Friday, February 8, 2008

Plant Growth and Indoor Lighting

Indoor gardening makes a great hobby, especially during the gloomy and cold winter months, where in many areas of the country outdoor gardening of flowers and vegetables is out of the question. Hydroponics gardening is a popular method used by indoor gardening enthusiasts. Hydroponics is a form of soilless gardening; it instead uses a growing medium (or not, depending on the style of hydroponics you choose) in which the plant roots sit, and they are fed through the application of a nutrient solution. There are a few basic supplies you will need to get started with hydroponics gardening, including a lighthing system including grow lights, a ballast and reflector. You might need growing medium, and you will definitely need nutrient. The amount and kind of nutrient and growing medium you need will depend on the specific plants you wish to grow. You can start plants yourself from seed, or you can purchase plants from nurseries and greenhouses. Grow lights are vital to your success because without proper lighting your plants will not grow and thrive. Indoor lighthing of your plants affects plant growth in several different ways.

The visible spectrum is the part of the light spectrum that we can see. This spectrum is represented in wavelengths and is measured in the Kelvin scale. The spectrum ranges from purple and blue on one end, greens in the center, and orange and red on the other end. Daylight ranges from 5000 to 6500 K. What all this means to the indoor gardener is this: you are trying to replicate outdoor sunlight in an indoor setting. Plants grown indoors need 12-16 hours per day under appropriate lights in order to grow well. The kind of plants you are trying to grow will also play a part in the type of grow light you choose to use.Grow light that emit light in the blue spectrum are best for use in plants in which you want to promote vegetative growth, such as seedling plants or lettuces, for example. If you are growing flowering plants, or fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, you will instead want to use lighting that offers red/orange spectrum light. Light in this range is best for promoting flowering and fruiting in plants. Once you know what type of plants you wish to grow, then you can obtain the appropriate lighting for them to flourish.

There are many great HID Lights, or high-intensity discharge lights, that work well in an indoor gardening application. They include HPS grow lights, or high pressure sodium lights, and metal halide grow lights. Because of the lower cost yet great light output, many indoor gardeners also like LED grow lights with light-emitting diodes as well.

Source : Isnare
Author :Susan Slobac
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