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Topic ClosedHow to set up a basic closet grow space

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farmer mick View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: How to set up a basic closet grow space
    Posted: 15 November 2006 at 18:19

I’m writing this specifically for new gardeners interested in growing weed in small spaces for their own personal use. Firstly, I’d like to say that the following is based entirely on my own experience and other growers may have further information or tips to add. I hope someone, somewhere finds it helpful.

This system is designed for use with one 250w High Pressure Sodium light, which uses relatively little electricity and generates relatively little heat. It is a very simple system that does not require a lot of equipment, but which works very well if done properly.

This guide is also very basic and deals mainly with setting up a grow space, so it does not go into detail about growing plants, watering, nutrients, pests, diseases, hydroponics, soil, harvesting, drying, etc. You can find that information elsewhere on the forums.

Happy growing...
Mick.
 
Preparation:

1. If building your own space, try to locate it in a dark place that does not get very hot or very cold. It’s probably easiest to do this in the attic or basement.

2. Start by building a frame from 2inch x 3inch beams, then nail plywood or heavy cardboard all around it, with a door on one side to allow access. Make it around 3ft x 3ft in size, with a height of up to 6ft or 7ft, depending on the available space.

3. You will need to make the space as airtight as possible, with no gaps anywhere that allow outside light to leak in.

4. If you’re converting a closet, the basic structure is already there, so just do whatever you can to cut out any light leakage.

5. Line the inside of the space with reflective material like mylar, white plastic or titanium white paint (flat not glossy).

Setting up the light:

1. Fix two hooks at the top of the space on either side of the room and hang a long chain between them. You can hang the grow light from this chain, and use the links in the chain to raise the light upwards and downwards depending on the size of the plants.

2. It’s better to put the ballast (the box that regulates the current in the light) outside the grow room. What I’ve done is cut a small section off the bottom corner of the door, just enough to fit the cable running from the light to the ballast. The ballast stays outside the room and the wire runs through this gap so that, when the door is closed, no light is escaping from or entering the grow space.

3. You will also need a good quality timer plug to control when the light switches on and off. These can sometimes have internal fuses that prevent surges of electricity like those produced by high-intensity lights, so you might also need a ‘relay’ to eliminate this problem. You can buy these at most good electrical stores.

4. Different lights are normally recommended for the various stages of a plant’s growth (ie seedling, vegetative growth and flowering). However, in my experience, a 250watt HPS can be used for all stages of a plant’s growth, without any major adverse effects.

Setting up ventilation and climate control:

1. The most important piece of ventilation equipment is an extractor fan. In a room measuring 3ft x 3ft, a 4inch (100mm) bathroom extractor works just fine. Cut a hole the same size as the fan somewhere near the top of the grow space and install the extractor, with ducting (flexible tubing) to carry the air from the grow box to another area (preferably the attic or outdoors).

2. Cut another hole the same size somewhere near the bottom of the grow box to allow fresh air to be pulled in.

3. If light leakage through this hole is a problem, cover it with a dark mesh (you can make your own from black tights) to reduce the leakage as much as possible.

4. An ordinary fan should also be used to move air around the grow space 24 hours a day. This promotes the health of the plants, helps reduce the risk of mould and also strengthens the branches and stems. If possible, hang it on the wall of the grow space, blowing between the light and the tops of your plants.

5. You should also get a thermometer and hang it inside the grow space, around the same height as the tops of the plants. An electrical thermometer that also shows humidity levels is the best.

6. Plants will grow well at between 20 Celsius and 30 Celsius, with 25 or thereabouts being ideal. If the temps are too high, a larger extraction fan should solve the problem. If they are too low, you might need a heater, or else use a timer to turn the extractor on and off at regular intervals, thereby retaining more of the heat from the lamp inside the grow space.

7. Humidity should be between 40% and 50%. If it is too high, a larger extractor fan or a dehumidifier should solve the problem. Low humidity can be solved through putting the extractor on a timer or by installing a humidifier.

8. You will need to experiment to find the best way to keep the temperature and humidity within the correct range, but a I find a 250watt HPS in a room packed with plants tends to keep both within safe limits all on it’s own.

9. If smell is a problem, you can attach a carbon filter to the extractor fan, which is probably the most effective solution. Alternatively, you could put an ozone generator or de-ionizer in the area where the air from the grow box is being extracted to.

Growing plants:

1. A 250w light is most suitable for growing smaller plants. In a 3ft x 3ft space, you can easily grow nine plants ( 3 x 3) to a height of around 2ft or 2.5ft each.

2. Start the plants in small pots at a distance of around 3ft from the light bulb, using the timer to ensure the light stays on for 18 hours every day and switches off for the other six hours.

3. If you’re growing from seeds, wait until the plants have a couple of sets of serrated leaves, then move them to within 2ft of the light. You can do this with cuttings as soon as they have taken root.

4. As soon as the roots fill the small pots, transfer the plants into larger ones, 10litres minimum.
 
5. Once the plants begin to grow strongly, move them within 1ft of the light, but keep the fan blowing across the tops to make sure they don’t get burned by the heat of the lamp.

6. When the plants reach 9-12 inches in height, use the timer to change the photoperiod to 12 hours light and 12 hours dark every day. This will trigger flowering. You must make sure that there are no light interruptions during the dark period, or else bud-production will be hampered.

7. Within 6-9 weeks, depending on the strain, you should be harvesting several ounces of bud, enough to last you until the next crop is finished!

This is what can be achieved with one 250watt HPS:
 
 
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john_squat View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 November 2006 at 20:46
wicked stuff Farmer Mick!
Thats sure to come in useful for a lot of people!
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holistic View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2006 at 00:33
nice 1 m8
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TheWeeD View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2006 at 02:12
    Cheer's for that from a newbee grower give good referance gide for us beginers.
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john_squat View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2006 at 21:19
"5. When the plants reach 9-12 inches in height"
Is this all? I was under the impression that they had to be bigger than that before commencing flowering cycle. So how much would you expect a plant to grow (height-wise) during flowering?
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farmer mick View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2006 at 23:17
They will double or triple in size after the lights are turned back to 12/12, depending on the strain and the phenotype. A lot of Sativa strains will grow even more than this and can be put into flower when very small.
 
If the pots aren't big enough, it will stunt the growth during flowering and lead to unhealthy plants and poor harvest. I've edited the original post to make it clear that plants should be grown in pots at least 10litres in size.
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Sticky View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2006 at 10:27
Always loved your work farmer jim.

Its the fact you go to the trouble to share your knowledge, which i have always thought accurate and current.

Hi everyone goodluck with your cupboards they can produce some great results, due to the light being boxed in and intesified, i once grew a Hog and cut it back to 2 arms it went of and i did it with a 423w  sont t .  so go for it, and good luck.


Sticky so high
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Nick View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 November 2006 at 04:59
    Hey Mick,

Finally got all the materials. Well, most of them. And my available space got smaller. It's now only a 26x24 inch area. I have six foot structure members but it looks like a damn coffin! I'm a little concerned it's going to be too top heavy. Allowing 2-3 feet from my HPS light, and say, a foot off the floor for the container. I'd like to grow at least a three footer or more. There's 6 feet! Teather lines don't appear possible. Well maybe. That's all I see. You? Would 5 feet high be too small / close to the plants?? Thanks Dude.

Nick
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peter_spliff View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 November 2006 at 13:24
5 feet would be more than enough space.my cupboard is approx 5 feet and havent come close to running out of space height wise but i have only been growing indicas so far.but even with a raging sative the top cola could be tied down to allow it more growing space.also if budburn were to become a problem u cud get a cool tobe or a heat shield to reduce or deflect the heat frm da bulb.happy growing          pete
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Nick View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 November 2006 at 15:35
    I've heard that cool tubes refract the light which is not good. Anyways, I already have a 250w HPS. What's the closest I can safely grow from it?? I thought I heard something like 2-3 feet from the light. Is that the closest? And in a 2x2 foot area I'm very limited to number of plants, but want top yield.
Nick
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