How Long To Keep Lights On My Seedlings?
Duration of light exposure for your seedlings is quite a question that everyone should be answering. And for most crops that are going to be 12 to 18 hours. So when you put your seedlings in, you're going to turn your lights on for 12 hours or 18 hours somewhere in that range.
Depends On Cost Of Lighting And Cost Of Real Estate
You can turn your lights on for up to 24 hours with a lot of different seedlings. But the limitation is, it depends on two things. It depends on the cost of your lighting and the cost of your real estate. So Rackspace in your seedling system if you just have one seedling system or one area where you're able to grow these seedlings out that's valuable space. And you have to think about that as a cost, on the other hand, you also have light and your electricity use which is also heavy on your pocket. So if you're in a place where you have lots of areas to grow your seedlings, you can afford to do a shorter day length and less light intensity.
And move those seedlings much more slowly however if you're in a place where your real estate costs are high where you have limited rack space, limited seedling space you will want to give them more light and move your seedlings a lot faster.
Those are the two important things to think about as a grower what do you care about more; your space or your electrical use. We kind of split the difference we ended up about halfway between them. Most of our crops are on for about fourteen hours a day. And we can push almost everything through in about two weeks at most for really slow growing stuff about three weeks.
Just think really carefully about what's most important to you is it real estate or is it light cost. If you're a home grower and you're doing it on a small scale and you don't really care about either. Then, just do it fast, turn your lights on for 18 hours a day. You can turn them on for twenty a day for a lot of crops even 24 hours a day and you can move those seedlings a little bit.
Must Need a Lot Of Good Air Circulation
For most crops, you're just not going to get a whole lot more out of them at 24 hours than you would at 18. That's the reality 18 is usually where they start to max out on their growth. Typically if you're planning on turning them off its if it's not inconvenient for you to just turn those lights off run them for 18 hours a day. Make sure there's lots of good air circulation there, one last thing to think about is if you're at 12 hours a day and you're in this nice protective seedling environment you will want to harden off those seedlings before they go into the main system.
Now hardening usually is referring to like getting them accustomed to lower humidity, light and cold temperatures. Basically, the light levels are going to experience in the main system transplanting results in a lot of shock for these seedlings. So if they'll shock, they'll slow down they won't grow as fast when they first grew and for you as a producer that's an important thing because that lowers your productivity overall.
So you want to minimize shock and the way that we do that is we ramp up our light. We drop our humidity we more closely make our seedling system variables resemble those of our main system as we get closer and closer to transplanting day. That's something that's really important to think about because it may mean you need to go from 12 hours to 18 hours of light. And you may need to go from 100 percent relative humidity down to 70 or 60 to make sure that your seedlings aren't too shocked when they go from a seedling into the grow-out system.