What's new
Joined
Aug 20, 2008
Messages
8
All,
I recently made the conversion from my basic baker's rack set up to a grow tent. I made the decision due to limited space in the rack and wanting to have more control over the environment as a means to grow more difficult species. Hopefully this post may help others who are interested in building a similar setup. This was designed to grow intermediate/highland Nepenthes, but not necessarily ultra-highlanders. I should mention for clarity sake that I am not sponsored by any of the following companies. I simply bought these due to good reviews/what was available to me at the time of purchasing. I apologize to our metric-minded growers. All information will be given in inches/feet and Fahrenheit.

I bought a Secret Jardin DR150 which is 60" x 60" x 80" in size. This worked best for my current one bedroom apartment, though it's still quite big! Secret Jardin got great reviews compared to other grow tents. I was intrigued by the Gorilla Grow tents, but they are substantially more expensive and I don't think the quality difference would have made the biggest impact on my plants.

I hooked up a LG Electronics LP0814WNR 8000BTU portable AC unit that was rigged to have the cool air ducted to the top of the tent with the exhaust going outdoors. The tent is in my air conditioned apartment and even though the lights produce a good amount of heat the AC rarely turns on during the day, but more about that in a bit.




During the Fall and Winter months I will just use a duct fan connected to the window to bring in cool air at night for the needed temp. drops.

My current lighting is a 4' 8-bulb T5 HO system by Hydro Crunch. I really like to give my plants a lot of light and am considering additional lighting. I'll hold off for the time being just to see how the plants do. This system puts off a good amount of heat but temperatures inside the tent never exceed 85F. All plants are on a 4' x 4' hydroponic flood table that has no holes drilled into it. I was fortunate to buy the floor model at a very significant price decrease at my local indoor gardening center since it had some cracks on the rims, which to me are only of aesthetic importance and means nothing at all.


Humidity is maintained with my Pro Mist PM-60 misting system. The pump and water reservoir are outside of the tent for easy access. Four nozzles were hung below the lights so that minimal mist would touch the bulbs (see the above picture). I can't say enough good things about this Pro Mist system. I bought this back around 2006 and the pump is working just like it did the day I bought it. Great customer service and great product. Enough said.



Two small fans are placed within the tent to give added air flow. This may change. I'm contemplating buying one larger fan that swivels back and forth on a motor.



Both humidity and temperature are regulated with two Zoo Med Hygrotherm units. You might be able to get away with just one, but they are only rated for controlling up to 1000 Watts and the AC unit uses somewhere around 860 watts - I didn't want to risk it. So, one hygrotherm controls the AC, another controls the mister. I'm still playing around with daytime/nighttime temps and RH. Currently I have the daytime high set at 84F and a low of 59F. RH is set at 70%. I borrowed a datalogger to monitor the temp and RH changes (see below). Assuming the datalogger is accurate, the rh is maintained much higher than what the hygrotherm is set to, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! Temperature seems to be pretty spot on.



Only time will tell how this system works out, what parts give/break first and so forth. I will keep you all informed of any major changes and am always open to suggestions from those of you who have more experience with this sort of growing setup. I'd like to thank Mato and Cory Gill who provided me with excellent information regarding this type of indoor growing system before I took the plunge.

David
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
318
Location
Northern VA, USA
Beware, the bottoms of those tents aren't water-tight. I used a Secret Jardin for my nepenthes for a long time, but I had to keep plastic under it and sop up water with a towel every week. Plan for this before you make your landlord unhappy.
 

Knuckles

Chief Cat Behavior Specialist
Joined
Apr 27, 2008
Messages
432
Location
North TX
Very nice setup nepnc it seems very complete. I'm sure your plants will very much reward you with so much attention given to them ;)

By the way - this is a tell tale sign that you're a plant addict (like most of us): You have something so out of place in your home that guests have to ask something such as "What the heck is that thing by the window?" :0o:
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2008
Messages
8
Thanks for the heads-up, Carbonetc. So far the bottom of the tent has been nearly bone dry since all the water is caught in the flood tray, but I'll pull some plastic underneath the tent just to play it safe.
 
