I've been using CFL Grow lights since 2008 and they are wonderful to use for a small indoor garden. Late in 2008 I decided to see what I could come up with to build a cheap dual light reflector to handle a variety of CFL light bulb sizes. I had great success with my home made grow light so I decided to make a video about it and put it on YouTube. The video was getting massive views and loads of people were building their own at very little cost. Here I'll share with you more information that I have learned over the years to help you decide what exactly you need.
For the beginning stages of your plant growth you are going to want to use a daylight bulb with a color temperature between 5000k and 6500k to encourage vegetative growth. You can look at the packaging of the light bulb and it usually says on the box. Sometimes the temperature is even printed around the base of the bulb. When your plants start to flower you'll want to change bulbs to a 2700k bulb which will encourage flowering and fruit production.
Here is an example of what to look for on the packaging. This bulb is 6500k and id perfect for the vegetative growth stage.
When using your CFL bulbs, never hang them pointed down, always have them horizontal. If you have them pointed down the heat from the bulb will rise and burn out the bulb's ballast much faster. I always run my grow lights 16 hours on and 8 hours off using a timer.
HOW TO BUILD A CFL GROW LIGHT FIXTURE
Here is a photo of the dual CFL grow light fixture that I came up with in 2008. It works great for a variety of plants and you can change bulbs to adjust to the specific plant's needs. Below is a parts list and video on how I made it.
The socket I used has a pull chain and I have never been able to find them online. The store I got them at is called Menards and is the only store I have ever found them at. The link in my parts list is just a regular dual socket minus the pull chain. The dryer vent can be purchased at any hardware store. The come just like you see in the picture above. No sawing needed and the edges are not sharp.
Here is the original video I made:
Below is another video I made about the various CFL grow light bulbs that I have used over the years that can be purchased locally at a hardware store. You're probably better off buying online since there is a wider variety to choose from.
I wouldn't use anything under 42 watts. 42 watts is great for basil and lettuce but a plant like a tomato you'll need 85 watts+. Below are a few I suggest. The first 2 are 42 watts and the second 2 are 85 watts. One of them is 6500k for vegetative growth and the other is 2700k for flowering.
The bulb to the left is 6500k for vegetative stage of plant growth. You can get them fairly cheap on Amazon.
This is my favorite all around use grow light bulb.
Other versions of this concept from photos sent to me over the years:
This was was emailed to me by Alvin W.
Very Nice and big bulbs too!
Check out these photo's for a 4 bulb version that You Tube user EatDrinkSmokeBeMerry came up with:
You Tube user betitalldiebroke sent these links and info to what he did:
I removed the the cage from the drop light, cut a hole in the hood, put the light through the hole, added the sockets, screwed in the bulbs and was done. I went with the 105watt CFL bulbs you linked.
You Tube user SmunchyReviews came up with this long, deluxe, heavy duty version:
shelmarie87 sent me these photos of their build:
Rory over at Rorysetter.com Came up with this version which he is using for aquaponics. If you'd like to see more of his photos and a description of this system he built then click here.
Submit your build photos to me and I will post and give credit. Have Fun!