Small Grow, Underground Room

Roughly 8 by 8, 6.5 ft ceiling. Concrete room, (storm shelter) Lights are in plain reflectors. Power was installed when the shelter was put in.
During Veg I used 3 100 W equivalent CFL (6500 K) plus two 24 inch Regular Flourescents (also 6500 K)
For flowering I’m switching to 4 100 W CFL (2700 K) plus two 24 inch Regular Flourescents with no reflectors, just a plastic fixture. (also 2700 K)
Using timer for 12/12 daily.
Plants are inside a metal shelf rack without shelves. (used shelf for first few weeks to bring plants and lights closer together.) Outside of the shelf rack has reflective plastic silver colored ceiling tiles. Hand carry water when needed.
Ventilation is a single six inch fan pointing out a vent hole. Top center of shelter has covered hole for incoming air.
Not a perfect setup, and first try at a grow.
Plants were two inches high when put into this room, after four weeks they’re a little over 12 inches high.
Started out with more plants but I messed up the PH when I used a meter that was off quite a bit and I added way too much acid to the water. Survivors were watered by plain tap water. (new meter says the soil is around 6.5 now)
Mistakes I know I made so far…

  1. Some of the plants were in plain dirt that turned to mud when watered. Good plants were put into a mix of compost and peat.
  2. Aforementioned PH fiasco.
  3. Added plant food on top of medium and it became moldy overnight. Didn’t seem to harm the plants, but freaked me out.
  4. Lights were too far away early on.
  5. Kept lights on 24/7 during veg. (not positive it was a mistake, but I’ve read root growth needs darkness since then.)
  6. Used cheap plastic inserts for pots. If this grow does halfway decent, will clone and use better pots.
  7. Shelter leaked when it rained. Nothing touched the plants, but the humidity was through the roof for two weeks. I’ve since fixed the leaks.
  8. Left the door open to help evaporate the rainwater. It allowed evaporation, but also allowed critters to move in.
  9. Told my wife who has killed my plants before by overwatering. (just kidding sweetheart.)
  10. Used seeds I got out of various bags over the last 3 years. Some didn’t germinate, some did. (paper towel all the way.)
    Open to suggestions, you can even beat me up if you want. But my mouth waters every time I inspect the leaves.
    Questions I have.
  11. Heat in the winter. It doesn’t freeze outside every day but it can get below zero. I don’t know if the temp in the room will drop that low, but I’m sure it will if the lights are off and the fan is on. Can I turn the fan off during darkness? Open to suggestions for heating the room but I don’t want any light from the heater.
  12. In August the temperature got up to 95 degrees F. How much damage does that do to the plants?

I’ll add a picture tomorrow.


I suggest you keep on working on your grow methods, and complete a couple grows. Cannot wait to see piks. :slight_smile:

As promised, pictures. Although I had previously stated that I had fixed the leaks, today’s heavy rain proved that I have more work to do.
First picture is of the plants themselves under the second day of 2700K bulbs.

Second image is the light setup with 2700 K CFL’s and a couple of 24 inch flourescents at 3000 K.

The thermometer.

And here we see the Pan/Tilt/Zoom webcam I watch the grow with. And yes, I did say I fixed the leaks but today’s heavy rain proved me wrong.

The fan pushing air out of the storm shelter.

And finally, the electric outlets with the timer installed.

Now, I’m fully aware that I have a long way to go before I’m done with setting this room up correctly, but I plan on having a lot of fun figuring things out.

very cool!

During veg (according to the pics you loaded it looks like you are in veg) you should use the blue white lights (up to 5600K) to keep the plant more compact. Warm lights (300 and below) will cause stretch.

If I am mistaken and you are in flower, the plant seems pretty small and not quite mature enough to reliably induce flowering.

Assuming you are in veg still, you could consider topping the plant (research on internet) as long as your bunker will stay temp appropriate until you harvest. Topping will slow growth for about 1 week but your plant will spread out and grow multiple main colas which drastically increases indoor yields.

Also if your fertilizer molds, you are keeping the soil too moist by overwatering (most common beginner mistake). This will slow growth and present as a myriad of nutrient deficiencies as well as attract fungus gnats - I hate those things.

Thanks for the heads up.

I used 6500 k for veg. I’m purposely flowering early to make sure I’ve got girls and that they’re worth growing. (These seeds were so old I don’t even know where they came from) If so, I’ll clone and go back to veg. I am waiting to top the plant until I give them a chance to grow more roots. Don’t want them to fall over. (I ran them 24/7 for veg this time around, and then decided to read up and got the idea that I should probably let them go 18/6 to give a chance for root growth.)

Eventually if they’re viable, I’ll let them get as tall as me before flowering again. That will require transplanting into bigger containers and maybe by that time my wife will by me some HPS for Christmas and I’ll have the “room” set up properly. Still fighting the leakage and trying to figure out how I’m going to keep the temp up this winter.

