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Lighting questions


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Old 01-04-2016, 05:45 PM
Dis2cruise Dis2cruise is offline
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Default Lighting questions

Hi, new to hydroponics and a few lighting questions..

Room size is 6'x4' with a 8 foot ceiling. My husband built me a vertical garden tower which I'm going to grow lettuce and herbs it stands Approx. 7' tall. I also would love to experiment with tomatoes and peppers kratky and NFT method.

Now I know that peppers and tomatoes need stronger light but will lettuce/herbs substand the more powerful lighting & since my tower is vertical how to I light the plants at the bottom is there a way to vertically hang the lights somehow on the wall? If someone could guide me on the proper lighting or suggest what they think would work this would be really appreciated!

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Old 01-04-2016, 08:26 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Dis2cruise,
Yes lettuce and herbs are low light requirement plants, so you should easily be able to grow them using florescent lighting. I would use 4 foot twin bulb T5's and mount them vertical on the walls about every 2-3 feet around the 6x4 foot room. If you use T8' just use a couple extra twin bulb fixtures.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-04-2016 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:31 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Dis2cruise,
I save good articles to my computer in text documents. I do this for a few reasons. One, so I can easily print it out, because it's easier for me to read that way. Two, to make sure I can easily find them again instead of trying to guess which one of a hundred bookmarks it is. Third, in case the link changes or the page is taken down, I still have a copy of the article no mater what. Which is exactly the case here. I was looking for something else in my folder of saved articles, and found this one (Growing Up, Tower and Vertical Systems for Small Spaces) and thought about you.

I would say send me a PM so I can send you the text document since the link doesn't exist anymore, and I can't find an updated one. But I guess most people aren't comfortable either giving me their e-mail, or are weary of anything an unknown person sends them to download. Either way I still wanted to get you this article, so I decided I will just post the whole thing here in the thread. If you want to send me a PM with an e-mail address to send it to, I will e-mail the text document to you. Or you can just copy and paste it in a text document yourself. Anyhow, here's the article:


Growing Up_ Tower and Vertical Systems for Small Spaces
by Dr. Lynette Morgan, 2010-04-01
http://staging.maximumyield.com/arti...=549&submit=Go


Whether you are growing in a commercial greenhouse or an indoor hobby garden, maximizing space is always an objective

Indoor cropping areas need specialized equipment—fans, vents, heaters, coolers, pumps and lights that will provide for all the plant’s needs in its protected environment, and these can be expensive to set up and run. As growers we take pleasure in our work; giving our plants a comfortable space and providing optimal conditions for growth is highly rewarding. By optimizing the carefully designed growing environment, we are helping eliminate plant stress, and in turn we get a high level of productivity and maximum yields from a relatively small space. Many new growers make the mistake of cramming as many new plants as possible into a small area not realizing just how quickly they will grow and expand to fill every available space, creating a tangled jungle that becomes a mission to prune, train and control. Small, short plants such as lettuce, strawberries and many herbs never reach an impressive degree of height and will not make the most of limited indoor space. This is where vertical systems really have an advantage.

Vertical, wall or tower/stack systems for hydroponic production are nothing new. In the early days of commercial hydroponics, vertical systems consisting of long, thin tubes of growing media such as sawdust were suspended from overhead rails and planted down each side with small crops such as strawberries. nutrient was drip fed from the top and drained out the base and many of these `tubes’ were in excess of six feet tall. While the idea of vertical systems obviously appealed to greenhouse growers to increase plant density dramatically, there were initially many problems with the early systems and some complete failures occurred. We have learned a great deal from these initial attempts with vertical growing and modified the concept of stack cropping to the point where highly successful systems have been developed along with the equipment required to run them correctly.

Vital Light
To the uninitiated, the concept of a vertical system may seem a daunting concept. Most beginners start with traditional horizontal or single plane cropping with all the plants sitting on one level below an overhead light source. This makes controlling light relatively simple by adjusting the number of lamps overhead and their distance from the plants. In a greenhouse, growers carry out the same adjustment with the use of supplementary lamps in winter and shade screens, as required, in summer. Each plant has uninterrupted light from above and, in a well run growing area, all plants have the same root conditions and environment.

