I added a layer of pebbles to the top and they can't breed. Ended the problem in 4-5 days.
You can get just a bulb like this.
Or if you want the whole lamp, something like this.
Just a heads up tho. For cactus, aloe, type plants, they like more red than blue. So try to look for lights that have different modes like the lamp I linked, or look for a bulb that is between 2500k-3500k. Over 3500k is getting on the blue end of the spectrum, which is for leafy greens, etc.
we also have parsley, it's in front of the cucumber on the right, but a little hidden. i grew most of these using this. set up was quick, and the yield has been great so far!
I drill holes using a Diamond bit set I got on Amazon for like 9 bucks :) Here's the link:
Diamond Drill Bits
I'd go with LEDs as they're more power efficient, something like a T8 style.
Something like these?
Probably something like a four bulb t5 fixture per shelf
I can only tell you anecdotally that I've had great success with this particular bulb I ordered off Amazon to try and save a rosemary plant I brought in from the garden two summers ago: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B018A71O4U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I paired it with this simple cord: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B016PRUBO6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. I just looped it over one of the back posters on my four-poster bed, no crazy installation required. You could easily do the same with a hook from the ceiling though. It was the cheapest but still high-quality solution I could find with no rig or specialized shelving/furniture required.
The light has kept my rosemary alive for two years now - it went back into the garden in the summer, but only for about a month (I honestly forgot to move it), but otherwise it's been in a dark bedroom with almost no sunlight the entire time.
The bulb doesn't cover a huge area, but is definitely sufficient for a medium size pot. My rosemary plant is about 18" high and 18" wide at it's widest. It's grown a TON since I got the lamp, so it's not just sustaining it. It also casts a really relaxing hot pink glow, which personally I find very pleasant especially in the winter when all you see all day is white & grey.
I did this at my last place! A sink adapter and an expandable hose with valve at the business end. Keep your water can handy to stick the drippy end in while you’re moving around the house!
Faucet Adapter Kit Swivel Aerator Adapter to Connect Garden Hose - Multi-Thread Garden Hose Adapter for Male to Male and Female to Male - Chrome Finished https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H26LKK2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_QWTfFb0HK1VFC
Flexi Hose 50 FT Lightweight Expandable Garden Hose | Ultimate No-Kink Flexibility - Extra Strength with 3/4 Inch Solid Brass Fittings & Double Latex Core | Rot, Crack, Leak Resistant https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GY462JK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_DXTfFbYGEXNJD
It is this brand, and not as wet as you describe. I can start more and put it near a window.
That’s a nice setup! I’ve got this 100W light from Atreum Lighting: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RHRPV1T/
It has a power meter and dimmer that is removable, which I haven’t seen before on other lights. I think it should be enough power to take the tomatoes through the full cycle.
I may give tiny tim a try next time! I’ve heard good things about them.
I got these, don't know if they are the best but certainly enough for my basil. They are wicked bright and I wear sunglasses to go in there or I get headaches.
Unless I calculated wrong they are costing me about 7-9 dollars a month to run all 6 lights 16 hours a day.
You could get a small greenhouse to put on the balcony, depending on how much sun the balconies get, here's one, there are prob lots to choose from, here's another
Dk exactly how cold proof a greenhouse would be for Chicago, but you may be able to use a portable heater (being careful with those) or smudge pot depending on how cold it gets.
You may be able to make one with PVC pipe (Home Depot or Lowe's) and plastic, too, there are probably plans available online for those.
Hi - it looks good to be honest. Depending on what you will be growing, and from what stage you will be growing (ie. seeds vs seedlings vs mature plants) you will want to be able to move the lights closer to the plants, since T8 bulbs are not particularly strong.
Instead of those pink strings, look into something like these from amazon:
That way you can easily adjust the level the lights hang at.
The lights really don't generate much heat, so it's not going to light your wall on fire. If you want to increase efficiency of the light, you could put something reflective on the wall. The previous poster is correct in that it would be a bit more effective if it was sitting centered over your plants instead of against the wall.
There are these one's on Amazon, they don't deliver to my country, but maybe they deliver to the UK?
Second the recommendation for a purple/red lights; my SO has used them in our last few apartments and our plants are very happy.