I think I may have to come up with a different soil mixture. This stuff holds moisture forever. Although it’s much better than the “mud” I was using on some of the others.

Sounds like you have a good plan.

Yes 5000K - 5600K is considered pure white light, evenly balanced between blue and redish light and why they are sometimes called full spectrum lights. 3500K and maybe even 4000k and below are considered redish heavy in its spectrum, hence the ‘warm’ white in the descriptions of most lights rated at 2200 - 3500K. Much above 5500K the light does start to appear more blue, hence the cold white often in descriptions of lights around 6000k or higher. 6500K is a really good spectrum for the vegetative growth season/cycle. 6000k or above is most often used during veg.

You should add 40 - 50% coarse grain perlite to a good soil, any good moisture control soil that isn’t too hot in its NPK ratios off the shelf would work, amend it with well wth the perlite and you should do a lot better with aeration for healthy roots.

It looks like you have a great set up. I am also a very new grower and have 1000’s of questions also. I have a room like yours that I was going to use but couldn’t control temp and humidity so I used a different room in the basement about the same size. One problem I had was that I let the plants get too tall before I put them in Flowering. They grew past the lights and into the rafters. I am not sure how much taller they get when flowering but I do know that mine grew too much for the room. I think that caused stressed and turned 1-2 into Hermes’s.

I really wished I could of used the room like yous but the cost and time to get enough power and the correct ventilation would of outweighed the benefits.

Good Luck with the family

I got lucky. When the shelter was put in we were in the middle of a major remodel of the house. I had they guys add power to the shelter as soon as the guys who put it in left. My wife wasn’t pleased at first, but the first night we sat out a huge tornado warning she was able to watch her recorded Dr Phil. Hasn’t complained since.


Because of the height, I have to calculate pretty close for when to flower. I plan on leaving at least three feet the first time I finish a grow completely. There are some drawbacks I didn’t realize at first. The shelter has a few “light” spots like the air vent at the top and the corners of the door. I fixed the air vent with black plastic and the door with a sliced piece of hose that goes all the way around. It’s really neat sitting in there with all the lights out. Once your eyes get used to things, you see all kinds of little bits of light here and there. Now, when the lights are off, it’s almost totally black in there.

I was thinking about a grow light with MH and HPS bulbs, but can’t decide how to cool the room down. One small vent with one small fan pushing out won’t do it. Now I’m concerned with winter cold coming in. I’d love to have a basement I could build a room in.

Here are pics of my grow. These are the 1st pics ever and was scared taking them. They always say NEVER TELL ANYONE. The 1st one is the Screen of green that I am going to try. I have seen some pics of this from others and if all goes well this is the best way to grow. The second one is the clones that I am trying to get a “mother plant” from my 1st grow set up to make clones. I have not had a great success rate at this but still trying. I did get some “Gold Leaf” seeds from ILGM and will be starting them in a few week.

Good Luck to you and your garden

Things to remember about Pics. First choice is digital camera, second choice is cell phone with NO cloud storage of any kind. It’s also a good idea to turn off any “where was this taken” apps.

I never upload anything to social media and I never name my pics anything to do with MJ.

I keep my grows small enough so that I’m not confused with anything “commercial.”

I’m no expert, I’m just an old guy with a hobby. When I grew outdoors I was paranoid all the time. I made myself sick with worry. Every time I would go visit the grow I felt like I was being watched.

The rules are basically simple.

Nobody who knows me would ever think I was involved in anything so clandestine. Including the friends who I’ve partied with. If they ask where I got it from, 'My uncle Bob’s a truck driver and he comes through Colorado quite often."

As far as putting the pictures here, I figure nobody in this group knows where I live, and nobody knows who I really am. The only thing that made me paranoid was when I first joined the forums they automatically grabbed a picture of me from a blog I had a million years ago. I could see someone I used to work with wanting to get back at me for being a boss. Once I figured out to change that, I relaxed and put away the nitroglycerin tablets.

If my kids weren’t grown and gone, there’s no way I’d be growing anywhere near the house. Kids talk.

good advice :smiley:

I agree 100% with your rules. I like the “My uncle Bob’s a truck driver” but at my age I may have to change the wording a little. LOL . I’m also the last one they think would growing weed in my basement, I try to act and look like the upstanding citizen. Don’t attract attention and live simple.
Maybe this winter you could use the MH grow light. it may put enough heat in the room for winter but not too much. The inline fans that are out there move a lot of air so if it gets too hot that may be an option to remove excess heat.
Good Luck and looking forward to seeing the final product

No way I could pass for an upstanding citizen. :wink:

I look more like an old goat farmer in my coveralls. And I’m way too good at having fun to be considered one of the mucky mucks here in my small town.

Heck, I get dirty looks when I wear my political tee shirt on voting day.