Spare Your Marijuana Crop From Seasonal Sadness With Improved Lighting

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Spare Your Marijuana Crop From Seasonal Sadness With Improved Lighting

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A steady square wave seen against fluctuating sawtooth waves.

A steady square wave seen against fluctuating sawtooth waves.
(Click to enlarge)

Autumn is here, which means shorter days and longer nights. Some people love this time of year—the crisp refreshing air and sweet smell of falling leaves. But for others, the quickly fading sunlight means an inevitable case of the blues, called seasonal affect disorder (appropriately abbreviated as SAD). Symptoms of SAD include lack of energy, concentration, and even sex drive. And it can effect up to 10% of the population each year.

Inside your grow op, a similar seasonal change might be occurring without you knowing it - a change that will reduce your crops drive to flourish and ability to produce the best possible buds.  Only instead of the shifting seasons limiting the light, changes inside your horticulture lamps are heading towards a permanent winter, even though you're controlling the light and dark cycles.


Start With The Bulbs

In you grow op, your HPS or MH bulbs act as the sun, shining warm loving light and energy on your plants. But unlike the sun, bulbs deteriorate over time. Even bulbs that look fully powered to the human eye will slightly degrade with each use. That's because the gases inside the bulb that produce the light naturally change over time. Even more surprising is that trace amounts of the gases will actually escape the glass casing. That modified mix means a shift in the spectral output of the bulb, usually away from the optimized output of most quality horticultural bulbs.

For this reason, it's a good idea to change your HPS or MH lamps every six to eight months (roughly two crop cycles). It's like giving your crop energizing summer sunshine all year round. Not only that, but new bulbs will provide greater output than their degenerating counterparts for the same amount of electricity. And no one likes to waste electricity, especially during winter, when longer nights and more time inside will already cause your utility bills to climb.

Big Improvements In Ballast

During this time of year, you may find yourself outside trying to catch the final pleasant moments before the deep freeze of winter settles in. Look up and you'll see clouds drifting past, casting shadows as your stroll. Step into one of these shadows, and an immediate chill digs into your bones. Wait for the cloud to pass, and breath a sigh of relief as the warming sun comes over your body. Even if the air temperature remains nearly constant, there's no denying that the direct rays make a difference.

Now imagine that shift in lighting happening in split second intervals, non-stop for the duration  of your crops light cycle. Sounds a bit exhausting, doesn't it?  Well, this is happening if you're using a standard high-frequency digital ballast to run those brand new shiny horticulture lamps.
The reason for this shift in light is that a high-frequency digital ballast uses a sawtooth wave that both overdrives your lamps and fails to maintain a steady output of electricity. You can't see it with the human eye, but lab analysis proves that it's true. This shift in output creates what's called “dirty” light.

Fortunately, a new generation of ballasts are using a low-frequency square wave that produces a far more stable output. That means less stress on your new bulbs, as well as more consistent “clean” light energy for your marijuana crop.


So if you're already starting to consider where to go sun yourself on your winter vacation, take a moment and think about the light in your grow room. Making these upgrades to bulbs and ballasts is like moving your crop to Costa Rica. Paradise for your plants.




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