Newbie Problems

This is my first try at growing, and I would love some help from this awesome community. Thank you in advance for any help you may provide.

My specific questions are:

  1. Looking at the picture, what do you think White Widow’s deficiency is? I bought some Cal/Mag to use, but not sure if that is the issue. Also, the serrated tips along the sides of the leaves are curled up.
  2. Should I cut the entire dying leaf fan off the plant? Where should I make that cut? Close to the main stem, or give it some space?
  3. Should I do any trimming of any of the plants at this stage?
  4. How should I test for pH level in soil? I am using cheap soil meters but they always read the same. Maybe, since I haven’t used much in nutrients, the pH didn’t change, but I am wondering if there is a better soil meter I should use. I looked all over online, but only was inundated with hydroponics stuff.
  5. It is very dry here and I struggle with keeping humidity in an acceptable range. It’s usually in the high 30’s with a humidifier going all day in the tent, and temp is around 70F. Is the dryness affecting the plants negatively?
  • What strain, Seed bank, or bag seed: ILGM seeds, White Widow (fem), OG Kush (auto), Chocolope (Norm)
  • Method: Fox Farms Happy Frog and Ocean soil
  • Vessels: 5 gal fabric Pots
  • PH of Water, Solution, runoff (if Applicable): cheap meter reads 7-8
  • PPM/TDS or EC of nutrient solution if applicable: 5
  • Indoor
  • Light system: BestVA LED Elite-2000w
  • Temps; Day 75, Night 66
  • Humidity; Day 38, Night 35
  • Ventilation system; Yes, Size 6 in
  • Humidifier 3.5 gal, on constantly
  • Co2; No

Set Up:

4x4x8 tent, Light is the Elite 2000W BestVA LED light, iPower inline exhaust fan w/carbon filter, 2 small fans for circulation, a pedestal humidifier that is a pain to keep full.

12 Apr- soaked seeds

14 Apr- 6 of 8 seeds grew root tips, so I used Happy Frog potting soil and put them in jiffy pots with the root tip down. Kept inside a humidome and on a heating mat.

21 Apr- saw first growth on WW and OGK

27 Apr- Chocolope finally sprouted, but still had seed attached and didn’t want to shed it for days. One of her first leaves came out of the shell yellow. All but the 3 seeds perished, unfortunately

29 Apr- Transplanted the jiffy pots into larger pots. The roots were looking very strong. I used more Happy Frog mixed with Ocean Soil for the transplants. Still using tap water only.

30 Apr- First time seeing some lighter green patchy areas on OGK and WW. Chocolope stayed smallish for a while, and darker green leaves as well

11 May- OGK is 5” tall, and WW/Choc are both 4”. Gave all their first nutrients, starting with Bergman’s Growtime because I missed the window on using the Seedling fertilizer.

14 May- OGK- 6”, WW/Choc- 5” Only WW was dry enough to need more water, so I gave another fertilizer feeding and left the other 2 alone. I move the plants around each time I check on them and make sure the fans are hitting each plant and moving air between the plants and light.

16 May- OGK- 8”, WW/Choc- 7” 19 May- OGK- 9”, WW/Choc-8” --feels like growth is slowing down, but I don’t know why. We’ve had some cooler days, and it has been around 66 F in the tent for a couple days, could this cause slower growth?

Your PH is way high for starters. You need to flush with PH water only at 3X container size (5 gal planter= 15 gal water). She is experiencing Nute Lockout.

If your TDS meter is reading 5, that probably means your sitting at 5k parts per million which is WAY WAY high, the plants aren’t absorbing nutrients due to high PH.

What is your method of collecting run off for testing?

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Unfortunately those soil meters will read 7-8 no matter what. Youll want a digital ph meter and you check the soil ph by running water through the soil until you can get a water running out of the pot. Then get a big enough sample to test with the digital meter. You want near 6.5 in that soil. The ocean forest you won’t need nutes until around flowering. This is a meter I use. The $15 ones work too but need calibrating much more often


I don’t really see a deficiency but I do see some possible stress to the plant. How far from the light are the plants?

Soil probe meters generally don’t work (unless you spend a LOT of $$) and the unit @Bobbydigital put up is a good one: I use it. Until you do; you can use pure R/O or distilled water which will adopt the PH of the soil.

As pointed out; a slurry test and a runoff test are done with the same meter to determine your actual soil PH.

You can place a clear dome over the plant to raise humidity. Just poke a couple of holes in it.

You can remove the leaf or leave it for the plant to self prune.


Oh man, I did not even know I should be doing a watering until run off and test it. I thought just keep it moist. Ok, thanks, I shall get a pan under each one and get to flushing. Thanks!


Flushing is a good way of getting everything back to square one so you don’t go chasing your tail.


Lights are about 24 inches, which is what the manufacturer suggests in the booklet. I’m not sure if the MFR is stating that height for general plants or specifically cannabis, or does it even matter?

So, if I don’t touch that leaf, that is getting worse by the day, you think it’ll just fall off on it’s own? I would prefer not to do any pruning this first grow since I’m still trying to learn how to keep them alive until harvest.
Thank you!


Ahhh, that explains a lot. I thought, wow, I must have super great soil because sure enough, I always get the same-ish reading. I appreciate your link!


