The ultimate Dollar Store grow guide!!!!

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by SexyStaci, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. #1 SexyStaci, Mar 27, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2009
    First let me warn you, this is a light hearted idea, based on the same question I've read over and over on many growers sites. This question is the one that professional growers cringe at, it's a standard question, "I want to start growing, but I have no money, what should I do?". And it's usually followed by a specific sub-question like "Can I use dirt from the yard?". So what I intend to do is create a thread that is dedicated to the ghetto grower, you know who you are!!

    Now I realize that most people on here are really into what they do. They know about hps vs. mh results, and ph levels, and all that good stuff, but I think it's overwhelming to people new to the sport. Not to mention every other thread on here is dedicated to those people, and those questions. I want this to be about, no money but a desire to start a new hobby. So here goes!

    I spend a lot of time at the dollar store because I have one near me. I believe you can purchase most things from there to start an OK grow. Will you get dank buds dripping with resin? Well no, probably not. But it's a start to get an idea, and learn the little things for almost no money. And I just think it's fun, and interesting.

    Right now (spring) the dollar store (dollar general, not the 99 cent store), has lots of things for gardening. Start with pots. They have some cute 8-10" pots for $2, these will get you started, then you can use 5 gallon buckets if and when the time is right. You can usually find those free somewhere, you might have them already. Make sure they are new or at least clean, no car wax or chemicals in them. Bakeries throw away tons of them. Drill a bunch of holes in the bottom so it can drain excess water, use a nail and hammer if you don't have a drill:)

    Second thing, soil. They have bags of soil for around $5, about the same as anyone. But this is a dollar store grow so I assume you will be limited. Potting soil mix is usually ok for your first grow. Don't let everyone tell you how bad Miracle grow soil is. Just remember, you have no money, and can't afford all the fertilizers and chemicals you need for that kind of grow! Get the kind with the little white flecks in them, it's called perlite, it helps drain the soil so the roots don't drown.
    Above the soil they have "peat pots". They come in a package of like 10-20. They are $1 for a package. You will use these to plant your seeds (from a bag of good weed). They look like little brown pots stacked like cups. Get a couple packs. they are easy to transplant when they are growing, and you don't have to deal with damaging the roots. The plants actually eat them eventually. Also they have what's called a growers tray. It's a little pan with a plastic bubble lid on top. They are $5 I think. You'll use this to start your seeds, we'll get into that in a minute.
    Fertilizer, well they only had one kind at the dollar store when I checked. Good old Miracle grow. It comes in a box, it's $5. It will last you the rest of your natural life. It's a never ending supply because it's mad strong. Be careful with it or you will fry your plants! Are there better fertilizers? Hell yes. But it'll do and it's cheap. Very cheap.

    Lights. Ok here we go. They had a bunch of different kinds. They have long tube flourescents, and small CFL'S. From what I've seen CFL's do the trick. CFL's are the new light bulbs that have the twisty end on them, the high efficiency bulbs you've seen everywhere lately. They come in various sizes and tones. My educated guess is that it's best to buy the highest wattage in a cool tone (more blue, warm is more red). They are about $5 each and will be your biggest investment. But be happy because when you eventually get a good light the bloody things will cost $50-$80 per bulb. And get a ballast (light socket) for them. I have one in the basement that I assume would work. It holds three bulbs and the light can be swiveled. It was $10, I use it for the laundry room, but it could easily be used to lighting plants. It already has a cord to plug in, hence no wiring on your part!
    Also get a small fan to blow on the plants once they are growing. They had 8" desk fans for $6 the last time I was there, and they are very cute. I bought one just because it was little and I had to have it:) This moves air and makes your plants stalks strong.

