Lights, Camera, Action!
- Identify the various types of artificial lighting used for gardening
- Describe the attributes and uses of each type
Home gardeners and urban farmers are comfortable growing fresh produce in small plots and even in confined spaces. Sometimes the only space available is indoors and the need for adequate light is paramount. But there are options, many options in fact, available to those looking to grow fresh produce indoors.
Lighting options can be tailored to specific plants and even to specific stages in the growing process. The spectrum of light can be used strategically to promote or even slow growth of the leaves or it can be used to promote flowering on some plants. It all depends on which colors of the spectrum are presented to the plants.
Some lighting options are cost effective and require that bulbs be replaced on a regular basis while others are more costly but last for up to 20,000 hours. Of course, efficiency and energy use are top of mind these days and that’s where many of the enhancements in lighting have been made. But there are a lot of options out there for everyone.
Tools & Materials
- Light bulbs of various types
- Grow Lights Worksheet
- Incandescent bulbs
- Fluorescent lights
- LED lights
- HID lamps
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson with background on why artificial lighting is used by indoor gardeners and the growing legion of urban farmers. Be specific with the use cases and how the bulbs can be tailored to emit certain colors of the spectrum and used for certain growth characteristics like bushy compact growth or to initiate budding and flowering. The availability of year-round fresh greens and other produce thanks to lighting systems is becoming an increasingly important part of the local food movement. Lighting systems unlock the potential to grow all year, indoors, and in confined spaces.
Activity (20 minutes)
Demonstrate each type of light to the Students. For each type of light that is present in the classroom, remove the bulb and allow the Students to pass it around. Turn each type on and have the Students hold their hands near the light without touching it to see if they can detect radiant heat. Describe the specific attributes of each type of light and when they would be used by a gardener or urban farmer.
Discussion (10 minutes)
Call on students to identify each light in the room by type and the specific lighting attributes that would be valuable for their Edible Learning Lab. Which type of light gave off the most heat? Which type seemed to shine the brightest?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you can name three types of lights used by farmers?
- Now that you have seen different types of lights, how many of you can describe the different kinds used by farmers?
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