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Question about CFLs from a 1st timer.

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Hi All,


I'm a complete novice when it comes to all of this. 12 years of chronic pain and a charming (but unrelated) medical diagnonsense saw me turn to green about a decade ago and I haven't looked back - it's probably what has kept me alive.


Anyway, my regular supplier went out of business recently (without any notice :( ) so I'm trying my hand at growing for the first time. I've had a LOT of very confusing conversations with a variety of people (Bunnings, hydro stores, even Kmart!) with silly codewords about how I'm growing tomatoes or herbs. ;)


I've managed to get most of it sorted - I think - and have recently planted a seed. I'm using coco coir with perlite mixed in, and I'm playing mad scientist in the kitchen with PHing water. (PH down + bicarb soda + lemon = finally got the right range of 5.5-6.5)


I'm still completely baffled about lights, though. Everything I've read on growweedeasy.com suggests that I can use regular CFLs from a hardware store. So, after another trip to Bunnings, I invested in some globes and a few lamps and have got, what I thought, was a good setup going.


The problem is that two different hydro stores have blown my mind a bit when discussing 'grow lights'. One guy showed me a bulb that was about 30cms long! Not very stealthy, I thought... (And a bit more than I want to pay for something that might not work at this stage.)


So I'm now a bit concerned that my poor seed is freezing to death and not likely to grow under the 24w (Similar to 100w) Philips 'Cool Daylight' globe that the Bunnings guy sold me for my 'tomatoes'. It was the closest that I could find to what I'd seen on the net... but I'm wondering if there's something else I should be using? The only requirement is that it's easy to install/maintain - I'm not in a position to start wiring additional light sockets throughout  the house.


Thanks in advance for any tips!


I'll be the one in the corner talking to my seed and asking it - really nicely! - to grow quickly. ;)

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Hi MissKy,

were you hoping to use it for the whole grow? and what size space are you attempting to cover.


The best advice I can give you is to look into the amount of lumens per square foot and figure out how much you should need for your space. I've copied down a rough guide somewhere which I shall look for and write below. Personally I've been lazy on the number crunching and have 4 of the exact same bulb as you in a stripped out computer case, currently just trying to make sure I can extract the heat. I might take some pics for you too just so you can see where I'm at.


So the spectrum you have is suitable for the veg stage only btw, you'll need to switch to a warm-white during flower stage if you intent on using standard CFL's

How far is your bulb from your plant btw? you mentioned you are not keen on wiring up any more sockets, are you currently using a ceiling socket? CFL's are notorious for poor reach and penetration so need to be placed as close as possible without burning your plants. 4 inches seems to be the norm



2000 Lumans Per Square/ft Minimum 

3500+ Preferred

5000+ Lumans optimum


If there is anything else I can help with please feel free to ask, also I'm only speaking from notes not experience. Please research yourself and/or seek second opinions








I think you would be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to wire a CFL socket that runs from a standard power board

Edited by GreenGoat
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Thanks Budding!


I'm using some small desk lamps (from Bunnings) at the moment. 1 per pot (only 2 pots on the go) They're about 3/4 inches from the top of the coir in my pots. No sign of anything growing in there yet, hence the worry.


After a bit of advice from the guys in chat here, I've been looking at "HPS/MH Dimmable Digital Electronic Ballast Reflector Dual Light Grow Kit 400W" on eBay as the next step up for the girls. Just don't want to make the investment and realize I've gone down the wrong path!


Completely appreciate your advice is personal experience... my only experience is having a guy I call who tells me what day to come, so I'm happy to learn anything I can!

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Hi MissKy,


Have you worked out how much bud you need to harvest to support yourself?  The answer to this will determine how much light you should start with.


If you're going to stick with CFL for the whole lifecycle, you can get roughly an oz with a 130w CFL (you need to buy these from a gardening/hydro shop...check ebay).  Make sure it is 2700k type bulb as that is best for flowering and does ok for veg.  These size CFLs are much bigger than your standard CFL from bunnings too, they are about a foot long and you best buy it as a "kit" that comes with a shade and power connection as they will not fit in a standard lamp socket.


The biggest CFL I have seen available is 250w which might get you 2oz per harvest (there are alot of variables but trying to give a rule of thumb here).


Also, I recommend you start with at least a few seeds (5 to 10) especially if they are not "feminised". As a novice, you will most likely kill some and you need to weed out males too not to mention some may not even sprout.


Keep it simple if this is your first try and be prepared to fail miserably :) I have done a few successful grows and I've not even worried about ph using good quality potting mix and town water.  Give them enough light, enough water and enough nutrients then they are going to grow. 


Have fun.

Edited by lifestylez
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