TrevorLahey's Low Budget Growing Part 4: "The Hunger Games"

Hi everyone, back again with a whole new grow. For those of you that have followed my previous grows, you know I’ve had some troubles recently that have led to very disappointing ROI. Times are tough and running 1kw for 4 months to get 200g of seeded bud just isn’t going to be sustainable.

So let’s change up the formula.

After a staggering power bill arrived recently it was clear I had to take a break from running my big light, and focus on something that is energy efficient; can grow plants to harvest in as short of turnaround as possible; is easy to manage; and most importantly can be built on an extremely low budget. It doesn’t have all the fancy lights and systems like many here do, but I’m still proud of it whether it grows anything or not.

Luckily I had the help from some OG members who have been amazing at answering questions and pointing me in the right direction. I do however, have to acknowledge one particular OG member who has gone out of their way to answer questions, help me plan, solve issues and just been an all around stand up guy every step of the way. And since this grow is heavily inspired by his adventures, I’d like to dedicate this grow to @Mr.Sparkle.

Now let’s get down to business:

Dimensions: 24"x24"x46"

Lighting: I realllllly wanted to go with SolStrips they look amazing and have proven results and would have been perfect for this build but they just weren’t anywhere close to fitting in the budget, so we went with 142w of screw in LED with a mixed spectrum (6xPhillips 8.5w 2700K, 6xPhillips 8.5w 5000K, 2xLuminus 10.5w 2700K, 2xLuminus 10.5w 5000K) These are screwed into 16 lampholders mounted to 1/8" aluminum sheeting. Wei’ll call em SoulStikz :wink:

Irrigation 38L reservoir, 400gph pump, 1" pvc manifold feeding 2 1/4" drip lines attached to 4 mister heads (they don’t mist they dribble) 1 head per plant. Can’t see it in this pic but I also have misters in the cross pipe to aerate (flume) the water during cycle. Runoff is recollected in reservoir and recirculated. Water is not actively aerated and only aerated during cycling via fluming. To keep pathogens and other nasties out of our water we’ll be using pool shock at 0.03g/L with an additive ppm of around 30.

Timer/Automation Lights and pumps are controlled by a Sonoff 4CH. These things are great and for $20-25 they’re the best bang for buck timer out there. They can be app controlled via WiFi, can set separate schedules per channel with intervals as low as 1 minute, and can save their schedules and states during power/internet outage.

1x200mm exhaust fan at the top of the cabinet fed into secondary lid (a hood) with an elbow and filter to prevent light leaks, you can see in this pic this is basically where all the wiring is done, lights are lifted/lowered and it makes a great place to store stuff lol
1x80mm exhaust fan set up as a booster to suck air directly from canopy and move it to final exhaust near the lid

And 100mm and 120mm recirculating fans (I know it’s overkill it’s what I had on hand)

Medium Plants will be grown in 2.7L pots in Cyco Premium Coco Coir

Nutrient Regime Plants will be fed MegaCrop as per feeding directions. Other products on hand include ph up/down, calcium hypochlorite, 30% h2o2, GH RapidStart, SuperThrive, Dutch Nutrient Formula A+B, MonsterBloom 0-30-50 but we’re going to try to see how far we can get on just MegaCrop alone for now.

Strain Dark Devil Auto, these are F2s from a very special OG friend (thanks again buddy) I have a couple of them going in my outdoor garden and they have some crazy purple colors, I hope to fill this box with that color soon!

So with all the nitty gritty out of the way, Let’s get this grow on the road!
July 31st Put seeds in straight water before bed

August 1stAll have sunk to bottom of glass, into paper towel they go, put between two saucers and in a nice warm spot

August 2nd Think I’ll give em another day just to get that forth one opened up

August 3rdInto their new homes! Medium is pre charged with 550ppm MegaCrop

August 4thThis one was saying “Peekaboo!” first thing this morning. It wasted no time on popping it’s head up.

And another one before bed tonight:

Good night girls!


