Not everyone is the same, so doing what suits you best should see you on the right tracks! This article comes courtesy of the good folks at seattlecannabisjournal.com, and was re-edited for clarity and ease of reading. Click Here to view the original article in all its glory! The day I got a recommendation for medicinal Cannabis was a relief. This was followed by the knowledge and urgency that I needed to get some plants in the ground immediately.
This had been a long-time dream of mine, and I fondly imagined my first harvest, curing my flowers to perfection, and collecting their resin for concentrates. I saw myself carefully journaling their progress, and eventually becoming an expert caretaker of myself and my marijuana garden. Then reality set in: I have a small space, in a small house, in a crowded neighborhood. Momentarily discouraged, I quickly scrapped the idea of a dedicated room filled to the brim. I began with getting clear about my intentions; I wanted to inconspicuously and autonomously produce my medicine. This was a much more respectable and realistic goal, and one that I could embrace. After months pouring over cannabis related text and furrowing my brow at various nooks throughout my home, I saw through the problem.
On Craigslist I found a cabinet kit still in the box for only $35. Next, I purchased a 6″ inline fan for another $100. The fan combined with a 400 watt light and Cool Tube from a previous grow gave me something to design around. My sights set, I loaded Google's 3D rendering freeware, Google SketchUp, and got to work. Sirius: Google SketchUp can be pretty tough to use without training, especially if you've never used it and you just want to design one thing. Rest assured: some paper, a pencil, a little math, and careful planning will work just as well! The first thing to deal with was the Intake and exhaust – a clean environment and fresh air for my plants. A rule with any grow space is to have the intake's opening twice the open area of the exhaust's. Important: The opening for your intake hole should be about twice the size of your exhaust hole. My inline fan with had 6″ opening (28 square inches) so I would need 56 square inch opening. I went with two louvered grills that were 5″ x 8″ which gave me 80 square inches – 30% for the louvers = 56 square inches. In any enclosed grow area such as a tent or grow cabinet, it's important to have a larger opening for intake than for exhaust. This will maximize the efficiency of your fan in addition to keeping it working for longer. Plus, this will keep tents from "bowing" in, reducing your grow space. Of course I wanted to filter the intake air to keep out dust, pet hair, pollen, mold and the like. Next, I faced the issue of providing my plants their light. Since these produce more light from the side(the long side as opposed to the plug and tip of the bulb), light coverage could be maximized by positioning them front to back. Some creativity was required to install the Cool Tube to keep my HPS bulb from becoming too hot. Now this Cool Tube was 20″, hardly enough room to attach two 6″ flex ducts for ventilation without having to keep a door open. Keeping a door open is not a viable option for the stealthy gardener like me! The solution I came up with was to place the duct work outside of the cabinet. I built and installed 4″ x 10″ x 48″ wooden housing for the duct work for the exhaust of the Cool Tube (picture 3rd down). Next, three 6″ duct flanges into the back wall of the cabinet leading into the duct work spaced vertically 9″ apart. This allowed three different height settings for the light. Take a look… I installed a sealed fan room to house the 6″ inline fan mentioned above. This sat in the top inside of the cabinet, pictured below. Now that my fan room was set up, I allowed the exhaust to escape upward into a carbon filter.
I mounted the filter inside a Rubbermaid tote to make the whole setup more discrete. A fan speed controller and light timer are mounted on the outside of the fan room. Next to the fan room is space for other more technical things. Here we find the ballast and command switching station. Also, I installed a "Kill-a-Watt" device to monitor my electrical usage so I can easily calculate the total extra cost to my electricity bill each month. I vented this area with a 4″ opening that opened into the fan room. When all was said and done I harvested 264 grams (9.3 ounces). Final Harvest Weight: 264 grams (9.3 Ounces) Cost: $1.64/gram.
The final bounty boasted nine ounces of dried and cured cannabis flowers. After the initial investment, $1.64 was my total cost per gram when I factored electricity, carbon filter, and nutrients. Affordable medicine is a right, and medicinal Cannabis sets a standard for patient autonomy.