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Step 11: Lighting

I do not own a lighting system... I wish I did, but they can be quite expensive as these are very specialized systems. Regurgitating....

What kinds of lighting are used for growing plants?
Most applications use HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights. All HID systems require both a ballast and a bulb in addition to the socket and reflector. You can also use a T5 High output fluorescent bulb which blends the light spectrum. You can use regular T12 fuorescent bulbs for smaller seedlings and cuttings.

T5?
There are two types of T5 bulbs -- one for blooming and one for growing. Compared to their HID counterparts, they use less heat and all of the spectrum output is used by the plant. The ballast works for both types of bulbs.

HID?
There are three main types of HID: Metal Halide(MH), Mercury Vapor, and High Pressure Sodium (HPS). For growing, only MH and HPS are used.

What do I need for HID?
If you're growing leaf/bushy plants (lettuce, greens, herbs) - you want MH all the time. For plants with a vegitative and bloom phase (i.e. tomato, flowering annuals, fruits) - you want to start with a MH and then swtich to HPS while the plant flowers and starts producing fruit. If all you're doing is supplementing natural light - use HPS.

What if I can only afford one light system?
Here are a few options
1. Use a MH system for growth and then an HPS conversion bulb for flowering.
2. Use HPS for flowering and a MH for growth
3.Buy a standard system and upgrade to an enhanced color corrected bulb. Most go for an HPS system because of the higher lumen output per watt compared to its MH counterpart.
4. Buy a switchable system where the ballast can support either type of bulb
5. Use a T5 system with cool spectrum lamps and warm spectrum for flowering.

What is this conversion bulb?
You can only match a bulb to its ballast (ie MH does not work on an HPS ballast). However, special conversion bulbs will work with the opposite type of ballast.

Sizing?
HID System Primary Supplement
100watt||||||||||||||||||||||||1'X1'||||||||||||||||||||||||2'x2'
250watt||||||||||||||||||||||||2'X2'||||||||||||||||||||||||3'X3'
400watt||||||||||||||||||||||||3'X3'||||||||||||||||||||||||4'X4'
600watt||||||||||||||||||||||||5'X5'||||||||||||||||||||||||6'X6'
1000watt||||||||||||||||||||||||6'X6'||||||||||||||||||||||||8'X8'

T5
2 lamp 2 foot||||||||||||||||||||||||1'X2'||||||||||||||||||||||||1'X2'
4 lamp 2 foot||||||||||||||||||||||||1'X2'||||||||||||||||||||||||2'X2'
2 lamp 4 foot||||||||||||||||||||||||1'X4'||||||||||||||||||||||||1'X4'
4 lamp 4 foot||||||||||||||||||||||||1'X4'||||||||||||||||||||||||2'X4'
8 lamp 4 foot||||||||||||||||||||||||2'X4'||||||||||||||||||||||||3'X4'

Reflector shape/size is also going to play a role -- and these are approx. measurements ;)

Costs....
from m little supplier catalogue...
100watt HPS or MH: $170
400watt ranges from: $250-$350
400watt switchable: $290-$400
For T5
2 lamp 2': $125
4 lamp 2': $190

