Lettuce LED experiment

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Hey, gang,

I'm running an experiment, an acceptance test for newer LED growlamps.

Hypothesis: LED lamps grow as well or better than CFL now, if you buy the right kind.

The head-to-head grow-off is:

Why? Because I'm updating my book, Indoor Salad. :) It's been 5 years, and the tech has changed. Results and pictures in the comments.

Indoor Salad cover

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Ginger
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Taste test: Yum. :)

Taste test: Yum. :)

Picture attached, still following same order (AG, CFL, Sansi, AG spotlight).

Basically, the Aerogarden and CFL lettuce were pretty similar in texture. The brighter Sansi and AG spotlight grew a tougher leaf, and a more vibrant red. The Aerogarden and Sansi had the best flavor.

All in all, I highly recommend the Sansi LED lamp. Grows lettuce well, has the intensity to grow more demanding plants, no need for a reflector, and at 15W, draws the least power of these options.

Cheap CFLs also work great, but I'd upgrade to 23W.

I reserve judgment on the Aerogarden spotlight. I think it would be good, for a different application. Which makes it less flexible.

The prettiest light is also the Sansi.
 

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
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Discussion:

Discussion:

Well, the new LED lamps grow fine now. We knew that. I still wanted a head-to-head acceptance test.

The Aerogarden grew bigger lettuce plants by the this point. No surprise there – the reservoir is better aerated and has less algae. Its red lettuce (the entire back row) is not very red.

The key here was the the 3-way between the CFL and LED spotlights. All 3 treatments did a competent job – they grew lettuce.

But there's a noticeable difference.

The red lettuce under the CFL is murky. It could have benefited from a 23W bulb instead of 18W to get that glorious color. This is why I used a red lettuce, as a light meter of sorts. That said, those are the 2nd biggest plants after the Aerogarden. The light bulb cost me $5, and I could 4 splashers under that one bulb.

The Sansi LED did a great job, and has a nice brightly-lit footprint, with no need for the reflector hood I used on the CFL bulb. That too could light 4 splashers instead of 1. The red lettuce has good color and the leaves are sturdy. This lamp cost me $20. It is the lowest wattage of the 3, and the light is more than intense enough. So I think it would do a great job on a pepper or tomato as well.

The Aerogrow LED grew the smallest plants and has an extremely narrow footprint – like even this tiny tub won't fit in the lit area if I put the lamp too close. It's just too intense for growing lettuce, but could make a good dome light over a small tomato or pepper. This lamp cost me $25.

Hm. I need a taste test. :)

 

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
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OK, these portraits are at 3

These portraits are at 3.5 weeks - almost harvest size.

The leftmost Aerogarden lettuces are the same varieties, planted the same time, as the ones in the spotlight splashers. Green is Nevada summercrisp, red is Cherokee summercrisp.

All growing in GH MaxiGro and rainwater.

Among the splashers, that's 6500W CFL on the left, Sansi LED in the middle, triband Aerogarden spotlight on the right, and the close-ups are in order.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

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