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Guidance on a Custom Grow Box

JLebowski

New Member
Hi, I'm new to the forum and growing in general but Ive been researching in my spare time and think I'm almost ready to get down to business. That being said I would appreciate any feedback regarding my box design that the experts and general enthusiasts on this forum have to offer before I go out and buy materials with my hard earned cash :;): .

So here's my design so far, and hopefully its legible



The large 36"X36"X72" area will be the flowering chamber
The Lower 18.5"X36"X46.5" area will be the clone\veg\drying chamber
The Upper 18.5"X36"X24" area will be the equipment area
The Back 56"X5.5" Area (Shown only in top Down Drawing) will be the light trap

The cabinet is designed to fit my available area for the project, and could be made taller but there is little room for length or depth adjustments. The cabinet is also designed for stealth, a carbon scrubber will be installed on the exhaust, all seams will be completely sealed and the fan will be hung in the equipment area to avoid vibrations. The cabinet will be supported by a 2"X2" frame and finished with 1/2 inch plywood/project board, the interior of the grow chambers will be painted white for light reflection.

The light trap area on the back will be open at the bottom with some type of filter or screen to keep out the pests and painted matte black on the inside. This should effectively eliminate light leak from the outside area, while light leak between chambers will be reduced with vent covers (the type used on outdoor dryer vents painted black) to keep the light cycles isolated.

The fan I'm looking at is a 6 Inch inline fan in the 300 to 400 cfm range, there are multiple products that seem appealing so any advice would be greatly appreciated. With 6inch ducting this should produce a 28.26 sq. in. output. Which brings us to the passive intakes...

The passive intake venting is either going to be 4" or 6" round vents or long thin rectangular vents. I'm having a hard time deciding which so both are currently on the print but only one or the other will be on the final product (I'm leaning toward the rectangular vents so that's what i will describe here), also the airflow is currently combined through the 2 chambers. A 16"X2" passive intake from the light trap into the veg area, and an equal sized vent from the veg to flower chamber, as well as a 32"X1" vent from the light trap along the back of the flower chamber. By my calculations it should produce an area of sq. in. of passive intake for the 28.26 sq. in. output provided by the fan.

With the combined internal area of the flower and veg cabinets being roughly 73.5 sq. Ft. I'm thinking a a 300cfm fan will do the trick even with the carbon scrubber and filtered intakes.

However I have also read that the venting should be kept separate for the 2 areas due to veg needing a higher humidity than flower in which case i would need to get a T-Fitting for the vent. I was hoping to not have to do this but if it will boost my results i will. Again any input would be greatly appreciated :;):

As for lighting I will be going the LED route for flower to save on power and keep the cabinet as stealth as possible. I believe the light I'm looking at is a site sponsor but I'm not clear on the rules for posting about lights so I'll just give specs for now. It is rated at 700W though the actual draw is only 300-380W, 5W chips and a footprint of 3'4" square from 3' above. The light has been showcased on this forum before with solid results. The veg chamber will have either cfls or two 2' t5 fluorescent, I'm not sure which to go with or if its gonna make much of a difference.

The medium will probably be soil to start, maybe go to hydro at some point if the vertical space will allow it. I have been looking into a product called 'sea soil' as I'm from Canada and don't have access to many of the staple soils mentioned by users. This soil can be nutrient 'hot' from what i have read around the web so it will probably need to be cut with organic compost/amendments to keep it reasonable for the plants. If anyone has any experience with this particular soil or recommendations for another type that is available in western Canada I'm all ears.

The soil will be supplemented with nutrients, synthetic or organic doesn't matter too much to me as long as the results are good. I'm still doing my research on this topic though as I don't know what I have access to locally.

Finally the strains Ive been looking at are hardier types that will forgive my inexperienced hands. There is such a wealth of information out there that I'm having a hard time nailing down a choice haha probably a northen lights cross or afgan cross as they seem fairly tough but I'm open to ideas. I would also like to try the SCROG method at some point and will probably try to clone the plant for the first couple of grows to keep seed costs down.

Think that's about it, I'm open to any recommendations or reworking of the design so please don't hesitate to call it if I'm being a rookie with something

:thanks:
 

trichomes

New Member
:welldone::nicethread:

what is your start up budget?

what is your goal per harvest?

