A shelf garden set-up with the fluorescent lights is likely to offer a very cost-effective option for cannabis growing. Fluorescents are perfect for shelf gardening. A shelf garden is able to feature multiple shelves placed one after another, and the lamps are situated over the top of each of the shelving units. A shelving unit is likely to be set-up with either 12-hour lighting for the flowering process or 24-hour lighting for the initial growth development. Ideally, you want to set up two separate areas with a second area used for germination and cloning the seeds.
A shelf gardening design is likely to mean that plants are kept at 3-ft or less at full growth, so the shelving is likely to be installed at a distance of 3 or 4 ft apart. A lower light requirement is required in those situations where plants are kept short and pushed to mature quickly.
A significant negative to shelf gardening is the requirement to adjust the lamp height on a daily basis in line with the development of the plants. This can limit having a break from tending to the plants. This is most likely to refer to the vegetative stage where you are likely to see that plants grow in spurts of approx 1-inch each day. A lamp isn't likely to be adjusted as frequently once the flowering process is able to commence.
Usually, you want to look at keeping the fluorescent lights within approx 2-inches of the plant top. A set-up offering complete ease in progressively increasing the height of the lamps is certain to be highly desirable. If you are likely to be away from home for a short break, you want to look at adjusting the lights so that the plants aren't likely to reach within 2 inches to the lamps while you are unable to provide daily care. Aim to completely saturate the shelving units with lighting to avoid creating plants that might appear spindly. A cannabis plant is certain to grow at a slower pace if the lamps aren't kept within the ideal distance.
An alternative growth option is to rely on the fluorescent lights for the early seedling growth, germination, and cloning on a top shelving unit, and then at a later point transferred to the HPS to help with flowering / heavy vegetative growth.
Locate the HPS in a position which means that it isn’t likely to require adjustments in the future, and should rest in the highest possible location in the room or closet space. Most of the installations including the HPS aren't likely to need height adjustment for the lamps. Just make certain to mount the night to the ceiling or underside of shelf at the highest point, and if you're looking to get some of the plants in a closer position, you might want to look at placing them on a temporary structure, like a table, box, or shelf.
A solid and dependable shelving unit is all that is required in this type of set-up. An ideal size is likely to be in the region of 18 to 24 inches in width. The internal space is certain to benefit if covered with an aluminium foil (dull-side facing the room) or very bright white walls to help with reflecting the light back to the surface of the plant life. A white coloured shelf is also certain to help. Alternative options can include a space blanket, aluminized mylar, or similar materials. Avoid using mirrors since the glass is very likely to soak up the light.
If installing the hang shop-style lights you might want to use chains and ensure that they are able to rely on a mechanism that provides easy adjustment to ensure that they are kept at the ideal height above the plants (one or two inches). Lights kept at a greater distance aren't likely to provide as much benefit for the plants and this could result in the plants growing with spindly, long stems, and are likely to generate the desired bud at time of maturity. And that relates to the longer internode length, which concerns the stem length between the sets of leaves. A shorter length is certain to mean extra internodes, which means extra branches, so a plant is likely to offer a greater number of buds in limited space when it comes to harvest the plants.
Shelf gardening (also known as Sea of Green) offers the perfect opportunity to grow a high volume of plants in close proximity to each other.