Grow tents offer a great benefit to gardeners who have limited outdoor space or live in areas with cold or extremely hot climates. They provide a growing space where you can control exactly how much heat, light, and moisture your plants receive.
There are certain accessories you might want to invest in to ensure you have the most efficient and productive growing experience with your grow tent. In this post we’ll dive in to 11 things you should keep in mind when using your grow tents and accessories you might want to consider investing in.
How much weight a grow tent can hold will, of course, depend on two primary factors: the manufacturer and the size of the grow tent. If we take an average 5 x 5 feet grow tent as an example, most users report that it can hold slightly more than 100 lbs. A smaller tent, like 4 x 4, can hold up to 65 lbs.
To find out the right size of grow tent to buy, check the square footage at maturity for each of the plants you intend to grow, in addition to the weight of the plants. For example, if you’d like to grow five plants known to take up five square feet each when they mature, you should get a grow tent that has a total of 25 square feet (11.61 sqm) of space or a 5 x 5 (1.5 x 1.5 meters) tent.
Should Carbon Filters Run 24 Hours A Day/Seven Days A Week?
Carbon filters are additions to regular fans. If you need something to mask or drive out the smell of your plants, certainly consider investing in carbon filters. As you can guess from the name, carbon filters consist of activated carbon.
The name can be a bit deceiving. Activated carbon is made of some agricultural by-products such as coconut shells, which ae treated under very high temperatures. In other words, activated carbon is quite a fancy name for your regular charcoal.
This process gives the activated carbon a high absorption quality that can even trap various bacteria. In the case of a growing situation, like a grow room or a grow tent, carbon filters trap bacteria that produce that sharp smell that is associated with some plants.
You certainly can run carbon filters 24 hours a day/seven days a week. It is quite normal to run a carbon filter constantly when your plant is flowering which is when the odor can be quite strong.
However, it is less necessary to run carbon filters constantly during the growing and vegetation stage. Growing plants produce much less smell, so the need for carbon filters is less.
Most grow tents reuire two types of fans: inline and oscillating which serve different purposes. Inline fans are installed to ensure the supply of fresh air, they extract the existing air from the room and supply fresh air from the outside. Oscillating fans drive existing air around the room, making sure that leaves do not have too much carbon dioxide and humidity around them.
It’s important to keep your fans on when your grow lights are on in your grow tent. When the lights are on, your plants produce heat and moisture as they photosynthesize. This added heat from the plants, along with the heat from the grow lights, will make your grow tent quite warm. To help balance this out, it’s important to keep your inline and oscillating fans on.
When your grow lights are off, the temperature in your grow tent will be lower, so you might not need to keep your oscillating fan on. However, it’s best to always keep your exhaust fan on, to ensure your plants receive fresh air and adequate ventilation.
If you are using a grow room or a grow tent, you are likely growing inside. That means that you have limited natural airflow. To grow, your plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is naturally present in the air, so to guarantee that your plants have sufficient fuel for photosynthesis, you need to make sure that they have access to fresh air and a fan help do this.
Stagnant air will encourage the growth of bacteria, mold and even pests, none of which are beneficial for your plants. The perfect environment for plants is a constant supply of fresh air and a slight breeze which will provide fuel for growth and keep your plants safe. Simply opening a window, for example, will not help since the environment inside the room is less pressurized compared with the outside air.
Intake fans guarantee a constant supply of fresh air from the outside. It is like air conditioning for plants: without it they will lack fuel and might die.
When lights are on, keep all your fans on full speed. Lights generate a lot of heat, and instead of getting useful fuel for growth and photosynthesis, plants will start to dry out if fans are not on.
When lights are off, heat will start to dissipate with time. Keep inline fans on full speed for about 15-20 minutes to dissipate the remaining heat, then keep them running but you can reduce the speed.
Oscillating fans are a different story though. As mentioned above, once your lights are off, the temperature in your tent will start to reduce. You can leave your oscillating fans on if you’d like, but you can also switch them off if the temperature in your tent is cool enough and there is not too much moisture accumulating in your grow tent.
Grow lights are not usually included with grow tents. It is quite common for you to have to buy grow lights separately. However, most grow tents do have the ability to attach and hang lights in them.
Some grow tents do include lights, and sometimes, you can even choose, which type of light you are getting in a package with your grow tent: HID, CMH, LED or fluorescent.
Grow tents are made of a naturally reflective surface from the inside, the one that you might find in a photographer’s lighting equipment, for instance. It will reflect light and will not absorb it in the process. That will distribute available light throughout all your plants.
The weight of a grow light, of course, depends on how large and how powerful the light is. Let’s look at some common options.
- 1 foot long, 13.5-watt light will weigh around 0.5 lbs
- 8 inches long, 32-watt light can weigh around 0.75 lbs
- 2 feet long, 19-watt light can weigh around 1.5 lbs
- 2 feet long, 32-watt light can weigh around 1.75 lbs
- 2 feet long, 60-watt light can weigh about 3 lbs
- 1.25 feet long, 150-watt light can weigh about 10 lbs
The list can go on and on, but you can see a pattern, usually, the more powerful light will be heavier. Then, it starts to depend on the material used and the number of bulbs. Lighter and more powerful models will cost you more because you pay for more mobility. Heavier and less efficient lights will cost you less.
