Noob grow, planning ahead

Discussion in 'Hydroponic Growing' started by Indyca, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Alright, here we go. My first post here on GC. I've done quite a bit of looking around and the community seems to be very welcoming, so hello! In 2 weeks time (waiting for the tax check) I will be able to begin growing, but until then I am in the research stage, so please be patient and I hope you will stick around!
    I am starting my journey with gardening in the hydroponic section. I have done weeks of constant research and asking around (i'm lucky enough to have family in MI who are caregivers). I will start with 4 plants, most likely beginning from small clones that I will get from said family. If not clones, I will probably be freaking out later on some seed advice, but that's a ways down the road. 
    I have not quite decided on whether to go with individual 5 gallon buckets for each plant, or to purchase a large tub and have the 4 plants spread out in the lid with the one reservoir. I am leaning towards the latter, just to save money on water pumps and air pumps and the like. 
    Nevertheless, if I have 4 buckets, I will purchase enough air power to have 2 stones in each. If I use the tub, i'll just splurge and get a more powerful air pump and split the line. The more O2 the better, right?
    I also want to do the drip method (RDWC?), as I have read that it has massive effects on root production and health. That would include buying a water pump(s) and the proper tubing. 
    I don't know what it's called (water flow splitter?!?) but I imagine something with an input for the water line and seperates into 4 other lines with shutoff valves. This would help me maximize my water pump usage, I can buy one pump and run the tubing to all 4 plants.
    I will get 6-10" net pots for my plants. Probably the 6", I am going to be limited on space and light, so i'll keep my plants small. Hydroton rocks, rockwool cubes for starters, all that good stuff for the plants. If anybody has suggestions or tips on this part especially, they would be greatly appreciated, I'm not very well versed in that area.
    I have no grow box/tent yet... I think I'm just going to DIY and slap some 2x4s together and make a nice frame. Plywood for a floor. Grab some mylar, throw it around there, and i'm pretty sure i'll be set up there. Tips here greatly appreciated as well.
    Here comes lighting...
    So. This is where i get very interested. I understand that 6500k is for veg, and is high in the blue end of the spectrum. 2700k is the yellow-red end of the spectrum and is geared more towards flowering. (correct?) Can you mix both ends of this spectrum during the whole life of the plant? Does it make a difference, bad, good, any problems other than heat or power?
    CFL vs. HPS. vs. MH
    CFL, cost efficient, uses a lot less energy, does not require a ballast, less heat, blah blah blah. I've read that CFL is sometimes better for veg state than the HPS or MH? 
    HPS. Lots of heat, but lots of light. Very good for flowering?
    MH, mimicks the sun, lots of light. Very good for flowering? How does it do for Veg? 
    100w per plant is rule of thumb I hear. Well, here is what I'm thinking for my space (draw in your head with me for a minute...) I want to hang a 400w (or larger, if I can afford it) HPS light above with proper ventilation. With this, I will place a collection of CFL's around the plants area so I can make sure there is light penetrating everywhere. Anybody have any previous experience with this? I always see the more light the better, so I'll just go balls to the wall.
    This is just my hardware post. I'll come back in a bit with a Nutes post. 
    Thank you in advance to all who are going to positively criticize! 

