Setting up your indoor grow area
Let’s cover the basics of setting up your indoor grow area. Mostly, you want to make sure it has proper isolation from other factors around that might hurt your plants (pets, bugs, etc), and that it is providing enough ventilation so that your plants are getting enough CO2.
Not much you need here: A table, enough light to grow the plants you want, and a fan. Your biggest issue will be making sure that the available light matches what you’re trying to grow. Herbs are generally no problem, but if you grow hot peppers, miniature tomatoes, or anything like that, additional lighting will be needed as well as a fan to move the air around.
Room or cabinet grow spaces
Your indoor grow spaces should be optimized for lighting and ventilation. If you’re making the space in a room, shelf, cabinet, or any fixture, you will need to prep it for use. In general, you need to do the following:
- Paint the room the brightest shade of white you can, or apply a reflective film (or this other, much less expensive alternative, but is prone to hot spots) to the walls to get better light efficiency.
- Make sure the floor can handle a spill. If you floor can’t, either seal it with epoxy paint, or put down some mats/tarp and a scrap carpet you don’t mind getting abused.
- Ensure the space has access to ventilation. Mostly, this involves putting up a screened intake, and has the fitting to take an exhaust fan or tube. Pipe both the input and output to the outside for best results. The more CO2 available, the better your plants will grow. Piping the input from a place with a lot of CO2, like the exhaust of your furnace, is not unheard of, despite being spectacularly dangerous.
- Make sure you have power to the space. Small spaces just need a good, long power strip and a few outlet multipliers to better fit timers and such. I like the large, industrial models because they have room for timers, wall-warts, and fan controllers as well as sport long cords so you can be further away from your source.
- Isolate the room so that bugs can’t get in. General weather stripping works fine for that. The base of the door can be protected with a draft-stopping product.
- Ensure you have a system to mount lights from above. Ceiling hooks work fine, or you can rig a stand-up rig out of PVC pipe for more versatility.
For an intense garden in limited space, grow tents have most of the features you need, and are super convenient when you want to subdivide your indoor garden into a smaller grow area. We buy the Hongruilite tents as they are inexpensive and have good construction:
Most people will start out with the 4’x2′ tent as its the most versatile for growing a few plants with inexpensive lights.
What to put your plant in (plant containers)
You have to keep your plants in something, right?
- Growing a small amount of herbs? Maybe some tiny succulents? Anything you can put dirt in will work. Check out our How To Grow Herbs article
- For soil, or coco coir, fabric pots are your best bet. They are cheap, durable, and prevent root issues by air pruning them as they outgrow the container. 5-Gallon is the standard for indoor grow, but adjust as needed for controlling plant size by restricting root growth. We like 1 gallon for plant experiments, and 7 gallon for tomatoes and peppers that we grow out huge.
- For DWC, bubble buckets, or larger Kratky setups, the dependable 5 gallon bucket is your best bet. Put a net pot cover on top of it and you can grow most plants.
If you just want a complete bubble bucket kit, the Amazont is pretty great and was my first grow system. It comes with the bucket, lid, air pump, air stone, and media. Grab a spare bucket for easier nutrient changes.
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