It’s a general consensus that growing herb is best done with a good hydro system. Hydroponics is the process of growing a plant without soil. There are a couple of different ways to grow with hydro, but regardless you need to pick up some supplies. First and foremost you will need a light source to grow your herb. There are several technologies out there and I will break down the advantages and disadvantages of each for you.
The cheapest and most inefficient light source is compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). There are two different styles of CFL lighting. Some people grow marijuana with CFL light bulbs. You can pick these up at the grocery store and a splitter at your local hardware store. It’s a good idea to strive for at least the 100 watt bulbs because anything less is not giving off enough light. Keep in mind that these are not especially efficient so you may need as many as 8 or more to grow and flower 3 plants. The other kind of CFL lighting is the shop light style. These have a metal bracket used as a reflector and the bulbs themselves are long and cylindrical. This style of lighting is a little more efficient than the CFL bulb but still not ideal for growing marijuana. Whichever style of CFL bulb you choose, strive for the bluest temperature for vegetative growth and the warmest color light for flowering.
The next lighting type is Metal Halide (MH). You see metal halide lights anytime you leave your house out night, as that’s what most street lights use. Metal halide lighting works by converting power with a ballast and then delivering it to an HID bulb. This lighting type is extremely good for vegetative growth but not so much for flowering. These systems use quite a lot of electricity and give off substantial heat so you should always use MH in conjunction with good ventilation.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting is arguably the best lighting for the money. Just like the metal halide system, HPS also uses a ballast and an HID bulb. The advantage is a fuller spectrum which plants will appreciate for both vegetative growth and flowering. While it is not quite as good as MH for vegetative growing, it is nearly ideal for flowering. This system also runs pretty hot so it should be used in conjunction with proper ventilation.
Light-Emitting Diode Technology (LED) is on the verge of becoming the best lighting technology to grow marijuana with. It is extremely efficient and a 90 watt LED Grow Light can give off as much usable light as a 400 watt high pressure sodium or metal halide system. NASA is fine tuning LED technology in hopes of sustaining life in outer space with LED farming. A good LED panel is a bit pricy but worth every dime because it gives off virtually no heat and uses less electricity than your television. Most systems use only blue and red light but surprisingly a marijuana plant will flourish with only those two colors of light.
Once you select your light source pick up some fans to help with circulation and heat. A good light source is the start of a successful hydroponic grow system.
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