All the hype about indoor farming has spiked your interest, and you are considering it for your small-scale grow or produce. You’ve decided to grow your plants inside, you have selected a room that is big enough, you’ve got the vague idea of what plants you want to plant, and now, it’s time for the concrete steps. Now, what are the first steps?
Is your shopping list ready? Things that you need to begin your indoor garden?
Indoor farming requires as minimum equipment as you want, or it can be as advanced as you can invest in it. You can start with as basic as a grow tent, grow lights, and fans. Then, once you are settled in, you can begin expanding to better stuff that allows more control over the environment and more extensive produce.
Here is the list of equipment you require for your growshop:
Measure the room you have selected for your indoor farming before you decide to buy a growing tent. The vertical height of the tent must be as per the height of the room and the plant you want to grow.
- Fabric density and strength: the quality material of the tent must sustain temperature, heat, light, odor, and evaporation. The denser the material, the more durable it is in every weather setting inside the room.
- Reflective material of the tent: 100% reflective tent keeps the grow light from escaping the tent. However, the reflective property of the tent varies from brand to brand. Make sure you choose the grow tent with a diamond pattern mylar that has the highest reflective property.
- Zipper durability, no gaping: minor, thin zips might wear down as they are used several times a day. You want the zippers to be thick and robust, with an over flap covering the area, so no light escapes.
- Sturdy poles and frames: available in plastic or metals, the frames and the bars determine the tent strength and minimum frame failure. The 3-pronged corner with interlocking poles setting ensures that there is no wiggling when the tent is standing. In addition, some tents come with adjustable height to expand with the plant you choose.
Lights are essential for processing the nutrients through photosynthesis, as plants require UV light or equivalent to make food and pass it around.
Remember to buy light appropriate to the size of your grow tent and your plants. Purchasing a massive light arrangement for the sake of one small grow tent will generate heat, increase evaporation levels and temperature, which will cause the plants to burn out or lose water.
Depending on the area of your tent and the wattage consumption per square foot, you have to negotiate the cost of grow light.
- HIDs: it gives the light that is congruous to that of the sun. Therefore, the plants produce best under this light. But it also requires Heat control and constant maintenance so as the plants don’t burn out.
- LED: LEDs give out an intense UV and IR spectrum, which approves it over HIDs. They are implemented for flavors, scents, roots. They are more expensive, but on the brighter side, they consume less power. So see it as an investment.
- T5 fluorescent: with low heat generation, the yield/production is typical as well. The low intensity may also increase the need for several lights.
The grow containers are especially porous to allow the roots to interact with the water without clogging and help the roots to breathe. Avoid planting multiple seeds or saplings in the same pot to avoid space for growth. You also want to invest in a tray to catch the runoff water from the containers.
You might have to research a bit before you implement the timer system.
- Mechanical timers: these obey your commands and turn off the lights, fans, a/c at the set time. They are the best for setting in a sleep cycle that is consistent and unchanged.
- Controller: you set the limits for temperature, humidity, water level, and a system of sensors will sense the levels and turn off the respective equipment to maintain a stable environment. It is feasible for plants that have unique temperature and water needs that require continuous maintenance.
- pH levels: monitoring the pH levels of the soil/hydroponic medium is essential. Optimum pH levels vary from plant to plant. It might require more acidic or more alkaline depending on the plant and may require regular adjustment of the soil pH levels to utilize what’s being fed to it.
- Thermometers and integrated hygrometers: thermometers to measure the temperature and hygrometers to measure the humidity in the air. In the initial stage without automation, it is vital to know the temperature and humidity levels to avoid mildew or damage due to heat.
Ventilation is one of the significant issues when growing plants indoors. Your plants need to breathe.
- Air low CO2 has to be let out to be replaced with fresh air for photosynthesis. They maintain temperature, humidity and thus highly influence the growth.
- Also, some plants may emit odors and gases that can’t be allowed to stay. Exhaust and supply fans are necessary for the continuous exchange of air. Depending on the grow tent area and the number of plants indoors, you might need more than one fan.
- The exhaust fan must be at the top to quickly eliminate heated air from the top, while the fan must supply excellent/fresh air from the bottom.
Soil or hydroponic solution:
Maintaining the room can prove to be a challenge in itself.
- It is better to master the room before you begin with a new medium for your plants. Beginners are strictly advised to stick to the soil as it is very forgiving, with less immediate reactions and low maintenance.
- You can later upscale and upgrade to hydroponic solutions that allow you to monitor immediate changes related to the nutrient concentration of the water solution. All the nutrients and minerals are present in answer to help guide the plant towards better growth.
With the above list of equipment, you are ready to bounce for your first indoor plantation. You only require to set up and keep watch on the plants to bloom and outgrow their best. With optimum weather conditions and a pollution-free environment, the plants thrive.