Although customers still find fresh and delicious tomatoes in grocery stores In the middle of winter, the prices are quite high. This is because the produce has been sourced from far away due to the limited supply from local farmers. The drop in local produce is attributed to the high consumption of energy by greenhouses where tomatoes are popularly grown by small-scale farmers. However, a recent study carried out by Purdue University is likely to change this current outlook. This is because the study advocates for the use of LED lights instead of the popular high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps when it comes to growing tomatoes in greenhouses. LED lights are associated with certain benefits that will be discussed below.
Less energy consumption
One of the biggest impediments of growing tomatoes in a greenhouse during winter is the high energy cost due to the long hours of darkness. Experiments carried out by Purdue University using LED lights showed that the tomatoes were still able to yield the same size of plant as those grown using HPS. The only difference between using LED and HPS lighting was the energy cost. According to the scientists, LED lights consumed much less energy (approximately 25 percent less) compared to the traditional HPS lamps. This study shows that growing tomatoes using LED lighting can help you to save significantly when it comes to the total greenhouse energy cost.
Higher Vitamin C Levels
In another study carried out by Wageningen University, the researchers focused mainly on testing the amount of Vitamin C in LED-grown tomatoes. They noted that the Vitamin C content in tomatoes exposed to LED lighting was significantly higher than the Vitamin C content of those that were not. This was because the LED lights were placed under the tomatoes as they were cooler, exposing them to extra light. The LED lights can also be placed along the sides of the tomatoes, which will help in illuminating the understory and not just the top of the plant, as in the case of the traditional HPS lamps. By so doing, the LED high-intensity rays penetrate into the plant canopy, including those leaves in the lower branches. According to the researchers, this extra dose of light increased the Vitamin C content of the fruits, making them healthier.
Growing tomatoes under LED lighting is associated with the benefits described above. If you want to get nutritious fruits that are cost efficient, you should consider using LED lights when growing tomatoes in your greenhouse during winter. You can contact a company such as Outdoor Accents to order LED lights.