How to Choose a Grow Light

Should I Buy Bulbs or a New Light Fixture

You may already have grow lights for indoor plants. As a result, you may wonder if you need to buy a completely new set-up or if you can get by with new bulbs. No matter what, it is paramount to select grow lights that are full spectrum. Plants depend on various wavelengths of light so that they can grow to their fullest potential.

Naturally, it will be the more affordable option to simply purchase new bulbs. All you have to do is buy the bulbs and replace them with the ones you currently have. Purchasing grow light fixtures will cost more money, but you will receive a more holistic approach.

Just one fixture will provide illumination for several plants, which disperses light evenly throughout the indoor garden. A fixture will be better capable of providing that full-spectrum light than just a single bulb. If you want the best results possible, then it is worth the investment to buy the full system.

Use the Best Color Light for Plant Growth

Before buying any new lights, you need to fully understand what plant you intend to grow indoors. This involves understanding that when you have a violet-blue light that exists in the 400 to 520-nanometer range, it encourages growth, photosynthesis, and chlorophyll absorption. Meanwhile, red light between the 610 and 720 spectrum range helps plants with budding and flowering.

All of this is critical to a plant’s health, which is why you need full spectrum grow lights. They will provide the full spectrum of light between 400 and 720 nanometers. The only way you will get this is with LED lights, which further benefit you because they are more energy-efficient.

Determine Whether You Need LED, Fluorescent, or Incandescent Light

When you purchase a grow light, you almost always want to go with the LED variety. It is the latest technology available in the marketplace. They are extremely energy-efficient, and they provide a low heat output. However, you will also find fluorescent and incandescent bulbs to choose from.

Incandescent bulbs are the least expensive bulbs you will find. However, they are the least energy-efficient out of the bunch. They provide a high heat output, so you need to be careful your plants do not become damaged. Fluorescent bulbs are more energy-efficient, but they tend to be far more expensive. Growing plants inside is a delicate matter, so make sure you purchase the perfect LED bulbs for the job.

 

How Long Should I Leave the Grow Light on?

Different plants will require different quantities of light. The general rule of thumb you want to follow is that most flowering plants and vegetables will require between 12 and 16 hours of light every day. You typically want to provide plants with a minimum of eight hours of darkness daily.

While it seems counterintuitive, darkness is critical in a plant’s development. Plants produce energy during the day, but at night, they break down this energy to flower and grow through a process known as respiration.

If you have any questions about what is best for your plants, then you should check the tags and packaging to see if there are any tips. Above all else, you do not want to leave the lights on for 24 hours a day. It can be worth it to invest in a timer so that your LED lights shut off automatically at certain points in the day. That way, even if you have to be away from home for a while, your plants get the rest they sorely need.

Grow Lights Need a Good Warranty

As you look at LED lights, you should find a warranty they come with. Most of these lights should last for a minimum of ten years with regular usage. Therefore, you should buy lights with a ten-year warranty. In the event you find a product with a lower warranty than that, you need to be wary.

Minimal warranties are usually a sign that the lights are inferior quality. They are made out of cheaper materials, so the manufacturer expects them to break down sooner. You also want to check to see if your LED lights come with a guarantee on the light’s parts. In the event a single component has broken down, you may be able to retain the lights while sending the broken part in for replacement.

Set Up the Proper Growing Area

To ensure your lights work at maximum efficiency, you want to set up a proper indoor garden. To best set up the space, you first want to consider your interior garden plot. Whether this is an entire room or a single shelf, you need to plan accordingly. Next, you need to consider the type of plant you want to grow. You should allow between four and eight inches between each try or pot to ensure each plant has room to develop.

Once you have all of this figured out, you are ready to buy sufficient lighting. You want lights that will illuminate the entire area. A single bulb may be able to light up a shelf, but if you want to transform your basement into a garden, then you will likely need more intensive lighting to keep everything in good shape.

Place the Grow Lights at the Right Angle

Ideally, you want to place lights over the pots or plant beds. This is the best arrangement because it most closely resembles the placement of natural sunlight coming in from overhead. It also ensures that all leaves and sides of the plant receive light. Since LED lights have a low heat signature, you can place them between six and 12 inches above the plants.

However, you may need several different lights placed at different angles and heights to ensure your plants get all of the nutrients they need. Again, you need to consult with the specific type of plant you own to see what placement would be ideal. As the plants mature and start to bloom, you may also need to adjust the height to compensate.

Buy the Right Lights Well Ahead of Time

You do not want to get your indoor garden all set up only to realize you have forgotten to buy the right lights. The bulbs you have in the room already likely will not do you any good, so do not leave your plants’ health up to chance.

There are plenty of great grow lights out there, but light is not the only thing your plant will need. You also need to make sure you have the best soil, which means you need to purchase Premium Soil Conditioner from Harvest Gold Organics. Contact us with any questions you may have. We are here to help your garden thrive.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/nikkytok

 

Silica has been used for centuries in many different ways and forms. Some of the more common uses are in technology, construction, and agriculture – it is pervasive both in nature and man-made products.

There are lots of myths about silica out there, so we wanted to lay down the facts – and the fiction – about what silica is and how it’s used.

What Is Silica?


The sample shown above displays how silica (the light gray and whitish striations) occurs in areas were bedrock material (like granite, limestone, and other) meet minerals, heavy metals, and sulfides. Wherever you find precious gems, metals will usually be encased in massive veins of quartz, or silica.

Silica is a mineral compound made up of silicon and oxygen (SiO2). It is the seventh most abundant element in the universe and the second most abundant in the earth’s crust, and it is also found in significant amounts in soil.

Large amounts of silica are found in the sand that makes up our ocean’s borders, and it’s also within the quartz crystals of granite, emeralds, and many other types of rock. In addition to its place as a common component of rock, silica is also found in many different kinds of plants and animals.

