Long timer time lurker, first time poster - setup

Hi Everyone,

First off, thanks for the time, effort, advice and entertainment! I have been creeping on and off for a while now but haven’t growed or shared since the new OG (and maybe even before… wasn’t the old OG known as something else first?).

Anyway, have always been reluctant to post given my profession and the taboo but now our favourite green friends are legal in Canada and seeing the community here, I’m finally saying hello!

Just relocated to the Okanagan in BC and have found myself with a 900sq unfinished basement that is dying for setup.

I’ve never grown indoors and haven’t grown anything for almost ten years. My wife (married a year in Sept) smokes daily (I enjoy less frequently but do enjoy edibles immensely). She has given a green light to setup a tent in the basement as long as I grow her something purple. She means purple haze but I wasn’t able to find any easily so ended up springing for some Purple Punch (Barney’s) and some Super Lemon Haze (Canuk seeds). Both fem’d autos. I was inspired by a certain micro grower here with the idea of autos and like the simplicity for a first grow.

So - on to the meat and potatoes… where I shamelessly ask questions to community about things I’ve read here but haven’t been able to get direct or specific answers on in my searches. I’m hoping before long you’ll be able to pull up a chair and watch the hilarity of a complete noob try his hand.


I’ll be watching :smile: i myself am thinking about building a hydro set up when i start getting some money from my new job.


So looks like I needed the okay on my first post, thanks for lvl 1 clearance.

So my first question is largely around lights as there seems like there are more opinions than options and I’m no electrician by trade… I do have a fundamental understanding of biology, chemistry and physics though.

I’m looking at a 4x4x6 tent (currently looking at the vivosun) and was thinking a 600w HPS centre and two strips of leds. The HPS I’m good with, the leds I’m still trying to figure out. Seems like solstrips would be my 1st choice but the shipping, duty and taxes make it a prohibitively expensive option - unless I’m missing something.

I’m not handy at all when it comes to electrical things so looking for something more out-of-the-box if you know what I mean. Quantum boards look like a good option price/performance wise but I’m reluctant to get a bunch of parts on the table I have no idea what to do with.

So with the HPS as a base what are the thoughts on ready mades like MARS II 900s or the like?


In terms of hydro vs aero vs soil - for the first grow I may do a soil and hand water grow - I want to get more in tune with the girls and how they grow and what they need a little more intimately before trying to automate. The goal will be to get to a hydro drip scrog setup but for now 4 girls in pots with soil is a good start methinks.

Will be researching soil mixes to make independent evaluation but any links to advice pieces is appreciated!


I believe horticultural lighting group sells assembled quantum board setups. They even have a model with deep reds in them, but Oh are they pricey. I assembled my lights with bridgelux strip leds and put them together and was very happy but if i had the money, HLG lights were what I always drooled over.


I don’t run leds yet. But i do run hps. 2 600s in a 6x10 room. I have a fan that sucks through them to the outside, to keep the heat down and smells out. I can keep the lights about a foot away without burning them. But I also have a portable ac unit to help with temps. I just moved the lights down from almost 3 feet away because they are stretching way too much and not getting side branches. A week from moving the lights the nodes are super close now. Good luck

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I was looking at the HLG 300 (4000k) to really complement the blue spectrum where the HPS is usually so warm and reddy anyway. Most of the HLG solutions I’ve looked at for my grow size are sold out… but man you’re right, not cheap. I’m not on a super tight budget but I don’t have money to through around and something like lighting I’d really like to get mostly right the first time.


:+1: It is a primary input for plant growth.

LED is more or less the future. Take some time and research some of the options then ask some questions on the things that seem unclear. There are several LED OEMs that produce quality products but it is also a field where there is a ton of misinformation floating around.


I think I understand the ideas behind veg/flower spectrums but using autos at 18/6 more full spectrum doesn’t hurt and the specific red/blues may or may not be more useful.

The specific led lighting questions I have tend around wattage and actual useable output… I get lumens as an output measurement but the difference in from the wall and actual output doesn’t always make sense to me. Seeing people review different say, Amazon, options that claim to be 300 or 600 watts but disappoint on output… but then it only draws a fraction from the wall?? How do you ever do an apples to apples comparison?

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Have you ever checked out https://ledgardener.com/ ? They are a great resource and they have videos comparing blurple viparspectra to leds. They have a lot of interesting info reviewing lights.

Yes, that is part of the problem and mostly marketing.

They are using PAR (or some other measurement) as a comparison between some “undefined” benchmark such as HPS or HID and claim a comparable output to an nnn Watt lamp. Saying things like a unit that draws 100W is comparible to a 600W HPS.

A good metric is to look for the OEMs that provide PPF/PPFD for a defined height/space along with efficiency information (uMol/J). Many, particularly the off brand imports, do not provide this information. It is a hint that they may be playing marketing games. Although, they can be cheap.

The values from forthcoming OEMs will be listed like: Electrical efficiency (μmol/J): 2.7 PPF: 1000 µmol/s (at 18 inches). And/or they will provide a PPFD mapping.

The efficiency should be greater than 1.8 with the leaders (today) being in the 2.4+ range.

As to spectrum, a broadband “white” light is a good trade-off as an all around lighting solution. The key is the amount of light produced in the PAR region (the region of spectrum utilized in photosynthesis). Adding more blue / red or other colors can be useful down the road but can also be tricky to get right since the plant responds to ratios of different spectra. I think the broad spectra lights are a good place to start.

Also, try to think in PAR. While it can be convenient to talk about lumens, lumens have a different application (what humans see as light intensity).

