New Grower Looking for Advice

Hey there! I am new to this site have been lurking around the forums for a while now and have decided to pull the trigger on starting a grow. I have grown a couple times about 5 years ago but it was extremely basic, just under some t5 lights in a close. I have very basic knowledge but would like some input before I make any big purchases and regret it later on. Basically I am looking into either a 5’x5’ or a 4’x4’ tent both 7’ tall, and I am looking to produce an average of around 1/2 Lb per grow to medicate with. Basically I have been looking at LEDs on Amazon and seen some 600 watt lights and 1200 watt lights In my budget and am wondering what I should be looking for in specs to achieve this. I have been seeing you should have a good red/blue light spectrum in the lights and around 50watt/sq.ft. but idk how to look for that on the specs sheet. So if I went with a 4x4 it’d be 16 sq. ft. so I would need around 800 actual watts right? Would two of a good amazon led 600 be sufficient?

I Am slowly ordering the basic necessary things like Ph meters, Ph up/down, and hygrometer etc. but would like some experienced input on things like mainly lights and space needed, nutes etc. before I pull the trigger on the more costly stuff, ya know? This looks like a very open and friendly forum so I decided I’ll try here and hopefully can learn a lot and eventually create a grow journal and share my experience with y’all! Many thanks in advance.

Peace, MidwestGanjaGrow


Welcome to the best forum ever. I’m going to tag a couple of others for you with experience and knowledge :slightly_smiling_face:
@bob31 @dbrn32


Thanks for the welcome and fast reply!


Welcome! Didn’t take you long to track down other midwesterners huh.

Sounds like you have a fairly good handle on the research thus far. Let’s start with your space. Depending on how you decide to use said space, you can get a half pound per harvest in a smaller space. But most will tell you to get as large as is reasonable, as it’s easier to only use a portion of a 5x5 than to be a square foot short on a 2x2. That’s entirely up to you. But as a newer grower who will more than likely not be maximizing your yield per square foot for a little while, I probably wouldn’t go any smaller than a 3x3. That’s about the point where you can run four small to medium sized plants and not have to veg a long time to fill it up. Going to a 4x4 would allow you run larger plants, or have room for stuff like ac and dehumidifier. If you believe your climate will require either, probably a good idea to go bigger. Even if you decided on a 5x5, there’s nothing saying you can’t have plants take up a 4x3 area. So keep all that in mind.

As far as lights, once you get your space figured out that will be easier to determine. Lights are going to be one of the major contributing factors to your yield size. You’ll want enough to light to maximize the potential of your square footage. Depending on the intensity of the light, the amount of actual Watts you’ll want will vary. 50 Watts per square foot is a solid hid number. Using amazon panels the number jumps a little. Some people say they do way better with 60-70 Watts per foot, others 30-40. If you get into some high powered cobs running fairly efficient, about 30 Watts per square foot will usually produce similar to hid lighting at around 50 Watts per square foot. Cost is going to be all over the place, but I assure you there’s a difference between a $150 light and a $600 light, regardless of what the descriptions say.

When comparing the lights, the two biggest things you want to look for are the spectrum and par measurements. You want peaks around the 630-660nm mark, and around the 450nm mark. If you hit 50% of action spectrum intensity in blues and around 100% reds is generally good for seed to harvest type growing. We can break down why if you need? The par measurements are the best way to measure strength of the lighting. Around 3-400 umols is considered optimal for veg, and 600-1000 unols for flowering. More or less will require some different measures to make ideal.

So when a light says good for 4x4 take a look at those measurements and see what they are on the par maps. Keep in mind to note the distance each light was measured at for comparison purposes.


Welcome to ILGM, great place to be. As you can see,it can be as simple as you want it to be or these fine guys and gals can get as technical as need be, some super crazy knowledge on here thats for sure, again,welcome


I haven’t asked which state and the Midwest is a lot of areas. But yeah I did :+1:[quote=“dbrn32, post:4, topic:16785”]
Didn’t take you long to track down other midwesterners huh.

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You and I aren’t exactly close, but the weather is just as unpredictable and crappy here as it is by you haha. I’m just a little ways outside of Chicago.

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Okay because I was figuring I could produce my goal of 1/2Lb in a smaller space but I was thinking of the future as well in expanding and possibly adding another room just for veg for a perpetual type of thing. For now I am leaning toward a single 4’x4’ environment.

For lights, it looks like based on the info you gave me that what I’ve been looking at aren’t quite up to par I think. I was looking at a viparspectra LED 600 and based on what I’m looking at the actual draw is 269Watts so in a 16sq ft it’d be on 16w/sq ft, and the par values drop off significantly to around 50 umol at the corners at 3’x3’ and 530 at dead center at 24’’ height. I’m guessing this is not enough if I were to essentially fill the 4’x4’ with a scrog type of canopy? I’ll pot the amazon link to the light I am looking at.viparspectra 600

Thanks for the info I will keep looking around for a better light and as for the spectrum numbers you gave I couldn’t exactly tell what they were on the chart on amazon and if you could break down the reds and blues that’d be awesome.

