LED Grow light Experiment

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Overview – 2016-04-09

My wife is a hardcore Gardner and starts her seedlings in doors every year. We use a regular florescent grow light.

This year I decided to look into replacing our florescent grow light with some LEDs purchased off eBay instead of the ridiculously expensive (for a home user) commercial grade grow LEDs you can easily find on Google and Amazon.

After a small amount of research I found recommendations for red, blue and natural light (6500k) when growing seedlings. I wish I had written down notes about what I found (I did this research 2+ months ago) but based on the spectrums recommended I found LEDs on eBay that were close. Of course the whole point of eBay is that things are cheap so I highly doubt I’ve got LEDs that are properly reproducing the exact spectrum I need.

The goal of this experiment is simple:

  • Can seedlings, specifically tomatoes, grow under red/blue LEDs, natural light LEDs and/or a combination of both LEDs from eBay (CHEAP)
  • Which combination of LEDs produces the best plant (if any)
  • (Stretch goal) Perform an encore comparing the best LED combination against a florescent grow light

I am not being extremely accurate with this experiment and am not doing a control under florescent lights at the same time that I am growing under the LEDs. I’m going to rely on my wife to provide judgement on whether or not the LEDs did as good of a job or better than florescent.

This is my supply list of what I purchased to build my LEDs boxes (Excel Spreadsheet)

This is my basic design (PDF)

My seedlings will sit in my office which maintains 19c (66f) at a minimum but usually higher and the only natural light they will see is when I water them. They will get light 12 hours a day (06:00 until 18:00).

Here are some images of my build.

I will update this page as the experiment progresses.

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