We use these (I see that they're currently unavailable) and while they've been great and very, very long-lasting, I will say that while they're not bright per se, they do have a very strong color cast so our home generally looks like something out of the Red Shoe Diaries. So that's something to think about.
I have some LED full spectrum grow lights from Sansi I really love. GE also has similar LED grow lights. I grow similar plants as you and my plants love these bulbs. They do bring out the red in plants if you have any plants that get sunblush.
You can put them into a regular lamp as long as it will accommodate the larger shape of the bulb. I have mine plugged into some socket cords I suspended over my plants. I made some simple paper shades to shield my eyes when I’m sitting in the room, because the light is quite bright, even though the bulb is designed to focus the light down onto the plants. There are many ways to set these up, though, this is just the solution I came up with. You could also use a clip-on lamp or a table lamp, depending on your set-up.
Please don’t buy the purple lights, they’re gimmicky and don’t do anything better than a full spectrum, white light LED does. And who wants a purple-lit room and plants anyway? Besides, the full-spectrum bulbs are like sunlight and they help us humans out when daylight is at a minimum.
You will get recommendations for very expensive growlights, like the Mars Hydro rec, but those are for growing vegetables and other plants that need an absolute ton of light. Or for people growing just a ton of house plants — like people who sell propagations and have masses and masses of plants. For most houseplant hobbyists, these cheaper, smaller, simpler lights are just fine. The smaller LEDs are also quite efficient to run.
As for the schedule, I read that around 12-16 hours is good. Some people do more, some less. Mine come on at 7am and turn off at 10pm. Make sure to get a timer to make your life easier.
I use GE Grow lights. The light nice and bright and I have several maid of Orleans jasmine plants growing underneath them. The light is a warm light but not too warm. The down sides are, the bulb is heavy and wide so make sure you have a light fixture that can handle it. Also, for one bulb, it is pretty expensive. Here is the link The one for seeds and greens is the one I use since its a full spectrum light.
Typically it's called wheat grass - this is what I buy for my cats - stupid easy to grow: https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Wheat-Grass-Seeds-Ounces/dp/B079Y9JGNL/ref=sxts_rp_s_a1_0?crid=1CFLVP6J99FML&cv_ct_cx=cat%2Bgrass%2Bseeds&keywords=cat%2Bgrass%2Bseeds&pd_rd_i=B079Y9JGNL&pd_rd_r=aa83c196-7d86-4a9b-8a9e-52ca9258f0a0&a...
If you care about aesthetics and aren't trying to look like a grow room, a normal screw in bulb is the way to go. I did a good amount of research and this is the one to buy, hands down
You don't need specialty grow lights for this.
I have an indoor garden that I started because I was annoyed that my first pepper harvest was going to get destroyed by frost. And i had some hanging flourescent fixtures, the cheap kind. I was given some really cool LED bulbs that work with or without ballasts so I stripped down the fixtures to just run off household current and I have been harvesting bell peppers and habernero peppers all winter. Right now I have about a dozen different types of seedlings started and my wife is talking about things getting out of hand...
If I were trying to start right now for what you want to do, I would get something similar to this bulb
You will probably find it is plenty for this need.
If your goal is to grow herbs and tomatoes from seedlings to plant outdoors, the best value light you'll find is T5 LED shop lights. Seriously. Anything with the keyword "grow light" is going to have a huge price premium and for growing vegetative plants (non flowering/fruiting) or just starting fruiting plants indoors, LED shop lights work just as well.
Here are the lights that i'm using on my seedling shelf of my indoor grow tower. I removed the diffusers with a utility knife which increases the light output by ~1.5-2x. 5 of those lights give off an even 400-500 PPFD at a distance of 4". I currently have 60 tomato, pepper, and kale plants in a hydroponic propagator and ~40-50 tomato & pepper seedlings in soil, all under those lights. I've had hydroponic basil growing under another set of these lights for 2 years.
To be clear, LED shop lights won't allow you to grow peppers, tomatoes, or other flowering plants from seed to harvest. I have real "grow lights" for that, but these things are great value for seed starting or
I use one of these bulbs, and then a clamp lamp like this for my set up. That’s probably as cheap as you can get. You can also get multi packs to save money, at least for the lamps.
This was a post from the other day if it helps.
