2May/12Off

Why Indoor Gardening?

Many of the Big Shop’s previous blog entries have gone into detail on how to set up grow rooms and what items to purchase, but if you haven’t started indoor gardening yet – or are at least thinking about it – we thought it would be a good idea to highlight the potential benefits.

The benefits of indoor gardening aren’t exclusive to crop production – for a start, the addition of a plant or two around your house will brighten the place up, giving it a fresh aesthetic.  Plants with coloured flowers can be a fantastic finishing touch to a room, as well as being a good talking point.  Make sure to give your plants enough light, though – keeping them on a windowsill is a good idea.

Plants don’t just look pretty though – they’ve been shown and suggested to have a massive variety of health benefits too.  The process of photosynthesis takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and replaces it with oxygen, refreshing the air.  This freshly oxygenated air has been shown to help with concentration and productivity, so adding a couple of plants to your home or work environment could have huge benefits.

Of course, with such a focus on how bad the global economy is, everyone is trying to cut down on as much spending as possible.  What better way is there to cut down on food spending than by growing your own vegetables and herbs?  With space at a premium, especially in the bigger cities, many people don’t have gardens to plant in – the idea of indoor gardening for food therefore appeals.

In addition, keeping plants indoors is a much simpler and more organic way of keeping most insects and other pests away from your crops than by using pesticides.  Problems associated with wind and rain are also completely negated when growing indoors, and if you’re considering taking indoor growing a little more seriously, there’s a wealth of extra benefits waiting.

With the simple addition of a grow light, plants can get up to 3 times the light that they would receive from growing naturally outdoors, leading to a marked increase in growth and yield.  As with any investment, the more aspects of a grow room you can invest in the greater the benefits you will receive.

Hydroponic growing systems remove the necessity of soil, keeping a plant’s roots fairly small and focusing the majority of its growth ‘above ground’, as well as allowing nutrients to be absorbed directly into the plant.  Air circulation and extraction equipment can help your plants to make the most of their respiration and photosynthesis processes, while other environmental controls work wonders to keep your plants happy, healthy and productive.  A complete hydroponic grow room setup may not be ideal for the beginner due to investment, space and maintenance commitments, but starting small – with a grow tent, for instance – is an excellent way of sampling the indoor gardening experience.

As always, if you have any questions, just contact us and we’ll give you our professional advice on what sort of indoor gardening would be best for your requirements.

25Apr/12Off

Why Choose a Grow Tent?

When choosing to start growing plants and crops indoors, many options are open to you – so many choices of lighting and ventilation systems, so many different atmospheric conditions to control – but the first important decision you have to make is specifically where to begin.  Once again, The Big Shop is here to help!

Ideally a cellar or spare room would be converted into an environmentally secure area, with installed lighting and air circulation throughout, but this situation is not open to every aspiring indoor gardener.  It may be that you don’t have a whole room to set aside; perhaps you don’t like the idea of conducting extensive work on your own to hang and install lights and fans; maybe you don’t have the legal right to make adjustments to your abode; it’s possible that you simply don’t want to invest in the parts for a homemade system.  Any combination of these factors could lead you to considering a grow tent, one of the most increasingly popular trends in indoor gardening.

Grow tents allow the budding gardener to create an environmentally sealed climate-controlled space within a room without modifying or damaging the existing locale.  Easy to set up and portable, they are also widely used by gardeners who move around a lot, such as those in non permanent residences, as well as being very budget conscious – not everyone has enough cash to spare to start from scratch!  Many are also drawn to this solution for aesthetic purposes, with the sleek black cloth wardrobe being more appealing than a large system of pipes, wires and lights.

Easy to set up, these grow tents are fireproof, waterproof and insulated thoroughly to retain temperature, with heavy duty zips and a reflective interior to make the most of the light within, ensuring no electricity is wasted.  With your crops kept in an environment such as this, it is simple to monitor and adjust the temperature, airflow and lighting levels to adjust for maximum yield.  Grow tents are provided with ventilation socks to encourage air flow and facilitate the installation of more complex air flow systems as well as hangers to support any equipment your grow setup may need.  This is a much simpler process than suspending similar features from ceilings or attaching them to walls.  We would, however, recommend keeping your lighting ballast outside your grow tent to cut down on unnecessary heat.

Here at The Big Shop we stock two manufacturers of grow tents – Homebox and Secret Jardin, the latter of which has two distinct ranges.  The Secret Jardin Dark Rooms are a premium choice boasting dual layered 210D Mylar fabric and a thick light proof material, with waterproof removable floors for simple cleaning.  The Dark Street variety is aimed at those on a slightly stricter budget, but hardly skimps on the quality of its predecessor, and are made with a 190D dual layered Mylar fabric.  Whichever variety appeals to you most, visit our web site or contact us for more information.

