A vertical garden presents you with an easy way to cultivate a supply of flowers and plants within a small space. That’s quite commendable, but the thing is that plants require sunlight to grow and they can’t find that indoors.
Without sunlight, your vertical farm is going to die so how do you counter that? We think the easiest way would be to invest in vertical grow lights that will mimic the sun and enable your crops to thrive. Read on, if you want to learn more about these lifesavers.
Light Colors for Growing Plants
Just like a rainbow, light falls on a vibrant spectrum. A light spectrum has different colors including violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Now, all these colors affect plants differently and you need to be aware of that if you have decided to go the vertical grow light way.
Cool Light– This light originates from the blue and violet end of the color spectrum and is necessary for crops when they are in their vegetative phase. As such, you may want to use cool light when sowing seeds or propagating cuttings derived from other plants.
As soon as the seeds sprout, the cool light is what will facilitate the healthy growth of the foliage and roots. Cool light can also be used for houseplants.
Warm Light– This kind of light can be found at the red-orange end of the spectrum and it is necessary for the fruiting and flowering of plants. When your crops begin maturing, you will be required to use warm lighting instead of cool to encourage blooming.
Bulbs usually come with numbers so what you need to keep in mind is that the lower the number, the warmer the light, and vice versa. Now you can get vertical grow lights with both cool and warm light but using separate warm and cool lights is thought to work best.
Types of Vertical Grow Lights
One of the things you will appreciate as a vertical garden farmer is that there is an assortment of light setups and bulbs in the market designed for vertical farming. Whichever you pick, will be based on your budget and the kind of crops you are cultivating. Either way, let us go through some of the most popular options in the market.
LED Grow Lights
LEDs comprise light-producing diodes. This allows for their customization so that they can release a particular wavelength since their diodes can provide different spectrum colors. LED grow lights provide a complete color spectrum that acts like natural light.
They are also energy-efficient and affordable and they do not generate too much heat either. Because of this, they are the most preferred option when it comes to vertical farming.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
These are best for the initial stages in a plant’s life to its mid vegetative stage. Just like LEDs, Fluorescent lights do not generate too much heat and they are energy efficient as well. They also come in different colors and forms so you get to pick what you feel suits you best.
HID Grow Light
High-Intensity Discharge lights are known for their affordability and great light output. However, these kinds of light require a ballast to function as it controls their wattage. The ideal wattage for using this kind of light is 1000W and 600W.
Plasma Grow Light
These lights are quite new to the market and they are known for their longevity and emission of full-spectrum colors. They also utilize less wattage compared to HID lights. Nevertheless, since they have not been in the market for long, they are less common and quite costly.
When is the Right Time to Light Your Plants?
Plants naturally have a night and day cycle just like other living things. Using vertical grow lights allows one to provide round the clock, which is not ideal for plants. That is why it is necessary to time your lighting to match the number of hours that the sun shines on a regular day. That should be about 12 hours of light.
Conversely, crops require about eight hours of darkness, which they use to reset and yield flowers, and just like humans sleep to rejuvenate, plants do the same when it is dark. You can always set a timer for your lighting system in case you find it hard to manage these hours.
That will guarantee that your crops remain on a regular light schedule that is required for optimal growth.
How do you Space Your Vertical Grow Lights?
Different bulbs emit different levels of heat so it is important to space them from your plants accordingly. Ideally, you should position your lights directly above the plants to mimic the sun. As you do this, you want to ensure that you have enough bulbs to evenly illuminate all your plants. The placement of the bulbs will be determined by the plants.
At times, you will notice that your plants get too hot or that the leaves are burnt because the light is too direct. This can ultimately lead to damage or death of the plants. What you should therefore do in such a case is to simply adjust the placement of your vertical grow lights.
We would suggest suspending the lights from an adjustable chain that allows you to move them up and down depending on how much light your plants need.
Some key points to remember include:
*Fluorescent light should be placed 3-12 inches from your plants as it produces minimal heat
*LED lightings should be placed 12-24 inches from your plants as they generate a little bit more heat than their fluorescent counterparts
*HID lighting should be positioned 24-60 inches from plants depending on their wattage
Setting up a vertical garden is a step in the right direction, but you need to do all the right things to ensure that the garden thrives and supplies you with the produce you need. There are several lighting options available so take your time to pick the best one for your vertical farm.
That should be easy now that you have this guide.