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"Why is it not recommended to grow plants with fruit (eg tomatoes) when you are using a light system?"
Indoor growing environments that use only artificial light systems (even the most expensive ones) do not produce anywhere near the light output of the Sun... nor do they come close to matching the complexity of seasonal changes in the growing environment that trigger and/or promote the reproductive growth stage. There is a significant difference in optimal growing requirements between the vegetative and reproductive (a.k.a. flowering / fruiting) growth stages of plants. PPFD, DLI, Photoperiod, Spectrum, to name only a few (and only a few that have to do with light). It's a complicated science and beyond the scope of properly explaining here (best left for a few good academic classes on botany & horticulture).
There are high-end grow light systems available ($$$$) designed to promote both vegetative and reproductive growth stages. The TG Grow Light Kit is not one of them. It was designed & engineered to promote the vegetative growth of leafy greens and herbs. It is NOT optimal for the growth of flowering / fruiting plants. In other words... Don't use a screwdriver to hammer a nail (use the right tool for the job).
- Placing the TG near a window is only marginally beneficial. This is because most modern day residential windows filter-out a portion of the light spectrum needed to optimally grow plants.
- It is very difficult to economically justify the growing of flowering / fruiting plants using only artificial grow lights. The grow light systems needed for optimal growth of flowering / fruiting plants are extremely expensive and/or inefficient. It would take years (if at all) to be profitable using such a system. Most commercial indoor growers of flowering / fruiting plants do so in commercial greenhouses that rely on the Sun for primary lighting. Artificial grow lights are used as supplemental light sources only when necessary or intermittently (e.g. several cloudy winter days).
Thanks for the information. Since we have this garden (and 2 more) in a school setting, the financial piece does become an issue. I am going to plant a few flowering plants this time around (first time) and just see how it goes. Not bad to expose my students to success and failure and to discuss what issues we may run into. Going to use this as a learning opportunity and then see if we can attain some extra cash to maybe try and get some fruit!
I am growing exclusively indoors (Chicago Area) and I'm growing Tomatoes and two different varieties of Peppers in the same Tower as lettuce and other leafy greens.
I'm using standard T5 HO Grow Bulbs of 6400K and 3200K mixed. All my plants are flowering now. I did add some additional red/blue LED panels and they have been AMAZING. One of my friends has been eating peppers from her tower all winter and she's just using the T5 lights. You can't get those on the site anymore. You can still order them through your rep or drop me a line. I'll help you get them if you need them.
Thanks for the input! I might look into the lighting in the future. We have the tower garden in our school, so the financial part does become an issue. I am going to plant a few of the flowering plants and just see how it goes. Not a bad project to look at with my students and to discuss what works and what doesn't!