Category Archives for Indoor Gardening
How far should LED grow lights be from plants?
So, how far should led grow lights be from plants if you are to get maximum yield and the healthiest growth?
It is a detail which is often overlooked but the thing is if you want to increase your yields and potency, you need to keep your grow lights at the right distance.
I know you are perhaps asking “but how far should I hang them? “
Well, no need to panic. I will be answering that question plus several others we have been receiving from our passionate readers.
But let me take you back first.
Why should you use grow lights?
For the best results, your indoor garden should mimic a natural growing environment as close as possible- complete with the ‘sun’.
The grow lights, therefore, acts as the sun from which your plants get the energy to grow.
The best part is that you have full control over the type of light to use and also how much light will reach your herbs.
Grow lights are suitable for seed starting for the simple reason that they help guarantee stocky, green seedlings.
A wintertime bumper harvest of salad greens and herbs can also grow nicely under lights.
How grow lights work
Grow lights are engineered to deliver wavelengths of light necessary for your plants’ growth.
Plants hungrily reach for this much-coveted lighting source exactly the same way they pull towards the sun when germinating outdoors.
Specifically, a grow light imitates the spectrum of natural sunlight.
Or, depending on the plant, it can incorporate a spectrum which has so far proved to immensely benefit a certain plant species.
Your plants may need varying types and volumes of light
Now, your plants usually need different types & amounts of lighting as they progress through different growth periods.
So, if possible, have a mix of several essential grow lights. This is the only way you can give your flowers the best possible lighting throughout the stages.
But there are other grow lights; so why LED?
Before I come to tackling the question of led lights for seed starting, I need to remind you the reason why LED lighting has exploded in the last few years.
Here is why LED beats incandescent lights, fluorescent lights, and high-intensity discharge lamps (HID)
- Plants automatically thrive better
- LED lasts longer
- Your electricity bill remains low
- LED grow light can be customized to emit specific wavelengths
- LEDs are super-green (no mercury, lead or gas)
This is how to determine the correct distance
Even though LED grow lights pack all these advantages, they also happen to be the hardest when we come to estimating the ideal hanging height.
But at least, the following tips should help reduce your confusion
- Looks can be deceiving
LED lights are deceptively strong, more so the blue and red mixed lights. While they look dim and don’t feel very hot, they can scorch your plants.
You must, therefore, keep a close eye on your garden, whenever you install a new light- that is until you have a good idea of the best hanging height.
- Follow manufacturer’s recommendations
Most manufacturers provide a guide on the recommended hanging height. Rather than play the guessing game, start by hanging your lights at the stated distance.
Again, observe your plants.
If you notice any bleaching (leaves start to turn white), back your lights off.
However, if your plants look fine, move your light closer until you notice some bleaching.
Then push them back again. If you check well, your plants should be okay.
But don’t take your eyes off the ball- just in case they start starving or feeling more heat.
At this stage, exercise your judgment. You can easily note the point where your plants start growing robustly and turn lush green.
- General guide
If you don’t have any recommendations about how close should a grow light be to plants on the package, the following general guidelines will help.
For LED lights growing little patches of herbs, spices and wheatgrass (15w-90w), go a minimum of 15″ away.
You will hang even further if you have higher wattage lights. Here is a summary;
|Wattage||Distances from plants|
- Rule of thumb
If getting your ideal grow light height above plants becomes a tough nut to crack, this is what you do:
Get your LED lights as close to your plants as possible without compromising their coverage area while leaving enough room for your plants’ growth
- Change the distance as they grow
Also, always ensure that you either lower your lights then raise them as your herb grow taller.
Alternatively, you may raise the plants towards the grow lights early on before lowering them as they continue to grow
What if you hang the grow lights too far from your plants?
If you set your grow lights too far away, your plants move from normal to a stretched growth.
It occurs since your plants have to put in more effort and try to grow taller so as to be near your light source.
The problem with this is that all the energy that could have gone into producing fruit is now being used to stretch.
So, you will experience a reduced harvest by as much as 30%!
What if you set the lighting so close to your plants?
Setting your horticultural grow lights too near will also be detrimental. You can easily burn your plants, especially the tops.
If not, some growers have reported experiencing strange/ stunted growth.
Wrapping it up
The question of how far should led grow lights be from plants will depend on several things including the wattage, the plants you are growing and even the season.
Setting them too far harms your harvest while pushing them too close will burn your plants or inhibit the growth.
Therefore, work hard and get your LED grow lights for seedlings set up correctly for a fruitful garden
How to build a grow room in a garage step by step
A garage can be perfect for a grow room. I will show you why in a moment…..in fact, I want to go as far as showing you how to build a grow room in a garage step by step and introduce you to some other popular grow room ideas
Let’s go right in:
You might be knowing this but even if, allow me to jog your memory a bit….A grow room is an interior space designed to be used for indoor gardening.
Now, a perfect indoor grow room is supposed to be completely sealed apart from the strategic ventilation.
Origin of grow rooms
Marijuana grow room
The first people to come up with a grow room were marijuana growers. They were looking for a secure location to grow the herb away from law enforcers.
Let’s now come to size…
How big should a Grow room be?
Its size depends on the intended purpose. In some cases, it will just be a small area created from your spare bedroom or a converted garage.
It can also be gigantic. For example, a commercial grow room can be so large such that calling it a plant factory, or an indoor garden, or even an indoor farm won’t seem out of hand.
