There’s nothing like a little indoor gardening to restore your chi when you’re nice and hungover from a Halloween party the night before. Today, I mustered the motivation to get all my seeds into soil, coco coir, and a couple rockwool cubes to start germinating. I’m starting a whole whack of seeds, since I figure I’ll probably inadvertently kill off 80% of them anyway. To recap, I’ve decided to grow a nice little variety of herbs, with a few other favourites of mine.
Last year I was going to do an ebb and flow system but decided to go another route (DWC just looked way cooler!). This year, I’m going to give it a try.
I rummaged through the stuff I had bought last year and put it all together tonight. I’ll be sure to get a video of this system in action once my plants are big enough for it.
How it Works
I visited a seed store called Apache Seeds today to browse through and pick out what I wanted to grow this winter. It’s getting very difficult to find seeds here at this time of year, but these guys had a great selection and are open year-round. I’ll definitely be visiting again. Last winter I started several different types of peppers in January, and they did really well. The only problem was that nobody but me wanted to eat them. With that in mind, I based my choices this year on what will prove enjoyable for my family and friends as well – here’s what I’ll be growing this Fall/Winter:
When you’re picking your components and planning out your system, it’s very important to match your LED COBs with a proper driver. The goal of this guide is to get you comfortable with the basics involved with planning a simple system. If you’re brand new to growing with LED COBs, I’d recommend reading our COB LED Basics for Beginners article.
After you’ve read through this post, take a look at the DIY Guides page for a list of more specific and advanced guides and resources.
When it comes to COBs for indoor growing, the majority of people are currently using 1 of 3 proven brands: Cree, Citizen, or Bridgelux. In my opinion, if you’re looking for low-current efficiency and aren’t overly concerned with cost, go with the Crees. If you’re looking for a good all-around COB that’s easier on the wallet, or intend to drive your COBs with more current, go with Bridgelux or Citizen. The new gen. 7 & SE Veros and Version 6 Citi’s are really closing the gap in terms of efficiency, and can be found considerably cheaper (here in Canada, anyway).
- Currently, the most popular COBs from Cree are the CXB3070 and CXB3590 models, with the 3590s being the best Cree offers for this application. The 3070 is a good alternative, and, while not cheap, is less expensive than the 3590.
- The Bridgelux COBs used by most indoor gardeners are from the Vero Gen.7 or SE Series. There are 4 different sizes in the Vero series: Vero 10, Vero 13, Vero 18, and Vero 29; the number reflects the size of the Light Emitting Surface. Of these 4, the 18 and 29 models are most popular. While these COBs are not as efficient as the Crees, they still put out a lot of light (at higher currents) and are significantly less expensive.
- The Citizen COBs that most growers are using are the Version 6 CLU048 units. They come in a few different configurations like the CLU048-1212 (contains 12 diodes in parallel and 12 in series) or the CLU048-1818 (18 in parallel, 18 in series). There is also a larger model which runs at a considerably higher voltage but puts out a ton of light: the CLU058.
Aside from cost, there are a handful of important specifications that you’ll need to consider when choosing your COB. I suggest you read through the points below, then when you have a better understanding of these few specs, read this post on how to easily compare COB LEDs using manufacturer-provided simulation spreadsheets.
What better way to start things off than by having a look at my current LED grow light equipment and providing some general info on each piece and how it all goes together:
My first setup consisted of: