As a beginner, it’s normal to feel lost when trying to grow your own cannabis plants because of the vast amount of products available. This guide will show you how to set up a basic single cannabis plant grow in four easy steps. All you need is a 600 watt light, coco hand-feeds, and a 4x4x6.5 foot (1.2 x 1.2 x 2 meter) grow tent – we’ll tell you why you need each item and how it works.”
Grow tents come in an array of shapes and sizes. For example, a 4x4x6.5-foot (1.2 x 1.2 x 2 meter) tent can hold four plants comfortably within its white or silver reflective lining that amplifies the light back onto the plants–giving them the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong! Once zipped up, these self-contained environments provide safety from exterior threats like pests or predators while ensuring nothing enters or leaves except through your extraction equipment. When choosing a quality tent, look for thick material, sturdy poles, and long-lasting zippers so it will serve you well for many seasons to come!
Your plants’ natural light cycle is 18 hours of light and six hours without, so you’ll need to mimic that for the vegetative stage. The best bulb for this purpose is a 600W dual spectrum bulb. It emits two spectrums of light – one blue for the vegetative stage and orange/red for flowering – making it an excellent value overall.
Ventilation Kit: Fan, Filter, Ducting, and Clamps
To exchange the air in your environment and bring in fresh, cool air, you will need a ventilation system that includes a fan and ducting. The carbon filter works to remove warm air and odors. You can purchase full ventilation kits depending on how much airflow you want. In our case, we are using a six-inch L1 RVK fan with a six-inch filter, which does the job nicely. The bacteria-removingcarbon bed pulls odorlessair through itself so that only clean smells enter circulation again.
Acoustic ducting is ideal for reducing noise levels. It consists of two layers of standard ducting material with fiberglass in the middle, and clamps are used to secure the fan, filter, and ductwork together. Make sure the clamps fit tightly for optimal results.
For those just starting out, the Dutch Barn Hammertone shade is an excellent option because it is both affordable and reliable. Plus, it directs light downward onto your plants which is extremely beneficial.
A digital ballast’s purpose is to prevent too much electricity from going to the bulb while still supplying enough wattage. If there were no ballast, then the bulb would burn out quickly because it would receive an overload of electricity. I use a 600W ballast specifically because higher wattages produce more lumen and PAR for plants, meaning that they will grow faster and result in bigger yields overall.
You should always use a bulb and ballast with matching wattages. For example, if you have a 600W bulb, you should only use a 600W ballast. Digital ballasts are the best option because they give you full control, run at the true wattages stated, use less electricity, have a small start-up volt drain, run cool and have a great dimming feature. This is fantastic if conditions get too warm in your grow tent.
Contactor and Timer
Contactors help to evenly distribute the electrical discharge, which reduces the likelihood of the main fuse blowing when the lamp or ballast is first turned on. A good quality contactor will have a built-in timer that you can use to turn your lights on and off at set intervals, which is convenient and helps to ensure accuracy.
Clip-On Oscillating Fan
These fans have several functions, including circulating warm air around the tent and keeping temperatures even. They also help to move gas away from the plants’ leaves, and CO2 and oxygen towards the plant to facilitate photosynthesis. Lastly, the fan gently shudders the plants, increasing their strength and overall structure.
The ratchet hanger is a vital item to have in your grow tent if you want to be able to adjust the distance between your plants and lights. This is important because it helps ensure that the plants are getting maximum lumens and par from the light bulb. Generally, the ideal distance between a plant and light is one foot; however, depending on what you’re trying to achieve temperature-wise, you might need to move it closer or farther away from the light source. Remember also to reposition your oscillating fan so that air can circulate properly.
Temperature Gauge and Hygrometer
In order to make sure your tent is comfortable, you’ll need a temperature gauge and hygrometer to monitor the humidity and temperature. A digital “all in one” will give you the most accurate results.
Pots and Trays
You’ll need four-gallon square to round pots during the vegetative phase – they have a square top and round bottom, which is ideal for make the most of available light in indoor growing. Large, flat catchment trays will also come in handy to contain any spills, leaks or messes.
Putting It All Together
- Pitching a tent is simple; you will find step-by-step instructions included.
- Next, set up your grow light by screwing the bulb into the shade securely with a piece of cloth or gloves.
- To use the ratchet hangers, first attach them to the shade and then to the poles that are located across the roof of your tent. Also, be sure you know how adjust these types of hangers so that you can raise or lower your light as needed.
- Plug the shade into the ballast.
- Remember to keep the contactor and ballast outside of the tent so that anything plugged into it inside has power cables running through a port in the upper part of the tent. Also, make sure to hang them on a wall or another safe place that is dry and free from any obstruction.
- Program the contactor timer to turn your lights on and off at specific times.
- To use the oscillating fan, simply plug it into the contactor and clip it to one of the vertical tent poles at the back of the tent. You’ll need to adjust its height once you’ve placed your plants inside the grow space so that its nozzle is level with their canopy. Remember to readjust as they grow taller.
- Plug the contactor into the outlet.
What About Ventilation?
Ventilation should be positioned at the top of the tent, suspended from the horizontal top bars toward the back wall of the tent but not touching it.
If you are standing inside the tent, the order from left to right should go:
The ducting enters the top back of the tent through a portal.
For the filter to work as efficiently as possible, make sure the clamp connecting it to the fan is tight.
If you see the sides of your tent being sucked in when the ventilation is turned on, don’t worry–this is normal. This negative pressure means that all the air leaving the tent is passing through the filter, as it should be. If you want to help achieve this effect, open and adjust the ports on the sides of your tent.
The only task that remains is to take a baseline reading of the temperature and humidity inside the tent. This will give you an understanding of what conditions you need to achieve in order for your plants to grow perfectly. The target environment should have a temperature between 72-82°F with relative humidity at 40-70%.
The next 12 weeks will require some effort on your part as you monitor and take care of your plants and their surroundings. It can be a lot to learn, but try not to stress yourself out too much. The best way to learn is by facing obstacles and finding ways to overcome them.
Think of your first few cannabis grows as the foundation you need to set yourself up for success. With each grow, you will become more and more competent until you are a master grower.