darn well. Without the tools I'm sure they'd have died a horrible death months ago.

Peat's mixes are based on GH's, just scaled down to an AG 7's capacity. If you have the tools, you'll tweak a little to get what you want. Since you'll be mixing by the gallons, use the mixture on the bottles but also check out GH's mixes here, there are lots of options including other products and an aggresive mixture. And always add micro first, stir well then add gro, stir well and add bloom last. My best grow mix has an EC of 1.8 while my bloom mix is 2.4 but I've found peppers like a little more so I keep them at 2.5 to 2.7. PH varies but as long as it's between ~5.5 and 6.5 I'm happy.

Lights - gisette and I may have a difference of opinion but not much I think. T8s have to be within a couple of inches of your plants while T5s with a good reflector will work a couple of feet from them. It's all in the output and focus. I'd use T8s for seedlings but wouldn't even think about using them for mature plants.

Good deal on the lights, Jessi. You found a Big Lots, huh?



jessijordan (not verified)
Hi Judith! I know the site

Hi Judith!

I know the site must have said I ws on all day but I was & I wasn't. I was out with my mom & my sisters all day (dr apt for mom, lunch, shopping) & tried to access the site with my sidekick III and I could sign in but I couldn't read anything! The pages looked distaughted so I waited till I got home to see what was up with everyone. I'm so flattered that I was missed!

I finally got my Lights today! Yay! I got these...

for $22 like Beth said Woo hoo!

I guess I should open them & test them at least

Ginger's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
Help | Adding Photos (from

Help | Adding Photos (from the main navigation bar up top) is the root of all photo-and-lightbox topics.

The nute formula for seed-starting is on the Flora bottles.

You could just train us all to call you Judith. Or Hey, Jude.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Orlando Jude (not verified)
Oh, now I understand the

Oh, now I understand the nutes in soil a little better. But first --- Someone else addressed me as OJ the other day and I said I'm going to have to change my moniker.  Somebody help me come up with something else!     My name is Judith, I live in Orlando, and I've had that song 'Hey Jude' sung to me many times -- that's where I came up with it.  Now it's time for a different one.   How about Birdwatcher?  Or something that initials would work with?

I'll try to find Gisette's guide to lightboxes.  Have just downloaded Picassa.  Will try to follow the rest of the instructions shortly.  I also just opened a Glog? so as not to fill up others' threads.  I hope I did it right.

Changing Nutes:  Guy in Hydro Shop said every 2 weeks.  He also said one plant per bucket.  If that's not right PLEASE tell me! I've never done this before.  I also need to find Peat's formulas.  I haven't set the buckets  up yet and I want to do it right - right from the start, and if I need to exchange something, I need to do it quick because the cucumber is growing very fast in the AG & I'll need to get it out of there pretty soon. And of course if I need to exchange the covers for a larger basket size I need to do that quick too. 

Overhead Lights:  will do.  I have what I need - were out in the shed - brought them in and checked. Will go get the verticals (2) and check those out.

Outside plants are in the ground.  Basically bushes only.  Will dilute if you think I'll need to.  But if I don't change nutes that often, will I still have to dilute?  And how often should I change nutes?  2 weeks is to much??????  

Ok, I think that's all my questions for now.  I'm off to find out the formulas for starting.  Do you know them?

Have a good one!

ps: did you get your nute problem straightened out?     



BB (not verified)
Very interesting, OJ. (that

Very interesting, OJ. (that just doesn't sound right...) Judith. And lots of ground to cover.....

Read gisette's guide to lightboxes. The very best way to do it is to use Google's Picasa and let it catalog and upload whatever pictures you want. It's free and totally blew my hair back once she twisted my arm to try it, it's beyond fantastic and did I say it's free?

If you're going to change nutes that often and want to use them on a soil grown, potted plant use one part nute mix to 2 or 3 parts water. That's based only on using bloom mix on inside tomatoes in hanging baskets as their only source of  food and water. Outside plants in the dirt that you water often would be a different story but I'd still dilute them maybe 1/1.

