I’m planning on starting about 3 times the amount of plants this spring compared to last and need to get some new lights. Does anyone have recommendations for lights for a large number of plants for under $50
I use several of these: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Ferry-Morse-Grow-Light/1000213341 I've never used anything else though. Seed trays have to be elevated to be within 2-3" of the light so I usually set the trays on books and remove the books as the seedlings grow. They aren't fancy, but they work.
Yes, get those plant up close to the light. They would still reach for a window. When I started plants, I just got "plant" bulbs from the hardware store. They have a magenta/purple hue to them. It looks weird from outside the house!
Pot is legal in a lot of states now, including Michigan. There is a growing facility that was featured on the evening news because you could see the glow of the lights up in the sky.
One thing I wished I'd had was another fixture so that I could spread the plants out a bit as they got bigger. One year, I couldn't get them outside to harden off as early as usual because of a cold spell. Some of the plants were hard to disentangle.
Your location is pretty generic, but I'm guessing that you can get your plants out sooner than I can. Hopefully you won't have that problem.