This will be needed for my suggestions, click "like" on this post, AFTER you answer my 2 missing questions, then I will know you have answered and I will be able to help you with the project planning!
 

BudTester420

On Vacation
Only thing I can comment on beside great planning, is humidity. When I made my grow box I didn't have space for my humidifier so I put it outside the box next to a intake fan, well it started have water build up on the fan and the wood around the top inside of the fan got nasty pretty quick. I love everything else you got going, just watch out for humidity on the wood.

Edit: I have a 6inch sunleaves wind tunnel, I bought it cause it was plastic and did 400 cfm, I don't like to much. It's loud and you can't put a speed controller on it with out it making a loud whining noise.
 

JLebowski

New Member
My startup budget is in the $1000 range, willing to go higher if it will produce better results but if it's a grand more for minimal change in product weight/quality I'll probably just leave it as is haha As for what I'm looking for the more the better :;) : but really anything in the 1lb per harvest area would be great (after I work out the links of course, not shooting for the stars on the first couple attempts).

Good to know about the humidifier, how big are those units generally? I think I'll have a spare bit of room in my veg chamber right now.

Thanks again
 

BudTester420

On Vacation
My startup budget is in the $1000 range, willing to go higher if it will produce better results but if it's a grand more for minimal change in product weight/quality I'll probably just leave it as is haha As for what I'm looking for the more the better :;) : but really anything in the 1lb per harvest area would be great (after I work out the links of course, not shooting for the stars on the first couple attempts). Good to know about the humidifier, how big are those units generally? I think I'll have a spare bit of room in my veg chamber right now. Thanks again
Good god, that's ab awesome budget. My humidifier is about 1 square foot.
 

TanR

New Member
Hi JLebowski, (The Dude)

Wanted to drop in and welcome you to 420 Magazine and the community of members that gathers here. :welcome:

Great planning all the way around! If more future growers (myself included) budgeted and planned things out prior to beginning their grow journey, I assure you there would be many more first time success stories with a lot less stress.

I don't see any obvious flaws in your plans at all and fully believe you will enjoy great success.

Any chance we can convince you to start a grow journal that begins with a build and continues through the grow? I think it would be fun to watch it all come together and I can assure you of additional feedback as you documented the build.

Be well, happy growing and again- Welcome to :420:
 

JLebowski

New Member
Thx for the warm welcome TanR, and thanks for the swift replies from Trichomes and BlazinThat, knew I was coming to the right place for information ;)

Shouldn't be too tough to cram a humidifier in there if I can find a small one like that, but would I have to do separate venting for the chambers to maintain different humidity levels in each area? Maybe I should explain...

The plan is to start a new round of clones in the veg chamber when the flower chamber is close to harvest (2 weeks away?) so when I harvest the new clones go in the flower chamber and the harvest goes into the veg chamber for drying. The plan here is to keep the smell as low as possible through drying until I can put the dried buds in airtight jars for curing (if its necessary) and storage. Then once the harvest is packed up the veg chamber shuts down till the next clones go in in a couple months.

If that's workable then the humidity level in the veg chamber should be higher than the flowering chamber for the 2 weeks when both cloning and flowering are happening. From what I understand too much humidity in flower can cause mold issues, but too little in veg can be stressful for the new clones. If that's the case there another way around separate ducting?

As for the Journal, well, the dude abides :smokin:

I can't see why I couldn't try to keep one up and any input throughout the process definitely wont be wasted. That being said I'm not sure when I'll manage to get underway, still gotta find an open greenhouse in my area when the winter wind is blowing. One that doesn't sell only miracle grow anyways :hmmmm:
 

trichomes

New Member
Dude, Where's My Carpet?

OK, you just got moved to list of worthy, based on your HILARIOUS dude reference. I can't help with de/ humidifier without knowing your climate (approx LAT & LONG)?

I see TanR is helping, he is a like a book of great info. :adore: Keep working him for info.!! lol Tan!

I'll read the facts now & be back w/ IMO thoughts. :high-five:
 

trichomes

New Member
After reading post #1, I can't add much, sounds like you are well informed, I like the SCROG idea,

I wouldn't recommend tall plants with one big cola, you want all tops level!!!!
Nothing better than a flat-canopy (IMO), the trained bushes are highest yield.