What’s the difference between a grow room and a greenhouse?
Unlike a grow room, a greenhouse isn’t completely sealed so, they significantly differ. However, a grow tent is closer to a grow room- in fact, it is considered to be a mobile grow room.
Advantages of growing plants in a grow room
Growing in your grow room will give you several benefits
Here they are:
It’s easier to manage light, temperature, and even humidity
- Space economy
Grow rooms are one of the better choices for small-space gardening.
Growing plants are protected from nuisances such as bugs, dust, harsh weather conditions, or destruction by animals and humans
- Better ROI
Plants are in a better overall condition and yield more. In the end, you will pocket more bucks.
Things to consider when building a growing room
Before we finally see how to build a grow room in a garage step by step, let us look some of the factors to consider when setting up a growing room
For the best grow room setup, consider the following;
- The materials you will use.
You shouldn’t use materials that can mold for your walls. You may have to change the garage walls if it’s currently made of moisture holding materials like wood .
Water may drip from the growing trays or pots. To withstand water, your grow room’s floor should be at least cemented, tiled or vinyl floored.
Lights are very crucial to indoor gardening; your garage grow room should be able to accommodate sufficient grow light fixtures even if it’s one of those small grow rooms that people start with
A garage with windows allows natural light during daytime and in the process saves on electric usage
Growing room should be very well-aerated. Good ventilation will also help eliminate any bad odor coming from the room. You will need to provide for an exhaust fan and a vent.
- Electrical source
Your grow room also needs an electrical source. Luckily, any normal wall installed in your garage or nearby will do
- Water supply
Needless to say, you will be watering your plants- even if occasionally. A nearby water source is therefore fundamental to your success.Shop Related Products
Setting up a grow room step by step (in your garage)
With the considerations out of our way, let’s see how to build your own grow room…
Step 1 – Pick an ideal Space
Decide on the size and the exact spot where you will site your upcoming grow room. You can convert the whole garage, partition a space for the grow room.
Pick a spot where it will be convenient for you to install all the key provisions like lighting, water point, and ventilation
Step 2 – Draw your Floor Plan
Now, summon the designer in you. Map out all your ideas for the grow room of your dreams on paper.
Add dimensions plus placement of crucial elements such as intake vents and exhaust fans.
At this stage, you should also figure out the exact measurements- I am talking about the room’s square plus cubic feet.
This is important in as far as purchasing the right size of lights, vents. and fans later on.
Something else to decide here is where in the room will your plants go.
Certainly, this will be influenced by how you have chosen to place the lights and exhaust fan(s)
Step 3 – Insulating the Walls
It’s now time to handle the walls…
Set up the partition walls (if you chose to partition your garage).
Otherwise, now line your walls and the floor of your proposed room with mylar. This prevents moisture damage.
The mylar should be directly tacked on all the walls as flatly as possible.
Mylar also reflects the light around your entire room, thus fully utilizing your light source.
Step 4 – Install Lighting
You will need enough lights. Their number will be dependent on the size of the grow room. As a general guide, install one 600-watt light per every 5-6 feet of area.
Lights make heat, so if you have more lights, you will need a bigger extractor fan.
And if you will be using natural light during the day, you will need to additionally connect your lighting system to a relay & timer system.
Step 5 – Install Exhaust plus Intake Fans
Expelling hot air and drawing in some fresh air is very important.
Incoming air should be directed to the bottom area while the hottest air should be extracted from the top area since it is here that it flows naturally.
Generally, the output fan should be bigger than the input fan and you should set the system such that there will be an exchange of air around 30 times every hour.
Again, positioning your fan’s airflow towards the light bulbs will help to keep the temperature down.
In addition, use of HAF (Horizontal Airflow) fans help to maintain an even humidity and temperature throughout your grow room. This reduces condensation on the room walls meaning you will reduce incidences of disease on your plants.
Step 6 – Water system
With lights, plants dry out more quickly, so ensure you water as frequently as required.
Thus, connect your water system.
A hydroponics system can automate this bit so you may add it as part of your grow room setup.
Here is a fact:
Different crops have differing light, humidity, and even soil requirements. Therefore, Research the targeted plants to know their optimum conditions to ensure your grow room will be productive.
Step 7 – Extra Tools
Fit any other tools you may need like humidity meter, pH meter, thermometer, etc.
Although not crucial, they help you to diagnose your plants as soon as you detect problems.
Step 8 – Set up the containers
Set up your grow room containers. You can go for hydroponics or soil depending on your budget
Step 9- Planting
Now, plant your germinated seeds, or whatever else you were to plant in the grow room.
Build a grow room cheap
If you are on a budget, you can tweak a few things and still end up with a superb grow room.
Let’s skim through them;
- For growing medium, use soil rather than hydroponics. It’s by far much cheaper and also has less work.
- For lighting, go for CFLs (compact fluorescent light) are cheaper yet as efficient as other alternatives, LEDs included
- Instead of Mylar for reflection, use flat white paint. It’s a budget option yet it still reflects more light ( up to 85%). Plus, surfaces painted flat white are easier to keep clean.
So, that’s how to build a grow room in a garage step by step. We have also seen other grow room ideas that can make the whole process cheaper and the most important considerations.
It’s now your turn…
Share with us about your perfect indoor grow room from the comments button below.
We will be happy to reply.