    There are a few tools that make life easier as well, these aren't necessary, but they help and they are cheap. A little garden hand shovel, they're $1, they keep your hand clean and off of the soil, A big tupperware container, they are like 20 gallons, you probably have one with a lid. I use them to keep water in. It's best to leave tap water out for a day or two to get the chlorine out of it. An aquarium air pump with the stone bubbler on the end. You may have one from an old fishtank. If you don't, somebody does. just make sure you clean it. You can use this to aerate the water container, also try to snag the aquarium heater and you can use that to keep the water warm as well. Clean, warm,airy (bubbling) water is a good thing. You also want a spray bottle $2. And if you're really into it, get some Salt-free Seltzer water to spray the leaves with. It has CO2 in it and supposedly helps the plants breath, since they do breath CO2. Does it really make a difference? Probably not. But it's only 50 cents a bottle, and it makes you happy. I have a really good set up and I still spray the plants with it every other day with seltzer water. Where else can you get satisfaction for half a buck? Oh, and a roll of aluminum foil, get a big roll. It's probably like $3, or use the one in your kitchen drawer.

    Ok Let's start growing. Fill the peat pots with soil, and squirt them till they are moist. Plant one seed per peat pot. Bury it just below the surface, not an inch down. Do this with a few, let's say 6. That way at least a few should grow. Try to get a good fat seed that is dark in colour. Light or white seeds won't grow. Put them in the growers tray and put the lit over it. keep this in a dark, warm place, and keep them damp, not dripping. You will check them 50 times a day so you'll know when they sprout. Once they sprout and look ok, you can remove them from the tray and move them into the growing area.

    Since this is a ghetto grow I assume it will be in a closet. Make sure it's clean, if there is carpet in it, get rid of it. Once it's clean, tape the foil on the walls. Do your best to not wrinkle it all up. Go lengthwise and tape it up section by section. This will be reflective and help with the lighting. A mirror would work too if that's all you have. Hang the light so you can raise or lower it when you want. Use chain, or wire, or coat hangers. Keep the lights about 10"-12" above the plants once they are in the closet. You can leave the lights on 24 hours a day. It won't hurt them.
    Put the plants in the closet and give them water when the peat pots look dry, usually every other, or every 3 days. When the roots start popping out of the peat pots, carefully transplant them into the bigger pots and fill the pot with dirt. Don't bury them too deep, leave room for the roots to grow. Spary the leaves with seltzer water every other day, or when you water them. Once they get a little bigger and have 5 leaves on them, turn the fan on LOW for a few hours a day, make sure it's not busting the stalks, just a nice breeze at first. Later it can be left on high all the time.
    As for fertilizer, 99% of the time MG or other soil mixes have nutrients in them already. Don't worry about adding more until you see some yellowing on the bottom leaves. Then mix your fertilizer about half, or a little less than half strength. Test first on one plant. If it goes ok, then you can do the rest of them. Do this about once a week, or every other week, depending on how you plants are doing.

    By this point, you have had over a month or two to read the threads and gain knowledge and understanding of what you are doing. When your ready to bud the plants, switch the lights to 12hrs on and 12 per day. Use a timer for ease and consistency, they are $5. They will start budding and you can kill the boys and keep the girls. That info can be found easily on here. By this point you may decide to get better things, better lights and soil and all that good stuff. But you'll at least have some experience and you didn't spend much. Other than the dirt, everything is reusable. Just clean it very well after each grow, use SOAP and rinse it several times.
    I added it up, and all together the grand total was $64 for everything. I assure you this is very very cheap. This cost was based on 4 plants. Like I said before, everything is reusable. So on your next grow you can get better soil and fertilizers, but until then, read read read. the more you know the better you'll grow!!!

    Here are a few pics of the products I was talking about:):)

    Attached Files:

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  2. There were a few things i disagree with but good beginer guide none the less
    +rep for taking the time:wave:
  3. Great Job! Hopefully this helps some people who don't want to spend money on something that may not work, and for those who can't afford to buy better equipment. Every 1/4 you don't have to buy should go towards improving your equipment. :hello:

