The average grower will build his or her grow room in an area of unused space. This may be a cupboard, or an attic space, a basement area or even an under stairs space. The shape and size of the space available will therefore dictate the overall size and shape of the growing area.
Whether you are constructing a new growing space, or adapting an existing one, certain principle points should be considered. The main areas for consideration are:
Ease of Use
The main requirement here is that there is easy access to the grow room. There should be enough space to allow you to come and go with ease and also be able to take any articles that you may need to move both in and out of the area. The entrance to the room should have a lockable door on it to stop unwanted visitors from accessing your growing area. This is particularly important if you have curious children in the house, because there will be chemicals in the room which could cause harm to them if mishandled.
Wherever possible, sufficient space should be left to allow you manoeuvrability for both yourself and your plants. This is always a prime requisite when you come to crop your plants. In crops such as tomatoes and peppers it is virtually impossible to pick the crop in a very confined space.
Ease of Use
It is now time to put some thought into how your space compares to your ideal space. Is it bigger than you require or smaller than you need? If it is too large ought you to build a growing area within it, or are you likely to expand to use it in the future? If it is too small can you downsize or possibly utilise another unused space in the house?
If you are building a new grow room is it in an area where the weight and humidity will cause damage to the fabric of your building? Remember that hydroponics systems often utilise large quantities of water and water is heavy. (250 litres is about a quarter of a ton) It is essential to work out your loadings and then allow a safe margin for error. It is also highly recommended that you use a waterproof membrane to cover your floor area, as any spillages can cause the ceiling below to become unstable and collapse.
Light pollution is also an area to be looked at. All extraneous light must be blocked out if you wish to grow high quality plants. When you are running on a 12 hour cycle the darkness must be complete as any light at all will trigger the growth hormones in your plants to either turn on or off. It can be very damaging to your crops if this is allowed to happen at the wrong times.
The provision of fresh clean water to your grow room is of vital importance. However, it is also essential to have a means of removing that water once it is no longer required. Adequate supply and drainage is not difficult to arrange in this modern age. You can use a system of hoses and storage tanks, together with pumps and multi-way valves to direct the water where you need it. The outfall can be ducted into a suitable tank for treatment prior to discharging into an appropriate drain.
At some point in your growing experiences you will, in all probability need to provide your grow room with ventilation. The warm stale air will need to be extracted to the outside, another room or the attic and clean fresh air brought in. This is normally achieved by sucking the air out of the growing room using an in line extractor fan and some suitable sized ducting. The fresh air will be drawn in, again via ducting, from the nearest suitable source such as an adjoining room, or nearby window. If this air be coming from a source that has any form of mould in it an inline filter can be incorporated in the inlet ducting to avoid contamination damaging your plants.
Should your crop be one which produces an odour that may be a nuisance to your neighbours, such as some of the aromatic herbs like coriander or even lavender, a carbon filter can be installed in the outlet ducting to eliminate the smell.
The supply of electricity to your grow room should be carried out by a qualified electrician. Ask him to install a separate ring main for this area protected by an RCD circuit breaker. Make sure that he provides more sockets than you think you will need and that they are placed at high level. This will ensure that you always have enough outlets for any additional equipment you may install at a later date. It will also ensure that you are not getting your electrics and any water in close proximity to one another, a recipe for disaster. The extra ring main will see to it that your house is never affected by a problem in the grow room.
Both the daytime and night time temperatures within your growing area are important. The temperature should, where possible be kept even, without either hot spots in the daytime or cold ones at night. It is possible to purchase environmental control systems which will help you achieve the desired results. Alternatively you can manually monitor the room and either turn fans and /or extractors on or off to control the required temperatures.
Bear in mind that free standing fans will be needed to promote air flow between your plants and strengthen their stems, in preparation for the extra yield that you will get by using hydroponics.
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