Indoor cannabis cultivation. Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most satisfying and rewarding hobbies, but it is pretty hands-on and can quickly become a huge time sink. For most novice growers just first starting out, the idea of being in control of every little detail is all part of the fun – but after a few short weeks, the novelty of having to constantly check the temperature, humidity, and other environmental variables can wear off quickly.
And while the lucky ones out there may have all the spare time to meticulously watch their precious, stanky crop, the same cannot be said for most growers. With modern lifestyles becoming more and more hectic by the day, having an automated grow room system can become not only a time saver but an absolute necessity for many.
So, what aspects of your indoor grow room can be automated? How much time and effort can these automated systems save you, the grower? And how much does it all cost? (it’s less than you probably think!)
Stick around as we go through all the best bits of kit available right now for cannabis grow room automation, and also some of the stuff you should avoid…
If you have landed right here, right now, then there is a pretty high chance that you have recently started your own indoor grow room. And there’s also a chance that you are still at the stage where most aspects of the grow have been controlled manually. This is actually a really good thing, as there is no substitute for hands-on experience when it comes to cannabis cultivation. You can read all the blogs and watch all the explainer videos that you like, and even have a solid understanding of gardening in general – but growing weed indoors is a skill that needs to be practiced and fine-tuned over time.
That said, all the watering, temperature, humidity monitoring, cleaning, and other maintenance tasks do really add up in the long run. What started out as fun little chores soon become tedious and time-consuming. And while they may be essential to the success of your grow, having to check on every little detail constantly can become very, very boring. And this is where the idea of grow room automation comes in – with a few well-chosen bits of kit, almost every single aspect of your indoor grow room can be automated.
Apart from the time and effort saved, the most obvious benefits of automating certain aspects of your indoor grow room are –
Ok, so what pieces of grow room automation equipment should every single indoor home grower grab right now?
The very first thing home growers should look at automating is the lighting schedule. This is easily done through the use of timers.
Now, there are two main options available here – either analog or digital timers.
For lighting automation, most hobby cultivators go with analog timers. They are cheap and super reliable, and as the lighting schedule will be the same every single day (with the exception of the change from vegetative to flowering timing), a digital timer falls into the category of overkill here.
To set up an analog timer, simply set the on/off time, connect your lights to the timer, and plug the timer into the wall socket. Thats it. Then you can forget about it until the timer needs to be changed for the flowering period.
BLACK+DECKER Outdoor Timer, 2 Pack, with 2 Grounded Outlets – These timers are great for outdoor growers looking to add a little lighting to their setup. They come with full waterproofing, and a ground pin to ensure safety, plus they are easily adjustable and very accurate. They are also perfect for indoor growing areas as they provide higher levels of safety than cheaper models.
The ambient temperature and relative humidity of your grow room or tent are two of the most important factors to consider when it comes to successful cannabis cultivation.
In most grow rooms, growers rely on fans, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers to maintain relatively stable temperatures and humidity. However, these can all be automated using smart thermostats and humidity controllers. Not only do these devices save you the hassle of having to constantly check the temperatures, but they can also be programmed to turn on or off specific equipment as needed, and even alert you if the conditions swing outside the optimal ranges.
INKBIRD Humidity Controller and Thermometer Combo – This amazing little unit is extremely affordable and just does exactly what it says it will on the box. With full smartphone integration, setting up a temperature and humidity range that can be automatically controlled is a breeze. It also has a handy built-in alarm that will alert you if the conditions swing outside of your pre-programmed settings.
Providing the crop with the ideal amount of water (or nutrient solution) is another critical part of cannabis cultivation if you are wanting to really boost the yield and potency potential of the crop. Over or under-watering can both have disastrous consequences, so automating this process and letting a digital controller do the work for you can be really helpful in not only boosting productivity but also making sure the overall health of the crop stays at its peak.