  4. this will help at least one kid with a dream we can hope get started and stop getting scammed
  5. #5 SexyStaci, Mar 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2009
    I actually remember doing all this in like 1985! hahahaha, I would've lived for the dollar store! I think I went to Woolworth's and a hardware store to get my stuff:) Anyway to all who actually read this for knowledge, Walmart, Kmart, and Lowes are better places to get starter things, But this was based on the absolute lowest dollar point I could think of to actually grow plants. Besides, I was bored today and I type 65 wpm:)
    You know, I try to do everything possible to help the kids:)
  6. i didnt read the whole thing, but about how long into it do you add the miracle grow plant food???
  7. where can you get a track light like that for $10? im searchin around, any tips?

    i think im going to go with a CFL setup, but i dont have any lamps and im having trouble finding cheap ones..
  8. Check your city for a building materials recycling place. Habitat for humanity sometimes has stores like this.
  9. That light was either from walmart or lowes, and it was no more than $15 when I bought it. It looked like it would work to me because cfl's stick out about 3 inches from it, that way you'll get all the side-light as well. Good luck!
  10. Cut it down to a 1/4 of what the box says, test on one plant, and use during flowering, the MG soil will feed for 3 months without hopefully salts buildup. Good reason to fill a small trash container like a kitchen one with water and the aerator, etc and let it sit for a few days to adjust the water naturally, air does wonders for roots, like co2 does for the photo period.
    And yes with all the money you save, down the road you can improve your equipment to better suit higher yield and potent grows. I started with MG soils for 2 years and had some serious issues, but all were able to be solved before moving into ebb system. Nice tutorial.:hello:
  11. Great post for the "thrifty" minded individual.

    Lots of good tips in here, but one thing I cannot stress enough is DON'T use aluminum foil! The only worse thing you could possibly employ would be black paint.

    Aluminum foil only has a reflectivity rating of between 30 and 55%, with the extreme chance of forming hot spots that will burn your plants. You would literally be better using nothing (unless your walls are black)

    Your best, cheapest alternative is to throw a fresh coat of the brightest flat white paint on it you can find (do not use gloss or semigloss paints). White paint has a reflectivity of up to the low 80% range. Significantly better than the tinfoil.

    If for some reason you can't or don't want to paint it, and keeping with the dollar store theme of the post, you can get some of the Mylar wrapping paper at the dollar store. Pick up the kind that looks like it has a silver foil on the inside. Many growers report great results using this.

    I personally have not used this yet, but I am thinking about picking some up along with a light meter and testing it, then I will purchase a roll of the "Good" mylar when I do the switch from soil to the Ebb and Flow system I have my eye on. test that as well and see if there is a difference.

    The downside to this vs white paint is that white painted walls are way easy to clean, and if heat is in issue, mylar reflects 90% of the heat back into the room as well rather than absorbing some of it like the white painted walls do (to a degree).

    Just my two cents. :)

  12. #12 SexyStaci, May 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2009
    Although it's taken a while to respond to the above, I don't buy into the hot-spot theory myself. It's a bunch of BS fabricated by the mylar industry. I defy anyone here to show me a hotspot on a plant on a photo!
  13. Great Post!
    We don't have a dollar store over here, but we have Euro2.
    Over the past week I have picked up peat pots, garden twist ties, a small fan, and today, tomato liquid ferts (2-2-6). I love that place.
  14. Where do you get this stuff from? Aluminium foil reflects better than 90% of incident light, and that tale about hotspots is just an Old Wives´Tale - you haven´t experienced it, zerobuds, cos it doesn´t happen.
    And in the spirit of this thread, aluminium foil is available anywhere and is DEAD CHEAP, so is highly recommended.
  15. #15 cantharis, May 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2009
    Hi sexystaci, like the idea of a cheapo growing thread. +rep. OK, I put a lot of time and money into my grow. I have no problem with folks who don´t have the cash but want to grow. But get pissed off by the flow of ´how do I grow with no effort´ questions.
    As you say, with a bit of ingenuity, and a bit of thought and effort, you can do a lot.