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Yep I know near Joliet :+1: I DO pay attention :rofl: I just don’t always remember!

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Chicago land area over here too!

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I give up :crazy_face: I’m all alone in Nebraska :cry:


@dbrn32 I do 3 plants at a time on each side of my grow. With this arrangement I can produce 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lbs per cycle (2 months). Using a small tent for veg, and a large enough tent for 3 SCROG’ED plants in flower you could pull similar results. For not a lot more expense and the second tent wouldn’t be needed for 2 months.

If you can afford it, have dbrn work with you on finding a kit if you are comfortable building one. Many of us are using the Amazon lights but we know better now. I’m not saying you can’t get good results with them because I do but you can do better with a good kit. Or combination of the two.


Thanks for the reply! I don’t know about making a kit I assume you mean a COB type kit? I’m not against it but I don’t know much of anything about it. I have an idea of what I need (I think) but I just want to get the light situation for what I’m trying to do right the first time you know, not get something I don’t need but at the same time not get something that wont be able to produce a nice ratio of quality:quantity

I am eventually hoping to get a veg room, flower room cycle similar to yours @Myfriendis410 . I just want to for now have one good sized space to be able to do both until I get a couple harvests in for a baseline; and to get some growing knowledge from the experience.:+1:


So you do 3 SCROG plants in flower and get 1 1/2 Lbs? that sounds pretty good how big is your flowering area/area of SCROG canopy?

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Hey @MidwestGanjaGrow welcome to the community
Looks like you are gonna have a good set up
Happy growing🙂


Welcome I am on my first grow also so not much advise from me other then every one here is always willing to help.

Good luck


Awesome input! That’s indeed a very good way to maximize yield. I try not to divert to a particular method unless poster specifically asks for such, but absolutely a scrog is one of the easiest ways to pull bigger yields per area.


I veg in a 2 X 3 X 5 foot tent then transfer to a 4 X 6 X 6 foot box for flower. I don’t crowd them: I only SCROG two plants and their footprint is 2 X 3 foot. Gives me a little wiggle room and room for air to circulate.


I think I’m alone in RI too @SmoknGranny. Welcome to the forum @MidwestGanjaGrow. This is an awesome place to be.


So here is the vipar 600.

See those numbers I circled, that’s too low to flower anywhere near optimal. Even at dead center is a little low, so we would likely prefer to flower at 18” above canopy with this fixture. The light would then likely be what we consider flower effective out to about a 2’x2’ area. Meaning about four of them per 4x4 to be in the neighborhood of target par levels. You can do the math on Watts and confirm the notes a few of us made above.

Now to the light spectrum.

The arrows pointing at the numbers represent which wavelengths are most absorbed by the plant and directed to photosynthetic energy. It’s not that some of the other wavelengths aren’t important, but these come first and foremost. The arrow pointing across the screen shows 100% of relative intensity, and should be referenced to the McCree action spectrum.

As you can see, the blue is there but the red isn’t. Peak in both is fine but not necessary. We’d much rather have it in the reds. Your blue lights will keep tight node spacing in veg and aid in resin production during flower. The reds are what promote bud development and mass. By nature of design, there’s also a lot more photons in blue light than red. So having the same amount of blue vs red diodes isn’t necessary.

All of my grow lights are white and produce a light spectrum similar or close to this.

The efficacy and par levels are generally much higher on the whites we’re using than the colored diode offerings. So you can definitely expect more performance, but it will also come at a higher cost. If you can find room in your budget, I would highly recommend going with some sort of a cob or quantum board light. But plenty of people are still growing great weed with colored diodes, so don’t feel like you have to.

The high cost is what led a handful of us into building our own. You can usually build for about 50-60% cost of buying. Building obviously isn’t for everyone, but don’t be intimidated by it either. The quantum board kits can be built in about 15 minutes using only a screwdriver and wire strippers. Others require soldering, drilling and tapping, and some more advanced wiring techniques. It all kind of depends on the wants vs needs and budget you’re trying to work in. If you can handle basic house wiring, I’m confident you could build a light. And we’d definitely be there to help along the way.

If building isn’t an option and budget is an issue, you could always get into a smaller high end fixture and add additional ones later. I’m honestly surprised more people don’t go that route. Apparently I just don’t quantify cost vs performance the same as everyone else. But I’d much rather deal with a weaker system that had room for expansion than one that would require me replacing my entire lighting system.

Long story short, to buy a cob fixture for wall to wall coverage in a 4x4 you’re looking at about $800-1500 depending on features and availability. You can buy half for around $500. To build you’re looking at $5-600. To build in portions is really hard to put a number on, because you can start with a little or you can start with 75% of what you’d need. But we can get you to about $1 per watt with about 600 watts of cobs being enough for a 4x4.