The use of grow tents for indoor gardening has been on the rise with small-scale, hobbyist gardeners over the years. Generally speaking, indoor horticulturalists use grow tents because they are easy to set up, require few materials, and are low-impact on living space.
Yet, when using grow tents, cultivators sacrifice some of the flexibility that is enjoyed when operating within a traditionally built-out growroom. This is largely because the size of a grow tent usually mirrors the size of a garden canopy per 1,000W—as seen in a 4x4-foot grow tent.
Point being, this canopy-to-tent sizing schematic makes it difficult to position equipment, such as artificial lights and exhaust, and leaves little room for working within the allocated grow space. Also, as grow tents are held up by an interior metal frame and have canvas walls, ceilings, and floors, their infrastructure presents further challenges for situating equipment efficiently.
Regardless of spatial and material constraints within grow tents, clever indoor gardeners can figure out ways to situate their equipment in a fashion that is both expedient and functional. This process is made easier by the convenient holes and ports that are built into tent walls for electrical access, airflow, and exhaust. These things being noted, here are a few tips for the hobbyist gardeners out there situating equipment in a grow tent.
Exhaust and Carbon Filters
Perhaps the most essential equipment element, as well as the most difficult to situate, in a grow tent is that of an exhaust and carbon filter. For hobbyist gardeners using a 4x4-foot or 4x8-foot tent for flowering, it’s a practical idea to run a carbon filter, air-cooled hoods, and inline fan in one exhaust system.
Combining all of these elements will help counteract the spatial constraints present in grow tent cultivation. For grow tents of the aforementioned sizes, there are relatively small, lightweight carbon filters that can be easily hung to the interior of a tent frame with the same materials used with lighting.
It should be noted that as heat rises, one should always strive to hang the carbon filter as near the tent ceiling as possible. That way the exhaust will simultaneously pull hot air out of the tent and “scrub” the air for smell by way of the carbon filter.
When situating the inline fan for the exhaust system, it should be hung off the ceiling support of the interior tent frame while being simultaneously positioned next to one of the exhaust ports on the wall. These exhaust ports are generally made to fit six- to eight-inch pieces of ducting and feature a bungee-like material that can be synched down on the inline fan or ducting to create a relatively tight seal for light leaks.
Also, wire, rope, or retractable cordage mechanisms work nicely for hanging the inline fan on the tent frame. When the carbon filter, hoods, and inline fans are properly situated within the grow tent, connect them all with ducting.
With this schematic, the inline fan pulls the fragrant, hot ambient air out of the tent canopy area while simultaneously cooling the hoods, and finally exhausts both to the exterior of the grow tent.
The geographical locale and seasonality of the indoor cultivation operation in question will greatly influence a gardener’s choice of expulsion options for the hot air in the grow. In the cooler fall, winter, and spring months in much of North America, exhausting a grow tent directly into a home will likely be a welcome source of heat.
However, in the warm summer months and in tropical climates, exhausting additional heat directly into one’s home can make for a rather uncomfortable living situation. That being said, grow tent gardeners can opt to position their set-ups near a window so as to exhaust the hot air directly out of living spaces.
However, this option can easily eliminate much of the operational discretion that most tent cultivators value. To solve this predicament, one could counteract the added heat from the grow tent’s exhaust with a home AC system, but this can prove quite costly in the heat of summer.
As seen with traditional indoor growroom operations, proper airflow and circulation are an essential element in a successful tent-grown crop. However, while one can simply hang wall fans on a wall in a retrofitted wood-framed room, canvas tent walls don’t provide this infrastructure.
However, one can get smaller clip-on fans that can be simply attached to the tent frame. Secondly, simple free-standing circulating fans can be used in grow tents without the hassle of trying to situate them upon a wall (if the square footage of the operation allows for this option).
As seen with traditional growroom set-ups, a good place to start planning a grow tent’s interior organization is with lighting. This is because the type of lights one uses for their indoor garden directly influences their options for air-cooling as well as exhausting.
For example, the use of double-ended high pressure sodium (HPS) lights is discouraged in most grow tent cultivation scenarios because these lights put off an extreme amount of heat and they don’t come with air-cooling options (aside from some brand new, relatively untested models).
That being said, fluorescent, LED, and air-cooled HPS lights can be simply hung from the roof of the interior frame of a grow tent using ropes, chain, or retractable cordage mechanisms. Air-cooled HPS lights should be hung in a position that will function in conjunction with an exhaust system.