What are Lumens and Lux

One of the most commonly used terms when referring to the power of a given grow light is the word lumens.  For years, it has been the standard measurement of the growing capability of metal halide and high pressure sodium grow lights.  The problem is that this term has been used incorrectly for over 30 years.  In this article, we will explore the real meaning and correct use of lumens and further describe what you should be looking for when it comes to choosing LED grow lights that pack the most growing-power for your dollar.

What are Lumens and Lux

Lumens and lux are both measurements popular with grow light manufacturers – both HID and LED – to give potential customer a reference point for the relative brightness of various lights. In some jurisdictions, a lamp’s lumen output rating must be on the label as required by law. What we are told (and have been for years) is that the higher the lumen rating of a given light, the better, faster, bigger, etc. your plants will grow.

But there is one MAJOR problem with using Lumens as a reference point for growing plants.

By definition, a lumen is a measurement of how bright (the power) a light is perceived by the human eye. The term lux is very similar to lumen in that it measures the intensity of light, however, it also takes into account the total area covered by a given number of lumens. For now, don’t get bogged down by the technical side, just know that lux and lumen both measure the intensity of light to the human eye.

So what’s the big deal? A bright light is good, right? The sun does a pretty good job at growing things and it’s really bright. Don’t we want to mimic the sun?

Well, yes and no . . .

Lumen & Lux Are Irrelevant To Plant Growth

Unless the plants under your grow lights have eyes, lumens & lux make zero difference in how well your plants grow. Plants respond most efficiently to light that is beyond what humans can perceive so it does not necessarily matter how bright your light is. As a matter of fact, 80% or more of the light emitted by either the sun or from HID lights, goes unused by plants for photosynthesis.  It is that portion of light that we humans see with our eyes and can register as being bright.

Get expert tips on growing premium indoor medical marijuana

Growing weed indoors has many advantages, it is a fact that growing medical marijuana outdoors makes it very easy to lose your crop from theft or possibly the law if it is illegal to grow where you live. By growing medical marijuana indoors you can control the ambient conditions just exactly as you want them and grow a nice healthy cannabis plant.

Feminized medical marijuana seeds are an excellent choice when considering growing pot indoors.

Plants grown indoors will not appear the same as their outdoor cousins. They will be scrawnier, appearing with weak stems and may even require you to tie them to a growing post to remain upright, but they will supply more resin if looked after correctly.

Get expert tips on growing premium indoor medical marijuana.

About Hydroponics
Hydroponics is the name given for a variety of techniques for growing weed without soil. It was realised by researchers studying plant metabolism that plants took in their nutrients as simple inorganic ions, and that soil, while a source for such nutrients, was not essential. While a plant’s nutrients come from the soil, the only nutrients a plant can successfully absorb are those that dissolve into the plant’s water supply. When the required nutrients are introduced into a plant’s water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
In this method, the plants grow through light-proof plastic films placed over shallow, gently sloping channels. A steady flow of nutrients is maintained along the channel, and the roots grow into dense mats, with a thin film of nutrient passing over them (hence the name of the technique). A downside of the technique is that it has very little buffering against interruptions in the flow eg power outages, but overall, it is probably one of the more productive techniques.

Basic Kit to Grow Indoors


Simple Pot and NFT Set Ups

You don`t need a lot of kit to start growing great flowering plants in a cupboard, wardrobe, attic or grow space. Apart from the plants the lamp is the most important thing.

Plant growers are interested in LEDs because they are more energy efficient, emit less heat (can damage plants close to hot lamps), and can provide the optimum light frequency for plant growth and bloom periods compared to currently used grow lights: HPS (high pressure sodium), MH (metal halide) or CFL/low-energy. However, LEDs have not replaced these grow lights due to higher price. As mass production and LED kits develop, the LED products will become cheaper.

As we know, the HPS, Incandescent Lamp and Fluorescent Lamp emit all the spectrum of visible light & some sightless light, but LED Grow Lights only deliver the colours of light used by plants for efficient and healthy growth!

LED Grow Lights are the newest and most efficient way to grow plants indoors! This revolutionary form of light is different from other traditional lights, such as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Metal Halide (MH). LED Grow Lights bulbs are comprised of multiple low-watt light sources, working together on a single board. HID lighting is extremely inefficient; it generates a lot of heat while only producing 30% photosynthetic light. Unlike HIDs, 1W LED emit very little heat because all the power is efficiently converted into targeted light wavelengths for plants. For this reason, additional fans, ducting and AC are rarely if ever necessary. Additionally, LEDs will last 50,000 before they’ve lost even 30% of their initial output, not to mention they’re still 100% functional! So there is no need for yearly or bi-yearly bulb changes, as 50,000 hours is 6 solid years, and after that you can still continue using the light! Lastly, LED grow lighting use 65-70% less energy than traditional HID lighting, while producing the same or better results. With no additional cooling costs, bulb costs, and decreased electrical costs every month, imagine what you can do with the extra money!

