You don’t need much to start growing cannabis, but if you want to grow GOOD cannabis, you need to create an adequate growing environment.
All YOU NEED is a light…Right?
When recreational marijuana hit Arizona, I was ready to hit the ground running. I had a tent, light, and nutrient line ready to check out in my Amazon cart when Drogado_del_Gato and I decided to run with this grow series. Home growers started offering up clones and before I knew it, I had two beautiful ladies hanging out in my living room under a fluorescent photography lamp. All you need is a light…RIGHT??
Now, in our third installment, I have a tent, LED grow lamp, nutrient line, and watering system in place. Arizona has an amazing winter season, so the garage is neither too warm, nor too cold during this time. It’s like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it’s just right, right now. Big thanks to the crew at Sea of Green Hydroponics Shop, Volt Lighting/Volt Grow, Algas Pacific, and Dynomyco for hooking us up with most of the grow necessities.
The big question is…what does the grow look like now?
5’ x 5’ x 7’ Grow Tent
Brand: Gorilla Grow Tent Model: Complete Heavy-Duty 1680D Reflective Grow Tent (with 1’ extension to make it 8’)
Note: There is a LITE version of the Gorilla Tent that is less expensive.
I have run many tents in the past and when I took this tent out of the packaging, it was very simple and although it fit snug, it was easy to get the canvas tent around the frame. I have struggled with tents from the internet in the past, but this was a breeze to put up. I have to mention that this tent also included a 12” extension. This allows me to bring my LED all the way up and turn the brightness down.
440W – Full Spectrum LED Grow Light
Brand: Volt Lighting Model: VL-1 LED Grow Light
Compact full spectrum LED grow light for plants in the flowering or vegetative stages of growth.
High-light output for vegetative and smaller flowering setups
Samsung and OSRAM LEDs
Full-Spectrum White Light
Built-In Dimming Control
I have mainly used HPS in past grows. This LED is BRIGHT! Using it at full strength and only 18” above the plants dried them out and dulled their color. This is in vegetative state – I pulled the lights up to 2.5’ above the plants and turned the lights down to 50% and they are doing stellar.
When I flower, I will amp it up to 100%. I noticed that there is an ethernet port…can we control the dim throughout the day? Sunrise…sunset…love for the plants. There are red LEDs planted intermittently for flowering.
T5 – LED Vegetative Lights
Brand: Barrina Model: LED T5 Single Fixture 4ft, 2200ml, 6500k, 20W
I have always used fluorescent lamps for my vegetative area, but they always run a little hot. I loved my T5 fixture because I could get blue and red spectrum bulbs and change what my plants received. The heat and the cost were not my favorite and I always knew that LEDs would be the next big thing.
For $48.99, you get a six pack of these lights. They all connect together and can run off of one switch. I bolted them to the bottom of an old Ikea table and created a clone, seedling, veg area. Although I only ran 4 lights, I will be putting all six in there. They are small and bright, but I feel there needs a wall of light.
Although I like this cheap option for veg lights, I would look at Barrina for more grow light options. More spectrum means better growth.
5 Gallon Pots
Brand: Smart Pot Model: Fabric Pot #5
I have used plastic pots, plastic bags, and a multitude of fabric pots in past grows. For a home grow of soil or coco, the fabric pots allow for direct air to pass into the soil. I feel that plastic pots allow moisture to get trapped in the root ball. Using Fabric pots also allows for auto-trimming the roots (aerating).
Saucers with Risers
Brand: SquareFarmer Model: 10-inch Plant Pot Saucer Plant Riser Pot Elevator
You need a tray to catch your runoff. You need to lift your plants off the ground so they don’t sit in their waste water. The square farmer has included both features in one fantastic tray.
Clip Fans – 6”
Brand: Hurricane Model: HGC736520 Classic Series Clip Fan
In my larger grows, I have always used Hurricane fans to secure to the sides for moving air. Air movement is very important in the grow room. We are not just moving heat around (disbursement), but we are moving the air around the plants to make the plants stronger.
My thought is that by keeping fans rotating on your vegetative plants, you strengthen the plants because they have to fight the wind. If they are getting stronger, they are also not stretching. Younger plants will reach for the light because that’s all they know.
I keep fans on my flowering plants because it can help keep pests away, but air circulation is very important in your room.
Brand: Govee Model: Indoor Hygrometer Thermometer
Smart Humidity Temperature Gauge with Large LCD Display, Notification Alert with Max/Min
I use two temperature monitors in my rooms. I want to see what the conditions are at my light source and what my conditions are at the root zone.
This two-pack also connects to an app so that you can monitor the temps and also record the min and max temps for 2 years.
Brand: Homeries Model: 4 Pack 16oz empty clear glass spray bottles
Spray bottles are essential for applying foliar sprays to the plants. There are always at least 3 spray bottle options in the grow:
R/O or Filtered Water – Light Drink Give the plants a mist in the morning or during a heat spell.
Nheem Oil – Pest Repellent A mixture of Nheem oil, water, and Dish soap
Seaweed – Foliar Feed Algas Pacifc NPKelp and Silica Mixture
Brand: Fiskars Model: Micro-Tip, non-stick blades
I have tried so many other pruners…I love Fiskars. These are coated for non-stick…hope this won’t rub off on my plants.
Brand: Hanna Model: GroLine Hydroponics H19115
Simple…on/off and calibrate. You need to use the calibration solutions and it is recommended that you calibrate at both 4.0 and 7.0 for more accurate results.
