Ultimate Step by Step Grow Tent Guide [2021]

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When it comes to growing cannabis indoors, a grow tent is your best option for maximum potency, and yield. A proper grow tent setup can bring in up to 2Lbs of dried marijuana every 3-4 months while only taking up a small area of space and minimal effort once its set up. 

Have you ever wanted to set up a grow tent but don’t know where to start?

Then this is the guide for you!

Maybe you’ve tried growing but it didn’t turn out as good as you thought, or maybe this will be you
first grow ever! Either way this will be a complete guide from start to finish, step by step. On this page you will find everything you need to know to get growing and produce MASSIVE yields.

This guide will be big, so if you want to skip ahead to certain sections or go back to a previous section, use the table of contents below.

Lets get started!

Table of Contents

Intro - Are Grow Tents Worth it?

The one question I get asked all the time,either in person or online is “Are grow tents worth it? “ Well the short answer is yes! Grow tents are absolutely worth it because all it takes is one successful grow and you will have essentially already broken even at the bare minimum. Let’s do a quick breakdown to get an idea. These numbers will vary depending on where you live but it should give you a ballpark idea. 

 

First, let’s make some assumptions about the cost of marijuana. Generally a single gram of weed can go anywhere from $5-$10 a gram. Legal states/provinces will have lower places due to supply and demand. Even when buying mid grade quality weed in bulk and receiving a big discount you can easily pay upwards of $1000 per pound. 

 

How many plants in a 4×4 grow tent?  

 

This of course depends largely on many factors such as size of the tent, wattage of the lights, size of the pots, and how many plants in total. Even a beginner grower can easily harvest 4oz per plant resulting in 1lb of weed from 4 plants in a 4×4 tent, and an experienced grower could harvest upwards of 2LBs! Considering that a tent like that can be purchased for under a $1000, you can see how quickly you can “pay off” your investment. If you are someone that smokes a lot this will save you MASSIVE amounts of money in the long run. Even after your first grow you will have already saved $1000 that you would of otherwise spent buying weed from someone else. 

 

Before you go and spend money on a grow tent set up, make sure you are buying the best products that are all compatible. Some people prefer to purchase for grow tent kits. These are an excellent idea as it’s an “all-in-one” package which is great for beginners. However some people such as myself prefer to hand pick each item. Either way is fine, and I will discuss both. 

 

This guide is intended for someone who is an absolute beginner. By the end of this guide you will have everything you need to know to build your first tent and begin to grow! I will also share tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to harvest massive yields and top quality bud! 

 

Let’s get started!

 

Step 1 - How to Select a Grow Tent

This section will cover the 3 basics of choosing a grow tent.

  • Selecting Grow Tent Size
  • Selecting Grow Tents Based on Usage
  • Selecting the Right Grow Tent Material & Features

 At A Glance: My Top 3 Picks for Grow Tents

1) Best Overall: Vivosun 4×4 Grow Tent – This is the tent I currently use 

2) Best Value: 
Tolys 24x24x48 Grow Tent

3) Best Multi-Zone: Mars Hydro 2-in-1 Grow tent

 Selecting Grow Tent Size

 

The first step in choosing a grow tent is selecting the correct size grow tent. This all depends on how much available space you have to dedicate to growing. It’s important to take into consideration the height of the tent. It’s always a good idea to leave at least 1 foot of space above to make it easier to build and move the tent around if necessary.


The next thing to consider is the tents foot print. Many tents are square shaped such as a 4×4 tent. However you can also buy rectangular shaped tents that are 4×2, 6×2 etc…For a
 first time grower I will always recommend 4x4x7. In my opinion this is the best tent to start with as a beginner, and even when you are an advanced grower it will still be big enough to produce massive yields. A 4×4 tent is perfect for 4 large plants which is great for Canadians as you are allowed to legally grow 4 plants per household. If you live in an area that does not have a limit on the number of plants, you can also grow several clones inside a 4×4. The options are endless and it all boils down to how much space you are willing to give up for your grow tent. 

