If you have decided to grow medical marijuana indoors rather than outside in the garden, you will need to set up a space dedicated to tending your cannabis plants. There are many ways to prepare a grow room – in fact, the space does not even need to be an actual room. This article covers some of the basics you’ll need to know to plan a customized growing space to give your new cannabis seeds the best home, and to get the most out of your plants.
How Do You Build A Grow Room For Cannabis Plants?
When you decide to plant and cultivate your cannabis seeds within a grow room, you no longer need to worry about an early frost, regional pests, or a snoopy neighbour. You will, however, need to plan out your dedicated growing area and be prepared for some extra costs and prep time.
The first consideration is space, and the best way to figure out how much of it you’ll need is to determine how many cannabis plants you’re going to grow. A grow room can be as small as one square metre, and if you plan to grow just one or two plants you can probably outfit a closet or cupboard. For a larger harvest, or to try out various cannabis strains, you will need at least part of a room.
Naturally, budget will also play a large role in the type of grow room you create. Lucky for us, GreenBudGuru was kind enough to build a comprehensive Grow Room Electricity Calculator to help you nail down all your costs before you get rolling.
Before finalizing the placement of your grow room (we’ll call the area, however large, your grow “room” to avoid confusion), you’ll want to consider a few important things.
Is there carpet in the area you’ve chosen? If so, you’ll need to construct a floor for your grow room, in addition to the wall and ceiling setup, to avoid mold and mess. If there happens to be linoleum or another waterproof material below the carpet, you can always tear up the top layer, but wood is problematic, too. Remember, you’ll be working with a lot of dirt and water.
The grow room should be nearby water and electricity. You can set up extension cords and run hoses all over your house, but it’s more time- and cost-efficient – not to mention less cluttered – to find a space that offers easy access.
A single electrical outlet probably won’t be enough. Make sure the electricity to which you have access can handle the large amounts you’ll need for lights, fans, pumps, a humidifier, an air conditioner, and so on. Do your research or enlist a friend who knows what they’re doing before you begin rewiring your home!
Ventilation is another necessity. Ideally, your grow room will be situated against at least one outside wall. This makes pumping out the used air much easier.
When finished, your grow room will be a haven for healing, all-natural cannabis plants you can use to treat whatever ails you!
Growing Marijuana: How Much Space Do I Need For My Grow Room?
Chances are you’ll want to make sure your grow room has space for more than just the plants sprung from your marijuana seeds. A 2×2 foot area can hypothetically hold 16 plants, but you will be unable to maneuver between them, or store other supplies in the same space. Furthermore, a small area leads to more chance of mold developing on the leaves of the plants as they grow and begin overlapping one another.
If you’re planning to use just one section of a room as your grow room, set up a designated area that is completely light-proof and sealed. We’ll talk more about that further on, but you can build a wooden frame, a floor-to-ceiling contraption, or even purchase a grow tent, depending on your handiness and budget.
For a cupboard or closet grow room, of course, your tools will have to be kept elsewhere. The primary thing to remember when using a smaller space you didn’t create from scratch, is that you will need space for essential equipment as well – lights, humidifier, vents, and so on. You’ll also have to plan for various tubes and wires coming out of the enclosed area.
Don’t forget your cannabis plants will not always be cute little seedlings barely an inch tall. They’re going to grow at least a foot, and considerably more in many cases, and the branches and leaves will grow horizontally past the sides of the pots. Keep these future space requirements in mind when planning your grow room size.
Air control is a vital part of any grow room setup. Without air, your cannabis plants could suffocate, grow too hot, or develop mold.
Growing Cannabis: Air and Humidity Control
Your grow room needs to be sealed off as much as possible in order for you to control the air and light that reaches your plants.
Cannabis needs fresh air to grow well. Once the CO2 in the air has been absorbed, and oxygen has been expelled, that used air needs to be removed from the grow room and fresh air cycled in. Intake and outtake ventilation systems are required to handle this task.