Like gisette said, one plant in a 5 gallon bucket is under utilizing hydroponics. One big tomato plant or cucumber vine or stalk of corn using soil mix might be about right but I'd double or triple that with your setup. However.......

Lighting - again, like gisette said you'll need to keep T8s just a few inches from the plants and adjust as they grow. Once the tall plants fill out and block light to the bottom, you'll have to add vertical lights, again just a few inches away.

I like the idea of a floating piece of Styrofoam during early growth but you'll need to keep a close watch on water level with what you're doing while they're young. Once the roots hit the water it'll be hardly any hassle.

Sounds like fun, enjoy!


Orlando Jude (not verified)
Thanks Gisette.  I'll head

Thanks Gisette.  I'll head over there now.  In the meantime, check out the glog I just started.  I did manage to 'attach' a photo of the bucket.  lol.

I wonder what's happened to JessiJordan?   

Ginger's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
Ooh, very cool links, thanks,

Ooh, very cool links, thanks, Judith.

New help topic... Sharing Photos 101. Whatever is unclear over there, please add comments there, and we'll improve it for my next victim others new to web photo sharing .


Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Orlando Jude (not verified)
Hi Gisette! I guess I wasn't

Hi Gisette!

I guess I wasn't very clear.  I'm doing a very simple hydroponic set up.  No soil at all.  There will be one plant per 5 gallon bucket.  I've been told that I shouldn't put any more than one per bucket.  The plants have been started in the AG, -- again, no soil involved.  It's a black bucket with a fitted mesh basket top that holds the clay balls that in turn holds the plant.  There's an airstone in the bottom, continously running.  I'll be using Peat's "formula" for nutes, and probably emptying and refilling about every 2 weeks.  There's a little spiget type thing at the bottom to make it easy for me to empty.  

If you'll tell me, very explicitly, how to upload photos I'll take some & show you exactly what I'm doing.  In the meantime check this out:

The shop lights each have 2 bulbs, and I have 2 of those I can use. On chains, so I can raise & lower at will.  I also have another type with no reflector that I could press into service with one of those space blankets.

Let me know about uploading pictures.    This is exciting!  I should be able to put it together tomorrow.




Ginger's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
Wow, Judith! A few things

Wow, Judith! A few things -

1. Don't pour full-strength hydroponic nutes on soil-based plants. Bruce says 1/3 strength is OK (was that right Bruce?) All I know is - they're too strong.

2. 5 gallons is a lot for one plant! That's enough for a full-grown tomato in soil (like 6' tall.) Very generous. Are these wide enough that you could put more than one plant per bucket?

3. By one 4' light... you mean a shop light with 2 tubes, right? Otherwise, it probably isn't even enough light for seedlings.

4. The light fixture reaches down to within 2" of the plant tops, right? And you can adjust its height as the plants grow? Light falls off dramatically with distance.

5. Be sure to plug into a surge suppressor. I've read that the life expectancy of shop lights is truly dismal with power fluctuations.

6. What's a piri-piri? 

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Orlando Jude (not verified)
Thanks again y'all.  I'm

Thanks again y'all.  I'm really learning a lot!!! 

I've started setting up my VERY simple bubbler system, in buckets, under T8's.

I had to make room to set this up in a way that I can handle. So I've got 2 carts on wheels, originally desinged to be file carts, with 2 - 5 gal buckets on each cart.  They will sit side by side under a window, (no direct light tho) with a 4' light on chains over them.  If I need to I can add another 4' light.  Can also add a vertical side light on each side if needed.  I'm hoping the carts can handle the weight of 2 buckets of water.  Each bucket has a valve on the bottom so I can easily drain them into gallon jugs that I can use to fertilize outside plants. (about every 2 weeks)

I think I'm going to put 1 plant in each one.  2 cucumbers, & 2 bell peppers.  I'll let the AG's handle my tomatoes, herbs, greens, jalapeno's & piri piri's.  

So what do you think everybody?  Am I on a good track here?

I need any and all advice.  Thanks. 

I'm excited to get this up and running.  I'm almost there.

ps:  Jessie -- your enthusiasm has really bit me -- lol 




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