 

Most popular grow tent sizes:

-2×2 Grow Tent for 1-2  Plants

-3×3 Grow Tent for 2-3  Plants

-4×4 Grow Tent for 3-5  Plants

-5×5 Grow Tent for 4-6  Plants

 

 

Note: These are the most commonly used tents however you can get grow tents in so many different sizes. Also note the number of plants you put in each tent will depend on the type of plant (Autoflower or Photoperiod) and how large of a pot you are using.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selecting Grow Tents Based on Intended Use

 Tents come in other variations other than just the height and width. Some tents like the Mars Hydro 2-in-1 grow tent have multiple sections or areas to grow plants at different stages. For example you can buy a tent that has one section for vegging and another section for flowering. Both sections are isolated and light proof from each other. If you are planning on doing continous grows then these multi section tents are amazing! When you see that your main plants are close to harvesting, you can begin germinating your others seeds and begin the vegging process. Once you harvest you main plants, you can quickly put the vegging plants in the main section and have a seamless operation. 

 

 

 

Selecting the Right Grow Tent Material & Features

 

Grow tents generally last for a long time. So its important to choose one that is made of high quality materials to ensure you will get the best bang for your buck. Here are a few things to consider when decided which grow tent you want.

 

Mylar Lining: Mylar helps reflect light evenly across the plants which will helps prevent hot spots and helps avoid burning plants. The even light distribution will ultimately increase the yield.

 

Heavy Duty Frame: The frame of your tent is what holds everything together so its very important to choose a tent with a solid frame. I recommend getting a tent with metal poles.

 

Floor Tray: Dont skip this part! Floor trays are super conveinent and will save you a ton of time on cleanup.Growing can get messy sometimes. Between all the dirt, leaves and water pouring out the bottom of your plants it doesnt take long to make a mess. Luckily many grow tents come with floor trays to collect the spills and make clean up simple.

 

Zipper: Whether you are watering, providing nutrients, training on just checking up on your plants, you will be going in and out of your tent many times per week. You dont want to zippers to get jammed up or even worse rip the tent and leave light leaks! Look for tents that use double zipper material to ensure a light proof seal.

 

Ventilation: Another thing to look for is the amount, and size of ventilation holes. Make sure you have enough ventilation openings to allow for fresh air intakes and to exhaust the stale air.

 

Accessories: All tents will come with added features and accessories, here are a few that I like to have on my tent.

 

  • Viewing Windows
  • Tool Storage Pouch
  • Extra Doors

 

 

 

 

Step 2 - How to Select Grow Lights

What type of light should I use to grow cannabis?

 

There are so many options when it comes to choosing the best grow light for your tent. Each type or style of light will have its pros and cons. Not sure which light to use? No problem! I will go through all the differences and help you choose the best one!

 

Let’s start with High Intensity Discharge (HID):

 

What is a HID light?

 

An HID light is simply a light bulb filled with gas. When the gas is energized with electricity it emits light. Depending on which gas is inside the bulb, different colours in the light spectrum will be emitted. HID bulbs come in two variety’s,

 

High Pressure Sodium (HPS)HPS bulbs are generally long and thin and will emit a yellow/orange light. HPS are my favourite when it comes to flowering. They provide a great spectrum of light to help you plants produce high potency buds and a massive yield. Many growers would agree this your absolute best option for the flowering stage. Check out my article on choosing the best HPS bulbs and to see pictures showing the different colour spectrums of light produced. 

Metal Halide (MH):

The other type of HID bulb is called Metal Halide. Metal Halide (MH) bulbs will produce a blue light which is ideal for the vegetative stage. MH bulbs are generally shorter and wider. In my opinion this will be your best option for vegetative stage and you will see lots of growth from your plants. 

 

CAUTION: Always wear gloves when handling these lights! If you touch the bulb with bare hands the oil from your hands can create hot spots on the bulb causing it to burn out much quicker. Most companies that sell the bulbs will include a pair of gloves with them, so don’t forget to use them!

 

Light Emitting Diodes (LED): LED lighting is quickly becoming one of the most popular options for grow tents. The main benefit to LED lights is that they are very energy efficient and they produce little to no heat.This is great because you will save money on your electricity bill while also not having to worry about overheating your tent. Some LED growlights, like this one have an option to be dimmable with can further save on electricty costs during early stages of the plants life. LED lights come in many variations, you can buy entry level LEDs that are very affordable and great for first timers with a small grow tent. If you have a larger tent and want a better quality light spectrum I would recommend using something like this one by “Spider Farmer”

 

CFL: CFL’s, otherwise known as “compact fluorescent lights” are a great choice for providing light to small seedlings. HID bulbs can sometimes be too intense for small plants and seedlings so it’s better to start with CFLs which provide a much less intense light, and also produce very little heat. I recommend using CFLs for the first week or two and as the plants become bigger you can then switch over to your Metal Halide fixtures.