    And glad to see you have pics.
  16. #16 Acorn327, May 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2009
    + rep for this post. my roommate and i did a ghetto grow last semester and it taught us so much. we pretty much messed up everything while growing, which makes me happy we spent about 20 dollars on the grow. it is much easier to learn from actually doing and seeing everything that gets talked about in grow guides.

    now that we have a good grasp of what we did horribly wrong we can plan a legit grow. i believe that a ghetto grow is a nice option for someone who wants to learn about growing without a huge investment. spending such a little amount of money makes the mistakes sting a lot less. we messed up at least on thing along every step of the grow and still ended up with a small amount of bud(like 4-8 g's) off of two plants less than a foot tall each, grown in awful conditions. all the experience has done is make me excited for what we will be able to do with proper lighting, soil, nutrients and higher quality seeds.
  17. haha ghetto grow "guide" but bitch you forgot those mylar emergency blankets from waalmart and quite a few other things, good effort in to making this guide none the less.:smoking:
  18. It gets really tired answering the same question again and again. I'm with you, I don't reward laziness. I'm a member on several forums besides this one, and every single day someone makes the same post, 'I have a sprout growing, now what should I do? Ps. I only have $30 to spend.' Now I personally spend that much on a bag of soil! So while I was at my local dollar store it hit me, you can actually grow plants from what's available easily and cheaply. When I say 'grow plants' I'm not talking about scientifically growing plants perfectly. I'm talking about just maintaining a few plants. I'd say most of the people that try to grow, enevitably fail and give up on the whole thing. So this was my small contribution to those people, and also an easy way to answer the same question over and over!

    Somehow a lot of people want to grow plants, but just won't read stickies, or even google. It's kind of odd. I wish I had the internet when I started growing. I used to drive almost an hour to get a copy of 'HighTimes', and hope there was some info on growing in that issue. Most of the things I learned about horticulture, I learned from reading 'home and garden' type magazines. In my eyes, a plant is a plant. There are a million things to learn about each species, but the concept is always the same. Soil, light, water, nutrients. The basics if you will. Once you've done that, and had even marginal success, it sparks a fire in you to learn more and more. That's when you start pulling decent yeilds.

    I also wanted to state my opinion on all the 'wives tales' that continue swirling through these threads. ie, You can use fluorescent tubes to grow almost any plant for a while, you can, in fact, use auluminum foil to reflect light, especially if you are careful putting it up. Reflecting light is reflecting light. We all know better products are available, most experienced growers already have that stuff, but a great amount of people here do not. It's superfluous to respond by saying, hid's will grow better plants, and fox farms soil is the best, I know that, everyone here that has a continuing grow knows all of that. There's nothing like stating the obvious. Once again, that's not the purpose of this thread.

    Also I'd like to state that this is not the way I grow. I've been around for a long time and was growing plants before half of these kids were born, but this is how I started. Right now I'm running a 400w hps w/mh conversion bulbs, I just bought a new 600w digital mh-hps, and at this moment I'm in the process of bartering for a huge hydroponics system with a 1000w digital, purchased by someone that had a lot of money, but just never got the hang of it, or READ anything available to him. I am also designing my own series of lights that incorporate LED's and CFL's under a large 4' reflector to veg 4-6 plants (I was an engineer for 18 years and I'm the type to build it just for something to do) I still want to grow at least 6-10 soil plants because I personally like the taste better than hydroponics. But I'm in the process of aquiring prescriptions from people so I can grow more and actually have a legit business doing what I love to do. And I love growing passionately, and my interests are only in designer stains with a twist, some flavoured, some rum cured, etc. There are cheaper commercial products available, but I'd like to have a small niche market for what I produce, and I know for a fact it's out there. In my eyes, there is nothing like a tight, sticky, coconut/rum flavoured indica bud before I go to bed:) I hope it inspires a few new people to learn a new hobby, and one day produce a killer product. If one person does what I wrote, has success, and then advances to a more pro-level, then the hour I spent typing this was worthwhile. At least in my heart it was.
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  19. The only thing better than a young sexy female who knows/loves our sport is an experienced middle aged sexy female.:love:

    Better than porn i say!!
  20. I'm not quite middle aged, but I'm rapidly approaching! :devious:
    Thank god for Botox and plastic surgeons, I'll never look old, regardless of my age:)

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