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I am planning to get a little bit bigger on my food production, beside growing leafy greens with T5's what else will do well with T5 lighting?  Or if anyone has a good lighting option for a beginner CSA please tell. We are planning to be growing indoors by October. I will be moving my pond inside before winter using that water for the new AP system. Jump start on the biological activity.


Thanks people!!!



Here is a pic of my bottom resivor fish vat!!!

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Good, bad or ugly I want to here it.


T-5s are good lights but it depends on why you are using lights in the first place. I always try to use artificial lighting only as a last resort ie winter but what are you trying to accomplish? Tomatoes in February? Ya might check out the lighting group or visit your local hydroponic shop to find out best on how to use lighting. Or please give me something specific to work with. Cheers

You might want to check out the Artificial lighting group on this site:

But like Carey says, you'll need to give us some specifics, size and shapes of you grow area(s), what you are wanting to grow, is the space already heated? Or could you use the supplemental heat of a Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium bulbs etc...

A good rough rule of thumb would be Metal Halide for vegetative phase then switch to HPS for flowering and fruiting phase.(they make and sell combination MH/HPS ballasts for that set-up). 400 Watts for a 4' by 4' area at 4' above your plants  is a good start. And make sure you have a way to deal with the heat if the space is not already cold. i.e fans/ventilation, or you could purchase 'Cool Tubes' for your bulbs/ballasts. 

Although it is easy to do is a site that will calculate monthly cost to run your lights (just the lights not the fans and ventilation)... You need to know how many hours a day you plan to run them, and what your power company charges you for one KWh (check your utility bill).

If initial cost is not a concern, or if you wish to save money in the long run you may want to check out the brand new generation of top of the line LED's (anything less and your probably setting yourself up for disappointment). They cost more initially, but you will forever save on electricity, and will probably not have to replace them for decades and decades. Unlike florescent's which should be replace every 6 to 12 months and HID's (MH and HPS) which need replacing every one to three years). Again this all depends on how much you run them. Oh yeah, with LED's heat is not an issue, so no fans to run. 

Whatever you do, do your research well...and your plants and your pocket book will thank you... 

It looks like Metal Halide and High Pressure sodium is the wat to go. I'm thinking two 400watt models. I am hoping the light spread will cover enough for a decent production. I sent out emails to manufacturers to find this out. How much grow area the light will provide.

Does anyone have experience with growing, say lettuce in a friendly type raft system indoors?


Lets use that link Vlad provided and say your raft size is 4X100

if we were to utilize the 400 watt MH what would the spread be like?

Im wondering if you would literally need 30 of these or would the "spread" of the light let you get away with using less?

That is exactly what I need to find out. The light spread. I was

 thinking at the very least to start 2 models of the 400watt MH HPS.

I was told my the manufacturer that a 400watt MH/HPS light will do an area of 3 feet.
At what height and what canopy penetration? If your plants are smaller than 18" to 24" (which they should be if your using MH, ala vegetative stage) then you could probably be just fine with a 16 square foot area, meaning 4' by 4'...once your plants are bigger though and you've switched to HPS you could supplement with your T5's...possibly hang your T5's to run vertically up and down along one or two of your plants (like with tomatoes)...
Oh yeah, you will probably want to research the different types of reflectors as some may benefit your specific shape/coverage area. i.e batwing type, 3 pc, 6 pc, 9pc etc...

@ Vlad: Are you growing smoke or food?

@ Jonathan: You still haven't told us what you want to grow, temp in room etc.

Hey Carey how hangs it?

Ever since my college days (with a few rare and notable exceptions), I've been mostly just growing food. Though, there seem to be some similarities (at least to me) with tomatoes and smoke...Since Jonathan hadn't told us what he plans to grow I figured I'd cover some of the bases, for um,..tomatoes...

He did though state that he wanted to expand out from leafy greens with T5' an unknown and mysteriously un-stated culture...tomatoes, cukes, peppers etc..seem to be what most folks get into...(italics used to create an atmosphere of double speak and intrigue :)




@ Dino, 

I am in the building phase of such a greenhouse (though that may not qualify for 'indoors'). I will be using four sets of 400 Watt MH lights to supplement light (as well as heat) during the colder, darker periods of the year, and two pairs of 36 Watt T8's in a separate heated workshop for sprouting the lettuce. After one week I plan on moving the sprouts inside the GH to a dedicated sprouting table 4' by8' with lighting. Then after babying them there for another week move them to the nursery trough. Again, with a pair of 400 Watt MH bulbs. Keeping them there for yet another week until moving them out to the 512 square feet of final grow out trough. Spacing until grow out will be 2" apart in (of course the standard) 2" net pots. Final grow out spacing is 8" for some types of lettuce and 6" for others. 

Since the grow out rafts, nursery table and nursery troughs are all 4' in width, they lend themselves nicely to 400 Watt MH bulbs (since those bulbs will generally cover a 4' by 4' area if your plants are not really tall, like tomatoes etc...

My thinking is that by giving the lettuce such a good beginning in life, it will help more than using the lights in the final grow out phase only...(if you have a limited budget to begin with and had to choose). 

I will have more information (based on concrete experience) in the coming winter months so I can let you know.

As to your question, it is my opinion (judging from previous experiences of mine and some of the research I've done in the past eight months), that you should have no problems doing some Friendly's style rafts indoors with lighting. 

Though if by "indoors" you mean a basement or inside of a building with no sunlight, and that said indoor space was already well heated, I would forego the HID's altogether and stick with the T5's...actually for lettuce I'd probably go with the older (and much cheaper tubes) T8's... 4x100 you might go every other raft or every third unless you don't mind spending the money. As you harvest you push the rafts up the line and would alternate which get the light and which don't. Variety of lettuce also matter, beware of bolting...

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