First Grow in the planning stage, looking for input to do it right

Hi guys, I have been lurking around for a couple of days, and this forum seems like an awesome resource. I have decided to get into growing my own, but I have not actually done anything yet. I still have to purchase all my gear and supplies. Here is a brief summary of where I think I’m headed at this point:

This will be in a tent. That’s how this all started, we saw some tents advertised, and got to looking, and before long here I am excited about the prospect. I have been looking at VIVOSUN’s stuff, but I did seem some negative mentions on here about their lights. I liked the idea of putting all my stuff together in one place so I was sure it would all work together, more or less. We’re in Virginia, so the law man says we get 4 plants total for the household, so that’s my target size. I have been looking at the 48x24x60 or the 48x48x80 tents. Am I reasonable to think I can get 4 well-tended flourishing Autos in the 4x4 box? What about the 2x4, I feel like that’s too small for more than a couple of plants? I don’t really have a good sense of scale on this, since my previous mj prep experience involves opening a baggie. :smile:
The second (first?) most important thing in this is the lighting. As I said, I was thinking about just doing the kit thing from VIVOSUN, but now after reading here some, I feel like those might not be the best choice. I’d welcome anyone’s experienced input on what brand and model/size lights would work in my two proposed tent sizes. If I’m spending the cash to get this started, I want to grow big beautiful dank buds, in as great a quantity as I can. To that end, I want to have the right gear out of the gate. I can’t afford gold-plated everything, but I don’t want to skimp and have regrets before the first crop comes in. So please give me some realistic suggestions.
I am planning so far on starting out with some Autoflower seeds, and growing them in dirt. I saw some folks here and elsewhere saying good things about the Fox Farms Ocean Forest, and it seems like that is kind of easy mode with regards to nutrition? Like I can just water with plain water until some time after they start making flowers, then supplement with some liquid food? Is that a reasonable newbie plan? Again, I’m just laying out my proto-plans here, looking for a sanity check. It looks like I should be able to plant my sprouted seeds directly into their pots with the lights further away or dimmed down until they get their legs under them. Oh that brings another question. Give all of the above, am I looking for 3-gallon or 5-gallon pots? I thought the nonwoven cloth ones looked and sounded cool.

So that’s the first hundred questions posted. I am sure I will have another hundred before long. I am hoping to get everything assembled for an early October planting, so I have time to figure all this stuff out.

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your input.


Hello and welcome @Turanil

It is a virtual fountain of information and support.

Good target. :white_check_mark:

That is approximately what I have set up with 2x 150w LEDs. I have autos in different growth stages constantly. This is my current grow. Bigger one in center is 4 and 5 weeks ahead of the other two.
A 4x4 with around 600 watts would definitely grow dank weed.

Definitely the #1 thing to get right. Stick with well respected name brands. HLG is very popular if a bit pricey.

You are correct, many stories here of cutting corners only to spend even more as a result.

Pretty much. There are other good soil mixes like Stonington blend and Coast of Maine that are comparable. A lot of growers here mix Ocean Forest with Happy Frog or Strawberry Fields because it can be a little “hot” for sensitive sprouts.

In the picture, the one on the left is 5 gal and the center and right are both 3 gal.

Bring it on. Here are a few more helpful peeps. @dbrn32 @Myfriendis410 @Graysin @Nicky @LiesGrows @MattyBear


Welcome to the neighborhood. Can’t ask to many questions. Happy growing :blush::v:


Hi there. You have come to the right place. I was 1 of many who cheaped out on equipment. Live and learn. Definitely the 4x4x80. I use FF ocean forest in 5 gal fabric. Went back and forth with nutes. Settled on Jack’s 123. Easy. Once u get your setup, show pics and this gang will help you with all else


Welcome to the forum!

To determine your tent size i would first consider what you hope to get per harvest, stepping aside from as much as possible to realistically planned /expected amount. You have to keep in mind that that from seed to harvest is going to take 4ish months, then some time for dry and cure. So if planned properly you can expect to get 3 harvests per year. If you smoke an ounce per month there is no need to harvest a pound every grow if you can get 3 grows a year in. We would probably shoot for more potential than you actually need, but not to overspend on unnecessary equipment. Once we nail down a tent size the light, fan, etc are pretty easily fit.

