High-quality grow tents are constructed out of nylon or polyester blends. Some grow tents offer unique fabrics, such as Cordura for high strength and abrasion resistance. These materials must be professionally bonded and sewn to provide a long-lasting grow tent that’s devoid of noticeable light leaks.
Mylar is the most common reflective material that’s found within grow tents. Before grow tents, marijuana cultivators would have to line their walls with reflective Mylar or paint their walls white; all of which was incredibly time-consuming.
Grow tents take away this inconvenience of setting up a reflective material for additional light within the room.
It’s important to carefully read what type of reflective material a company is using because there have been many accounts that cheap grow tent manufacturers were cutting corners by using poor-quality Mylar that leached toxic chemicals when exposed to high heat.
How to Set Up a Grow Tent?
Setting up a grow tent is easy if you follow the directions. There isn’t a grow tent manufacturer that doesn’t offer a comprehensive guide on how to set up their product.
This can become complicated if you buy a grow tent second-hand, and although we’re fans of recycling, we can’t recommend this method because you may inherit another growers’ problems (pests, mold, or fungi).
The vast majority of grow tents are pole-based, meaning they’re put together through the use of connecting heavy-duty aluminum poles.
These poles are generally coded with matching numbers or letters which makes construction a breeze. This process is even more straightforward when the manufacturer provides you with a grow tent setup diagram.
Potentially the most challenging aspect of grow tent construction is placing the actual tent over the aluminum skeleton. This is common with large sizes, such as 4’x8’ and above, but patience will become your ally in this process.
Depending on the grow tent of your choice, there will be additional accessories that you may choose to use or not.
Many come with a removable floor, which is beneficial if you find yourself splashing water constantly within the tent. This removable floor can easily be detached and cleaned in the event of major spillage.
Once you’ve carefully followed all the necessary directions and double-checked your work, you can now test the room for what’s known as “light-proofness”
The last thing you want to find in your grow tent is a large hole that allows light into the tent during the 12-hours of darkness.
This unfortunate mistake in the manufacturer’s end can cost you a large amount of time and money if your cannabis plants begin to turn hermaphrodite due to a small defect in the tent material.
You’ve seen the High Times magazine pictures: a grow tent filled to the brim with beautiful buds in an even canopy. Do you ever notice the material that’s found just underneath the sea of green?
Netting is commonly used that’s constructed into a grid format, which each stem grows through.
Although cannabis plants are naturally adapted to hold the weight of the flower that it produces; modern growing pushing the cannabis plant to the limit in terms of bud production.
This added weight increases the chances of a snapped branch, so cultivators came up with lining the interior of their grow tents with netting to allow for denser buds.
All that you need to do to amplify the production from your cannabis crop is to buy the appropriate netting size and attach it to the 4 corners of the tent. Before your plants grow into the netting, you’ll want to begin the flowering phase.
The reason behind this is to allow your cannabis plants to grow into the netting during their 12/12 stretch. Cannabis plants usually “stretch” once they begin their flowering phase, and they can grow up to 3 times their size depending on their strain.
By doing this simple technique in your grow tent, you can increase your yield significantly.
How to Clean Grow Tent
The environment where your plants grow must be kept clean. The biggest crop killer is bacteria, fungi, and pests.
These three factors are relentless once they take hold, and it’s your responsibility to do everything in your power to ensure that your grow environment remains free of the problems.
Even if your grow tent is brand new, you should always take every precaution in maintaining a clean growing environment.
If your grow tent is secondhand, then you should spend double the amount of time making sure that the previous grower’s problems don’t come to haunt you later down the road.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, we don’t recommend buying grow tents secondhand.
What are the steps that you can take?
Follow these essential tips to ensure that your grow room flourishes without the headaches associated with infestations.
- Step 1
Now that you grow tent is fully set up, gather cleaning materials such as a 50/50 bleach and water mix, or a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and water.
If these two items are inaccessible, then you can also try a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water. Place your mix into a large spray bottle.
Make sure that you have a large roll of paper towels. It’s important to note that you should never go into your grow tent with shoes that you wear outside, as this will defeat the purpose of cleaning your tent.
- Step 2
Spray down each wall at a time. Make sure to clean corners with care. Clean the floor and ceiling, and vent flaps. Don’t let any space go uncleaned!
- Step 3
Allow your tent to dry and air out. Now that your grow tent is sanitized, it’s essential to follow a set of rules that you should dictate.
These rules should stipulate that no one (not even yourself) is allowed inside unless wearing specified clothing (that’s washed) and brand new shoes or slippers that are only worn inside the grow tent.
Others may recommend setting off what’s known as an insect bomb inside your tent, but we would only recommend this in the event of an emergency.
These pesticides are poison not only for the pests that you’re trying to eradicate but also for your plants and yourself. By following these strict rules, you’ll have less stress while your marijuana plants thrive.
Grow Tent Equipment
When it comes to growing cannabis, there are necessary equipment that you must have. Let’s take a look at each and their role in growing the best marijuana.
Inline fans have multiple uses inside of a grow tent. These are used to dissipate heat, reduce humidity, and bring in fresh air.
Without a proper inline fan, your cannabis plants will suffer. Inline fans come in a range of sizes, from 4” to 16” (or larger), and they are capable of pulling in or pushing out air at a rapid rate.
Once you’ve determined the necessary amount of “renewed air” that your grow space requires, you’ll be confident on which size best suits your grow tent. No doubt you’ll also be on the lookout for the quietest inline fans.
More than likely, you’ll connect ducting to your inline fan, which will also join to a hood that contains your light source. Your grow tent should accommodate the various sizes of ducting that you intend to use so that you don’t come across any barriers during the set-up process.
Another aspect to consider when setting up your grow tent is the availability of fresh air. Is there a window nearby or an attic?
If your room doesn’t have an outlet for the hot air, then it’ll be dispersed into the surrounding space of the grow room and ultimately continue to heat the environment up to dangerous levels.
Your cannabis crop needs light to survive. Plants can photosynthesize to produce a food source, and by growing indoors, we must have an alternative to the sun.
Luckily, HID (high-intensity discharge) lighting is widely available and relatively affordable.
Besides HID, there are many other lighting options, such as T-5s, CFLs, and LEDs. All of these options play a crucial part in the photosynthesis of your cannabis plants.
High-pressure sodium bulbs have become a standard in the cannabis industry. They have an orange/red wavelength that they emit to mimic the shorter daylight hours at the end of summer and the beginning of fall.
During this time in-between seasons, the sun is closer to the horizon as it streaks across the sky from East to West.
HPS bulbs come in different wattages, from 300-watts to 1,000-watts. Many growers consider these as “the” bulb for the flowering phase, but this simply isn’t true.
Any light can be used, and it’s still being studied if HPS bulbs do in fact increase the harvest potential.
HPS bulbs are perfect when growing inside a grow tent. As long as the wattage is appropriate to the size of the tent, you should be able to manage the heat production.
HPS bulbs emit a considerable amount of heat, and if your ventilation isn’t up to par, your plants will suffer.
Metal halide bulbs fall under the high-intensity discharge category, alongside high-pressure sodium.
They emit a bright white/blue wavelength on the color spectrum, which mimics the full-light sun during summer. During summer, sunlight hours are at their pinnacle.
Similar to that of HPS bulbs, MH lights are found in 300-watts to 1,000-watts. Metal halide bulbs are considered to be optimal for the vegetative stage, but they aren’t an absolute must if you already have HPS lighting.
Any HID light will create a large concentration of heat, and MHs are no exception. Depending on the size of your grow tent set up, your MH bulbs will generate heat rapidly unless swiftly dealt with.
LEDs are cutting edge technology because they emit intense light at half the cost of traditional lights such as HPS and MH.
They are capable of being programmed to cycle through various wavelengths, thus cutting the need for buying different color spectrum bulbs.
LEDs have revolutionized the indoor growing scene because they reduce your overall costs. LEDs are generally cool to the touch when running, and therefore don’t require such an extensive ventilation system.
It’s not uncommon to find high-wattage LEDs, such as 1,200-watt systems when browsing your local hydroponics or hardware store.
Placing a LED system inside your grow tent will optimize your setup significantly, but this will come at a cost. LED systems are known to be expensive, but as they’ve become popularized, their prices have simultaneously begun to drop.
Compact fluorescent bulbs have a place in every grow tent. These low-wattage and non-heat generating bulbs are perfect for maintaining a mother, rooting clones, and germinating seeds.
These bulbs are not optimal for producing a bountiful harvest, but they do serve their purpose during early growth stages and maintenance.
T5s are fluorescent light bulbs on steroids. These high-wattage varieties are a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to lighting. They are perfect for every aspect of cannabis cultivation, and they have the bonus of emitting minimal heat.
These systems come in various sizes, so you can purchase a system according to the overall size of your grow tent. The general sizes of T5s are 2’ and 4’, but also come in other lengths.
As you can see, grow tent lighting plays a critical role in the growth of your plants. The types of light that you choose will dictate how much ventilation you require, the amount of water your cannabis plants will need, and the electricity bill that you’ll need to pay.
There is no such thing as the best type of light for your grow tent, but rather, the optimal light for your given grow tent setup.
Many growers are capable of producing a plentiful harvest with the use of LEDs and CFLs; both of which don’t require high amounts of electricity.
The vast majority of growers are under the assumption that their marijuana plants will benefit from thousands of watts of lighting.
Although this is true to an extent, it’s not always the case. The overall environment, in conjunction with your lighting, will dictate the type of harvest you’ll receive.
Once again, as long as you planned which of these options you’ll use for your indoor grow tent, then your lighting setup can be accomplished quickly with the use of a rope-ratchet system.
Indoor grow tents are capable of handling a significant amount of weight, but it’s essential to read what the maximum load is. It’ll be a sad and potentially dangerous sight to see crushed plants due to the roof collapsing.
Even if you live in a state that allows recreational or medicinal marijuana, you should always use a carbon filter.
Cannabis plants emit a pungent aroma when growing, and it can be offensive to others, especially if you’re growing in an apartment space.