I need to know your experience, how many start to finish successful grows, do YOU personally, have under your belt? Zero is our most common answer (IMO), nothing to be ashamed about here, we will fix that.

I'll wait for the Dude's resume / your grow #:thumb:
 

TanR

New Member
Dude,

While you are correct regarding ideally keeping the humidity level higher in the clone/veg chamber, I think it is easy to focus too much on that one aspect. I have cloned/veg'd in an area with basically the same low humidity level as the flower area several times and have yet to experience any difficulty I can directly attribute to that factor.

I confess that for some reason I'm having a hard time envisioning exactly how your planning on running the venting, but I believe I understand that your plan calls for a fan located in the upper right area pulling air from the flower area, which in turn is pulling air from the clone/veg air as well as passive intakes through the light trap. If this is correct? then possibly there is an alternative to separate ducting available by making the intake areas on the flower side larger than those in clone/veg area.

You might also consider some sort of adjustable baffle that could partially cover the vents from the clone/veg side leading into the flower area. Something as simple as a sheet of plastic would allow you to partially close those vents during periods of low humidity (thinking winter/colder months) but also open it back up some during periods of higher humidity (thinking warmer months). You aren't going to be dealing with nearly same level of heat in the clone/veg area as in the flower box. Even though your plan is to use an LED in flower, it's going to be MUCH warmer on that side and so possibly the intake vents to that area alone should be bigger regardless of humidity concerns.

I was also wondering if you have explored the possibility of using Promix as a growing medium. Since it originates in Canada, I believe you will be able to find it and it is wonderful base with which to start. There is a subset of growers journaling here that are all pursuing high brix (high sugar and mineral content) growing and some reasonably extensive testing has shown Promix HP and perlite to be an exceptional medium. A member (Doc Bud) and staff writer has a number of journals on the topic as do others if your interested in investigating.
 

JLebowski

New Member
Haha yeah you guessed it, zero. I took a swing at doing it outdoors years ago with pretty mediocre results, then then again again that was bagseed and I hadn't done any research. Even with the bit of how-to I've picked up on the last few months I still still am sitting at zero grows ;) So I wanna start with an easy strain, and yeah you nailed it, one one that is short and bushy.

As for humidity in my area it's fairly dry, I'm located in central Alberta so during the winter levels are especially low. Hope to ha ha everything in order by by the time spring comes along to help matters but then again the sooner I start the sooner I can start nailing down a technique.

Thanks
 

JLebowski

New Member
TanR,

You have the right idea regarding my passive intakes, I was wondering if I would need to make the flower intakes bigger to get get them to have higher airflow than the veg side but wasn't sure how much bigger they they would would need to be. Your idea for an adjustable damper is definitely a good one though, never even thought of it haha.

As for the promix/highbrix I have read through a good chunk of doc buds lengthy posts about the system, but didn't think I should be attempting advanced techniques without having the basics down first ;)

Using just promix and perlite as a base and supplementing it with nutrients should be doable, but if that's the route I go would I be right in assuming all nutrients would come from the nutrient additives? And would a promix perlite mix be good enough for seedlings/clones or is there a different set of nutes that I would need at that step?

From reading about about the highbrix approach I'm given the impression that promix is a good nutrient deficient medium to build off of with your own additives (guano, worm castings, etc.). The whole 'what soil is best' debate rages pretty hard on these forums, bit of an information overload for me to be honest haha super soil, Coco coir, organic, synthetic, my opinion on the subject is swayed every time I read up on it.

Thanks again
 

TanR

New Member
Dude,

Completely understand on the soil information overload. I was trying to suggest something that I anticipated would be available to you since you mentioned that none of the "named" soils to which others seem to have ready access were available. Like you, I can't get any of that stuff nearby and shipping on soil is just stupidly expensive so I went with what I could source locally.

I think if you can find the promix and perlite, you could get by with just that as your base and eventually some cannabis specific nutrient line. Promix isn't really nutrient deficient so it should take through you through the first several weeks or a month at a minimum. At that point your going to want to begin using the products in which ever nutrient line you choose (in very low doses at first). You will undoubtedly have to order those online anyway and the shipping isn't too expensive so you can use whichever line you feel good about.

