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a tip on the best light fixtures

  • Subject: [cg] a tip on the best light fixtures
  • From: "Jim Flint" jimf@burlingtongardens.org
  • Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 14:20:34 -0500

ACGA friends and colleagues,

For those who are thinking about building indoor grow lights for home or school use, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

* There are several inexpensive shop light fixtures on the market that will work for seed starting but are not well suited for growing seedlings beyond the first couple of weeks.

* Some fixtures have inadequate light reflectors and/or tubes that are spaced close together, which makes for poor light distribution.

* Other fixtures may be unsafe for use as plant lights due to exposed wiring and shoddy light sockets. This is an especially important consideration if you are working with children who may inadevertently spill water on the lights.

After searching for and testing several light fixtures in 2002-04, I was able to find a shop light fixture that was safe and worked well for seed starting.

The fixture is made by the American Fluorescent Corporation, Model 234SLESW. I ordered the fixture (under $20) through my local True Value Hardware Store. A link to the product specs is below:


The fixture works very well with the new energy efficient T-8 lights, or you can use the older T-12 light tubes. There are no sharp edges, and the sockets are recessed inside the fixture, rather than hanging down. The tubes are spaced adequately and the reflector is solid without exposed wiring.

For those who prefer to order a manufactured light unit, which delivers higher performance and a much longer life span, our organization is a distributor for a professional line of indoor gardens at below market prices.

Four models are listed on our web site at http://www.burlingtongardens.org/IndoorGardens.html. I've used one of the two-tier models for 10 years with great results, raising hundreds of transplants each spring.

I'm happy to answer questions about fluorescent lights for plants. You may also wish to look over the FAQ page at http://www.burlingtongardens.org/VIGFAQ.html.

Happy holidays!

Jim Flint

Friends of Burlington Gardens
33 Tracy Drive
Burlington, VT 05401

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