Tight lights

I am growing plants under 65 watts per square foot using air-cooled lights and light movers. I was thinking of spreading the plants out over a larger area so that they would receive about 50 watts per square foot. One expert said I should switch to 600-watt HPS lamps. Should I use them or stick with the 1000’s? If the buds get too large will they become leafy and less potent?
Dead Anslinger,

Whether you are growing under 50 or 65 watts per square foot (psf), there is no reason to spread the plants out. Use the same spacing over the area. If the plants have more space between them, each will have to grow more to fill the canopy. This puts extra time into the growth cycle.

There are two things to consider when talking about yield: quantity and quality.

Plants are living sugar factories. They use the blue and red spectrums of light to power a chemical reaction, photosynthesis, in which they convert water and carbon dioxide gas (CO2) into sugar and oxygen. This is used for energy and to build tissue. The more light energy input the plants receive, the larger and faster they grow. Replacing 65 watts with 50, about a 23% reduction in light, will slow growth and lead to leafier, fluffier buds. They might total the same weight as the buds grown under the brighter light, but they will be looser and lower quality.

Plants growing under the more intense lighting regime will grow denser, heavier buds. These buds are higher quality than the looser buds grown under less intense lighting. Buds become dense by growing a large amount of flowers in a small area. As the flowers squeeze together, they become densely packed. These tight flowers are more potent than looser flowers, which don’t produce as many glands.

The expert probably advised you to use 600-watt lamps rather than 1000’s because of their slightly higher light-producing efficiency. They do have several drawbacks, however. It is more difficult to deliver intense light to the plants using smaller wattage lamps, they require more plugs and wires, and there are more of them to manipulate. On the other hand, more smaller wattage lamps would distribute the light more evenly to the garden.

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