If you love indoor gardening, setting up a grow tent setup will prove as a very important and valuable success for your plants. At first, I was very skeptical about this idea. But then when I tried the whole process with my own hands, the success I saw with my very own eyes was magical.
I learned that a grow tent will allow me to replicate all the environmental conditions that plants need. From ambient humidity to temperature and lighting, you will be able to recreate the environment that is critical and needed to have a healthy plant growth and harvest. Setting up a grow tent is quite a simple process. It allowed me to control the sustaining conditions of all plants including the weather. It is more fun than it sounds. Learn all you need to know about a grow tent here!
Why Should You Use A Grow Tent?
If you love gardening, there are many reasons for you to build a grow tent. Some of the most common reasons are:
1. Mobile and light
A grow tent is easier to set up than a rigid grow box. This makes it perfect for indoor gardens. Also, these grow tents are very light, which makes them easier to disassemble and reassemble any time you feel like wanting a change such as a different location, etc.
Grow tents are cost-effective if you have decided to set up a dedicated area for growing and harvesting plants. A grow tent comes in different sizes and the cost of each tent depends on the same factor. But overall, the cost of a tent is not much. Additionally, equipment like automated systems, lights and fans might cost you on an immediate basis but will make up for it in the form of low power bills.
3. Manageable environment
With a small and confined room, you will be able to control the environmental conditions easily. This means that if the room was large, you would have a harder time controlling the environment suitable for the plant growth. In a small area, you will be able to fit adequate lighting and maintain an even temperature.
4. Fewer pests
Even though indoor gardens are not completely pest-free, you will have a far lesser troubling-time getting rid of them than in gardens or large rigid grow boxes. Also, most grow tents today have a separate enclosed space that makes it difficult for pests to gain entry into the garden. As long as the tent remains closed, chances of pests entering and eating your garden are almost nil.
5. Optimize the use of light
Unlike grow boxes or regular rooms; grow tents bounce light back onto the plants due to the lining of a reflective material. This makes a proper utilization of the lighting to enhance the growth of the indoor specimens. Moreover, fully utilizing the lighting eventually saves energy and lessens the cost of being an indoor planter.
Select The Right Grow Tent
The first step you need to take while selecting the right grow tent is deciding on what type of plant you would like to grow. This is important because the type of plant you choose will ultimately decide the overall size of the tent.
- Size of the tent
You need to make sure that you are choosing the right size. If the tent is too big, you will have to spend and waste money on a lot of other parameters like pumps, fans, power lights, etc. On the other hand, if the tent size is too small, it will cause plants to crowd with each other and lead to a battle for water and nutrients. This will eventually stunt their potential growth as well.
So, when you are choosing a tent, you need to remember that form follows function. You do not need a tent that has a lot of ventilation holes than what you would require or larger than your base of operation.
- Frame stability
It is true that your grow tent is not going to last longer if you do not opt for a stable frame. As you know, frames are going to bear all the weight of your grow tent along with the plants and lights inside. That is the reason; you need to have frames with great stability.
Frames make a huge difference to the way you set up a grow tent. Therefore, you have to look for a sturdy, reliable, and stable frame for your grow tent. Plus, do not forget to concentrate the weight equally on bars. The equal distribution will make the frame more stable.
- Fabric durability
When opting for a grow tent, you should look for a heavy-duty fabric like canvas. This kind of fabric will make your tent lightproof along with the assistance of tough stitching and heavy-duty zippers. All these things will help you to make a lightproof fabric for your grow tent. So, you need to be on the lookout for a fabric with great durability. Otherwise, you have to bear the consequences.
- Ventilation flaps
In order to create a perfect environment, you need ventilation flaps for your grow tent. These flaps are important so that the plants can breathe easily for a proper growth. On an average, you will need two ventilation flaps. However, some growers opt for more than two ventilation flaps.
It is not a bad idea but it creates more problems for you. When you have to worry about more flaps, it becomes really harder to keep up a constant temperature in your tent while keeping it lightproof. So, it is better to watch out for the number of ventilation flaps.
Creating The Perfect Environment For A Grow Tent
Creating the best and optimal environment will promote the growth of your plants. Here are some points that you need to remember when you are setting up an indoor grow tent:
When it comes to light, you need to make sure that you get it as much as possible inside the grow tent. But, this does not mean that you flood the tent with too much light. You can also make use of lighting technology that has emerged considerably in the last few years.
I had the budget for purchasing LED lamps for my grow tent. It was pretty much a good decision. These lights emitted light in a full spectrum. Also, it did not get overly warm, thereby providing my plants with the best grow tent lighting.
- Air circulation
Even if you have an indoor growing system, this does not mean that it will be exempt from the infiltration of insects and pests. In order to cope with this situation, it is best to ensure constant air circulation within the concerned area. You can make use of fans to blow a gentle breeze over the leaves of the plants so as to move them a little. It would hinder spider mates and fungus gnats to come near them. However, do not point these fans directly at plants. If not, the leaves will dry out ahead of time.
Temperature is yet another condition in the tent that needs ventilation and monitoring. Most plants thrive in temperatures ranging between 70° and 80°F. Some plants prefer temperatures above 80°F. So, depending on the plant growth you want, you will need to maintain the temperature.