Green hut Grow Tent 96"X48"X78" 600D Mylar Hydroponic Indoor Grow Tent with Observation Window, Removable Floor Tray and Tool Bag for Indoor Plant Growing 8X4 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GQYFPKW/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_1YMJ71H1Q7Z6YWESS3WF?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I'm hesitant to recommend it though as the build quality on mine was sub par. After it was assembled I had to make major repairs to a main zipper because no way I was getting it back in the box.
My smaller tent I have had for 6 years. Brand is good and I like it a lot. Not sure if they had a big one when I needed it but I would check them out first.
VIVOSUN 48"x24"x60" Hydroponic Mylar Grow Tent with Observation Window and Floor Tray for Indoor Plant Growing - 4' x 2' https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DXYMQ9M/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_ZPFCVC54DXG1N0ZHFP08?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I've seen grow bags with a flap for root vegetables so you can harvest them without pulling the whole thing up
Potato Grow Bags with Flap 10 Gallon, 4 Pack Planter Pot with Handles and Harvest Window for Potato Tomato and Vegetables, Black and Gray https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086QVJDTX/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_KFWVNG87W5JH4TR1ZM1P?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
Go for quality, get this guy for a 1x1
HLG 65 V2 4000K Horticulture Lighting Group Quantum Board LED Grow Light Veg & Bloom 4000K | Version 2 High-Efficiency Upgraded Samsung LM301B LED's https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076QDKVDZ/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_FPRX89EZZ9RM3ZV5ZR9Z
Something like this: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08S33266Y/ref=vp_d_pb_TIER2_cmlr_lp_B08PD35XP2_pd?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B08JGW2K35&pd_rd_w=HyL3K&pf_rd_p=97e8de0d-97b9-4dbd-a111-de3444373e29&pf_rd_r=XSM7YTJT6Y168Q3SSN5Q&pd_rd_r=2e94ba6e-9b21-4550-b81b-0684638c0b54&pd_rd_wg=wYsCg&th=1 about $30. Says it's for 2'x2' but people using it for that said not enough light. 60W should be fine for 1'x1' with the light about 12" above whatever you're growing. You can get much better lights, but considering your small space, I assume you want something budget friendly. LM281B aren't the best, but better than anything else at that price.
I use this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FYBZ5Y7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 for my apartment.
I think the most important thing for humidifiers is airflow; you want them where the moisture will get distributed. So, in front of intake vents is ideal if you have central heat.
I bought this light (it runs $75-$85) and it's sufficient for a 2x2 or maybe 3x3 grow tent ( https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PD35XP2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1 ) There are several similar ones and this one isn't special, just an example of something that will work that doesn't break the bank. The expensive ones make sense if you're growing cannabis to sell. A light like this is going to provide 10x the yield as an Aerogarden (I was using a 9-pod aerogarden until getting my tent a few months ago so know the space and height limitations). If you have a basement or extra room, you don't need a tent. But grow lights are so bright you'll need a tent if you're growing in a room you use.
What if a added a lamb with this bulb aimed a whole lot more direct and concentrated at the area?
2000W Dimmable LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants 4x2ft Coverage Full Spectrum Plant Grow Lights MeanWell Driver LED Plant Growing Lamp for Indoor Seeding Veg and Bloom https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D3DVGYQ/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_97Y2QRNZRFMZNXJ52ARN
In my opinion the big outdoor ones are of very limited use, ESPECIALLY if they have a non-detachable sprinkler head. I'm only going to use a can outside if the hose can't reach, and if it's a big area I need to water I'm going to buy a longer hose. I only use mine for a couple containers in remote locations and I toss the sprinkler attachment, I want to target the pot not the leaves and I don't want to hold 2 gallons of water up for ages while it piddles out some tiny holes.
Now indoors is a more interesting challenge. For my main can I want at least a gallon with some wiggle room for mixing, but no more than 1.5g. Large hole because I'm pouring from a 5g water bottle, I have a lot of plants upstairs where there is no plumbing. Long narrow spout because I have tons of plants packed together and I need to reach each pot preferably without moving too many. And if you can somehow solve the problem of needing to carry it perfectly level when full or it sloshes out the spout, but having to tilt it at awkward angles when almost empty you're a god.
