What are the most efficient lighting and hydro systems for a small grow room set-up?
A: There are several ways for you to maximize the utility of your small space. Each has its pros and cons. If you were looking to growing a strain that gets large, i.e. four feet or more, I would consider using an expandable drip system, which is where plants are grown in large containers connected with tubing.
The nutrient solution is drip- or mist-fed to the plants, and then gravity brings the solution back to the reservoir to be recirculated. This type of system is ideal for large plants with explosive growth and plants that take longer to veg and flower. With the continuous drip system, there is no risk of the system drying out if the drippers don’t clog.
Flood and drain tables are another tried and tested method that can fit many small to medium plants, i.e. one to three feet tall, into a small space. It would be tight but you could cram two 4x8 tables and flood them off a single reservoir.
To properly light the either of these hydroponic methods in a 10x10 room you would need at least one 1,000W HID or the LED equivalent, if not more. I would suggest two 600W HIDs running on two light rails to evenly and effectively light your garden.
Another viable option for small spaces are rotating gardens and vertical gardens. These all-in-one hydroponic gardens are designed to hold a very large number of small plants, i.e. plants that don’t get larger than one-foot high. In other words, you would have to grow a very small strain and force it to flower as soon as it has taken root. The plus side is that this method reduces the time between crops by focusing entirely on flowering. These package gardens seem complicated but are rather beginner-friendly and can hold hundreds of small plants.
In terms of your room’s environment, small spaces with lights running in them for hours on end are going to get hot. Invest in a high-quality fan and vent your room often. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Keeping the air in your room in the 65-80°F range will promote growth; prevent the contents of your reservoir from evaporating and becoming toxically concentrated; prevent the growth of harmful molds, bacteria, and fungi; and limit the likelihood of a damaging insect infestation. Finally, venting through a carbon filter will remove all odor from the vented air. This is the most effective method I know of for odor control. There are sprays and UV purifiers available that are effective as well.
I hope this advice helps point you in the right direction. If I can point you in another direction, head to your local hydroponics retailer. The people there can be an invaluable source of information and can help guide you through the process of setting up your grow
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