Q&A with Jorge
What do you know about LED grow lights? Would you recommend them? If so what for?
Hey Dutch master,
I have been researching LED lights for the last couple of years. LED lights generate very little heat so they can be placed close to plants. They also boast a very high lumen-per-watt conversion. But until recently have been unable to visit a successful garden that employs LEDs. I have read a lot about them on websites and forums. Most of what I have read is sales rhetoric and hearsay. But LED technology has improved dramatically in the last few years. Extremely bright LEDs are now available if an array of colors so that you can literally dial in any color light spectrum you desire. The technology is truly remarkable. Electricity is supplied to LEDs via micro watts and must receive the exact amount of micro watts to come to full brilliance. If they receive too many micro watts the lamp extinguishes.
Expensive high end LEDs produce an incredible amount of light with very little electricity. The lamp in the garden in the photograph consumes 90 watts and 0.5 amperes on 230-volt electrical service. When plugged into 120-volt electrical outlet it uses 1 ampere of electricity to produce 90 watts of LED light. The lamp illuminates a 92 x 92 cm-square grow room. The last “test” crop yielded 600 grams of dry bud. In contrast if you use a 600-watt HP sodium lamp that draws 6.2 amperes, a lot more electricity, you harvest the same amount of bud.
Very low heat output is another advantage of the LEDs over conventional HID (metal halide and HP sodium) lamps. Less heat in an enclosed grow room means you do not have to vent grow room air as often to keep the temperature and humidity at proper levels. LEDs also open the possibility of growing in very small spaces because they can be placed closer to plants and the ceiling, which opens up space for plants to grow.
The proof is in the photograph. Unfortunately the plants in the photo suffered a major pH imbalance for three weeks. The LED technology that I have seen holds much promise to be the plant artificial lighting of the future. I plan to do much more research and write a feature article about LEDs that will run in Soft Secrets later.