Here's the best I've found which I ridiculously had to order from Amazon because everything I see in stores is garbage, but it's still not perfect.
This is the watering can I have:
Things I like:
-High volume (12 liters)
-Removable "rose" (black plastic) head, so I can really dump lots of water on or just do a sprinkle. The rose is also in two pieces so I can also take it apart to clean it, and there's a little stub I can stick it on so I don't lose it when I'm not using it.
-The handle is in two pieces, joined by the fill hole. Lots of plastic watering cans have a single handle that arches from the top front to bottom back, which causes the handle to split along the seam between the two halves.
-Similarly, the spout is supported a lot of the way up, so it doesn't bend/break.
The main thing I dislike is that it's really hard to tell when it's full.
Bonide Product 951 Systemic House Plant Insect Control (2 Pack of 8 Oz.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HGDFHQW/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_CH5A2CY021XGHZ1FKWHE?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 this has worked miracles for me. Along with some stick traps on the window
I don’t know about good but I got this one on Amazon. It works pretty well for moisture. I’ve tried using it for PH and light but I’m still inexperienced so I’m not really sure what I’m looking for.
The only time I’ve had an issue was with a columba dracaena and it ended up dying. A bit of a diva. Said it was moist but the ends were brown.
Limited-time deal: SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester Gardening Tool Kits for Plant Care, Great for Garden, Lawn, Farm, Indoor & Outdoor Use (Green) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07BR52P26/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_dl_MHV43D599DAFS7S88BJ1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I have a pretty big garden in my apartment. If your light situation is inadequate invest in some grow lights, no special shelves needed just get what works with your space.
I use these: 3 Pack Grow Light Bulb Indoor Grow Light,A19 Full Spectrum Plan Light Bulb,E26 110V 9W Grow Bulb Replace up to 100W, Plant Light Bulb for Indoor Plants, Flowers, Greenhouse, Indore Garden, Hydroponic https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085ZVM2R7/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_KN99X1JKBSPWZNR3ZYEZ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
They are great because they fit in most normal lamps so it doesn’t have to be those unsightly clamp lamps.
The other thing to consider is humidity. I’ve lived in a lot of radiator heat apartments, and had to get a humidifier in the winter time to keep the plants happy. The spring is really the best time to start.
$4.89 for 1 lamp per plant, depending on size.
20 bucks for a 4 socket cord.
$40 for a fully flexible grow lamp setup. The only thing more you'd need is something to hang them on like a long dowel.
Or you could get fancy with clip on shop fixtures with reflectors and a power strip for better placement and intensity for 13 bucks each.
I’ve used self-watering pots and wicking with good results. They’re the reason I’m able to keep ferns, begonias, and other thirsty plants happy.
Looking at the growth, your plant has been struggling longer than a couple weeks. My guess is you have a few nutrient deficiencies, and my guess is iron and magnesium for sure. Iron (and nitrogen) will cause yellowing really bad, and magnesium can cause yellowing on edges and marbled sort of color and if you look at the green leaves, they're mottled and spotty.
Do you fertilize? If not I recommend getting a ph tester just in case, a bag of worm castings and some liquidirt and she'll be alright.
The V shaped ones from Home Depot, don't recommend them. They snap easily at the feet base and aren't on wheels so I had to silicone the legs closed so they didn"t leak everywhere. Eventually, I just pulled the self watering plugs and let them drain The metal ones have a central drain hole and a sloped base so self drain to the center of the bottom. They come with some hooks and the handle and are on wheels. Assembly takes about 15 minutes for the metal ones. Jus5 don't tighten up the nuts on the wheels and the bolts on the top part of the frame when assembling and you will be just fine. The metal ones off Amazon, and very happy with those. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QYQ9S41/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc_3TBVFK37W3FCRTFCSN3N?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
10 W is not a lot. Peppers like PPFDs of approx 200 umol / s m^2.
There are many cheap quantum boards right now like this one:
Spend a little more, get a lot more. That should be fine dimmed to 50% and hung about 18 inches away.
