Types of Grow Lights for Your Indoor Garden
Lighting is the most important ingredient to successful indoor gardening. We all know that a little indirect lighting through a window for a few hours each day will not help you. You need much more and basically you want to duplicate what plants get in nature. It can be easily done and there are a variety of choices in grow lights. Understanding each type of grow light is important (Unique Grow Light Systems).
For seedlings, very young plants along with some herbs and lettuces that don’t require much light, fluorescent lights would work pretty well. Note: Fluorescent lights cannot give enough light for any plants that produce fruit including tomatoes, peppers and the like. Fluorescent lights work great when they are moved on a light mover and that’s a way to get more light and better quality of light to all of the plants and a way to run closer to the plants for a more efficient use of your fluorescent grow light.
High pressure sodium, called HPS, and metal halide, called MH, are popular grow lights. They run very hot and because of that, they work best when they are moved on a light mover. This eliminates any hot spots and also gets rid of any under shadows, or areas of the plants that get little to no light with a stationary overhead light. By getting these lights to move, more of the plant is receiving good light so growth and yield increase significantly.
LED grow lights are interesting grow lights in that they are not hot and they use less electricity. Good LEDs do a terrific job. You’ll typically recognize them as having a pink glow, although there are plenty that shine white, as well. LEDs have a focused beam of light with little spread and because of that, moving them on a light mover is key to their success.
Double-ended lights are very effective because they are manufactured to have no built in shadow in the bulb itself, so more of the light can get to the plants. They also provide a more stable, even output of light. Again, moving these lights is important to get the best results possible.
Light emitting ceramic lights, called LEC, are newer technology and the results are impressive. The lamp is much more efficient so a lower wattage will be equivalent to a higher wattage. This is because the lamp burns hotter to give a much more sun-like light. It’s the closest thing to mimicking actual sunlight. Again, you want the most efficient use of your plant lighting, so moving them on a light mover is the way to go.
No matter the grow light you use, you want to maximize that light to get the best realized wattage to more of the plant. Moving your grow light in your indoor garden is the best way to get that accomplished.
Off Season Lighting for the Greenhouse
Greenhouses have changed. Traditionally they were used for getting plants started earlier than nature would otherwise allow. It was a transition area for the most part. Now we can make a greenhouse a four season facility and here is how you do that (The Greenhouse and Supplemental Lighting).
The two basic ingredients for making a greenhouse a four season facility are in keeping the interior temperature warm enough along with providing good quality lighting.
As to lighting, for approximately 7-8 months a year, the winter sun is simply too low on the horizon to provide adequate sunlight, so supplemental greenhouse lighting is very important. There are many types of grow lights (Unique Grow Light Systems) that will be perfect for your greenhouse setting and for whichever lamps you use, it’s key that you move them with a light mover. That will get better quality light to more of the plants for much better results (Side by Side Results). Note: LightRail light movers have a unique hanging device called Rail Hangers specifically made for hanging from the support structures in a greenhouse or grow tent.
When it comes to heating a greenhouse, the most efficient way to do this is through the floor. Heat rises so this keeps root areas warm first, which is important. Circulating warm water through tubing in the floor is the way to go and this can be done inside of concrete or through gravel (Strategies for a Warm Winter Greenhouse – Eric Brandstad).
Indoor gardens do great in greenhouses year round. The key to making this work is in providing quality lighting and proper heating.
(Photo courtesy of BUDS Pasco, HydroCage facility with LightRail)
Indoor Gardening vs Outdoor Gardening
Of course both indoor gardening and outdoor gardening have their positives. Outdoor gardening is the default and the way we have been doing it from the beginning of time. The problem is that it only works really well for small areas of the planet and even then, it’s not effective year round. It’s sad to have to say goodbye to a garden in October, just when it’s at its most bountiful state.
Here’s the good news: We no longer have to be at the mercy of our geography, our water supply, our soil quality, the fickleness of our weather or our seasons’ limitations. Modern technology has provided something remarkable in gardening and this technology is a way for us to take control (Indoor Gardening – See How). We can now garden completely indoors, 360 days a year no matter our location. In addition, we can do this with 1/10th the water and 1/10th the space of traditional gardening. Indoor gardening is an exciting frontier. Just think of the possibilities as your garden produces all year long.
Equipment for Off the Grid Indoor Gardening
Indoor gardening is super exciting, mostly for what it offers in year round food production along with the quality of yield. Tightly rotated crops with 1/10th the water and in 1/10th the space gets our attention. But can this be done off the grid? Absolutely, and the trick to achieving this is with solar panels and a solar bank (Off the Grid Indoor Growing Equipment).
There are a few considerations to take into account such as the number of sun hours you might have each day, and that will likely change depending on the angle of the sun throughout the year. You’ll want to choose a good location for your solar panels that gets the best sun no matter the time of year, so look for likely obstructions such as trees, mountains and buildings.
For your solar powered indoor garden, you’ll want to maximize your grow light system so that you get the most/best wattage possible. The best way to do that is to get your grow lights as close to the plants as possible and there is only one way to do that effectively without damaging the tops of the plants (Hot Spots). You’ll want to move your grow lights with light movers (LightRail Light Movers) and that allows the lights to get super close, but because they are now moving over the tops of the plants, there is no burn or undue stress. In addition, you can get better light to more of the plant surfaces as the light comes in at angles, so more of the leaves are involved in working for the plant. It’s a way to get a better use for the wattage at hand.
To set up any off grid garden, you will want to compute the possibilities for your location. Then, research “off-grid kits” or look up off-grid solar companies. There are plenty of resources available for planning your equipment for off the grid indoor gardening.