HOW TO SET UP THE PERFECT MARIJUANA INDOOR GROW ROOM:
To grow marijuana indoors can be fun and rewarding. Coordinating a few simple elements when you set up your grow space can save you time, money and help you avoid a meager harvest. The goal of an indoor grow is to create a controlled environment and optimize your yield. All you need to grow pot is seed, soil, sun, water and air. By keeping it simple, so you can enjoy the process from beginning to end.
Just like with real estate, the three most important elements to consider when choosing your space are location, location, location. You want somewhere inconspicuous and secure, such as a closet, spare room, cabinet or basement. It must have access to electricity, water, and ventilation. It must be large enough to accommodate your plants and equipment.
Your job is to manage the temperature, humidity and lighting in the room. The temperature should be between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Some strains are more forgiving than others are when it comes to temperature and humidity. It is crucial that you can make the space completely dark for flowering. Light leaks will confuse your plants and ruin your harvest.
You can purchase a pre-made grow tent, or custom-build one using blackout plastic (such as black and white poly film) or foil-faced foam board insulation. Install these with either the white or the reflective surface facing in, towards your plants, to maximize your lighting. If you want to build two lightproof rooms next to each other, you can flower and vegetate simultaneously.
If you would like a trellis system to support your plants, install the structure before adding your plants. However, staking the plants in their container or adding a tomato cage also works well.
Cannabis needs fresh air and carbon dioxide to thrive, so it’s wise to have a small fan running in the room. If you use HID lighting, your room may become unbearably hot. In addition, cannabis becomes extremely pungent for the last six weeks of flowering. You should be prepared to ventilate the room to disperse heat and odor.
To vent your space, you will need an appropriate length of flexible duct hose, a fan, and a destination to send the exhaust. Place your duct near the top of the room to remove the hot air. To get rid of the odor, you can attach a carbon filter (also referred to as a carbon scrubber) to the end of your duct. To allow fresh air into your room, make a hole in the opposite side near the floor. Place a screen over it to keep out bugs and debris.
If you are running a cool lighting system and don’t mind the odor, ventilation may not be necessary.
LIGHT and DARK:
You must control the lighting at all times or else your grow will fail. Most of the energy your plant consumes comes from light. Besides lumens (brightness), you need to offer specific spectrums (colors).The lumens and spectrum make the plant grow and optimize the yield. Darkness triggers and maintains flowering.
You want to place the light over the plants, suspended from the ceiling using metal chain or a reliable slide clip. You will need to raise the lights as your plants grow. Your goal is to be as close to plant as you can without burning it. The spectrum dissipates quickly as you move further away from the bulb.
With cannabis, the light is just as important as darkness. Unless you grow an autoflowering strain, you need 12 uninterrupted hours of darkness every day for the duration of the flower. Flowering lasts at least nine weeks. Any interruption in this schedule may cause your plant to produce male flowers, or just stop flowering altogether. An automatic timer will maintain the routine for you.
The three most popular lighting options are HID, LED, and florescent. They each have advantages and disadvantages.
HID lights, with metal halide and high pressure sodium being the most popular, require a separate ballast and a hood/reflector. HID lights produce different spectrums, so you need metal halide bulbs (blueish-white) during vegetative growth and then you must switch to high-pressure sodium (red-orange) for flowering. The bulbs are fragile, only last a few months, and their cost varies widely. If you can only afford one bulb, high pressure sodium provides a greater spectrum.
LED lights run cool, so they won’t burn your plants. They use little electricity and last longer than HID lights. The price of LED fixtures have come down dramatically since they first came on the market.
Florescent lights, commonly called shop lights, also run cool. T5 and T8 are the most common and accessible bulb sizes. They come in two or four-foot lengths and their ballast is contained within the fixture. Fluorescents will not burn plants and are inexpensive to use. However, they are less efficient than LED lights, and their size and shape can be difficult to fit into a small room.
It’s fine to use tap water to hydrate your plants, but get rid of the chlorine. Fill reusable containers (such as plastic milk jugs) and expose them to air for 24 hours. The chlorine will dissipate. After this, you can test and adjust the PH. You can buy a PH kit from a garden center or aquarium supply store. A PH of six is ideal, with a range of 5.5 to 6.8 being acceptable. If you need to adjust it, you can use lime juice to raise your PH, or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to lower it.
You should only water your plants when the top inch of soil is dry. If you are overly concerned with over (or under) watering, you can buy an automatic system to do it for you.
The two most popular methods for growing are with soil or hydroponically. Hydroponics allow the plant to live in water. The plant survives because you add concentrated solutions of mineral salt nutrients that they absorb through osmosis. This system requires monitoring and maintenance.
The soil method is less complicated and more forgiving. If possible, use organic, pre-fertilized soil. It will contain enough nutrients for the life of your plant. Soil from your yard is fine as long as it drains well. If it’s too dense, add vermiculite. If you don’t use pre-fertilized soil, you can add a tiny bit of fertilizer to the water once a week.
With soil, three or five gallon containers work best, depending on the length of your grow. It’s important that they drain well. The containers should sit on adequate saucers to collect excess liquid.
It is finally time to add your plants. This part is up to you, but consider trying out a few different strains to see which ones prefer the wonderful environment you created.
It’s called weed for a reason. It wants to flourish. When you take the time to plan your room, it will.
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