I use https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NNTH17D?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share for seeds and greens and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NNXFPSP/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_4159VMHPBCMY0JQG12CY?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 for fruits. I mix them evenly on the more mature racks because I have a bit of both typically. They have served me well. I use 4 to 6 per rack. I have them on timers that run from about 6am until 6pm daily. I don't string more than 6 at a time back to a single series to keep them safely low on the net amps per run. They come with adjustable hooks so you can up and down size them to control your Lux to your plants as they grow too. At 4' in length, I would NOT buy them again, if I had grow tents - I would stick with square LEDs if that were a starting point. The tents don't accomodate 48" lights - and an extra inch on each side, for 50", for the power cord, and hooks. So, if you get these, with a tent, you are looking at a 60" /5' tent and they are just hard to come across.
I am happy with thrm and their grow quality as well. I have another racm of seedlings to start up after this batch too and will be using them for those also.
I found that I had to do a two-pronged attack. First, yellow sticky traps in each plant to catch the adults, and mosquito bits or dunks in the watering water EVERY TIME, no untreated water. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001AUF8G/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_AVG2JV875XVA471AP7GZ is what I use.
If you don't do both the traps and the bits at the same time, they will stick around a while.
I haven't had gnats at all since doing this.
Came here to say this. I’m currently treating with his suggestion for peroxide.
Also have implemented this to great effect:
We ended up finding and ordering these from Amazon. Small 1x1 size, analog/manual on/off, full spectrum too. Fingers crossed they work alright!
I just ordered these guys a few weeks ago. They arrived pretty quick and have been happily feasting on my unseen nemeses!
If you keep this close to your plants, this might work okay on a tight budget https://www.amazon.com/Freelicht-Equivalent-Spectrum-Integrated-Hydroponic/dp/B07ZCRY2GN/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=4ft+grow+light&qid=1614148436&sprefix=4ft+&sr=8-6
I still recommend a quantum board if possible. It’s a better light by leaps and bounds, but I understand being on a tight budget.
LED Grow Light for Plants - Four Heads Plant Light 96W Full Spetrum 176 LEDs Lamps Red/Blue/Yellow Spectrum, 3/6/12H Timer, 6 Dimmable Level, 4 Switch Modes, Adjustable Gooseneck for Indoor Plants https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CZ3SNZ1/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_TAWE6BKQ738PR56CW24Z?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I use them on my shelving units for extra winter light, too. The cords can get kind of bulky that way but they’re easier to hide up high. I’ve been using this one for a few months and it seems good so far.
Grow Light with Stand,GHodec 200W Four-Head 336 LED Floor Plant Light for Indoor Plants,Tripod Stand Adjustable 15-48 in,4/8/12H Timer & 5 Dimmable Levels https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08B3NTLHJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_wYa2FbYB4GWGR?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I like them because they are height adjustable. So this is my first time doing this, but so far I’ve had great growth with this light. I’d recommend at this point for sure.
It's a mix of potting soil, coconut coir, my compost and a bit of sand and vermiculite. The lights I got on amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086BWPBHL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
These are the lights I bought: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086BWPBHL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
They barely get warm and plants seem to like them so far.
I posted this earlier to get some advice about the total setup:
So basically to answer everyone’s questions: I haven’t done any tests on ph of the soil or anything like that. Kinda new to indoor gardening so I’m more of a put plant into potting soil and water once a week or so kinda guy lol. I do have some fertilizer that I haven’t been using, so I could start dosing that. Also I haven’t watered in a couple of weeks because the top of the soil looked a bit moist. My tap water is a little higher than neutral (7.2-3) I’d say, based on the aquariums I have.
Edit: this is the light im using
For a newb, wanting to test the waters, I'd look at Amazon supplied cobs. You may get unlucky with build quality, but i haven't had any issues so far.
Among the few I've bought, I have this one I've been quite happy with:
Led Grow Light-900w Grow Lamps for Greenhouse Hydroponic Indoor Plants Growing Veg and Flower Lighting Fixture with Full Spectrum COB and CREE/OSRAM Led Chips https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DK52HQ2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_8fcoCbF2EDBYN
And this one looks like a super cheap option for a dabble. Remember, these sellers offer their stuff super cheap to get their name out, and jump in price if successful (like Samsung 20 years ago!) Don't blame me if your house burns down, but worth a shot if you need an inexpensive starting point.
