IF YOU HAVE A SMALL BUDGET or limited space then you will be asking yourself how to maximize grow results. There are several possibilities for working in small setups without compromising on quality or yield. In this article, we are going to look at some examples that work well for a single 250–600 W HDS bulb.
To get the most out of your lamp utilize the light that falls around the perimeters of the grow area. This is usually achieved by setting up additional spaces—for seedlings, cuttings, or mother plants—around the edges of the main grow area. An ebb and flow table is great for growing cuttings and flowering at the same time. It also allows you to work with different systems, such as hydro and soil, at the same time. Due to the raised level of the grow space you can hang the lamp higher, as well, and accommodate grown mother plants for the duration of the vegetative cycle (as shown in the photo). Make sure to place the table close to a reflective surface, such as a freshly painted or mylar-covered wall. The light from a horizontally placed bulb shines down and toward the front. For best results, you should hang the lamp near the front end of the grow space toward a reflective wall and arrange your plants accordingly. With a good reflective hood light, dispersion can be maximized and evenly distributed so that one 400 W lamp can provide enough lumens for 3–5 square feet.
In using a cyclical grow method and switching lamps you can use the same space for different requirements. A cloning area with a set of cool white fluorescent tubes can, after the clones have rooted, be used for growth and flowering simply by exchanging the lighting for a powerful HDS lamp. Once the flowering plants reach harvest time, the same grow area can function as a space for drying. Quite a number of home growers adapt their single compartment grow boxes for this purpose.
Part of the search for optimal efficiency centers around the question of pot size and shape. The debate on square or round pots narrows down to giving your plants the maximum space for root growth without having to opt for large pots that limit the number of plants per square foot. Square pots can be placed side by side in a single large area without losing any soil space through empty pockets. When looked at this way the benefits of square pots are quite obvious. The photo of an indoor setup shows an example of clones growing in tight rows of one-gallon-pots that will provide enough root space and nutritive soil till harvest. The pot size should be reasonably large for easy growing if you don’t plan to fertilize a great deal. Adapt the size according to light intensity and plant size. Making the most out of your space is always a challenge when growing from seed, as well. Here, you have to calculate twice as many plants to achieve the desired ratio of females after sexing. In the second image, we see young plants arranged in neat rows to maximize the number of plants that can be grown. They are planted in the same one-gallon pots that will suffice till their sex is determined. Cannabis plants can be transplanted 2–3 times during their life cycle without adverse effects. In some cases, you may have no other choice than to use small pots due to a lack of space, and to transplant regularly. Whenever it’s possible, though, you should use a medium size container for cuttings and clones from the start so that their development is never restricted due to nutrient loss or a cramped root zone.
There are a number of light-movers available for dispersing the light evenly indoors. The light-rail is commonly used for a single lamp that slowly travels back and forth over two tables. Most of the time, one 400 W HDS lamp is not enough to provide sufficient lumens during flowering. You should opt for the highest lumens possible if you intend to use a light-rail for two tables of flowering cuttings. Another option is to have a stationary lamp at one end of the table, plus a light-rail.