Growing with High Pressure Sodium Lights

If high pressure sodium lights aren’t the most popular lighting systems used in cannabis grows, they are most definitely among the top 3 with florescent and metal halide.  These lights in the flowering stage, will provide the required energy for a bigger yield per wat in comparison to any type of grow light out there.  That’s a perk most growers can’t ignore, despite their higher electrical usage than alternatives like LED or CFL’s.

I like to start off the seedlings and the first few weeks of vegetative growth under a compact florescent set up.  After i feel the plant is strong enough to take the intensity from the high pressure sodium(it has several sets of leaves), I will replace the CFL”s with a 1000 watt High pressure sodium light.  I think this light works great for both the vegetative and flowering cycle of the plants life.  You most definitely can get away with using a different lighting system for the entire vegetative cycle.  I would highly recommend using these type of lights for flowering though because that’s where these bulbs really separate themselves from the rest.  Plants respond better to the red spectrum of lighting for flowering, as it promotes the plant to stretch and bud more efficiently.  Plants may also have a faster transition to flower under a light that is closer to the red spectrum.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing to go with a HPS, is cooling the growing environment.  There has to be a fan attached to the reflector at all times or it will emit too much heat for your medicine to be grown optimally.  As long as the area is well ventilated and you have hot air going out with fresh air coming in there is no issue with using these lights.  Remember that growing temperatures should be between 73-85 during the vegetative stage and you’ll have to compensate for this added heat.  A couple feet is a good maximum distance to separate the plants from the glass.

These lights are very powerful and they produce powerful medicine.  I remember my very first grow when I wasn’t too sure what I was doing outside of reading, and I purchased a high quality HPS bulb.  My first harvest turned out to be surprisingly good quality and I was quick to give credit to the expensive light.  My yield was low, but that was because I was still trying to figure out the correct nutrient mix and wasn’t using proper pruning techniques.  Now that I have a few years of growing experience I can say for sure that these lights will produce wonderful buds if you know what you are doing.  Start growing now and as young as you can, I can only imagine the quality of medicine I will be producing 20 years down the road.

Seeds or Clones?

One of the first decisions that you will have to make when starting a garden of your own is whether to go the route of purchasing either a clone from another gardener or start the delicate process from the very start.  There are different advantages for each method depending on how much experience you have growing, the size of your garden, and simply personal preferences.

I will start with my preferred method which is starting from the beginning with feminized seeds.  One of the main reasons people choose to go the other route is because seeds can either be male or female.  Seeds that turn out to be male plants will produce no flowers and will pollinate all of your’e existing female plants(If you don’t remove them prior to flowering) making their medicine also unusable.  Buying feminized seeds is one way to ensure you can start from the beginning and not be wasting your time.  The key reason that I choose to start from the seed is because that means you have complete control over the entire cycle and are not mixing your techniques with the previous grower.  This could mean for example that the clone that you purchased is in a different grow medium/mix then what you will be using for the rest of the process.  Outside of this problem, most growers agree that establishing good health in the seedling stage and early vegetation stage are key to having your plant run this marathon of a growing process.  So to have no control over this time frame is not something that interests me much as a grower.

Even though I made it sound like seeds are the superior way to go, clones most definitely have perks to them that many growers find attractive to their operation.  If you are operating a large scale grow operation or are trying to maximize the number of harvest you can get in a given period of time clones will definitely be ideal.  When you purchase a clone they are priced based on how far along they are in the growing period as well as the quality of the genetics you are taking a copy of.  Regardless, even if it is in the first few weeks of vegetative growth you saved yourself nearly a month in time.  It takes almost a week for germination and another week of growth as a seedling before it reaches a foot or so in height.  So you most definitely are cutting time out of the harvest cycle.  Large operations could benefit because they can simply take cuttings off their other plants and plant them in the ground and get the exact same genetic copy.  No money is spent on seeds, time is saved, and you know exactly what to expect out of that plant months in the future.  This eliminates the problems of purchasing them from another grower and having different growing techniques.  If you currently have a lot of plants growing, it would be foolish to not take advantage of cloning.

Happy Growing!