Tomato fruiting - with led shoplights

A few months ago there was a discussion here as to whether we could use the BOX STORE - LED SHOP-LIGHTS to get veggies past starter plants.

My experiment was to determine if we can do this through a New York City winter .
I used 4 48 inch Home Depot LED shoplights that I had (4200 Lumen/4000Kelvin $29.99 each).
I re-purposed an old plastic shelf unit.

  1. The seeds were panted on December 15.
  2. The varieties are : Early Girls and Gardner’s Delight Cherry Tomato.
  3. The lights are on 18 hours a day.

These photos were taken February 18. A few days ago I noticed flower buds forming but waited to see if they would open up. yesterday they did. There ARE FLOWERS.

When the seeds sprouted I suspended one light fixture verrrrry close to the seedlings and as they grew I raised the light as needed . Once they got about 2 feet tall, I attached one shoplight to each side on the contraption to get 360 degree light coverage because the leaf canopy started to shade the lower part of the plants.

TAKE AWAY (so far)… More optimistic about fruiting than I was before. We will see.
For next winter I will put together something purpose built that is better sized and insulated .



Good information. Those plants look very healthy.

You probably know this already- but make sure to hand-pollinate if you want to get fruit.

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I bought similar lights last year and had fantastic results.

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I know.
I played bumblebee this a.m.


Yep my baby plants that ive started under costco leds tried to put out blossoms last two springs. I always pinched but point is, it works!

I have done the same thing with peppers (both hot and bell), tomatoes, and eggplant. I have saved seeds the last couple of years from my plants, and I always test some over the winter to determine germination rate, etc. The plants normally get too big to continue to keep indoors around the end of January and they go onto the compost pile.
I am working on the third generation of peppers ion a year. Last year, I saved some seeds from an the first California Wonder pepper, and planted them (in july). Those seeds grew into a full size plant, by the end of Sept, but was too cold to fruit. I brought it inside before it went completely dormant, and it began to fruit in mid October. I saved the seeds from THAT plant, and germinated them. the 3rd gen is now about twelve inches tall and wants to go back outside to play.


I plan on putting together a grow cabinet 8’long x 4’wide x 6’high and I plan on tomatos, peppers &cukes indoors from Sept through April.

Idle winter mind with grandiose plans.


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Why not just keep the parent plant going? Why rush through all the generations like that? A two or three year old pepper plant can crank out an amazing number of peppers with the huge head start it always has.

I was able to download, flip, save, and upload:

Nice idea and execution. How warm is it there? I’m tempted to do something like that, except I don’t like vegetables. And yes, I know tomatoes are technically fruits… :slight_smile: I suppose I could grow figs or strawberries in the basement. Of course, if you are successful in getting fruit you may need to worry about attracting mice into the house.

I agree with PatapscoMike- make it a year round project! But it needs to stay inside or some blight will eventually get the tomatoes.

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Mainly has to do with space…These things are in my home office.

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Nice Mike. What an upper in mid winter.

I believe tomatoes are self pollinating. Also I have heard that sets improve if one uses a something like a vibrating toothbrush to the base of the plant to vibrate the whole plant - i.e. shakes the pollen within the flower to improve fertilization.

Do you happen to know how much wattage is drawn with this light?


It is 42 Watts

I just realized that the picture I uploaded originally was taken in the middle of my adding the additional lights.

Below is a photo of the end result.


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