Vertical systems create ‘multiple environments’ within the levels or layers of the growing area that need to be carefully managed and planned for. Plants growing at the top of a vertical system receive the highest light (assuming only an overhead light source is available); there is then a gradient of light from the top to the base of the vertical system along with shading from those plants on the upper levels of the stack. In basic systems, or those with no additional side lighting, this shading and light fall-off effect is often what causes problems in naturally lit and grow room based vertical systems. For this reason, we mostly see successful commercial vertical systems in climates with naturally high light levels that allow acceptable production on the lower, shadier levels of the system.

For indoor growers utilizing artificial light, vertical cropping has much more potential and some excellent systems have been developed, particularly those that incorporate their own light source. Artificial lighting these days doesn’t need to be placed above the crop; side or central vertical lighting can provide sufficient illumination so even the tallest vertical system gets the same intensity of light on all plants in all levels of the stack. Further more vertical systems that rotate help eliminate problems with shadows and uneven illumination so that lighting is used even more efficiently. Indoor gardens with reflective wall and floor surfaces further assist to bounce light back onto the plants so that a highly efficient system can be maintained year round. In comparison outdoor or greenhouse vertical systems in even high light climates, can suffer from uneven illumination due to shading from other stacks, greenhouse structures and on cloudy days.

Vertical Varieties
The vertical systems available to hydroponic growers nowadays are quite impressive. We have come a long way from plastic tubes filled with sawdust suspended from a rail. The design of the vertical is important as it determines the root volume available to each individual plant; how the nutrient is delivered and the flow passage of moisture down the system; the collection system at the base of the stack; and how air may move under and around each plant for humidity control. System design can also affect light interception by plants and the amount of space each has for upward growth and development. Many vertical systems rely on the use of a high quality growing media to support the plant and provide a reserve of moisture; however, solution culture and aeroponic vertical systems are also available.

Vertical systems come in a number of designs: there are the standard `tube’ systems, which are the most basic and consist of a straight column into which plants are spaced at uniform intervals. An advancement on the basic tube, there are also `stack’ systems, which involve individual planting units stacked on top of one another, creating planting spaces or pockets for each plant. There are also vertical systems that don’t rely on circular ‘column’ type structures but consist of tiers of growing channels, beds or chambers that can be constructed from the floor to almost the top of the growing area. Vertical systems may also be complete ‘walls’ of plants, particularly when used for display purposes. Some of the more advanced vertical systems rotate around a light source, while others are so fully automated as to move the plants to a nutrient feeding station at regular intervals.

Benefits of vertical cropping
The benefits of a successful vertical system are fairly obvious; the number of plants that can be grown per unit of floor space is impressive, many times more than can be supported in single plane cropping. Although because of the much higher density, other factors, such as the requirement for more light, side lighting and a greater degree of air movement and ventilation, should be taken into account. In a system where as many as 20 times more small plants can be grown, provided sufficient light has been provided, the increase in productivity can be impressive and worth the extra degree of skill it takes to manage such intensive cropping. Another benefit of vertical systems, which has attracted the attention of indoor landscape artists, is the fantastic displays that can be created. A diverse assortment of smaller fruits, vegetables and herbs are suited to vertical cropping, as are many flowering, scented and ornamental plants creating colorful, living floral displays or ‘green walls’ to bring a touch of nature inside. The concept of ‘green walls’ which are simply vertical type NFT systems, is a concept that is catching on worldwide as a way of providing green spaces indoors.

Overall, while vertical systems create more of a challenge than single plane cropping, the maximized use of growing space, potential for much higher yields and impressive display created by a wall of green is well worth the effort.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:55 AM
Dis2cruise Dis2cruise is offline
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Thanks for your replies

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