Photo courtesy of Lush LED Lighting.com
Light emitting diode (LED) technology in the grow room has become widespread, with most growers encountering it on a daily basis. They’re bright, use little energy and produce little heat. But did you know you can use them as grow lights? There are many companies that specialize in LEDs, and many of them offer custom sheets of LEDs.
These sheets of LEDs can be of any size or shape, but for growing purposes you want a uniform shape. A sheet of LEDs with dimensions of 2 x 4 feet will put out 5,200 lumens of light. A growing closet lined with ten 2 x 4 LED sheets will put out 52,000 lumens of light.
Traditional single source lamps such as metal halide have always had the problem of scorching the tops of our favorite green. They produce lots of heat and the light source is from only one direction, leaving the lower branches of your plant to be light starved and phototropic. LED sheet lighting is the solution to these problems.
By placing the light source in a 360 degree arrangement (including from the top), you are able to distribute light to all sections of the plant, resulting in vigorous growth and some couch glue grass after harvest.
Each panel requires only 60 watts of power. With ten LED sheets lighting the grow area, that means your lighting requirements will be only 600 watts. The heat generated by one of these sheets is negligible. With a fairly light electrical load, you’ll be able to position your LED sheets in places you had previously thought to be impossible.
Some LED manufacturers also offer a tuning module that varies the frequency of the light the LEDs are emitting. In laymen’s terms, this means you can change the color of the light your sheet is emitting. This ability to dial up a color is a boon for growers, as cannabis likes a white light during its foliage growth phase and a more orange light to ensure you have maximum flowering and budding.
Most growers use a metal halide lamp for the green foliage growth stage and a high pressure sodium (HPS) lamp for the flowering/budding stage. With this light changing ability, you won’t have to change out your grow lights for each growing phase.
The setup of your LED sheets is simple, as they’re fairly lightweight and made of tough plastic. Mounting to a simple wood frame is the easiest way to set up your grow area. Because these sheets are so light, you don’t have to worry about using heavy duty mounting hardware to support the heavy ballast transformer that both metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps require.
By utilizing the highest technology to grow your crop, you are able to get some welcome and surprising results. LED sheets are the way to go if you have your operation in something such as a walk in closet or a portion of your basement. The entire setup is so light that you can even stack your growing areas on top of each other. LED’s have come full circle and are now a viable option for your lighting needs.