Lighting factors and how to get the most from your light
by Greg Green
The reflector part of the lighting kit can also cause a difference in lumens cast between two different systems using the same bulb. The reflector does it exactly what is says. It reflects light. The other thing to consider is that when the light bounces off the reflector it is going to fall down on your plant. When it does your plants will absorb this light. Not all of the available light is picked up by the plant and some of the light will escape and reflect off your workbench. Your bench may even absorb some of the light. This is your light that you are spending money on so why not try and do something about saving this escaping light. Some reflectors are very good and some are very poor. Reflectors should not be any colour other than white or polished metal. Some reflectors may have a small green film of plastic covering their insides. Remove this if you can. It should just pull off like a piece of tape.
Many people get mirrors or tin foil and line their grow area with it. This is NOT good. MIRRORS ABSORB LIGHT. This means that only a small amount of your light is reflected back towards your plant. What you need is something white. White is the best colour for reflecting light, period. Not shiny glossy white, just plain ‘flat’ white. A white wall will reflect more light that a mirror will. Many growers like to paint the walls of their grow ‘flat’ white. This helps a lot. Other people like to line their grow area with the back end of tin foil wrapping (the white side). This is okay, but make sure that you use the white side and not the shiny side.
A substance which looks like a tin foil sheet, called Mylar, is very popular in cannabis grow rooms. Instead of using white walls you can use this reflective alternative. Most DIY and hardware stores will sell it in roles.
It is also recommend that you keep a spare bulb at all times in case your other bulb dies. It is no good going down to the local hardware store only to find that they are out of the bulb type that you need. This could leave your plants without light for along time.
It is also wise to remember that plants need water and lights use electricity. Both these factors when mixed are extremely dangerous. Be safe and wise and keep all electrical outlets away from your plant and liquids that you use.
Okay so you have your grow area set-up with all your security arrangements met. You have your lights set up and hanging down over your grow area. You also have some form of light reflection around your plants to help conserve your light. Your seed-bank has sent you your seeds and you have germinated them. They are on a tray next to you and you are preparing to transplant them into larger pots. The larger pot will stay with the plant throughout its life cycle and you need to provide the best medium possible in which your plant will grow.