Basic Gear Needed for Indoor Cannabis Growing
When it comes to growing cannabis indoors, there's plenty of equipment to choose from… some of it necessary, some not so necessary. Check out what you’ll need to get started in your growroom.
Cultivators have more equipment options than ever for growing cannabis indoors. While it is great to have such a wide variety of technology to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between what’s needed and what’s wanted.
At the most basic level of indoor growing, you need the equipment necessary to create an environment where cannabis plants thrive. No indoor cannabis garden would be successful without some method for regulating temperature and humidity. Nonetheless, when you get beyond basics, growers tend to choose additional technologies to lighten their workload in the garden.
While certain types of automation can add real convenience, this equipment is not necessarily required. All things considered, you can better understand the basic gear needed for indoor gardening by retracing the fundamentals of cannabis horticulture.
Horticultural lighting should be the first equipment you consider when designing a growroom. Importantly, the type of grow lights you choose will have a major impact on other equipment considerations like HVAC or exhaust systems.
When planning lighting for your indoor garden, important factors to consider include ceiling height, electrical capacity, environmental controls, and ambient temperature of the area.
Fixtures: A light fixture is the basic skeleton for any piece of horticultural lighting technology. Whether you opt to use double-ended high pressure sodium (DE HPS) or LED lights, the fixture will house all of the electrical components for the system. The fixture also connects to the ceiling and power source.
Bulbs: A light bulb is the actual physical medium that expels usable photosynthetic active radiation (PAR light) which cannabis plants consume. Depending on the type of fixture, bulbs emit a variety of different color spectrums — such as red and blue. Bulbs generally last anywhere from 1-10 years of heavy usage.
Extras: Depending on your chosen grow light, there are additional pieces of equipment involved with lighting that might be deemed necessary. For example, if you opt to use a single-ended HPS light in a warm climate, you will likely need to integrate an air-cooling system with hoods, fans, and ducting.
Good airflow management is a critical practice with any successful indoor cannabis garden. You want to create a low-humidity environment where the ambient air is entirely exchanged at least every five minutes.
Inline Fans: Inline fans are the most critical components of indoor garden exhaust systems. These systems pull hot, stale air from your growroom and expel it through an outtake vent. For most basic indoor gardens, the inline fan exhaust system is 100 percent responsible for exchanging fresh air and regulating temperature/humidity.
Carbon Filters: Carbon filters are integrated with your exhaust system to scrub the air of any smells before it is finally expelled from the outtake. Carbon filters come in many sizes that integrate with a variety of inline fans.
Ducting: Ducting is used to connect the inline fan to your carbon filter; it is also the vehicle through which stale air moves out of the growroom via the exhaust.
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Monitoring the Environment
To ensure every element of your indoor garden is working correctly, you also need pieces of technology to monitor the environment.
Thermometer: The most important environmental factors to consider when growing cannabis indoors are heat and humidity. If either of these elements is out of balance, it can hinder plant growth while also allowing the spread of pathogens like mold and mildew. A digital thermometer integrated with a hygrometer is your best bet for monitoring temperature and humidity levels in your indoor garden.
Sensors & Timers: Depending on your budget and infrastructure, some type of sensor or timer is required to regulate your grow lights and exhaust system. Importantly, light cycles need to be regulated for different phases of plant growth, while the exhaust system must be adjusted to keep the environment balanced at all times.
Reservoir: The reservoir is where you will hold water and mix nutrients before irrigating your indoor garden. While any large plastic bin will work for a reservoir, most growers opt for large trash cans around 40-50 gallons in size.
Water Filter: Whether you are on city water or well water for irrigation, you will want to use some type of filter to lower hardness or eliminate chlorine. Some growers opt to use reverse osmosis filters to bring parts per million (PPM) down to zero, while others use more basic filters to clean additives from their water.
Pump, Hose, and Wand: The pump, hose, and wand combination is used to get water from your irrigation reservoir to your cannabis plants. There are many types of pumps and wands on the market; it’s best to opt for basic, inexpensive options when first getting started.
pH Pen: You must check the pH levels of your irrigation water in order to ensure your cannabis plants efficiently absorb nutrients. Not only do pH pens tell you the acidity of your irrigation water, but more advanced models give readings on PPM and electric conductivity (EC).
The basic gear needed for growing cannabis indoors ensure conditions where plants thrive. The fundamentals of lighting, airflow, and irrigation can act as great guideposts for planning your garden. When you expand beyond basic grow equipment, increased automation generally goes hand-in-hand with decreased human labor.
Following basic cultivation principles will help you stick to a reasonable budget when first getting started with growing cannabis. As your knowledge base expands, you can try new pieces of equipment when making tweaks to your established system.