 

Basic Kit to Grow in Pots

1. High Pressure Sodium Lamp (600 watt is the most efficient but a 400 watt may suit a smaller space).
2. Fan running 24 hours a day if possible and oscillating.
3. Pots, trays and chosen growing medium. 50% potting compost 50% Perlite is a basic mix. Raise the pots in the trays with bricks or bits of wood so they don`t sit in a puddle when watered.
4. 24 hour timer to control light periods. This should be used with a high power switch known as a contactor or relay switch as grow lamps can easily burn out regular timers used on their own.
5. A pH tester to test water and nutrient feed solutions.
6. pH adjuster such as phosphoric acid to adjust water and feed solution to around pH 6.0 – 7.0.
7. Nutrients, ones aimed at growing the plant you want to cultivate are best.
8. Matt white paint or white plastic to cover the walls of the grow space.

Also useful are a measuring bucket, measuring jug, large syringe and pea netting or string to support top heavy plants. If you can afford it a great help is a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter. These allow you to check the nutrient levels of feeding solutions to make sure they are optimised for your plants.

Growing hydroponically in a Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Tank is really simple and not something to be afraid of. In fact some beginners to growing may find it easier than using soil mixtures in pots. You do not have to judge if the plants need watering or feeding so much using NFT, as long as you follow the simple instructions supplied with the tanks the plants should look after themselves.

Basic Kit to Grow in NFT Tanks

1. High Pressure Sodium Lamp (600 watt is the most efficient but a 400 watt may suit a smaller space).
2. Fan running 24 hours a day if possible and oscillating.
3. NFT tank with pump and spreader mat (these come with the tank), Rockwool cubes.
4. 24 hour timer to control light periods. This should be used with a high power switch known as a contactor or relay switch as grow lamps can easily burn out regular timers used on their own.
5. A pH tester to test water and nutrient feed solutions.
6. pH adjuster such as phosphoric acid to adjust water and feed solution to around pH 5.2 – 6.0.
7. Nutrients, ones aimed at growing the plant you want to cultivate are best.
8. Matt white paint or white plastic to cover the walls of the grow space.

Also useful is a measuring bucket, measuring jug, large syringe and pea netting or string to support top heavy plants. If you can afford it a great help is a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter. These allow you to check the nutrient levels of feeding solutions to make sure they are optimised for your plants.

Also…

Wherever you decide to set up your grow space remember that the plants night time or dark period is very important. Check that when the light goes off the grow space is in total darkness. Proper ventilation for the grow space should also be considered as the area can become very humid. Opening up the space daily may be enough but larger areas may need extactor fans to avoid problems.

What is Medicine Marijuana Hydroponics and How to Grow Weed with Hydroponics?

Growing medicine marijuana hydroponically means that you grow the plants in an inert, sterile growing medium instead of in soil. All of the plants’ nutrient requirements are supplied with the water mixed with nutrients. Plants are 80% to 95% water; the remaining parts are carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Plants extract these elements from the air and from water so nutrients are actually a very small amount of the total weight of a plant. It is the plant’s entire atmosphere that needs to be controlled to produce perfect crops.

Medicine marijuana plants, and in fact all plants, do not need to be in a living soil, they require nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S). Those are the macroelements (the big ones) and the small elements known as microelements are iron (Fe), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), boron (B), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and molybdenum (Mo).

On a side note molybdenum is a fantastic metal and creates some of the most impressively stain resistant and sharpest Japanese knives on earth.

Hydroponics introduces the water, nutrients and air to the roots through the mediums and as you bypass the web of roots and the energy required for the plant to acquire the nutrients you get faster growing plants.

Advantages of using hydroponics over soil to grow medicine marijuana are:

  • Cleaner;
  • Less space required;
  • Faster growing time, usually a crop is finished in 12 weeks;
  • More automation means less labour;
  • Avoidance of soil borne pests;
  • More control over the growing environment such as vegetative and flowering times;
  • Higher yields.

Disadvantages using hydroponics to grow medicine marijuana can be:

  • A higher initial set-up cost;
  • More skill and knowledge required with management usually on a daily basis unless you have a very professional set up – but we are here to help;
  • Easier for things to go wrong due to the technical side.

