So you woke up one day and decided to choose the green thumb life. Well, that’s pretty much every beginner. You have spent countless hours on YouTube searching for everything you need to begin your gardening journey. No luck? Too many opinions? Not enough explanation?
Trust me, I’ve been there.
When I first began gardening, I made huge mistakes. First, ask yourself what you’ll be growing. Then, how much space will this plant require in order to properly bloom? The plants and the required space will play a huge role in making your plants happy, thus deciding whether you’ll be a happy gardener or not. After all, happy plants make for a happy gardener.
Let’s keep this simple. Here are 5 easy tips to help you go through your journey of grow tent planting.
How to properly select a grow tent?
What plants are you growing? Are you growing 1 plant or 5? Where will you plant it (them)? These questions will determine which size grow tent you will need.
Location. Where are you growing? To get the perfect size for your area, I would do some measuring before purchasing your grow tent. I highly recommend you do the same.
Quantity of Plant(s). As an indoor gardener, we have to mimic outdoor conditions. The inside of your tent can get crowded quickly. I recommend starting with a 2' x 2' x 3' grow tent if you're dealing with a relatively small area. This size doesn’t require much space and will fit in a corner. You can properly grow one large plant or two medium-sized plants.
Interior and exterior fabric. A suitable grow tent shouldn’t have light leakage. For example, my Quictent grow tent is SGS chemical testing approved and made with 600D Oxford Fabric. This means that no harmful toxins or gases will be released within the tent, causing damage to the plant. The Mylar reflective material inside is definitely high-quality, giving my plants even light penetration all around. The hanging bars inside the tent are made of steel and are designed to hold up to 60 pounds. This can be helpful when hanging a grow light or inline duct fan.
How to prevent and fix light leakage?
Always test your grow tent for light leakage. There should be no light penetrating through the tent. Some plants require a dark period between 8-12 hours. If the plant is exposed to a small amount of light, damage can occur and disrupt the growth. Most plants will fall asleep around 2 hours after the lights are turned off. It is best not to disturb the plant in its dark period. Just think about it in this way, would you like it if someone randomly turned the lights on while you were sleeping? Exactly not.
How to fix leakage if it happens? The light leakage is not the end of the world. There’s a quick and easy fix. Go to your nearest hardware store and grab some silver HVAC tape. Add the tape to all of the affected areas and retry the light leakage test.
What supplies will you need?
You may not be a master gardener yet, but you can master beginner gardening with these 7 things. This is all you’ll need for your first 30 days of growing and I’ll tell you why.
- Fabric Pots
- Thermometer /Humidity Meter
- Organic Soil
- Ph Up/ Ph Down
- Led Grow Light
- Grow Tent
In my experience, water, lighting, and organic soil are the 3 most crucial factors in determining how your seedling develops for the next 30 days. The ph up/ph down helps your water attain the ph level needed to help the plants thrive.
After 30 days, your plants will require nutrients. I’ve had huge success with Fox Farms liquid Nutrient Soil Formula. This comes in a pack of 3 and they also provide you with a feeding guide. We tend to overfeed in the beginning, and their guide will definitely prevent you from doing so. Fox Farm also has organic soil for purchase which I use currently.
Now it’s time to choose your light. In the beginning, I had great experiences with my WILLS brand 600w LED grow light. This light was strong enough to bring 2 medicinal cannabis plants to full harvest. This brand is also inexpensive for a first-time grower. This saves you extra money for, you guessed it, seeds.
We can’t possibly grow anything without seeds, right? Let’s make this easy. Many people will tell you to grab starter pots and eventually transplant them to bigger pots, but not I. If you are truly a beginner, then that makes absolutely no sense to you. Yes, I felt the same way. Grab some 3 or 5 gallon fabric pots and plant that seedling in its forever pot. A forever pot means that the seedling will remain in the same pot until harvest.
How to identify and prevent pests in your grow tent ?
You may believe that by growing indoors, pests won't be a problem. Keeping your grow space clean can help prevent pests from terrorizing the grow area. One particular insect you’ll have to look out for is spider mites. If you have multiple leaves with any white or yellow tiny dots, you might have an infestation. Spider mites are extremely hard to see. They are very small spiders that multiply very quickly and could affect your indoor garden traumatically. A female spider mite can lay up to 14,000 eggs in her lifetime.
Where did they come from?
- Messy cleaning habits
- Soil Pets Outdoor
How to get rid of them?
There are two types of Pesticides, systemic and contact. A contact pesticide will be sprayed in direct contact with the pests. Be sure to spray all areas of the affected plant directly onto the pests and eggs. You would use this type of pesticide if you planned to consume the plant. A systemic pesticide is used for plants you don’t intend to consume. Foxfarm has a great selection for both.
Ladybugs can be used to fight fire with fire. These insects will eat the spider mites off of your plants. They won’t stop until every mite is gone. You can purchase up to 1500 ladybugs from Greenthumb.com for around $20. Some have viewed this option as the cheaper option with no chemical use. Be mindful of pesticides when utilizing ladybugs. The use of pesticides may kill ladybugs.
How to transplant a plant?
Is your plant always thirsty? Can you see the roots growing out of your starter pot? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it’s time to transplant your pot into a bigger home.
Before this process can be done, make sure your plant is moist, not damp. Here’s what you need in order to successfully complete a transplant.
- Fresh organic potting soil
- New pot
- The plant
Then follow steps as instructed:
- Turn the plant sideways with the stem between your fingers. The plant should slide out of the pot with ease. If not, a light tap should help.
- Loosen the roots and remove some of the old soil.
- Add fresh soil to your new pot and be sure to pack it in so that no air pockets form.
- Use the original pot to create a hole in the center of your new pot for your plant to sit in.
- Put your plant directly into the hole and pack down the soil all around it.
- Water the plant until you see run off at the bottom.
As a beginner, don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to fail. We’ve all been there. Questions make us get skilled and failing is still a win in the gardening community because they teach us what should, and what should not to do next time. Of course, observing your plants is important at all times. They will tell you when they are thirsty, when they feel too hot or cold. What I’m trying to say is, "YOU GOT THIS." Welcome to the Gardening Community and happy growing!