Setting Up a Grow Tent – A Beginner’s Guide
You need to keep in mind, that grow tent itself is the most important part of your set. Choosing the correct grow tent is the single most important decision you will make. Fact!
However, to get the most out your grow tent you need to pair it with several other pieces of hydroponic equipment to get the most out of your grow room. A constant and suitable growing environment is at the core of any successful harvest.
Why Choose a Grow Tent in the First Place?
A grow tent allows you to control and maintain the perfect growing environment. All year around. Regardless of where you live or what happens outside with the weather, you are in control. The better the grow tent, the better your control of the environment! This means you need to choose a grow tent that offers you complete control of the environment with outside inference. This will allow you to not only get better harvests, but also stop pests and diseases affecting your plants.
What Grow Tent Feature Should I Look Out For?
The UK grow tent market can be a very confusing place for beginners! Relying on the internet and local grow hydroponics stores can make it even more confusing. The number of grow tent suppliers seems to double every year. How are you supposed to know which is right for you?
Here are the features that you should be looking out for when buying your first grow tent:
An integral part of a grow tent’s durability is the quality of fabric. You will hear a lot of people say the denser to material the better. This isn’t true! You can buy the thickest material on the market, however, if the weave of the material isn’t tight enough then the material will leak light like a sieve.
If you think of grow tent material like a woollen jumper. The thicker the weave the bigger the holes are in the material. This is what happens on a much smaller scale with tent material. The thicker the weave the more the light and smells escape from your tent. Find out more.
Highly Reflective Fabric Inlay
One of the many reasons for choosing a grow tent is the reflective walls, floor and roof. These ensure that the any light omitted inside the tent is amplified and sent to every part of the plant. The reflective material in tents tends to be Mylar. However, not all reflective material / Mylar is the same. Just like the hall of mirrors you find at fayres, the way you shape the mirror/mylar affects how the light is reflected around the tent. If the mylar isn’t shaped correctly, then you can create what are called “hotspots”. These concentrate light in one small patch on your plant which can damage the plant and starve the rest of the plant of light.
Studies have found that the best mylar on the market is a mylar called “diamond cut”. A domed diamond has been proven to spread the light the most evenly through out the tent. Learn more and watch a video about how this helps and encourages plant growth.
You should look for tents that offer reflective mylar with as close to 100% reflectivity as possible. Some manufacturers also offer mylar with different patterns. Domed diamond patterned mylar seems to have the best reflective quality and some of the top grow tents offer it standard.
Fabric Light Tightness
The best tents are completely light-tight, meaning that when you have your system up and running, absolutely no light should escape. The features to look for here are overlapping velcro flaps to seal off corners and edges, along with zip-draws for any ventilation or cord ports. Another top of the list of features you should look out for is a Light Saver function fitted to passive vent. This softens all the light omitted from the passive vents. Also make sure all ports have Stitchblok to increase light proofing.
You need to look out for military 10” gauge zips. The zippers on your tent are usually the first point of failure. Because they’re used every single day, wear and tear can build up fast on poorly constructed zippers. Another great feature is double zips. These mean that you have a double head on your zip that allows you to zip yourself into your tent from the inside.
Standard and the cheaper grow rooms usually are supplied with plastic corners. These are vulnerable to breakages due to the weight of the tent & equipment and UV light. While these are OK for smaller grow tents, top of the line tents will have metal corner pieces. The absolute best tents will use corners that have an interlocking snap piece to secure the poles in place, ensuring they don’t slip out while moving the tent. This offers strength, security for your equipment and increased rigidity.
Frame and Pole Strength
The best grow tents are almost always constructed by assembling interlocking poles. The strongest poles and frames on the market, that offer you the best strength for money, are 25mm x 0.8mm. Sometime manufactures cut corners when it comes to smaller tents and you end up with a weak tent that simply can’t hold your equipment and is liable to collapse. Keep an eye on the advertised size of the pole when you buy a grow tent. They all should be 25mm x 0.8mm.
Number of Ventilation, Exhaust, and Cord Ports
Passive ports are typically flaps secured by Velcro that can be lifted to help vent out hot air. On the best tents these have the LightSavers attached to outside. These soften the light omitted from the passive vents. Be sure that there is at least one of these on your grow room.
Exhaust ports are for more heavy-duty ventilation, including ventilating your lights. There is typically at least one intake and one outtake port, although larger tents will have more than one of these.
Finally, plug ports. It sounds like a small detail but having well-placed cord ports is the difference between running extension cords and simply plugging in your growing gear.
Extra Features To Look For
Spill trays are an essential extra failsafe in case you spill water, nutrient solution, or your system fails in some way. It’s placed on the bottom of your grow tent, fastened to the poles, and can hold quite a bit of liquid. Make sure you look for a tent that has a spill tray that is fully waterproof and fixes to the frame for a reliable solution.
These are fantastic if you want to check on the progress of your garden without disturbing your growing environment. They’re usually secured tightly with velcro to prevent light leakage when not in use. If you’re using additives like CO2 in your garden, viewing windows are a crucial way to prevent losing all of that precious CO2 build up.
For an even better feature look out for the green viewing windows. These filter out white light so even when you are checking on your crop by looking through the window, you don’t disturb their sleep cycle. As plants don’t see green light and don’t wake up! This allows plants to retain their energy stores and maximises plants’ growth.
Anti-slip tip are silicone sleeves that, as the name suggest, stop you hanging bars sliding around.
These clever little tips can be found on each hanging bar and cover the metal that sits on the frame. These mean that the bars do not slip or slide. Instead they sit still and fixed in the position that you set them, making adding equipment onto these bars a piece of cake! They also enhance weight load stability and eradicate bar sliding.
Full Access Allowing Your To Place Your Grow Tent in Any Position in your Growing Space / Room
Thinking about the position you place your grow tent in your room is very important. Ensuring that power supplies are in the right place for easy access and that the doors are able to open. Green-Qube have enhanced their grow tent designs so that whatever shape your space is, you can get full access. Make sure you look out for: 2 doors on the front and 2 doors on the back. The best also have side doors, you also get 2 doors on the right-hand side and 1 on the left. 360 access design like this offers you unparalleled access to every side of your grow tent.
Quick & easy reading of your equipment with a handy see-through pocket with direct access into your grow tent
Along with the green window you’ll also need aa Hydrometer Guard. This a clear pocket positioned at the top front of the grow tent which you can slip your hydrometer guard in.
There is then a hole that goes direct into the tent that you can then insert the hydrometer’s probe allowing you to monitor your grow without accessing your tent. The two holes (the one into the tent and the one into the pocket) are misaligned so there is no direct line of light into the tent. This ensures complete light proofing.
The Uplift Bar provides a simple and easy solution for those using a gravity-fed watering system so they work at their very optimum.
The clever design allows inflow pipes to retain a true horizontal position so that water can enter the grow tent easily eliminating any wash back and creates an easy flow of water.
There is also a neat inlet sock too that gives you 100% light proofing. Only the top of the line grow tent have Uplift Bars.