With the weather being sporadic, taking a chance with growing outdoors is risky. Rain, wind, hail, and pests are always a threat to your plants, and you could end up losing your crop.
Growing indoors presents the gardener with a safe, secure, and controlled environment for their plants. We put together this basic beginner guide to growing indoors to get you on your way.
Choosing a Space
Choose a room when you can manage the temperature. A spare bedroom is ideal, but a garage is also a good option if it’s an insulated structure. Other options include outdoor guest houses or sheds. However, you might find it challenging to manage the temperature in these environments.
How many plants do you want to grow? What growing method are you using? After selecting the right room or space in or around your home, it’s time to pick out a tent.
Selecting Your Tent
The grow tent is the basic structure creating an enclosed environment away from the outside air in the room. A tent allows you to control every aspect of your garden, from the light cycle to air management and pest control.
Grow tents come in several shapes and sizes to accommodate the smallest or largest indoor gardens. Choose a model that takes up around 60% of the space you have available in your home. Shop Tents Here.
Picking Out the Right Lighting System
Plants need light to grow, and your tent will remain dark without the addition of a lighting system. You have three options for going with a log8ting system for your tent.
HID – High-Intensity Discharge lighting
High-Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide lights are old technology. They produce the best results, but they are inefficient to run and create significant amounts of heat in the tent.
CFL – Fluorescent Bulbs
These bulbs are a great energy-efficient choice, but they suit smaller grow areas or cloning operations as they have a weak output.
LED – Light Diode Emitting Bulbs
LEDs are the hottest new technology for indoor gardeners. You get full-spectrum lighting that’s efficient, and it runs cool, keeping the temperature down inside the tent. We recommend going with a 300-Watt LED system for every two-square foot of your growing space. Samsung powered LED Grow lights
The lighting system, even if you’re using LEDs, creates heat inside the tent. The natural growth of the plants also creates heat and moisture in the air inside the tent.
An inlet and extraction fan system help to move the air around inside the tent, exchanging it for fresh air coming from outside the tent. The fans connect to ropes that hang from the roof of the tent, helping them run silently.
The air passes through ducting, and you can connect the exhaust ducting to a carbon scrubber unit to filter out any smells coming from the plants.
Temperature and Humidity Monitoring
You need a hygrometer and a thermometer for measuring the air temperature and Relative Humidity (RH) inside the tent.
Typically, you’ll want to keep humidity to 55% to 60%, and the temperature needs to be around 80F for best results with your crop.
Growing Medium – Soil or Hydroponic?
Growers have the option of going organic with pots and soil or using hydroponic systems to grow their plants. Typically, the organic route is the most popular because there’s less chance for failure.
Hydroponic systems require more attention to detail during the growing cycle. The grower must mix nutrients and pay careful attention to the water’s pH and Electrolyte Count (EC) levels.
However, hydroponics provides superior results. While many people swear by organic methods, after using hydroponics, they swiftly change their minds.
If you live in a cooler region of the world, you may need a heating system for your garden during the wintertime, especially if you’re growing in an uninsulated garage.
Nutrients come in two categories; organic and hydroponic. Organic nutrients include fertilizer and liquid nutrient products like kelp and fish emulsion. Hydroponic nutrients are chemical formulations designed to optimize plant growth.
While many new gardeners feel intimidated by using hydroponic methods and nutrients, it’s easy once you get the hang of it. You get far better results for resin and bud production.
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Choosing and Germinating Seeds
Choose your seeds from a reputable online seed bank. After they arrive, place the seeds in a shot glass filled with distilled water. Leave the glass in a dark cupboard with a heating pad in the corner, but don’t place the glass on the pad.
The seeds should sprout within 24 to 489-hours. Typically, the most viable seeds will sprout first. Place the seeds into seedling trays and plant them out into separate containers once they have two sets of leaves.
Picking Out Males
After your plants reach six to eight weeks, you can change the light cycle from 18/6-hours to 12/12-hours to sex your plants.
After about 5-days on this light cycle, you’ll see the males start to form like sacs under the leaves at the bottom of the node.
Remove these plants from the garden to avoid pollination of the female plants. You can then change the lighting or switch the cycle back to 18/6 to keep the plants vegging.
Feeding Your Plants
Feeding your plants is critical to encourage harder budding and higher yields. For organic gardens, include nitrogen-based fertilizers during the vegging stage and potassium-heavy fertilizers in the flowering stage.
Vegetative Vs. Flowering Times
When your plants start growing, they need around eight to twelve weeks of vegetative growth before they are strong enough to flower and produce a good harvest.
During the vegging phase, your plants need a minimum of 18-hours of light a day. When the plants are ready to flower, change the light cycle to 12-hours of light and 12-hours of darkness to emulate the waning days of summer.
When to Harvest Your Buds
Your plants are ready for harvest when 60% to 70% of the “trichomes” on the plant turn from clear to milky-white.