Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, November 17, 2006

A blasted Ballast, and Vital Organic Enhancement

Metal Halide lamps have an ignitor built into them, so the ballast for metal halide doesn’t have an ignitor. However, High Pressure Sodium lamps do not self-ignite, so the HPS ballast has to have an ignitor built into it.

Traditionally, HID ballasts have used magnetic coils to regulate current and voltage. A ballast is necessary for high output lamps in order to kick start them, and also to ensure an even, uniform lumens output. Magnetic ballasts tend to be hot, bulky, and heavy.

One of the grow-your-own books suggests to hold a match to your ballast. If the match ignites, your ballast is too hot.

My ballast is definitely too hot. It nearly burned a hole in the protective pad that I put under it to reduce its noise and vibrations.

The gist of it is, I’m in the market for a new ballast for my lighting fixture. The reflective housing for the lamp is sturdy and doesn’t need to be replaced. It was made by Bell Lighting Technologies up in Canada and they used a secret formula to literally bake a protective coating onto the surface of the fixture, that is not only heat resistant but also super reflective. It’s white.

But the ballast, which I also bought second hand, has seen better days. So I researched the topic of ballasts on the web and found that new, super efficient electronic ballasts have been announced by several companies, aimed specifically at HID lighting.

Unfortunately, the cost of these new generation of ballasts is quite high, but since my old one is becoming a fire hazard, I have no choice. I could buy another magnetic one, I suppose, but I wouldn’t be happy with it, knowing that a better alternative exists, for a few dollars more. Quite a few dollars more, as it turns out.

I have to consult Claire and our family budget and place my ballast needs on the same list as Squirrel’s rubber boots, Claire’s waterproof coat, and a new briefcase for the breadwinner in the family, i.e. me.

Until recently, electronic ballasts were only available for a limited range of lighting products, mostly in the low-wattage category. However, reliable electronic ballasts are now coming on the market for use with higher wattages of Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium HID lighting systems.

So I just have to find a reliable supplier and make sure the household budget can accommodate the price.

Until then, I put a metal plate under the old ballast. It makes a hell of a racket, but at least its fireproof!

Week six of the vegetative stage, so it’s time to feed my six ladies some Mother Earth Super Tea Grow, Grandma Enggy’s Seaweed Extract, and SensiZym.

I use Mother Earth Super Tea Grow to give natural supplements, nutrients, and vitamins missing from my ladies’ chemical fertilizer regimen. The alfalfa extract, canola meal, citric acid, crab meal, earthworm castings, fish meal, sea kelp, and shrimp meal provide an organic smorgasbord for my plants, that not only fills them up, but enhances their floral potential. Apply generously, at 11.25 mL/L.

Granma Enggy’s Seaweed Extract is like a shot of multi-vitamins, laced with natural antibiotics and growth stimulants, plus other nutrients, auxins, and gibberlins. This miracle product imparts resistance to spider mites, aphids, scab, mildew, and assorted fungi. The application rate is 5 mL/L.

Enzymes are the natural building blocks of life energy. SensiZym contains over 80 different enzymes that benefit various functions of my plants. For instance, these enzymes help break down root zone debris, making it easier for the plants to absorb vital nutrients. It helps with water uptake, thus increasing drought resistance. Plant maturation and cell replication are enhanced by SensiZym. I could go on…

Don’t get me wrong, my ladies love their regular diet of Sensi Grow A & B. All the essential macro and micro nutrients that have been scientifically researched and found to be necessary not just for the well being, but also the thriving of cannabis plants, are contained in this species specific fertilizer.

In two weeks time, it’s time to change the lighting regimen, from 18 hours of bright light to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of total darkness. This, along with the administering of Bud Blood, will induce flowering. Then we’ll see which one of my ladies will bless us with the most and biggest buds, and she’ll become our Mother Plant for cloning. What an adventure!

Speaking of adventures, Squirrel and her mother have taken off on their annual trip to a nearby big city, where they’ll stay in a hotel and go shopping for three days. They’ll also visit the super modern, eco-friendly zoo, and spend some time in art museums, playland arcades, and at a hairdressers. It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it!

posted by Wes @ 5:57 PM


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