Whether you have novice, intermediate, or expert skills for vertical farming, hopefully, you can still learn something helpful from this article or at least use it as a reference point. When farming vertically, you can go about it in two ways: growing outdoors with sun light or growing indoors using LED grow lights. The latter is the form of vertical farming we will be exploring here. Let’s look at all the aspects of vertical farming LED lighting.
Vertical farming using LED grow lights is a highly efficient farming method because you can maximize the efficiency of all designated growing areas and provide your plants with the exact light spectrums it requires. LED lights are more costly than other light options but more durable.
Do Plants Grow Better With LED Lights?
Plants that have been grown using LED grow lights present far more robust root systems than plants grown outdoors. On top of having a stronger root system, indoor plants grown under full spectrum LED grow lights have been known to produce much faster than outdoor plants.
This success is because when you are growing plants indoors, you can determine the amount of light it gets per day, which directly affects the amount of plant growth experiences each day.
Furthermore, plants grown under an LED grow light can be kept in a constant vegetative state by being exposed to light for a specific number of hours each day. (The amount of time may differ depending on the type of plant).
Once you are satisfied with your plant’s growth, you can similarly force your plants to start flowering by changing the duration of light exposure per day.
After flowering and pollination have occurred, the fruits produced by indoor plants grown under LED grow lights tend to be larger and sometimes more densely packed together.
Vertical Farming LED Lighting
Vertical farming LED lighting serves as a replacement for sun light when growing various crops, including leafy greens, herbs, and smaller fruits such as strawberries.
LED grow lights also help boost your plant’s growth, especially in leafy plants like lettuce and basil, and assist them in growing much more densely and vibrantly than if the plant was grown outdoors.
Indoor Farming LED Lights With Water Cooling
Even though LED lights are the coolest running grow lights on the market, that hasn’t stopped Oreon from developing the embrace water-cooled LED grow light which is taking the indoor grow light industry by storm.
The Oreon embrace is a Dutch-made LED grow light designed for use in greenhouses and grow tents. This innovative design has proven to be a great option for vertical growth.
The Oreon embrace grow light claims to be the first water-cooled LED grow light that is compact enough to be installed in a multilayer setup designed for stable indoor growing. The embrace is a grow light designed for use in small quarters where the light fixture is very close to the crop being grown.
Beyond being the first water-cooled LED grow light on the market, the Oreon embrace was designed to emit the red/blue spectrum, the red/blue/white spectrum, and the red/blue/white far-red spectrum.
The Oreon embrace is causing such ripples in the grow light industry because the water-cooling system prevents the light from getting too hot, preventing the light from altering the RH (relative humidity) and avoiding shifts in the Co2 levels in the greenhouse or grow tent.
The Role Of Vertical Farming LED Lighting
When it comes to growing plants, being able to replace the sun is exceptionally advantageous. By using grow lights, you can choose the exact color spectrums you want to expose your plants to and what concentration you want the colors to be in.
The reality is that growing plants using LED lighting is more like chemistry than gardening. The advantage of using grow lights was further confirmed by a study done by Michigan state university. This study has proven that providing a plant with different concentrations of multiple color wavelengths.
The outline of the study is as follows. The researchers exposed red lettuce to a mixture of the Red light spectrum, Blue light spectrum, Greenlight spectrum, and the Far-red light spectrum in varying amounts.
They did a baseline test by growing a head of red lettuce under a combination of the Red light spectrum and the blue light spectrum at a 120 μmol red and 60 μmol blue ratio. (μmol stands for micromole per Joule)
The baseline test results were as follows: underwhelmingly small harvest with a very tightly compacted head with tiny leaves that were a semi-dark red.
After the university ran the baseline test, they did four separate tests with the following color combinations (Red, Green, and Blue) (Red, and Green) (Red, Far-red, and Blue) (Red, and Far-red). We will refer to these as tests one through four in the listed order.
Test one – Red, Green, and Blue: This test entailed using a color ratio of 120 μmol red light, 40 μmol green light, and 20 μmol blue light. The outcome of test one was that the head of lettuce grew to a medium-large size with decently large leaves that were mostly green with a slightly red hue to them.
Test two – Red and Green: In this version of the test, they only used the red and green color spectrums with a color ratio of 120 μmol of red light and 60 μmol of green light. The outcome of test two was that the head of lettuce grew to a large size with large, slightly green-yellow leaves.
Test three – Red, Far-red, and Blue: The third test was done using a color ratio of 120 μmol of red light, 40 μmol far-red, and 20 μmol of blue light. The outcome of test three was that this combination of colors resulted in large heads with large leaves that were a dark red.
Test four – Red and Far-red: Test number four comprised only using the red color spectrum and far-red color spectrum with a color ratio of 120 μmol red and 60 μmol of far-red. The outcome of test four was that the head of lettuce grew to a considerable size with oversized gangly and spindly leaves that were light green with a bright red tinge.
