2020 has been the year of many things, but for some, it’s been the year of indoor grow ops. With the world shutting down, it’s no surprise that more people have decided to ditch the crowded dispensaries and grow weed at home on their own instead.
The number of grow tents sold this year has skyrocketed, but unfortunately, many of the grow ops within these tents didn’t reach their full potential.
That’s because there’s a lot of room for mistakes for an indoor garden, but the good news is that most of these mistakes can be prevented. Just follow these tips on how to get great buds with your grow tent to make the most of your grow op in 2020 and beyond.
Start By Choosing the Right Tent
There are lots of grow tents to choose from, and chances are 90% of them aren’t the right choice for your indoor grow op. Whether that’s because of tent size, material, cost, or another reason, you need to spend more than 5 minutes browsing tents before you land on one.
Tons of growers order their tents online, only to be disappointed when the tent arrives. Maybe it’s too small, maybe it’s too big, or maybe it feels like it will fall apart after just one harvesting. Whatever the reason, the easy way to avoid this is to take time to choose the right tent, and start by deciding on the exact size you need.
You can use resources like this website to find the best grow tent for your indoor growing needs.
Next, Focus on the Tent Setup
Once your tent arrives and you’ve got it assembled, it’s common to think that it’s time to load it up with plants and let them do their thing. You’re not quite there yet, but don’t worry, you’ll be able to get your plants under light soon enough and be on your way to great buds.
Before that can happen, though, you need to set up your grow tent. Depending on the size of your op and the methods you plan on using, like hydroponics or soil-based growing, this could be very simple, or it could be very complicated.
No matter what, your setup always needs to include lighting, ventilation, and climate control. For a cannabis-growing hobbyist, it’s recommended to keep things simple, at least at the beginning, before moving onto more advanced growing techniques and equipment.
Setting Up Lights
Lighting is a huge aspect of any indoor grow op, so it’s important to maximize your grow lights. The first step is to choose the type of lighting that’s best – the top picks are LEDs and HPS, although there are also fluorescent T5s and CFL. LEDs are the most energy-efficient and versatile, but HPS lights are more intense, therefore more likely to create beefy buds.
After choosing the type of light, the next step is to decide on the wattage. The wattage depends on the type you’ve chosen, but for LED’s, a good rule of thumb is to go with around 50 watts per square foot. So for a 4×4 tent that’s 16 square feet, you’d want to go with 800 watts.
Next, it’s all about strategically hanging the lights so that every plant gets the same amount. The key here is to hang the lights as close to the plant canopy (the tops of the plants) as possible without causing damage. If you hang the lights too close, you’ll risk singing or overheating the crop, which could lead to disaster.
You can definitely expect to make changes to the lights’ positioning throughout the grow op, so be sure to hang them in a way that’s easily accessible.
Setting Up Ventilation
One of the benefits of using a grow tent is that most tents are pre-fitted for ventilation holes, all you have to do is add in some ducting and install a few fans.
When setting up your ventilation, you need to be just as strategic with this as you were with the tent lighting. The air should constantly be moving and you need to be reintroducing fresh oxygen into the space, but not to the point where there are hurricane-level winds moving through the tent.
Although you might be tempted to go with HPS lights for their higher intensity, avoid this if you’re struggling with grow tent ventilation. HPS lighting creates a lot of heat while LEDs don’t, and according to CNET, LEDs are cooler because “the heat is dissipated by metal heat sinks that wick away the heat from the light source itself.” If ventilation is an issue, always go with cooler LEDs.
Setting Up Climate Control
The two most obvious factors of climate control in your grow tent are humidity and temperature, so focus on these first. Some growers are lucky and have no trouble maintaining a stable climate, while others struggle no matter how hard they try.
The key here is to automate as much of the grow tent as possible, starting with your lighting and moving on to humidity and temperature control. Do what you have to do to maintain the right growing environment – that probably means investing in a heater, portable AC, humidifier, or dehumidifier as well as climate controllers and monitors.
Find Your Nutrient Balance
Err on the low end for plant nutrients and your plants won’t have a fighting chance, but err on the high end and you could be do just as much harm. Every grow op – whether it’s in a tent, a basement, a closet, or outdoors – needs to find that ideal nutrient balance for optimal plant health (and for getting great buds).
The easiest way to find that balance is to use plant fertilizers and schedules that come with a feeding schedule. Just follow that feeding schedule down to a T and you shouldn’t have too many nutrient-related issues.
These are just the basic things to keep in mind if getting great bud is your end goal – isn’t that the whole point? – but starting with the basics tends to end with better results, especially for new growers.