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Can anyone recommend a style of small-sized grow lamp that I can use inside my apartment to give my plants some extra light in the evening that won't cost a lot of money to run.

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I went to the local big box store and bought a few 48 inch flourescent light fixtures (the kind with a cord, not direct-wired) for about US$10 each. They have a pair of hooks and chains that you are supposed to use for hanging from the ceiling. I attach the hooks to the bottom side of a shelf and suspend the fixtures on these.

For each fixture, get one "cool" bulb and one "hot" bulb. This offers the plants more of the spectrum.

The same big box store sells plastic shelving units that work well for setting this up. In a 4'x2' floor space you can have 4 or 5 shelves, about two flats per shelf, which works out to a ton of seedlings. (Or when I prick out and pot up seedlings I fit 10 pots per flat or 20 per shelf.)

Also handy to have is a timer so that you can have the lights come on and off at a specific time. Plug a power strip into the timer, and then your fixtures into the power strip. Then they all go on and off at the same time.

I hooked up my kill-a-watt to see how much juice the fixture draws, pulled out my electric bill, did a little math, and decided it costs maybe a dollar a month per fixture (probably less).

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This year was my first time using grow lights and this was the exact setup I used. It worked out very well. Another thing that was useful was a heating mat since my setup was in the basement and it was fairly cool down there during the winter months. –  Brian Surowiec Jun 9 '11 at 3:32
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I agree with the cool and hot regular florescent bulbs. I bought two old florescent desk lamps. Each lamp held 2 bulbs. I have one on a table in my living room and the other on a bathroom counter. Mine are old Dazor lamps but any 2 unit florescent will do.Bulb section is about 18"long. They work great but must be turned on and off manually.

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