How to Choose Your Indoor Growing Setup
This is Part 1 of an 8-part series on becoming a Hydro Pro:
- Part 1 – [You are here] How to Choose Your Indoor Growing Setup
- Part 2 – How to Germinate Your Seeds
- Part 3 – How to Transfer Your Plants
- Part 4 – Know Your Plant's Nutrient Needs
- Part 5 – The Vegetative Stage
- Part 6 – How to Clone your Plants
- Part 7 – The Flowering Stage
- Part 8 – The Harvesting Stage
Choosing your indoor growing setup is not as easy as you think, especially if you are new to hydroponics. You’ll encounter a lot of terms that are alien to you. Ever heard of aeroponics, deep water culture, and CFM systems?
You will also be overwhelmed with a wide variety of products that are readily available in the market. Some of these products are things that you actually do need, while plenty of it just complicates your growing set-up.
So here's a rundown of the important things that you should have in setting up your indoor growing system and help you produce healthy plants and top quality yields.
We'll cover different types of grow rooms, grow lighting systems options, hydro systems and everything in between.
Types of Grow Rooms
First stop is the grow rooms. There are two kinds of grow rooms in the market...
...the Closed Loop and High CFM (cubic feet per minute) systems.
Let us take a closer look on each of these grow systems:
The Closed Loop grow rooms, as the name implies, are totally closed off from the outside environment. There is no air exchange between the growing room and the surrounding area.
Since there is no vent to offset the heat produced by high powered grow lights, closed loop grow rooms requires air conditioning to maintain an ideal temperature of 68-78F.
High CFM Systems
High CFM (cubic feet per minute) Systems, on the other hand, utilizes heavy air exchange with the outside environment through the use of high-powered fans.
This system is highly recommended for beginners because of its simplicity and flexibility. It can fit any room and no external ducting is required.
Another huge plus of High CFM Systems is they don't require so much manipulation of your existing grow room environment. They also work well with human-comfy temperature since we prefer around 68-72 and the plants like 72-78. It is also easy to cool down by up to ten degrees when lights are off, thus simulating nighttime temperatures.
To put your grow system together, you’ll need:
- Wall that reflective enough to hang lights and maximize their reach
- An environment that’s not gonna get dirty (or at least, should be easy to clean)
- Ready water supply nearby (you’re gonna need that)
- Room for organizing tools, nutrients, etc.
- The correct lighting system (we’re gonna cover all the best options)
- Great air flow throughout the grow room (hence the High-CFM)
- Room to move around the plants
- Temperature and humidity monitoring systems
Grow Lighting System Options
Now when it comes to growing lighting system options, we have Modern CFL Grow Lights, HID (High-Intensity Discharge) and LED Grow Lights
Let us zoom in to each one of them.
Modern CFL Grow Lights
Modern CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) Grow Lights has red and blue spectrums which are great for germination, cloning, and plants that are at their early vegetative growth.
HID (High-Intensity Discharge)
HID or High-Intensity Discharge are much powerful lamps. According to Maximumyield.com, High-intensity discharge grow lights produce an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent tube. This electric charge excites gas molecules, which, as a result, produces a high-intensity light.
The metal halide in HID lamps has blue spectrum which mimics the effect of an early spring sun. This kind of spectrum is best for vegetation because it helps produce tight inter-nodal spacing and nice thick lush foliage.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
High Pressure Sodium or HPS recreates the effects of hot summer sunlight. It is most ideal for flowering plants and can absolutely be used all the way from sprouting your seedlings to harvesting your flowers.
LED Grow Lights
LED or Light Emitting Diodes grow light is perhaps the most complete spectrum. It has red, blue and other micro spectra thus giving your plants everything they need in order to grow healthy.
LEDs are popular among growers because of its efficiency. It also showcases cool benefits like:
- It produces a minimal amount of heat (which is great for your plants)
- So much cooling isn't needed, compared to CFLs and HIDs
- And consumes 40% less electricity.
Matching Your Lighting System to Your Grow Room
In choosing your grow light is very important to use the right light for the right space.
This is not the time for overkill!
Do not use a 1000 Watt LED for a 2’x2’ grow room, you're not helping your plants.
A good grow light "rule of green-thumb":
- 2’x2’ - 250 Watts
- 3’x3’ - 400 Watts
- 4’x4’ - 600 Watts
- 5’x5’ - 1000 Watts
Power System that Runs Your Grow Lights
A 240v power system is better for large builds since it runs less strain on the grid, but be warned, it’s not gonna save you any money on the monthly power bills! And get a shockbuster to plug in your lighting systems… always!
Safety should always be on top of mind. A shockbuster will shut everything down if there is an electric disruption or short circuit.
Your indoor set-up will not be complete without an air cooling system. This is equally vital because too much heat from grow lights can kill your crop.
Having ducting tacks or exhaust fans in place will keep your growing environment in its best operating condition. It will also give you the ability to control the temperature in your grow system, depending on what your plants need.
Different Hydroponic Options
Ebb and Flow or Flood and Drain
As the name implies, plants are periodically flooded and then drained on a time cycle.
This set up looks very cool but very complicated to maintain. Roots are suspended in mid-air. Sprayers are strategically placed near the roots and periodically spray nutrient-rich water directly to the roots
DWC or Deep water Culture
This is a tried and tested hydroponic system wherein the roots are submerged in nutritious water and an air circulator keep the water hyper-oxygenated.
Also know us automated irrigation. An irrigation system is placed at the top of the cups or the grow system and feeds the plants with nutrient-rich water. This is done periodically with a help of an analog timer.
So, What's Next?
We'll be back soon with our next installment on how to become a hydro pro...
...got questions now? Ask in the comments below, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, we're always happy to help!