As the cool fall weather slowly morphs into wintertime cold, indoor gardeners need to slim down on their cooling equipment and bulk up on heating methods.
As most growers know, these structural changes mean an added work-load to an already demanding cultivation and harvest schedule. With this notion in mind, it is crucial for indoor gardeners to use foresight and schedule these equipment overhauls in between harvest intervals.
Thankfully, the months of September, October, and November (depending on one’s geography) provide a fairly long window in which to anticipate and plan this extra work in the grow room.
To ensure smooth seasonal transitions within a grow room, some simple planning will ensure that projects are executed efficiently. For starters, take a thorough inventory of your summer set-up in relation to what you will need to maintain a healthy growing environment for the winter.
After that, make a list of equipment and items that must be procured for a cold-season cultivation operation. Ideally, with these proactive measures, you can perform a seasonal remodel without losing time in your standard grow cycles.
So, for those savvy gardeners anticipating the changing of the seasons, here are some winter grow room preparations.
Fortunately, many indoor growers find it far easier and cheaper to keep their rooms at an ideal temperature during the winter months than in the summer. That’s because almost all indoor grows require some sort of air conditioning (AC) to maintain a healthy growth equilibrium during the summer heat.
Conversely, during the winter, cultivators can simply turn off their AC to attain a proper ambient temp (or bring in cool air with a simple intake fan system). If one chooses to disconnect their AC for the winter, they are well advised to store their compressors within an enclosed space such as a garage.
Many indoor horticulturalists have adopted the closed room methodology of cultivation, which generally requires the use of an AC unit year-round.
The use of an industrial or mini-split AC unit during the winter months requires some winterization techniques because these AC systems aren’t designed to operate in temperatures under 50˚F.
With this notion in mind, it is possible to install a low-ambient kit, which will slow the fan speed in the unit’s compressor, keeping it from freezing in cold temperatures.
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Where one’s growroom is situated will greatly influence one’s winter preparation in relation to insulation. To illustrate, if an indoor garden is set-up within a bedroom, there really aren’t many considerations to make for adding insulation, as the original construction of the home is already well-insulated.
However, if a grow room is situated within a garage or poorly insulated out-building, one will need to make plans concerning insulation for the winter, especially in frigid climates like the Midwest or east coast of the US.
For those garage and out-building gardeners, it’s generally a good idea to design a room-within-a-room grow set-up. Meaning, one can attain far better environmental controls if they pre-build a room specifically for indoor gardening.
Ambient temperatures in garages and out-buildings in cold areas of the US generally match those of the outdoors, and building a room within the room lessens the square footage that needs to be heated.
Of course, these pre-fabricated growrooms should be designed with insulation in mind, as it can be the difference between success and failure during the cold, dark winter.
Reservoirs and Water Sources
Many indoor growers opt to fill their reservoirs with hoses that are sourced from the exterior of a home or building. However, utilizing an outdoor hose as a water source for an indoor garden during the winter can pose problems for a couple of reasons.
To begin with, outdoor hoses and connections easily freeze in temperatures below 32˚F. Secondly, watering plants with extremely cold water can shock the root system, inhibiting both nutrient uptake and overall plant growth.
To remedy these winter obstructions, the resourceful grower has a couple of options. For starters, most hardware stores sell electrically heated insulation sleeves for outdoor hoses. These relatively cheap additions to one’s irrigation system will save outdoor hoses from freezing.
Next, to solve issues with cold water irrigation, it is a good idea to keep reservoirs within the warm confines of the actual growroom. Along this line of thought, pre-filling a reservoir at least 12 hours before watering one’s garden will allow the water to heat up, absolving any concerns with cold water irrigation.
There you have it. With a little foresight and preparation, remodeling your grow room for winter shouldn’t affect your grow cycle.
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