Cool Tools For Indoor Growers
The absolute essentials for indoor gardening are so basic: plants, pots, light, water, and nutrients. Maybe you need soil mix, too, if you’re not ready for the full hydroponic experience. But once you get into growing, you’re sure to start thinking about ways to make all the little tasks easier and wondering how to get better and better results. That’s when you’ll find the indoor growing supplies listed below to be valuable additions to your grower’s toolbox.
Why: Bottom heat speeds the germination of seeds and gets seedlings off to a robust start.
What: Many growers set their trays on top of a refrigerator or another warm spot in their home. Propagation mats gently raise the temperature of seed-starting trays 10 to 20 degrees higher than the room. Many models let you set the specific temperature, and they’re waterproof, so a little spill won’t cause an electrical problem or worse.
Price: $20 for basic models.
Why: Checking and adjusting key measurements of your nutrient solution—pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), electrical conductivity, and temperature—ensures that your plants absorb the minerals and other critical compounds in the fertilizer.
What: You can buy simple, low-cost strips for testing pH (acidity and alkalinity), basic meters for checking TDS, and a thermometer, but with a handy multimeter, you can use just one tool to monitor all of these vital signs.
Why: When humidity is too low in your grow room, plant growth is slow. When the humidity spikes, fungal diseases are much more likely to afflict your crops.
What: Like a thermostat for temperature, a humidistat measures moisture, letting you select the desired level of relative humidity for your growing space. Basic models are designed to control either a humidifier or a dehumidifier that’s plugged into the humidistat; fancier devices can switch between humidifying and dehumidifying and can also control ventilation.
Price: $30 for basic models.
Why:Simple ventilation to the outdoors provides sufficient carbon dioxide for your plants, but increasing the CO2 in your grow room above ambient levels has been shown to stimulate more robust growth.
What: A booster can raise the CO2 level in your indoor garden from the 400 parts per million (ppm) in fresh air up to 1,600 ppm. Your plants will soak it up and use the CO2 to convert light into new growth. The simplest boosters gradually release carbon dioxide from a bottle or bag full of minerals. More elaborate systems for larger gardens rely on a generator and pump to distribute the CO2.
Price: $35 for basic boosters; $350 for advanced generators.
Why: Bacteria and pathogens can be persistent problems in indoor gardens and can ruin a crop before you get to harvest it.
What: Ultraviolet-C (UVC) light disrupts the reproduction of harmful bacteria, fungal spores, viruses, protozoa, and algae and stops their growth. UVC lights are the space-age way to eliminate these damaging microbes without toxic chemicals. Germicidal UV radiation is no danger to humans but will clear your grow room of these pests.
Price: $90 for a handheld model.