If you go the soil mix route and you’re using around four 6-gallon pots (going smaller or larger is fine too), you'll need about 30 gallons of soil mix.
You’ll want to have your grow room in a convenient location where there’ll be easy access to carry the soil in and out.
A note about number of plants: Trying to squeeze more plants into a grow room defeats your purpose because your plants won’t get the full light needed to maximize the potential of each plant; plus, you’ll have doubled the work involved in watering, pruning, etc.
For best quality, stick with fewer plants and just grow what makes sense for you and your space.
Watering – and don’t miss the watering chapter! – is something to focus on carefully because over-watering is probably the number one mistake newbie growers make.
For each 6-gallon pot, using my soil mix, you'll need from 1 to 2 gallons of water (8.8 lbs. per gallon) every 1 to 3 weeks to water your girls. That’s a lot of water to carry in so a convenient water source is helpful.
You’re probably thinking that’s somewhat vague, and you’re right – simply, there are a lot of different considerations to take into account when figuring out how much water to use, so you’ll want to follow the advice for making the soil mix.
My soil mix of ProMix, Black Gold and Perlite holds moisture superbly and grows great plants.
Because water is so important, though, you want to make sure your grow room is close to or has access to water. Otherwise, you’ll be kicking yourself later for the extra work you’ve created for yourself.
I have well water and don’t have to worry about chlorine, but if you have city water, I strongly suggest you research how to get chlorine out of your water before using it.
It’s not a deal breaker for good product and your weed will grow, but unchlorinated water is better.
For my set-up, I have a shower down the hallway and simply remove the shower nozzle when water is needed. Using the pipe, I’m able to fill a gallon jug in a few seconds.
I fill as many jugs of water during one filling as I can because getting water to your grow room is one of the pains of growing inside, and we can’t let our girls go dry.
A window is important in a small room, but it must be blacked out or it will draw attention because of the lights. The heavy construction black trash bags work very well. Cut them to size and tape them around the window.
You will want to leave the window partially open for fan exhaust and ventilation.
If you're using HID (high intensity discharge) lamps like MH (metal halide) or HPS (high pressure sodium) lamps, heat build-up will be a problem, so ventilation is needed.
It’s suggested to only run HID lighting when you are in the building, so you’ll want to consider this when you think about the lighting cycles you’re going to adopt.
For example, a good time for my flower light cycle is in the window from 7 PM until 7 AM.
I know I’m home during these hours most of the time, and so I don’t have to worry about having hot lights drawing a lot of electricity without any supervision.
For the veg cycle, I use the GLR (gas light routine). It’s cooler in the evening and it’s easier to keep the grow room between the optimal temperatures of 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, keep fans running 24 hours per day. A fan and ventilation are must-haves to keep the air moving and vent out the odors. Read more about the gas light routine in the GLR chapter that’s coming up.
When your patience is rewarded; just another couple of weeks left.
You’ll be hanging lights from the ceiling, so a normal drywall or plaster ceiling works great for your purposes. Use anchors and screws for lighter loads or toggle bolts to handle the heavier LED lights.
If you can’t get all the way through your plaster or drywall ceiling, you won’t be able to use toggle bolts, but you can use molly bolts or a larger anchor (make sure to read respective weight limits on packaging). HID lights are fairly light, though, and a decent sized anchor and hook work fine for them.
The LED lights are heavy, and either a toggle or molly bolts are needed for drywall/plaster and a heavier gauge screw hook if you’re screwing into some type of wood or material that will accept and be able to support a threaded screw along with the weight of the load.
Don’t skimp and try to save 50 cents on hardware. You won’t like it if your anchor lets go and your light falls to the floor or into your weed.
It’s also a good idea to have a few extra hooks in the ceiling, just to help keep wires out of the way.
To get the most bang for your buck lumen-wise, reflective material attached to the walls and laid on the floor are the way to go.
Such material comes in rolls (I use 4’ x 25’ rolls of reflective bubble insulation) and you can staple it to the walls and lay it on the floor.
It’s quick and easy to cut with scissors if need be, so you can fit it to whatever space you’re using. It does slide around on the floor a little, but it’s worth the hassle of dealing with that small inconvenience.
