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New Fancy Light

February 26th, 2014

After years of dealing with insufficient lighting for my seedlings I finally purchased a BIG metal halide light.  I grow my own seedlings to have the healthiest plants and I finally decided it was time to take the plunge. I wanted to future proof my investment, so I got a 1000W one. The nice this is that the ballast I got allows me to dim the light to 400W and 600W for when I have fewer seedlings underneath.
metal halide lights 2
Fluorescents were never my favorite when it came to seedlings, I felt that unless the bulbs were replaced every couple years the seedlings suffered.  The constant moving of the lights was also a huge pain since I didn’t have a real light shelf.  It’s not as big of an issue if you only have one or two lights, but I need around 10 or 15 lights for the number of seed flats I have.   There was also the need for more grow lights this year because of my bigger garden and my old grow lights were in need of new bulbs. I was tired of never having enough space and having to swap out seed flats for 12 hour shifts under the lights.   I could keep limping along and spending more money on a system I didn’t like, or I could invest in something that would give me better results at a cheaper price.  I decided it was time and invested my money in a new fixture.
You may wonder why I chose this particular light. For one, it’s made in the USA (check out SunlightSupply for more info). Another benefit is that it’s actually more efficient for me to use this light than to use fluorescent lights for 20-30 seed flats. How can this be? Because metal halide grow lights produce more lumens per watt than fluorescent lights do. This intense light will also produce shorter, sturdier growth in my seedlings. Another benefit is that this light creates much less waste and environmental impact that fluorescent lights would. The bulb in this fixture needs replaced only every 6000 hours. That means that I can use one bulb for four or five years and when it needs changed it’s only one bulb instead of 30 or 40 bulbs that I would have to replace in fluorescent fixtures. It’s also much more economical for me since each bulb costs around $70. The fixture itself is also much cheaper for the number of seedlings I can grow under it. I can fit 32 flats of seedlings under this light and other plants that need less light around the edges (my citrus trees will be happy in this spot).
metal halide lights 1
This past weekend Mr Chiots and I set up the light in the basement. Eventually it will reside in the potting room up in the garage and hopefully a greenhouse someday, but the ducks live there now, so the basement it is for seedlings this year. I already have a pot of greens germinating under the lights along with planters of cilantro and other herbs.

Do you use grow lights for your seedlings? What kind do you use?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.