Tell me what I'm doing wrong or could be doing better

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by abqjt, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. First timer here. 2 months into my first grow. Technically started out as just helping my old man with his meds, but I've taken over the project and I'm basically handling everything now. This will be long winded, but anyone willing to read through, I appreciate it and I'm trying to be as thorough as possible

    Strains (Seeds - all ordered online from Nirvana)
    • White Widow - feminized
    • White Rhino - regular
    • Bubblelicious - regular
    • Raspberry Cough - regular
    Grow area
    • Started with a 3'x3'x5' tall white mylar lined grow tent. (First two months)
    • Built a grow area with dedicated chambers - Veg (3'x4'x5' tall), Flower (4'x4'x5' tall), seed/clone (18"x18"x24" tall)
    • Seedlings - Solo Shot Cups
    • Small Plants - Solo Cups
    • Veg - I have 2 plants in 5 gallon buckets, 1 plant in a 7 gallon cloth smart pot
    • Flower - Not there yet, imagine I won't transplant again
    Nutrients - I'm mixing General Hydroponics from a kit I bought on Amazon. Measurements per 1 gallon of distilled water.
    • BioThrive Grow 5ml
    • BioRoot 5ml
    • CaMg 5ml
    • Bio Weed 5ml
    • Bio Marine 5ml
    Lights - I started with two 300 watt cheap LED lights from Amazon. As of today, I've got them under 2500 watts of cheap LEDs from Amazon. I bought a lux meter, only to find out that doesn't work for LED, so I'm just kinda guessing and checking. I've burnt some leaves, killed a couple small ones, but hey, no big deal, life goes on. Interestingly enough though, I've only damaged the plants with the CFL bulbs. Ultimately, my plan was listed below. But I'm not sure if I'm getting enough light with this setup or too much. I moved everything into my flower area tonight while I'm finishing building my new area, and put 2500 watts in there and that still doesn't seem that bright.
    • Seed/clone area - 300 watt Amazon LED
    • Veg area - 1000 watt cheap LED
    • Flower area - 1500 watt cheap LED
    Germination method - I'd say my germination rate at this point is about 80%. No real complaint there I guess. I didn't expect 100%.
    • Soil starter cubes in solo single shot size cups
    • Seed point down
    • Put in a tupperware, in a cardboard box to block light and set on top of my cable box to keep them warm.
    • Once they pop, I put the little cups under a couple 100w CFL bulbs for 18/6.
    • I give only distilled water, a couple times a day as the cube dries out pretty quick.

    Small plants - (What is this stage called? Early veg?)
    • I transplant the cubes into Happy Frog dirt in a regular size solo cup.
    • Continue giving only distilled water.
    • Once they're about 3-4" tall and have a few sets of leaves, I'm starting nutrients and switching them into my veg area with LED lights.

    Trimming/cloning -
    • I cut two clones from my largest plant about 2 weeks ago. Use Rootech cloning gel. Cut from near the base of the plant at a 45 degree angle, immediately scraped the skin, dipped in cloning gel, then popped in a starter cube which I immediately put into soil in a large solo cup. I trimmed off the large fan leaves. The first few days they looked very sad and I was sure they'd die, but as of this week, they look to be on the way up.
    • About 3 days ago, I decided to top the two large plants to see if that would encourage the other growth to speed up. It sure did! Overnight really. I did attempt to take the two tops and use them as clones. Not dead yet, but one of two looks pretty rough.
    • On one white widow plant, I didn't top it, but trimmed some VERY large fan leaves off to encourage better light penetration. Seems to be helping. Not sure how much I can trim without harming though.
    I'm running everything on a 18/6 light schedule. For flower I plan to drop to 12/12. Temps I'm trying to keep around 80 degrees, but that is harder than I thought it would be. I run a small fan, but think I need more air flow to cool things down.

    I've got 2 plants that I think will be ready to switch to flower in the next couple weeks. The 3rd large plant just isn't growing as fast. Interestingly enough, it is in the smart pot, while the others are in the plastic buckets.