Potential danger that might come from a grow tent is connected to lighting and fire hazards. Like anything that is connected to electricity, heat, and lights, grow tents can become a fire hazard if you neglect safety, but if you follow simple precautions, that hazard will be decreased to a minimum.
Some simple things to keep in mind to ensure your grow tent is not a fire hazard include:
- Do not place water near sources of electricity. Ensure the cables of your grow lights and fans are not coming in to contact with water.
- Do not place anything flammable near hot surfaces, electricity, or lights.
- Make sure that electric equipment is wired properly and is not worn down, damaged, or overloaded.
- Install a smoke alarm and keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Grow tents are usually checked for fire hazards, and their insides are not flammable. If you are modifying your tent you need to make sure that your modifications do not mess with lighting and electricity and are not flammable.
Check your equipment regularly for visible damage and faults. Do some work on cable management too. Cables are not fire hazards on their own, but loose wires can cause all sorts of different problems, including injuries and electric malfunctioning, which in turn can lead to fires.
Finally, consider skipping on cheaper equipment, especially electrical equipment and lights. Cheaper equipment can potentially be more hazardous than more expensive counterparts. It might be tempting to save a few dollars but then it all comes down to luck and risk.
Leaving anything that is connected to electricity and produces light and heat unattended is not a good idea, in general. There are two ways a grow light can cause you big problems:
- Electric inflammation: This can happen when you incorrectly plug lights into the electric grid causing an electric malfunction that will cause combustion.
- Contact inflammation: Any light will generate some amount of heat, and a grow light is designed to generate a lot of heat. So, if anything flammable comes in contact with this high heat source, it can cause a fire.
If everything is connected properly, you should be able to leave your grow lights on, even when you’re not at home.
Growing plants inside involves learning a little extra in every sphere that is connected to this hobby. When it comes to safety, it’s important to learn some basic rules of working with electricity to prevent short circuits.
- Leave some excess wire length: when it comes to high voltage, do not cut on wire length. High voltage will need a lot of material to go through safely and without excessive wearing of metals. Leave your wires a bit longer than you need to, but do not let them stay loose.
- Install an electrical box: it will protect your wiring from accidental sparks and malfunctioning.
- Think about wattage and amperage: the wattage and amperage of your light should not exceed the power that is available in that room. If it does, best advice is either to re-wire connections or to move your grow tent into a different room that can handle that much power.
- Distribute heat sources into different fuses: Grow lights need a lot of electrical power, so it’s best to not plug anything else that needs a lot of power into the same electrical fuse, and keep in mind the wattage and amperage of all electrical appliances that are plugged in the same room, like ventilation and fans.
How to Stop Condensation in a Grow Tent
It is common for grow tents to accumulate condensation—it is after all a closed off growing space. As the heat builds up in your grow tent while your plants photosynthesize, your grow tent is bound to get humid.
It is not healthy for your plants to sit in this moisture, so it’s important to create ways for this condensation to evaporate.
In natural conditions, excessive water would simply evaporate but in a controlled environment like a grow tent, you will need to create a way for it to happen.
Make sure that the temperature and humidity are stable and range within a few degrees. If the temperature jumps up and down, that can be a reason for excess condensation. Make sure your fans are working well and circulating enough air in your grow tent, which should reduce the stagnant humidity.
Water is a powerful fuel for plants, but it can do just as much harm as good. A drop of water for a leaf is like a 5-gallon water bottle for a human, so by overwatering plants, you are potentially making life for your plants much harder and killing them.
If you see a lot of condensation in your tent, try reducing the amount of water that you use to fuel your plants. It’s good practice to only water your plants when they need it. You can determine this by touching the soil and only watering your plants when the first inch or two of soil feels dry.
Too many plants can increase the humidity in your grow tent and can cause problems with the air balance.
Increasing the number of plants will take up more space in your grow tent which will leave less space for air. With less air, water will evaporate less, and will stay in its liquid form and increase the moisture in your grow tent.
More plants mean more transpiration from leaves, which will increase the humidity in your grow tent. If you do not want to decrease the number of plants you grow in one tent, consider increasing the ventilation power.
If you’re growing plants that require very specific climate conditions that the natural environment of your home can’t provide, then grow tents are almost always worth the money.
Grow tents are also helpful for people living in apartments without access to a patio or outdoor garden, and who grow out of their windowsill space. Grow tents are also useful for apartments that don’t get a lot of natural sunlight.
A grow tent will not solve all problems and you will still need additional equipment. However, there are some shortcuts that will allow you to save money in the long run and grow healthy plants.
Below are some reasons why a grow tent may be worth it for you.
- Round the clock gardening: With a grow tent, you control the climate. This means you can grow plants all year round, from the coldest winter to the hottest summer, which drastically increases the number and type of plants you can grow in your home.
- Great for small spaces: There’s a grow tent for any size or space, even if the available space is the size of a small closet. If you have some space in your garage or a spare room, it will typically be more than enough to install a grow tent.
- Reduces pests: With a grow tent, simply closing the tent keeps pests out.
- More controlled air circulation: If you place fans strategically in your grow tent, you can create an ideal growing environment for your plants.
- Efficient lighting: Grow tents are built to efficiently deliver light with their reflective materials inside which diffuses the light from grow lights and focuses it on the plants.
- Straightforward setup: Even if it’s your first time with a grow tent, you can set it up on your own without any elaborate tutorials, and, in many cases, you won’t need tools to set it up.