LED Grow Light Full Spectrum 600W Plants Grow Lights with Daisy Chain, Reflector Series Led Grow Lamp for Greenhouse Indoor Plants Veg and Flower https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078S4CBKY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_cicoCb1AF4PQD
There lots of others to try on the cheap that are great, depending on what you end up wanting to do.
I got this Pure Humidifier from TJ Maxx, but here’s the Amazon link. It lasts almost all day - or most of the work day - since my apartment is also very dry. It gets the air around my plants to about 50-60% humidity, and my plants seem to like it.
... also it changes colors. Not gonna lie; that was half the reason I got it lol
I recently got one exactly like this. Unfortunately the one I got is unavailable on Amazon. It works great no heat due it using led. The timer works great but you have to reset it if the power goes out. Can be adjusted to a lot of positions and heights. I really like it and my plants seem to like the lamp so far.
You can daisy-chain all 6 of them on one plug, but I chose to do them by twos, so I could have more control of light on each shelf. They're all on a timer.
I just bought the 4ft version of these: https://www.amazon.com/Monios-L-Reflectors-Spectrum-Sunlight-Replacement/dp/B07QFPBQDR/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8&th=1
Just set them up and they work great. Very lightweight and bright. They make a pink version https://www.amazon.com/Integrated-Fixture-Extendable-Greenhouse-Installation/dp/B07FZTKYXV?ref_=ast_sto_dp
I'm using this light ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PH1MQV8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_PMcuFbCM5CCQ4 ). It's pretty close to the plant, the minimum distance at which the plant wasn't burning. I turn the light on when I go to bed, so we're talking 7-8h. I can't do much more than that - the plants are in our office and my wife and I don't wanna work with the light blasting us in the face all day.
This is the one I have! https://www.amazon.com/ACKE-Grow-Light-Plant-Light-Sunlike-Gooseneck-Growing-Indoor/dp/B07X9FW8ML?pd_rd_w=o4rVg&pf_rd_p=dc5d20a9-bdae-4e7d-8edc-f16a5a74b8eb&pf_rd_r=420VG0G5T7GF1K6HHH6Q&pd_rd_r=90683910-b4f5-4ac9-a72d-f23d714754a4&pd_rd_wg=GxpDJ&pd_rd_i=B07X9FW8ML&ref_=pd_bap_d_rp_1_1_t I am also a beginner indoor gardener, and it has done wonders for my plants--especially my herbs. I really like that I can hang it anywhere and it has two adjustable lights on it as well.
you're correct, you would need a special conversion kit in order to use t5s. And t8 bulbs would burn out more quickly with a t12 ballast. You could potentially run single strip t5s and add one per shelf in addition to the t12. sunblaze t5 if you had another space you could use HlG 100 4k it will cover a 3x3 space for vegetative plants or a 2x2 for high light demanding plants.
I have purchased five different types of grow light. This is by far the best and most effective I've bought.. I would recommend you get something rated to at least 300W equivalent. In my experience some of the lower watt lights are practically worthless, even for herbs. The one I linked to is enough power to thoroughly light up a footprint of about 3 ft x 3ft and I've successfully grown tomatoes, cilantro, basil, arugula, sage, dill, buttercrunch lettuce, brussels sprouts, peppers, garlic, strawberries and peas with it. I can't provide an opinion on T5 lights because I've always used LEDs. T5s are cheaper upfront but over their lifetime become more expensive than LEDs because of the increased power costs and the need for bulb replacements. LEDs don't last forever obviously, but the linked one claims it will last 50,000 hours, which is almost 6 years of 24-hr usage.
I'd suggest starting with herbs first before jumping into vegetables, especially if you've never grown edible plants before. They grow super fast and you can start harvesting within a month of good growing, very rewarding. If you feel ready to jump into veggies, try leafy salad greens like kale, cabbage, and lettuce—again, very quick growers and early to harvest.
I've just started on beans (baby lima), tomatoes (tiny tims) and peppers (alma paprika), I've found them a bit more challenging and temperamental than all the previous plants I mentioned but I'm excited to see the literal fruits of my labors in a couple of months!
You'll need a few good growlights (you can find a bunch of decent ones on amazon), grow medium (I use a mix of coco coir and indoor potting soil), and a warmish spot/heat mat to germinate seeds. You're going to end up re-potting the plants a bunch when they are young and growing rapidly, so don't invest in any nice pots until they reach the size you want them to stay at.
