Growing with Gas
By: Mel the Bumbling Gardner
Part 1: The New GreenHouse
If youâ€™ve been following me and my adventures with hydroponic gardening over the last year, then you know Iâ€™ve been looking for the best the industry has to offer in â€œturn-keyâ€ growing chambers.Â My idea of indoor growing is much more than a zip up tent with lights and hoses.Â What Iâ€™ve been looking for is something that will help my â€œgrow areaâ€ look less cluttered while not taking up too much room.Â I wanted a system that would help me do it all without me knowing it all.Â My skills are still at the beginnerâ€™s level and Iâ€™m ready to learn more.
Wowâ€¦The trucking company called and said, â€œCome pick up your greenhouse.â€ â€“ A greenhouse? I donâ€™t remember placing an order for a greenhouse. About 10 days ago, Gus from QuickGrow Hydroponics called and asked if I was interested in looking at his new self-contained â€œDual Chamberâ€ growing system.Â Interested?Â I was more than interested! The QuickGrow was my first pick when I first started looking at what was available to the home gardener about a year ago, but fate took me in a different direction â€“ just like it put me smack dab in front of this big box I was picking up on the shipping dock.
I was excited, a new adventure was on the back of my truck and the timing couldnâ€™t have been better! I had finished my last grow and my new clones had healthy roots just begging to be planted.
The unloading and set up was fast and easy. It was great to see how everything had been carefully packed â€“ there was nothing missing, broken, or bent. I had only seen this chamber on the internet, but I was very impressed with the hand built quality of the unit. This new â€œgreenhouseâ€ looked great! You could tell this was not a first attempt prototype, but rather a well thought-out growing machine.
The Q-9 is a two chambered unit that enables vegetation and flowering to happen at the same time. The vegetative side uses a full spectrum 6400K, 135-watt compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), which is ideal for the first stages of root development and vegetative growth. This side of the chamber allows room for 12, 4-inch pots to be used by newly propagated plants, all with their own watering lines, pump and reservoir.
The flowering side uses a fully enclosed air-cooled 400-watt High Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulb, which is ideal for flowering any plant. The system has its own independent exhaust that immediately releases the heat created by the HPS bulb. This chamber houses nine, 4-inch pots with their own independent watering lines.
From what I could tell, this unit also uses the most advanced hydroponic equipment and components for air filtration, watering, ergonomics, timing, aeroponics, ventilation and CO2 enrichment (thatâ€™s the gas). The result is a state-of-the-art system that is easy to use with little power (110v wall outlet / 4.5 amps of power and 3.6kwh for 12 hours) and minimal space (the outside dimensions of the unit are: 54â€ in width x 42â€ in height x 30â€ in depth).
The QuickGrow system uses a unique deep water culture in both reservoirs and a timed drip irrigation system that supplies the plants with 12 hours of continual oxygenated water.Â The thing I like most about this unit is its ability to start a growing cycle from different clones at different times. With its dual chambers, you donâ€™t have to harvest everything you plant all at once. If you plan it out right, you should be able to harvest something every month.
This fully automated unit is run by an easy-to-use, pre-programmed digital PLC timer. The CO2 enrichment option allows you to attain a more productive yield. CO2 is like a natural steroid for plants. Bottom line: the gas will help create healthier plants that produce bigger buds, and the Coco Carbon filter will virtually eliminate any smell produced by vegetative and flowering plants.
After filling both reservoirs with their proper nutrients, all I had to do was plug it in, set the time of day and turn it on.Â OK, when I plugged it in, all four fans came on. I could hear the air pump bubble under the floor. The CFL started to flicker, the HPS started to warm up, and each of the 21 pots were getting water â€“ it was time to plant!
If you read last monthâ€™s article, â€œStill Growing,â€ you know I have that â€œcloneâ€ thing under control. The need for 12 root-ready clones was no problem, but as hard as it was not to fill all 12 holes right now, I only wanted to plant three pots at this time. I want to stagger the planting to encourage different harvest times, so I can have a little something new and different all year long.Â In the past, when a growing cycle came to an end, the harvest was great and overwhelming at the same time. My hope is that this system will provide a good supply of what I want all year long without that â€œall or nothingâ€ kind of thing that goes along with a normal planting cycle.
If you are anything like me, this new machine might be just what youâ€™ve been looking for. Now, letâ€™s see if it works.
Next Month: Is that gas I smell or are you just happy to see me?