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Episode 3. A Beginner’s Guide: Choosing Your Lights

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ABG. EP 3: Choosing your lights
Author avatar By Kyle Kushman
January 30, 2020
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Here You Will Find:

    Hi There, Welcome To Grow Your Own With Kyle Kushman!

    We have a symbiotic relationship with plants. Our leafy friends use the sun’s energy to convert CO2, which is produced by human activities, and water into food. This amazing process is called photosynthesis, and its byproduct is oxygen – the all-important gas that sustains almost all life forms, including ours. Simply put, we nourish them, they nourish us back. Cannabis, in particular, gives us medicine and gets us high.

    This amazing relationship taught us the value of plants and that the sun makes this entire process possible. Fortunately, we can mimic the sun’s action for indoor cultivation using grow lights. Now, let’s find the best one for your home garden. 

    Marijuana Grow Lights:

    Fluorescents

    Fluorescent lamps are great for the early stages of plant life. They also offer these fantastic advantages:

    • They are cheap
    • Come in all shapes and sizes
    • Can be bought everywhere
    • Efficient in terms of operating cost
    • Produces low heat
    • Take up little space

    That said, all fluorescents, even T5s, are rarely used for continuous veg or flowering, unless you’re happy with smaller yields – I’m talking one-hit nugs. You what I mean? So, I root my clones under them and move on as quickly as possible. 

    HID Lights

    High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lights, like metal halides and high-pressure sodium, are used for later stages of growth. We’re taught that blue-heavy halides are for vegging and red-heavy sodiums are for flowering. The switch is said to mimic the color change of the seasons.

    Besides that, they are also utilized in cannabis cultivation for these reasons:

    • They are very powerful and pretty efficient
    • HIDs deliver big yields (but they require attention)
    • Virtually all modern HID lights are interchangeable and convertible. In the old days, a growing unit needs separate ballasts for metal halide and sodium lamps. You also need the ballasts wired for the proper voltage. Nowadays, the ballasts accommodate lamps from 400 to 1000 watts, halide or sodium. Plus, they automatically configure their electronics to 110 or 220 volts. All HIDs come integrated with ballasts and hood already in the box. Be sure to check for the bulb, some include them and some don’t.

    Of course, there are drawbacks as well. Here’s two of the most significant:

    • Intense heat signature. Back in the day, they used to fly helicopters equipped with heat imaging cameras to find and bust growers. Sure enough, many were caught because of the immense heat signature HIDs produce.
    • Higher power consumption and bills. Because of the intense heat, cooling your grow room is a must. This, of course, means bigger energy consumption and higher electricity bills.

    LED’s

    Light-emitting diode (LED). Improvements in LED technology have been exponential. Since I’ve just pulled off my best LED crop yet, I’ll venture to guess that in a few more years, the entire industry will be lit by LEDs.

    The newest generation of lights is based on the principle that all plants, no matter where they are on the planet, perform the same exact biological functions. They do this best when the sun is strong and directly overhead. Ipso facto, the best light for rapid photosynthesis is the light spectrum you see when you walk outside into bright summer sun – daylight! It is predominantly blue and white with just a touch of red, which happens to suit the human eye perfectly.

    LEDs have a light spectrum that works well for both the vegging and flowering. This is a game-changer! There’s no need to move plants from one grow space to another or change light bulbs. It seems LEDs really are the future of the industry.

    Lights are an essential factor in determining the success of your indoor grow, but good equipment isn’t enough. You need to know how to use it and when to switch cycles. Once you understand the capability of each of these light sources, you’ll know exactly which light would suit your grow.

    Also use a timer, keep good records, and be observant. Learn the language of your plants, and you’ll come to know how to prevent your plant from getting sad. More importantly, the things you could do to make your plants pray high to the sky. 

    In the next video, I’ll give you tips in setting and optimizing your grow room. See you soon!