Planning Your First Indoor Cannabis Grow – Part 2
Best Bud Seeds shares our best knowledge of how to plan your first indoor grow in this blog series. In this article, we explain how to find and select the right kind of grow equipment to ensure that your first grow goes smoothly from start to finish. Selecting grow equipment can be a highly detailed process that is unique to each cultivator and depends on the budget you have to work with, but the steps and resources we have provided in this blog are tried and true by our growing experts at Best Bud Seeds and is a great foundation for beginning cannabis growers.
Selecting & Purchasing Cannabis Grow Equipment Steps
Below are the steps and detailed checklists on what kind of equipment to look for when planning your first indoor grow. It’s best to give yourself a couple weeks to a couple months to plan out what items you need, your budget, and where your equipment is coming from.
Create Equipment Checklist Based on Grow Room/Space Type
- Consider what your type of grow room/space/environment is before selecting equipment. This can mean that you may need less equipment, or smaller equipment to fit in your grow space.
- First consider the larger and more expensive aspects, such as ventilation and temperature control – Determining Air Circulation and Ventilation Needs
- HVAC Equipment – Do you need to make adjustments?
- Additional Equipment – Do you need fans, humidifiers, etc?
- Ventilation – Consider the displacement of air, and also consider that the ventilation system you choose to use will create smell.
- How many lights do you need for your grow room? What size/wattage/lumens?
- Power/electrical for grow lights and other grow equipment. It is best to ensure that you have power strips when running multiple lights, fans, and ventilation systems so it does not compromise the power of your entire space and/or home.
Equipment Checklist for Indoor Grow Rooms
It is important to note that each of these supplies are dependent on the grow space you have claimed, much of these supplies won’t be needed if you choose to use a grow tent. However, it is also important to consider that each item that holds your plants or comes in direct contact with your plants will need to be sanitized before use to ensure no contamination.
- Basic supplies list – twine, scissors, knives, netting, watering pots, etc
- Ventilation and air circulation
- Temperature and humidity control
- Tables/equipment to hold plants
- Grow systems – hydro vs soil vs aeroponics – methods for watering, administering nutrients
- Monitoring and automation – timers, cameras, sensors, thermometers, etc
- Germination trays
- Grow lights
- Grow light hanging equipment, tracks for moving lights, equipment for adjusting light height
- Tools/equipment for identifying and troubleshooting issues – PH meters, microscope/magnifying glasses, etc
- Drying equipment
- Trimming equipment
- Packaging equipment
- Storage equipment and supplies
Selecting The Right Grow Light(s) for Each Stage
- Mother Plants
- Mother plants are basically kept in a perpetual state of vegetative growth. Therefore, a good full-spectrum lighting system with a fair amount of blue spectrum light works best for mother plants. Most growers opt for a metal halide or fluorescent lighting system as both technologies contain a good amount of blue spectrum light. The quality of light is also an important aspect to remember. It is more important to provide a full-spectrum light than a very intense light. The goal is to maintain health, not make the mother plants vegetate vigorously. The duration of light for mother plants should be 18-24 hours of light. I personally recommend 18 hours of light with six hours of darkness. I believe all biological creatures benefit from rest and plants are no different. However, if it is more difficult for growers to maintain the ideal temperature and humidity ranges when the lights turn off, they may be better off running a 24-hour light cycle. Recommended light: AgroBrite T5 216W 4′ 4-Tube Fixture with Lamps
- This is the stage where your plants are growing. This stage is very vital for the success and health of your cannabis plant. At this stage, the stems and leaves of the marijuana plants start growing larger and taller. However, also at this stage, the cannabis plant doesn’t produce any buds and you will have to control the shape and size of your plant. That is where the cannabis light cycle comes in: the light for your plants can be manipulated at this stage to yield better growth. The more lighting your cannabis plant receives, the better their growth and future yield. When marijuana plants are in the vegetative stage, keep them under a minimum of 18 hours of growing light (also known as 18/6). But if you are one of those growers that would like their plant to grow as big as possible, then you may keep them under 24 hour (24/0) indoor light.
Cannabis plants don’t start developing flowers until they start receiving 12 hours of continuous darkness. Otherwise, they will continue to remain in the vegetative stage. As long as your cannabis plants are getting about 13 hours of light (or more) every day, you can keep your plants in this stage forever.