It’s also fairly cheap and available at your local home improvement store for about $40 a roll.
Additionally, it’s sturdy enough to stand up straight on its own, and gives you an instant grow tent for about 40 bucks. Hang your lights from the ceiling and you’re ready to grow.
DISCLAIMER: Get electrical advice from an electrician. I am not an electrician; this is not electrical advice, but my own opinion. Use my opinions in place of professional advice at your own risk.
It’s easier and safer if you have electrical outlets on all sides of a grow room, but it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t.
Having two separate circuits in a room would be even better to spread the electrical draw between the two and I strongly suggest not using extension cords on HID lights; it’s too dangerous for the amount of electricity your lights will use.
My electrical circuit is 20 AMP and has a maximum load of 2400 watts.
It’s best to stay at around 80% of a max load when it comes to circuitry, just as a safeguard that nothing gets overloaded. I keep my electrical usage around 1500 watts per circuit, using HID lights.
If you have a 15 AMP electrical circuit, the maximum load is 1800 watts and it’s ideal to stay under 1500. Why take a chance and tax your electrical circuits, especially in buildings with outdated electrical wiring and circuit breakers?
It’s a simple thing to pay attention to, and if you neglect it, you’re only asking for trouble.
NOTE: 1000 WATT HID lights are ruled out from use in small rooms.
They’re too hot and must be kept so far away from the plants that the extra wattage is wasted; they’re not worth the extra cost for energy and problems related to heat.
Thus, I strongly suggest not using HID lights higher than 600 watts unless you have a room large enough, and with proper cooling/ventilation to accommodate them.
It’s difficult to suggest a room size large enough for 1000 WATT HID lights. The best advice I could give is this; if 600 WATTS raises your room temp to around 85 degree Fahrenheit, you can’t use 1000 WATT bulbs.
Something to consider… When I first started, I used 2x4s spanned across shelves and a ladder on either side of the grow area to hang lights.
In the beginning, while you're setting everything up and learning what you’re doing, this cheap set-up works just fine.
When you're more experienced and know what lights you're going to use in the long-term, the best way to set up the lights is by hanging them from the ceiling, using an adjustable rope ratchet hanger instead of some type of chain.
Chains are a pain because not only are they heavy, they easily get tangled and are difficult to handle. The adjustable hangers work well and are worth the extra expense.
But, REMEMBER: I Am NOT an electrician. You MUST get professional advice about your electrical circuits in your grow room before safely installing your lights and other electrical devices.
Plants need air, so ventilation and air flow is a must, one way or another. A window in your grow room makes it easy for you to get fresh air in, and exhaust heat and odor out.
For sure, run a fan 24/7. This keeps the plants moving, helping them grow strong and keeping mold at bay.
That said it’s imperative that the window be blacked out so your lights don’t bring attention to the window. Construction-type plastic waste bags block light, and are easy to cut and tape over a window – or, if you’re using something like Panda poly film on the walls, that will work too.
Blocking the window is particularly important if you’re using LED lights, as they’re really bright and cast a purplish shadow which could possibly bring even more attention to your window.
If your grow room is reasonable in size, you may not need to vent outward; bringing in fresh air through the window or the door to the room may be all you need, but this will be a judgment call on your end once you get things started.
You can always use another fan in the room to keep the air constantly moving, but if you’re concerned with the odor in your house, venting to the outside and using a filter may be necessary.
If you’re growing in a closet or grow tent, exhaust is a necessity for moving out the heat, and using a HID light fixture with an exhaust hook-up is the way to go.
Such a fixture has a mount just like a clothes dryer vent, making it easy to install the flexible duct work.
Top Five Grow Room Requirements
Make sure to have…
- A Convenient Location: You’ll be bringing in a lot of grow material and water.
- Enough Electrical Circuits: You’ll be using lights, fans, and timers.
- A Window or a Way to Ventilate your Grow Room.
- A Ceiling and Walls Sturdy Enough for Growing: You’ll need to allow for fasteners rated strong enough to hold up your lights and allow space/support for reflective material.
- A Closet or Comparable Space: It’s helpful to have another small, close-by closet/room for seedlings and/or clones.
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