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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old January 19, 2018   #1
AlittleSalt
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Default Seed Started Lighting

This is how I am going to start tomato seeds this year. It is really simple to build/make. I cut a 4' x 21" sheet of 3/4" plywood with one rounded end in case I bump into it. It is sitting on a 4' tall chest of drawers inside our house - where it's nice and warm. And a folded white sheet on top of the plywood. The sheet is there in case I spill water. I was also thinking that the white sheet might reflect a little light too.

There are three 4' long T8 light fixtures hung at 7 inches apart (Sold cheap at big box stores). They are attached with the short chain they came with and then nylon string up to the hooks that I screwed into two 1' x 4''s that are screwed into one ceiling joist.

This is where I'll start the seeds in containers shown in the picture, and also where they will be after potting up into Solo cups. The containers are empty now and placed to show the versatility of what you could do. (The yellow stripes and spots are my camera acting up - it's all freshly painted white.)
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Last edited by AlittleSalt; January 19, 2018 at 04:53 PM. Reason: Seed Starting Lighting...lol messed up the title.
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Old January 19, 2018   #2
wildcat62
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That will work nicely
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Old January 19, 2018   #3
Worth1
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Looks nice.

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Old January 19, 2018   #4
rhines81
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Perfect ... you are all set to give them a good start. Just give thought as to where all of those started plants will go after 4-6 weeks !!

I hope the weather warms up quickly for you guys, I saw the latest cold snap on the news ... not typical for your area for sure !!
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Old January 19, 2018   #5
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I have a similar setup. I put aluminum foil around the sides to reflect light back onto the plants.

Nan
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Old January 19, 2018   #6
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I would advise putting a sheet of plastic between the cloth sheet & the plywood.

Perhaps the 3 fixtures are too much but, on the plus side, you shouldn't have to turn the trays at all.

Last edited by nyrfan; January 19, 2018 at 10:36 PM.
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Old January 19, 2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
I have a similar setup. I put aluminum foil around the sides to reflect light back onto the plants.

Nan
Excellent idea!
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Old January 20, 2018   #8
AlittleSalt
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Nan, I thought of the aluminum foil. I would be very interested in knowing your results. I wish I could compare them to the white theme I'm going with. The lights are two soft white lights each in fixtures 1 and 3 and two natural lights in the middle light fixture. The natural lights are warmer - you can feel it easily, but they're not hot.

I am curious if the natural lights would be better to start pepper seeds with? However, after pepper seeds have sprouted - they don't require as much light and water as tomato plants do. This is from my experience with pepper plants, and I'm sure others will disagree with my findings. Any other ideas and/or facts are very welcome.

nyrfan, I'm not sure about too much light? I have given it some thought over the time I've been here at Tomatoville. Each year is an experiment for me combining things I learn along the way. There are so many posts that others have made about their way of doing things - that I didn't ask why. I should have.
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Old January 20, 2018   #9
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I give as much light as I can as long as the seedlings are not overheated. LED lights seem to be the future as they give little heat. Fans driven with a thermostat can help to limit the temperature under the lights.
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Old January 20, 2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
I have a similar setup. I put aluminum foil around the sides to reflect light back onto the plants.

Nan


If you have a larger area to cover, try Mylar foil emergency blankets. They typically only cost a couple of bucks, will cover a large area, and can be re-used year-to-year. I have a couple taped to the sides and back of the shelf unit I use for seedlings. They also hold in any little bit of heat the lights put out which is good because my basement can get a bit too chilly sometimes.

Salt your set up looks great. I'm glad to see you're back at it this year!
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Old January 20, 2018   #11
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I use a similar setup on a wire rack. 3 lights works perfect b/c you don't need to turn and it keeps the plants stocky. Adding a small clip fan will also help with making the plants strong and stocky.
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Old January 20, 2018   #12
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I use flat white or as close as I can get for reflectors back into the growing area.

But the most important thing is you use reflectors back into the growing area not whether it is foil of some sort or white.
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Old January 20, 2018   #13
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Quote:
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flat white
Same here - flat or matte white.
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Old January 20, 2018   #14
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Looks good.
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Old January 20, 2018   #15
Nan_PA_6b
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I'm currently growing tomatoes under my lights. They are doing spectacularly well. I have (5) 4' LED lights, two bulbs each, plus the aluminum foil, plus table is white. The lights never get hot. (BTW, it's REALLY hard to get "too much light" indoors for tomatoes.)
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