Growing your own fruits and vegetables has been a human tradition for millennia but modern self-sustainers are no longer using sunlight and soil to grow their crops. More and more growers are using LED lighting to emulate the sun and grow crops at home. This isn’t done just because technology allows it, but it actually has several serious purposes.
The human population is continually growing. And according to experts, if the population keeps increasing at the current rate, by 2030 there simply won’t be enough land to provide food for everyone. Using LED lights to grow crops means more food can take up less space. In the future, farms could be literal skyscrapers where each floor is a different crop. This would preserve much needed land and provide enough food to sustain the human race.
Heavy use of pesticides is very concerning. Some scientists claim it’s bad for health and has a negative effect on the land. Growing inside would reduce the amount of pesticides used and stop them from entering the environment.
Change Due to human activity, the climate is changing. Colder areas are becoming warmer, storms are getting bigger, and in a few years the weather will be far less reliable. Farming is dependent on predictable weather, but by using LED lighting instead of the sun, farmers will not face challenges from Mother Nature.
How does it Work?
There is a clear and desperate need for new innovative methods of farming but how exactly can plants grow under LED bulbs? Plants grow through photosynthesis. In this process energy from the sun, carbon dioxide and water are converted into glucose which allows the plant to grow. LED lighting can be used to replicate the sun’s energy and make this process happen. These are not standard LED bulbs they are put together to provide the same light spectrum as the sun. Crops will not grow with the standard LED bulbs that you find in most homes.
In an open system, plants are grown under LED lighting and usually put in large trays where they are permanently fed a mixture of water and nutrients. This ensures the plant grows strong and produces fruit. In closed systems they use fish to produce nutrients for the plants and clean the water. It is a constantly revolving cycle that will never stop producing fruits and vegetables.
Some start-ups are even using this technology to create urban farms in abandoned factories. Plants grown indoors take up less space, which means these factories can produce an abundance of fruit and vegetables in any conditions.
Will you try growing your own crops under LED bulbs? Share your thoughts in the comments and on our social media pages.
Created by Steve Ellwood on 18th August, 2016
Qualified as an Electrician, founder of BLT Direct