house hot spots

Keep Your Growing Room Warm

Keep Your Growing Room Warm

Keep Your Growing Room Warm

So to keep in line with my last post then here is a few ideas to keep your growing room warm for your plants this winter. Many grow rooms are situated in modern homes with central heating.

So, the simple way would be to keep the central heating on 24/7. The problem with this is it would probably too warm for us humans to tolerate. Individual radiator thermostats are a great idea as you can control each radiator. Including the one in the growing room. If the radiator is set at a certain temperature then it will adjust the heat supplied accordingly. Dont forget that heat is given off by your lighting and ventilation so some sort of control will be required to maintain a certain temperature.

Heat control can be easy to keep with providing there are no dramatic temperature changes.

Some methods of heat control

By applying some of these methods then you will be avoiding a catastrophic drop in temperatures. Thus resulting in poor growing plants and a smaller harvest. Earlier I mentioned the lights. Of course this depends on what lights you are using . Older type lighting systems give off much heat and can higher or lower the temperature dramatically. LED lights burn at much lower temperatures and are more controllable in my opinion.

Unfortunately, here in the UK we have a large number of Victorian housing stock. These larger stone terraced houses are much more difficult to control even with central heating systems. Therefore, there should be a couple of more safe guards to look at.

  1. Fan speed controllers can be used to reduce the amount of air intake and extraction (making things hotter or cooler)
  2. For older properties you could add extra heating such as electric fan heater with an in built thermostat if possible.
  3. Its always a good idea to Insulate your grow room floor, wall and ceiling (there are many products on the market at good prices)
  4. In a water tank then use a water heater for large volumes of nutrient solution (dont put cold water onto your plants ! remember the 19c rule)
  5. Buy a maximum and minimum temperature gauge and regularly check the humidity readings.
  6. Dont pull in freezing air so obtain your intake air from a different room (Keeps the temperature ambient)
  7. Ensure your nutrients are stored at the correct room temperature
  8. Change round day and night by running your grow lights during the night and lights off during the day.
  9. I hope this will help new growers in particularly. Eric Roberts
cold weather

Hydroponics Winter Basics

Hydroponics Winter Basics

Hydroponics Winter Basics

Winter is now upon us in the northern hemisphere. Here in West Yorkshire we have already experienced several frosts and a snow storm. Thus making it impossible to do any outdoor gardening.

Most plants that are hardy have already closed down for their winter break. Leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees, with only conifers having a covering of green foliage. In my case my lemon and other citrus fruit are sitting happily in their cosy greenhouse together with LED lighting to lengthen our dark winter days.

So, indoor hydroponic growers can experience temperature fluctuations during very cold spells of weather. Roots are very intolerant of temperature changes. Changes in growth can make significant changes to growth rate if the temperature is allowed to drop bellow 19c . So at this temperature the plants roots zone could easily be damaged. The growth begins to slow and the outside of the root can be damaged.

Many experts believe that the best root temperature should be between 20c and 21c. So, to enable the plants to absorb nutrients correctly. Providing a nutrient solution that is war enough to stimulate new growth is important for the development of a healthy plant. Keeping good oxygen levels and content is imperative for good results.

Concrete floors can be a problem

When writing this blog I a thinking primarily about temperature variations in a building with concrete floors. We all know about the cold feeling when we walk inside a building with a concrete floor. Especially in winter time. So, if plants are grown under these conditions then there is likely to be a large temperature variation. This could be overlooked when starting out your growing season in spring time.

Even a small garage used for growing will suffer variations of temperature in winter time. Ass a result many growers use some type of rubber mats to help insulate their precious crop. Personally I would raise the plants off the floor to stop them getting “cold feet” and ruining the crop at a later stage.

Cold can also effect the temperature of the water tank used to mix and provide the nutrients. Growing rooms must be well insulated so the the air temperature does not change significantly in a cold spell. As I have said earlier the 19c level should not be compromised. Your plants will be open to attacks from many pests and disease. The weaker your hydroponics plant then the more likely they are of been attacked.

Of course all this will lead to a poor crop and disappointment. So prepare for winter by making your plants as cosy as possible to avoid disappointment and a poor harvest. Heaters are the answer !


zeus 600w led light unit

Lumatek Zeus Pro Lighting

Home » LED Lighting

Lumatek Zeus Pro Lighting

Lumatek Zeus Pro Lighting

Why use LED lighting

Well in my opinion then the cost of running your lighting has got to up there amongst the main reason for updating your equipment. So as time goes by there are thousands of inventors looking for new way to improve things. In my opinion this is the next step forward in growers lighting.

Indeed there are many reports from manufacturers that say the LED lights can save as much as 40%. Compared to the energy used by the old style lighting equipment that many still use. Also the growing area that is lit up using LED will of course generate more yield per kWh. My own experience is that a friend who is a keen grower of all sorts of plants had a surplus LED light unit. He offered the light at good price and so I snapped his hand off. The unit is just plug and play and simple to install.

