© bOnK: March 22, 1999

5. Growing Haze
Preparing your indoor garden.

We've discussed the importance of air and light and how to get air into your room without light seeping through the holes.
Maybe it's about time to make a decision on how we are going to grow our weed. In my introduction I already stated my feelings about so called 'bio-logical' indoor weed. Also I mentioned how I think of automating your garden. I strongly advise against automating feeding until you know exactly what you're doing, i.e. water your plants by hand up to the time you know their needs.
After having said this (typed actually ;-), let's go on with the show.


You've picked out your room and of course you gave it a thorough clean up. So now let's start building.
Depending on which room you did choose, you first have to block the windows. Remember my advice about first hanging up a nice curtain? Play it safe and tape or tackle it to the window, so it won't fall down after you have nailed everything shut.

If your walls are paper-thin, it's a good idea to first add some insulation.
This will prevent problems with temperatures and noise, later on. Foam materials, especially Styrofoam could cause problems here when water creeps behind it, a better choice would be rock wool. You can finish of this insulation with gypsum board (or wallboard), which in my (humble?) opinion is a better option than plastic-foil.
Plastic will seal a wall airtight, especially causing problems with air moisture. Wallboard on the other hand will take up the excess of water if humidity is high, and give it back to the air if humidity drops, thus flattening things out.
If you feel like painting your new walls white - always a good idea - use chalk or another paint that won't seal off the surface.

Try to make your new walls as straight as possible and pay special attention to the framework. Later you will hang all kind of things on the wall, or use them as a fix-point for your lamps, so you better be prepared.
Also you better don't forget to keep enough holes in your walls to let air enter freely, it would be a shame if you had to buildlabyrinths later on.

Air exhaust

Place your fan as close as possible to the exhaust funnel to prevent extra resistance.
If you are going to use a filter device against smells, most of the times you have to build your (squirrel-cache) fan in a box. With a tube-fan this building in isn't necessary, but you would need a huge tube-fan to equal a squirrel-cache. This building in is necessary to provide the under-pressure to suck the air through the filter. For resistance sake, the inner dimensions of this box should be twice as big as the outer dimensions of your fan.

Boxed fan plus filter Line the inside of the box with Styrofoam or the likes to reduce noise. This construction is quite heavy in weight, so you need to mount it properly.

Remember that filters and fan should be adjusted to each other. If the fan is oversized compared to the filter, the whole system just won't work. Activated carbon filters last for about a year, after which the carbon should be replaced.

NOTE: IMHO if you use a chimney or the likes you don't need a filter because the smells will go into the higher currents.
Use your own judgement here. If you don't need a filter, you also don't need a box. This could safe you some money but should someone smell your "hobby", it would probably cost you a lot more than a filter.


I like to grow weed on low - about one foot high - tables.
It keeps the roots out of the cold draft and I feel it's better for my back (I am getting a bit older you know?). Also, with a little help from gravity, it helps in collecting run-off water.
The best thing to do is to build tables with a waterproof layer, tilted just enough so the excess water will run off. Plastic roofing plates with curves of about ½ in. work very nice in this context.
Because water will creep back underneath, heat up the ends and bent the lower end down and the upper end up. Also you should overlap them enough to make sure no water will creep through.

Do not tilt your tables too much, especially if you use rock wool as a growing medium. Too much slope will cause dry spots at the higher end of the rock wool slabs.

Hang 'em high

After all this preparation of the room we're going to hang 'em.
The lamps that is.
As with fans, I like to spend my money on quality here.
Remote ballast lamps are quit popular these days, and they will do their thing. If heat is much of a problem for your garden, you could consider these lamps.
A much better alternative is to improve your airflow for better cooling and to use professional lamps instead. Even if they would cost a bit (well, a lot) more than - do it yourself - lamps, the extra amount of light, plus the longer life of the lamp, would pay itself back in no time at all. The ultimate reflector for blooming is a deep beam.
Besides the price and where to get them, the problem with professional lamps is their weight. I hope you took my advice on building a good frame to support your walls.
Lamps should be hung square-angled to the table with the reflector facing you (If you only have one lamp hang it anyway it pleases you).
Always hang them on two ropes or chains to prevent them from turning circles and never hang them from, or stretch the power-cable.
I find rope and tackles easy to use, it makes adjusting height a flinch but since you only have to rise the lamps the first two or three weeks you could also use chain.
Whatever you use, make sure everything is tightly connected. If one of your lamps would fall down because a bolt or chain breaks you are in a lot of problems.

Such and So.'s

Well, of course we're not through yet, sometimes I wonder: 'will I ever', but that's another story. Four white walls, a fan, a filter, a table and some lamps; well it's a start, but we need more.

To place the oscillating table-fans you can now mount some platforms to the walls (I told you that you would hang all kind of thing to the wall).
Two is an absolute minimum, you need a strong one to move air above the canopy of leaves so place it high. Another is placed just above the table, it doesn't have to be as strong as the other as long as it prevents the air underneath from standing still.

Something worthwhile having is a thermometer which shows minimum and maximum temperatures.
A very simple (U-shaped) one like you can buy at garden centers will already do the job. It's only needed to give you an indication of what's a happening while you were out.
Also a hygrometer could come in handy. Don't spent good money on cheap stuff here, if you think you need to measure humidity, buy a hair hygrometer.

Because the nutrient solutions are easier to handle in larger quantities, it's comfortable to have some sort of vessel.
Anything that holds fluids will do, as long as it is made out of (high-grade) plastic and preferably with a lid.
Besides that you need a small pump to move the solution around in the container, the ones in use for turtles (about 400 Liter / 100 Gallon p/h) are perfect for our goal.
To keep the nutrient at a nice temperature, buy a heater as used for tropical fish. It's even better to buy two; a heavy one will heat up the (cold) freshly made nutrient till about 18° C.. A lighter one, set to 22° C., will keep nutrient at a constant temperature.
Large amounts of freshly prepared nutrient could take up to a couple of days to heat up without a heating device.
CAUTION. Never ever use metals in, or with your nutrient solution.

Of course you could add warm water should the nutrient-solution be too cold.
If you do, only use freshly heated water like from a geyser. Do not use hot water from a boiler in great amounts. Because water in boilers stands still for longer periods of time, it is possible that small copper particles dissolve in this (hot) water. Copper in greater amounts will poison your plants, so play it safe here.
BTW, the same goes for human beings. Don't use boiler-water to brew your tea or coffee either.

If you think I've covered about everything you need right now, you're both right and wrong.
You've got the essentials, but to make life easy you need a lot more. Of course I could give you the whole enchilada right here, right now, but this page has almost come to an end. Besides that I want to give you the opportunity to think some things out for yourself. If I would tell you everything, you wouldn't even believe yourself when you are talking to your friends about 'your garden' ;-!~


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