BC Bud Basement Garden

figure Afigure AAs the seasons change and things start to get cold, more and more people look into the idea of having a garden indoors. It is easy to set up a simple yet effective garden in your basement. Keep it as basic as possible; complexity or over-ambition can create an overwhelming situation relative to your skills. Resist the temptation to be greedy or to fiddle because you are impatient. Avoid overwatering, overfertilizing, and temperatures above 80F/27C.
This is what you require:

1. Ballast & Bulbs ($250 per light)

2. Timer Board ($300 – $750)

3. Intake Fan ($250 – $500)

4. Exhaust Fan ($250 – $500)

figure Bfigure B5. Oscillating room fans ($20 per fan)

6. Tables and/or Buckets ($250 – $300)

7. Watering System

8. Black & White Plastic Sheets ($80)

In this example of a British Columbia indoor garden, the plants are arranged in the classic stadium style with the lights hanging in the middle of the room, and plants set up on tiers around the fittings. As they grow, the lights are lifted to accommodate growth.

figure Cfigure CRoom Requirements

When setting up the room, you must take into account the safety issues when dealing with electricity, water and confined areas. First calculate how much energy you have at your disposal; you cannot simply plug fittings into the wall and hope for the best!

On the bottom of each appliance you will find a spot where it tells you the Watts used or amperage and Voltage. From this you can calculate how much power it consumes.

figure Dfigure DWatts are used to measure the power consumed by an appliance. Watts are calculated by voltage multiplied by amperage.

Amperes are the measurement of wattage divided by voltage.

Voltage in North America is 110-120V, Europe is 220- 240V. The operating voltage of an appliance can be calculated by dividing watts by the ampheres.

figure Efigure EFor example, a volcano vaporizer has a plate on the bottom. It says that it operates at 110-120V and uses 140W.

The voltage is 110V

The wattage is 140W

Amps=W/V, so therefore 140/110=1.27. So we can see that it pulls 1.27 amps @ 110Volts.

figure Ffigure FWhen working out your power consumption, keep the load total equal to or less than the circuit breaker limit. Likely you are not skilled in setting up safe, electrical connections, so this means you need a competent, skilled, electrically- savvy person if you are going to have more than 1,000 watts in your room. The room should have no cracks or possible entry points for insects and crawly things. A good sized room, like the one shown, would be five metres by ten metres, around 15 feet by 30 feet.

figure Gfigure G1. Ballasts And Bulbs

It’s simple: the more lights the tighter the buds! You can use many 400 watt bulbs for overall equal distribution of light or fewer 1000 watt bulbs with more concentration of growing energy in single areas. Keep ballasts dry at all times. Electrical connections should be sealed in a case away from water. Put your ballasts on fireproof stands above the floor. (fig a)

Keep finger prints off bulbs. Oil from the fingers dilute the light and may break the lamp. To hang lights, use screw hooks and chain to raise them as the plants grow. Blue light is given off by the Metal Halide bulb, most often used for the growth stages of the plants (fig. b).

High Pressure Sodium are bright orange lights used for the finishing stages of plant growth. They simulate the sun
moving away and encourage the plants to bud! (fig. c)

figure Hfigure H2. Timer Board

Timers regulate when the lights turn on and off. As the lights come on you must make sure the circuit breaker can handle the amount of power that is being used. (fig. d)

3. Intake Fan

Intake fans are good to have but not always necessary. When you draw air into the room you want to filter it so you don’t bring in unwanted visitors such as spider mites, spores, mold and all sorts of pests. (fig. e)

figure Ifigure I4. Exhaust Fan

As air comes into the room, there must also be air leaving the room. You want to keep the room at a positive pressure to help stop bugs from entering. Positively pressurized rooms create resistance for mites to battle through as they try to ruin your crop. To get this effect, take in more air than you expel. Make sure all doors and windows to your garden are sealed when not in use. Exhaust fan must also have a filter so it doesn’t blow smelly pot laden air outside! In this BC garden, a carbon filter is used to excellent effect. (fig. g, fig. k)

figure Jfigure J5. Oscillation Fan

It is recommended that every light have a fan to cool the bulbs down. This ensures that no plants burn, and stalks grow strong through resistance to wind. The bigger the stalk, the more pathways to the bud! (fig. h)

6. Plant stands

A quick trip to the hardware store will give you all the materials you need to build a cheap set of stands for the plants. Get them off the floor and tier them so that they are not competing with each other for light. (fig. i)

7. Watering system

This g arden involves a timed water pump which deliver water to the plants on a regular basis. You could also water plants by hand. How much watering depends on the number and size of plants in the room. Plants need very little water when small, and consume much larger amounts as they ripen. You want the watering system to be selfcontained. Water which is open to the light breeds disease and encourages pests to multiply. (fig. j)

figure Kfigure K8. Black/ White plastic

As this is a work environment, you must keep everything clean and tidy. Mop up all spills as soon as they occur. Use black builders’ plastic under the plants and around the water systems. This will keep potential messes contained and accidents easy to clean up. White plastic attached to the walls and ceiling will reflect lost light back to the plants. Make sure no light escapes the room through windows or vents! A bright light escaping the room in the middle of the night will surely give you away.

As you can see so far, by keeping things basic you can have an effective garden in the basement. The money saved from this venture will far exceed the amount of work required. Identify what your needs are before you embark on the adventure, and stick to the plan. That way greed or errors will not get in the way of success.

Sow the seed, grow the weed!figure K