For operating three or more 1000 watt lights, I recommend a 40 amp metal encased timer with breaker box and outlet receptacles. The photo at the end shows a popular type.

The most common sources for this amount of amperage in a house are the 30 amp clothes dryer circuit and the 50 amp range circuit. Large appliance circuits are usually at 240 volts, which is actually two 120 volt leads, 180 degrees out of phase (usually one red, the other black.) Common (white) is used with one of the hot leads to make 120 volts. Common is always grounded, and is often used to ground the appliance enclosure.

When several appliances are plugged into a receptacle intended for one larger appliance, each parallel branch should have it's own circuit breaker. If this is not done, a minor short may not have sufficient current draw to trip the larger breaker, and a fire may result.

In the photo of the timer at the end, 240 volts is split between two receptacle boxes. This means that the black wire and the neutral or common wire go to one set of outlets, while the red wire and neutral go to the other. If the current draw on both sides were equal, neutral would not carry the current.

The 30 amp timer circuit, can handle a maximum of six 1000 watt lights.

Power is charged by the kilowatt hour, and a watt is the product of volts times amps. Hence “wiring 240 will not save any money on your power bill”. The "Octopus" timer is powered by 240V, but it's receptacles are at 120V. This is to save on the cost of 240V breakers. If an extension cord is desired, I recommend placing the extra wire between the ballast and socket assembly, which is always at or around 250V for halides no matter what the power source voltage.

I recommend circulating and exhaust fans in grow rooms for cooler temperatures. Such cooling will have a prolonging effect on ballast life.


Most of the light radiates horizontally from a vertically mounted bulb. The light which goes slightly upward should be reflected at a flatter angle, hence the need for a paraboloid reflector (about four times as wide as it is deep, with the sharpness of angle increasing geometrically from the center.) Much of the light which goes slightly downward is used for dispersion and side lighting.

Most rooms have 8' ceilings. For such "low-bay" applications where tall plants are grown, it may be ideal to have a deep reflector for intense vertical radiation and fast growth, but a shallow reflector should be used when the plants start growing above the bottom of the deep reflector. However, I think it is simpler to go without reflectors or to bend the stems when the plants grow too tall.


Some people have been rooting their cuttings directly in the hydroponic gravel bed.

People who really appreciate natural quality have been using three different light sources--halide, sodium and incandescent--in combination for a more complete light spectrum. Incandescents are not nearly as efficient as H.I.D. lighting, but do have a lot of the red spectrum of light.

The light cycle is usually reduced to 12 hours per day to induce flowering, and kept at 12 hours per day until harvest. However, some people have been experimenting with reducing the light length to a 12 hour cycle and once flowering is in full bloom raising the cycle to 14 hours for increased yield. If you are using both a halide and sodium during the flowering stage, try running your halide 12 hours daily and your sodium 14 hours daily.

In place of standard chemical mixtures, many people have been using all organic fertilizers in hydroponics. Bat guano is being used. I have also heard of people using various mineral rich fruit juices (e.g. pineapple) instead of the usual water/chemical mix.

Try raising fish in your hydroponic storage tank. "Fish guano" may be a sufficient fertilizer.


Lyndon Johnson was the first president to preside over a total federal budget in excess of $100 billion. This was a time of increasing involvement in the VietNam War and the "Great Society".

Now the federal deficit alone is over that amount. The role of the U.S. president alone in economic affairs is vastly overrated by most people.

However he does set a tone and propose goals for our society. The political process is not the most efficient or equitable method for arriving at these goals is becoming increasingly obvious. Let's analyze Reagan's proposals for America's defense against Russia's nuclear missiles, and try to keep an open mind.

It is a great intuitive insight to say that we should put more emphasis on defense against nuclear attack, rather than Mutual Assured Destruction (M.A.D.). However, Reagan's proposal for defense using particle and energy beams mounted in orbital space stations, is more suited to a war fought entirely in outer space. Even if such beams could be used against earth based missiles, anti-missile delivery systems would not be covered. A PLO faction, for example, could off-load nuclear devices from simple ocean going ships.

My idea for nuclear defense would have homes and factories built underground. Although the initial investment is sometimes higher, energy savings and ecological factors are additional incentives for this style of construction. Much of this kind of work is already being done in Japan. Legal and zoning restrictions in the U.S. often impede the transition to earth sheltered construction. Contractors should become skilled in the "new" methods. Ventilation systems could incorporate negative ion generators and positive collector plates to clean out dust, smoke and other particles floating in the air.

Imagine having much more of the earth's surface with an oxygen and food producing vegetative cover. The benefits would be overwhelming. The ideas we adopt and the means we choose have a large evolutionary significance. More on this is covered in the June 1983 issue of SCIENCE DIGEST.

Let's not blow it by spending money on projects such as the ray-gun defense, which are incapable of attracting private investment capital, and which do not contribute efficiently to survival. Private commercial developers of off- planet resources should be the ones to design and pay for their own defense.

Excerpt from Farmer in the Sky Q&A

TIPS:Does that mean you support legalization?

MR. GROWER: Yes. You know, I tithe a tenth of everything I make to some good cause, and I'm not the only grower to do that. We all know what's wrong here, and it's not us. We don't give our money to the government. We put it where it will do some good in the world. I think that's what really bothers them. They don't care about kids or the fabric of society or any of that other stuff they talk about. They're just mad because we've got some money and they can't control how we spend it!

TIPS:What do you think will happen if the eradication efforts are intensified this year?

MR. GROWER: I don't know. I'm not one of these people who plans to shoot it out with them, but I think any escalation like they're talking about brings about the chance of someone getting hurt. I really think that in the long run the government's beating a dead horse. Marijuana cultivation is just too widespread and there's too many people doing it and smoking it for them to make more than a tiny dent in the overall picture. I mean, are they really willing to declare war on half of the population!? As far as I am concerned, I'm just here doing what I'm doing and if they want to drop in and stop me, they can. I got a canister of seeds buried in a safe place and after they've gone, I'll be back. I live here. They're the invaders.

TIPS:Do you think marijuana will ever be legalized?

MR. GROWER: It has to be. We can't go on like this forever.

Wolf Segal - Farmer in the Sky

35 Years of Innovation in Large Scale Cannabis Cultivation & Inventor of the Sea of Green method.

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