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calendar   Wednesday - December 29, 2010

Stoners For Global Warming?

Like, wow man, the total irony.

I was bopping through the news this morning, looking for something interesting to post on, when I found an article at FoxNews on indoor gardening.

How to Build a High-Tech Indoor Garden This Winter

The dark days of winter are upon us, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on gardening until the spring. Grow lamps are becoming increasingly popular in gardening circles these days. And new breeds of low-power lights make them affordable options for those looking to keep a kitchen stocked with green herbs through the winter months, or those just looking to jump start their seedlings for next spring.

Before going any further, we need a quick scientific crash course. Plants need fairly intense light to grow, and the intensity of light in measured in a factor called lumens. The higher the lumen value of a bulb, the stronger the light and the better your plants will grow. For noticeable growth, you’ll want a bulb that puts out at least 4,000 lumens, and some bulbs can produce upwards of 40,000 lumens.

But a light’s intensity isn’t the only thing you have to look for; the temperature of the light is also important, a value measured in kelvins. Temperature in this case refers to the color of the light: the bluer, or colder the light, the higher the kelvin value. The warmer, or redder the light, the lower the value.

... and so on. Who is he kidding? And how did this article sneak in? It’s instructions on how to build a grow room. For your flowers, of course. And your “green herbs”. Uh huh. He goes on a bit about the different kind of bulbs out there and how well they work for growing plants. Incandescent (very poor), fluorescent (poor), etc., up to HID lamps (awesome). I think he wanted to write that the newest LED bulbs were the be-all and end-all, but they aren’t. Not yet. They don’t use much electricity, and they can be built to emit specific frequencies of light, but they simply don’t put out anywhere near enough light. And yet ... neither this author nor any other has really taken a look at the latest generation of Cree LEDs. I think they are the wave of the future, but the thing about the future is that it isn’t here yet.

What is the Cree LED? This is not the little red light on your coffee pot. These little 1/4” bitches are awesome! They generate an extraordinary amount of light. I’ve got a digital flashlight that uses one of them, and at the two highest settings it’s a weapon. The painfully bright light will shut your eyes down, causing near temporary blindness. 630 lumens for several hours from 8 AA batteries. Other flashlights drive these LEDs even harder, and produce 900-1000 lumens but with shorter battery life. Imagine a few of these as reflector lamps run off of low voltage transformers. Still, even 630 lumens - about the same light output as a regular 40 watt lightbulb - from something the size of the head of a carpet tack, that needs only 12 volts, is might impressive. 16 of them on a 1” square lamp would light up a barn while using perhaps 32 watts of electricity.

[ HUGE amounts of redacted writing here, as Drew decided he didn’t really want this post to be a lesson on how to build a grow room and a step by step guide to light usage, placement, intensity, and purpose over the life cycle of short season plants. Like those “green herbs”. Uh huh. ]

Once upon a time this was all semi-secret underground information. But thanks to the internet, today it’s just a mouse click or two away, and you can read all sorts of scientific papers on indoor gardening, starting with the original ones, done by the Department of Defense back in the late 50s, who envisioned vast underground bunkers filled with people waiting for the Nuclear Winter to end and the post-apocalyptic radiation levels to fall, and knew that those people would need to eat. So they went out and figured out just what kind of light, how much and how many hours of it per day, what ambient temperature, what N-P-K soil additives, and even what CO2 levels would produce the most efficient plant growth. Many other studies have been done since then, and now all sorts of data is easily available.

What about the stoners dude?

You can’t spend very much time looking up information on building an indoor greenhouse before you run across carbon dioxide. It’s the greenhouse gas you want in your greenhouse. Plants breath the stuff, duh. And a good greenhouse is a fully controlled environment, right down to the air itself. And ... surprise, surprise! ... it turns out that plants LOVE CO2! They adore it. Hell, they literally live for it. And study after study after study shows that significantly higher levels of the stuff promotes plant growth. Those studies also show that when the CO2 levels get really high, plants need higher temperatures to get the most out of it. And more light and water too, and eventually more fertilizer. A rich moist brilliant almost-hot hothouse environment.

Currently, the most recent CO2 level measurement from Hawaii is 388.59 PPM. For optimum plant growth, the ideal indoor greenhouse level is 1500 PPM, more than 4 times higher than current world conditions. In regular sunlight, plants really want levels 5 times higher than what’s outside. 500% more. Just to attain their full potential. Other studies have shown that plants can live in atmospheres with as much as 10,000 PPM of CO2, even though levels over 2500 PPM are lethal for people.

This is pretty much common knowledge across dozens, if not tens of thousands, of Grow Pot In Your Closet websites. And just as many nominally upstanding horticultural ones, a few of which I’ve linked to in this post.

So there it is, in digital black and white. The truth is out there. More carbon dioxide plus warmer temperatures equals more plant growth. More plant growth equals higher crop yields. Left leaning stoner hippies already know this, and go to great lengths to make it happen for their crop of bud. Higher crop yields mean more food ( or more “green herbs” ) for more people. More food for more people means less hunger and starvation. So why is anyone unhappy about a possible slight increase in global temperatures or CO2 levels? I’d call it cause for celebration! More food for everybody, let’s eat!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/29/2010 at 12:40 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesClimate-Weather •  
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