How to Build a DIY Grow Tent
Advantages of using a grow tent
Did you know that you can easily and cheaply create the ideal environment for growing cannabis right inside your own home? If you do, you’re probably here to learn more about building your own grow tent – you’ve come to the right place! If you didn’t, read on to find out the many advantages of using a grow tent! A grow tent is fairly easy to assemble and the tools you need can be found for bargain prices in today’s market. But you might not be convinced. So let’s begin with a head first dive into this dank new world as we tell you about all the advantages of using a grow tent all by yourself in your very own home or garage.
With a grow tent you have greater control over all the factors which determine the health of your crops. Factors such as temperature, humidity, light and ventilation. It is much easier to accurately measure these factors in a controlled environment such as a grow tent and implement fixes for any factors that go off the rails.
You can customize the interaction of these factors. Timers to ensure consistent periods of light. Variable temperatures for different growth stages. Minerals and supplements for your soil. These are just a few examples.
Space and privacy
Of course you want to practice discretion and not display your crops for the whole world to see. You can choose the sizes of your soil trays and distance of the light fixtures. And you can protect your crops from unwanted pests that are a nuisance for outdoor cultivators. Of course, there are some basic requirements that must be met before customization can be achieved. Next we will outline those requirements for you so you can get started building your own tent.
Basic requirements of a good grow tent
To create the ideal environment for your plants to thrive, there are a few basic requirements which must be met. At first it may seem complicated, but let’s try to make it simple.
The first important factor to consider is space. Measure the size and be sure that you are not going to waste a lot of electricity and light in too big a space, or crowd the plants and cramp them in a tight spot.
Speaking of controlling light usage, having an airtight setup is crucial to controlling the environment. Function comes before form in the case of a grow tent. The tent must be 100% light proof and sealed well so outside temperatures don’t affect your carefully selected settings. Regulating the airflow also reins in the heady odor that can result from a healthy grow space.
The climate of your grow tent must be regulated properly. The biggest advantage of a grow tent is having control over conditions that are left up to nature outdoors. For example, you can grow inside in any season because you can control the 12-hour light cycles your crop needs, and not be dependent on changing conditions. But you will need to select the right timers, ventilation, and light distance. Air circulation, carbon dioxide and humidity all play a part in the health and yield of your crops so you will want to make the necessary provisions in order to meet the basic requirements of a good grow tent.
If you don’t have dimmable grow lights you can even build a pulley system to adjust the height of your lights during different stages of growth! Once the tent is built, airtight, with timing set ups and measurement capabilities, there is still more homework. Test your light cycles once before starting, keep the space clean and sanitary and make sure you install the components flexibly so you can make minor adjustments to the growing environment as your plants mature. And each seed is different, so be sure to read the literature on each crop so you can tune to its individual needs of growth, space and climate.
Plenty of light in your ecosystem is a key factor in the healthy growth of your harvest. There are a few specific points to which you should pay attention. Distance. The proximity of the lights to your plants. This alternates across the various growth stages. Too close will burn the plants, too far will leave your plants starving and gasping for the nutrients it needs for photosynthesis. Emitting light within the full spectrum will help your plants receive greater care. Be sure to measure your light spectrum using PPFD’s, or photosynthetically-active photon flux density. This is a more reliable method than Lux or lumens, which tend to better perceive the stronger yellow or green ranges of light. Be conscious of reflective light and use it to your advantage. Using reflective light can reduce your electricity bills and wards off light pollution. Keep in mind that the plants will need an even 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. So to achieve optimal growing conditions, a timer for your lamps relieves a great deal of your responsibility. The amount of light will affect temperature in the ecosystem and to achieve a healthy balance, they must complement each other.
Temperature range can vary depending on the different stages. When the plants are cuttings or seedlings, the desired average temperature is 20-25 degrees celsius, while in the later stages temperature should increase to 28 degrees celsius. And don’t let it fall below 18 at night. Humidity and ventilation also go hand in hand with temperature and humidity should be measured and ventilation set to maintain a consistent temperature. Consistency in temperature is essential in the growing environment. As noted, plants need a balanced 12 hours of light and dark, and the temperatures of those periods need to be equally balanced and consistent. We can’t live in optimal growing climates all the time, so mimicking an optimal growing climate in your grow tent is what you want to achieve. Plants tend to thrive in the upper range of the degrees spectrum and will respond quite well if you accurately mimic the temperatures. Growth rates are also affected by carbon dioxide levels. Growth rates may be significantly increased when there are higher levels of carbon dioxide but there will probably be a corresponding rise in temperature that will need to be monitored and corrected. As mentioned, ventilation and humidity are factors and should be addressed individually. Let’s do that!
Air circulation is also of great concern to the health of your plants and so ventilation is key. There are many benefits to putting thought and flexibility into your ventilation system. Ventilation is one of the more flexible, controllable aspects of your grow tent. Circulating fans will help increase air circulation. Although you don’t want to damage your plants by putting a circulating fan too close, a slight, breezy fluttering of the leaves can stimulate health and keep away pesky pests. If your grow room is getting too hot, you can adjust your ventilating system by cutting some room at the top so some heat can escape. Alternatively, circulating air up through the vents by running a fan at the bottom will increase your seedlings strength and contribute to overall air flow. You will need an intake fan and exhaust fan, at the very least. Remember, fresh air needs to come in, stale air needs to go out. Ventilation and humidity are close cousins and mold loves humidity. You will know your ventilation system is up and running when you see the walls sucking inward. This means it is creating negative pressure or suction indicating that air is being exchanged. Now we can talk about maintaining healthy humidity levels.
