Some people like to buy complete grow packages because they'll have everything you need in them. But grow packages can be expensive, and sometimes they even come with things you don't even need. That's why we made the Beginner's DIY Shopping list for growing: because you shouldn't have to spend lots of money to grow your medicine. Now, before we get started, we've got two very important tips to keep in mind:
This will be time-consuming: To get yourself going you'll want to research what your crops will need to harvest what you want (by reading this article you've already taken the first step- congrats!). Then you'll have to visit various shops around town (or online): hardware stores, garden shops, and garden supply stores before you start growing your own. Unlike a grow package that comes with everything you need, you'll need to piece everything together yourself so you'll be spending a lot of time researching what you need to grow (thankfully you can find all of your supplies on the GrowAce.com online store)
Keep it small: Tending to your plants takes a lot of time and dedication. The more plants you have in your grow room the more attention you'll need to give your garden, so don't over-do it with filling your space with plants.
- Limiting your grow will save time and stress in terms of workload, fertilizer and electricity costs. That means less strain on your initial budget and more time to do the things that matter: growing!
- Lots of novice growers bite off more than they can chew and in the end, it costs them a truckload of money. In the worst cases, it cost them a visit to a judge. Keep it small and simple. You'll have much more fun.
The Growing Essentials Shopping List
Below is a shopping list of the most important growing essentials you need to start up your grow op.
Before you set out to buy all of your equipment, take a look at different shops and stores and compare prices. Don't be afraid to read reviews and do some looking around before you decide on the equipment you want. Remember: your budget is important, so keep your budget in mind when you're shopping around. Once you find the shop(s) you trust, there are two ways to think about collecting your gear: you can either save up and get them all in one go
or you can put your grow room together piece by piece
- If you find that you can get everything you need in one shop (like at GrowAce.com) consider saving up and getting everything at once
- If you need to get your equipment at various shops, consider getting your equipment piece by piece, especially if it's during a time where stores are running sales (like Black Friday or Cyber Monday)
So what should you be looking for when looking for grow equipment?
Here is a list of growing essentials for a small set up:
Good and strong light source suitable for indoor growing- Plants need light to grow, and not any ol' light will do. Especially when you're growing, you'll want to make sure that your lights are strong enough to cover the canopy of your plants to give you the harvest you're looking for
High output duct fans and carbon filters- These are vital in any grow for a few reasons: they help bring fresh into for your garden, help pull stale air out of your garden, and filters help scrub the odors that come from your garden. Keep in mind the size of your grow and buy duct fans and filters accordingly (no need to buy too many fans or filters if you don't need them)
Soil- We recommend starting in a soil medium for your first grow because it's very forgiving on plants compared to coco and hydroponic mediums. Basic soil bag for potted plants will do fine in the beginning, but for, you'll want to avoid big-name brands like Miracle-Gro, as they are not intended to grow.
Liquid fertilizer (aka nutrients)- These are one of the other vital elements your plants need. Feeding your plants the right food- and the right amount of food- is the difference between an awesome harvest and a mediocre one. Some brands are more concentrated or designed different from one another, so be sure to do a little research on brands before you start buying nutrients. No matter what brand they are, make sure your base nutrients have the famous "7-5-6" proportion of 7% nitrogen (N), 5% Phosphate (P2O5), 6% Potash (K2O) on their bottles.
A Watering Can (at least 10 liters)- Not only will you need a watering can to give your plants the nutrient-rich water they need, but you'll also want a can that can hold at least 10 liters or more. Otherwise, you'll be mixing up nutrients several times within a watering cycle.
A Timer- These normally come in grow light kits, but you may have to get your own. These will make sure to automatically switch the lights on and off for as long as you need them to. You'll need to simulate the day and night cycle in your grow room, and a timer is the only way to do that outside of manually turning your lights off and on. (Note: make sure the maximum wattage for the timer switch is well above the total wattage of all your lights)
Small pots (1-2 gallon)- These pots are for your young clones and seedlings because too big of a pot can lead to over-watering. You'll want these for every plant you intend to grow, preferably made out of plastic and in a dark color. These won't dry out as fast and will absorb a bit more heat.
Big pots (about 5-7 liter capacity)- These are the pots you'll transfer those clones/seedlings into so they can grow into fully mature plants. Plastic pots are the most common in grow rooms, but plenty of growers are moving to fabric pots because of their benefits in the garden
- *Note: No matter what pots you choose, you will need trays under them to catch run-off water
Thermometer- You'll need to know the temperature in your garden at all times to make sure your plants aren't too hot or cold. If the temperatures are off you can dry your plants out or stunt their growth. Thermometers tell you the highs and lows in your grow room so you can monitor the weather and control it inside the grow room according to your necessities. You may want to invest in a hygrometer to also read the humidity levels in your grow room
Seeds or seedlings- Last but certainly not least, you need something to grow! You can either choose to pop seeds and grow the old fashion way, or you can get some clones and quickly and easily start growing pants. You'll want to love them, pamper them, and most of all feed them properly.
If you're feeling adventurous, or if you've got a little more experience than the average grower, here are some extra bits of equipment you can add to your arsenal:
T5 Fluorescent Tube Lights- These will aid in the vegetative stage of your plant and some even have IR and UV spectrums to help with resin production during the flowering stage of growth.
Bamboo sticks for garden use- These will help you maintain the vertical shape of the plant and foliage start to weigh the plant down. They also help if you plan to train your plants for maximum production
Spray Bottle- You'll need one of these to spray the leaves with water. Plants take in nutrients at their roots, but they can also take water and nutrients in through their leaves, and your plants will thank you if you spray them down with the right amount of nutrients when you feed them
Clip/Desk Fans- These will help get air to parts of your garden that your other fans can't. These create a breeze over your canopy that will help strengthen your branches to make stronger plants.
Thick dark plastic sheet- If you're growing in an open room with windows, you'll need one of these to prevent light coming into your garden with lights are off. Any disruption in your plants' "sleep" will result in longer growing times.
And there you have it! A lot of these things you can find at a local hardware or gardening shop, but the first few though (lights, fans/filters, nutrients, and soil) may be available only at specialized hydroponic stores. With that said, we want to leave you with a couple of thoughts:
- The lights and ventilation system the most important growing essentials of your biosphere experiment. Think of it as the Heart and lungs of the tiny ecosystem you are creating in your home.
- Your nutrients and medium are like the food and stomach of your garden, and without food for your plants to eat they will not grow- even under the best light
- Keep in mind that grow equipment weighs quite a bit and you need to suspend or place it all in optimal positions throughout your grow
- Take it easy, take your time, and make a good plan
Now that you got your growing essentials shopping list, do you feel excited? Of course, you do! Now click here and let's get you started