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
495
Location
New Jersey, US
Really sweet setup, I love the robcantleyi in the back there! That sneaky little Cephalotus also made me laugh.

Very nice setup nepnc it seems very complete. I'm sure your plants will very much reward you with so much attention given to them

By the way - this is a tell tale sign that you're a plant addict (like most of us): You have something so out of place in your home that guests have to ask something such as "What the heck is that thing by the window?"

Followed by the neighbors getting mad at you because your "infernal night light" makes it impossible for them to sleep. I've had people come over and ask me how I glued those "colorful decorations" - ie, pitchers - onto my Nepenthes. :lac:
 

Tower

Jake
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
125
Location
Panhandle, Texas
I used to have a grow tent, and I can tell you from years of experience def put a plastic tarp down to collect water or youll have a mildewy carpet lol. I decided to keep more toothy rare plants, so I went down to a deep freeze ice chest :)
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
318
Location
Northern VA, USA
Thanks for the heads-up, Carbonetc. So far the bottom of the tent has been nearly bone dry since all the water is caught in the flood tray, but I'll pull some plastic underneath the tent just to play it safe.

It's the condensation that rolls down the walls that gets you. There's no way to catch it without permanently affixing some sort of collector along the walls at the bottom.

You'll also find that the poles will rust pretty badly in high humidity. But PVC can be found in the hardware store that's the exact same diameter as the poles. You could swap out the metal for PVC and never have to worry about it. I don't know how this changes how much load the tent can withstand, but it doesn't look like you're hanging much.
 

mato

BANNED
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
2,113
Location
Cascadia Subduction Zone
This is something I may have forgotten to mention when we talked about it. It's actually common practice for hydro stores to recommend placing these types of tents on top of pallets with some sort of platform, such as a 4x4 piece of plywood.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2008
Messages
8
This is something I may have forgotten to mention when we talked about it. It's actually common practice for hydro stores to recommend placing these types of tents on top of pallets with some sort of platform, such as a 4x4 piece of plywood.

What's their reasoning behind this?
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2014
Messages
10
Location
Las Vegas, NV
I've got a setup almost exactly like this that I need to do a thread on. I'll get to making it at some point. I love my tent!

I've got mine more tuned for an intermediate setup, however. I live in Vegas - and I don't use portable AC - so I have to use a DIY swamp cooler to drop temps from a max of 85 during the day down to around 74 (during the summer) and 65 (when able, during the winter) all night. The plants have responded well since my older ones had come from a sealed terrarium with barely a temperature drop to speak of at night (again, Vegas).

The swamp cooler is the only option to cool a tent like this without doubling my power bill and I feel it works very well. The added humidity it produces is nice (household is 15% humidity year round, air exiting the cooler is around 50%. There are precisely 0 ways to acclimate my plants to growing outside of a sealed enclosure). It is also regulated via a Zoomed Hygrotherm and I've experienced no problems with it.

Humidity itself is regulated with a walgreen's ultrasonic humidifier and is set at 65% year round. I feel it is counterproductive to set it higher than this because any time the fans engage on the swamp cooler the humidity is dropping to 45-50% in about 10 seconds. I feel like the lower I can get the plants to acclimate humidity-wise, the less humidity shock they will go into when the cooler engages, especially during the height of summer. Because of this, I hit a cap of only about 75% humidity at night and thus experience no condensation or leaking water issues. I feel that this is not a bad thing.

I keep a towel on the floor as sort of a rug/way of catching stray water from watering, but I have no issues with water leaving the tent. I have more issues with the swamp cooler overflowing or dumping its water onto the carpet.

You lucked out being able to go with T5's and not have the tent overheat! My tent will hit about 90 during the day with 6 t8 fixtures running. If I could upgrade, I would, so you definitely did good there.
 
Top