Your grow tent should not exceed 70% humidity and there are a variety of methods to keep the humidity range within healthy parameters. However, high humidity – around 60% – is necessary for the plants because they need water to survive and thrive. Here we will learn how to achieve the right balance. Low levels of humidity can force the plants to fight with themselves to absorb extra water and this brings along with it excess nutrients which can cause burns on the leaves. Low levels of humidity are also an inviting environment for pests. Investing in a temperature and humidity sensor for measurement will let you know when it’s time to take steps to modify humidity levels. An air humidifier is another helpful component that will let you set and maintain humidity levels corresponding with the stage of growth. The significance of humidity is still a hotly contested issue. But you have lots of easy options for affecting humidity levels, such as placing a wet sponge nearby your grow trays, or adding trays or bowls of water close to the plants, or add larger plants to the system. Larger plants increase respiration, feeding water vapors and carbon dioxide to the younger plants. So there is no good reason not to put some effort into maintaining healthy humidity levels. Now let’s get started with assembly. By the time you’re finished, it will have felt easy-peasy.
What will you need to build a grow tent
Believe it or not, you can actually build a grow tent suitable for your needs for around just $100 if you play your cards right. There are basic supplies you will need and then for your customization there will be more than a few choices. So choose carefully, young grass cutter. Here is a list of basic supplies:
Basic, simple household tools you should already have around the house will do the trick. Things like a screwdriver, wire cutters, and scissors or in a pinch a box cutter. And you will want to pick up duct tape or even a stronger industrial tape. Something to bundle your wires and keep them out of the way. Velcro or cable wire work well. Don’t forget to give these wires a home in a power strip with a surge protector.
LED Lights are suggested for your tent’s lighting system. That’s because LED lights are the best choice for maximum control over correct light settings. This is where pre-planning comes in handy. You want to make sure you select a system with a mounting system compliant with your plants needs or make the necessary modifications. You can mount or hang your lights.
This can be selected according to your budgetary needs. You can purchase a pre-assembled or self-assembly shelving unit or you can construct a perfect frame using PVC pipes.
You will need at least one fan and a carbon filter. But as suggested, more than one, to cover exhaust and intake, are actually required for proper, healthy air flow. Beyond this, you can customize to your heart’s content.
Possibly the most important component, mylar has a myriad of uses. Mylar will secure the tent and guarantee it is airtight. It can also be used as a surface for reflective light, which as I mentioned saves you a lot of energy. Black and white poly is also acceptable. Now you have your tools and materials. Time to get to work!
Setting up a DIY grow tent step by step
Here we will go step by step, keeping in mind that the pre-planning I mentioned will make the whole process easier and minimize later adjustments.
- Start by either assembling the shelves you purchased, or if you decide to do it yourself, put together the PVC pipe. Be sure to place some plastic underneath before final placement to catch excess water from pots or trays. Adjustable shelving is recommended for freedom to move plants and lights throughout the growth periods.
- Before you carefully block out all outside light using the mylar, set up your lights, hanging them or attaching them to the piping. Be sure to measure the appropriate height. Then attach the hoods so the light is directed downward.
- Now is the time to consider the best ventilation and placement for your fans and carbon filter. It is recommended to hang them close to the top to maximize air flow and minimize odor. You will then have to attach the ducting to your exhaust fan.
- Attach the ducting by hanging the exhaust fan so the intake is pointed towards the carbon filter and the exhaust directed towards the ventilation opening. Measure the distance from the carbon flange to the exhaust intake and cut ducting to the necessary length. Install ducting between the filter and the fan, then from the exhaust to the opening.
- Organize wiring in the beginning so it doesn’t get out of control later. This way you have your choice of configuration and freedom to safely fasten the wire to the shelving unit, using velcro or duct tape.
- Create the tent itself. If you are using mylar, be sure to apply it with the reflective white side on the inside and the black on the outside. You can use duct tape to secure it. If you are using a different cloth covering such as lightweight nylon, make sure the zippers work properly and all seams are tightly sewn. Your alternate option is a black and white poly.
- If using poly, position the poly, aligning it with the racks. Wrap it around one side to the post. Tape the poly to the front of the top shelf, then pull the bottom tight underneath. Cut and fasten the sides and trim the bottom and boom! Complete.
- Use the excessive poly or mylar to make a door. Tape the top and the back of the door down, and leave the front unsecured for easy access, then seal it with tape after exit.
- Now it is time to turn on your lights and grab your measuring tools to confirm everything works and measure your humidity levels and other variable factors. Then you can decide what add-ons and particular specifications can take your grow tent to the next level!
It’s perfectly natural to come to the conclusion that raising plants is like raising a family. Your baby plants need a nurturing environment and stability to become the healthy crops they should be. Building your own grow tent makes it all possible. Good Luck!