Those grow lights I wrote about in an earlier blog are used in our greenhouse mostly during the winter months to supplement natural sunlight. As the days grow longer we use them only to “brighten up” a dreary day this time of year.
These lights are of the High Intensity Discharge type and produce very intensive light. The model we use is a two bulb system. One bulb (Metal Halide) creates the blue spectrum of light and the other (High Pressure Sodium)the orange spectrum. Together, these bulbs come pretty close to mimicking the spectrum of natural sulight, which means good growing conditions for your plants…even those that require high-light conditions.
This type of fixture cannot be plugged directly into a wall outlet. It needs a Ballast to regulate the voltage for the lamp. It gets a little complicated from here how a Ballast works, with its transformer, capacitor and ignitor. Anyhow, the Ballast itself is then plugged directly into the household outlet.
The light these lamps provide is so bright that we can hang them 3-1/2′ to 4′ above our growing plants and still provide all the light they need.
Our fixtures came from Charlie’s Greenhouse Supply. Purchasing these are not for the faint of heart… cost of the dual fixture $619.00, the ballast…$495.00, the sunlight they provide..priceless.
Other types of growlights are available, cool temperature florescent fixtures can be used for starting and growing seedlings. This type has to be place just a few inches above the growing plants to provide enough light. The advantage is their cost…maybe 1/10th the price of our HID lights.
We will discuss this subject in more detail later, perhaps in the fall as our outdoor season ends and we move back inside. In the mean time let’s enjoy the spring.