Recommended light: KIND LED Grow Lights X40/X80 Bar Light
- For your plants to move from their vegetative stage to the flowering stage, they will need to be exposed to 12 or more hours of darkness each day to start flowering. Most growers that grow their plants indoors begin from the point of 12 hours of darkness and immediately the plants have reached the desired size and shape during their vegetative stage. Usually, most growers prefer an indoor vegetative period of 4-8 weeks under a 24/0 or 18/6 light period. To grow cannabis successfully indoor, you need to mimic the natural growth pattern. When you grow your cannabis outdoor, they start to develop buds (flowers) as the days gets shorter, and they receive a minimum of 12 hours of complete darkness. To do this, just switch your light usage from 18 to 24 hours of good sunlight daily down to 12 hours of light and also of 12 hours of darkness for the cannabis life cycle. Recommended light: Gaze 10″ x 10″
Types of Cannabis Grow Lights
- Most quality LEDs emit a light that works for both veg and flowering, while some come with a switch to change the light spectrum according to the appropriate phase. Modern LED grow lights, such as those with COB (“chip on board”) technology or “Quantum boards”, can now provide solid light intensity and penetration, even for the most demanding grows. Today, LEDs can rival, or even surpass, other types of grow lighting, including HID lights. That being said, you need to get the right ones. These lights tend to be some of the most expensive, but they can also save you some serious money in the long-run.
- They are especially suited to small grows, and will be the most affordable starter lights you’ll find. Conveniently, these bulbs have standard sockets so you can use them with any standard light fixture. They do not require any special equipment. You can find “daylight” CFL bulbs at 6500K or “warm white”, with a more reddish light spectrum, at 2700K. Bulbs with a daylight spectrum are more suitable for the vegetative growth phase, while warmer CFLs are better for the flowering phase.
- High pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs are a type of HID. HPS bulbs are typically used during the flowering stages of growth as their light helps with bud development. HPS bulbs are the most efficient of the HIDs. HPS bulbs have been around as a single-ended screw-in type bulbs for several decades. A more recent addition to the grow light market is the double-ended HPS. This newer type does require a new ballast and is more expensive than the older types of HPS bulbs. They are, however, much more efficient. They last much longer, burn cooler, and have been shown to increase yields as compared to the single-ended HPS bulbs.
- There are two main types of HID lights: MH (metal halide), and HPS (high pressure sodium) lights. The difference between the two is that MH lights produce a “cooler”, blueish light, whereas HPS lights are usually red. This makes MH lights more suitable for the vegetative phase, with HPS lights being better for flowering. Therefore, most advanced growers use a combination of MH and HPS bulbs for the duration of the process. If, for some reason, you need to choose one type of HID for the entire grow, we would recommend HPS lights. 600W HPS lights are the most popular type. In most cases, you can usually get complete sets that include the bulbs, a ballast, and a reflector.
- The name also hints at the difference between LEC lights and conventional HID lights. LEC lights use a ceramic arc tube, rather than the quartz version found in regular MH lights. The result is a more natural colour, more lumens per watt, and a longer lifespan. LECs include built-in ballasts, so that aspect of setup is very simple. While modern LED lighting is now becoming the de-facto standard in most grow rooms, LEC lights do have certain benefits. This makes them an interesting alternative to other types.
Post Grow Equipment
This equipment is meant for post-flowering, or the harvest stage of your grow. You can hold off on buying this equipment until your flowering stage begins, but Best Bud Seeds recommends you start researching and planning this type of equipment during the whole process.We also recommend reading this awesome resource that is packed with post-grow knowledge: https://homesteadandchill.com/how-to-harvest-cure-store-cannabis/
- How will you dry and cure your cannabis?
- Do you have the right trimming supplies and dedicated area to do so?
- Are you planning on keeping your newly cured and trimmed buds in a jar or vacuum sealed bags?
- Do you have an area that is dry and dark for maximum control against mold and other contaminants?
Cannabis Grow Equipment Resources:
Below are some great resources on how to select grow equipment. Check them out for extended ideas on how to set up your grow room and select the right equipment for you.
- Marijuana & Hemp Grow Room Supply List & Guide
- Buyer’s guides for cannabis seeds and growing equipment
- How to build the best indoor cannabis garden on a budget
- How to choose the best indoor marijuana grow light
- How to choose indoor cannabis grow lights
- The Indoor Grower’s Checklist: 6 Factors to Look for When Buying Your Grow Equipment
Next Step: Nutrients & Supplies
Selecting nutrients and other grow supplies to feed plants and to address common issues (pests, leaf burn, etc)