- How often will you use this light?
- How many different ways can this light serve you?
- What is the right size for your purposes and where will you store it when it’s not in use?
In my case, the answers to the above questions are as follows. I have a 22 inch Sunblaster T-5 fluorescent light with a Universal T-5 light stand. I use the light for microgreens when I want to grow many trays and I have run out of space near a window. I also grow some herbs in the winter under this light, and starting in March, I use it to grow seedlings. Plus, having the grow light with some plants near my work desk is a nice boost during dark winter days. So here are 4 uses for an approx. $90 investment. I can take the frame apart and store it in a box with other seasonal gardening materials.
The T-5 fluorescent tubes are energy efficient and work best with a reflector. Extra light can be bounced back to the plants when set up near a white wall or by placing mirrors strategically.
There are a few options for stands and also light length, typically either 2 feet or 4 feet long. The Universal T-5 light stand works well and the Jumpstart T-5 Grow Light is similar in price but has a fixed frame with a nice pulley system for raising the light bulb. Many garden centres in Edmonton have the bulb/fixture/reflector, but you have to check around a bit for a stand. I have personally seen the Jumpstart system at Apache Seeds and the Universal stand at the Root Seller, but you can call other places to check.