Automatic watering systems come in a huge range of options, but the most common for home growers just starting out is a drip-feed system. These systems usually consist of a reservoir that holds the water, a pump (either manually or digitally operated), and a series of hoses connected to dripper nozzles placed at the base of each individual plant. The system can either be programmed to water at a specific time for a specific period or combined with a separate sensor so the system is automatically adjusted to respond to the plants’ needs (sending out more water if the soil dries quickly). https://premiumcultivars.com/growing-environment/hydroponic-cannabis/ Hydroponic cultivators will also use automated systems to ensure an optimum flow of nutrient-rich water is being delivered to the plants.
Raindrip R560DP Automatic Drip Irrigation Watering Kit with Timer – This all-in-one drip watering system comes with everything a home grower needs to take their harvests to the next level. With an included time, high-quality components, and an easy and intuitive setup, this drip system is perfect for both novice and experienced growers alike.
An aspect often overlooked by novice growers is ventilation. A well-ventilated grow room is essential, as the crop needs access to a constant and uninterrupted supply of fresh air for healthy growth.
Ventilation can be automated with the use of fans, electronic controllers, and sensors. But, for the vast majority of home growers working indoors, you will want to have that intake/exhaust fan running all of the time. This ensures good airflow in the grow space and that the CO2 levels never get too low.
Once you have all of the other stuff dialed in (lighting, temp/humidity, ventilation), you might want to look into adding a CO2 tank and controller to your grow room automation system. CO2 is a natural plant growth enhancer, and adding it to your grow room can really help boost the overall health and final yield.
A sensor and controller can be coupled to automatically regulate the amount of CO2 in your grow space, ensuring that it always stays within healthy levels. But, if you are looking for an easy way to automatically boost your grow area CO2 levels, a CO2 emitting bag will fit the bill for smaller operations. These work by releasing a measured amount of CO2 into the room, and are usually good for about 3 months before needing to be replaced.
Exhale XL CO2 Bag – For the price of two tickets to the cinema, you can ensure that a 4 x 4 grow area has peak levels of CO2 at all times. All you need to do is hang the bag in the room and it will start releasing a slow and consistent amount of CO2 for up to 3 months, but keep in mind that they take around 2 weeks to start producing CO2.
4-in-1 Indoor Air Quality Monitor Portable CO2 Monitor – Not only does this sensor give you a very accurate readout for the CO2 levels within your grow room, but it also offers temperature and humidity readings. On top of that, the device has an LED display and a built-in alarm that can alert you to any changes in the environment before they become a serious issue.
This is a tricky one to answer, as there are so many variables to take into account – but, for most home growers, automation of the lighting schedule is the first thing that should be considered. This helps to ensure that your plants are receiving the correct amount of light at the correct time and makes it easier to keep track of growth cycles.
That really depends mostly on the lighting fixture you decide to use. While HID systems offer amazing levels of light penetration and huge yield potentials, they use a massive amount of electricity and produce a bunch of heat that has to then be dealt with. In the last 5 or so years LED panels have really come to the forefront of indoor grow room automation and offer as good (if not better) light penetration and spread with very low electricity consumption and almost zero heat emitted. This can really help drop the cost of growing weed at home https://premiumcultivars.com/growing-basics/how-much-does-it-cost-to-grow-weed/
Yes, you should. Ventilation is key to keeping a healthy, productive grow room – and having an exhaust fan running constantly will ensure that your plants are receiving a steady supply of fresh, CO2-rich air. This will help them to stay healthy and happy throughout the duration of their grow cycle. For the best results, the air inside the grow area should be cycled every minute (or at least every 3 to 5 minutes).
So, there we go. Everything you need to know about automating systems in a cannabis grow room. Whether you’re just getting started with growing or have been in the game for a while, hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what needs to be done and how to do it. As always, make sure you do your due diligence before investing in any equipment – there’s a lot of dodgy stuff out there, so make sure you read the reviews to guarantee whatever you’re buying is up to scratch.
Sam N. is a content writer with a passion for everything cannabis. After working multiple seasons on weed farms absorbing the ins and outs of cannabis cultivation and culture, he decided to transition into a role that would allow him to work from anywhere, anytime. Sam now writes for multiple weed publications. He has extensive experience with a wide range of canna-agriculture styles, from smaller artisanal farms to large-scale commercial operations, and is here to share his knowledge to give you all the best chance of cultivation success. About this Author