2016-2017 Winter Grow: 11-09-16

It’s been a little over a week now since I shared pictures of my little herb grow and things are definitely moving along! I came down with a mean fever when the first plants were starting to sprout, and wasn’t able to check on them, so they grew quite leggy. I couldn’t believe how tall they got in such a short period of time. If I was on my game, I would have had them under the lights as soon as they broke soil, but I’m hoping I can salvage the leggy seedlings when I repot them by burying them in the soil a little deeper than normal.

I threw 3 lights into my wire rack to get things going quickly, but I plan to revamp it. I’ve ordered  this Black & White Poly to wrap around the rack and reflect light back in towards the plants.

Fastest to Germinate in Soil

The fastest seeds to germinate were the Mexico Midget tomatoes in the first row, by a long shot. These suckers wasted no time at all. I’m hoping these lanky bastards stay rigid enough to continue; if not, i’ll just germinate more seeds since they were so easy.


Second place goes to the lettuce in the second row, coincidentally:


In third place were the chives, with basil not far behind:


The Soil Slow Pokes

There are 2 lone sprouts of cilantro that have come up in the soil, but none of the other 5 plugs are showing any:


None of the rosemary seeds have sprouted at this point, and neither have the peppers.

Fastest to Germinate in Coco Coir and Rock Wool

The seeds in coco are all doing quite well and the 2 cilantro rock wool cubes have both germinated already. The only thing I’m missing again is rosemary; the chives are a little slower too.

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That’s all for now! If you have any tips for leggy seedlings, please share.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Could you please blog some pics of your light setup (obviously over the plants)??

    I’m trying to figure out the viability of LEDs for herb growing (basil, rosemary, levender, etc) and you make it so much easier when sharing your own experience.

    Cheers mate!

    • LEDGardener

      November 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Definitely! I actually just received some black and white film that I’m going to wrap the wire rack in to reflect light back in to the plants. I’ll include a bunch of pictures of the lights in that post.

      That’s neat that you’re considering doing the same thing. I suspect that I may have to keep the lights turned down for the herbs as they might be too much. The tomatoes will probably want it all though. We’ll see.

      Cheers 🙂

  2. Nice build, I’m waiting on parts for almost the same build but I’m using citizen clu048 chips. getting rid of all the cfls and going all cobs in my winter garden, I was very impressed with my single cxb3070 that I used last year and decided to go all cob this year.

    • LEDGardener

      November 18, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      Nice! I’ve been hearing more and more about those Citizen COBs. I had a look through the data sheet for the CLU048 and it seems like it would be a good alternative to Cree and Bridgelux if the price was right. What made you decide to go Citizen over Cree after using the CXB3070?

      • I got 80cri 4000k chips from a guy on ebay for 10 bucks a piece with free shipping, darn near got all 4 for the price of one cxb3070, so figured I’d give em a try and the specs are so similar too. Waiting on 4 heat sinks from china to get here, was going to go with old cpu coolers but decided for 30 something bucks I would rather go passive and not hear the wirring of fans and worry about one crapping out and cooking a chip. Heat sinks are 2700sqcm each so I fugured They can dissipate around 36 watts of heat, with the chips having an efficacy of the upper 40’s% driven at 1400ma that should give enough overhead for them to stay cool passively. As for what I will be growing will be, spinach, arugula, kale, and buttercruch, saladbowl and grand rapids leaf lettuces, though about trying to do a california wonder pepper, under the cxb but im thinking it would get so big an take so long that it would not be worth it, probably stick with greens. Inside I grow all kratky method, have had good succsess with it in the past indoors and outside even with peppers and tomatoes, did a 27 gallon lettuce tote last winter that really produced well, but this year I think I’m going to go with the protien containers, they are a little too small and you have to add water to them a few times for the life of the plant but the versatility of being able to move them around the closet makes up for the small size, especially with greens that will be getting trimmed off and regrown. And oh yea, I use masterblend fertilizer and phosphoric acid to drop the ph, and my 170ppm tap water, it’s source is lake erie, and have never had any problems with using my tap water. Sorry for the long post but I always like to share all the info of what I’ve learned over the past few years with every one I can, great site you have here, thanks for putting in the time and effort, nice to see others are doing leds on something other than weed.

        • LEDGardener

          November 19, 2016 at 10:59 am

          Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about other people’s setups.

          It sounds like you’ve really got this dialed in. What calculations did you use to determine your heat sink size? I’ve read a lot of conflicting information regarding how to properly size your sinks for passive and active. I also went passive because I didn’t want to worry about a power supply failing and cooking the COBs, but I’m about to build a little active cooled system this weekend for fun. I’ll post the results.

          I grew a bunch of super hot peppers and cherry tomatoes indoors last winter. I tried a combination of DWC buckets, kratky, and drain-to-waste in Pro Mix. Here’s a couple pictures. The DWC peppers definitely were the best of the bunch – I found the kratky peppers did not do as well and were prone to dark, rotting roots. I may have screwed something up with the kratky plants, but the roots on the DWC guys were bright white. I used GH nutes throughout the whole grow, but again, I’ve heard a lot about the Masterblend stuff. I saw this video of a guy who made an earthbox using Masterblend nutes and grew a MASSIVE ghost pepper plant.

          • I went with 75sqcm per heat watt for my passive figure, That number came from one of the reputable guys on one of the forums, think it was that supura guy, can’t remember what the active was off the top of my head. My cxb3070 is on a heat sink out of a xbox360 with a fan stuck on top. I helped a friend out with her first ever garden this past season, we made up 6 27 gallon sub irrigated totes with masteblend feeding them filled with pro mix bx, she grew mostly tomatoes and ended up producing even better than my ducth bucket system did. I was a little scared of her 250ppm+ tap water giving her issues but she did great, I heard that anything over 200 could give you issues with hydro but I guess it all depends what is in it I guess. As far as my kratky experiences I had a beautiful jalapeño going inside last spring, topped it and everything was a nice bush with tons of fruit, but when I put it outside I couldnt keep up with the water, was using the protein container it is less than a half gallon of water as to not drown the roots when refilling it. With kratky I stuck with the rule of not filling it back up any more than 1/2 to 2/3 of the container, taking care not to drown the finer looking air roots that the plant puts out. If i do kratky again outside I won’t do it with out using a float valve inside a feeder bucket because outside the plants use so much water that you can keep up with it. I did a few kratky experiments outside last summer with promising results, but I ran i to the water issuse on all of them, did kratky cucumbers that lasted a little while and strawberries that were about the same. Cucumbers never last long around here always get downy mildew that no matter what you can’t get rid of, and my strawberries did kind of blaa was probably high water temps but I couldn’t bury the reservoir due to eveything eats strawberries, one time of growing strawberries and I know why they are on the dirty dozen pesticide list. But I guess you don’t learn what works and what doesn’t with out trying and failing on some of it.

          • LEDGardener

            November 19, 2016 at 1:39 pm

            Ah, cool. That sounds like quite a setup your friend had. My tap water is juuuust under 200PPM, but if you’re over 200, you can get specially formulated nutrients from GH (they cover it on this page) that are designed for hard water. Regarding the kratky – I think what you mentioned about the fine-haired roots is probably where I went wrong. I may have overfilled the bucket when I replenished the solution and drowned the air roots.

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