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LED Growlights Are Available For Gardeners Who Lack Outdoor Space

Lots of people like to garden, but some find themselves without any outdoor space. Despite magazine photos of potted plants lining stairways and balconies, not all apartments have balconies, and many communities ban placing anything on the stairs or walkways because they can pose a trip hazard in an emergency. For people who still want to grow their own tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, and other edibles, an indoor setup containing LED growlights is the answer. The plants can be grown in soil or in a hydroponic system, but both will need lights directed onto the plants in order to make up for the sunlight they are missing out on.

A few types of lights can be used, and they all have advantages and disadvantages, of course; which one the gardener uses will depend on what aspects he or she likes most about the light. LED growlights have some very big benefits; they are long lasting, so they do not need to be replaced that often, and they do not use very much electricity at all. That is good news considering how long the lights have to be left on for, which can often top several hours per day, every day. Additionally, the LED growlights are very cool, which can actually lead to savings of water, too. Cooler lights mean less heat on the plants, and the heat is a major factor in how quickly water evaporates. A cooler light means the water given to the plants will remain there a little longer. That does have a bit of a disadvantage in that if the leaves get wet, that can increase their chances of developing a plant disease because the moisture allows more of the bacteria or fungi to grow. But the trade-off is a savings in water and the ability to place the lights closer to the plants because there is not enough heat to warrant keeping the lights a certain distance away. Of course, you still do not want to put the lights right up against the plants; give them some room.

Incandescents are hotter and will evaporate water more quickly, but they are also a lot easier to find and cheaper to buy. The overall cost is offset by the increased frequency with which a grower would need to buy new replacement bulbs, not to mention the larger amount of electricity they need to use. But unlike LED growlights, which need to be ordered, a grower could just go to the local store — even a grocery store — and pick up a new bulb. LED growlights do come in specific colors, and not just white; this lets the grower increase the foliage or flowers so that there is more than there would be if white incandescent light were used. This can increase the yield as more flowers means more fruit — although growers have to be careful not to leave too many flowers on a plant, because those will compete for nutrients and result in very small fruit — and more leaves mean more lettuces, herbs, and other leafy foods.

Incandescents also come in different colors, but because they are generally larger than LEDs, they are not as customizable — there is only so much room above the plants for the lights. LEDs do cost much more, so even if the grower would prefer them over incandescents, the cost could be prohibitive at first. One possible solution is to switch over gradually, using mostly incandescents and gradually adding LED panels as the grower gets more money for them. The grower should look into what it would take to suspend both above the plants.

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