When it comes to growing cannabis indoors, there are many creative ways people have gone about doing it. In this article, I will share some of the most popular setups and techniques, the best indoor grow setups. Since we’re dedicated to tents, I’ll include an ideal all-in-one tent solution for you guys.
There are many things to consider when planning a killer grow, and hopefully I can address some of those. It’s always good to try new things and see what works best. Once you find the right gear and techniques, the weed almost grows itself, so take your time during the setup phase, to get everything perfect.
Depending on your space, budget, and desires, these techniques will all serve a very different purpose. For example, the ScrOG technique which I am very fond of is great for maximizing surface area in a small grow, whereas a SoG technique uses a lot of space, but gives really quick yields.
I include tent solutions for many different sizes and settings though, so there is something here for everybody. I use the ScrOG technique on my tent, and that’s the one I would recommend for everyone to try. It’s super easy to do, gives you a killer canopy for absorbing maximal light, and requires very little training or intervention in any way. Really improves yields a lot.
Screen Of Green – ScrOG
This ScrOG method is fantastic, because it really lets you control the height of the plants, and also maximise surface area of the tent. For this reason, I highly recommend using this method in your tent grow op, as it will give you the best results.
Combining ScrOG with smart training methods such as pruning and topping, you can get a MASSIVE yield from an average sized tent. It’s a great way to squeeze every single square inch out of your tent.
So, how do you set it up? Pretty easy, get yourself a trellis net, and then weave your cannabis through the net as it grows. I like to get the net set up at around week 5-6 during the veg state. It’s a great way to restrict the height, so do it even earlier if you are concerned about that.
Using two trellis nets is a great way to support your massive kolas when the plant kicks it into flower stage. For example, I personally use one net from week 5-8, and then once it grows through that one a little, I put the second one up, and let the flowers be supported by the top one.
Using this double-net technique gives you the ability to weave each plant through the multiple layers as needed, to give maximal support and increase the light absorption. You want to move the plants around so that eventually there are no holes without green in the net, and that every plant has an equal amount of space allocated to it.
During the veg stage, I like to cut away all the bottom branches, leaving only the canopy. This is because the bottom branches won’t be getting any light anyways, so you may as well just have all the energy going right into the top. This plus a topping will result in a great flower stage.
So, how much does this cost? About $20, tops. Even for a good double-tier trellis net, you’re looking at a very low cost. I used this Flexible Trellis Nets package from Stretchy Nets, on Amazon. The package comes with a lower and upper portion, 8 hooks, and is super durable. For $24, you can’t beat it. There are cheaper ones, but I recommend this one because of the durability of the elastic, the metal hooks, and the fact that there are 2 nets.
Sea of Green – SoG
This is a method I have never used, but I do understand the mechanics behind it. Essentially, it’s for very quick turnaround of crop, and can actually deliver pretty good yields at the same time. However, the quick turnaround comes at the cost of having to deal with hundreds of plants. This means a lot more soil, pots, lights, and space.
The great thing about this method though is the very quick turnaround. Often times in a sea of green, you are going to see 6 week turnaround, maybe 8. This is because you only let the plants veg for maybe the first 3-4 weeks, and then flower for the rest of the time. This will result in a really small plant, but the nugs on it can actually get quite big.
The best way to achieve great results is through cloning. If you want to learn about this process, take a look my cloning and transplanting guide, which will take you through the steps. Cloning a mother plant and will ensure a unified pool of genetics, cost a lot less than popping a bunch of seeds, are way more likely to survive, and already are “old”, so they will start flowering as soon as the light cycle changes. All these things make cloning the obvious way to go for SoG grows.
Each flower for your SoG grow will most likely need up to a foot square of size. Some people like to keep their plants even smaller, but I would do my calculations based on roughly a foot square. You can use this to calculate how many plants you need based on your grow area size.
By the end of the grow, your whole entire space should be one huge – albeit low – canopy. This is why it’s called the sea of green. It does look quite spectacular, especially if you have a large surface area, and the turn around is super quick. This is a good option for multi-layer setups in a closet. You could stack the pots vertically, and line the underside of each shelf with LEDs.
The low stature of the plants and small size makes the SoG technique really nice for small multi-level closet grows, but definitely not a tent grow. For that one, I would recommend the ScROG, with the trellis nets.