I'm going to pm you with the name of the line I use as they used to be an active sponsor of this site before some craziness occurred and the mods have asked that we stop talking about them altogether. I found their products to be very reasonably priced (compared to others anyway) and you can review and decide for yourself.
 

JLebowski

New Member
TanR,

Thanks again for the info man, I'll look into those nutes you recommended. I'm gonna try to hit a few retailers this weekend and see what I can dig up for soils ;) Good to know the promix can handle the first few weeks, seems like lots of people have problems with the ph being too low out of the bag with the peat base, but then they all keep running it with a bit of lime to even it out so I'm not too worried :3:

I'm gonna try to get a material list together in the next bit when I find some time, wanna post what i think I need and see If there are any glaring oversights. Feel like its starting to come together in my head but it never hurts to get it on paper haha
 

trichomes

New Member
Dude, for soil recipe, look at page, post #1 of any journal that you like, that 1st page has ALL the ingredients, look at journals posted by EXPERIENCED growers, you'll get a lot of answers that way. Here is a good one for you, and all the people that interact in this journal are reputable growers!
just click the City Grower, first link below. Then hit us with more questions with pics or drawings.
 

JLebowski

New Member
Ya I think I just need to stop reading about different ways to go about the soil and just, like you're saying, settle on one that has worked for an experienced grower. There's no one 'right' way to go about it, just maaaaany different successful ways depending on who you talk to.

That City Grower post is pretty solid too so thanks for the link Trichomes, I read through the first 10 or so pages and many of the posts that are linked from it and picked up some great info already. Gonna take awhile to get through all 340 pages tho ;)

On a side note I found a local gardening store that seems to carry all the basics that I wasn't sure if i was going to have to order in. Stuff like sunblaster cfls and 2' T5HO fixtures with 6500k lamps, pH testing equipment and clone/veg domes. They also carry a decent variety of soil amendments that I have seen listed on soil mixtures before but haven't found in the garden section of the standard hardware store (guanos, mineral sands ect.). On top of that they carry promix, seasoil, perlite, vermiculite, dolomite lime and coco coir which even someone like me should be able to turn into something haha

I'm working on getting all the cuts for the cabinet figured out, being extra careful to make sure everything lines up just right, going to look into getting it all precut for me to be positive its done properly. That being said if its going to be expensive to get a couple boards cut i'll take my chances and fire up the table saw.

I guess the only questions I have right now are:

I have seen some journals with growers using domes to bud seeds and root clones. Are they just used to keep it humid and hot with low airflow/stress? And are they useful enough to buy?

I have found some stats on the local tap water composition, what should I be watching out for that would make it sub-standard for growing? I have heard chlorite is the worst but how high of a concentration?

The 2 lights I'm looking at have a 3'X3' and 3'4"X3'4" footprint respectively from 3 feet up. If by cabinet is going to be 3'X3' should I get the one that's over sized for the space to make sure the coverage is good if the plants get tall? or would the smaller one be fine if I plan to switch over to a ScROG grow anyways? I just don't want to handcuff myself with height restrictions in the future. Chances are I'll go with the bigger one anyways for more output, just looking for a second opinion ;)

Thanks again
 

TanR

New Member
Morning Dude,

Yes, those domes are just to keep the clones in a humid environment. You actually want a decent airflow around the seedlings and/or clones though so I've seen a lot of growers remove the dome for a least a couple hours each day. For a beginning grower I think there is some benefit to having one to help maintain the moisture/humidity. I've seen a lot journals where folks have very creatively made their own domes out of recycled household items. (i.e. soda bottle tops and milk jug tops).

I'm sorry but I don't know the specific levels were chlorite becomes dangerous to our plants. I am aware that it used in some municipal water sources here in the US in the form of chlorine dioxide. Due to it's highly unstable nature though, it's generally thought to dissipate when exposed to air. This is why so many growers allow the water for their plants to sit out for 24 hours or more prior to use. I and others also use an aquarium air pump and air stone to introduce air directly into the water and create a little water movement.

Without more insight into the specific light you are reviewing for your grow area, I would be irresponsible to offer a suggestion. I'm generally of the "more is better" camp when it comes to lighting, but your definitely right to think through this matter. I've read that LED's have pretty serious canopy penetrating capabilities so perhaps the "extra" coverage from the larger light just isn't necessary.

I look forward to hearing more as your plan comes together!
 
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