A friend of mine recently got into hydroponics to grow basil and parsley. His setup broke so we went to a hydroponics store in SF today so that he could get a replacement. Now, quite clearly many people who buy hyrdoponics equipment in San Francisco do not intend to grow basil, but I was surprised, none-the-less about how obvious the store is about what people buy their equipment for. For instance, they had advertising materials for a hash press right there on the counter, which said “hash press” in so many words and showed a guy in a marijuana leaf t-shirt using the press.
When we walked in, my friend said he was looking for hydroponics system to grow basil. The sales guy nodded, but must not have take this seriously, since they had the following dialog a bit later when my friend was deciding whether to buy a new lamp:
Friend: What would happen to my plants if I don’t have a lamp?
Guy: Without a lamp they'll die.
Friend: Is basil that sensitive to light?
Guy: Oh, you do mean basil. No, basil will be fine – you can just put it on the window sill.
I didn’t quite get the logic immediately, so let me spell it out: Basil doesn’t need a lamp since you can put it on the sill. For some of the other common hydroponics crops, however, it would be unwise to put them near the window. So, the lamp is their only possible source of light and they would die without it.