Perpetual Grow Tents / Rooms
One of the most exciting things about growing weed in a tent is just how easily you can create and segment an environment. For example, you can have one 4×4 tent with 12/12 light, and a smaller 3×3 tent with 18/6 light. You can also have different temperatures and humidity levels in each tent, or you can chain them together with a ventilation system. The options are literally endless, and perpetual growing is an amazing tent solution.
Much like SoG, perpetual growing is all about reducing the amount of time between flowering cycles. You can accomplish this by having one half of your grow in veg state, and another half of your grow in flower state. This is done by, as mentioned, segmenting each grow with a separate tent, or some other kind of wall if you are doing a room-wide grow.
As you can see from the picture above, on the left you have the veg tent, and on the right you have the flowering tent. The right tent has a yellow-ish hue, which signifies the use of an HID – perfect for finishing up a flowering session.
Also note how there is a tube drawn from one tent into the other. This sucks half of the warm air from the heating unit, thus effectively sharing a heating unit. The same can be done with an air conditioner. The air blower in the flowering tent is the only thing necessary to suck air from both tents and keep them under negative pressure – pretty neat.
The best way to do it is to already have seeds popped – or clones growing – before you cycle out the plants. This way, you can hit the ground running when it comes to starting your next veg stage grow. In the picture above, it was only freshly popped seeds in the soil, which is not completely efficient.
This perpetual grow setup is not only very efficient, but it also gives you such a vast control over every aspect of your grow. For instance, you could have a mother plant in the veg tent, and then take clones every 2 months, let it grow, and use those the replace the plants in the flower tent. You could do your own breeding with greater ease, and find out which genetics are best quicker.
Having a setup like this is a great way to learn a lot, make a lot of bud, and also have a ton of fun. If you have the money to get yourself the necessities, this grow option is something special.
Best Indoor Tent Grow Setup
So you want to grow in a tent, but you don’t know what kind of items you should get? Well, I’ve compiled a list of the basic necessities, and then added a few other items you might want to get if you see fit. Getting started is pretty easy with a tent, and it’s not all that expensive either.
When I got my first tent, I spent over $1000 on all the components – which was overkill – but I wager it still paid off within two grows, so around 7-8 months. After that, all the bud that I grew was essentially free, minus the nutrients and whatnot, so it’s a great investment.
Grow Tent / Box
The main enclosure of the project – the grow tent, or grow box if you wish. This item is really completely up to your needs. Closet grows should be 2×2 tops, some people like to do the boxes in there too. You can get them pretty cheap, it really doesn’t make too much of a difference.
If you are going to get one of the cheap ones, expect there to be little pinholes in the material. Nothing a little reflective tape can’t fix. The cheaper tents also have weaker structures, less holes, and less airtight fittings. However, it’s not crucial to have a $400 tent to have one of the best indoor grow setups.
A blower fan is absolutely necessary because it keeps air moving in your tent. In an enclosed space, heat builds up really quickly; this needs to be exhausted by the blower fan before it can build up. Also, without a blower fan, you are more prone to diseases and insects. The stagnant air is a breeding ground for nasty things. The humidity will usually be constantly very high as well, with no circulation, which isn’t good to maintain over time.
That’s not all though, without a blower fan the smell will become overwhelming during the flowering phase. As much as you might like the smell of weed, you’re going to hate it after enough time of constantly breathing it in. Also, your room mates might not like the smell of your dank, so exhausting it is a good idea.
Lights (Ballast if Applicable)
Well obviously, you’re going to need some lights. This will vary depending on what you are growing and in what sized enclosure. For example, you would never want an HID bulb in a grow box – that would overheat way too quickly. In fact, a lot of people like to use CFL lights or LEDs in a little enclosure like that. They are compact solutions which don’t produce a lot of heat.
If you’re running a grow tent, you can experiment with some of the more intense lighting options. For example, a 3×3 tent could have in it upwards of a 400 watt HID without being overkill. That would shine a nice light on any amount of plants you could fit in there.
Ballasts are necessary for HID lighting applications. They normalise the power which is being sent into the bulb. Little variations can really mess with the performance of an HID, and so you need a really clean signal. An external ballast is usually required. They can be expensive, don’t cheap out! If this thing short circuits, it can start a fire, so get a nice safe unit.
Also, the good ones have dimmers on them, which is fantastic for many situations. For example, sometimes it gets too hot in the summer, and so you have to turn down the juice. Other times, you might just want to save a bit on bills, so you turn the dimmer to 50%. It’s a functionality I am happy to have, so really consider getting a nice ballast.