Hydroponic medicine marijuana set up

All growing described on this page is done using the Ebb and Flow system. The Ebb and Flow system is one of, if not the most popular hydroponic methods for growing weed. It is simple and easy to use.

It works like this: A reservoir containing nutrient solution is located below a growing tray. The tray contains the plants that are in containers with growing medium like Rockwool.

The growing bed is filled with nutrient solution by a small pump on a timer to feed and water the plants. The timer then shuts the pump off and the nutrient solution drains freely back into the reservoir.

Ebb and Flow systems’ are favored because of their low maintenance, high productivity, and ease of use. Ideal not only for the beginner, but for the advanced gardener as well.

If you would rather buy a unit rather than grab all the gear from the hardware store (they will know what you are making), it may cost a little more but all parts will be included and you will save time by getting everything at once. I got a 10 plant unit for $250 USD. You can probably find something just as good or better for less money on eBay.

Medicine marijuana lighting
Metal Halide (MH) or High Pressure Sodium (HPS) are the medicine marijuana lights to get for growing hydroponic medicine marijuana. Metal halide light is close to regular room light or cool fluorescent light (blue spectrum) and is best for vegetative (beginning) growth. While high pressure sodium is in the red end of the spectrum and is best for flowering (later) growth.

Expect to pay about $250 for a 250W HPS/MH digital ballast, bulb and reflector combo. Then there is the rest of the hydroponic medicine marijuana setup and everything else you will need to raise your crop hydroponically. You can spend more or less than that, but another $200 to $500 would cover it nicely. Once you get things set up you can continue to raise new crops with your set up and only have to spend money on nutrients, bulbs, and other maintenance.

After a few crops (you will make mistakes at the beginning), your product will be better (if the seeds you used were good) than anything that you would normally buy, at a fraction of the cost.

If you do things properly, you will get about one to two ounces of premium tops per medicine marijuana plant every three to four months. You won’t have to deal with people that you might not trust, and your stash will be clean and healthy as can be.

LED grow lights (light emitting diode) are the new breed and have scientists working around the clock to make them brighter and cheaper using the optimum spectrums. LED grow lights are already the coolest method of growing and they also last approximately six times longer than any HID grow light.

Medicine marijuana growing seeds or clones
If you know someone who grows, ask them for a few clones. If you don’t have access to clones you will have to get seeds. If you don’t already have some, you can ask you friends to save you seeds out of any good weed they may come across.

The better the weed that the seeds come from is, the better your crop will be. If the weed the seeds came from was no good, your crop will probably not be any better.

If you need seeds we totally recommend reading this cannabis seeds page.

Germinate the medicine marijuana seeds
Set up your hydroponic garden before you germinate the seeds. Make sure everything works fine. If you are using clones, skip this section.

The standard thing to do is use a Rockwool cube to start the seed on and surround it with whatever media you use. Keep the Rockwool cube so that the bottom 70% or so is submerged when the water is at max, but keep the top part above the water so that the seed is never submerged.

Another way to germinate seeds and more information, just follow the directions located here to germinate your cannabis seeds. After the seeds have germinated and the root is about a quarter of an inch long, place the seed, root down, on your grow cube or media that is in your hydroponic cups.

There are various types of media available to grow in. Rockwool is one, but there are many others. Media simply means the substance that the roots grow in. Since you aren’t using soil in a hydroponic garden, you need a substitute.

Vegetative medicine marijuana growth
The first phase of medicine marijuana growth is called the vegetative phase. If you plan on using the MH or HPS right away, start with the light about 20 inches or more above the top of the plant and lower the light an inch or so daily until you think the height is right. Too close and the plants will dry and turn brown. Too far and the plants grow too tall as they stretch to get closer to their light source. That is a waste of space. Start high and lower the light an inch or two daily until you think the height is right.

During the first stage of growth, the vegetative stage, keep the light on 16 to 24 hours a day minimum. The longer it is on, the faster the plants will grow, but the higher your electricity bill will be. More on medicine marijuana vegetative growth.

Medicine marijuana flowering
Flowering is the phase of medicine marijuana growth that produces the most THC (the active ingredient that produces the high). Once flowering begins, the height of the plants will taper off as the plant energy is used in the flowering process itself.

You can start flowering when the plants are a minimum of about 6 inches high and have at least 4 sets of leaves. This will take 2 weeks to a month of vegetative growth in most hydroponic gardens. When you want to start flowering, cut the light back to 12-13 hours a day.

The height of the plant will continue to increase for about two to four weeks after flowering has been started, after that all the plants energy will be used for flower production.