Consistency is the primary key when it comes to temperature. During the day time, I make use of my LED lights to maintain the temperature consistently. I also make sure that the off-lighting temperature does not fall below 15°F, which will cause my plants to grow cold and wither away.
- Carbon Dioxide
The carbon dioxide levels are linked directly to the growth rate of the plants. The more the carbon dioxide level, the better is the growth rate of your plants. The growth rate is the best when the carbon dioxide concentration is between 1,200 and 1,500 ppm. It is also important to know that with higher carbon dioxide levels, there might be an increase in the temperature. So, you will need to work it out how to balance both effectively for your plants.
Till date, researchers always have heated discussions about humidity. While some traditional arguments that that plant life does not depend directly on humidity and does not matter what the relative humidity levels are inside the tent, others have studied and concluded that humidity plays an important role when it comes to the plant’s different growing stages.
According to these studies, plants prefer a relative humidity of about 60%. To add moisture into the air, I place a wet sponge close to the growing trays. I then add bowls of water close to the plants. Also, you can add larger plants into your growing tent because they will transpire more and maintain the humidity level.
- Light reflection
Light reflection is a consideration that not many people consider. But it really helps if you have reflective material on the interior of your grow tent. It is also incredibly convenient. A reflective surface will primarily help your plants grow optimally and also keep light pollution from penetrating your house.
All the above conditions are just simple guidelines. The best idea would be to experiment with all these settings until you find the right combination that works and your plants flourish.
Materials Required For A Grow Tent Setup
The materials needed to make a grow tent from scratch are:
- Spare room big enough for a grow tent
- Tent and the fabrics to cover it
- Power outlet
- Materials like nails, duct tapes, ladder, etc.
- Ventilation components like fan and exhaust
Steps For Setting Up A Grow Tent Setup
Step 1: Assemble grow tent
Just like everything else, it is the best idea to first gather everything you need. Make sure to read all the instructions for the ventilation, lighting, tent. Make a note of all the tools that you will be needing like scissors, box cutter, wire cutters, screwdrivers, etc. Also, do not forget that you will definitely need a power source with a surge protector. If you live in dry conditions, you can make use of a humidifier.
Once you have everything with you, you can start assembling your tent. Tents come in different sizes and are either rectangular or square in shape. Before you start assembling, make sure the location will fit the tent and has the space it needs. You can start by unpacking all the pieces in one place. Assemble the frame and move it to the desired location.
You can watch the video below to learn how to set up a grow tent:
Remember that the plants will need water, so you need to choose an area that can be cleaned comparatively easily. Next, you can start adding the cloth covering. You can either use light-weight nylon or a heavier canvas, depending on your preference. You need to check and make sure the zippers are working perfectly and all the seams are sewn and void of defects.
Step 2: Hang grow light
As said above, lighting is one of the main factors that will decide how your grow tent will turn up. You need to consider the amount of light you want in your tent. Too much light will generate a lot of heat that will need to be controlled separately. Inadequate light will cause the plants to die. So, you need to analyze the overall power output of the lighting system you have decided to install and measure it against the number of plants you want to have in your tent.
You can possibly consider installing a pulley system that will allow you to adjust the height of the light source as your plants grow taller. You can also set upholders to attach the lighting to the place where you need it. Lighting hoods will help you direct the light from the source towards or away from the plants.
Also, make sure that you bundle the wiring and there is a safe passage towards the exit to prevent any electrical hazards.
Step 3: Ventilation
You will need to find the best placement for the carbon filter and the fan. I personally recommend that you can hang both the fan and the filter inside the tent itself. I find it more ideal because it maximizes the growing footprint, increases the odor removal effectiveness and ejects the hottest air that rises to the top of the indoor growing tent setup.
You can start off by hanging the carbon filter from the corner bar on the tent; make use of the hanging equipment provided. Next, you can hang the fan so that the intake is pointed in the direction of the carbon filter and make sure the exhaust is facing towards the ventilation opening of your tent. Run the power cords through the nearest power source hole in the tent.
Step 4: Dialing In & Safety Scan
Now that you have set everything up, it is time for you to turn everything on and check how the entire system works. This will give you a chance to see whether everything works according to the plan or work out any kinks that may be left unattended.
Also, you can take this opportunity to perform a safety scan. In this, you need to check whether all the electrical components are out of the direct reach of water. Make sure that all the electrical connections are secured. Do not leave any cord on the floor where they can get wet and cause major accidents. Do not compromise on safety.
Step 5: Place plants inside
Maintaining A Grow Tent
It is of utmost importance that you clean the grow tent once every couple of days or before you start planting a new crop. Make sure to clean and wipe everything with hydrogen peroxide or bleach to get rid of lingering disease-causing pathogens. You also need to scrub the pots and gardening components that you use during the growing season.
In today’s time, grow tents have become a very common thing. More people are into indoor growing than ever before. This is because it allows you to control environmental conditions for the best crop growth and a successful harvest. While it is true that having a grow tent setup is an asset that cannot be priced, it requires you to set up the tent correctly and ensure that it runs at its optimum potential.
If you follow the steps mentioned above, I assure that you will have all the systems configured correctly to be able to grow the healthiest range of plants. On the other hand, you can post your queries related to this topic in the comment section below. I would love to answer them along with reading your personal experiences.