Taken from a different post, this is a spectral plot of sunlight:

The shaded area tells us the PAR. The photosynthetic active region (what plants use for the most part):

You may notice that not all of the light energy contributes to photosynthesis.

The same thing applies to lamps. Here is the output of a Fluence VyperX Greenhouse fixture as a comparison:

Manufacturers will calculate the total uMols/sec produced in the PAR region and provide you with a value as measured at a specific distance from the lamp. This value is useful for determining how much lamp is needed for a specific grow area since there has been research into PAR amounts and the total amount of light different plants would like to receive in a day (the DLI).


That’s super helpful. I reached out to @baudelaire for advice on a solstrip setup. If I’m going to shell out for lighting, I’d rather do it right the first time. I’m planning largely autos initially but would like options down the line. Also like the idea of scalability to up the tent size.

For a 4x4 setup (6’ clearance) was thinking 8x Sol x3s; 2x Sol x2s at 3500k and two Sol x2s at 5000k and just drop the HPS. Thought process was that the x3s will give the range though weighted somewhat to flower, the bit of 3500k will bridge the middle noting the average is 3700k on the x3s and provide all purpose supplement while the 5000k’s will help bolster the veg where the x3s are still weighted 2:1 on 2700k. I was going to go 2x 480 drivers so I had a bit of room to expand later. This would also give me a bit of flex if I wanted to build out dedicated small scale space later for clones, veg, etc.

Will wait to hear from Baude but interested in any feedback on my hair brained rationale. Makes sense in my head at least…

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I think you should stick to just the x2s or x3s. I’m still in the research process myself, so someone will have to verify my thinking, but the x2s and x3s use different drivers. It’s been a little while since I looked at it, but I believe the X2 strips run on 24V and the X3 use 36V. If I remember correctly the X3s were developed primarily for COB retrofits that already used the 36V drivers.

Good luck Rhuin! I’ll be following along and hopefully putting together a stealth box (still prohibition here) some time in the next 2 months.


Was planning on two drivers anyway with 2x 480w but wasn’t aware of the v24vs36 requirement. Would need at least 1 x3 on the second driver so could always drop one and add a x2 instead. I do like my symmetry though…


LOL & welcome. :sunglasses:



Your a smart guy checking with the boss first, I usually hide stuff I am doing, and then when she finds out, I tell her its been happening for years so there cant be a problem lol.


Haha that’s awesome! Mine is too sharp for that… though I did get her converted to 2% milk that way…

So I just got back from a couple garden centers and have the beginnings of my grow. I opted for 10 gal pots for the PH buffering and forgiveness. Maybe a bit large but each lady is going to have 4sqft and the tent is 6’ tall so with a little training they should get to a decent size without being monsters. Oh, I ended up opting for the Growneer when it went on sale over the Vivosun. The basement only has one window which will be blacked out and the door is at the top of a single staircase to the living room, so light bleed would be nominal at best without a tent.

Got a bag each of Happy Frog and Ocean Forest by Fox Farms (was only 19.99 a bag so was very happy with that). I will run side by sides with one Purple Punch and one Super Lemon Haze in each so I can get a feeling for each.

Also picked up some organic bone meal and blood meal. I have some sweetgums and barberry bushes that could use a little feed and figured I can use it later on when needed. I wasn’t able to find Seaboost like I had on the East Coast but found an equivalent seaweed elixir from Nanaimo that I’m excited to try with my house plants and later the grow. Also a bit of worm castings and perlite which I’ll be using anyway for some transplanting later today (again, house plants).

From a medium standpoint, now you get a flavour for my starting point and direction, am I missing anything obvious?


You could add gypsum to your mix helps with the soil buffering and adds sulfur.

Cover crops will help with nitrogen fixing and bacteria, as well as reduce humidity from water evaporation from the top of the soil. It can give the fungus gnats something to focus on rather than the cannabis. Clover is good, I use alfalfa as well, the more diverse you can get it the better.

Edit… forgot worms if you’re feeling like going the whole 9 yds.


Thanks - was going to get some rock dust when I find it for a slow mineral boost but was going to use epsom salt for the main mag/sulphur source as it seems a little easier to measure and control. Would you recommend gypsum instead? I appreciate your feedback.

My overall goal is to have a sweet slow release soil that let’s the plant take what it needs and then supplement a little when needed, especially at flower. I’m not min/maxing but trying for an overall healthy grow with minimal tweaking for first round.

I was going to use vermicompost tea (aerated with molassus and alfalfa) periodically to keep the biome healthy and get a little extra bio-nitrogen in there.

Was wondering if you all see any benefit to a little invention I used out east on some container vegs (maybe not new but I like to think it is). What I’d do is take an old tea shirt (thin and breathable material) and cut it so I can wrap it at the base of the plant (no touching) over the medium like a Christmas tree skirt. But I’d soak it in some essential oils like neem and tea tree. Certainly seemed to keep the majority off buggy baddies off the lower stems and soil. Any potential effects to cannagirls? Or is this just hair brained Witch Doctor-y?


Rock dust is good, I used a mix of 2, Basalt and Glacial Rock dust, they have some similar minerals and different ones in each, the basalt I find is the best value for money, as it’s ingredients have higher percentages to the Glacial.

I have gypsum in my soil and use Epsom salts, and add sulfur powder as a top dressing if you think the 2 would be too much sulfur for you.

Your teas should be good for Veg and early flower, you may need more P after the stretch.

The smelly bag sounds like a good idea, you won’t know for sure, until you try it out.