With the advent of vertical grow systems, there has come a variety of choices for the indoor grower. These days, not only are space and efficiency prime concerns, but also system type and its direct correlation to weight yielded.
This is why advanced growers these days choose their systems based not only on standard considerations such as plant sites, system size and start-up costs, but also its accessibility and ability to be modified. Indoor growers, especially in urban areas, have been making huge strides in productivity—some turning out 20 or more pounds of high-quality ganja from a single-bedroom apartment.
How do they do it? Is there a catch? How secure are these systems in thwarting detection? What can the average grower do to take his or her own system to the next level? The questions come easy, but the answers are sometimes difficult to swallow.
In the Beginning
It starts in places like California and New York, where big-city growing can carry high risks. Many growers in these areas figure that the reward has got to beat that risk, and that big returns need to be made before they either lose all their hair or get busted by a stroke of bad luck.
Growers who’ve been at it a long time, however, realize that in some regards, they are very lucky. Detecting grow operations in large cities isn’t something that local law-enforcement agencies (such as city police departments) are readily equipped to do—and, in some instances, it’s simply not a situation they care much about (many counties in the western states have made marijuana infractions the lowest law-enforcement priority). That leaves the Feds—and, honestly, if they’re going to take down a grow operation, it’ll need to be on the order of tens of thousands of plants to make it worth their time. Surprisingly, it has become a lot easier these days for the urban ganja grower to raise the ante a bit and start yielding big crops.
So is there a catch? There is, and it’s twofold. First, to get your growroom overflowing with buds, an extensive amount of knowledge—both in horticulture and the engineering sciences—is needed. Second, a sizeable amount of capital is usually necessary to start up the operation. The first part is easy enough if you don’t mind a bit of reading and a lot of trial and error. The second part—well, we can’t help you there.
You might be wondering just what exactly one needs to know in order to obtain the holy grail of 20 pounds from a 20’ x 18’ space. Well, for starters, we’re looking at double systems in a single room. But indoor grow systems such as the Coliseum and the Ecosystem are very large, and squeezing two of them into one bedroom is tough enough. Then pile onto that the fact that everything else—such as lighting, cooling and ventilation systems—will also need to be doubled. Fitting (and affixing) the ductwork, fans and filters into a cramped space with two full Coliseums requires some serious construction. In addition, with that much equipment running, soundproofing your room as well as your fans is a must. Constructing soundproof boxes around the fans and large window boxes around your intake/exhaust windows is also a must if you’re serious about avoiding detection (see the sidebar on “Soundproofing” for details).
Beyond engineering your room, an in-depth knowledge of plant science is also essential when trying to maximize yield. In the case of vertical grow systems, advanced growers will seek out the ones offering the latest grow technology, but failing that, they will look for systems that are able to be modified, so they can incorporate their own cutting-edge ideas for maxing out their growrooms. One of the latest in a long line of grow technologies is aeroponics, which is one step beyond ordinary hydroponic growing.