Limiting the height of a medicine marijuana plant has always been a difficult task for me, so I just raise the height of the light as the plant grows. There are methods of limiting the height of a plant, but none of them have worked for me, so I’m not going to recommend one, the medicine marijuana growers guide has the most comprehensive descriptions I have seen on limiting the height of weed.

The flowering cycle lasts about two months, sometimes a little longer, depending on the type of seed. So the total length of time to raise a crop should be 3 to 4 months in a hydroponic garden.

During flowering the dark period must be perfectly dark. No room light, sun light, or any other light should reach the plant in the 12 hours of darkness that the plant must get everyday. The strongest light that should reach the plant during flowering would equal that of moonlight.

Stronger light than this will delay flowering, and if it continues there is a chance that the plant will not flower, but stay in the vegetative phase.

This is more important in the first 6 weeks of flowering. When the plants have started to flower for over a month, small amounts of light for short periods of time are not as harmful.

You will know the plants are flowering when you see what look like little white hairs developing at bud sites. They should be visible after about two weeks of the flowering light cycle. These will eventually be the red hairs that you see on good bud that you have probably smoked in the past or are smoking now.

Nutrients
Plant foods are measured in an N-P-K format.

N is Nitrogen
P is Phosphorus
K is Potassium

A 15-15-15 solution contains 15% Nitrogen, 15% Phosphorus, 15% Potassium. A 20-10-5 solution contains 20% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorus, 5% Potassium. The percentage of the solution not used by N-P-K is trace elements and inert material.

If you are buying hydroponic nutrient, get the powder kind that mixes with water. It is much cheaper over the long run when you compare it with already mixed solutions.

An all purpose hydroponic nutrient solution with secondary elements like calcium, sulphur and magnesium and trace elements boron, copper, molybdenum, zinc, iron, and manganese will get you through all stages of growth. But depending on the stage of growth, you can adjust different nutrient levels needed at different times to optimize growth. But depending on the stage of growth, you can adjust different nutrient levels needed at different times to optimize growth.

Higher amounts of N are needed when the temperature will be below 80 degrees in the grow room during vegetative growth. 20-20-20, or 23-19-17, or 12-6-6, or something similar, with trace elements should do it.

If temperatures are higher than 80 degrees in the grow room, you need not worry about more N in the formula during vegetative growth.

During flowering the plant needs lots of P, regardless of temperature. 15-30-15, or 5-20-10, or 2-4-3, or something similar, with trace elements should do it.

Do not over fertilize your plants. Too much fertilizer will kill your plants. If you under fertilize, plants will take longer to grow but will not die. Follow the mixing instructions on your hydroponic solution package, if you aren’t sure, use less rather than more.

As water evaporates an is absorbed by the plants, your water reservoir level will drop. Add tap water that has been aged 3 days or longer to the reservoir. I don’t add nutrient solution when I top up the tank, some people do.

Change the nutrient solution every 2 weeks. That is, discard the old solution and clean out the reservoir, pumps, and other equipment that is used with HOT WATER. After cleaning, add tap water that has been aged 3 days or longer to the reservoir then add nutrient solution. You only need to clean the cups and tubing the plants are in before you start a new crop.

The old solution that you are discarding can be used to water house or garden plants. This will at least double the growth rate if you usually water your plants with regular tap water.

Medicine marijuana nutrient cycle
The timer that starts to pump the nutrient solution should turn on and the solution should submerge the plants roots every twenty minutes. As soon as the roots are submerged, the pump can shut down.

If it takes longer than 20 minutes for the roots to get water, the roots will usually grow long, and they can grow very long looking for the nutrient solution source.

In fact they can grow so long and thick that they prevent the solution from reaching all the way up your grow cups. This will also raise the chance of root material being ripped out and clogging the system. Once the flow is clogged by root or other material inside, you will have to take the garden apart and clean it.

Check the root length every few weeks. If it is hard to remove the cups the plants are in because the roots are anchored to the internal channel, the roots are too long. The root should be short enough to not touch the narrow point where the solution enters the cup holder. If they are too long, trim them down with scissors. Make sure they are not going too far, but don’t cut unnecessarily.

Eliminating smell
Growing (and smoking) medicine marijuana will produce odors. Sometimes they can be strong enough to attract attention. If you would like to eliminate the smell from growing and/or smoking medicine marijuana the best thing to do is build an ozone generator.

Storing medicine marijuana
If your weed is going to be stored for more than a year it should be wrapped in an air tight container and be stored somewhere that is dark and cool. A freezer is best, but a fridge, basement, closet, or something similar will do. Dry it first if you grow your own, or if the stuff you have is very moist. And remember that light, air and heat are the things to avoid.

