September 18, 2019
I’ve always been the kind of guy who enjoys spending time in his garage. It’s always been the place where I go to unwind, relax and sort of recharge the batteries. I was never the type to deck it out in the stereotypical neon beer, man cave fashion. Instead my garage is filled with the sound of rain and illuminated with the rave-like pink glow of my indoor hydroponic garden cleanly encased in a grow tent. Since 2012 about a quarter of my two-car garage has been dedicated to growing a wide array of fruits, vegetables, herbs and even microgreens, all neatly and discreetly contained within a 32 SqFt grow tent.
My first indoor garage garden growing experience started off with a DIY tower made from a vinyl fence post cover, a 5 gallon bucket, some PVC pipe, a small pond pump and a few other odds and ends. It was capable of growing 16 different plants at once; I was completely hooked!
What Is A Grow Tent?
A grow tent is a portable and reusable grow room made of a durable canvas. The interior of the tent will be made of a highly reflective coating to maximize the effectiveness of your grow lights. A grow tent provides an easy and discreet way of creating an indoor garden to grow food or other plants indoors.
Are Grow Tents Safe?
Yes, grow tents provide a clean and discreet way to build an indoor garden right at home. The majority of grow tents have multiple zipper sealed entries into the tent. Anytime you’re growing with hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, etc. make sure to always have electrical cords neatly managed away from potential spills.
How To Build A Garden In A Grow Tent
When setting out to build your first garage garden or basement garden, there are a multitude of things to consider when getting it set up. Below I’ve put together a full list of things to consider when getting started:
Depending on where you’ll be setting things up, you’ll want to keep in mind a few things:
- Temperature: Depending on where you live, will determine what (if any) equipment you’ll need to purchase to help balance out the outside temperature. While living in Austin, TX, I had to combat the blistering heat of the summer with a small portable AC. Now that I live in Colorado, I still have the portable AC connected but it rarely kicks on. During the winter, the tent and garage keep it warm enough to keep all the plants happy and growing. All year I have an oscillating fan which helps prevent mold, pests and assists with pollination.
- Water Access: If you don’t have water access in your garage or basement, it’s likely you’ll go the route I went which was filling up 5 gallon jugs and carrying them in there. So do yourself a favor and make the distance as short as possible.
- Drainage: With any hydroponics or aeroponics system, from time to time you’re going to have to drain and clean out your reservoir. Make sure you keep that in mind when getting everything set up.
- Water Safe: Although, you may go your entire growing career without a leak or major spill, it’s always important to be prepared for that worst case scenario. Depending on where you set up your grow tent, make sure there are no electrical cords or anything that could be easily damaged or cause a hazard, in or around the grow tent in the case of a spill or leak.
- Prying Eyes: Even with growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and microgreens you always have to consider the nosy neighbors who may assume you’re growing something other than fruits and veggies. Now depending on what state or country you’re in may determine how big of an issue this really is. By using a grow tent this eliminates this worry almost completely, by keeping everything out of plain site.
Grow Tent: There are a multitude of different grow tents, with the most common variables being size, access ports (entry, ducting, viewing, etc.) and obviously price. The grow tent I have is 96”x48”x78” or about 32 SqFt. They don’t sell the exact one I have any longer on Amazon, but here is the closest thing (actually a little better than mine) to what I have:
Grow System: Depending on the size of the grow tent you end up going with will ultimately depend on the grow system you choose. Something else to consider is what you intend on growing. Most systems will have recommendations on the crops that work best with their systems, so keep that in mind. At one time, I’ve had a ZipGrow Farm Wall along with a Tower Garden. Another time, I had a large metal rack where I grew microgreens coupled again with the FarmWall. The ZipGrow system and TowerGarden are both fantastic systems that I would recommend, but come with a decent upfront investment. If you’re wanting to start small here are a few systems that are great for new growers and won’t break the bank:
Here’s an alternative system great for new hydroponic growers:
- Growlights: With the growing popularity of LEDs I hardly find any point in discussing things like High Pressure Sodium (HPS), the standard of many indoor growers for decades. Due to the high energy usage and heat output from HPS growlights, LEDs have quickly replaced them as the new standard. Most modern LED growlights will emit a hot pink to purple hue, built of a specific array of red and blue frequency LEDs. Depending on the growing system you go with will depend on the size and number of lights you’ll need. Here’s one of the top rated 1000w LED growlights available on Amazon:
With hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic grow equipment becoming so readily available, it’s made it so easy to build a low maintenance indoor garden using a grow tent, that will produce pounds of fresh delicious produce for you and your family 365 days out of the year.
The Nutrient Film Technique is one of many popular hydroponic growing techniques. In fact this method is deployed across both hobbyist gardens and large commercial grow operations.
What is Deep Water Culture or DWC hydroponics? Check out the benefits and how easy it is to get started growing using the DWC method.
What is hydroponics? Since the recreational legalization of cannabis in Colorado in 2006, the word ‘hydroponics’ has been knocking on the doorstep