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Hydroponics Lighting & Safety

Put some electronic sun into your hydroponics flowers. Put some electronic sun into your hydroponics flowers.

When you consider what your indoor hydroponics urban garden plants must have in order to give you maximum yield, one of the first things that comes to mind is hydroponics grow lights.

You can do everything else right, but if your plants aren’t getting adequate amounts of the right type of light for the right number of hours per day, you’re not getting maximum yield from your hydroponics urban garden.

Not only that, but if you aren't paying attention to safety issues related to hydroponics lighting, you could face a seriously harsh situation. Let's find out more...

One of the first things for you to consider is that you have three different lighting needs over the course of a start-to-finish grow season.

The first need is for adequate but not too hot and not too intense lighting for seedlings or early clones. You don’t put your seedlings or early clones under the high intensity lighting you use later on when your plants have well-developed root systems.

It takes 1-2 weeks for properly-fed, vigorous seedlings or clones to be ready for high intensity lighting. In the interim, you use T-5 fluorescents or a low-watt LED panel to give your young plants enough light without baking them.

After your young plants have adequate root mass and stem-leaf development, you can move them to higher-intensity lighting such as Metal Halide (MH), High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or a combination of the two. Some growers augment MH and HPS with T-5 or LED side lights to eradicate shadows and create bushier urban garden plants that give you maximum yield.

For the entire vegetative phase, give your plants 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness per 24 hour period. Some growers believe that 24 hours of continuous light results in faster growth so your plants are earlier ready to go into bloom cycle. I see no evidence that this is a helpful strategy, but it does cost you a lot on your electricity bill.

When you transition your plants into bloom lighting you’re very careful to give them 12 hours if uninterrupted darkness and 12 hours of light. Darkness interruptions delay flowering and in some cases cause flowering plants to mutate or revert to veg phase.

If you feel you need to visit your plants during their bloom dark phase, use a green-tinted light at very low intensity for short periods of time. The green wavelength in limited intensity for a few minutes will not disrupt your plants’ bloom cycle darkness.

Hydroponics urban garden lighting involves electricity, and electricity comes with safety risks. One of the biggest causes of hydroponics disasters are fires that start due to bad wiring, heavy electrical load and other issues related to hydroponics lighting.

Here’s what you can do to minimize lighting safety risks in your hydroponics grow room:

* Invest in digital ballasts and matched power cords for the ballasts and your bulbs.

* Check the wiring and physical integrity of all wall outlets and your circuit boxes.

* Invest in lighting controllers such as Powerbox that interface between raw electricity sources and your valuable hydroponics urban garden equipment. Powerbox equipment comes with multiple safety features to prevent fires, electrocution and other risks. The company has assertively pushed its engineers and manufacturing staff to give you easy to use electrical interfaces that increase the efficiency, safety and reliability of your hydroponics lighting gear. Powerbox is a California-based hydroponics specialty company, and that in itself lets you know that they are serious about your hydroponics gardening success and safety!

* Isolate power cords, power interfaces, ballasts and other electricals so they have absolutely no chance to contact water.

*  Keep pets, children, intoxicated dumbasses and other civilians out of your urban garden.

* Arrange your power cords, interfaces and other lighting equipment for maximum ease of transit and organization. If it looks like spaghetti, it’s not what you need in your hydroponics garden.

Digital ballasts are superior to old school ballasts, but not all digitals are equal

With advances in digital ballasts, LED panels and other hydroponics urban garden lighting technology, and your careful attention to safety and detail, you can look forward to maximum yield and no risk of lighting-related plant problems or safety issues.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 08:27

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