Bulb Replacement:
T5: 2' = $16ea 4'=$17ea
HID: $50(100watt MH) -- $35 (400watt MH) -- $30 (400 watt HPS)
<p>Would you like to present a 15-20 minute program to Windsor Park Garden Club in Columbus, GA April 19, 2017 @ 10:00am? Thank you for your time</p>
<p>Can LED lights work as growlights? Ive seen blue and red in zig-zag pattern on ebay</p>
<p>so helpfull</p>
<p>so helpfull</p>
Such a helpful article! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! Saw this in a compilation book titled &quot;How to do Absolutly Everything&quot;.
<p>Hello, <br>I grow everything hydroponically now. I've been growing hydroponically for over 5 years, and I don't bother growing in soil anymore. I can even grow hydroponically cheaper than growing it in the ground. It;s really rewarding to be able to eat and share fresh produce that you grew yourself. I just want to share a free website http://www.HomeHydroSystems.com that's desiccated to providing good creditable hydroponics related information, as well as helping gardeners grow their fruits and veggies successfully. Even on a tight budget. </p>
<p>thank you for a very helpful tutorial on getting started with hydropontics. You covered a lot of ground in this one! I look forward to trying my own soon.</p>
<p>wow, this was very informative. I can't wait to try it. </p><p>Augustine Rhodes</p>
<p>Can I use a solar pump or does the pump still have to cut in and out during the night and thanks for all of the good infomation</p>
Thank you so much, this is awesome!! I need to give this a try
<p>This is a greatly informative article. Currently the UAE I want to grow &amp;<br>I found that I can get my own Hydropronic farm! <br> <a href="http://eachgraincounts.com/en/ProductDetailView.aspx?Id=142" rel="nofollow"> http://eachgraincounts.com/en/ProductDetailView.a...</a> </p>
<p>Amazing! You have covered a large amount of information on this topic. Thank you so much for sharing. I plan on starting a herb garden this spring. This instruct able has made my life easier!!!!</p>
<p>try using aquashield to protect your roots from root problems and to introduce good bacteria.</p>
<p>try using aquashield to protect your roots from root problems and to introduce good bacteria.</p>
<p>Hey dude! Awesome instructable. There's only one problem... I'm trying to cite it in a school paper about colonizing the moon and I need to know the date it was published. Is there any way to find that out? </p><p>P.S. Very, very well done by the way - in all aspects. </p>
<p>Oh nevermind I found it. Sorry to bother you. </p>
<p>I always wanted to try this. Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>I made this type of setup and ran into a lot of issues, for example the tub bowed out with all the water in it, and cutting slats was not a great idea after cutting out the initial holes, getting a properly sized hole saw made a huge difference - I made a modified version using smaller tubs and some other modifications over at <a href="http://hydronerd.com/2014/09/starting-hydroponics/" rel="nofollow">http://hydronerd.com/2014/09/starting-hydroponics/</a></p>
Nice job
Thanks for your post. I'm a starter of hydroponics. It helps me a lot.
good
the articles teach me a lot , thank U , I know better about hydroponics after read the articles
it is nice
Growing hydroponics at home is really interesting. Hollywood stars have become serious hydroponics growers. Comedian/activist/actor Joe Rogan growing big hydroponics garden. Joe said he is in love with this plants - http://www.rosebudmag.com/hydroponic-tips-ideas/joe-rogan-plants-growers-hydroponics
For the sterilization, you could also just build a basic water distiller (unless you are in a rush) and use that.
is &quot;electrons per second&quot; a unit of power, not energy?
I made one of these in my window vertically useing plastic bottles. Turned out pretty good and was around 100 bucks all in all<br>You can check it out at youtube<br>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AVQPIls-PI
I was wondering if you could use lava rock as the medium. Do you think it would throw off the ph balance due to the high mineral content?
hey nice ible<br>abt the nutrient mix<br>i live i india and there is no nutrient mix available<br>so i thought i could mix coconut water http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_water<br> sea water http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seawater<br> regular water and maybe a little glucose????<br>check out the contents of the respective waters in wiki<br>thanks in advance!!!<br>Akinich
You have the section on starting from seed but I just had a question. After germination, I would put it into the rockwool and just manually water it so it doesnt get dry?
hi friend you have shown a best example of hydroponics,the plants seems good<br>friend I have a nice idea i know the store in that store you can get a better seeds in a very cheap price they also tell you about effective production,the store name is coasthydroponics and you can also visit online coasthydroponics.com
&nbsp;Hi, I also have a question...I live in Columbus, GA and we are limited here. I have a fishtank pump, would that work? Would I be able to find the other materials at my local Lowes or Home Depot?<br /> <br /> Thanks.<br />
in short yes... but... a fish tank is great for hydroponic plants and if you have a fish tank bubbler it is great for &nbsp;aerating the water. but make sure to cover the glass. plant root hate light and it will harm them. also make sure it's not too deep. if your tank is too deep you'll just waste a lot of the nutrient solution. &nbsp;
If the tank is too deep, a nice trick would be to deposit a few (completely filled with water, sealed) soda bottles at the bottom. <br><br>It's the same displacement trick some people use to waste less water if their old toilet tank is the 5 gallon/20L type.
