By automating the various devices that make up a ventilation system, growers can minimize large fluctuations in temperature and humidity while supplying a consistent level of CO2 (either through fresh air intakes or CO2 supplementation).
Heightened consistency in a ventilation system will only lead to faster growth and larger yields in the garden.
The System Itself
Ventilation systems will differ greatly from garden to garden and there isn’t one right way to implement a system. Generally speaking, a garden should have an intake fan, an exhaust fan, and, if the environment requires, an air conditioner. This would be a very basic ventilation system but still one that, if automated, would make a significant difference in the garden’s performance.
Automating the System
One of the most common ways a grower can get a ventilation system automated is with the use of an atmospheric controller. An atmospheric controller is a device that allows the user to set parameters and then controls the equipment to maintain those set parameters. Most atmospheric controllers have built-in thermostats, humidistats and CO2 sensors and allow the grower to plug multiple devices into the unit for automation.
For many growers of high-value plants, the most important variable to control is heat. By integrating the exhaust fan, the intake fan, and the air conditioner into the atmospheric controller, a grower can set up (and maintain) the ideal conditions for plant growth. For the typical grow room (without supplemented CO2), the ideal temperature range is 68-78 degrees F. For grow rooms with supplemented CO2 around the 1500 PPM range, the ideal temperature range is 75-85 degrees F.
Humidity is an issue some growers face even with the use of an intake fan, exhaust fan, and air conditioner. When this happens, a grower can introduce a dehumidifier into the ventilation system. Most atmospheric controllers have specific outlets for a humidity controlling device. The ideal humidity range for high-value plants differs from vegetative stage to flowering stage. The ideal humidity range in the vegetative stage is 65-75%. Some growers claim better growth results, with particular varieties, at an even higher humidity. Growers should be cautious of building up too much humidity in the grow room during the flowering stage. This can be an invitation for some devastating pathogens. During the flowering stage the ideal humidity is 45-55%. Keep in mind that this is the point where the plants will be largest and will be transpiring a lot of moisture. Growers who require the use of a dehumidifier generally do so in the flowering room only.
Reap the Rewards
Once a ventilation system is automated, the gardener can focus more of his or her time on other important factors. High-value plants love consistency in their environment and the best possible way to make this happen is to use an atmospheric controller in conjunction with the ventilation equipment. Plants grown in consistent environmental conditions grow faster and produce larger yields which makes the gardener very happy.
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Monday, 14 October 2013