How much area are you looking to light?

400W4’x 4’6’x6’

Should I Purchase a High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Metal Halide (MH) Grow Light?

High Pressure Sodium discharges the red/yellow light spectrum and facilitates flowering and fruiting. This lamp may cause plants to have a stringy structure accompanied by a high produce yield.

Metal Halide discharges the blue/green light spectrum and intensifies the vegetation growth.  These lamps will cause plants to produce full vegetation.

For optimum lighting situations both metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs are used during the appropriate plant stage.  First begin with the MH for vegetative growth and then switch and/or add the HPS for flowering and fruition.

What type of soil less media should I be using?

Hydroton is an ideal substrate for hydro gardening.  The clay Hydroton is not only applicable in the hydro culture, but also in the hydroponics system, plantings, and potted plants as filter, as decoration layer and for soil improvement.

CoCo TeK is a soil less media that is composted of the coconut husk material and other natural materials.  It expands 5 times the condensed brick size.  It increases nutrient retention and has a high water holding capacity. Its pH is balanced and has low sodium content for coir fiber. The CoCo Tek is a good alternative when the plants roots are fragile and or small by nature.

Plant Ready Gro a soil less hydro organics grow media. It looks and feels like soil however it is an all-natural soil less composite. Plant ready Gro is manufactured by Botanicare.  It is a specialized blend of perlite, coir fiber, Pure Blend, compost accelerator earth-worm castings, agrimineral 72 silica clay, polymer hydro crystal and Rootsheild Bio-fungicide.

What is conductivity?

It measures the ability of a liquid media to conduct electricity.   Dissolved ionic salts, the main constituent of hydroponic solutions, create an electrical current in solution while, pure water does not conduct electricity.  Electrical conductivity is measured in EC factors ranging from 0 – 100 EC units.  Increasing number of EC consists of increasing concentration of nutrients in the media.   The type of plant will govern the electrical conductivity (EC) required for the nutrient media.   Tomatoes and green peppers will require a higher EC (approximately 35 EC units) than does lettuce or basil (which requires approximately 3-4 EC units).  There are various reference materials, books and websites that would provide EC ranges for various plants.

What is pH?

PH measures the acidity or alkalinity of the water.  Distilled water has a pH of 7. The pH scale ranges from 2 (acidic) to 14 (basic) with 7 being neutral.   Plant requirements determine the pH.  Tomatoes are accustomed to acidic pH conditions of about 5.0 – 6.5 pH.

Will a fluorescent grow bulb from Wal-Mart give the same result?

Fluorescent grow bulbs are great supplemental lighting for your ordinary house plants and can be used to grow herbs such as basil, parsley and dill.  However, if you are interested in vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and fruit like strawberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe year round only the MH and HPS would do the job.

Why can’t I just use any type of light bulb?

Plants need a certain spectrum of light to enable it to grow.  If you take a prism and hold it up to the sun, you will get the complete color spectrum.  If you take the same prism and hold it up to an ordinary light bulb you will only see a few spectrum’s.

Roanoke Virginia KWH of 0.014200 Table

1000 watt Sodium600 watt Sodium430 watt Sodium400 watt Sodium250 watt Sodium150 watt Sodium1000 watt Halide400 watt Halide250 watt Halide175 watt Halide
Ballast Wattage11006654904642951701080458295210
Cost per Month$7.50$4.53$3.34$3.16$2.01$1.16$7.36$3.12$2.01$1.43
Initial Lumens1400009000053000500002850016000110000360002050013000
Mean Lumens126000810004770045000256001440088000288001700010350
Mean Lumens per Watt1141219796868481625749
Average Life Hours24000180001600024000240002400010000200001000010000
Replacement Bulb Cost$59.95$64.95$34.95$19.95$19.95$19.95$49.95$24.95$24.95$24.95
5 year bulb replacement cost$145.88$210.73$127.57$48.55$48.55$48.55$291.71$72.85$145.71$145.71
Light Coverage at 2500 Lumens per sq. ft.7.1ft. x 7.1ft.5.7ft. x 5.7ft.4.4ft. x 4.4ft.4.2ft. x 4.2ft.3.2ft. x 3.2ft.2.4ft. x 2.4ft.5.9ft. x 5.9ft.3.4ft. x 3.4ft.2.6ft. x 2.6ft.2ft. x 2ft.