Who Should Use LED Grow Lights?

While the reasons to use LED grow lights are numerous, the applications in which LED grow lights really shine are even more so. Users of LED Grow Lights experience great results both in hobby gardens as well as in commercial settings.

Medical Marijuana Growers

Growers of medicinal marijuana on both an individual and commercial level have much to gain from using LED grow lights in their gardens. From an economic standpoint, using LEDs will save the grower in excess of 40% in electricity costs which can translate into massive increases in profit for commercial growers. For individuals, growing with LED is more economical and discreet; no more drawing the attention of neighbours with noisy exhaust fans or raising alarms with the electricity company with spikes in energy consumption. Whether you start from cannabis seeds or from clones, growers can still experience the big yields they are used to getting with HPS lights while enjoying lower costs. Large operations can take advantage of the savings by reducing costs to their customers to increase market share or by increasing profits – all while providing an outstanding final product. Let’s not forget that the quality of LED grown bud can be higher than that grow under HPS. We know that heat degrades THC – degradation is common under HPS. With none of the heat of HPS, cannabis grown under LED grow lights can offer higher THC levels with the same strain.

Sustainable Urban Vertical Farming With LED Grow Lights

I sincerely dislike cities. They are lifeless, soul-sucking monuments to human arrogance that distances ourselves from nature. How 60% or more of Earth’s population can stand living in a city, I may never know but I can tell you that my roots lie in more pastoral settings. You may wonder how I would consider a city such as New York with its 8 million inhabitants lifeless and it comes down to my assertion that life cannot be fostered with concrete and steel – or at least that has been my position for years. Perhaps vertical farming could change my mindset.

We can and should do better at feeding the Earth’s population but it is tough to do when you understand the problems a large scale farm faces from the water supply, toxic runoff from fertilizers and pesticides, and transportation issues. On top of that, thousands of acres of farmland are lost daily due to development or potentially absurd acts of Congress which gives farm owners incentive to turn arable farmland into the forest in the name of carbon sequestration.

Reforesting thousands of acres of farmland may look good on paper but really just swaps one problem for another. This idea is almost as nutty as growing corn to fuel our cars (apropos ethanol) while millions go hungry. Imagine yourself as one of the throngs of starving people around the globe, looking in on America while we burn our glut of food as fuel. Its the kind of thing that would not foster warm-fuzzy feelings.

In an attempt to reconnect ourselves with nature and provide fresh, locally grown produce for an increasingly urban population, urban vertical farms present us with a rare opportunity to use our God-given talents to solve a problem intelligently. The answer to these problems may lie in vertical farming. Vertical farming, especially in urban centres, would allow for the sustainable production of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for the local population. All farming would take place indoors using a very controlled environment to create optimum growing conditions to ensure the highest yield per acre of growing space. By growing hydroponically, you could reduce water consumption by 75-90% while keeping harmful chemicals out of the public water supply, the environment, and of our food.

The idea is simple enough – create a multi-story high rise in which each level can be dedicated to growing a particular plant . . . such as tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers, and more. What you can grow is limited only by economic feasibility – just like any other traditional farm. One of the biggest hurdles right now is coming up with an appropriate design that can match form with function. The most important function a usable design can offer is exposure to plant-growing sunlight.

Without a viable light source, there is no farming. Until now, there have been no economically viable means to grow plants indoors using 100% artificial lighting, but that is changing because of LED grow lights. Depending on the design of the structure, LEDs can be used as the primary source of lighting or just to supplement natural lighting. As the cost of LEDs drops, interest in the technology is increasing. Earlier this year, McGill University in Canada partnered with GE and the Canadian government on a $1.3 million project to develop LED grow to light for commercial greenhouses. The goal is to reduce business operating costs while increasing crop yield, something that is completely feasible with LEDs.

With food prices rising and likely to remain unstable for years and increasing population, the pressure to feed people could mean further deforestation if traditional farming methods are pursued. Using LED grow lights in a commercial setting can reduce costs as they require only about 35-50% of the operating power of CFL or HID lighting. In addition, crop loss due to excessive heat is no longer an issue as LED lights run warm to the touch. This also means that cooling costs will be greatly reduced or eliminated depending on your climate. In addition, by growing indoors using hydroponics, you can reduce water consumption by as much as 90% over traditional farming in open fields or in greenhouses.

US based company TruLite LED has developed commercial and greenhouse LED grow lights to help large operations increase their profit by reducing costs and boosting yield. Whether using LED grow lights as supplemental lighting in greenhouses or as the only light source in indoor gardening installations, TruLite’s products work with a range of plants from herbs & lettuce to fruits & veggies, and even cannabis.

If you are looking for information about lighting for your greenhouse project, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am always happy to consult with new people to help their venture get off the ground or to assist in retrofitting an existing operation with LED grow lights.

Algae Production For Biofuel, Food, & Pharmaceuticals

The battle for a renewable and sustainable energy source has been raging for decades with little progress, until now. Research has shown that algae are capable of producing 10 to 20 times more gallons of biodiesel per acre than any other known source. In addition to supplying fuel on a large scale, algae can be cultivated by small-scale farmers to off-set increasing fuel costs on family farms. As another benefit, the byproduct of rendering oil from algae is a high protein and carbohydrate solid that can be used as animal feed and pharmaceutical supplements or further processed into ethanol.

Crisis Gardening & Off Grid Applications

With each era that passes there groups of people who are determined to not only survive but thrive in the perilous times in which we live. Having a crisis garden is one easy way to ensure you and your family have enough food to weather tough times. Let’s face it, crisis gardens are quickly becoming the Victory Garden of the new millennium. However, depending on your geography, you may not have the luxury of a long growing season or you may wish to keep your crisis garden more private. With LED grow lights, it is now possible to extend your growing season or grow completely indoors if desired.

General Hobby Gardening

Gardening enthusiasts have something to be excited about because LED grows lights enable you to enjoy your hobby year-round regardless of the weather. From growing fresh herbs and produce for cooking, starting plant seedlings in the spring for transplant, to more exotic pursuits such as growing bulbs, bromeliads, tropical plants, and even orchids, LED grow lights are up to the task. The intensity and coverage area of the best LED grow lights on the market makes it possible to grow any plant from basic lettuce to light-intensive plants such as watermelons, carnivorous plants, and cactus.

LED Grow Lights – The New Standard

After several years of research and releasing new, improved models, LED grow lights have established a firm foot hold in the grow light market, proving themselves as much more than a fad gadget. Current iterations of LED grow lights can go head-to-head against their HID counterparts, matching and exceeding the yields and grow quality.

Choosing The Best LED Grow Lights

When deciding on the right LED grow lights for you, please take some time to look at as much information as you can. What I have found is that those that are most vocal in their grow light’s abilities are the ones to stay away from. When you find a company that lets its product stand on its merits and abilities instead of hype about uber-penetration and 400% yield increase, that is the company to go with.