Likely you are okay at that distance. My concern is with a lot of the LED’s you can get surface heating/bleaching.

The leaf will yellow and drop off at some point. You will probably need to do a little selective fan leaf removal after your plant gets into flower. But in general it’s a good idea to keep the leaves as long as possible. Exceptions would be for issues of airflow (think white powdery mildew and bud rot).

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Ok, I just went to properly check the ppm, which I had only been using those $6 jobs with the 2 prongs for. Out of my 3 plants, the White Widow (the one I’m most worried about) reads 1600ppm. The Chocolope, which struggled at first, reads 1729 and the OG Kush, which looks the best is 672ppm. Now, I don’t know if I have a crappy meter, or if these readings indicate what the issue might be.

I gave each of them 2 feedings, which were about 18 oz each of the Bergman’s Growtime (mixed with purified water and at 1/4 strength), and regular water in between feedings.
They all started on the same Happy Frog mix and moved to a blend of that and Ocean Forest when I did the transplant to the 5 gal fabric pots. Not sure how they could have such different readings with the same soil, same amount of fert?
This is how White Widow looks right now before I did this reading.


I forgot to mention my specific questions on those photos. Is that meter good enough or should I get the one that was mentioned on Amazon? I’m sorry, I have no idea how to link a person’s name here.
Also, considering this White Widow has a ppm of 1600, should I continue with a full flush as suggested, or leave it where it is? I really don’t know what the ppm numbers mean I should do. If you could break down the cutoff numbers, or refer me to the page that talks about it, I would surely appreciate it. I was of the mindset that only the hydroponics used those meters.
Thank you


The best and easiest way to help you with this is-

What are you feeding your girls? Who is the manufacture? Look up their feeding PPM range.

For example, when I used to use Fox Farm Trio, this was their PPM limits:

PPM number will tell you if you are overf eeding or under feeding or feeding perfectly.

As long as your tester holds calibration, it should be good.

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You’re getting solid advice from the others here. I would second grabbing a better meter, then checking ph in and ph out. That will give you an idea of how your root zone is trending.

Your light height seems good. But slight hints of heat stress there. Where are you monitoring temps? Should be right at canopy level.

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You’re going to get high ppm readings with the ocean forest. My first runoffs are usually in the 2000’s with OF. That’s why I was saying don’t give nutes until flowering. Or until your ppm readings are below 1000. It’s also important to pre-soak the ocean forest before planting because the soil is pretty hydrophobic out of the bag. Really need to get your PH readings when you can. I think that’s where your issue is coming from.

Ok, thanks so much for the help! I already ordered the better pH meter, and I flushed all 3 plants on Sunday and they look fantastic today. Thank you for the great tips on ppm readings and how to fix.

Do you think I should only use demineralized water for feedings since my ppm measurements were too high? I have pretty hard water from the tap here.

Thanks a bunch to you all. I am not one to post much, but when desperate measures call for desperate times…I’m so glad there are nice people out there like you to hear a little newbie’s call and answer

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How high is your water? If you use distilled there’s no need to ph the water as the water will just assume your soils PH because there’s not enough PPm to hold a proper ph. If you use distilled and add nutrients, this will add PPm to the water and then you will need to ph the solution after the nutes are added. You will also need to supplement some calmag since there won’t be any distilled water.

Ok, I have my pH numbers, got to love Amazon for quick shipping, and thank you, @Bobbydigital , I got the tester you recommended. I did the calibration before use, and I have my readings for my 3 plants at: 7.4, .7.2, and 7.3, the latter is the one I was having the most issues with, White Widow.
Also, I flushed all 3 with about 15 gallons, and my ppms are 333, 633, and 458. Using Bergman’s Starter Kit, I am supposed to have the ppm at 750 with the Growtime fertilizer.

Do you think at my next feeding, that will bump it right to 750?

Also, my tap water pH is 7.9 and shows a ppm of 137. Should I be using pH down on it prior to mixing in the nutrients? I was previously, before the flush, using purified water to mix my nutrients in. But I don’t want to buy a whole bunch of purified water jugs to have on standby. I don’t know which route to go with the water. Any ideas?
Thanks a bunch already for the ton of help!

Your tap water is real good, go with that. Ph is the last thing you check before feeding. So mix your nutes and then take your ph and ppm. You’re high on ph and preventing the plant from uptaking maganese and iron. Next feed you may want to drop the ph of the solution to 6.0-6.2 area to try and bring your soil ph down to around 6.5. There will be some dead root matter and nute breakdown that will help with acidifying the soil by the time it dries out after the flush.

For the ppm, feed the 750ppm and see what the runoff is. If you just flushed, you may want to replenish the lost nutes

Ok, super helpful stuff, thanks @Bobbydigital

I was going to wait for the plants to pretty much dry out after this flush. You think I should give them a feeding before they dry up to the point of needing water again? I actually have to be in the dang hospital overnight tomorrow, back on Thurs, most likely.
Should I feed tonight, after flushing today? or should I wait to feed on Thurs afternoonish?

The last thing after flushing is adding the nutes back that you flushed out. You’re not incredibly low from where you want to be so it’s up to you if you want to wait until it dries or do it now. But it’s either now or when it dries. Forgot to add the soil ph chart if you don’t have it.