Certain specialized equipment is required for homegrown cannabis ranging from systems to feeds with particular factors benefiting from expert knowledge, to succeed as a hydroponics indoor grower. Many books are available to educate those growers willing to learn, with many now participating in Website Forums to gain greater knowledge, interacting with other growers where information and help is on hand from those who are experiencing similar issues or new found success.
Experience is obviously what makes a grower successful, gaining that experience can be daunting however once put into practice it becomes common sense and fun with great results ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables all year round to exotic plants and medicines, and all achieved in the spare room of your house, garage or garden shed.
The Grow Light Requirements
Grow lights have three main requirements, firstly to provide your plants with the signal they require to know what cycle they are in, this being the propagation and growth cycle or the flowering cycle. The propagation cycle is the plant’s first cycle which is part of the growth cycle requiring 18 hours of light in a 24 hour period. It is called propagation because propagators are used to house seedlings or cuttings often called clones, they are housed in propagators until rooting has formed until which time they are potted on into growing systems or pots.
The growth cycle period is dependent on how big the plant is required to get to before entering the flowering cycle again using 18 hours of light per 24 hours. The flowering cycle is 12 hours of light in a 24 hour period. The second requirement from the grow lights is to provide a spectrum of high powered colours that plants require to flourish with speed and health. The higher the strength of the grow lights the more lumens produced resulting in greater growth or flowering.
There are four types of grow lights, firstly propagation lighting, usually in compact fluorescent form known as CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) emitting low lumen and heat output. Metal halide lamps in 250 watts, 400 watts, 600 watts and 1000 watts are then used in the growth cycle until switching to high-pressure sodium lamps again in the same power ranges. Lastly and becoming more and more users are LED lighting panels.
These are low powered coloured lamps fixed to panels 5-10mm apart. LED’s are becoming more used due to the low running costs however the yields produced are as yet not as good as that of sodium lamp users due to LED’s not emitting the necessary lumens leaving the plants to grow and flower solely from the colour spectrum.
Lastly, grow lights are required to heat the grow room to the plant’s cycle required temperature, this being 22-24 degrees for propagation, 26 degrees for growth, and 28 degrees for flowering. However, in propagation, the grower will be using CFL lamps which do not release heat in which case heated propagators are used or oil filled radiators are added to the grow room. Metal halide lamps and high pressure sodium release generous amounts of heat whilst LEDs also produce very low heat.
The Growing System or Plant Pot
Whether to use a growing system or standard plant pot depends on the method of cultivation the grower wishes to incorporate which in turn can be denoted by the growth media to be used. There are many different growing systems available in all sizes to suit all environments. Each type of system has it benefits whilst also having downfalls, for example most systems are best for the growth cycle rather than the flowering cycle or vise versa.
This decision can be decided upon when choosing the plant you wish to grow, again certain systems suit certain plants greater than others, research is the key factor here. Plant pots are the choice of many traditional growers or ‘soil’ growers, with some growing systems now incorporating plant pots.
The main purpose of the growing system or plant pot is to house the growth media allowing the plants root zone to manifest amongst the media offering the roots warmth, protection from light, supply of feed and a generous area to spread the root zone in order to supply the foliage and stems with a sturdy base without allowing the root zone to interact with other plants which can be detrimental to the yield as plants with touching root zones fight for the liquid feeds resulting in one plant possibly overpowering the rest.
Feeds, Fertilisers and Liquid Nutrients
The correct feeds are essential during the plants correct cycle to obtain the best from your plants. Many fertilisers and liquid nutrients are now readily available with all supplements and additives required to push your plants to their maximum.
The feeds are required to offer hydration much like ourselves which is absorbed in the roots, it is then transferred up vein-like channels to the foliage and dispersed out of the tomato’s on the underside of the leaves as photosynthesis takes place producing transpiration, all much needed to produce healthy plants. As the plant ages, it requires stronger feeds in larger quantities. Feeds are measured in strength using digital meters known as EC (electrical conductivity meter) or PPC (parts per million counters) meters with the EC meter being the choice of many due to their simplicity of use and accuracy.
All feeds are well researched and trialled by the manufacturers however again knowledge plays a large part in supplying the correct amounts. Too little feed when the plan calls for it will result in malnutrition defects that will take time to grow back out and too much feed will result in ailments from tip burn to pythium and even deadly fusarium which can destroy your entire crop and contaminate all your equipment. Again hydroponics forums allow growers to share this vital information.
The most frequent issue in indoor growing is climate control. Whilst many growers reason that climate control is more important than anything else, some still try to outdo what can not be outdone. Temperature, for example, is the defining element to whether your plants grow or not, too cold and they stun, too hot and they stun. Just a change of two degrees is enough to change the plants day or even a week, and not for the best.
With temperature control comes clean air, supplying much needed oxygen/co2 into the grow room as many as twenty times per hour depending on how large the grow room is and how many grow lights are in use. The climate is controlled using fans and carbon filters connected with duct and operated automatically or manually with fan speed controllers on idle, set speed or probe allowing the user to set the temperature and the controller then turns the fans on as required.
Furthermore, intelligent climate controllers are now available and range from operating co2 canisters, fans, feed meters and dosers to liquid meters and dosers, with some self programmable from personal computers and monitored with the same equipment from other locations rather than having to visit the grow room to view what is occurring.
For most, all is required is a supply of air coming into the grow room and air extracting from the grow room via a carbon filter to eliminate odours. This again depends on the variety of plants being grown and therefore its requirements differ from the region of origin. Knowledge again prevails.
A clean, well kept growing environment is essential to producing the best from your plants. Laboratory style grows rooms are common practice and offer the grower ease with pests and disease eradication. Walls and floors are easily maintained with highly reflective wipe clean sheeting that also helps insulate the light and heat.
Timers are used to automatically control grow lights, water pumps, circulating fans, air pumps and much more whilst all in one digital meter simplify the grower’s needs from measuring feeds and solution acidity to analyzing grow room light production. Simplifying indoor growing further is purpose made, insulated grow tents giving the user a mobile grow room that is sturdy in construction and highly manageable. Hydroponics indoor growing is fast becoming the choice of many, whilst the initial outlay can be expensive it is soon returned with endless fresh fruits, flowers, vegetables, and medicines.
Indoor growing is not difficult if anything it is made difficult by persons attempting to cut corners, rush the plant’s cycle, and more so from not researching what they wish to grow resulting in using the wrong equipment that would otherwise be best suited to the plant.
Speak to the growers at our hydroponics growers forum and all becomes clear with advice on all plants including fast-growing plants, feeds and equipment, all much needed to produce great tasting, high yields. Purchasing quality equipment from well-known suppliers is advisable and research what you are growing. True growers will want to share their finds with others, participate in hydroponics forums and enjoy.