Understanding what equipment goes where, why it is there in the first place, and how the grow room operates, can give you a head start in creating a professional set up. Below we outline what is needed, how to set up your indoor garden, and what to consider when doing so.
The very thing you will need if you are not converting a bedroom cupboard or empty room. The purpose of a grow tent is to keep Cannabis plants inside a highly reflective space, and to prevent any exterior light breaks.
Setting up the grow tent will be quite straight forward and there will be an instructional guide inside the packaging. The size of the tent will determine the number of plants you are able to grow, as well as the output capacity of the exhaust fan.
Top Tip: Make sure that the tent is strong and can support your body weight. Simply hang off the tent poles and make sure they are solid. This will also give you an idea of the quality of the grow tent you have purchased and how stable it will be with your equipment inside.
When replicating the outdoors inside, finding the best light to mimic the sun is a huge component when it comes to a successful harvest. There are many lighting manufacturers on the market ranging from traditional metal halide (M.H), high pressure sodium (H.P.S), fluorescent (C.F.L) and LED.
The best way, in my opinion, to hang any grow light is using metal hooks and chain, especially when hanging up LED lights. The general rule is to grow 4 large sized plants under one intensely discharged lamp, or 6-9 smaller sized plants in a Sea of Green. You will want to leave at least 30cm of space between the top of the lights and the exhaust fan and carbon filter.
Top Tip: Use a spirit level to make sure the light is 100% straight. It is much better to establish that now, than discover a problem later on, when you observe some plants growing much bigger than others.
Plant Pots or Hydroponics
If you are new to growing Cannabis, then it’s best to start with organics using plastic or fabric pots. On the other hand, hydroponic systems will come ready to set up and plug in. Hydroponics is far less forgiving than growing organically, especially as there is no 72 hour buffering zone.
Make a floor plan and decide how many plants you can grow under the grow light, what height the tent will be, how long will you veg them for, and which cultivar you want to grow. This will help determine how many pots you will need, the spacing that is needed between each pot, and how many litres or gallons of growing medium will be required.
Top Tip: Fabric pots will encourage the roots of Cannabis plants to become air pruned. They are a far better option than plastic pots and will guarantee no root bound symptoms.
This is where your fresh air will enter the grow tent or room. As hot air rises and cold air remains low, the entry point of an intake fan will be at the lowest point on the grow room. Grow tents should create a negative drag, meaning that the capacity of air from the intake fan should always be less than the exhaust fan. It is best advised to find an outside source where fresh air can be permanently pulled in from.
When setting up your intake fan, try to locate the connecting ducting to a close by window. All of the air that enters the tent from the lowest point, must be fresh air from outside. The levels of CO2 outside are around 400ppm, increasing the rate of photosynthesis for Cannabis plants. T.T fans work a treat, however if you cannot use one, then simply remove the vents at the bottom parts of the grow tents. The exhaust fans will draw air up through these vents, which will then be blown around by the oscillating fans.
Top Tip: If you are using the vents to suck air through, then avoid any light breaks when the tent is in darkness. Light entering the tent during darkness periods will cause problems with the development of the plants.
As the name suggests, the job of the exhaust fan is to move old air out of the tent, before it has a chance to become stagnant and useless to Cannabis plants. The exhaust fan should have a far greater output than the intake fan, and if calculated the exhaust fan should be able to recycle the air inside the tent between 15-20 times per hour
The weight of your carbon filter and exhaust fan will be easily supported by the poles at the top of the tent. Make sure that both are firmly wrapped in chain and tightly suspended. It is a good practice to keep the filter and exhaust fan close to each other and to keep the length of ducting to a minimum. This will make the recycling of air as fast and efficient as possible.
Top Tip: Once you have installed the hooks and chain, do a test to see if their are any vibrations running through the poles of the tent. If there is any humming or reverberations, they can be prevented by making sure the metal hooks hang freely.
A Carbon Filter
There was a time when growers used to risk everything when carbon filters did not exist. Now days, the ability to prevent any leaking aromas that may incriminate you in any way, or become a nuisance to your neighbours, is easily done with carbon filters. It will be connected directly to your exhaust fan, so all of the air inside the tent is being cleaned by carbon and is exhausted away from the grow room.
It is very important that the side of the exhaust fan that is sucking air in, is connected to the carbon filter. Using tape or clips, ensure that the ducting is air tight and cannot be removed with force. Hang the carbon filter in the centre of the tent. It should be placed in the top third of the grow tent.
Top Tip: It is a good idea to always check that the air being blown out is clean of any smells. If your carbon filter is old, then the performance may be affected and should be replaced every 2-3 grows.
Your ducting will connect between your carbon filter and exhaust fan, and should be blowing air well away from the intake fan. If you have converted a loft or old room, make sure the ducting that is blowing the old air out can leave the room, ideally outside. It is possible to buy acoustic ducting which will dramatically reduce the noise made from your exhaust fans.
Ducting is very simple to set up and connect and there is no need to use a great amount. Keeping the ducting between your fans and filter to a minimum will keep the grow tent tidy, improve the output and save space.
Top Tip: When hanging ducting always try and keep it sideways with no drooping. Ducting does not work as well when drooping down.
Oscillating or Clip Fans
After you have set up your grow lights, carbon filter, intake and exhaust fans, you will now need to consider air flow. Oscillating fans situated at different heights inside the grow room can encourage air flow around the base and tops of Cannabis plants. Carbon Dioxide is quickly used up by stomata that live on the leaf, so adding multiple fans oscillating at different times, can improve the air quality and can also help prevent pathogens forming.
Top Tip: It is a good idea to use small clip on fans to blow air around the base of the pots. Placing a fan here will also help disperse fresh air to the stomata of the Cannabis plants.
Thermometer and Hydrometer
A very important gadget that will allow you to keep an eye on the temperature of the garden, as well as the relative humidity present. Cannabis plants depend on different environmental conditions at different stages of their life cycle. Some growers choose to use a humidifier to increase relative humidity during the vegetative stage, then will use a dehumidifier to remove humidity when flowering starts.
You will want to set the hydrometer up in between the tops of the plants and beneath the grow lights. This is the area that is most important and where the canopy will form. Reading the temperature beneath the lights may be deceptive and cause V.P.D (Vapour Pressure Deficit) charts to become inaccurate.
Top Tip: Check the difference between the lowest and highest temperature and humidity levels recorded. Most hydrometers will show this data and give you an idea if you need to supplement the room with heating, humidifiers or dehumidifiers.