  2. Cfl only good for rooting clones or small scale grows, produces poorer quality buds as well. Definitely go with MH for veg and HPS for flowering. Some people do use both, they are called dual spectrum bulbs, they have the properties of hps and mh in a single bulb.
    Its not so much how many watts per plant but more so how many watts per square foot. So work out your area you'll be working with and go from there. Say you have 4x4ft area to work with, 600w would be perfect, some people even cram a 1000w in to that area assuming you can cool it efficiently enough.
    Yes you may use cfl for the lower parts of the plant (im assuming you are going to grow them fairly big in that case?) . As you say, more light the better. But seriously put most/all of your lighting budget to proper HID's. 
    As for the construction of your home made tent, just be sure you build it with no light leaks, and make SURE its well ventilated and has ample airflow, this is EXTREMELY important. 
  3. My area to work with is just about 3x4, so a 600w will be my investment. Is it better to get a ballast and reflector seperate? or get the ones that come put together? I could probably buy two of the Hydrofarm lights for the price I would find a ballast and reflector, and have one an hps and one an mh...
    For my growing area, yes, I know ventilation is extremely important. Could you recommend a post or somewhere I can find a good resource on that? like cpu fans and how to power them, etc.
    Thanks so much for the advice! 
  4. Imo just get what ever you can find the best deal on, for your first time grow you wont be able to tell the difference between an expensive digi ballast and a cheap generic one.
    I'd recommend a proper inline fan over a small pc fan. Canfan make high quality and relatively quiet fans, i've had two for 4 years, never a problem yet, and like i said, they a fairly quiet for how much air they move.
    You need to work out your cubic foot, then match it to a fan accordingly. using it to suck and create a negative pressure, then you wont need an intake fan, it will be passive. Don't forget a carbon filter, it is a must if you wan't to keep your house from smelling like cannabis.  
    Also make sure you have ample airflow in the tent itself via oscillating fans.
  5. Just my 2 cents worth...but your better off going a digital ballast as they run MH globes much better than the old magnetic ballasts. I have a 400w magnetic ballast that I run a MH globe off in my veg tent and it always takes ages to start, sometimes a couple of tries so I run it 24/7 so as not to have to worry about it. My 600w digital ballast for my 4'x4' flower tent has no trouble starts instantly be it MH or HPS. And it's only a cheaper one off eBay. As for fans I run sunon 120mm fans, 1 in 1 out. You can get them so they plug straight in the wall, move plenty of air for a 4x4' tent. Better then CPU fans as you don't need a power supply to convert to 12v. And CPU fans don't move enough air for a 600, I use them with my veg tent and 400w light and it's barely aqequate. As u mad? said good air flow in the tent is super important. I have 2 40cm oscillating fans, 1 below the canopy and 1 above in opposite corners, the top fan blows towards the outake fan.Good luck manSent from my C6903 using Grasscity Forum mobile app
  6. And why not save all that cash you'll spend building a rwdc setup and just grow in coco in as bigger pots as can. Heaps cheaper and you can get seriously good growth rates and harvest out of it. My girls in veg will grow 1.5"-2" a day. And the buds you grow will only be as good as the grower not the method used to grow them. And I'd stick to individual pots unless you do get 100% female clones as if you have to remove any males or herms you will disturb the root zone.Sent from my C6903 using Grasscity Forum mobile app
  7. In regard to the grow area itself, I would recommend just buying a tent that's already set up. I built a box last year, and it was OK, but it was a little ugly, and a lot of things I had to do ended up costing quite a bit of money. I just got a 5'X5' tent off ebay for $160, so a smaller one can probably be had for significantly less. It was so much easier, just unpack it, put it together and BOOM, Done! The vents are already there, the exhaust holes, lightproof, and it looks good.
    I will agree, you must get an HID. And honestly, I wouldn't bother with the small CFL's around the side. With a 600W you will be putting out a ton of light, and I feel the hassle of arranging and constantly moving all those CFL's doesn't offset the extra benefit of whatever wattage they provide.
  8. I don't know that I will have the budget to shoot for the digi ballasts for the first go around, but I will for sure upgrade when it gets time. 
    So, a 24/7 MH for veg would be sufficient in my small space? I will probably have the 600W, so I think it would be plenty of power, especially if I do use the extra bottom lighting.
    And let me go back and change what I said before, Not an RDWC, just plain old DWC. I won't have them circulating through a res, all individual, so that is a lot less work. I want to stick with hydro, when I get to soil i'm going to grow all organic, which is an investment.
    I've got it down to where i'm spending about 20$ to build each bucket, which is not bad at all. I want to revisit my design so you guys can follow:
    5 gallon bucket with a 10" net pot inside, filled 3/4 with hydroton and a root cube for clone/seed. Bucket will have a water gauge on it so I can manage the amount of water, and will also have a spout on the bottom for easy draining. I will have a plethora of air stones to use (the more O2 the better!) and matching air pumps. I will have a small individual water pump in each bucket that pump about 40gph, these will be run to the top of the bucket as drip lines to feed the roots. I hope to build a small floor/frame out of 2x4's to raise the buckets off of the ground for even easier handling. 
    As for above, definitely at least one 600W fixture with interchangeable HPS/MH bulbs. MH will be used 24/7 for veg, and HPS will be used for 12/12 flower. I will have multiple CFLs, and I was just reading about making light frames out of PVC. I think I'll make a couple stands that hold a couple lights and place them strategically in the grow space so I can have better light spread under the canopy.
    I want to do a SOG/SCROG, but don't quite understand how it is used. Any links/advice on that?
    Thank you all for the tips!! I love GC, ya'll are very helpful, especially to the newbies. Keep it comin!! :)
  9. This advise is assuming you have the money.
    MH/HPS 600w Air cooled. 15l/m air pump for EACH 5 gallon bucket.
  10. Thanks Turbo. I didn't know the size air pump to use, but now I do!
  11. I even use 35 L/m airpumps per 5gal bucket, the more air the merrier!!
    Go to a reputable hydro store. They likely have a used section where you can get decent, older stuff for cheap. That's how I got my first setup.
    You are fooling yourself for $20 a bucket, on paper it sounds right, but in real life.... not even close.
  13. Hence the name, I live in the indy area, where good hydro stores are quite rare. I'm stuck with my resources at the local Lowes and for my equipment. 
    Should I do the individual bucket method? Or one large tub with multiple net pots? It's starting to sound like the individual buckets aren't worth it to me....
  14. Well, as promised, I am starting my op. I've got two Purple Kush bag seeds germinated and in rockwool cubes in two 6" net pots in a 12 gallon tub. I have 2 VERY large air stones and two air lines just bubbling, one of each directly under each net pot in the water. I'm sorry I can't provide pics yet, I have no access to a good camera, but I shall soon. I have a 3rd net pot in the tub, but as of now I'm still waiting on other seeds to germ. 
    I'm using 2 65 watt CFL's, one 6500k and one 2700k. I want to get a 400w HPS/MH before Flowering starts, but that is if the budget will allow. 
    GH Flora nutes line, with Grow, Bloom, and Micro. Keeping it simple for now. I am still without a ppm and ph meter, but I have not started using nutes yet, still a few days to go. 
    I also want to go buy a water pump so I can pump water from the tub over top to run a top feed drip line. QUESTION!!?? Can you over water the roots in the hydroton rocks? Like, say I ran more of a small stream instead of a drip line, would I be drowning the roots? I wouldn't think so considering they grow down into the reservoir anyways. Another thing I was thinking about doing- The lid of my tub is indented, so the edges are raised. I was thinking about flooding the lid and letting it drain through the net pots and hydroton. Does that make sense?
    I'm excited ya'll, the process has officially started. Please help me out!! lol. 
    PEACE!  :bongin:

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