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West facing window for plant starts?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 3
Location: Seattle, WA. Zone 8b
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Howdy!  

Long time permies listener, first time permies caller.

I have recently moved to a new house with some really great west facing windows.  They are huge and get a lot of light in the afternoon.  I've always started seeds in south facing windows, but the south facing windows in my new place are mostly blocked by trees.  Do you reckon there would be enough hours of light to get the standard veggie starts (tomatoes, peppers, brassicas) going next year?  Is it time to bite the bullet and invest in a fluorescent or LED setup?  If so, any particular products you recommend I should put on my Christmas list?  I'm in zone 8b, in Seattle WA.

Cheers!
Amy
 
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I suspect they might not get adequate sunlight. Here's a link to a thread which shows a video of seedlings stretching from lack of sufficient light. I have a little 4 foot fluorescent lamp that has an agricultural light in it that I use to start my seeds indoors from January thru mid-March.
 
A. LaZerte
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Location: Seattle, WA. Zone 8b
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Thanks James!  I've been thinking about investing in a grow light situation anyhoo, this might just be the kick in the pants I need to do it.  When you say "agricultural light", so you mean one of the red coated lights, or one of the "daylight" varieties, or something else entirely?

Cheers!
Amy
 
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I'm in zone 8b, in Seattle WA



This will definitely help. In cloudy climates, sunlight is less directional and more dispersed. Basically, the benefits of pointing south are reduced in cloudy climates. That being said, I doubt anyone will be able to tell you definitively. The only way to learn is to do it! Unfortunately, you'll probably need to wait a few months for better sun angles as we're practically at the winter solstice right now.
 
James Freyr
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A. LaZerte wrote:Thanks James!  I've been thinking about investing in a grow light situation anyhoo, this might just be the kick in the pants I need to do it.  When you say "agricultural light", so you mean one of the red coated lights, or one of the "daylight" varieties, or something else entirely?

Cheers!
Amy



Yes it was sold as a grow light. It's not a red coated light, the tube looks white. The one I got years ago was called Jump Start. I just looked and it appears they still make them. Here's a link to the jump start light on Amazon. I now have two of these which, when placed one right in front of the other, nicely accommodate four 72-cell seed starting trays.
 
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I would recommend a light for the mornings at least. I've been starting my seeds in a great big east facing window for the last 3 years and up until i put some lights on them in the afternoon last year I always had issues with stretchy, spindly, wimpy starts. The fluorescents made a world of difference.
 
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They now also offer good grow lights that are LED and use less electricity while at the same time giving more lumens, these can be found in different light spectrums as well.
 
A. LaZerte
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Location: Seattle, WA. Zone 8b
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Thanks for all the good advice!  Has anyone made purchase of an LED setup that they like?  I've done a little looking and there are a lot on the market of questionable quality if the negative reviews are to be believed.
 
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Hey I'm also going to agree that there won't be enough light, I'm in the same boat I only have two south facing windows and they are small and inconvenient, unfortunatly for me 90% of my windows are north facing.

I have not bought LED grow lights because when I looked last year I found them horrifically expensive and units to do a decent area say 1m2 were taking upwards of 700W! SO I went with three fluorescent tubes two warm white and one cool white. I set them inside a wardrobe lying on it's back and lined with foil, it was 1.7m long and just under a meter wide. I should have gone with four tubes for that space but other than that it worked well. (each tube is 32W) I need to quadruple that growing area this year so I'm following this with interest to see if anyone has a good recommendation for LED's.
 
stephen lowe
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I also don't know about LEDs, Ive heard mixed reviews generally. For me I just use a little t5 setup that I have with horticultural bulbs and if I am sprouting a larger area than that can cover I have a couple of two bulb shop lights (t8 i think) that I also bought horticultural bulbs for. They are cheap and easy and the bulbs last for several seasons of seed starting with no problem. LED is probably more environmentally sound and should last much much longer but I think that it can be one of those things (for small scale folks like us) that isn't actually a benefit if it causes you to delay and plan and deliberate so long that you go another season with no lights.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I just brought up the LED lights because they are available. The setup I like to use is 4' T5 bulbs I set up for two bulbs per fixture and the 4' length is because I start a lot of plants at one time.
 
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