If you have Microsoft Excel, you can download a free CO2 calculator to assist in planning and implementing CO2 in your indoor garden from;
These days, CO2 is best known as the "greenhouse gas" that traps the sun's heat in earth's atmosphere. It is responsible for global warming and a host of environmental changes that include altered weather patterns and rising tides. CO2 causes these problems by insulating the earth from heat loss and reflecting some of the sun's heating rays back onto the earth. From the previous information, you know that plants require CO2 to manufacture food within their leaves. Many of you may have also heard that adding CO2 to the growing environment can significantly increase the growth rates of most plants. This is 100% true. However, managing CO2 is tricky because of the factors preceding this topic. For example, if you are constantly exhausting the air from your greenhouse or grow room, how would you supply a never ending supply of CO2? You could add a CO2 cylinder with a regulator as shown on the previous page. The regulator can be set to slowly "leak" CO2 into the air flow of a reciprocating fan in order to evenly distribute it across the growing environment. You could hook the regulator up to an electrical valve called a "solenoid" which is then controlled by either a timer (timed to go on when the exhaust fans are off), or to release every X minutes for X minutes (another use for a cycle timer). You could hook the solenoid valve up to a CO2 measurement and delivery system that would deliver CO2 once the levels dropped below those you set as minimum. There are many crafty ways to add CO2 to your garden. The trick is to make it cost effective and safe. CO2 is not a gas you want to inhale in high concentrations. Plants will only benefit from so much before you wind up choking them with too much.
CO2 is measured much the same way as nutrient in solution, that is, PPM (Parts Per Million). Most gardens and crops will benefit significantly when the concentration of available CO2 is kept between 1000 and 1600 PPM. You will need a CO2 test kit or meter to accurately monitor this value. However, you can use the charts that come with CO2 injection systems to determine how to achieve these levels using their equipment. Without using an integrated measurement/injection system, you will need to determine the size of your room in cubic feet, and using this volume, ask the CO2 injection system manufacturer to specify the right setting along the lines of "set the regulator to "X" PSI and open the valve for "X" minutes every "X" minutes between exhaust cycles. Since every CO2 system is inherently different, you will have to rely on the manufacturers recommendations to insure accuracy and proper delivery of this growth boosting gas to your growing area. CO2 can also be generated by using propane and natural gas burners, since these gases result in the discharge of CO2 and water vapor when burned. Of course, keeping an open flame in any unsupervised area is dangerous, so these kinds of CO2 generation systems must be operated with caution according to the manufacturer's recommended operating procedures. The advantages to using a natural gas CO2 generator include lower operational costs and they can often double as heaters for colder area applications. If you are growing indoors, the heat generated by these units is usually a problem that neutralizes their effectiveness since, to exhaust the additional heat, you will also wind up exhausting the additional CO2. If you are a beginner, I strongly advise leaving CO2 until when you gain experience and have your garden completely under control. There are a number of excellent books on the use of CO2 for gardening.
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