How to Grow Tomatoes Under Lights

Are you considering growing tomatoes under lights?

Then you will need to have some sort of light system set up for growing tomatoes under lights.

Many hydroponic gardeners know the importance of light.  Because sunlight is not always available, the use of gardening grow lights are generally used.  There are a few things to keep in mind when you are choosing your tomato grow lights.

First, how much space are you going to need to light?  You will need to determine the square footage of the area you will be lighting. For tomato plants, you will need 40 watts per square foot.  This will optimize growth and flower production.  When figuring the area, do not go by the size of the whole room, only by the size of your planting area. To figure how much wattage you will need, a simple math equation will help you.  If you will be growing in a 3×3 sq. ft. area, 3×3 is 9, and we want 40 watts per square foot. 40×9 is 360, so you will want to round this up to 400 watts. We now know we will need a 400 watt grow lamp.

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There are two different types of gardening grow lights available, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium.  The Metal Halide lamps are mostly used for vegetation, while the High Pressure Sodium lamps are used for flowering. Since we will be growing tomatoes under lights, we will want to use a 400 watt High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamp.

The reflector is the most important part of a gardening grow light. This is the determining factor in how much light is reflected onto the plants and how consistent the light is.  You will want to have an equal distribution of light over the whole growing area.  Horizontal reflectors are the most popular because they are the most efficient. Smaller reflectors will reflect the light at a higher intensity.  For a tomato garden, you will want to choose a small reflector to get the highest intensity of light over your plants.

There are many benefits of growing tomatoes under lights and indoors.  The greatest benefit is that you will have larger, tastier vegetables than if you grow them the traditional way. Also, by growing tomatoes under lights and indoors, you will be able to have fresh, juicy tomatoes anytime during the year, no matter what your climate is, or where you live.

Other benefits include the cost savings of growing tomatoes under lights and indoors. Growing your own tomatoes saves you the cost of purchasing tomatoes at the local market.  If you’ve been to the market lately, you probably have noticed how expensive organically grown tomatoes have gotten. I know I have spent over $4 for four tomatoes! Which leads us to our last benefit of growing your tomatoes indoors and under a grow lamp: you can grow your own organic tomatoes without having the worry that your family is ingesting unhealthy pesticides or herbicides.

Growing Tomatoes Under Lights Summary

There are a couple disadvantages to using lights to grow plants indoors.  The first is that it is a bit more expensive than growing plants the traditional way.  The initial costs (buying or building the growing area) can be quite costly.

Another disadvantage is that although you won’t need to watch your plants constantly, you will need to care for them more often than if you had planted tomatoes the traditional way.  You need to check your pH levels frequently, change your nutrient solution once a week, and perform general maintenance to get the most favorable results.

I believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages when growing your tomatoes indoors and using gardening grow lights.