Light and Plant Growth
For Indoor Gardens

HPS light for vigorous plant growth

If you want to see lots of healthy plant growth in your garden, light is a very important factor. Without the right lighting, it will not matter how well the temperature is maintained or how well you feed your plants. The tricky part is that light requirements are a little different from plant to plant.

If you want to understand how light affects your plant growth, just keep reading...otherwise use the link below to help select the appropriate lights for your situation.

Grow Light Selector Tool

Furthermore, lighting requirements usually increase as plants go from the seedling or clone stage to the vegetative stage and finally into flowering. Below are the general guidelines for producing the ideal lighting conditions in your garden, followed by links that will further help you make appropriate lighting choices.


The General Guidelines

In general seedlings, clones, and young vegetative plants need about 25 watts/sq.ft. to develop properly.

Vegetative stage plants over 12 inches tall and more mature mother plants need a little more light to stay healthy...about 20 to 40 watts/sq.ft. (and can handle more if plant growth needs to be sped up).

Most plants in the indoor garden will be heavily fruiting or flowering plants, such as food crops or decorative flowers. Plants such as these require considerably more light to produce healthy fruits and flower buds than the amount of light required to grow stems and leaves vegetatively. The ideal range without CO2 supplementation is 50-60 watts/sq.ft.. With the addition of CO2 into the garden and all other plant growth factors perfect, light requirements increase to 60-80 watts/sq.ft..


Flowering and the Light Cycle

Forcing your indoor garden plants to flower and produce fruits is a special situation that is directly related to your light cycle schedule. In order to keep most plants in the flowering stage, you need to give them 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness every night at the same time. Different plants will require this treatment for different lengths of time in order to finish their flowering cycle. For more information, visit my flower forcing page.


The Effects of Lighting on
Other Plant Growth Factors

It is important to understand the relationship of light to the other growth factors. As you increase the light in a garden, you will also be increasing the temperature in the gardening area. Warmer air holds more water vapor and increases plant transpiration rates, and therefor can cause the humidity to rise. If you maximize your lighting and temperatures are running a little bit on the warm side, chances are pretty good your plants are running short on CO2.

In addition, increasing the light will also increase the nutritional requirements of your plants. Sometimes you need to increase your nutrient strength to accommodate the plants. At other times the plants' increased water consumption will be enough to draw in the extra nutrients without increasing the nutrient strength.


To better understand the effects of light on your plants, explore the following...



Leave Plant Growth and Light
Goto the Troubleshooting Home Page


Go to the Grow Light Selector Tool


Other Hydroponic Gardening Tips

Dirt Cheap organic and hydroponic gardening supplies

Find out the cheapest and easiest ways to garden productively in this article.

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 20 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people.



I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 20 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!



As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol).



And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.



Make a year's worth of compost in one week!

What is colloidal humus?

Make the world's best compost



Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 20 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.



And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients.


High Efficiency
Hydroponics

One final solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants is concerned. Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle, you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system!


Aquaponics

Click Here to learn more!

This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 20 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.


Produce garnden vegetables AND fish together. Eliminate fertilizer costs!


Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!


High Efficiency
Soil Gardening

This is where my advice ends for people growing in water. But some of you out there are in love with soil gardening and organic gardening, and rightly so! It's a pro-human activity. It is pro-conservation. It is pro-life. It nurtures and promotes life at all levels, from the micro-organisms to beneficial insects, to healthy humans. It's natural. it's spiritual. Gardening is written deeply into our DNA, like how you feel watching a bonfire or sitting by the ocean or next to a river.



My friend John at Food4Wealth has more than 20 years experience organic gardening, so he reminds me a lot of myself. He knows organic gardening like I know hydroponic gardening, and over the years he has learned just about every trick there is to organic gardening. He knows what makes the plants grow, and he knows how to do it with as little effort as humanly possible. His garden never needs digging, naturally repels pests, has no weeds, always produces more than his family is able to eat, produces vegetables everyday all year round, and....only requires 8 HOURS of light, easy effort PER YEAR!


Low effort organic gardening!


Years and years of experience and results can't be argued with....the Food4Wealth gardening strategy is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work....specifically for organic gardeners who love soil gardening. THIS is the most efficient and productive way to do organic gardening, period! And combined with the ability to make a years' worth of colloidal humus compost in just one week (see World's Best Compost), this overall organic soil gardening strategy is just unstoppable- foolproof, low cost, and low effort!

Learn about high yield organic gardening







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