Over the last century advances in lighting have made things that were once impossible a reality. An example of these technical developments are grow lights that virtually make the sun obsolete when it comes to gardening. Vegetables budding in the kitchen and warehouses bursting at the seams with horticulture can be found in just about all corners of the world. Every day more people and businesses try their hand at this method of growing plants creating entire industries that focus solely on indoor farming.
Regardless of how much space you have to spare for your needs, there’s a type of grow light that will guarantee your indoor garden will flourish at its full potential.
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Things to Consider
When deciding what type of grow light is going to be a good fit for your indoor garden you must first take into consideration your goals, how much space you have at your disposal, and a host of other things. With a variety of options, different grow lights have different pros and cons that can help or hinder your plants depending on what you hope to achieve. The type of grow light that works best for a few tiny pots of cooking herbs is not the same you’d use when running a large commercial operation in a warehouse.
In order to optimize your output, it’s smart to examine which are preferred for what and why.
Kitchen gardens are probably the smallest yet most common form of indoor agriculture. They can yield anything from herbs to tomatoes depending on how much room you devote to growing. For this particular project compact fluorescent lights, or CFL’s, will function the best.
CFL’s are the affordable choice when compared to other options yet still provide your plants with the right type and amount of light you need to see the fruits of your labor. Though not the greatest at energy conservation, they are more compact and come in a variety of selections. The main drawback with CFL’s would be that they need to be close to your plants or they won’t work at optimum capacity.
Grow rooms are popular with people who don’t have the choice of growing outdoors but are willing to devote an entire part of their living quarters to horticulture. For this type of garden high-intensity discharge lights, commonly referred to as HID’s, and light emitting diodes, better known as LED’s, are the way to go. Both have pros and cons but it really just depends on which you find suitable for your plants and wallet.
HID’s have a high energy output which allows you to place them further from your garden meaning they can illuminate a larger area. They also produce high volumes of light wavelengths for your plants. However, they’re more expensive than CFL’s, don’t last as long, and are less energy efficient. Another con would be their high heat emission, requiring a ventilation system so they don’t burn your crops.
LED’s can be used in grow rooms, too, but this is the most expensive option. Nevertheless, they need less electricity than the other two and last the longest. LED’s also have a high energy output but give little to no heat, eliminating the need for ventilation. Of the three, LED’s have the longest lifespan so, regardless of price, they usually end up saving you more money over time. But be careful: LED’s are harmful to the human eye and require special protection to prevent any damage to your vision.
Indoor Commercial Operations
Typically kept in warehouses or storage facilities, indoor commercial operations are great for generating large-scale harvests. These are common for agricultural businesses in locations where unpredictable weather conditions can hinder growth and would function best with more human control. For this particular situation, professionals choose LED’s without hesitation.
As stated above, LED’s may cost more but commercial operations benefit financially from their lifespan and energy conservation. They are capable of producing the exact light wavelengths your crops need with a far wider reach. However, the injury they can cause your eyes is not something to be understated. When working with LED’s you must have protective eyewear.
With these options, it should not be hard to find the right grow light for you and your indoor garden. Whether you plan on growing produce on a massive scale or just need some fresh basil to spice up your meals, there’s a perfect light for you. Just consider your goals. Best of luck and happy farming.