Fresh Indoor Tomatoes

Fresh Indoor Tomatoes

It is exciting to see the fruits of labor!

The students at Lakewood High School have been busy learning indoor hydroponics gardening. Both of these varieties of tomatoes are being grown in Ebb & Flow hydroponics systems by Botanicare.

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The Balancing Act

The Balancing Act

A segment on Hydroponics in the home by Josh Field and Jeremy Stout of The Big Tomato.

Clean Up Day Interview

Clean Up Day Interview

(Updated)

An introduction and interviews of the people who are involved in the R.I.S.E./S.T.E.M. greenhouse projects.

Clean Up Day Interviews

Clean Up Day Interviews

An introduction and interviews of the people who are involved in the R.I.S.E./S.T.E.M. greenhouse projects.

R.I.S.E. 11/11

R.I.S.E. 11/11

R.I.S.E. – Red Rocks Institute for Sustainability and Education

The Big Tomato donated supplies and people power to help R.I.S.E. refurbish their greenhouses at the Warren Tech Campus in Lakewood, CO.

HID Lighting (High Intensity Discharge)

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Metal Halide Light System In Action

High intensity discharge (HID) lights are the most commonly used grow light since they give off a greater amount of lumens (visible light power) per watt of incoming electricity to the light. HID lights are commonly preferred over fluorescent and incandescent lamps because their power will is displayed in their lumen output more than their heat output. An HID light can put out as much as five (5) times the lumens per watt as an incandescent lamp can produce.

There are two types of HID grow light bulbs used by indoor gardeners. There is the metal halide lamps and the high pressure sodium lamps.

Metal Halide (MH)

Metal halide lights are powerful and efficient light sources for growing. They emit more of a blue spectrum which is ideal for the vegetative stage of growing. The metal halide lights are designed to produce the same kind of blue and indigo light spectra that your plants would get from the sun in the spring time when most plants are beginning to sprout. This type of blue light will produce more compact stems, tighter internode spacing and a faster growth rate. The MH lights are best for the early stages of plant growth, when the stem production and leaf production are so important to the overall quality of plant you produce. Metal Halide lamps also produce enough red and yellow light spectra to produce decent flowering or fruiting, however, for maximum flowering production you will want to switch to an HPS light.

High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

High pressure sodium lights, as a ‘flowering’ and ‘fruiting’ light is in a class of its own and can only be out performed by the sun. HPS lights produce strong red and yellow light spectra. This end of the light spectrum generates longer stems, bigger blooms and more bountiful crop. The high pressure sodium lights produce brighter and more efficient lumens per watt than a metal halide. The greater your efficiency and production of lumens per watt can affect the size and quality of the yield of your plants.

Because of the fact that metal halide lamps require metal halide ballasts and high pressure sodium lamps require high pressure sodium ballasts, many growers prefer to use a digital ballast which has the ability to run either type of bulb.

Incandescent Grow Lights

Don’t be fooled by Incandescent lights.
Incandescent grow lights will typically produce the red-yellowish end of the light spectrum with an approximate color temperature of around 2700 K. Though they are many times labeled as growing lights, they are not good growing lights. The are much less efficient than fluorescent lights or typical HID grow lights. Their average life span is only around 700+ hours, and they are better at converting the electricity they consume into heat instead of into light.