    I need to figure out how to sex young plants. I've purchased a loupe and read online, but I'm not seeing anything obvious on the little plants I've got going that didn't come from feminized seeds.

    So, tell me, anything glaringly obvious that I'm doing wrong? I hope to use this thread as a bit of a grow journal as well to keep track of things to learn from as we go. Picture attached for sake of pictures.

    Attached Files:

  2. I'd put another fan for two . The busier the plant the more wind they need. It helps stop mold and bugs and dissapates the heat.
    How's your humidity?
    Checkout my grow journal its kind of similar

    Co2, LED, Sealed 4x4 picture grow journal
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  3. look for these on female plants little white hairs ,,the male as round balls that open to revel pollen sacs, plants look .great ,,,mac.. female-preflowers-cannabis-sm.jpg male-pre-flower-tiny-closeup.jpg
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  4. So in the new areas, I'm battling some new issues. Considering my extreme increase in light wattage from 600 to 2500, I'm dealing with much more heat. The two large plants are doing excellent, but drying out much faster. So they did get a little saggy one afternoon when I checked on them. Water perked them right back up.

    In my new clone/seedling/small veg area, same issue. Heat. 300 watts in a roughly 18"x20"x 24" tall area is a lot. Seedlings and established clones don't seem to be bleaching and aren't showing any signs of stress, but the 3 clones I started from topping the plants are pretty limp. Not sure if they're gonna make it. I've tried to move them away from the light and wind a bit to give them some rest.

    Humidity doesn't exist where I am. I can spray the plants down and they will be completely dry within 10 minutes. Legit desert here. I have seen a few little bugs, so I bought some organic neem oil which I need to mix up and spray.

    Fan leaves on the less bushy of my 3 large white widow plants are huge. I topped the plant and trimmed a couple big fan leaves off to get some light to the new growth underneath. For reference, from pinky to thumb, my hand is 9.5" across. Odd to me that the fan leaves are giant but the new growth is so slow on this plant, whereas the other two have much smaller leaves and many more future flower sites.


    I'm reconsidering my lighting setup. Is 2000-3000 watts of off brand LED way overkill in a flowering area 4'x4'x5'tall? I had originally thought of doing the 1000w in my 3x4x5tall veg area and the 1500 in the flower area. But I didn't like the lack of light getting to the sides at the optimal height with just the one light in the flower area. So I was half thinking of buying another 1000w, putting the 1500 by itself in the veg area and having two 1000w in the flower area. What do you guys think? Not sure if it is any help, but in the 4 days the plants have been under 2500w, I've seen about 2-4" in vertical growth, and no real way to quantify the filling out, but it has been decent.
  5. Are you going by the true wattage or the number that's advertised? Lots of leds will say 300 watts and be around 150. I've heard 60 watts per square foot is good for flowering. At 2000 true watts in a 4 x 4 you'd be at 125
  6. I have no way to know what the true wattage is, so I'm going by advertised wattage. Off brand LED from Amazon. Tricky to say what they actually are wattage-wise considering actual wattage is probably 250 or so, but LED isn't like standard lighting. So they are advertised as 1500w hps equivalent essentially. I figure being a cheap light pumped out in a low end factory is maybe half of what they claim? Maybe I'm giving them too much credit? Maybe not enough? Without the proper tools to test lumen output and such, I'm just playing a guessing game anyway. Just hoping other people have guessed this before me and are willing to share their knowledge