Once again, it’s important to find the right lights to your situation, in order to create the best indoor grow setup.
Having at least one oscillating fan is extremely important. First of all, it plays into what I was saying before with the stagnant air. The environment must be circulated, much like outside air is. It helps the plants breathe well, and function healthily. It also prevents the accumulation of unwanted insects or nasty things.
The breeze prepares a plant to strengthen its stem as well. Without a decent little breeze, the cannabis would have no real reason to grow a strong main stem. So, you must encourage it to do this by giving the stem a little bit of resistance.
Depending on who you ask, they might not think this is an essential ingredient to making the best indoor grow setup. I on the other hand would disagree, I think this is essential even for a basic indoor grow setup. Nobody wants to smell the weed. Even in Canada where it’s legal, you can get nuisance tickets for exhausting that weed smell in the neighbourhood.
Be smart and respectful – get yourself a carbon filter. Although they are a sizeable upfront investment, it’s going to give you a lot of peace of mind. In addition to that, they last so long that it doesn’t even make sense not to make the investment. I’ve had mine for 4 years now, still works just great.
To keep everything operating without much supervision, get yourself a lighting timer. It’s always good to get the really expensive $20, as you might end up having a lot of current running through this thing. You want it to be efficient and safe, so don’t cheap out on this thing.
If it doesn’t go off one day, that could really stress out your plant, depending on how long the light cycle is interrupted for.
These are things you need, but don’t relate directly to setup necessarily. All of this is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll touch a bit on each one below.
Soil – There are many kinds of soil – sandy, hard, wet, infused with mychorrizae, porous, dense – whatever. For weed, it’s good to have a lot of drainage, so you want a nice fluffy soil, but not too fluffy so that all the nutrients drains right out. It has to be a nice mix, just try things out – it’s hard to really mess this one up.
Pots – Unless you’re growing in a super small space, get at least 3 gallon pots or so. I started with a 1 gallon, and it was way too small. Nowadays I find 5 to be a good size.
Nutrients – So many choices for nutrients, it’s insane. There are organic nutrient setups with all glacial minerals and hydrolized fish, or some straight steroid juice. Both can work well when applied right, both can fail horribly when done wrong. I personally use Advanced Nutrients to get the best results.
Seeds – Don’t underestimate the power of a seed. To really get the best indoor grow setup, you need to have the best genetics. Go to a reputable seed dealer to get your genetics, don’t skimp out. There are feminized seeds which will grow females 100% of the time. These are great because you don’t have to worry about half your plants being males, and having to rip them out later.
There are also auto-flower varieties of seeds. These are cool, I started with auto-flowers. They will automatically start flowering after around 5 weeks or so, instead of you having to change the lighting cycles to invoke flowering. This is convenient and a great place to start if you are feeling overwhelmed.
I started with feminized auto-flowering seeds in the beginning. They are great for getting used to the ideas of growing.
pH Meter – This is important to have around because your water needs to be in a specific pH range. If it’s out of this range, things will start going downhill pretty quick. Many of the reactions your weed plant does inside its cells requires a certain pH balance, and upsetting this causes major diseases.
Get yourself a pH meter and make sure you’re in the right range from time to time. Also, check the runoff to see where that’s at too. Although the runoff can sometimes be out of the range, make sure it’s not too big a discrepancy.
You should aim anywhere from 6.2 – 6.8 pH, some say upwards of 7.
Cooling Hood – This is a great tool if you have heat problems but don’t want to use an AC. This option is a lot more power efficient, although definitely a lot more work to set up and maintain. It’s a sealed hood which you enclose the bulb in, and attach ducting to. Air gets sucked out of the hood, cooling the bulb as it passes by.
Around 50% of all the heat energy generated by the bulb disappears before it gets the chance to be inserted into the grow room. This is great for insane 1000 W setups which tend to get toasty.
Duct Booster – Sometimes, you need a little bit or extra air flow or circulation. For example, I have a duct booster bringing air in 24/7 into my grow room, which the blower fan exhausts it. The blower fan is essential for fighting condensation build up in the room. It keeps fresh air coming in from outside, and could be a part of making your best indoor growing setup, if you need it that is.
Humidifier / Dehumidifier – Speaks for itself, sometimes you want to control the humidity in the tent. In certain times of the year, I will get 70% humidity in the tent, so it’s important to counteract that from time to time. On the other hand, adding humidity can also be very beneficial if needed.