4 Steps To Set Up An Indoor Marijuana Grow Room
Optimising your cannabis microclimate
Growing weed is not difficult, but failure to prepare an optimized environment will almost always produce unsatisfying results. To get the most refined quality product, you must be willing to invest in a high quality grow system.
Spending over $1000 on your own grow setup sounds ridiculous, but that same piece of kit could yield you over 300g of buds after a 3–4 month run. Suddenly, that $1000 doesn’t sound too bad, especially if you plan on running it multiple times per year.
Securing & Your Grow Space
The volume of space at your disposal should be one of your top priorities; the more room, the more/bigger plants you can grow.
Often, you will find that breeders report their plant yields in grams per canopy area (g/m2). Say your grow cabinet is 120x60 cm (Width x Depth), that means you have 0.72 square meters of canopy area; if the cannabis strains you’re developing are rated to yield 500g/m2, then your target yield is 360g. You will eventually push over the breeder’s rated yields when you’re skilled enough.
Micro-grows often lack vertical height, a 6ft grow cabinet has plenty of room, but often people find themselves growing in spaces less than 1m tall. If you have a short grow-box remember:
- You can’t get a light that’s too strong; you’ll bleach the canopy or overproduce heat (unless you can keep the light distant).
- It would help if you chose your strains wisely; pick plants with a tendency to grow short and stocky.
- Remember that pots and other miscellaneous equipment such as ventilation systems may also take up space in your room.
- If you have the horizontal space, you can train your plants as they grow, manipulating their shape to use your area effectively to make up for the lack of vertical space.
You can grow weed in tiny spaces like pc cases, but even if you produce the highest quality weed in the world, you’ll smoke it all in 2 weeks and will have to wait for another cycle to harvest more bud.
In the meantime, you’ll be spending outrageous bucks buying bud from dispensaries or the black market. So, whatever indoor garden you invest in, make sure it’s adequate size.
As a bare minimum, a 180 x 90 x 90 cm grow area is perfect for a highly productive single plant micro grow. You could fit multiple plants there, but I prefer to give my plants more breathing room.
A self-contained setup would be ideal, a cabinet or a tent. It’ll be easier to create an optimized microclimate.
Getting Hold of Some Good Quality Lights
You’re feeding your plant when you mix up your fertilizer/additive combos and drench its roots, right? Wrong, the plant takes up and utilizes the substances you provide, but scientifically speaking, these things are not food. Food is an energy source, and photosynthesis is the plants’ means of producing food; never forget that it’s the light feeding your plant. The mineral substances you apply to the root zone aid with two roles:
- Assisting with the biochemistry involved in transforming light energy into chemical energy
- and harnessing this chemical energy to fuel other metabolic processes.
So the question is, what light should you get? Any type will get the job done if you are truly determined and design the system well. There are three main types of light to consider: HID, LED, and CFL. I’m only considering the option I think is best for micro growing, which is LEDs.
LED stands for light-emitting diode; in my opinion, these grow lights reign supreme in any indoor garden. LEDs are incredibly efficient; quantum board LEDs, in particular, are a great choice.
They produce a lot less heat and a lot more light which penetrates deep down into the canopy of your plants. A high-quality quantum board, say from MarsHydro or Spiderfarmer, can easily pull over 200g from an auto flower if it’s rated above 150w
Suitable quality LEDs used to be very expensive; now, prices are far more modest. They have 50000–100000hr lifespans fare exceeding HID systems which need yearly maintenance.
Whatever lighting system you choose, please do yourself a favour and make sure you’re directing that light exactly where you want it; HID bulbs need reflectors, ideally, and so should CFLs. The coverage on quantum board LEDs is pretty crappy, but you get very good intensities directly under the light, so make sure your plant takes up that area; training is recommended.
Multiple lights are better than a single large one if you have numerous plants to ensure the coverage is even over the entire canopy area. Your grow system must be light-tight, and reflective material on the walls should be standard to aid light distribution.
Ventilation and Odour Control
If you’re planning on growing cannabis in a sealed container with a grow light and zero airflow, you’re wasting time. Three main concerns are temperature control, slow growth, and diseases. Cannabis is a productive plant, but she’ll suffer without fresh air in a sealed container.
Fungal spores are far more of a problem in stagnant air, and bud rot is a fungus that does what its name suggests; don’t take the chance. As a rule of thumb, your ventilation system needs to be able to refresh your grow room with fresh air every three minutes.
Circulation fans are also a must; at least one in a small grow room should do the trick. In a small grow space, you shouldn’t require any active intake; a decent exhaust fan will be OK.
Your exhaust fan will become slightly slower once a carbon filter is attached. It would be best if you had a powerful fan, but powerful fans are loud. If the fan isn’t strong enough, it won’t do the job. You may want to invest in a fan with a speed controller, or if you’re a bit industrious, you could hook up a speed controller to a fan manually. Wrapping the fan up within some acoustic vinyl (shown below) will tremendously reduce the sound.
Often people who are new to growing cannabis will wonder whether it’s worth the hassle of installing proper odour control. Especially beginner hobby growers, you are probably set on keeping 1 or 2 plants. Any serious grow system needs carbon filters, but micro-grows need to take it further. You likely don’t have an entire room dedicated to growing; when you open that grow box to tend to your plant, it’ll stink up the room or house in a hurry.
Therefore, I recommend ONA gel as an extra odour control precaution, open up a fresh jar just before tending to your plants, and it’ll easily tame the smell; just don’t put it too close or within the grow space will as it ruin your weed so use it sparingly.
Another reason to ventilate your setup is to remove water vapour. Transpiration describes how plants take up water as they release water vapour from their leaves. Humidity is a measure of the water vapour content within the air; it directly influences the rate of transpiration.
A relative humidity (RH) of 70 means the air holds 70 per cent of its maximum water content. Low humidity results in faster water uptake, whilst higher humidity does the opposite. Due to its effects on water transport, it also follows that nutrient uptake will be affected similarly.
Cannabis grown in excessively high humidity will struggle to take up water and nutrient, and the plant may show signs of deficiency. Humidity control is also essential for inhibiting fungal attacks on your precious plants; Your plants aren’t the only things at risk of mould; think of the walls in your home. A highly productive plant will require more than 2L of water per day, and all that water is slowly being released back into your house; you must remove it. Cannabis plants prefer different levels of humidity depending on what stage they are at:
- Clones RH 70
- Seedlings / Veg stage RH 60–50
- Flower Stage RH 50–40
Note that it is recommended that you drop the humidity levels during bloom; if you do follow suit, you’ll have to keep in mind that transpiration rates will increase. If you fail to lower the nutrient levels to account for increased transpiration, your plants may show signs of toxicity.
Keep in mind that temperature and humidity are closely related; warmer air can hold more water than cold air, so cold air fills up with water vapour quicker. You’re more likely to run into humidity concerns when it cools down. A dehumidifier is probably your only option to get precise control over the humidity required for adequate growth. If it doesn’t use electricity, don’t even look at it, those hanging desiccant dehumidifiers don’t remove nearly enough water.
Go for a model which can remove no less than 12L per day; they don’t have to be inside your grow box either; the same room will be good enough for your micro grow.