During colder seasons at least, the clean air you’re pumping into your grow room should be from another indoor space as opposed to from outside; that chilly air can shock and damage your cannabis plants. Once the air has entered the grow room, it should be moved around by fans. These fans aren’t useful just for disseminating the air, they also simulate outdoor breezes, which are important for strengthening the stems of the plants and keeping mold from growing.
The oxygenated air your cannabis plants give off must be quickly removed, and should be pumped straight outside. The smell of the plants will go with this air, so avoid pumping it into another room. You can place a carbon filter over the outtake vent to minimize the smell. A suction pump may be useful for removing the air from the grow room.
Temperature and Humidity
In addition to circulating the air, fans can help cool the grow room – those lights can get hot – but most grow rooms also have an air conditioner installed. The grow room should remain around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately, air conditioners have a tendency to dry out the air, so to counteract this – and keep the grow room humidity around 75% – you will want to install a humidifier large enough to affect the entire space. Ideally, choose one with a hygrostat so the humidity level will be automatically adjusted.
Lights are one of the most important pieces of equipment for your grow room The wrong light, or too little light, can drastically reduce your yield.
Growing Pot: What Is the Best Lighting For A Grow Room?
You probably already know how important proper lighting is to plants: first your pot seeds need darkness to germinate, then your cannabis plants need lots of light. Though incandescent and fluorescent bulbs can be used in grow rooms, they aren’t recommended. Ideally, your grow room will be outfitted with high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs that give your plants the bright light they need to replace outdoor sunlight.
Making the most of your light is another reason sectioning off a small space of a larger room is a good choice. It can be expensive to run a lot of lights for a good portion of the day, and if you have two or three cannabis plants sitting in the middle of a big empty room, a lot of that light is being wasted. Keep the light confined to the space you’re utilizing, and you’ll use less.
The inner walls, ceiling, and even the floor of your grow room should be covered with reflective material that can redirect the light to all parts of your cannabis plants. Mylar is perfect for this purpose, but insulation blankets and other reflective materials work as well, and can be less costly. Just ensure the material hangs as flat as possible – wrinkles can cause hot spots and leave some plants much too hot.
Your grow room lights should be adjustable. From the time your cannabis plants are below the surface of the soil or growing medium, to the moment you harvest them, the top of the plant should remain about two feet from the lamp. You can hang lamps from the ceiling on chains that can be shortened, or set them on the floor on adjustable stands (though this will take up more space).
The grow room lamps should be the only light your cannabis plants see. When the lights are off in the room, it should be completely, pitch black – no crack of sunlight around a window, or beam of a hall light under the door. This is important so your plants do not become confused and therefore stressed. It is best if you can stand in your grow room and test this. To test small spaces, shut off all the lights in the outer room and ensure no light is seeping out from inside the sealed area.
Don’t overlook the electrical cords. You’re likely to have cords from many different pieces of equipment around the grow room. Because you will be working with a lot of water, it is vital that the cords be raised off the ground. Any spills should be quick and easy to clean up, not potential fire hazards.
A grow tent is a good option if you plan to use only part of a larger room
Saving Time: Should I Use a Grow Tent?
If you don’t have a specialized spot for a small growing area, but you do have a large empty room, you may want to consider housing your cannabis plants in a grow tent.
A grow tent is exactly what it sounds like: a tent that serves as a grow room. Designed with reflective walls, waterproof floors, ventilation and electrical openings, and light-proof construction, grow tents can be purchased in a variety of sizes from two feet square to more than nine feet square.
Like any other purchase, always do your homework. Only buy a tent intended specifically for growing plants indoors, and one that is well-made and fireproof. Make sure the corners and zippers are strong, as they’ll be getting a lot of use. Some helpful – but not essential – additional qualities to look out for: observation windows for viewing without entering the grow room, a removable floor for simple cleanup, and pockets or other storage spaces along the walls inside.