No matter what type of water you will be using, you need to PH your water every time you water your plants. Pay attention to your nutrient line as they will tell you when to PH, what the PH level should be, etc.
I check the initial water PH, add all of my nutrients, and then check/adjust my PH. I am running regular tap water that has been left out over 24 hours to leech out the chlorine.
PH is of ultra-importance when growing in coco or hydro. You must monitor your water constantly. If you use soil, you have a little buffer for inconsistent PH levels.
TDS Meter: PPM, EC, Temp
Brand: Health Metric
Since I have always grown in soil and coco mix, I have always followed nutrient instructions and watered with good success.
I am running a few different nutrients this grow and I am not running a full grow line so I want to be able to check the EC of the water to ensure that I will not be shocking the plants.
Electric Current is agitated by changes in hot and cold. The warmer the air, the faster the ions move and increase the electric current. More nutrients means higher EC and more movement. This directly affects the plant’s ability to uptake the nutrients properly.
Soil and Nutrients
Ready to Grow Soil – 1.5 cu ft
Brand: Fox Farm Type: Ocean Forest
Ocean Forest is a blend of aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, and crab meal.
This is a very hot soil so I cut it with a coco coir. Coco does not have any nutrients so mixing it will cut down the soil nutrient content. You can actually use just ocean forest to veg without any nutrients and then start nutrients for Flower. Of course, that is not what we will be doing. We will start feeding as soon as we can. The soil is a great buffer for beginning growers.
Coco Coir – 1.5 cu ft
Brand: Mother Earth
Most coco coir is created equal, but there are some coco products that just do not hold moisture correctly. I have never had bad luck with Mother Earth brand.
You can grow in just coco, but you must PH differently and know that every time you water, you must include some type of nutrient because the coco fibers do not hold on to nutrients.
Growing in coco is similar to growing in hydro because the coco just holds the roots. The water that you put into the container is what feeds the plant. In a soil grow, the nutrients and ph live in the soil and among the roots until they are absorbed or flushed out.
Grow Nutrient – 1 quart
Brand: General Hydroponics Product: FloraGro 2-1-6
This is the basic grow nutrient. This nutrient is part of a 3-part nutrient. You should also have GH bloom and Micro to run this line. I will be using the Lucas Method where we will only run Bloom and Micro.
This nutrient is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and secondary minerals.
Bloom Nutrient – 1 quart
Brand: General Hydroponics Product: FloraBloom 0-5-4
This is the basic Bloom nutrient. This is part 2 of the 3-part nutrient. I will only be using this and Micro as part of the Lucas Method.
This nutrient is high in Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and Sulfur
Micro Nutrient – 1 quart
Brand: General Hydroponics Product: FloraMicro 5-0-1
This is the foundation of the 3-part building block nutrient system. This nutrient is made from pharmaceutical grade minerals and is high in Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium and Micronutrients
Brand: General Hydroponics Product: Armor Si Silica 0-0-4
This nutrient is high in silica and potassium. I use this up until week 5 in flower. Using Silica helps in strengthening and stress resistance. By growing strong, healthy plants, the yield of the finished plant should be higher.
Brand: General Hydroponics Product: CALiMAGic – 1-0-0
Sometimes I will grab filtered or R/O water because I forget to let my water set out for 24 hours. I like to boost a little CAL/MAG. If you start to see a CAL/MAG deficiency, you want to correct it quickly.
Brand: Algas Pacific Product: NPKelp – Seaweed Extract
NPKelp is a concentrated liquid seaweed extract. This extract is an excellent biostimulant and biological activator. Using this as a root feed or a foliar feed will stimulate plant development.
Brand: Algas Pacific Product: Kelproot
Kelproot is a mixture of seaweeds’ extract that helps stimulate the absorbent roots in plants and the improvement of soils’ conditions.
Brand: TeaCo Biological Supply
This liquid culture is ready to use out of the bottle. It is meant to enhance growth and uptake of nutrients. Looking over some of the ingredients and there is humic acid, molasses, and all sorts of microbials that are beneficial for all plants.
The guys at Sea of Green were adamant about us trying this tea out and it is awesome so far…the plants are praying.
Improve plant nutrient and water uptake with stronger, healthier roots. Use of Mycorrhizae helps develop root systems.
PH reducer (Acid)
I use Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice. You can use PH Down from General Hydroponics as well.
This grow was a relatively easy set up. The 440w LED is extremely bright and when set up to the highest point in the tent, it should be bright enough to flower the entire 5’x 5’ tent. We will only be flowering two plants for this first grow, but they will be big and spread out.
You can mix and match any of these items, add to the list, or opt for much cheaper options when designing your own grow. I chose to use the Lucas Method for this grow and add my own boosters; however, you may choose to run a full nutrient line that comes with specific instructions.
Just Remember, check the PH of every drop of water that you run through your plant and follow the nutrient schedules provided by the manufacturer. Watch your leaves because they tell you when things are going wrong or right. Use a mycorrhizae inoculant when you transplant to enhance root growth.
Your entire tent is an eco-system for your cannabis plants, and we want to ensure that it is kept clean, at the proper temperature and humidity zone, and free from pests. Ensure that your tent is in good repair and free from holes. You need total darkness when you flower.
For just under $1600 total start up, you can have a full vegetative grow area and a flowering tent to grow a LOT of cannabis in. There are still a few more items to grab as the flowering gets underway, but we will cover that in another issue. Head down to Sea of Green on University in Mesa, AZ – or your local hydro shop – and start growing.