In smaller sized grow operations the tendency is to cultivate larger plants in lower quantities. The reasons for this can vary, but usually the grower is cultivating medicine for only one or two patients versus trying to supply a dispensary that may serve a hundred patients. Also, state and local laws vary greatly in terms of the number of plants or the size of the garden a patient or caregiver is allowed to cultivate. To stay on the safe of side of the law, many medical growers opt to grow fewer plants of large (or extra large) size, since size, weight and yield are not usually factors in medical cultivation legislation.
In a small growroom, plants need more support than their counterparts in a SOG (sea-of-green) garden. In this scenario, thicker and taller stakes or latticework will be necessary in order for growers to be able to attach their plants’ branches to the support system. Multiple stakes with wire halos are a popular option for gardeners who need strong support and flexible points to attach branches and cola tops to.
Pots On Plants
Smaller gardens tend to use individual plant containers to produce large plants and bigger yields. These containers can range in size depending on the grower’s desired plant sizes, but for large to extra-large plant sizes in an indoor growroom, a good range is anywhere from 10 to 25 gallon (or bigger) containers. Remember, larger containers equal larger root systems and therefore larger plants.
When choosing grow containers, it is important to look for durable, non-toxic materials. Metal pots may be hazardous as they oxidize easily and may have toxic additives or coatings. Cloth or fibrous containers are usually best for potting plants indoors. Clay pots are attractive and can work in a pinch, but can be heavy, brittle and absorbent, causing grow mediums to dry out quickly. Some plastic containers can be toxic as well, so be sure to buy these from a reputable grow shop or garden center. It may also be wise to drill extra holes in larger plastic containers, as plastics tend not to breathe very well. Wooden containers or plant boxes may offer a great solution to the airflow problem as they tend to be more air permeable and, if being constructed at home, can be built to suit any size space.
Keeping Your Cool
Home-grow operations have to deal with the same atmospheric problems as large-format or commercial set-ups. In these situations temperature control can be a concern.
The solution to keeping garden temperatures down is cooling lamps. Sometimes glass tubes are placed directly around bulbs, but usually air-cooled reflector hoods are utilized. These hoods have reflectors above the bulb to redirect light and a tempered glass window under the bulb to trap in the heat. Flanges on either side of the hood allow for ducting to be easily attached. An inline fan at the end of the ductwork sucks the heat out of the hoods and exhausts it out of the growroom.
Still, in smaller spaces that use only one or two lamps and are equipped with central AC vents, air-cooling is not always necessary — especially if the space is well ventilated. In milder climates, where morning and nighttime temperatures don’t exceed often 75 degrees Fahrenheit, growers can fire up their lamps in the evening and run their 12-hour light cycles when temps are cooler outdoors, thereby keeping their overall growroom temperature lower throughout the entire photo period.
There are plenty of growers who use the same temperature control theory as larger growers, and construct smaller growrooms within a larger space such as a garage. This can allow stealthy growers to recirculate growroom air without it ever leaving their home or building. This will help prevent heat from building up in their growroom, while infusing their grow space with cooler, fresh air from the surrounding room and providing optimal security in terms of suspicious exhaust vents and odor leakage. Grow tents can typically provide the structure for a smaller growroom within a larger area and come equipped with all the trimmings that allow for easy lamp and fan installation.
But remember, whatever design you choose, the goal is to keep your plants happy with enough light and cool temperatures. And this, in turn, will make you happy when you are rewarded with a high-quality harvest. Have fun and enjoy, because after all, that’s what growing cannabis is all about!
Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!
Got questions? Email ‘em over to Nico at Edit.Grow@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!