What Are Light Cycles And How Do I Use Them?

The amount of time your garden should be exposed to lighting depends on what ‘cycle’ your garden is in. The ‘Vegetative Cycle’ of your garden starts with the sprout of the seedlings and can be continued indefinitely. In the veg cycle your garden will require a minimum of 16-18 hours of light and 6-8 hours of darkness daily. Since a given amount of light can only do so much, equal production can be realized in a smaller space with less plants, where the light is concentrated and the plants can grow more efficiently. Using more light helps additional co2 uptake.

Since a plant can be kept in the ‘Veg cycle’ indefinately, many growers cultivate ‘Mother’ plants. This plant is used for clone starts and never produces buds, only new growth. The ‘Flower Cycle’ or ‘Bud cycle’ is typically equal amounts of light and dark, 12 hours on, 12 hours off or 12/12. This produces a change in the plants metabolism simulating Fall, shorter days….less light.

This is the cycle that the plants will show their sex. Usually, you’ll be able to determine the sex within the first 2 weeks of 12/12. By the 3rd week most plants have developed healthy bud sites or pollen sacks. The plants will continue on the 12/12 cycle until harvest. When someone ‘Re-vegges’ a plant that has been in the flower cycle, they’re switching the light cycle back to 18/6 to stimulate new vegetative growth.

Author: Mr.Zog

Can I Use Foil on my Flourescents?

In a shop light type fixture, the bulbs are usually space a few inches apart. This type of reflector creates light “stripes” when used close to the plants. The hood on a shop light helps to widen the light by reflecting the light coming from the top of the bulb. When you use this style reflector the light never leaves the top the bulb, instead its reflected back through the bulbs and sent out the front. If you doubt this works check with any aquarium shop and ask them.

The foil reflector: when you want the bulbs close to one another.
OK, all you need is a bulb and some 2” wide foil tape. Now, cut the tape so it is a couple of inches shorter than the bulb. This is for two reasons. First, the bulbs get hottest on the ends (heat can make the glue release and the ends of the tape will pull up). Second, it keeps the conductive foil away from the power at the end.

Before you start sticking the tape on, make SURE you have the bulb laying where the pins are horizontal to the floor. If your pins lock at an angle in the fixture, make appropriate compensations.

* Make sure you get the tape oriented with the correct florescent pin position when installed!*

Now start the tape about an inch from an end, and let the center on the tape stick to the very top the bulb. Keeping the tape straight, slowly run it down to the end. Tear off any excess at the end before sticking it past the last inch. Be sure to keep tension on the tape as you lay it – it helps to keeps the tape straight and centered (stops wrinkles).

Now that the center of the tape is stuck, start at the middle of the bulb and slowly make the tape touch a little more from the center out so that the tape is starting to take shape of the bulb. Work from the middle to end of the bulb. Don’t try to get all the tape to stick in one try. The tape will not lift once set in place.

Note: trying to stretch a full length of foil tape and trying to lay it all-at-once onto the bulb is extremely difficult; if the tape touches anything it’ll stick hard, and it tends to curl when you peel off the backing.

The results:
I took a comparison picture. The taped bulb is brighter and the light is focused downward. You still have some side lighting but as you can tell it is much less. The last picture is of a bulb that is over 30 days old and it shows no sign of phosphorous burning, stress or damage.

Using this technique you can literally create a wall of light. Floro’s are not known for their power, so be sure to get all the light you can get out of them

Editors Note: If your foil tape doesn’t have clear adhesive, mylar can be used in it’s place.

Author: Green Tao

Basic Info On Fluorescent Lighting

This is a compilation of basic information on fluorescent lighting that I have gathered over a period of several months. What is a fluorescent light? A fluorescent light is made up of a glass tube coated with phosphor, which is filled with a mixture of gases. When electrical current is applied, it “excites” the gases, causing the tube to glow brightly. ie: to “fluores”.