Grow Tent Light Options

Step 3 - How to Select Ventilation

Full ventilation guide coming soon! For now check out our blog post on How to Set up Ventilation!

Step 4 - How to Select Pots & Soil

If you’ve made it this far in the guide you have already selected a grow tent, grow light and ventilation system. You’re almost there! Now that we have built our tent it’s time to put some plants inside! In order to do that we will need pots and soil to use as our growing medium. You can also use hydroponics in a grow tent which is another great option I will cover in another article.

Pots

Like everything else, pots will come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Many growers like to use the classic hard plastic pots. These work fine, however there is a much better solution…

Fabric pots!

Top 3 Best Fabric Pots

  1. Best 3 Gallon  Fabric Pot
  2. Best 5 Gallon Fabric Pot
  3. Best 7 Gallon Fabric Pot

Fabric pots are fantastic for growing almost anything, including cannabis, and here’s why!

1. Affordable and readily available. You can find these at just about any gardening supply store or online and they won’t break the bank.
2. Better drainage and air flow. Being made of fabric it allows waste water to drain out much easier. This is important as poor drainage leads to nutrient burn and root problems. The fabric material also allows more fresh air to reach the soil and roots.
3. Reusable. Just like a regular pot you can reuse these fabric pots many times.

For my 4×4 grow tent I use two different sizes pots (technically 3 if you count the red solo cups…). I start my seedlings in a red solo cup. Once the seedling starts to outgrow the solo cup I then transplant it to a 3 gallon fabric pot like this. After a few more weeks you can do your final transplant into a 7 gallon fabric pot. These are the pots I have been using for all my grows. If you have more space you can always opt for larger pots to help increase your yield. Need tips on safely transplanting your seedlings? Check out my quick guide here.

Best Soil for 4×4 grow tent ( or any tent for that matter )

Soil is very versatile and comes in many variations. Some soils will come pre mixed with nutrients, and others will not. Certain types of soil will add perlite and vermiculite to help with air flow and drainage. This part is absolutely crucial! If your soil is not well irrigated you will get mold and root issues that could either kill your plant or massively stunt the growth of your plants. No matter what soil I use, I ALWAYS pick up a bag of perlite to mix in. Trust me it will save you a lot of headaches in the future!

There are many schools of thought when it comes to soil, in my option I would avoid soils that come with nutrients. The ratio of nutrients is usually generic and may not exactly suit your needs. I suggest getting something similar to Mycorrihaze HP which is a “plain” soil, or something like this I then add a bag of perlite as I mentioned earlier, and will add my own nutrients to it on a regular schedule.

Step 5 - How to Select Nutrients & PH & CalMag

Trying to figure out which nutrients to use, and when to use it can be confusing at first. There are so many manufacturers and they all differ slightly. However there are some standards we can go by to get a start. As you grow your plants you will have to adjust the nutrients and supplements on the fly.

When it comes to providing nutrients and supplements for my plants I stick to the 3 basics.

1. Nutrients combo (micro,grow,flora)
2. Cal Mag
3. PH adjustment for water

1. For nutrients it’s real simple. There are two industry leading brands. General hydroponics+ Advanced Nutrients. I personally use the general hydroponics and it worked great for me and is probably the best deal
2. Cal Mag is a great supplement to add to your plants. It’s simply short form for Calcium and Magnesium both of which are crucial for a healthy plant. Cal Mag is pretty inexpensive and lasts a long time. I usually go with the recommend dose of cal Mag every other watering. The nice thing about cal Mag is that it’s very forgiving. If you accidentally use too much you should be fine. With nutrients you have to be more careful.
3. Always PH test your water! ALWAYS! You will be surprised what PH levels you might find in your tap water at home. My tap water measure over 8. The ideal PH level for cannabis plants is between 5.5-6.5. Maintain these levels and your plants will continue to grow healthy and strong.

Step 6 - How to Select Accesories

There are many cannabis grow tent accessories that can make your life easier! I’m going to talk about a few accessories I find necessary.

Trimmers: This is pretty much mandatory. In order to properly trim your buds you should buy yourself a nice pair of bud trimmers. You can of course just use a standard pair of scissors but you will find they are not nearly as effective and it will take much more time. Trimming your buds is probably the most tedious and time consuming part