Grow tents are a fantastic way to grow cannabis, and they come in all shapes and sizes. In the past, we’ve covered setting up an indoor grow tent on a budget, but this time we’re going to look at how to set up a space-saving smaller grow tent.
In this step by step guide, you’ll find all the information you need to get you started. Whether you’re among the beginners or looking to jump from outdoor cultivation to your first indoor experience, you’ll be on the right track, growing high-quality cannabis in no time.
Why Use a Tent to Grow Cannabis
Utilising a grow tent for your indoor gardening offers many benefits.
If you’re growing outdoors, you’re at the mercy of the climate – torrential rain, frost, lack of sunlight – these are issues you don’t have to worry about if you’re growing cannabis in a tent. You have complete freedom to set the light, humidity, moisture and air you need to grow cannabis plants. Tent growing allows you to maintain a stable environment to ensure optimal plant growth. You can guard against pests easier, too – as long as you keep the environment under control and maintain good hygiene within the tent.
A grow tent allows cover so you can grow your plants in private. Lighting is contained within the tent as it seals shut with zippers, and no light leaks mean a good covert set-up. You also have greater scope to control aromas, which is a real bonus if you have to keep your cultivation low-key.
Tents can be quickly built up, taken down, and resituated according to your needs.
Growing in a tent streamlines the process and makes it a little easier if you’re new to cultivation. Not only that, but a good specialised tent has a reflective interior which will boost the effects of your lighting, meaning greater photosynthesis. Leaves and buds alike will benefit.
Why Go Small?
If you’re working with limited space, limited budget, or a hobbyist looking to start growing your own plants, a small grow tent is a great way to produce great cannabis without the hassle or expense involved in putting together a larger tent. You’ll need less equipment, which means less outlay, less responsibility, and less to go wrong.
How Small is Small?
That depends on your needs. You can grow cannabis in a mini tent, which can be used for seedlings or clones, or you can grow a few small plants all the way from seed to harvest. Tents are sized in square feet, so a 2’x2’ tent means 2 feet long by 2 feet wide. The taller your tent, the better for allowing plants to grow and allowing the necessary lighting, of course.
You might want to DIY your own tent, but if not, there are plenty of options available for buying a smaller tent – you need only look as far as Amazon for a plethora of options. If you want to go bigger, mini tents are available in varying sizes, so once you’ve assessed your available space, choose accordingly. Bear in mind a small tent is small – a world apart from a camping tent size or a larger, walk-in grow room.
You’re most likely going to be working on your plants by unzipping the tent and peeling the top back. Before choosing your size, know how many plants you want to grow, but also understand what strain – do your research and be aware of the height to which your plants will likely grow, and be sure to choose a tent that can accommodate not only your plants, but the lighting, fans, and if necessary, a carbon filter for aroma control.
All of these things take up extra space inside your tent, so make sure you choose a tent with adequate space to house all of the above – but don’t buy too big a tent and end up having wasted space, as this defeats the purpose of having a small tent grow in the first instance! We recommend buying the best grow tent you can afford, as the features and build quality can only be of benefit.
What You Need to Set Up a Grow Tent
You’ll need a few pieces of equipment over and above the tent to create a good growing environment for your plants.
For such a small grow, LED lights are the sensible option. HPS, HID, and HPI lighting simply gives off too much heat for such a confined space and poses not only a danger to your plants but also your tent and surrounding areas! An LED panel at 15W will give you around 3000 lumens with next to no heat and takes up next to no space. Alternatively, any small 60W LED panel should serve you well if you’re going truly small with your tent. You won’t even need to use it at full capacity, as higher wattage lights can still be controlled, which means lower running costs.
Keep your lighting under 50% power during the vegetative phase, then crank it up to between 50%-75% for flowering. Suppose you want greater control over your lighting schedule. In that case, you can buy a controller which can be operated via an app – but be sure to check in regularly as failure to regulate on time can be the difference between success and failure.
Where you place your lighting will depend on the size of your tent and how many plants you’re looking to grow. If you’re growing just a couple of plants, and your tent’s height is sufficient to accommodate it, place your lights on the top of the tent on the inside. Otherwise, side placement is a good option as it will allow light to penetrate more effectively. You will benefit here from buying a good tent with a built-in reflector, but be sure to include a hanger if you’re going to mount your LED light.
Ventilation for a Small Tent
In a small tent, an adequate ventilation system remains an absolute necessity because air can quickly become stagnant due to the confined space, which will cause numerous issues for your plants. Without good ventilation or ducting, your plants will consume the CO2 in the environment so quickly that it will hinder photosynthesis.
Add a small outtake fan or exhaust fan for ventilation to counter this. If possible, mount the fan on the inside of your tent above the plants. That small waft of airflow travelling throughout the tent makes more difference than you might think. For optimum results, a small intake fan at the bottom of your tent will keep a constant flow of fresh air coming into the grow space, reducing hot air and humidity. Your plants will show their appreciation!
In such a small and confined space, and with only a couple of plants growing, the need for odour control is naturally less than in larger grows. A carbon filter may or may not be necessary, depending on the location of your tent – but if the need arises, you can easily affix a carbon filter in front of your outtake fan. The downside of this is that you lose a little more space on the inside of your tent. Fans, lighting, and odour control must therefore be factored in ahead of time. Are you willing to compromise plant space? If not, then you’ll have to buy a slightly larger tent.
Watering Your Plants In a Small Tent
Suppose you’re going for an extra small tent that can only accommodate two or three plants. In that case, you’re not going to be able to walk around lovingly watering your precious plants, nor is there the space to install any automatic watering systems or hydroponics. A hydroponics system is too difficult in a grow box.
Instead, it’s going to be a very carefully-executed operation. If possible, it might be best to remove your plants and water them individually – but take great care as splashing water onto the foliage can quickly cause fungal problems. Use a small watering can or bottle for ultimate control when watering and ease of use.
Cannabis Growing Techniques
With limited space to grow, you’ll have to brush up on your growing techniques. If you’re not familiar with these, the most common among them are LST (Low-Stress Training), HST (High-Stress Techniques), ScrOG (Screen of Green), and Defoliation. The latter is an essential component of growing in a limited space – removing unnecessary foliage will help ensure your plants receive adequate light to develop decent-sized buds.
Choosing Your Strain for a Cannabis Tent
Limited space means limited options when it comes to choosing your strain. Remember that indicas are short and bushy, whereas sativas are taller and thinner. This is another factor to consider before choosing the size of your tent, as it will govern whether you want a more elevated, narrower tent or a shorter, wider one.
Additional Tip: Sativas will usually experience a height increase of 200-300% during flowering, whereas indicas will typically stretch by 50-100% at the same stage. By that token, indicas are more suitable for a small grow. Better yet – go with an autoflowering strain. Due to their genetics, many autos actually finish shorter than some indicas, and since they aren’t as reliant on a strict lighting schedule, they’ll have the added bonus of a shorter harvest time.
Hop over to the strain finder or Seedsman.com and search by height.
Growers should plan ahead and know how much space they have to work with, how many plants they’d like to cultivate and choose your strain first. Make sure to allow for all the necessary equipment in the cannabis tent ahead of buying your tent, as this will ultimately determine the size of tent you go for. Check everything from plant height to pot sizes – the most important thing in putting it all together is ensuring you have enough space for your needs. Whether you go micro grow (one or two plants) or small tent (two to four), this is a great introduction to indoor cannabis cultivation with minimal outlay, minimal fuss, but maximum fun!