2Apr/12Off

Building your 1st indoor grow room Part 1 – getting started

If you’re a first timer, the thought of building your own grow room may appeal but the practicality of actually pulling it off can be a difficult prospect. It can be a confusing process when you’re starting out, especially if you have no prior experience in operating a grow room and sustaining a crop. So let The Big Shop be your guide for the next few weeks on how to pull it off, step-by-step...

1. Choose a suitable space for the grow room

You don’t need a whole room for this per say (depending on how big a crop you want to produce) but we recommend keeping it small on your first time out. Use a cupboard or wardrobe to make things easier for yourself. The simpler the better. If you’re ambitious and want to go further right off the bat then a garage or loft would be the most suitable areas to do it in. DO  NOT grow on carpeted areas! Carpets are full of moisture and bacteria that can harm the crop.

Consider the following – if using a growtent (recommended) you need to decide on size and if it will fit into you allotted space. Then you need to ensure you have an electrical supply source within the vicinity because you WILL NEED POWER! Don’t underestimate having a close proximity to a water source either because you will need to keep that crop’s thirst quenched.

2. Budget

This is an investment and if you are a budding indoor gardener you need to invest in that activity in order to do it properly. How much is your budget? Can you afford to buy yourself the essential materials needed to harvest a crop? If the answer is “no” to both of these questions than wait and start saving. No half-measures!

Consider the following – Plant Lighting. Artificial lights are one of the essentials. You cannot use natural light to grow your crops in an indoor environment as it can affect plant growth. Considering the electricity cost you may want have the lights on during the evening and off during the day leaving the crop in total darkness to save you on an extensive bill. Remember, you want to save as much money as possible.

Extractor fans are also an essential item. Try to invest in ones that make little to no noise as the sound can be distracting, especially if you are sleeping close to the grow room. These usually run for 24 hours a day.

We’ll get into lights and fans more later on.

3. Building your grow room

This again depends on whether or not you are converting a whole room or converting a smaller space... Match the size of the area to the amount of light you plan to have. If the room is small then try using 600 watt bulb every 5 or so feet. Bear in mind that the more lights you have the bigger the extractor fan will have to be. Setting up an input fan will be necessary in order to bring new air into the grow room from the rest of your house/flat. Input fans are generally smaller than the output fans.

If you’re growing in a cupboard or wardrobe allow the space to be big in terms of height by at least 5 feet so that there is adequate headroom between the crop and the lights. Less headspace means you should use lower wattage lights.

This is just the opening chapter of our epic grow room for beginners blog series. Next week we’ll get into the next phase of setting up your grow room. In the meantime for expert help, advice or product information please contact The Big Shop.

23Dec/11Off

The portable and effective solution for growing your plants

Since the grow tents were first invented, they have boomed in popularity. They are one of the best methods of creating a self-contained grow room for your crop. Grow tents are self-contained pods that can contain all of your growing equipment as well as your crops. Granted, it does become quite heavy when you have everything in there, but it allows you a greater deal of portability. With the grow tent, you can move your plants whenever you need to and still continue to give them the same level of quality care.

One of the biggest advantages of a grow tent has to be the fact that they are so self-contained. The pod is self-standing and does not require you to attach it to any walls or fixtures. This means that there are no extra burdens to take care of; you can just move the plants within the grow tent and begin to grow and cultivate straight away.

Grow tents offer a completely clean and lightproof growing space for the plants to thrive in, which can help you to cultivate a stronger crop. The grow tents come with vents for extraction to ensure that the plants are getting enough air and ventilation, rather than being stifled within the contained growing environment.

Dark Room DR240w MK11

The Dark Room DR240w MK11 is a very spacious grow tent. This is the fourth largest grow tent made by Secret Jardin and it is 240 x 120 x 200cm high. Its large environment gives you a growing area of approximately 2.88m2.

Use with 2 x 600w HPS systems and an 8” or 10” Extractor and Carbon Filter for the best possible results.

HomeBox XL

The HOME-box range of instant indoor growrooms can be used to satisfy almost all your gardening needs.The HOME-box is a complete kit structure that comes neatly packaged in a box, ready to assemble with simple instructions.

Grow tents give you much more freedom in growing your plants when you need to bring them indoors. Using a grow tent can be hugely beneficial in winter when the temperatures start to prohibit strong growth. This is the best time to ‘uproot’ the plants and keep them indoors. Prepare a quiet corner of the house and set up your grow tent as the new, cosy home for your plants.

Each grow tent accommodates all of the equipment that you would need to use in order to grow to high standards in some of the more difficult months for growth of your plants. The Belfast Indoor Growing Shop has years of knowledge and experience in growing large yields of crops and we can offer you both expert advice and the best resources to nurture your plants into a healthy and flourishing life this winter.

You can find all of the products you need on our website. From grow tents, heat mats and lighting to some of the finest organic nutrients to nourish your plants through life, The BIG Shop has it all.