If i were planning a soil grow would ditch the thought of anything fox farms and go with roots organics original. May be more difficult to come by, but cost is similar and its much more consistent and easier to work with. Nutrients don’t really matter as long as you have all base nutrients covered and use properly.

Autos are marketed to new growers, but can be really finicky in hands of new growers. I would opt for photos as you can always flip them early and run on same timeline as an auto, or extend your veg if you run into issues.


I really do not like the shape myself. I pulled mine down and stored it for a 3x3. I can grow 1 monster in a 20gal or 4 nice auto in 5 gallon. Just me. I am currently using it for veg and seedling feeding my 4x8. 1 extra sqft and lights easier to fit for me. I have a 550r in it.

1 Like

Thanks for the tag @HMGRWN - happily along for the ride. :v::sunglasses:

That may have been me.

I have two VS1000’s - although I still have and use them now, I use them exclusively for vegging. They’re chronic false advertisers but so too will be their adjacent brands - Spider Farmer, Mars Hydro, unitFarm, BestVa, Viparspectra. Philzon, so on and so on. If you can get it on Amazon, it’s probably not going to be honest about what it is.

Four plants in a 4x4 is good. A 5x5 would be even better - you could confine them in a 2x2 each and have room to walk around them at the same time.

Vivosun does make fine tents. I have 2 of them. I have an AC Infinity tent also. It is significantly better than the VS tent - but the VS still works great.

Absolutely don’t do that. the kits are going to be overpriced for what they have to offer - finding a shopping list of the component parts will save you in the long run. You’ll spend the same $800-1000 but you’ll have the opportunity to get quality materials instead of one good part and several crappy ones.

Coast of Maine, BioBizz, Sohum, or just coco coir no soil will be much better for you.

Yep - that’s a great avenue if you choose a nice nutrient packed soil. I’m biased against Fox Farms soils because they’re so inconsistent in terms of quality. One batch could be loaded with nutrients and awesome, the next really acidic and short on nutes.

5 gallon for autoflowers is my suggestion, especially if you give it a 5x5 tent to live in.

Suggest Rain Science bags instead of fabric - they’re laminated woven plastic mesh, so they operate like the fabric bags but you can just hose them off after you’re finished with the grow, rather than needing to scrub roots and throw them in the wash.

We’ll get you there!

HLG, ChilLED Tech, I’ve seen a fair amount of success from the Green Sunshine Co. (their Electric Sky comes to mind). I am a big fan of HLG’s refurbished lights, especially when you’re just getting started. REFURB is good for 20% off their refurbished fixtures - which can really go a long way.

:person_raising_hand: me

I second this. I started with autos and while I will always love autos, I will probably never suggest them to new growers. There’s no room for error with them, which is really the antithesis of newbie growing.

I agree with this. 2x4 is good for 2 plants imo, more than that and they get hard to reach.


Ac infinity has some pretty nice equipment. I think the thing I like the most is its all integrated. From lights to vent fans, circulation fans to tents and environmental control. Everything they got works with and is connected. And they have pretty good customer service also.


Well, i do have one other factor too… I’m a semi-disabled fatass, so I think I may get the 4x4 tent, and plan on just running 2 good-sized plants in it at first to have some extra “ass room” in there :slight_smile:. I have seen several people mention tent spaces being tight, and I feel like I should account for my size and my limits by just going for the larger tent. And, if I feel like I want a little more variety of strains, I could do 3 or 4 plants later.

So I think that may be the tent size sorted. I’m off to look at some of @Graysin 's lighting suggestions.


Their inline fans are as noisy as the FA-18 in afterburner.
AC-Infinity ALL the way.
Remote Controller, inline and oscillating fans. TenT 48x48 as tall as possible.
Lights are the deciding factor. Spend the most you can for the best (HLG). Cheap lights work OK, but
Time is money and good lights grow awesome buds. WELCOME AND GOOD LUCK.