The primary reason that carbon filters are used is to cover up the fact that you’re growing cannabis completely. Many states are still under the curtain of prohibition, so it’s necessary to reduce the smell of marijuana as much as possible.
Carbon filters come in a wide range of sizes and are generally connected directly to your inline fan.
These can be placed within your grow tent or outside, and in some cases, can even be hung from the roof near your lighting to allow more space for your plants below.
Grow Tent Heaters
Grow tent heaters are needed very rarely in areas that see extreme weather conditions. Northern states that have frigid winters will benefit from a dedicated heater that can be placed within the grow room or just outside of it.
Cannabis plants aren’t accustomed to near zero temperatures, so if you live in a sub-zero climate, then a heater can be well worth your money.
Alternatively, air conditioners are ideal when the temperatures are too hot, which is common in the Southern states. In general, cannabis plants enjoy temperatures between 65-80℉, and anything above this may induce stress.
If you find yourself needing either of these items in your grow space, then be prepared to pay the additional costs associated with these energy consuming appliances.
Oscillating fans are a crucial component when setting up your grow tent. Fans have the unique ability to move air around the environment, which simultaneously reduces your chances for having problems with bud rot or powdery mildew.
Without an oscillating fan, your plants may be too close together, which can cause enhanced moisture. This increased moisture can lead to unabated growth of fungi and bacteria.
These are issues that you should try to avoid at all costs, especially when oscillating fans are priced relatively cheap.
How to Set up Grow Tent Ventilation
This appears to be a common question amongst beginners and experts. There isn’t a single way to set up your grow tent ventilation since most grow spaces differ. General methods consist of the fan being secured by a bungee cord on the ceiling near a duct.
Usually, a carbon filter is connected directly to the inline fan. It may be necessary to buy a flange that will connect the two pieces if the inline fan or carbon filter is of a different size.
Ducting is also connected to the inline fan to direct air inside or to expel air outside. Depending on the situation, you may have two inline fans: one on the bottom bringing in fresh air and one on the ceiling collecting and expelling the hot air to another room or outside.
Last but not least, inline fans are connected to hoods by the use of ducting. A typical grow tent setup is as follows:
- Option 1: carbon filter → inline fan → ducting → hoods → exit. This scenario has everything attached to the ceiling, thus allowing the maximum amount of space for your plants.
- Option 2: Carbon filter (on the ground in a corner) → ducting → hoods → ducting → inline fan → exit. This method reduces the available space slightly but decreases the stress on the supporting poles that hold your roof together.
Bungee cords are optimal to hang your inline fan and other necessities, such as carbon filters. Your lighting and hoods will need to be able to move up and down through the use of rope ratchets as your plants grow.
How to Setup Grow Tent Fans
The number of fans that you purchase depends on the size of your grow space. If you have a large 10’x10’ grow tent, then you’ll benefit from having 2-4 10” oscillating fans.
Each of these should be placed above the canopy, and their airflow shouldn’t be directly hitting the plants. Ideally, you want indirect airflow, which makes your garden sway as though there is a gentle breeze within the room.
At the same time, you don’t want too much airflow within the room because this can dry your plants out quickly. Most oscillating fans have a 180° radius as well as multiple speed settings, so it’s best to find the optimal speed to create an ideal environment.
Fans can be installed with ease through the use of bungee cords. There are many places that you can secure fans throughout the grow tent, with the corner poles usually being the perfect spot.
Growing Methods Within a Grow Tent
If you’re wondering what the best method for growing cannabis in a grow tent is? There are multiple styles that you can employ, and the two most popular are growing in potting soil or hydroponics.
Growing in Soil
Growing your cannabis crop in soil is incredibly straightforward. Since your grow tent is a contained environment, you can easily watch your plants flourish as long as you keep the overall temperature, humidity, and nutrient amount in check during the length of the grow.
Most soils come pre-amended with nutrients, so your sole responsibility is making sure that your crop never gets thirsty.
Growing With Hydroponics
Growing in hydroponics within a grow tent is more complicated than growing in soil. The primary reason behind this is due to the learning curve associated with hydroponics.
Growing cannabis in hydro requires additional tools, such as pH meter and EC/PPM meters. All of these can prove costly, as well as challenging to understand.
Hydroponics requires a basic understanding of chemistry because many plant-nutrient interactions are due to chemical reactions. When one of these reactions are out of balance, there will be a problem.
Grow tents are ideal for hydroponic setups because they are easy to clean in the event of spillage. Hydroponics and grow tents both share the similarity of creating contained environments, which make them highly compatible.
It’s common to find complete hydroponic grow tent kits that include everything you need to start growing immediately.
Growing marijuana in a grow tent setup allows you to grow on your own terms. You don’t need a dedicated grow room because a grow tent is a contained environment.
Overall, using a grow tent setup is ideal for beginners and individuals that require a contained environment. The last thing you want to focus on before you begin your grow is the lengthy process of building out a dedicated grow room.
Now that you know how to set up a grow tent, you can focus on giving your cannabis plants all of your attention.
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