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Do You Have Light?

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Taking a break from all of those instructional materials that we keep current on, here is a more general look at how to plan for hydroponics.

Some interesting questions come up when experts look at the average process, when they think about how beginners usually set up their systems. There's also the question of how grow products and grow kits are presented to beginners -- do they really give them the tools that they need to succeed? One of the things that you often see people reminding beginners of is the necessity of having adequate sources of light.

When you really don't look at the marketplace, it's astounding how many DIY grow kits do not come with any sort of grow lights. The assumption is that they'll use natural light, and that growers will be savvy enough to recognize this. But the reality sometimes doesn't fit that assumption.

Think about the number of sunny days that you'll have in a northern climate. Think about how much light a plant can get sitting on a windowsill that only faces one way. You’ll soon start to realize why a lot of these efforts were doomed from the start -- the plants might have the right climate, the right nutrients and enough water, but they never get the light that they need, and so they don't survive.

To remedy this, you need artificial grow lights with a particular spectrum and luminosity, along with a timer. Without a timer, you could easily forget when to turn lights on, and accidentally kill your plants anyway.

One other issue has to do with light distribution.

In many grow setups, you have what you might call “corner plants” or isolated plants -- these plants are just too far away from the light to get enough, or they're crowded out by other plants closer to the light source. This happens whether or not you use natural or artificial grow lighting.

The good news is that manufacturers and retailers have set up ways to deal with this. For example, in many closed-door systems, reflective interior materials bounce the light in different directions so that all plants get a good amount. But again, without understanding this concept, beginners can doom a lot of their plans by not situating lights correctly.

These are the kinds of issues that people sometimes need reminders about -- and that's one reason why you see so much of this kind of commentary around. To be sure, it's not just giving plants light, it's giving them the right kinds of light for each stage of the process. But one thing’s for sure, if you set up a DIY hydro kit with no lights or insufficient natural sunlight, you’re in for trouble.

For much more on the ways that hydroponics works, read up on the process at Dealzer, and look at thousands of pieces of equipment that you can use to build your dream garden.

 
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