Request for help: First Grow Room Setup in Basement

zdennisSeptember 22, 2013

I'm looking to start my first indoor garden. I have an unfinished room in my basement that I'd like to use. I'm planning on having a small operation: 7 plants (2 tomato, 2 chile peppers, and 3 herbs).

I have all of the equipment to support an NFT system (using two T5 lamps), but I'm trying to finalize how-to handle ventilation and air flow.

I have a radon mitigation system in my home and the EPA advices against installing additional exhaust fans in the rim joist of the homes that have these systems in place so I'm thinking that is venting to the outside is not going to happen in that way.

Another option I know of is a sealed room. That sounds quite intense and a bit more than what I'm hoping to start with for this room. The room is 7' x 13' feet and also contains a water pressurizer tank and the PVC for the radon system.

A third option I think I can do is vent into the existing duct work. My challenge here is that the rest of the basement is finished and the only duct work available in this space in for heating the bathroom above this room. The previous owner drywalled the ceiling of the rest of the basement so it's hard to know where other ducts run.

With all of that information I'm struggling with the following questions:

* Are there are other ventilation options available to me?

* Could I get away with utilizing oscillating fans, a dehumidifier, and a fan with a filter (basically a the same setup for a sealed room, but with the room not being sealed)?

* Is my only viable option a sealed room within this room?

* Am I over-thinking / under-thinking this or missing anything that I should be taking into account?

Thanks for any help in advance!

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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

IMHO, you are way over thinking this. While I have never ran a NFT system I can't imagine one as small as yours requiring special ventilation and air flow considerations. Washing dinner dishes at the kitchen sink probably produces more humidity than your system running all day does.

Good luck


    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:02PM
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I'm not an expert on ventilation but from what I know it's a very bad idea to try to add additional fans to an existing system. Those exhaust pipes are designed to handle only so much air pressure and if you add a fan too much pressure might build up and the exhaust will find it's easiest way to get out, not necessarily the top of your roof.

If you tap into your heating duct you might have the same problem. Obviously you would need to create more pressure than your furnace fan produces and if the air is forced back into the furnace instead of the vent in your bathroom you're just asking for trouble :)

You said you're using to T5 lamps so I assume you just need ventilation to get some fresh air inside and keep the air temp in check correct?

If that's the case why not just have the room open, the fan will bring in fresh air into the room from the rest of the basement and control the humidity with a humidifier?

Why do you need an air filter, do you still have radon in the air ?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:12PM
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I'm with SouthCountryGuy on the over thinking part.
I would wait and see if you need a dehumidifier before using one. There is no sense of using up more electricity if it's not needed.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:17PM
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But most importantly why did you decide to grow big rooted plants in a NFT system? You would much better off going with dutch buckets IMO

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Thank you all for your replies.

SouthCountryGuy & slimak, thank you for calling me out on overthinking this. I will go with your suggestions to keep it simple for now and keep an eye on humidity.

slimak, w/r/t big rooted plants using NFT. I hadn't thought about that specifically. I want to make salsa year round, but I live in a northern midwest climate which doesn't allow for that. I'm pretty much a newb to all of this. Lots of books, Youtube videos, and forum reading.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Don't worry too much and try to keep it simple. If you're set on using a hydroponic system for tomatoes try a simple 5 gallon bucket with a net cup and air stone at the bottom. However the simplest way to start you off would be just growing it in a pot with some good draining potting soil. Hang the lights, put the fan on and and start learning. It's really not that complicated plus you've got people here who can help you

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 10:50PM
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