 

How Is Silica Used?

Silica has become an incredibly useful material across many different industries, from technology to construction and even agriculture. By changing its shape to suit different purposes, it can be combined with other materials to give them new properties.

You’d be surprised at what silica is used in, like paint, rubber, and plastic. It’s almost everywhere:

⦁ Silica is used in multiple industries from construction to chemicals to glass and in common products such as paint, plastic, and rubber.
⦁ Silica is a trace mineral integral to the structure and functional integrity of connective tissue, and it is a common health supplement that aids in the development of strong bones, skin, and nails.
⦁ Silica absorbs moisture in everything from food packets to shoe boxes and dirty laundry to toolboxes. 

 

Is Silica Good For Plants?

Plants can be categorized into three types in terms of their relation to silica: accumulators, intermediaries, and non-accumulators. These categories describe the extent to which silica is accumulated in the plant’s tissue.

Accumulators have the highest rates of accumulation. While the most significant benefits have been tied to accumulator plants, even non-accumulator plants like tomatoes have demonstrated positive responses to silica’s use in fertilization and growth mediums.

Many peer-reviewed, scientific studies have been done in recent years to determine the effects of silica on plant growth. Although silica is considered a quasi-essential nutrient for most plants, these studies found several critical benefits from its inclusion. Some of the benefits realized include:
⦁ Increased resistance to abiotic stress
⦁ Increased resistance to biotic stress
⦁ The promising role of silica nanoparticles on plants

 

Silica Improves the Resistance to Abiotic Stress for Plants


Labeled above, the protective structure around each, individual plant cell is called a “cell wall”. Silica has been proven to improve the overall strength and rigidity of this protective shield, which increases resistance to temperature changes and damage caused by many types of pests.

Silica produces a complex reaction in the physiology of plants that creates a dynamic interplay between plant metabolism and cell wall structure.


In perfect conditions, the silica’s effect may be latent. However, with the introduction of an abiotic stressor such as drought, heat, or salt, the results are positive. Stronger stems help keep plants sturdy in wind and rain. Longer roots help to extract water from the soil while the epidermis of the leaves helps to retain some of the water loss that occurs during transpiration.

Silica seems to promote an alkalizing effect in metal-heavy soil, thereby decreasing the concentration in the soil.

This is partially because of the release of antioxidant enzymes that assuage oxidative stress. Leaves of plants with silica exposure also contain higher amounts of chlorophyll.

 

Silica Improves the Resistance to Biotic Stress in Plants

Silica creates a protective measure against animals, bacteria, and fungi in a couple of ways. One is that the composition of the plant itself becomes less palatable.

A second is that the molecular structure is such that it becomes less digestible. A third protective measure is the ability to entice its predators.

 

The Role of Nanoparticles in Plants

Sustainable agricultural models and food scarcity have long-standing importance, and silica nanoparticles may play an important role to that end. Through a controlled release into the soil, silica nanoparticles and their counterparts combine to yield healthier, stronger, bigger plants.

In certain plants, this can impact germination, root growth, chlorophyll levels, and more. More research needs to be done in this area, but the current findings show promise.

 

Can Silica Be Dangerous?

Silica is generally harmless in its most common form and is even used as a health supplement and sold in pill form to strengthen brittle bones, teeth, nails, and hair. Silica can be harmful when turned into a very fine crystalline dust and inhaled.

This may present a risk for people working in specific types of construction or manufacturing, but not gardening or farm management. In use as a silica fertilizer or growth medium, there is no danger from exposure or relating to its application. Products containing silica are to be treated as most other fertilizers and feeders.

 

How Do I Use Silica for My Plants?

The best way to introduce silica to your plants and crops is through a nutrient solution that will be delivered throughout the entire life cycle of the plant. From seedling to final yield, plants need and will benefit from a silica infusion. It is common to increase the amount of nutrient solution as the plant matures, but be sure to read the product instructions and follow them accordingly.

Silica has an alkalizing effect. Because too much can impact the uptake of other nutrients, make sure the solution is diluted if it calls for it and mixed thoroughly before adding any additional nutrients. Again, follow the instructions and don’t overdo it. The right amount should produce a satisfying harvest.

 

What Nutrient Solution Is Right for Me?


Harvest Gold Silica Premium Soil Conditioner utilizes the science behind silica and makes it
easy to apply to your garden.

 

Harvest Gold Organics Premium Soil Conditioner is a unique silica aggregate that contains naturally occurring and beneficial plant nutrients. The multifaceted solution incorporates natural silica and micro and macronutrients, which, when watered, become bioavailable to surrounding plants.

This delivery method of silica and nutrients is unique in not only the initial delivery but also its release over time, which amplifies plant growth throughout the entire season by providing consistent nutrition.

Harvest Gold Organics Premium Soil Conditioner is enriched with not only silica but also calcium, iron, sulfur, magnesium, and other nutrients. It targets and maintains the nutrients vital to plant health in the area needed most: the roots. This results in bigger yields and less work. Perfect for organic gardening with flowers, vegetables, trees, and shrubs, Harvest Gold is USDA certified, ensures its quality, and guarantees a high spectrum of nutrients.

Silica really is an amazing compound mineral that helps increase resistance to abiotic and biotic stress, resulting in stronger plants and plentiful harvests. Harvest Gold Organics Premium Soil Conditioner contains natural silica and all the other organic ingredients necessary to grow big, strong plants or tasty edibles without using harsh chemical fertilizers that cause damage to the environment and people.

Whether working on an indoor or outdoor project, using a non-toxic, chemical-free solution that feeds continuously without damaging the soil is beneficial to you and your plants. Buy it now or contact us with your questions. We would love to hear from you!