Indoor Grower Tips

A grow room is a popular home feature for gardeners who want to grow plants indoors without the use of a greenhouse. While some homes come with sun rooms for growing plants, a grow room typically has no windows. The advantages of such a feature are that the gardener can precisely control the amount of light that the plants are exposed to.

Since grow rooms have no natural light, all light must be supplied artificially by specially constructed electric lights that simulate the lighting color temperatures given off by the sun. LED grow lights require no ballast, produce very little heat, and are very inexpensive to operate. These lights are usually placed on a timer so that the plants receive an optimal amount of light. The 600w 3w LED grow light will offer the best canopy penetration if the lights are hung at a height of approximately 4’. At this height, growers will have over 24 square feet of grow space. Closer is better with LED grow lights for hydroponics, if you don’t need 24 sqft, hang it closer for more intensity. If you are switching out your old school HPS or MH for LEDs, do it slowly by weaning your plants off 30 minutes per day until all you have is LED light coverage. This will help avoid shock in your crop. Some growers add LEDs to a traditional HID to create and effective hybrid system.

In most all indoor plant systems including grow rooms, grow boxes and greenhouses, ventilation is an essential component. Plants can only thrive when kept within a certain minimum and maximum temperature range. In a grow room, the heating system controlled by the rest of the building prevents the temperatures from dipping into ranges that are too cold for the plants to survive, but a grow room requires a ventilation system to remove heat from the grow room if needed. This is not as big an issue when using 600w LED grow lighting since the units don’t produce an inordinate amount of heat. Some form of ventilation includes exhaust and circulation fans and vents. Plants really appreciate a gentle breeze in a grow room. This breeze prevents stale pockets of moisture and heat from building up, while also providing a gentle and stimulating exercise for plant stalks. Really. A gentle breeze will strengthen plants and help them to grow better.

Because many of the grow rooms today are sealed against light and insulated for temperature changes, they require internal air filters. Just as humans can become sick when exposed to old, breathed air, plants can grow poorly when grown in stale greenhouse air. Air filters help to recycle the air by pulling it through carbon filters filled with activated charcoal. These filters remove impurities from the air, including spores, dust and mildew that can harm a plant before returning the air to the grow room.

Carbon Dioxide, known as CO2 is a much needed resource for your plants’ development and overall growth. Plants use CO2 in their respiratory cycle, much like we depend on oxygen. Plants can absorb much more CO2 than that which is available at natural atmospheric pressure levels. In most outdoor environments, CO2 is available at 450 parts per million (ppm). Most plants can use anywhere from 1300 to 1600 ppm. This is roughly up to 4X the amount that is available outside. If you give your plants these elevated levels of CO2, you will immediately notice a vast increase in plant growth, development and fruit/production.

The first thing to decide is what method you want to use to enrich your room. The goal is to fill a room with the desired level of CO2 as quickly as possible.

A CO2 Injection System runs off of CO2 gas, (much like a soda dispenser) and is a good choice for a small room. The drawbacks to this kind of enrichment system is the need to consistently change CO2 tanks, and the fact that it can often take a long time to enrich a room. It’s a great choice for smaller systems.

CO2 generators come in one of two ways. You can choose to run it off of liquid propane tanks or a natural gas line. Liquid propane is fine, but the tanks need to be regularly refilled (this can be a real pain). Natural gas runs off of a natural gas line, which once installed properly, is safe, low maintenance and easy to use.

CO2 emitters do not add any extra heat to a grow room, although CO2 generators do. Depending on the size of generator you choose, you may be adding a considerable amount of heat to you grow room.

There are other DIY methods of creating CO2 including, brewing with yeast and using a fungus cultivation system. Do your research and have fun.

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