Why do fluorescent lights have different colors? The tubing is coated with phosphor, which will determine the color of the bulb. What diameters of fluorescent tubes are available? These are the most widely used diameter fluorescent tube size is T-5, T-8 T-10, T-12. Bulb sizes (meaning diameters) vary from .25 up to 1.5 inch, the larger in diameter the larger the fluorescent. What length is most used? There is a wide variety of lengths from 6 to 96 inch, the most widely used is a 48 inch fixture. What wattage is there to use? Fluorescents come in a wide range of watts any where from 4 to 214 watts that I have found.

Why does my bulb flicker? Fluorescent tubes are rated by hours, these hours vary by the manufacture, the most common rated hours are from 6000-22000 hrs. The bulb flickering can also be caused by a poorly seated tube (poor receptacle contacts), a ballast or starter going bad or a tube wearing out such as shown in the photograph. How do I dispose of these lights when they are broke? Although commercially generated fluorescent lights are required by law, to be handled separately from general trash. Residents are allowed to dispose of them with the rest of their household garbage.

Where can I purchase fluorescent tubes, and how much do they cost? Fluorescents can be purchased at all home improvement centers, hardware stores, and most pet supply stores or you can go to internet sites. The cost may vary depending were you reside, but the typical cost is a few dollar’s for a pack of two bulbs. Who manufactures these lights? These are the most reliable companies on the market today: Sylvania, Westinghouse, General Electric.

What are lumens? Lumens are the unit of measure that state the amount of light output produced by a light source. The higher the lumens, the greater the light output. The standard fluorescent tube should produce at least (3000-3300) lumens. How can I optimize the light output? You can help reflect the light out of each tube, by using metal foil tape as a reflector, attached directly to the tube as shown in this faq. click here Using clear plastic safety sleeves over the fluorescent tubes allows you to recycle the metal foil reflective tape.

What is a Kelvin scale? One way light is measured is on a Kelvin scale. A Kelvin scale expresses the exact color the bulb emits. Bulbs in the range of 2700 to 6500 on a Kelvin scale is ideal for growing marijuana. Plants respond not only to the quantity of light, but also the quality. What color spectrums are available in fluorescent bulbs? Fluorescent bulbs have the most range of spectrums than any other bulb. The spectrum comes in various spectrums, determined by the type of phosphor with which the bulb is coated. The following fluorescent types are as listed, along with what they may accomplish for you.

Full spectrum fluorescent bulbs have all the colors of the Kelvin scale. This bulb is good for vegetation stage. Note: This spectrum fluorescent is used in hospitals nationwide in helping people with “depression”. Wide spectrum fluorescent bulbs will restrict development of side branching, helps plants mature faster. This fluorescent is high in the red, orange and yellow color range. In fact, this fluorescent is the highest than all other fluorescent bulbs. As a matter of fact, this fluorescent is much like an HPS color range, which makes it the best all around choice for flowering stage.

Daylight spectrum fluorescent bulbs are very high (if not the highest) in the blue range on the Kelvin scale. This fluorescent promotes an arctic blue look. I suggest this fluorescent during vegetation stage. Cool spectrum fluorescent bulbs will promote multiple side growth, nice green foliage. This fluorescent is high in the blue range, giving off a bright white appearance. I suggest this fluorescent for vegetation stage. Warm spectrum fluorescent, will promote extra thick stems and branches, and will give you about 5% denser buds than other spectrums. This fluorescent is high in the red range on the Kelvin scale.

In the old school of fluorescent growing, an even mix of warm white and cool white tubes has been proven to be the best combination of light spectrums to use for flowering stage. If wide spectrum bulbs are unavailable in your area, then this is the combo to use. Do fluorescent tubes need air circulation? Fluorescent tubes do get warm, but not if they have adequate air circulation. A simple fan blowing over the fixtures as shown, will help a great deal to cool the tubes. If its done properly, any stray foliage that comes in contact with the tubes will not be harmed.

Author: Captsneak