I'm a newbie, and need advice

I’m getting ready to start my first ever grow. I’ve got LED lights, sensor humidifier, tin foil up (mostly, still working the kinks out on making a ‘front door/wall’), organic soil, FoxFarms nutrients and cal-mag on its way. I’ve got my closet set up for a 4x4 foot grow area. I’m hoping to start my Blue Dream autos on germination in the coming week.
I’m trying to keep it small and simple for my first time. Is there anything I’m missing before I start? I’m super nervous on this next adventure of mine.


Welcome to the forum.

I have a couple of comments/questions.

Which LEDs? There are some unfortunate sellers out there who take advantage of new growers.

Flat white paint is as effective as any reflective material.

Which soil (brand and type)?

How many plants do you plan on growing the in the area?


You beat me to all the questions @MidwestGuy. Need more info.


Do you have your pH pen and EC pen? Those are a must.


Your ladys would thank you for having some air flow so some fans


@MidwestGuy @GreggT Good! I was hoping someone would quiz me, that’s why I was a little vague. Ive done as much research as I could the last few months. I’ve got ViparSpectra XS200 led. I went with Burpee Organic soil 0.6-0.3-0.3 as I’m also germinating a large portion of my garden and it seemed to have what I needed for both purposes as best as I could find. I really only plan on growing 2 plants.
@merlin44 I’ve got a pH pen, I don’t know what the other tool you mention is. Please let me know and I’ll look into it!
@Skid2 I have a small desk fan and a box fan at the ready!

I didn’t know about the paint being just as good! Any brand better than the next? Anything else that should/ shouldn’t be in the paint?


If running fox farm soil don’t add nutrients to it till round day 20 when you should be checking the water runoff with the tds meter. And fox farm nutrients only use 1/4 strength what they call for in my opinion seen alot of plants get burnt up and locked out quick. A lot of great growers here welcome to the ilgm team and keep ‘‘em growing :v:


Welcome to the neighborhood. You are in good hands here at ILGM forum. Happy Growing :blush::v:


Welcome to the happy zone.

Just finished our first ever grow. We did less of everything.

Dialed lights back, kept a few inches in distance from light to plant, nutes dialed down and watered by feel, the weight of the plant by lifting.

Small space 2x3, 2 plants best advised, we did 3 and made 10 ozs of very good banana kush autos and some other fluffy bud called larf.

We did lesd just to watch and learn and pray for no hiccups. We didnt.

Less is sometimes better.

Good luck, you have great growers advising you as they did for many of us.


What is a tds meter?

TDS = total dissolved solids. Sometimes also referred to as a PPM (parts per million) or EC (electrical conductivity) meter. It is a measure the level of nutrients in the water you are testing. Many growers target a PPM of 1,000 PPM for their grows.


@MidwestGuy thanks for answering this for @Braindead

I am late but you have it covered regarding the TDS/EC pen.

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I’m wondering if any of you have heard or have opinions about the leds (mostly) and soil I have. As for the soil, can I use that specific type for the whole grow process?

Thank you all so much for the input and knowledge! Once I start I’ll be seeing up a journal to track my grow and pick everyone’s brain.


We wanted simple. We use straight canna coir and jacks nutes. Nothing added. 2 bricks per 3.5 gal pot at 4.oo per brick. Nutes 2.2 lbs of A and B and epsom salt. Total 80.oo which will last me 5yrs or more. Not much simpler.

Lots of BoM and hall fame growers here use this recipe.

First grower ever.


The VIPARSPECTRA is a Chinese knock off of HLG’s models. They claim it is built with Samsung LM301b diodes. The LM301b LEDs are a generation old, but they still perform quite well. My concern would be that VIPAR has a reputation for being very dishonest about their products, so I would go with a better brand when you decide to upgrade.

I would be concerned about what VIPAR has done with the product to reduce cost by 1/3. It can’t be good.

I would go with a soil that is properly pH balanced for cannabis. Burpee products are not. Fox Farm soils, Roots Organics, and Black Magic are all good cannabis soils.

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My light advise is the same given to me. It is the most important part of the grow. Invest smartly.

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Regarding LED grow lights…

You have received some excellent advice. I will add that it is much better to save up and purchase good to great quality lights to start with. I was not so bright and wasted over $1000 purchasing cheaper lights and the results showed it. When I sucked it up and purchased (I actually built them myself) excellent lights, my yields and quality went up to where I am very happy.


That is amazing that you made your own!

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@braindead If you don’t feel comfortable building your own, I would lean toward the HLG products. If that is a stretch for your budget, do yourself a favor and save up for it. @dbrn32 (and several others) are your best source of lighting advice.


I dove into the Vipar sales pitch.
Older now. The HLG350 can out-smoke the Vipar Spectra V1200 in all aspects, except heat generation and dead weight.