6 Options For Vertical Farming LED Lighting
Option 1 – King plus 1200w – this LED grow light is a full spectrum 1200-watt light.
Option 2 – Bestra Dc Series – this light has dual-chip (10w) light-emitting diodes, which produce a far brighter light than 3w or 5w LEDs. When positioned at the height of 25 inches or 2 feet, the Bestra covers an 8-foot by 7,8-foot aria with a nine-band full-spectrum light.
Option 3 – Morsen 2400w – the Morsen is a full spectrum LED grow light with 80% power saving.
Option 4 – Advanced Platinum Series P300 – the P300 has a 12-band full light spectrum that covers the full range from the UV (Ultraviolet) spectrum to the IR (Infrared) spectrum. This light has dual settings, one for the vegetative stage and one for the flowering stage, and has a light coverage area of 4,5 feet by 3,8 feet.
Option 5 – Mars Hydro Ts 1000w – the Ts 1000w has SMD (surface-mounted) LED (light-emitting diodes) innovations that provide a high par/lumen output and have adjustable light output and roughly 50% power saving.
Option 6 – Apollo Horticulture GL60 LED – the GL60 has a 50,000-hour lifespan and can cover an area of 5 square feet when in vegetative growth mode and 4 square feet when in flowering, with an LED view angle of 120 degrees.
Eight Things Indoor Farmers Must Know About Vertical Farming LED Lighting
1. You need to understand the limitations of your vertical farms LED lighting. For instance, you can’t use a seed germination lamp to grow multiple plants to the fruiting stage.
2. Before you start growing with LEDs, you need to know that LED grow lights are far more expensive than other grow lights options available, like fluorescent grow lights.
3. Even though vertical farming LED lighting is much more expensive than other options, they are also far more efficient in heat dispersion and light density.
4. When growing plants using grow lights, you must know that LED grow lights produce more light than other grow lights of the same water and power draw.
5. Vertical farming LED lighting is far safer to use than other types of grow lights available on the market because they run at a much lower temperature and don’t produce potentially dangerous gasses.
6. When growing with LED lights, the number of watts used to create 100 lumens is far fewer than if you used incandescent grow lights to create 100 lumens.
7. Compared to other grow lights such as fluorescent lights and incandescent lights that only last for 20,000 hours and 750 hours, respectively, LED grow lights can blow that time out of the water by lasting for three years or longer.
8. Arguably, the most important thing you need to know about LED grow lights is that instead of only being able to produce an intense blue/white light or yellow/while light like other grow lights, LED grow light can produce the full spectrum of light, including the UV (Ultraviolet), FR (Far-red), and IR (Infrared) spectrums of light.
Two Methods Of Vertical Farming And What Lights Are Needed
There are two main methods of vertical farming. Number one is the rack method, and number two is the tower method. There are many variants to these methods, but the base concept stays the same, you maximize the growing space by going upward rather than outward.
This means that in the same 4×4 area, you can have multiple levels you can utilize for growing.
The Rack Method Of Vertical Farming
The less vertical space your crop needs to grow with the rack method, the more levels you can add to a single rack.
The best LED lighting to use for this method of growing is a T5 style LED.
A variation of the rack method is the A-frame rack method with external shelves. The A-frame is a more cost-efficient growing method because you don’t need to have multiple levels of grow lights directly above each crop.
You can use a high-powered full spectrum LED light hanging at roughly a 45-degree angle to ensure that all plants receive light.
The Tower Method Of Vertical Farming
The tower method is a very good option for vertical growing, especially for those who wish to grow in an urban area.
A hydroponic tower garden works by making holes in a large PVC pipe and putting a mesh basket with coco peat in the basket in which you put your seeds; after drilling the holes, place the PVC pipe in an upright position.
There is another version of a tower garden called the zip wall. Here is more information about how the Zip wall type of vertical gardening works.
There are three different lighting setups that you can use for these vertical growing methods.
The first is a high-density high-powered overhead vertical farming LED lighting that is strong enough to penetrate through all layers of the canopy.
The second is a series of T5-style LED grow lights hung vertically.
The third is a high-powered overhead LED light hung at a 45-degree angle allowing the light beams to penetrate through the multiple canopies.
Final Thoughts on Vertical Farming LED Lighting
In this article, we have gone over whether or not plants grow better with LED grow lights, the role of vertical farming LED lighting, and 8 things that every indoor farmer must know about LED grow lights.
We have also learned about two methods of vertical farming and what lights are needed for each. The tower method of vertical farming, the rack method of vertical farming, 6 grow light options for indoor and vertical farming, and indoor farming using vertical farming LED lighting with water cooling. So now that you know, you have all you need to go out and grow.