Used LED for the first time

Last winter was the first time that I used the new LED lights in my citrus plant over wintering greenhouse. So, the light omitted from the LEDs was a very bright white light. My older lights were of course orange coloured. Combined with a good greenhouse heater my plants over wintered perfectly. Consequently, I added two hours daylight at each end of the day. So giving my lemons and oranges the extra daylight they require.

My plants are put out in the summer and I then grow my tomatoes and peppers. Incidentally, my friend had bought a new Lumatek LED light unit which is rated at a tremendous 60,000 hrs. I was happy to buy his old LED unit for my first step into LED growing. However he upgraded to the Lumatek giving him a 5 year warranty.

Lumatek LED, s highly efficient

One of the first things that I noticed about LED lighting was how cool a temperature they run at. The Lumatek also operates at a high efficiency with much less wattage used. Meaning less heat release with the lowering of your gardening expenses (keeps the wife happy) and lower electric bills.

My friend is certainly impressed with his Lumatek Zeus Pro Led lighting set up. Giving Scott my friend more powerful grow lights. Another added advantage of Lumatek LED lights is that they can be dimmed. Accordingly to adjust the PPF level. Naturally to suite the crop and the growth stages. This is without changing or losing the efficiency.

Flexible light intensity;

 Lumatek LEDs can be dimmed to adjust PPF level to suit crop and growth stage without changing spectral power distribution or losing efficiency. Of course LED lighting is the future and is already in the process of overtaking the HPS lighting market. Because of the way that the multiple light strips are designed, then the diodes are spread right across the canopy. This spreads out the light giving an almost perfect footprint of light.

So, the type of lighting that the Zeus product emits is as close as possible to natural sunlight. Of course something that’s most beneficial to your plants. Finally once the Lumatek LED’s are up and running then you won’t ever have to change a lamp again. This should save over £1000 a year!

These lights are available from many Hydroponic store’s online and callers welcome.

LED Lighting for a better heat control

August Heat Wave Expected

Home » LED Lighting

August Heat Wave Expected

August Heat Wave Expected

So, I am sure that most people including growers and regular gardeners look forward to long sunny summer days. Of course its time to relax in the garden with your friends and family over a glass of beer or two. Possibly just doing some watering chores and making sure the greenhouse is well ventilated. However according to the weather forecast things are going to hot up in the August of 2021 here in the UK.

So, we have recently witnessed a good week of hot weather and we all know how uncomfortable it can be for us mere mortals. Spare a thought for the plants grown indoors. Good growing conditions require a temperature in the region of 28c! Hence to produce a good crop. However, things can become more unstable if the temperature reaches the 30C+ range outside. Our British homes are built to keep the cold out and the heat in with plenty of insulation. Unfortunately, during heat waves then the homes become stuffy and overheated. Thus making it difficult to sleep on sultry evenings.

Coincidently, plants feel the heat too and often stress out ending in a poor crop of fruit or flowers. The main problem in hot weather is of course the heat given off by the grow room lights. So, many people have their lights fitted with an adjustable ballast. Enabling the heat produced by the lights to be reduced. The ballast wattage can be turned down via its settings to reduce the amount of heat produced by the bulbs.

Importantly, the Lumatek 600w digital ballast provides a stable precise voltage to the lamp and is available online from your local Hydrostore.

LED to the rescue!

Of course the “rescue ship on the horizon! is going to be the LED lighting units. These units although expensive at the moment give off no heat. Therefore giving the grower more control over temperature. Smaller growers are already embracing this marvellous technology. Indeed I recently bought an LED lighting unit from a guy who claims to have had a double delivery. The unit was a bargain and was installed to give my citrus trees extended day light hours through Autumn to Spring. Thus enabling my citrus trees to carry on growing until they were put outside for the summer months.

The temperature was controlled by a greenhouse fan heater and all worked very well. As I have said these LED lighting units are more expensive to buy in the first place! However they pay for themselves because they actually use between 50 and 70% less electricity than the more traditional HPS bulb system.

Good Extraction System also helps

Of course most indoor growing set ups are fitted out with some sort of extraction system. These systems change the air in the growing room replacing warm air with cooler air. So, this combined with a control unit such as a GSE Controller will automate the process. So, as the temperature rises from outside conditions the system will start to work over time to keep the conditions more stable and the plants happier.

An extraction system reduces heat build up by drawing in cool air and then transferring warm air out of the growing area via ducting and a carbon filter. If you introduce a fan controller with temperature probe, your extraction system will automatically react to the temperature you set it too which also allows you to control you grow rooms temperature. Most plants hate to grow in a stuffy overheated environment and can cause growing restrictions leading to a poor quality crop of whatever you are growing.

So with the correct equipment in use then all should be well and the best results will be achieved.