Ahh and I remember when it was just a crate in a box. . . Looks great lucy​:+1::+1::+1:


@Mr.Sparkle :point_left: :footprints:

if you have a cool environment, exhausting the heat is a non issue but in my climate that reminds me of:

:evergreen_tree: :clap:


What’s the total cost?

1 Like

It’s in a basement, but I had the heat concern too, so the exhaust can be hooked into my existing exhaust to outdoor.

@McMuffin total cost even when buying everything brand new (I had much of the parts already) is under $200.

The priciest part of the setup is the light rig. It cost about $45 for 16 bulbs and $30 for the lamp holders.

Lumber was about $20.

Pump and lines under $30

Timer was $25

Everything else was mostly small hardware purchases or unnecessary additions.

I started this project with ~$150 budget and I’m pretty happy I was able to keep it in that range.


Just checked my runoff, ppm seems stable ~600ppm going into the pots and just under 600 coming out. pH is a little on the low side around 5.6 I’ll keep my eye out for it dropping below 5.5.

Still 2/4 above surface, but I see a little bump in the middle of one of them, maybe tonight :wink:


Neat wee setup there Lucy :thumbsup: most folk say the runoff PH readings from coco are pretty much meaningless, it’s the PH of what you put in that matters most apparently. Good luck with your grow btw. A


i’ve fought with the soil pH testing god myself. :confounded:

the most accurate way i’ve read but have not tried is:

water with distilled water
1 hour later, lightly water with distilled water
capture first few drops, ignore rest of test
compare pH in to pH out

ay ay ay…

:evergreen_tree: and the probes are basically expensive kabob skewers


@Albannach @cannabissequoia

Thanks for the replies and good info. For the above test I’m mostly doing comparisons to the water I put in the res 2 days ago vs the water coming out of the drippers vs the runoff and trying to see if there’s any crazy fluctations since res fill (like ppm going up, pH dropping too quickly, color, sediment etc.) Trying to get this dialed in as best as I can.

I still don’t have a pH probe still using the old GH droppers but I find them pretty easy to get within a decimal if you have a good eye for color.

I’m also considering adding an air pump to aerate my water every couple hours, since I won’t be cycling often, the flume method might not add sufficient oxygen to the water. My drippers should also aerate the water though as they leave the heads so I’m still not sure if I want to invest in something to solve I problem I don’t have (yet).


August 5th

3rd is up! One more to go!


Wait for the soil to dry out and take a small amount, an ounce or two, from the side of the pot about 2” down, right outside the root zone so you don’t mess up the roots. Mix it with equal parts pH neutral water. Once it’s mixed let it sit for about 20-30 minutes to stabilize. Right before you pop your pH meter into it give it a stir.


Nice job on the set-up! I’m excited to watch the devils grow!


I’m trying the LED light bulb route myself for my clones and seedlings. So far so good. I like your idea of mixed spectrum. I’m gonna have to try that.

Thanks for posting this. Great thread. I’ll be following @Lucy247420.


Running feed cycle, 3/4 are up above ground, 1 is still MIA. One had a hard time shedding it’s pod so I gave it a little nudge and it fell off easily.


Some much overdue surgery

Clarification: I removed the seed pods from the seedlings recently but missed the seed lining, fusing the cotyledons together.

Thanks to @Jellypowered and @Hoodini for spotting this in my pics, as I had missed it and was just waiting for mother nature to run its course. Turns out I could have lost a couple seedlings if I hadn’t acted on their advice of wetting the seedling down and gently removing the membrane.

Hopefully they bounce back and are better for it.

In the meantime, still waiting for #4 to pop up, getting impatient now, might be almost time to soak a replacement.


Woo hooooooooo that’s what we are here for my brother! Now you can help someone else with the same problem you had​:+1::+1::+1: that’s what makes it worth it :grin:



Still no #4? And it seems like they are loving the new housing​:+1::+1:


Nope, waiting is killing me. I got some Auto Purple Kush seeds coming tomorrow or Monday and the reviews and information on them look promising, so if my #4 doesn’t pop by the time they arrive, I’m going to replace it with a PK seed. Variety!


I sure liked the shots with the water flowing… :hugging: :seedling: :ocean: