Grow Rooms, Tents, Cabinets and Boxes - Indoor Grow Kits and Systems
Grow rooms, tents, cabinets and boxes are indoor grow kits and systems that enable gardener to grow not only berries, but also other plants like flowers, vegetables, herbs etc. while not depending on local weather and season.
When growing plants in artificial environment like grow rooms, tents and cabinets, one must pay spacial attention to: growing mix, lighting, temperature, humidity, ventilation, filtering, oxygen and CO2 levels and pollination.
Soilless vs. Soil Based Growing Mix
Many growing systems use soilless mixes based upon vermiculite, perlite, rockwool and similar materials with no nutrients at all - this enables gardener to grow plants using perfect combination of nutrients for the current crop. Such hydroponic and/or aeroponic systems are usually fully automatic and are often regulated using same controllers that also manage lighting, temperature, ventilation and other parameters required for optimal growth.
Cheaper systems are based on good 'old', but nutrient rich potting or similar soil. Preparation of such soil is very important, since any issues in one pot (pests, diseases) can rapidly spread on all other pots and plants.
If you are using soil based pots, be sure to use sterilized soil, NPK fertilizers with gradual release of nutrients and some liquid fertilizers for refeeding during plants' growth.
Artificial lighting must provide plants with energy for proper growth. There are numerous sources of artificial lights: incandescent lights, LED grow lights, fluorescent grow lights, high pressure sodium (HPS) grow lights, etc.
For small home use, LED grow lights are perhaps the best choice: they are energy very efficient, working temperature is rather low so they can be positioned relatively close to the plants, last for a very long time etc. However, their initial price is rather high, but in the long run, they are worth initial higher investment. For more about artificial lighting, feel free to check article 'Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights - Best Home Indoor Grow Lights?' (article opens in the new window).
In order to increase efficiency, walls, floor and ceiling of grow rooms, tents and boxes have reflective surfaces, so that emitted light is absorbed by plants as much as possible.
Keeping proper temperature is very important for growing healthy crops. Most of the berries and other plants that are commonly grown indoors, prefer temperatures between 20 and 25°C (68 - 77°F) during growing season.
Keeping temperatures in that range can be done easily during colder months due to heat sources in the form of artificial lighting and good thermal insulation. In extreme cases, one will need additional heater to keep the temperatures in check, but in that case, consider relocating your grow tent/cabinet/box and providing better insulation.
During warmer months, additional flow of colder air is required to cool down the growing area. Temperature of colder air and its speed must be controlled, since cold air can slow down the growth and can even damage the plants. Fortunately, growing volume is often small and air can be fully changed quickly, if required. For example, growing cabinet 0.6x1.2x2.1m (2x4x7 feet) has volume of 1.5 m3 (56 cubic feet) when empty. Small ventilator with capacity of 1 cubic feet per second (in burst mode even more), can ventilate entire cabinet in less than a minute - and that is a really small ventilator.
One of the dangers for plants is heat dissipated from lights - temperature can be kept in required range inside growing tent/cabinet, but local temperature near artificial lights can be much higher and can cause damage to the plants. That is why keeping the proper distance between lights and plans is so important. And that is why some growers use LED strip lights and grow their plants rather dense.
Humidity is kept in check using proper ventilation and various humidifiers. Humidity levels must be adjusted according to the plants and temperature - strawberry fruits can, for example, can start to rot in humid air, since small droplets can form on the surface. In humid areas, dehumidifiers must be used to lower humidity around the plants.
Like all other parameters, humidity is best managed automatically, using electronic controllers.
Ventilation and Air Filtering
Proper exchange of gases is required for optimal growth of plants. Ventilation is an important method for maintaining optimal temperature, humidity, oxygen and CO2 levels.
When plants are in dark, they consume oxygen, so it is important to have normal oxygen level during periods of dark - plants can die without oxygen, too.
In order to promote growth, some indoor growing systems increase CO2 levels locally, during periods of light. CO2 is kept in pressurized bottles, as dry ice or various CO2 generators can are used.
For those people who wants to 'play' with increasing CO2 levels, the easiest method is to mix yeast, sugar and water in plastic bottle - make a small hole in the lid of the plastic bottle, fit plastic/rubber tube into the hole and seal the hole to be air tight. Make few small holes on the tube and position the tube near and little bit above the plants - end of the tube can be sealed - having in mind position of ventilators and inner air flow. And then let the yeast produce CO2. Before dark hours, remove the CO2 'generator', so that plants have normal CO2 levels during the night.
Benefits of such CO2 generators? Well, one never knows until one tries.
Note: if you skip adding bottle with the yeast at the beginning of light cycle - no harm done ...
Air filtering enables air from grow room/cabinet to be released without fearing any unpleasant smells. Most berries have neutral smell, but if you decide to grow herbs indoors in grow rooms and cabinets, consider good filtering system as part of your ventilation system.
Some air filtering systems use water as filter and they achieve decent filtration levels. However, some growers use filters based on activated carbon - active carbon removes even the smallest particles from air and prevents smells from appearing around the grow room/cabinet. Carbon based filters are mostly in the form of metallic cylinders of various sizes that must be changed periodically. In order to prolong their usage, some ventilation systems use water filters in front of the carbon filters - such filtering systems require more electric power for pumping air, but their carbon filters last longer.
Air intake filters also play important role - they help in keeping grow area clean. They filter intake air from dust, mites, bugs, molds etc. - this filtering is very important for keeping plants happy and healthy.
Growing berries indoors and especially in closed environment of grow rooms, tents, cabinets and boxes, prevents natural pollinators like bees and other insects from pollinating the flowers.
Hand pollination is easy thing to do, but must be done on a regular basis - daily, at least. It can be done using small, relatively soft, makeup brush or using battery operated hand pollinators. Just be sure not to miss any flower and feel free to brush same flower several times - goal is to transfer pollen from flower to flower, just as bees would do.
What is a Grow Room?
Grow room or growroom, is a special room entirely dedicated for indoor grow of various plants. Serious growers often dedicate entire room(s) for growing certain plants all year long or part of the year. Such rooms enable people living far north to enjoy homegrown tropical and subtropical fruits. When compared with grow tents and cabinets, grow rooms offer largest area and volume for plants. However, such rooms require large initial investments and their maintenance is not cheap. Also, they require plenty of electric energy for ventilation, lighting and other systems.
Grow tents come in various shapes and sizes. They have rigid frame and walls usually made out of flexible and reflective material that also acts as heat insulator. They offer less space and volume for growing plants when compared with grow rooms and more than grow cabinets.
On the other hand, they are often available as all-in-one kits, so new gardeners can start immediately. Also, grow tents don't require any special changes to home plumbing and wiring - of course, this depends on tent location, size, type and position within home and of course, on available power sockets and indoor plumbing.
Grow Cabinets and Boxes
Grow cabinets and boxes offer smallest grow area and volume when compared with grow rooms and tents, but they also have the smallest footprint and smallest requirements for power and water. Grow cabinets are often made out of rigid materials, with good insulation, so they can be kept relatively close to living quarters. Grow boxes can be very small and some models can accommodate only a few plants, but they often require just few hundred watts to operate.
If you would like to try indoor, year long gardening, grow cabinets and boxes are great choice. They are relatively cheap, require limited space, power and water supply.
Note on price: price depends on size and volume of grow cabinet and box, and especially on level of automation.
List of accessories required to equip grow rooms, tents, cabinets and boxes can be quite long and some of those accessories are given in the following list.
Note: links are Amazon affiliate links and they open in the new windows.
SuperCloset 9x9 SuperRoom Hydroponic Grow Room System Tent Package
This is all-in-one grow tent package and very expensive. But, it contains 9x9 Gorilla Grow Tent; two 600W air cooled HPS Bulbs with Lumatek Digital, dimmable ballasts and Sunlight Supply's New Blazer 6″ AC Reflectors; 6" Activated Carbon Scrubber & Filter; 6" Hurricane Inline Fan; BubbleFlow Bucket System-24 OR SuperFlow-52 (ebb-n-flow/aeroponics); internal circulation fan, digital readout temperature/hygrometer, timers for complete automation, DVD with set-up instructions and Grow Tips.
As said before, expensive, but all-in-one grow system.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow SuperCloset 9x9 SuperRoom Hydroponic Grow Room System Tent Package link.
Apollo Horticulture Grow Tents
Apollo Horticulture produces grow tents at very acceptable price suitable for further modifications by gardeners.
