A major challenge new indoor gardeners face is grow room design. When designing a grow room, there are many factors to consider: What size space do you have to work with? Where is the space and how can outside factors effect it? What will you need for your plants to grow to their highest potential? What kind of budget are you working with? The list of questions may go on forever.
A grow room can be as technically simple or complex as you like. When building a grow room, the main factors to focus on are proper ventilation, ideal CO2, temperature and humidity levels and adequate lighting. Any other details will depend on the gardener's preference and grow room space.
What can I do with the space I have?
Before making any purchases, you will need to measure the amount of space you have to build your grow room. You will want to have the length, width and height measurements available to provide to your local grow shop. These three measurements, along with the placement of vents, windows, doors and closets in the room will be key to the overall grow room design.
Now it is time to consider your options. How many HID lights can you install in this room? What size flood tables can you fit in your room and where? Which direction will you lay out your lighting and trays? What size ventilation fan and filter would be best?
It is also important to consider where you will build your room. There are several factors that may have an effect on the conditions of your grow room and you should plan accordingly. If you intend to build in a basement, your temperature will likely run cooler. If you are on a second story, your temperature will most likely run warmer. If you are next to a freeway, your CO2 levels may be higher. If you are next to a field or orchard you may want to invest in a good intake filter, because you may be more prone to disease and pests.
There are many more questions that will come up; these are just some of the most frequent. Your local grow shop will be able to help you with the details.
The Right Environment
Having the right environment for your plants is critical. Factors such as temperature, humidity and CO2 can affect plant propagation and life expectancy. Different plants at different life stages may prefer varied levels of temperature, humidity and CO2; therefore, it is always best to familiarize yourself with the species you intend to cultivate and its life cycle.
When designing your room, you may not be able to predict the appropriate temperature, CO2 and humidity levels. Temperature will be greatly affected by the amount of HID lights you put in your room. The humidity will change when the lights go on or off or when you have a lot of water or spraying in the room. The CO2 levels will also fluctuate, as your plants will be using the available CO2 in the room. A good general rule of thumb is to keep your grow room temperature between 68-75° F, humidity between 40-60% and CO2 at 1500ppm.
Environmental controls can help you maintain optimum levels in your grow room. While they can be initially expensive, environmental controls will prove to be a beneficial investment. Using controllers will insure your grow room is on point at any time of the day, whether you are in the room or not. Controllers will make sure your plants are always thriving and as healthy as they can be. There is a controller for every factor in your grow room from light timers, CO2 monitors, fan controllers, temperature controllers, humidity controllers, controller hybrids and many more. You can keep it simple or invest in technical complexity. It will all depend on how involved you would like to be and how much money you want to invest.
To start you will want to buy a hygrometer. This will measure the relative humidity and temperature in your grow room. From here you will find out what additional equipment you may want or need. If you decide you want to supplement CO2, you should consider buying a controller that disperses the CO2 for you and at the same time turns off your exhaust fans. This is one mistake many gardeners make by trying to save money. In the end they end up losing more money worth of CO2 than the controller would have cost. Make sure to thoroughly research the capabilities and benefits of environmental controllers. Your local grow shop will be able to give you helpful suggestions as well.
Keeping your grow room clean
Prior to putting any plants in your grow room, make sure the room is clean and air tight. If you are bringing any outside air into the room, make sure you use intake filters. If you bought any used equipment, make sure you sterilize it. If you have tracked in dirt or dust while building your grow room, clean this up prior to planting. Cleanliness is critical in keeping healthy plants. Keep your grow room and equipment as clean as possible in order to avoid bringing in any outside contaminates. This will help reduce the amount of pest and disease issues you may run into.
Making the decision to build a grow room and cultivate your own plants can be an exciting endeavor, but it can also present some challenges. It is important to be informed on proper grow room design and functionality. So talk to your local all season gardening experts, research the best type of grow room for your purposes, find out what budget and equipment will work best for you and dive in! Good luck Gardener!