18Jul/12Off

Shed a little light on the matter – Part 2

Light is one of the necessities of life – the process of photosynthesis requires light to provide plants with food in order to survive and thrive.  In nature, the light a plant receives comes directly from the sun, so when assembling your hydroponic system the aim to keep in mind is to replace this light source artificially.

In this illuminating issue of our blog we’ll primarily go into a little more detail on the specific bulb varieties available – and how to make the most of them to get the best results from your indoor garden.  Your new HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps await!

There are two major types of lamp used in hydroponic systems and their proper use can regulate hormonal changes within your crop to trigger fruit and flower production without having to wait for the right time of the year!  Another major advantage of gardening indoors, this allows you to increase your yield further than in a more ‘natural’ setting, as well as giving you the ability to schedule your harvests around you and not the weather.

Grow lights fall under two spectrums – blue and red.  The two distinct variations of bulb correspond to these, with Metal Halide lamps mostly covering the blues and High Pressure Sodium lamps dealing with the red spectrum.  During the vegetative growth stage use predominantly blue light – using MH bulbs – before setting off hormonal changes in your plants by cutting down the length of your lighting periods and switching to the red light of HPS lamps.

It’s surprisingly easy to control your plants’ growth and harvest cycles – as complicated as it may seem, once you’ve started and have your first crop we’re sure you’ll feel like an expert in no time at all.

Because of their high discharge, these lamps tend to lessen their output after a while – this is normal, and old bulbs should be disposed of and replaced.  We would recommend that you replace your bulbs every two to three cycles to keep efficiency at a maximum – alternatively, refresh your MH lamps every 9 months and get hold of some new HPS bulbs every 12 to 14 months.  You can get away with replacing less frequently, but you there will be a noticeable decrease in your yield otherwise.

That just about covers all the essentials about horticultural grow lights – but do contact us if you feel we need to shed some more light on the subject and we’ll do our best to brighten up your day with some sound, trustworthy advice.  For now, though, happy growing from all of us at the BIG Shop!

11Apr/12Off

Building your 1st indoor grow room Part 2 – Getting equipped

The idea of starting your own indoor grow room is one that appeals to many, but to the more amateur and less experienced grower, the process of starting out from scratch is daunting.  All those pieces of equipment – so much choice – so many chemicals!  Here’s where we at The Big Shop step in to lend a hand with a few words of advice, continuing from last week’s blog, which you can read here.  In the meantime, here are a few words about what you may need to get started...

Lights

The light set up of your growing system is probably the most important part – the process of photosynthesis in plants is how they grow, so the amount and quality of light is of paramount importance.  A single 600w bulb should be enough to cover around 5 feet of growing space, if positioned at least 5 feet above the crop.  More information on the importance of light can be found in a previous blog by clicking here.

Air Flow

Probably the second most important part of your grow room will be your air flow system.  The use of a small fan or two to keep air gently flowing around your developing and growing crops is invaluable if you intend to maximise your growing potential, but even more important is the incorporation of an adequate extraction system.  Find out more about this here.

C02

Carbon Dioxide is an essential ingredient for plant growth and crop production, being another major contributor in the process of photosynthesis.  Levels of C02 would normally drop in an enclosed area as your plants continue to use it up, and as a result their growth would slow and eventually stop.  Replenishing and maintaining levels of carbon dioxide, therefore, can lead to dramatically increased growth, and similarly incremented yields as a consequence.  For more details on the effects of C02, read more here.

Relays and Contactors

Your grow room equipment will need a steady supply of electricity, and it’s important that this is regulated to ensure safety.  If lights are turned off during the day and turned back on overnight, for instance, the sudden activation of many high-powered lights could create a small surge if not properly regulated.  At The Big Shop, we stock a variety of equipment to reduce the impact on your electrical supply.

Environmental Control

This encompasses everything from the pH of your growing solution to the temperature of your grow room.  In addition to the obvious potential pest problems, issues may arise regarding odours that may become problematic and should be dealt with.  The Big Shop stocks everything the new indoor gardener needs to cope with these environmental issues.

Stay tuned for more advice on setting up your first grow room, including what nutrients and other such products would be required.  Good luck – and happy growing from The Big Shop!