A Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Growing
How much space do my plants require?
Generally speaking you can grow 4 medium sized plants in a 4×4 space such as a manufactured grow tent. Larger plants will require more floor space. Regardless of which method you use be sure to not overcrowd your plants. Keep in mind that the different strains of plants you grow can vary in size and the growth spurt when you switch the plants from vegetative growth to the flowering stage can vary as well. Many experienced growers will have a smaller grow room or tent for the early stages of vegetative growth then move the plants into a larger room or tent for the flowering stage. Doing this method greatly increases yields as you can have plants ready to move and flip into flowering immediately after harvesting!
What’s the deal with HID and LED lighting?
Both types of grow lights will provide the light intensity and spectrums for photosynthesis required to grow healthy plants indoors. HID lighting consists of regular Metal Halide (MH), and High Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs . Many manufacturers make switchable ballasts that will operate both types which allows the grower to vary the lighting spectrum from vegetative growth to flowering.
Ceramic Metal Halide systems (CMH) offer the best of both worlds for lighting during vegetative and bloom periods. Instead of using quartz like other HID’s, these bulbs use a ceramic arc tube that can reach higher temperatures to heat gasses to that nice even light spectrum that plants love. This versatility allows them to be used for an entire grow cycle.
LED lighting is more power efficient and technology has advanced them to be able to provide full spectrum lighting.
What spectrum is best for my plants?
For vegetative growth use 6400K (Blue)-Metal Halide.
For the flowering cycle use 2700K (Red)-High Pressure Sodium.
LEDs provide both 6400K and 2700K.
Ceramic Metal Halide lighting also provides full spectrum.
What should the pH of my nutrient solution be?
Most plants have a different ideal pH level, so when you are considering setting up an indoor garden it is important to select plants that all thrive in the same general pH range. Many use between 6.2-6.3 pH for soil and coco based mediums and 5.5-5.8 pH in rockwool and other hydroponic systems. Follow the nutrient manufacturer’s directions as they have done the research and beyond that watch your plants health and color. Monitor your pH regularly as it can fluctuate and will need adjustment.
Pro growers tip: Add your concentrated pH adjuster to 250mL of water and then add it to your reservoir very slowly.
Achieving your desired pH levels in your reservoir is absolutely necessary, but can be a bit complicated. If you add your pH adjuster too fast it will bind with the nutrients in your reservoir. If you see the nutrient solution getting cloudy in the reservoir as it is mixing in, slow down your pour a little more.
How important is ventilation?
A steady supply of fresh air is crucial to your crops’ health and vitality. When provided with quality nutrients and lighting the plants will be working hard and respiration will be constant meaning they will need that fresh air to accomplish vigorous growth. Most smaller rooms and grow tents can be run with an exhaust fan drawing air through vents or ducting or even the bottom of a grow tent. Having the intake air come in with the negative pressure created by the exhaust fan and distributed with one or more oscillating fans will accomplish the much needed circulation.
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