I’m a virgin grower & want to do this setup right for about $1k

Alright, the seeds are on the way from ILGM and I haven’t bought anything yet. If you had approximately a grand to spend (will go more, if have to) and were starting from scratch, what would you do? I don’t do things half-way and I research like crazy. I “think” I know what my setup will look like for the first grow, but I am fuzzy on some things and can certainly be persuaded.

Here are my particulars:

  • I’m based out of Los Angeles in a hot valley, not along the cooler coast
  • For this first grow I have to be indoors due to upcoming summer w/ super hot days (90-110 deg daily & 60s at night)
  • I’m doing medical strains for my wife & some friends with serious medical issues that we can bless with free MJ.
  • I already spend quite a bit on MJ monthly so it only makes sense to start growing. The ROI for me should be pretty quick.
  • 4 strains and planning on doing 2 plants of each, so approx 8 plants.
  • Harlequin (reg), Blueberry (auto), Northern Lights (auto), & Skywalker (fem)

    My Initial Thoughts
  • Apollo 8x4x6.7 grow tent
  • Two Viparspectra Reflector Series 600w LED lights. (130 5w chips) 24” distance. Basically one light per 4x4 space.
  • After germination planning on 5 gal grow bags to minimize circular root problem
  • 6” Duct fan with carbon filter. (Not sure on brand or power yet)
  • 6” ducts with window duct kit for exhaust.
  • Will run lights at night so air is cooler when drawing into tent.
  • Programmable power kit
  • Looking for WiFi based thermometer/humidity control system (programmable if possible) I’m a programmer, so I want to track as much data as I can to develop software for automated grow tracking systems. I realize that might be a separate purchase as what I’m envisioning might be above a grand by itself.
  • Two clip-on fans at top of rig to circulate air
  • Do I need an air in-take fan of some sort?
  • Do I need a separate humidifier? Humidity is very low in LA during the summer.
  • Hand water with this first setup as I have no way to get automated water to it. Although if there is a DIY solution with a larger bucket filled with water and then use a small pump on a timer with tubing? I have construction friends that can help me build things.
  • I’m planning on doing some hand trimming, but mainly using ScrOG netting to keep height down and max surface space for lights. It’s all going to be allot of work but my wife is a stay-at-home mom so she can do allot of tending as well as my college aged kids that are strangely excited about this project.

I know soil and water will be different per each strain. Also thinking thru heights of the plants. If it’s two 4x4 tents there should be a plan for which plants go where as ScrOG nets would be difficult with different heights as they grow as well as lighting heights that need to be 18” minimum.

Am I on the right path? What am I missing or not planning for properly?


A decent PH meter and PPM meter are a must for indoor growing

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What soil and nutrients do you plan on using?

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I think you could keep your screen as one unit if you wanted to. There are guys on here that grow different strains under the same screen :+1:

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welcome to ilgm @Duguider

You’ll have to be aware of the noise running your system at night. What size are your circulating fans? What made you decide to do 4 different strains? That’s a lot of work. Every strain has it’s own optimal grow method. Where is your grow tent air venting to? You definitely need a soil ph meter. A decent one can be a few hundred dollars itself. You’ll also need a temperature and humidity gauge. A digital version would be best. Also, be careful not to suck all the good air out of your grow tents. I’m more a hydro grower, and I don’t use SCROG netting, but I’m sure that you could still cover 2 different size plants. The grow bags could be a problem. You have to have your nutrients and water a way to flow through the soil. I recommend pots. And even put a few more holes in the bottom. I hope this helps.

Sounds like your on track with list of supplies
You could build your own space using panda plastic if you have room your going to use as a grow space you can get a roll of 10foot x100foot plastic fir under 100$ Just a thought exhaust should run 24-7 also fyi to prevent wpm

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I’ve always went with mh/hps lights myself, very hot as I have the open reflectors on my two 600w bulbs but if you have your exhausts system circulating properly won’t be much of an issue. I’m on the east coast but same highs and lows. And you can’t grow autos with photos because of the light schedule. You’ll have to switch photos to 12/12 when flowering and for autos they like 18/6 their whole life in my experiences. Hope this helps!


I might be wrong but that size grow tent is only big enough for two plants.

Really? Its 8 feet by 4 feet and almost 7 feet tall. 32 sq feet and 5 gallon bags dont have that big of a circumfrence. Am i missing something?

I want to stay economical with the electricity and heat is really going to be a problem as the ambient temps are pretty high where i am. Where i am is similar to Las Vegas temps, except it cools down at night. Everything I’m reading says that HPS light were the only way to go 5 years ago but the technology of LED has gotten great. Plus i like the idea of Veg vs Flower switches that automatically change the lights for the stage of the plant.

What’s WPM?

I might expand to something bigger in the future but we dont have basements her (earthquakes) so space is harder to figure out.

I have no idea on soil and nutrients. I was planning on researching what each strain needs, but the simple pdf from ILGM said to buy a miracle grow item from Amazon for germination. Figured I have a few weeks to figure it out. If you have advise, give it.

Thanks. Good to be part of a helpful forum. Love the Woodsy Owl avatar BTW, flashback to my childhood. Heh.

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always remember;give a hoot and don’t pollute!!

Just me but I would scrog two plants under your light just to get the feel of growing and once you get a grow under your belt it’ll come allot easier. Just two in that tent, although it looks big those plants get even bigger once you get them scrogged they’ll still have a good foot of growing after switching to flower. And the more room sideways you’ve got the longer you can veg them witch means more weed. Because when your scrogging them your growing the plant sideways, you know? I feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over but it’s important to me to get as much weed out of the least amount of seeds. And I’ve seen plenty of times were people have led lights and can’t quiet get enough light spread across the entire canopy (Don’t let me discourage you, you seem smart prove my led opinion wrong!)

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Autos will do just fine under 12/12.

12/12 with a good LED full spectrum? Is that what you use?

I’ve only done autos under 600w HPS and 16/8, but other growers here have done 12/12 under LED’s with good results. The only difference between auto and photos is they start flowering regardles of lightcycle. There’s no reason why they should require more lighthours during flowering than photos.

Autos and photos can most def b grown together. U don’t have nearly enough light for that size space. Fabric pots are the best for MJ and def for newbies. The roots self prune and over watering is almost never an issue. U can get a good ph meter for 25$ not hundreds. Start with a good soil. I recommend roots 420 but people use all kinds of stuff. Whatever u get, if it’s not MJ specific, mix with vermiculite or perlite. I prefer vermiculite. With good soil nutes are only necessary at transition from veg to flower and on. Focus your money on lights and soil and nutes. U can scrog as many plants as u want under one net but the whole idea of scrog is to get one plant to fill the net so u defeat the purpose when u crowd it with plants. I’m gonna tag some people in here who know better than me to add anything I have forgotten or am wrong about but some of the info u have gotten is sketchy and that sucks for someone starting out. Good luck. @Hogmaster @raustin @Countryboyjvd1971 @TDubWilly @Myfriendis410 @MattyBear