air pumps for hydroponic systems are usually exactly the same as those for fish tanks. Like dubbed was saying, a fish tank for a planter isn't the best of ideas but could work, but the pump is good to go.
I personally would not add bleach. If you want chlorine in your water the tap water would be more then enough. I strongly suggest not to use tap or chlorine and if you use the tap let it sit out for a few days. The reason why is chlorine will make your roots grow slowly or kill them and the more root the faster the plant growth. I doubt that sterilization with bleach would do much for long periods of time anyways.
I second this. If you want to sanitize the container, use Idophor or Star-San. I have both of these in my house because I use them for cleaning out my homebrew and keg system.<br><br>Iodophor will stain plastic and leave a faint iodine odor (not very strong) if you dilute it as directed. Star-San is a nice foaming cleaner AND sanitizer (but it will not do both at the same time.. ie, don't think you sanitized anything if your star san solution is full of organic floaties.. dump, rinse and re-apply to sanitize). <br><br>Star-san is nice because it's a mild acid, and becomes inert when dried (but if any were left, it would just break down some of the plant food into simpler organic compounds. Star-san -will- begin to etch and pit metals after 15 minutes, so don't soak stuff in it for any longer. SS is actually not that strong when dillute, and I've used it plenty without wearing gloves, but you need to take some care.
For folks who do not want to keep a syringe around the house, you can get a 60ml &quot;pipette&quot; (or a smaller one and just repeat the measurements). <br><br>A pipette basically is a glass or plastic straw. If you've ever &quot;carried&quot; soda in a straw by covering the straw top after dipping it in beverage, then you know how to use a pipette.
How long can a hydroponics system wait between waterings? IE, say I changed the water, went on vacation for a week, and came back. Would the water be too low?
this might sound stupid but can you use a type of fishtank gravel? i dont have any hydroponic shops near me and only have things avaliable from places like walmart and homedepot. Any ideas if the smaller gravel wont work?
I've heard that most insects do not like Diatomaceous Earth (DE). It is basically inert, Silicon Dioxide. From what I gather, it does not chemically kill them. For an insect, being exposed to DE is like being coated in razorblades - it works its way into their chitin and delivers death by a thousand paper-cuts. As far as its effects on humans - it is in Bisquick (it has no effect on our physiology). Anyhow, I wonder if this might be an effect pest control?
It is true Diatomaceous Earth is a pretty much natural pest (get rid of er) they say you can even feed a small dosage to your pets and it kills the pests that live in them.
Diatomaceous Earth only tends to rid of soft bodied pests, like slugs. They crawl over it and it cuts them up initiating their death. I would never give this to a pet to rid them of worms or any other pest they may have. If it cuts up soft bodied insects it could cause damage to your pet too. If you care about your pet, seek out a Vet!
DE does not harm pets. I have been using it for 9 months in their food...I have friends that have used it for years.<br>I use 1 tablespoon per 10 pounds of feed for my horses, dogs and cats. I live in a heavy tick and flea area of the country and so far this year the only critters I've found on my animals are in the process of dying...much better in my book than a monthly topical super icky chemical application.<br>I've read 1 teaspoon added per gallon of water helps as well...thinking about starting that too and hopefully we will be totally critter free :)
carnivorous plants aren't as easy (as they need pampering sometimes) but work a bit more actively so that's where I lean on pest control...
Any thoughts on making your own solution? I currently live in China (in a soil-deprived apartment), and I think it will be tough to find solution. But, I have seen some mysterious chemistry shops....if nothing else, it would be an interesting language learning opportunity...
Your hydroponics setup looks really good. I agree that using chlorine bleach can help prevent the spread of any intruder in the garden. I personally use it in my garden. Although you really need to be careful because using it inappropriately can also cause deficiency on the plants. It's a good thing that you mentioned about allowing to air dry completely to get rid of the chlorine. Great article!
By watering do you mean with nutrient solution or just water? And do we still have to soak it in the pot of nutrient solution while germinating?
Seeds generally just need the water to crack open, so you can pretty much just water them, but adding nutrient doesn't hurt (actually should speed up growth once it sprouts). If you are really budgeted water works fine, although you don't need to water much, just need to keep the area moist (unless it's a plant that really loves it's water, but I am talking in generalities here). And if I understand your second question correctly, no you don't NEED to soak it in the pot, heck it might even be smart not to at times, but also it's convenient to keep it there so that is up to you. Most people will germinate their seeds outside their system, and then introduce it into the system once they've started to develop. At that point you want to watch them either way as their roots are growing and may not have found the water/nutrients yet, so have a spray bottle mixed up just in case some plants are having a harder time. But again, no need to go overboard, plants have been doing this growing thing for a bit longer than we have.

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