They are made from Mylar and metal frame and are equipped with heavy duty zippers and double stitching for improved strength and light protection.
They come in various sizes and their initial price is very acceptable - but one still has to purchase lights, fans, pots etc. Note that when LED lights are used, heat dissipation is at the minimum, so requirements for cooling and ventilation are decreased.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow Apollo Horticulture 96"x48"x80" Mylar Hydroponic Grow Tent for Indoor Plant Growing link.
Gorilla Grow Tents
Gorilla grow tents come in various sizes and shapes. They are very popular among indoor gardeners - they are made using strong and dense fabric to avoid any light leakage, they use metal poles for frame and some models even have adjustable height.
Ducting ports enable good ventilation, large view windows enable viewing the crops without entering the tent, doorways offer almost 360 degree access, thick materials ensures long lifetime.
Also, in the case of watering issues, to protect home, they often have flood pool on the bottom that holds the spilled or leaked water.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow Gorilla Grow Tent - 4 Feet Length x 8 Feet Width (Adjustable Height) link.
Phresh Carbon Air Filters
Phresh carbon air filters come in various dimensions and capacities suitable for various applications. They are sealed, bagged, boxed and labeled directly after being manufactured to ensure optimum life span and operation. Flange and pre-filter are included.
They are equipped with 'Anti Air Bypass' system, preventing any air from leaving the filter without being filtered.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow Phresh 701045 Extra Large Carbon Air Filter, 14 by 50-Inch, 3800 CFM link.
Worm's Day Complete 3x3 Grow Tent
Worm's Day Complete 3x3 Grow Tent is all-in-one grow indoor solution. It contains everything one needs for starting indoor gardening: grow tent, lighting, ventilation, filters, nutrient kit and many other items.
It is not the cheapest solution, but in the long run, it is worth its money.
Note: it uses HPS HID lighting, not LED lighting - it would cost more with LEDs.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow Complete 3 x 3 Grow Tent Package w/ 400W Sealed HPS HID, Filter, Fan and more by Wormsway.com link.
Vortex S-Line Ultra Quiet Fan 6" 347 CFM
This is high quality quiet fan with several features that justify its high price: double insulated wall to prevent condensation and reduce noise level; Integrated Backdraft Damper to prevent air leakage when the extractor is not operating; mounting bracket designed for quick and easy installation; motor is 100% speed controllable, highly efficient, has low power consumption, and is built with permanently lubricated ball bearings and thermal overload protection; Rubber gasket to ensure air tight and vibration-free duct connection etc.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow Vortex S-Line Ultra Quiet Fan 6" 347 CFM link.
Hurricane Inline Fans
Hurricane inline fans come in various dimensions (4-12 inches) and capacities (171-1060 CFM).
The housings are made of steel and coated with durable finish.
Recommended use with: Phresh Carbon Filters, Ideal-AirTM Ducting and Clamps, and Titan Controls Fan Speed & Ventilation controllers.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow Hurricane Inline Commercial Grade, High Performance Fans link.
TurboKlone Aeroponic Cloning System with Kloners and Humidity Dome
All-in-one cloning system available in various sizes: 24, 48, 96 and 144 grow positions.
Submersible pump provides a fine spray of continuous water and oxygen to plants and cuttings. Humidity dome prevents leaf transpiration and initial transplant shock. Built-in fan keeps the system cool and prevents overheating.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow TurboKlone T96D Aeroponic Cloning System with Kloners and Humidity Dome link.
Triumph Plant Natural Coconut Fiber
Ideal as peat moss, rockwool and perlite replacement, coconut fiber is used for hydroponics, greenhouse bedding plant production, bonsai mixes, orchid mixes, potting mixes, compost, propagating, soil enhancement, rose cultivation etc.
One 230g block is mixed with 1.5-2 liters (50-60 ounces) of water to create almost 4 liters (1 gallon) of growing medium.
It is 100% organic, biodegradable, disease resistant, pH neutral, odorless, and contains no weeds and no pests. It has great nutrient storage and water retention.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to follow Triumph Plant Natural Coconut Fiber link.
Of course, there are other items required out there, just keep in mind details like: physical dimensions, access ports and windows, ducts positions and size, insulation, installation, heat dissipation and similar. And before doing anything - read the manuals!