If you are planning on growing tomatoes indoors then there is one major issue that you need to address, making sure that the tomato plants get the correct amount of light. Now, as you are indoors it does tend to mean that you are going to be quite restricted in this simply because you are clearly not going to get the same natural light intensity as you would with them in a greenhouse or outdoors. This is going to inhibit the way in which the tomato plant is then able to grow and produce tomatoes but there is a solution and that solution is LED grow lights.
Why You Need to Use a Grow Light.
There are a number of reasons as to why a grow light is so important and it is useful to quickly look at them in order to effectively help to build the case for their inclusion.
First, LED grow lights are capable of providing you with the correct amount of light that will allow your tomato plants to grow no matter what the light quality is like outside as that no longer matters. Also, you are able to control the length of time that the plant is exposed to this light and considering tomato plants really do need at least eight hours of quality light per day to enhance their growth, then this is going to be a key component in your ability to have strong and amazing tomato plants.
Tomato plants need this light for a whole host of reasons and when you then match that up with the correct temperatures and providing them with adequate feeding, then there is no reason to suspect that the plants are then going to fail.
Furthermore, as you are using light to produce a healthier plant it stands to reason that the plant will then reward you by providing a healthier and larger harvest of tomatoes. You need to remember that they take light and convert it into energy resulting in better tomatoes so when you are providing them with the correct intensity of light then it becomes obvious that they will reward you in this way.
In addition, as you are providing them with the correct quality of light for the correct length of time it does also mean that the growing season is going to be extended and there is every possibility that it could last throughout the entire year. This does depend on the variety that you have planted, but by using these lights it does mean you are providing the plant with the best possible opportunity to just grow continuously.
Getting to Grips with Color Temperature.
Now, there is a bit more to light than just switching them on and thinking that everything is going to work out perfectly well. Instead, there is something called ‘color temperature’ and it is more important than you perhaps realize. However, it is perhaps fair to say that most people do not understand this term so a brief explanation is in order.
Different lights give off different light intensities and these intensities also have color temperatures that can be measured. The more powerful the light then the higher the temperature and this is important when it comes to being aware of the bulb that has to be used in order to help improve the growth of your tomato plants.
For example, the light from a match is generally measured at 1700K whereas the light from a candle is measured at 1850K. A soft white lamp is 2550K whereas Soft White LED lamps are 2700K but there is even a difference between soft white and warm light as the LED version is 300K.
Basically, this means that the light is more powerful and certain plants require a certain color temperature of light for it to really take effect. In other words, choose a light that is just not powerful enough then your tomato plants are going to struggle so it is a more precise science than you were perhaps expecting.
Understanding the Light Spectrum for Tomatoes.
So, how about tomato plants? Well, they fall into their very own light spectrum and clearly this has to be matched up with the LED grow lights that you end up using. You have to understand that natural light has a color spectrum and tomato plants need the correct light in order to grow. Just placing them under normal indoor lights will not be able to satisfactorily replicate those conditions and you will largely be making life harder for yourself in the process.
For tomato plants, they require a rather broad light spectrum which the plant then uses for different purposes. In most instances, the light spectrum should cover red to blue (as both of them have very specific uses) as well as white light Infra-red and Ultra-violet.
By covering this particular spectrum it means that you are giving the tomato the same kind of light as it would outdoors. As a result, the plant will then reward you with a better harvest alongside a much stronger plant.
The Different Types of Grow Light.
There are a number of different types of grow light for you to consider using and it is interesting to look at the variations to help you in deciding which version you should go for.
T5 lights are quite modern but the light that they give is better for the vegetative state or helping a plant through the winter so it is rather specific in how it helps. There are different versions and the lamp that you use has to correlate with the fixture that it is attached to or there will be problems. Daylight lamps can be used to help growth whereas bloom lights are less effective.
2. High Intensity Discharge (HID).
With this, you can have either High Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide and each has its own uses as Metal Halide is more on the blue end of the spectrum whereas the sodium version gives a yellow and orange light. This type of light is extremely popular and it is able to provide a highly intense light and if you use Metal Halide then this is better for the vegetative state whereas the sodium light is better for the flowering part of the growth.
Plasma lighting is still relatively new to the market and it is quite expensive for most people. However, it does provide a light source that is more efficient as the bulbs do last longer and it is capable of offering more light over a wider spectrum that leads to improved growth during the vegetative stage.
LED lights have certainly come on leaps and bounds in recent years to the point where they are capable of delivering quite an exact light spectrum that is capable of helping the growth and flowering of plants in a shorter period of time. They are also extremely useful at aiding tomatoes to get to the fruiting stage of their development and they will also be cooler so plants can be moved closer to the light source.
Why LED Growing Lights Hold the Key.
Out of the four options that we listed above, the one that really should stand out are LED grow lights and there are several reasons as to why this is the case.
First, the light spectrum that they can provide is going to be far superior and closer to what the tomato plant would experience in natural conditions. Next, the lights are more efficient than the High Intensity options meaning they are less expensive to run and also deliver better results.
We mentioned earlier that the lights operate at a cooler temperature and do not emit as much heat as other options and that is certainly going to help the efficiency of the light in question. As you move the plants closer to the light source, it stands to reason that the light can be concentrated on the plant whereas if the plant is further away from the light source then a certain percentage of the light is lost to the atmosphere. By increasing the intensity it leads to stronger growth over a shorter period of time and, in the case of tomatoes, a better harvest for you to go and enjoy.
So, as you can perhaps begin to understand, LED grow lights are going to quickly become an essential component of growing tomato plants indoors and they will remove so many of the obstacles that you may have felt were impeding you or putting you off the idea. Not only are they easy to use and set up but the most important thing of all is that they work. By using them, you will have stronger plants with a better harvest and the growing period will last for much longer than it would using the natural methods.
Overall, using these grow lights is not something that should be questioned but rather just accepted for all of those beneficial reasons.