The horticultural hobbyist has finally moved from the backyard to the back room, closet, basement or garage.
There’s heaps of great reasons for moving your outdoor gardening projects inside. Indoor gardening using hydroponics and even soil pots allows for four-season gardening all within your own control and achievable environmental control.
This means higher yields and fewer issues with pests and diseases, but don’t get ahead of yourself there will still be some challenges.
Indoor growing has a more involved and complex approach to cultivation than simply putting your seedlings in the soil and allowing nature to do what she does best. This brings us to look at one great innovation—the grow tent—This invention has helped make indoor gardening more versatile, safer and cost-effective.
What is a Grow Tent?
To look deeper into the mechanics of how a Grow Tent is designed and structured we’ll use Eclipse Grow Tents as an example, designed in New Zealand to suit our environmental factors, Eclipse Grow Tents are made of lightweight extra durable 600d Diamond Mylar material installed over a rigid 19mm frame makes eclipse one of the strongest Grow Tents around, there is also the main opening and various apertures suitable for electrical access, ventilation and other functions.
There are complete grow tent packages that include the grow tent, LED Grow lighting, Hydroponic Fans and other components to make startup fast and easy right out of the box, Eclipse grow tents are carefully designed to accommodate multiple hydroponic or even soil pot arrangements using a range of equipment.
Importance of Quality Grow Tent Fabric
Even though choosing the right size tent may be your first concern when considering a grow tent, size isn’t the only important factor. The fabric used to construct the tent is often a basic determiner of overall quality.
Here’s how it works: A heavy-duty canvas outer fabric, often nylon or polyester, is bonded to a reflective inner layer, Eclipse Grow Tents utilize Mylar Diamond reflective pattern. The outer fabric is strong and durable, while the inner fabric increases light efficiency by providing excellent reflectivity.
The thickness of a tent’s outer fabric shell is expressed using linear mass density, or denier, as a measurement.
That’s the D referenced next to the number, like 600D, in a tent’s fabric description. Denier refers to the thread or yarn thickness, with one denier representing the base standard, the approximate thickness of a single strand of silk.
That’s a big span. Although opinions vary, many industry insiders recommend an exterior fabric between 600D as a strong and durable option.
A tent’s inner liner is designed to help reflect light, and lining materials are rated based on the amount of light they reflect.
There’s a big range here as well, from 50 to more than 90% reflective capability. This feature carries with it a couple of big benefits. Efficient light reflection means less wasted energy and energy cost savings over time.
It also means better light coverage for underlying foliage because the light is being reflected from the sides as well as from the top of the tent where most primary light fixtures are located.
Purchasing an Eclipse Grow Tent that's made of higher quality fabric is a good investment in a number of ways. Since the fabric rests on a structure of supporting poles, after installation the roof seams sustain some of the tent’s weight.
Over time, this can stress seams and contribute to wear. Wear and tear can also take a toll on the seams and fabric around zippers. The stronger fabric also reduces the risk of punctures and abrasions, which can be a problem when using gardening tools in an enclosed environment like a tent.
A thicker fabric can contribute to a more light proof enclosure, where a thinner fabric may permit minute gaps in the needle holes along seam lines to leak small amounts of light. If the hole is large enough for light to escape, there is a chance micro-organisms can get in the same way.
Aside from thickness, other features that set Eclipse Grow tents out from the rest is their fabric includes mildew resistance, fireproofing and that the material does not off-gas toxic vapours.
The Grow Tent Frame
The structure of a grow tent is made of a framework of supporting poles installed under the fabric shell. They provide stability and somewhat reinforce the shape of the exterior.
The frame does more than create a rigid, sturdy skeleton to hold up the fabric though. It also carries the weight of the mounted fixtures and other equipment inside the tent.
Eclipse Grow Tent frames are an industry leader, 19mm allowing them to hold significantly more weight than their competition. Heavy-duty steel construction is strong and rigid.
As a general rule, thicker poles with applicable fittings will sustain more weight than thinner poles and produce a more rigid, stable frame.
In larger tents that have sufficient area to sustain numerous plants and sophisticated equipment, lights, ducts, fans, filters and other components can be heavy enough to overtax the maximum weight recommendations of some tents.
Grow Tent Zippers and Seams
Two common complaints about grow tents are broken zippers and tears around zippers and seams. The door to a typical grow tent is sealed with a long, often multi-part zipper that manoeuvres around curves and may be under tension from stretched fabric.
Eclipse grow tents employ large-gauge, heavy-duty metal zippers, meaning the tent will stand the test of time and even put up with the roughest of owners and environments.
To avoid tearing of the zipper’s seams, Eclipse has double stitch their seams for added strength. It’s another feature that helps distinguish a quality tent.
Grow Tent Ports and Vents
One of the goals of growing plants in an enclosed environment is regulatory control, so successfully managing access to the outside world is important.
This can be challenging since hydroponic, automation, ventilation and filtration equipment often need access to the environment outside the tent for electrical service, air circulation and other purposes.
Eclipse grow tents are designed to accommodate a variety of equipment. Its onboard access ports, vents and other openings are strategically sized and located to suit as much equipment and as many set-up options as possible.
Speaking generally, larger tents offer more ports and vents because they use more