by Jean Smith, Just 2012

Most hobbyists use high intensity lights designed to provide the right color spectrum for their plants. However, recent innovations in LED grow lights have made them a serious contender for use in almost any hydroponic set-up. The new LED lights provide the required level of intensity and spectrum ranges that plants need to stimulate the best growth. Plus they generate less heat and save on electricity.

But also ke ep in mind that grow light reflectors are important. More advanced reflectors will distribute 95% of a bulb’s light down on the growing surface. Standard reflectors only manage between 50% and 70% light distribution.

The growing medium

There are a number of good growing mediums available such as coco coir, sphagnum moss, rock wool and perlite. Of course, there are hydroponic systems that don’t require a growing medium, but these might not be practical for a self-contained grow room. Let your hydroponics dealer or an expert at Emerald Harvest help you select the right growing medium for your situation. And remember, many growing mediums require treatment before use.

This is one area where quality is essential. There are a number of cheap nutrients on the market that may look like good buys. But in reality, most are formulated from cheap ingredients that will produce only marginal harvests at best.

Right Nutrients for your Grow Room

Generally less expensive nutrients are poorly balanced. They will contain too much of one type of nutrient and not enough of another. This imbalance is generally dictated by cost which is why they are low priced.

One word of warning. When using this, or any system, don’t take shortcuts or make substitutions. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. These systems are designed so each ingredient works to enhance the growing power of the other ingredients. Eliminate or change one and you weaken the entire system. Ask your hydroponics dealer about this new nutritional system. It can make your growing easier and the results more satisfying.

Carbon Dioxide is essential for any grow room. If you have normal air circulation, you may not have a problem although an increase in CO2 often results in a significant boost in plant growth. Plants use the CO2 with water, nutrients and light, to synthesize organic compounds. It then converts these organic compounds into elements that can be used for food.

In the perfect grow room, the CO2 level is introduced at 800 parts per million (ppm) and slowly increased throughout the growing cycle to 1500 ppm. There are various types of CO2 generators available. They are generally hung from the ceiling a minimum of 18” and above the top of the reflectors. Wall mounted fans will help distribute the CO2 as well as mix cool and warm air. However, keep in mind that these fans should never blow directly on the plants.

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