The Major Strengths of LED Grow Lights

There are many types of artificial lights that have evolved in the process since long, to help expand the green houses. The different types of these lamps include High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lamps, Incandescent Grow Lights, LED Grow Lights and Metal Halide Lamps. While many or all of them have been popular at one point of time and are still used today to some extent, LED Grow Lighting are the highly preferred lamps since the day they were introduced.

The reason for its high demand and wide use can be easily and well justified by many of its positive aspects that are also its strong points. Let us see some of the major strengths of these LED Grow Lights now.

1. Cost Effective – The cost of these LED Growing Lights are very cheap, so initial investment is too low. Apart from this there are many such aspects that add to its cost effectiveness, directly and indirectly.

> Easy to install – They do not require any specific structure to mount it upon. They can be easily hung down from any of the existing structures.

> Less Energy Consumption – Many evidences say that the amount of energy used by LED Plant Grow Light is somewhere below 50% than any other such lamps.

> No Coolers Required – They produce only the required amount of light and emanate heat much below the desired level only. Hence, there is no requirement for high cost coolers to be invested upon to cool the atmosphere around the plants. This saves initial investment as well as extra energy consumption for the coolers.

> No Ballasts Required – They do not require any supporting ballasts. This has not only double benefit of saving cost by way of investment as well as energy cost but also is advantageous in another way. And that is the unbeatable fact that the environment is peaceful and noiseless, because as you know ballasts produce immense and irritating sound.

2. Highly Efficient – Its non production of heat makes it more efficient as it can be placed at a close distance to the plants peak point from where it absorbs the light. This ensures that the lights fall directly on these plants and all of it is absorbed without any wastage by way of falling at unwanted places where it will not be absorbed.

3. Lasts Longer – These LED Grow lamps have been proved to go on and on and on for a much longer period than normal ones. They have proved that they last for a minimum of 7-8 years even if they are used on a daily basis. This is simply superb, isn’t it?

4. No Maintenance – These lamps are so manufactured that they require no maintenance. All that we need to do is buy it, hang it out and start using and simply forget about it.

5. Plant Friendly – LED Lights are very plant friendly as they do not produce any adverse effects on them. This helps these plants to grow easily, quickly and healthily.

With so much of advantage it is no wonder that it is the most popular lighting arrangement used by plant growers, world over.

Ultimate Tips To Use LED Grow Lights

LED grow lights, or Light-Emitting Diode lamps, are an increasingly popular choice for indoor plant growing principally because they can deliver more intense light output with less energy and heat production, and they have a much longer useful life than that of high pressure sodium, fluorescent, high-intensity discharge or incandescent lamps. Most grow lamps are used commercially and industrially, but some residential use occurs. LEDs are made in several colors to mimic the ranges of natural sunlight that drive maximum photosynthesis and plant performance. LED grow lights are also popular because they can be used in standard bulb fittings and do not require special ballasts or non-standard electrical fixtures. LEDs come in 2-watt to 15-watt equivalents and in a range of sizes and colors.

Determine the optimal lighting requirements for your particular plant or plants to thrive if they were living outdoors. Figure out the intensity of light and for how many hours a day it is needed. Often this information is on the plant tag or little plastic pick stuck in the soil of your plant. Online garden resources can help you make the determination if your plant is unmarked. This is what you need to mimic indoors with LEDs. If your plants grow outdoors in shade they need less light indoors. If they are vegetables and grow in full sun for 14 hours per day outdoors then that is the bar you must meet in order for the plant to thrive indoors.

Provide a mix of red spectrum and blue spectrum LEDs. Plant photosynthesis is most responsive to these two spectrums. According to research conducted by NASA, mixing at least 80 percent red LEDs and roughly 20 percent blue LEDs is a successful ratio for growing plants indoors. You can easily switch out a few of the blue LEDs for white without harming the plant growth. This will allow you to see what’s happening with your plants much more readily because white LEDs have a spectrum of green, yellow and orange, which is more easily visible to the human eye.

Adjust your LEDs to hang above your plant tops by anywhere from 5 inches to 20 inches, according to the plant’s size and light intensity requirements. Your goal is to have the plant greens showered in light to their edges but not have the light spill or be wasted on surrounding areas where there are no plants. Height adjustment of lighting helps achieve this economy as plants grow, changing in both shape and size.

Determine if your plants require light and dark periods. If so, connect your LED lights to a timer to regulate their on and off cycles to save you time, worry and labor. If your plants prefer long daylight periods and short night periods, program the automatic timer for that length of light cycle.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved · Green Hope Theme by Sivan & schiy · Proudly powered by WordPress