HTGSupply.com asked me to test out one of their 8 site clone buckets. I liked it so much I am devoting the beginning of February to it to show anyone interested how I used it to help prevent any problems. It comes alone for under 50 dollars or you can get a kit with a light.  As I write this I have healthy cuttings with great root growth. (It works great!) I have added some fish emulsions to promote vegetative growth until I put the plants into a hydroponic system with gravel as a medium. As you will see in pictures, this bucket rocks!


Light Meter Uses, LED etc.

I have included some pictures of a light meter I got from HTGSupply.com   This is not an essential tool for good growing but there  are some light meter uses that the more advanced grow could use to improve their growing.
The first thing you could do with a light meter is to check for hot spots or low light areas under you lights to maximize the space you grow in

I have written about how long HID bulbs last and a second use of a light meter for good growing is to test how the output of your HID bulbs are declining and make sure you maximize the life of the bulb. Maybe your bulbs are lasting longer then average and you don’t need to replace them, or maybe you have a below average life expectancy and your output is well below what you want.

A third use of a light meter is to get the right height for your light, you don’t want to risk your plants growing into the lights and burning if they get enough light a few inches further from your light.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers


A Second Great LED -4 (end of semester)

The end of the semester means I must end my experiment, but I hope to take stem cuttings of the tomato plants and try out a new clone bucket from HTGSupply.com with this LED and Grow tent.
 This UFO LED is a great light. Plants have good vegetative growth and the flowering response is great with this light, in fact the only thing I can say is better with the T-5 is that the tomato plants were much shorter and sturdy stemmed under the T-5 than the LED.  The plants in the grow tent picture above were growing much like tomato plants outdoors under the sun; they had grown tall and needed to be staked or in tomato cages. This normal growth occured with only 90 watts of electricity.  The Coleus and basil and rosemary in the  tent also showed the same 'normal' growth I would expect outside in sunlight.  All tomato plants under the UFO  have many small tomato's and many more flowers forming as well as the good upward vegetative growth.  
Please compare the grow tent picture above with the post of the first day of this test one month ago to see what this LED can do
My conclusion: I still think an HPS is the single best light to use if you only use one light and a fluorescent light is still my best choice for vegetative growth of say seedlings or cuttings or small plants but even a high output fluorescent can not compete with the 2 watt bulb Tri-Band LED from HTGSupply.com when it comes to flowering.  If you are growing spinach or basil or some other leafy plant you may want to stick with the T-5 vs. an LED but if you are interested in flowering or even flowering and vegetative growth you should seriously consider a LED with Tri-Band technology!  My next test I hope to compare a Tri-Band LED to HID's... stay tuned.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


A second Great LED - 3

During the second and third week I started to see a difference between the UFO LED in the grow tent and the T-5 Fluorescent.  The LED had a much better flower response than the T-5.   This is not surprising if you look at the light output, the T-5 is a good light because it has a broad light output (All the colors of the rainbow which makes it look 'white' to your eyes) and it has a lot of blue light.  Both blue and red light are required by plants in all growth stages, but an excess of blue light will promote short bushy vegetative growth and may actually inhibit the flower response in some plant species.  This UFO LED has plenty of blue and red light (In the proper wavelength for plants to use as an energy source for photosynthesis, not just so it looks red or blue to the human eye).  You can see this light does promote good flowering/fruit production.  What may be surprising is that the UFO uses only about 90 watts while the T-5 is using almost 200 watts.   The Tri-band technology developed by HTGSupply.com really does promote excellent plant growth and lives up to much of what I have heard about LED’s.  I still know there are a lot of poor quality LED’s out there so don’t assume any LED is as good as what I have shown here.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers


The Right Height for Your Light

One thing you want to do is make sure the light you use is at the right height.  The light source is the single most important factor in good growing.  For fluorescent lights with big bulbs (T-8 or T-12) you want the plants as close as possible, within a cm (1/2 inch).  These are good lights to start seedlings under or to start growing indoors with but you can't really grow plants over one foot tall with these lights. When you move up to a high output fluorescent T-5 you can have the plants a bit further (several inches) from the light.  With LED or HID you can have the light even further from your plants as the light intensity is much greater.  The further from your plants the light is the larger an area you can grow in.  However, the energy of light decreases over space so if you have the light too far from the plants you will get tall lanky plants that are trying to grow up to get closer to the light source.  You need to find the best height for your plants and your grow environment.  I blow air cleaned by a carbon filter right at the reflector and bulb of my 400W HPS and this allows me to keep the HPS light only about 1 foot above plants.  With HID's the limiting factor as to how close to have the light to the plants is usually heat, these bulbs emit a lot of heat and you must keep them 1-2 feet above your plants or the heat will harm your plants.  You can look for brown leaf tips as a sign of high heat stress.  I sometimes put a 600W HPS several feet above a lot of plants that get some secondary light through a window.  This light and the hour of sunlight on sunny days is all I need to have happy healthy plants in my solarium.  LED's do get hot too, but not as much as an HID.  WIth LED you can have  them two feet or more above the plants, but the closer the light is to your plants the more intense the light.  More intense light will speed up the growth rate, and the flowering rate, so long as the lights don't burn your plants

If your plants do grow too close to the light you will have tissue damage, with low energy fluorescent you will get yellowing with T-5 and HID you will get wrinkled leaves or  brown leaves and branches (DEAD) on the parts of the plant that are close to the light.