Tents and growing all present multiple factors to be delt with.
Exhaust of heat and smell, Cooling and humidity issues.
Electricial capabilities and safety, just to mention a few.
Good luck.

1 Like

Absolutely agree.


I just looked up some of the mentioned lights, and I see The Green Sunshine Co has a sale on. Does a 4x4ft tent with 2 of their 180 V3 lights seem like enough light? I see they say you can put 2 300’s in there, but I’m not sure I can swing $1200 on just lights right here at the start of things.
My eye was also caught by a cheaper light, the MarsHydro TS3000. I see a lot of (sponsored?) YouTube videos about it, and the numbers look OK I think, but IDK if they can be trusted.


A very practical aspect of growing came to mind. It is having to move plants. When they are in large wet pots and they have grown, it becomes a challenge. They are heavy and large plants can be damaged. Even watering and dealing with runoff can be difficult or easier based on the setup.
Something like this can help - plant caddy with drainage tray

I have a 3x3x7 gorilla tent. It is perfect for me. I can easily grow 4 photoperiod plants in it. I prune and train them to accomplish this. I have also grown one or two plants it it. The number depends on how you manage the space and plants.

Your thoughts about getting started are very similar to mine. That is Fox Farm Ocean Forest, FF nutrient Trio and autoflowers. Many around here grow autos and are very good at it. There are also many instances where an auto bolts to flower after a couple weeks, is 10" with a few grams of dried flower. Way too much time, energy and $$ to end up with that with much of it being out of your control.

A few final thoughts
You obviously will have to consider your physical ability to maintain what you grow. The demands are much more at the beginning through the first month of flower than after that.
Determine the grow space and access to plants. Thinking a bit in the alternative - you can have one plant in the center of a 4x4. Grow it in a wheeled scrog frame with a powerful high quality light over it. You can grow one larger photoperiod and end up with 12+ ounces once you figure things out.
Lighting is critical. It all fits together. Space, environment, medium, nutrients and lights.
This is larger than I envision but something to consider

One other aspect is pruning and training. Before you germinate any seeds, have a working grasp of Low Stress Training and topping. To grow successfully indoors it is requisite knowledge IMHO.


It looks like everyone above has you covered @Turanil. I welcome you to the forum! Its a great place to learn and pass along your knowledge to others in need as we all love to watch each other succeed. Ill tag along in case you would like any extra help


400 watts for a 4x4 will bring you up short. That would put you around 25 watts per square foot. 35-50 is ideal.

Not even remotely. Mars Hydro is among the brands that gives social media influencers product in exchange for using product. So they get free stuff by reviewing lights. Some of their lights are okay, but it won’t be anything under $500 - by then it may as well be an HLG.


I had 1 of these for my 5x5 and it didnt get me the edge to edge coverage i wanted so i have 2 of them in there now. By the time you start raising them up the edge to edge coverage falls off fast


I do not use fox farms or any other nutes but Earth Dust now myself. Living soil and water only. If wanting super super easy this works for me. Other brands out that are similar I just have great luck with it. A kit for 60 bux will grow 10 auto in 5 gallon start to finish. 6 or 7 photo in 7 gallon pots. Precook soil couple weeks with base. Ammend it 2 weeks before flip if photo or as soon as see the changes in auto. Other than that nothing but water. No runoff/ph/testing. Just water. A little smaller yield and slower a touch BUT the ease makes up for that. The living soil seems to me to have more smell and taste also. Just another option for us lazy older folks.


@Storm That sounds great to me! Im trying to set my dad up with an outdoor grow now and he doesnt want anything to do with it besides watering here and there and watching it grow. He uses miracle grow on everything. Usually we layer with good bag top soil, black kow manure, and miracle grow. Obviously that wont work in this scenario and im only here 2 days a week to work on the house and visit so that gives me 2 days a week to tend to plants here. If i were to use earth dust to avoid having to mix nutes or ph what all would i need to get started and can i still use the soil there with the (i assume the nutrients are spent by now) old miracle grow or would i have to dig it out and replace it?


That Sohum professional says from seed to harvest water only