Take the mystery out of indoor growing with a little help from your old pal, technology. A few simple-yet-quality gadgets can turn a home grow into a miniature state-of-the-art cannabis production facility.
Growers have used jeweler’s loupes and magnifying glasses for decades to observe trichome maturation. It’s the 21st, why not put that loupe on your smartphone so you can take pictures too? Taking photos will allow you to easily keep track of how your trichomes grow and go from clear to milky, to brown so you always know the right time to harvest. Getting down on the microscopic level will also help you identify mold spores and pests.
Some people have the luxury of having access to pure water that measures at 60 ppm TDS or less, but hard water forces many hydroponics growers to rely on guesswork to make a nutrient solution running the risk of calcium toxicity. An under-sink reverse osmosis filter strips up to 99 % of minerals, organic toxins and chlorine or chloramine. You may have to re-buffer the water with bicarbonates so it maintains a stable pH.
Small, handheld “pocket” pH/TDS meters work decently well, but have several drawbacks that can cause frustration and leave you in the dark. A durable, waterproof pH/TDS combo meter from a trusted manufacturer will provide you consistent readings every time if you treat them right, and they come with warrantees and support staff only a phone call away.
Keep track of the temperature and humidity in your growroom the best way with a thermometer/hygrometer that takes readings on a regular basis and records them in an exportable format. This will help you manipulate grow temps to your advantage and make sure your budding plants don’t succumb to mold from night-time dew.
Small-scale, indoor soil growers only need a rudimentary pH meter, nothing like the one we mentioned before for hydroponics. On the other hand, soil growers may take interest in having a pH meter made special for soil. You can check soil pH with a standard pH meter, but it takes some work. A cheap and simple analog soil pH meter is all you need to make sure your soil pH stays in check.
Use that cool air from outside to lower growroom temps caused by hot lamps, all you need is a well-placed thermostat that can stand the wattage.
Growroom air temperature is important to monitor, but the so-called leaf-surface temperature (LST) measures the “body temperature” of your plants. Ideally around 87 °F, temps too high can cause leaf burn, and too low will slow growth. High-intensity discharge lamps put out infrared light that heats plants to their core, while fluorescent and LED lighting does not. If you use fluorescent lighting in your climate-controlled garden and you find the average LST is below 87 °F, go ahead and ease up on the air-conditioning to optimize plant growth while saving electricity. Measuring LST will allow you to adjust your climate control to optimize it for plant health and energy efficiency.
Photo Credit: VortexFarmacy