For a successful first plant, your journey should begin with education and planning.
Yes, you can jump right in and throw money at it and figure out the plan later, but most of us don’t want to spend it if we don’t have to.
Here are a few things you need to think about before planting your first seed:
-Are you going to grow indoor or outdoor? For this example I will discuss indoor and the issues involved with that plan.
-Do you want an auto or photo plant? If you go photo you will definitely need a tent or closet dedicated for your plant.
-How much do you want to hide the smell and lighting? A closet can hide the light and help you work the light cycles but you have to think about ventilation of heat. Can you cut holes in the ceiling or door to add a fan to the closet? If you don’t have to worry about hiding the smell from guests then you can just vent the hot air away. If you do want to keep the smell down you will need a carbon filter and fan strong enough to pull through it. If you decide to grow long term you will also want to plan on replacing these filters from time to time.
What’s the difference between auto and photo? I hear this a lot when Someone shows me their first seed in a solo cup.
In an auto plant the genetics cause it to enter the flowering stage based on the maturity of the plant rather than its light cycle. These are great if you want a quick indoor/outdoor grow. However you cannot take cuttings/clones as the clones will be on the same time line as the mother plant and will go into flower same as the mother.
A photo plant is one that allows control over when it goes into flower. I recommend these as they can produce a greater volume of finished product. However, if you are growing outdoors your light cycles are controlled by the seasons. The downfall to that is trying to plan a vacation around the life of the plant or having a grow partner you trust to maintain your plant while you are away. For indoor grows on the other hand, you can grow year round and plan your grow whenever you want. Always keep in mind that you are investing 60 to 120 days or longer towards your grow.
Now that you know the basics on types of plants, lets talk about tents. Grow tents aren’t the same as your camping tents. They are designed to not allow light in from the outside, while also being very reflective of light on the inside. Tents are the way to control the light cycle, heat, and smell of an indoor grow. The brand you will hear raved about will be Gorilla grow tents. While I hear great things about them I do not own one. You will want to buy a grow tent that fits the space you plan to dedicate to your grow. Plan to have enough space to run vent hoses in and out, as well as electrical access. Also plan to have room enough for you to be able to get in to water, train, and trim your plant easily. I started with a 30″x30″ for starting plants in and a 2’x4’x5′ tent for flowering. In Virginia with a four plant limit, if you plan on growing a lot I would recommend using two 2x4x5 tents. That way you can have two plants in flower while you train up two more to go into the flower tent when the others come out. I will write another article on timing a perpetual grow soon.
Let discuss the smell and ventilation. You may love the scent of your brand new grow, but others around you may not. If you live where you can vent the air outside and it won’t attract attention or bother anyone, then that is great and it makes this easy. Ventilation is mostly about the smell and heat. The heat, depending on the light you use, you will most likely not want to vent into the same room. During the winter in Virginia venting into the house can be a benefit of added heat, but during the hot and muggy summers you will want to keep that heat out. Venting out through a window can work great. The attic can be an option too but will take some extra consideration which I’ll touch on in a later post. If you want to control the smell you will be need carbon filters to scrub odors from the air. Carbon filters are all over the place from cheap vivosun to high end rhino filters. I have tried several low and medium end filters. You can get away with a 4″ fan, filter and ducting in a 2x4x5. If you run two of those tents, you may want to plan on running two 4″ or 6″ to one 6″ or 8″ duct. I recommend going with 6″ or 8″ fans and filters from the start. This will prevent you from running into heat issues in the long run. I started with 4″ and will likely be upgrading soon.
If you read all the way to the bottom. Check out my article next week on Germination.
Also don’t forget to browse the best auto and photo strains at Seedsman Seeds.
Next Up in reading of this series Stages of Growth, Germination