    I've read 60 watts per square foot also, my concern is light penetration and dispersion. I may have the right quantity, but too concentrated? Would I need to return and buy more smaller lights? Or move bigger lights up higher?
  7. Ya you'd need something to test it if there's no way to find it online. But They look pretty bushy so it seems like it's good
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  8. These are the lights I've got
  9. #10 MarcG420, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  10. Yeah I'm aware. Wattage doesn't equal intensity though. So is the general rule 60 watts of led lights? Or 60 with hps? Or is it just a guessing game without a way to measure actual lumens?
  11. 560w is good for a 4x4. Def not too much light. Watts are watts for either led or hps. It’s just a measurement of electricity. Efficacy is the measure of the lights power. It’s the amount of useable photons being sent out in a specific area or something I think? Something like that. Either way none of that matters. Those lights will get you about a 8-12” canopy is my guess. I’d try putting the strongest one dead center and then angle the others from corners. Then you’ll get some cross lighting and maybe a little more penetration. And keep your canopy thin and on point.
    And you’re pretty close to flip time plan for a 100-150% stretch. Double in size. And you need space for lights equipment etc....
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  12. #13 MarcG420, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
    Yeah, pretty much.

    What is actually useful to the plant is PAR (photosynthetic active radiation... or something along those lines). I’d make sure to have all three led’s in the flowering space though when you do start flowering as you’ll likely need all three. It is less than the recommended 60W/sq ft though 4x4 is 16 square feet, and that would be 636w to give you 60w / square foot.

    Edit: pardon the crap math lol, extremely tired right now. 960 watts would be 60w/square foot.

    First to third grow. From beginner to novice lol.
  13. Wow alright so I actually need a good bit more light.

    So what is the draw to LED if I need to run the same actual wattage as an hps? Why not just have one 1000w hps light for a couple hundred bucks vs spending $1000 on enough LED to equal almost 1000 actual watts?
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  14. The classic dilemma really.

    You wouldn’t really need that much, I’d probably just give it a go with all three led’s and then add more if you aren’t happy with how it’s going with them.

    LED’s last much longer than hps bulbs so initial investment is more but it evens out in the long run due to not really needing quite as much wattage as hps and not needing to replace the bulbs/light as often.

    You should replace hps bulbs once a year minimum and led’s could last many years.

    First to third grow. From beginner to novice lol.
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  15. I'll have to do some reading on cob and quantum board. Heard the term cob, but never the other. Know nothing about either.

    I can't really use all 3. I'm gonna have to buy more. Reason being, I've got separate chambers for different stages. I've got the little light in my small cupboard with clones and seedlings. The other two are currently in my flower area, which is really just the veg area right now. But the veg area is prepped and ready for me to move the smaller plants into, while I turn the two big plants to flower.

    So what about lights all around? Like what if I picked up a 300 watt for each wall, and then kept the 1000 watt overhead? Then I could put the 1500w in the veg area by itself since it is slightly smaller. I'm realizing training is probably the better way to go, but I didn't do much of that at all with these because I didn't know anything about it.

    I don't know. I've never grown before. My old man used to grow 25 years ago, but it was with the sun in a green house. So everything I know, I'm reading online. Have no first hand experience. I do feel like the LED has to be more efficient in overall power because I got the plants to where they are now in 2 months with only two of the 300w lights. I didn't put the other large lights on them until last weekend.
  16. Use actual watts not mfg printed watts. You’ll need a good true 400 watts for flower. 600 is better for a 4x4. If you hit that number no matter what your lights are you should do ok.
  17. I've ordered more lights. Some well reviewed but still cheap cob lights. Should put me in the 900w range for my flower area. Veg will be low, probably just 150-250 watts for now. I've dumped too much money into this for now. I've got to let these first plants run their course. I'm thousands into this whole ordeal. The idea was to save money for him long run since he goes and buys a gram or two a day. But if I keep pumping cash into it, it will take years to pay itself off.
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  18. Okay. Lights in, did some training on the plants, modified the grow area a bit, installing inline fans and such for air exchange and heat control. Got close to 900w actual in the flower area. Plan to flip them in a couple days. Want to let them de-stress since I was moving them around and tugging on them today. Plus I need to run dedicated outlet boxes instead of extension cords and power strips. This has turned into quite the ordeal. Way more than originally planned.

    So my question now - how close should the lights be to the canopy? I'd say right now, they're probably 18-24" away from most of the tops. I don't want to bleach things, but don't want them lacking on light just due to distance. Here is how it looks as of tonight


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