Starting up, need advise :)

Reading, reading ,reading………and ILGM has lots of info right here. I’ll go soil based for now.

@raustin I’m zeroing in on my purchase list and had a question. I’m following your lead and buying the 2x2x5 tent with associated gear you have suggested so far, with Amazon being my preference since I have a 5% prime rewards card. The LED w/Q board comes from so that’s my only non-Amazon purchase so far.

Question(s): The exhaust fan you linked has an optional speed controller which can be purchased as an add-on…do I need to control fans speeds on the intake and/or exhaust?

I have a Ph meter to do soil slurry tests as we discussed. I assume I can test the mixed nutrients with distilled water and test the ph, and if all is in balance including the soil, I’ll be ok with the ph. You mentioned a PPM meter. Is this used so I can ensure my watering solution with nutrients is of the proper dilution? Is there a suggested meter that will work?


Yes, yes, and yes! I do have the speed controller for the big exhaust fan, you do need that one to control humidity in the tent. You don’t need a second one for the small intake fan, I just plug mine in.

Sounds like you’ve got a good Ph meter. You can use that for soil slurry test, nutrient and water testing. The PPM meter is another must have. You can get a cheap one for now, or spend more for a good one.

Cheap one.

A good one. This is the one I use.

Found this on Amazon:
Quantum LEDs 135 Watt Quantum LED Light 304 Board Kit in 2700k,4000k,5000k - White Light Grow Lamp for Horticulture (4000k)

No 3000k, though.


The only thing that matters in indoor gardening is to start and to not give up at any cost.
Yeah, I say it all the time that with time and experience you’ll learn a lot just get some of the Best LED grow light in your budget, get ready your grow room setup using a tent or stealth box, bring soil, fertilizer, nutrients (for all this there are tons of guide available already).
And, in case you feel lost at any point you can raise your concern here, community is always there to help you out with your query…
I am so grateful to all the communities out there people helped me a lot.

1 Like

@MT3 I too am a first time grower; just finishing up my first grow. Growing, so far at least, reminds me of the estimates the IRS makes for tax preparation: I can’t imagine it takes so long.

So my experience has been very positive. By being here you are on the right track already and frankly the information here and elsewhere online is incredible. Things can go wrong, but frankly if you do your homework (and I don’t mean hours and hours of work), you’ll be fine.

For background, I have a 2.5 X 5.5 X 8 closet with door that opens to my garage. As a first timer, here are some things that surprised me or caused issues:

1, I first bought a 600W HPS/MH light. Discovered it generated way too much heat. Closet temps reached 90 degrees (even with an exhaust and a/c vent to the closet. I live in the SW USA. So hot is the norm.
2. Next I bought a “burple” led light that ended up being under powered for my space. I didn’t know about the newer “white” light leds at the time. If I’d known about those I might have chosen them but they are the most expensive by far.
3. It was suggested that my closet did not have enough fresh air (it is airtight) from just the a/c vent. Think of the times when a/c was not running. To solve that problem I ducted from the vent to a fan so I can pull fresh and cold air from the house. Fixing that enabled me to go back to the HPS/MH setup.
4. I was surprised how sensitive the plants are to nutes. It is very easy to over do it. Especially if you are using “hot” (already very nute rich) soil like Fox Farm Ocean. I ended up burning my plants a little.When starting out I found that less is more. Don’t use nutes until 4 to 6 weeks!
5. I bought PH UP and PH Down. Why I bought PH UP is beyond me. I’ll probably never use it. Tap water almost always (in cities anyway) has PH higher than what is required.
6. I measured PH of the water + nutes going in. Really must measure the extra run off to get ph of the soil. It will be lower than the other measure (at least for new FF Ocean).
7. I was surprised how much space 3 plants takes up once they take off! I filled every horizontal inch of my space with just 3 plants. This makes me think that 2X2 is too small for you even for a small grower especially since you wont have economy of scale. See next point.
8. I was surprised how much time it takes to care for the plants. The time for 3 or 4 plants will be similar for that of 1 so I recommend going a little larger. You can always grow less frequently instead.
9. No one talks about run off when watering/feeding. Make sure you have good pans deep enough to capture an inch or two of runoff. I first started taking my plants outside to water. Then decided it was too risky to do so.
10, People talk a lot about how they get the seeds to germinate. For me I simply pushed a seed into seed starter plugs that were themselves inserted into 1 gallon fabric pots and watered periodically, I had 100% success on seeds that were about 9 months old that I bought from ILGM. I eventually transferred to 5 gallon fabric vessels.
11. I think the single biggest thing to get right is the environment. The seeds, soil, nutes can be purchased but you’ll need to get the right light, temperature, humidity, and circulation. It took me awhile but I think I’ve got a good setup. As I mentioned I draw conditioned air from a hvac duct (assisted by fan). I exhaust air through the light shroud and thru ducts that terminate at a roof turbine. Both fans have their own speed control that I can dial in to control temp or humidity. I have zero smell outside the closet. I bought a carbon filter but have yet to install it as it doesn’t look like it is needed. Plus its really large and will obscure the lighting.

Here is what I purchased (some of which not needed or used):

The fans are expensive but awesome. Really high quality and quiet.

Hope this post is useful to you/others.


@buddawg I cant thank you enough for the post plus the time you put into linking many of the products you are using. I have been truly blessed to have a community of supporters here at ILGM getting me started, and without question, @raustin has been the most patient mentor ever!

It stands to reason novice growers tend to smother plants with TOO much love and attention which may lead to over watering and over fertilizing. I will be using FF Ocean Forest and the trio of nutes FF sells. I have studied their usage chart and will always operate on the side of under-use vs the tendency to over do things. You make a super strong point in that we could have identical systems but our environments could be total opposites. While the humidity in my zone is high, yours may be low…or vice versa. The indoor growing system may be new and challenging to me, but at the same time I have high confidence that I’ll succeed. With the support of the good folks on ILGM forum, I will succeed…sooner or later!! I’m hoping sooner.

1 Like

Also looking to start a small tent, I’ll post pics of my shopping list, done alot of research on youtube, articles, few forums, and narrowed it down to this, only thing missing is ppm meter, and some seeds!Screenshot_20181211-091205_Chrome


Sorry for the multiple posts, had trouble with the pics:p

I’m new to this website. I just read this entire thread because of an email from ILGM. All the information and links to products have been extremely helpful! I can see this is a very cool community who is willing to share information and help each other. I noticed the willingness from people in this group, such as @Raustin. I hope to grow soon and look forward to your advice.

One question I do have right now is if I’m growing outdoors with traditional seeds (non-auto) and live in the Southeast of the USA, should I be planting now? If I’m growing traditional seeds indoors then I’d imagine the time of year is irrelevant. Correct?

1 Like

@Writedude I’m way north of you but I plant out as soon as danger of frost is past. Some like to wait but I’ve never seen the need. Basically, if gardeners in your area are setting out tomatoes and things like that, you should be good to go. Just be wary of a late frost and be prepared to cover your plants at night if needed.

Have fun.

How do I post my own question on here? First time using the forums. Seems very helpful I want to get in on the action

First of all welcome to the forum. Great bunch here and very knowledgeable. Look for 3 horizontal lines up next to your profile picture. Clicking on that will bring a drop down menu up and you will see “new” if you click that button you will see the create topic button there :sunglasses:
Ps if you need to get someone’s attention use @in front of their user name. It puts a flag up next their profile picture and they will swing by for a chat

1 Like