Vokal's Beginner Grow Guide<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shape id=_x0000_i1026 style="WIDTH: 18.75pt; HEIGHT: 18pt" type="#_x0000_t75" alt=""> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\100230~1\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:href="http://forum.grasscity.com/images/smilies/smoking.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>
(From Seed to Bud and Everything In-between)
Alright well first off I have to thank all of those who took the time to help and teach me all the things that I have learned over the years. Although I am no expert or anything I know what it's like to be someone who is just starting out and not all of us have the time or patients to do all the research so I though I would try to give a little back to the City that helped me get on my feet. This will mainly cover Indoor Growing but the basics cover Outdoor Growing as well.<O:p</O:p
Plan Your Grow<O:p</O:pAlthough this may not seem important to the new grower any experienced/repeat grower will tell you just how important it is to try and plan your grow as best you can. There are 6 Simple Questions you can ask yourself to help plan your grow.
What is my Budget?
What is my Grow Space Like?
Is Security/Stealth and Issue?
Hydro or Soil?
Do I have Enough Time?
Do I feel I Know Enough to Begin Growing?
Once you take a bit of time and try to answer the questions above, you may not have answers to all of them so I'm going to take some time and try to explain not only the Plants Life/Development but also the basics about Grow Room Setup. So Sit back, Spark Up, and Enjoy!<O:p</O:p
Grow Room Setup<O:p</O:pGrow room setups have huge variations depending on a lot of factors (budget, size, environmental conditions, etc) I'll try to cover the most common setups styles of beginners and first time growers (stealth and budget). The more desirable conditions for growing are temps in the 70-85F range, Humidity around 30-60%, and around an average minimum of 1 square for per plant. Also the space must be able to be dark for a minimum of 12 hours (this means no more light than giving off by the moon, preferable absolute dark).
Stealth: These grows are usually the smallest since they need to be hidden and not obvious to the public (family, friends, etc). Although small a good stealth setup doesn't come cheap, a stealth grower will spend anywhere from around 50-300+ dollars getting things the way they want. Some of the major concerns when doing a stealth grow are:
Light Leaks-any visible light escaping from inside the box. This can usually be fixed by weather stripping doors, Using black ABS elbows on ventilation holes inside the box (Black color absorbs light and 90 degree bend does not allow light to escape).
Smell- the smell of a flowering plant can easily take over a room or even entire floors of a home, although air fresheners can be used they tend to just mask the odor which sometimes can overpower even the most powerful air freshener. Some easy ways to deal with this issue is to Seal all seams on the grow box and design your ventilation to create a negative pressure inside of the box. This means using an Active Exhaust (pulling air out of the box rather than pushing it in) this way smells will be easier to control as they will be brought to one location by the ventilation system for easy filtering. When it comes to filtering, Activated Carbon (used in fish filters and in some Air Wick Filters) is one of the most common filter materials. Depending on the flows and amount used on average it can last around 3 months of continuous use before you will need to replace it. These filters do not need to be bought, simple versions can be made to fit your situation using supplies that can be found around the house, your local hardware store, and a pet shop. The basic principal is to use mesh to contain the Activated Carbon in a box that is place after the ventilation system before it leaves the grow box. To improve the efficiency of this type of filter the larger the surface area the more air can come in contact with the Activated Carbon, this also helps to limit the air flow resistance which reduces the strain/size of ventilation system required. There is also the option of an Ozone Generator, but just like venting directly outdoors this is not always practical for the average stealth grower.
Sound- though this is one of the more over looked aspects of stealth, the sound of the ventilation system running or pumps can be an easy give away of your grow. Vibration is one of the main causes of sound from pumps and fans so Isolation (suspended in mid air, or mounted with foam between it and the hard surface) can usually help to eliminate most of the sound issues. Also using sound deadening materials within the grow box can help lower noise levels. In cases of stealth soils grows tend to be more popular since no pumps are required.
Heat- since stealth grows tend to be confined to smaller spaces heat from lighting systems usually builds up an can cause temps to rise dramatically compared to outside temps. For this reason it is very important that the ventilation system be well matched to the lighting system and size of the box. For ventilation purposes anything from PC Fans, to small blowers and squriel cage fans can be used, the important thing is that the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating be sufficient for your grow size. This can be calculated using the table below:
For HPS/MH Lights, CFM Required = (LxWxH of your grow box) x 12
For CFLs/Flourecents, CFM Required = (LxWxH of your grow box) x 6
There is also the option of Air Cooling the Light/Reflector, this means flowing air directly over the bulbs/reflector and out of the box, therefore keeping temperatures surrounding light to remain lower.
Lighting-stealth growers tend to stick to CFL or Lower Wattage HPS to help keep heat down and allow them to keep the lights closer to the plants. For the most part CFL also known as "compact fluorescent lights" or "energy saver bulbs" tend to be the choice of most beginning stealth growers. They are rather cheap, are easy to find at your local hardware store, come in a variety of wattage and also come in the Daylight (5400k, more blue spectrum of light) or the Warm White (2700k, more red spectrum) which allows the grower to tune his or her lighting to the stage of life of the plant. CFLs also put of much less heat than a HPS (high pressure sodium) light does and can be placed much closer to the plant without risk of burning the leaves. That being said they do have a lower penetration power (1-12 inches) than a HPS and if placed to close can/will burn the plant. As for how much CFL Light is required for healthy development and flowering a minimum of 40 watts per square foot is required but the general rule of thumb for CFLs is "The More the Better!". For those who use a HPS light in a stealth grow they usually run the lower wattage (70-150watt) lights. Since HPS produce a fair bit more amount of heat they do need to be kept father away from the plants or good ventilation is required. That being said HPS lights have a much better penetration power compared to CFLs and do have higher Lumens (the measure of light output) per bulb. Both can be used with and very similar results can be achieved from either light.
Budget: The budget grower usually tends to use what they have available and or can get at local shops and hardware stores for 75 dollars or under. Most budget growers also tend to use the bare minimum equipment usually pushing funds towards lights and ventilation more than anything else.
Lights- generally budget grows are done with CFLs, Regular Fluorescents or Lower wattage HPS lights. Usually the wattages run around 30-50 watts per square foot as a minimum for healthy plant development. CFLs again are the most popular since they are cheap and can be found at just about any store (Wal-mart, Home Depot, etc). Usually light leaks aren't much of a issue for budget growers, but ensure that the grow area during the dark cycle (flowering) when on the 12 hours of dark is at most the same as moon light outside.
Ventilation: budget growers tend to use little to no ventilation and rather opt for more open grow areas. Some cheap sources of ventilation are PC fans, and regular desktop fans which can be run to provide airflow over the plants and help strengthen plant stems.<O:p</O:p