Do you dream of increasing your capacity to grow healthy food free of chemicals and other pollutants?
The modern-day farmer is grappling with myriad issues. Ranging from pollution concerns, pesticides nightmares, and erratic weather. This is against a backdrop of a growing crop of health-conscious consumers.
They’re concerned and curious to know how the farmer grew their food. Whether it’s organic or genetically modified.
Vertical farming has taken the globe by storm over the past decade. Entrepreneurs and individuals have embraced this kind of indoor farming to:
- counteract food shortage
- eliminate chemicals from what they eat
- ensure a constant flow of fresh organically grown food all year round.
Its success depends on light either from the sun or artificially and without that, it’ll surely collapse. To counteract that, invest in vertical grow lights.
They help your garden to thrive by either supplementing the sun, replacing it, or even over-optimizing it. Please keep reading to learn more about these magical lights.
What are Vertical Grow Lights?
Indoor plants require light to grow. Vertical grow lights are a light system installed by the indoor farmer to sort the issue of light.
What is Vertical Farming?
It is an indoor farming technique where crops grow on vertically built surfaces. The farmer stacks them on top of each other together. You can place them in small spaces such as balconies or large places like remodeled warehouses.
The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technique is used to nurture the crops. The end goal is to increase crop yields that are rich, healthy, and free of chemicals.
How Exactly Does Vertical Farming Work?
They are highly efficient. They produce double the traditional methods, consume less power, conserve water, and the food wasted is low by 80%. The models include hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics.
These models are unlike the traditional way of growing crops, which use open fields and greenhouses while utilizing soil, water, and sunlight.
Vertical farming focuses on four major elements. These are:
- the structure
- optimizing light
- Where to grow the plants
Types of Vertical Grow Lights
As we have seen, the type of vertical grow lights you invest in as a farmer determines the success of your vertical farm. The options available depend on how much you’re willing to invest and the crops you intend to grow. Some of these options are:
1. LED Vertical Grow Lights
LEDs gained popularity about two decades ago. They are lauded as the most efficient of all the lights and here is why:
- They are highly customizable to mimic a complete color hue, just like sunlight.
- They are high-power lights that are placed a distance away from the plants and still meet the light requirements of the plants.
- All plants, such as herbs, green leafy vegetables, and flowers, can be grown perfectly using LEDs.
- On top of that, they are readily available and act as great energy savers.
- They use low temperatures. This means is the vegetables’ taste is of high quality as they flourish in low heat.
- They save you time and money as they require little water in low heat environments.
There are a few downsides to the LED lights as shown hereunder:
- Prolonged exposure can be harmful to the eyes.
- They cost more
- The return on investment(ROI) may not be immediate
2. Fluorescent Grow Lights
You may wonder how fluorescent lights grow plants?
Well, they are great for growing herbs, vegetables, and flowers in your indoor garden. They are categorized as:
- Fluorescent tubes
- CompactFluorescent Lights(CFL’s)
Let’s analyze the advantages and disadvantages of fluorescent tubes
|· Use small spaces well as they are slender||· It’s more expensive as they need a ballast to stabilize current|
|· Last long||· The tubes require a special kind of stand as they do not fit in the usual plugs|
What about the arguments for and against Compact Fluorescent Lights(CFL’s)?
|· CFL technology is trustworthy as it has been around for around 100 years||· It was originally expensive to install on a large scale|
|· Its energy consumption is better than the old-school bulbs by 20-30%|
|· Efficient while saving energy as they do not release extra heat|
|· Readily available|
|· Easy to use as they do not require extra modifications|
|· Lasts longer than the ordinary light bulbs|
3. High-Pressure Sodium(HPS) Grow Lights
Also referred to as High-Intensity Discharge(HID), HPS grow lights popularity is exploding, especially within the entrepreneurial farmer’s circles. There are high-pressure sodium lights and low-pressure sodium(LPS) lights in the market.
The latter is frowned upon for indoor gardening. They are uneconomical for small-scale farmers when you consider the high cost of initial installation.
- Plasma Grow Light
These are the newest entrants to the market, thus still expensive as they are little known. They are riding on durability features as well as emitting lights on a full hue. In comparison with HID, they also use less power.
Why Should You Use Vertical Grow Lights?
There are many reasons to use them to out-smart nature and other climatic conditions. As an entrepreneur or a gardener, they give you control over your farm. In addition, they allow you to:
- grow house plants, flowers, and green leafy vegetables
- propagate seedlings
- grow plants during winter
- prepare seedlings for future seasons
- extend light for plants that require it for a long time
What Should You Consider Before Buying Vertical Grow Lights?
- The distance between the lights and the plants
- The heat generated by the grow lights
- The space you have available
- The balance between energy and cost-efficiency
The future is undoubtedly vertical farming. The projections are the world will grow to about 9.7 billion by 2050. We have to embrace modern ways of farming and rethink how fast we grow our food and make it available for consumption.
Moreover, people have become health conscious and the demand for food grown without chemicals and other pollutants is high.
Leveraging vertical grow lights will make it possible to have thriving vertical gardens. It’s thus important to get it right from the onset to eliminate unnecessary installation losses.
Installing either of the four options outlined above will certainly put you on the right track.
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