A YouTuber I really like has a nice in-depth video about good beginner crops.
I just got the basil, I was planning on splitting it up when I'll get larger pot for the tomatoes as I would like to put some herbs in each pot on top of the 'main plant'. I'm too think that keeping the tomatoes in shape so I can have 5 or 6 grown plants in the box will be the hardest challenge and I'm afraid I'll have to remove one or two in time.
I'm using a Led I got on amazon, I actually started the seedlings without a led, on a windowsill and they have been thriving since I put them in the box.
Hmm, could you possibly use a gigantic fine mesh strainer type thing to insert into the tub? Maybe do half of the plants at a time, or water in shifts?
I was envisioning something like this, but much larger.
Maybe even a DIY purchase of fine mesh material that you could roll up to store away, then bring out to cover the bottom of the tub when you water? Not sure of the fully thought out practicality here, but it’s the first thing that came to mind.
Personally, I would find more appeal in something that offers less in the unit. I'd say look for something that has a light and stand, that looks decent enough, and lets you sort out your pots and seeds yourself. I'm thinking of something like this (though I'm not recommending specifically this product). Make sure the product you choose offers strong enough light for the plants you want to grow.
I'd suggest this because it still gives a neat appearance and added light (in case your office does not have a lot of natural light on its own - most herbs and like light won't grow with just indoor lighting). But this allows you to use any pots and plants you want. Want to grow purple basil? Go for it. Want a small jade plant in some of the space instead of herbs? Buy one and put it there. The flexibility is worth the little bit of extra effort finding your own plants creates. These can still be very easy/simple to do.
If what you want is "some plants" rather than "edible plants", consider a grow light (on a stand or not), with a timer (built in or separate), instead. This gives you even greater flexibility in the variety of plants you can grow, and you can buy more grow lights if you want. The downside of this is there's a lot more research to do to figure out just which plants need what light and other care.
Interesting, i will probably do something like that for the track lighting, but for the lamp i was thinking about something like this:
Morsen 80W LED Grow Light Bulb, Grow lamp for indoor plants, Plant Light Bulb for Indoor Garden Greenhouse and Hydroponic Plants Full Spectrum (E27 120leds) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07586GP6J/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_N3.pAbTZE7E5X
But thats only 80w, i would like to find a 100-150w bulb like this, but ive heard cfl and hps lights are better, so im not sure if i should just get this bulb or look into 100-150w cfl and hps bulbs.
EDIT 2: i also found this 100w which i might end up going with:
100W Led Grow Light Bulbs Full Spectrum Plant Light Lamp for Indoor Plants Vegetables Greenhouse and Hydroponic,150PCs 2835 Chips E27 Base grow light AC 85~265V https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078B8HGRR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_OcaqAb6TG2XTC
VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 300W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum for Indoor Plants Veg and Flower https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B4GQ6MO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_oFiqAb5GXSVPT
I used this and I've used it to grow tomato plants and to provide light to an adult Meyer lemon tree.
I really regretted purchasing smaller cheaper lamps because plants came out spindly and if I brought the light closer it burnt the plants. I much prefer this one and consider it a worthwhile and not too pricey investment.
Consider lumens not wattage especially for LED.
The problem with having a plastic cover is that plants need carbon dioxide to photosynthesize. This is why good greenhouses have fans. Plants do such a good job converting carbon dioxide that if there isn't good ventilation their growth will be stunted.
I would also get a stronger LED grow light such as this one. I have a few of these. They're blindingly bright.
Thanks for the thorough response!
I purchased this lamp (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MS7ZG3S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) the other day, should arrive Wednesday. Do you think this will do the trick as a light supplement?
There are actually shelves for this that stick to your windows:
Edit: I have not actually used these, just intrigued by them.
Alright, thanks very much!
What is real plant food though? Could you recommend a good brand? I've never actually fed any of my plants before, but would like to start. I also got Humbolt's Secret Golden Tree; is that an actual food?
I imagine you'e gotten an adequate answer by now from somewhere else. Here's a useful book I find indispensable from my gardening library. It reads like a conversational Chiltons manual and has tons of photos and charts on nearly all topics related to indoor gardening, including lighting.