Schwer's First Grow Evah! Planning, Prep and Grow

  • Thread starter Schwer
  • Start date
  • Tagged users None
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
Hi friends,

Now that home cultivation is legal in VA (come July 2021) I can start planning for my new favorite hobby. I mean okay, not gonna lie. I’ve been planning this for months but my wife didn’t want me to make any purchases until we knew for sure which way the wind was blowing, and now we do!

I’ll try to keep updating this thread as I go through planning, setup, deep existential crises, and of course the grow itself while adding as many details, photos and super deep thoughts as I can along the way. That should help me stay organized and maybe someday it can help another new grower get started … likely by learning from my horrible, horrible mistakes.

As I mentioned in my New-Member intro I’m currently in sponge-mode trying to learn everything I can in order to make my own bad decisions rather than rely on the charity of strangers and smart, attractive people such as yourselves. That said, I wouldn’t mind a push in a better direction if anyone sees me headed towards a cliff. You are my catchers in the rye, if you will. (Nice, now they’ll think I’m smart)

My Plan So Far: The 85,000 Foot View (that’s the cruising altitude record of an SR-71 Blackbird, btw, which is objectively the sexiest aircraft of all time)

Grow Space

I happen to have a spare room on the 2nd floor of my house that I plan to use as a growing space. I also happen to not have a guest room anymore. The house is on central air and I have a spare window unit I can toss up if temperature regulation ever becomes a problem. The only downside here is that the room is three flights of stairs from my garage where I’ll likely be mixing my soil, making teas, etc. I guess this could be considered a positive depending on how fat you think I am, but I suggest you keep your damn opinion to yourself.

Despite having an entire room to spare I still plan to use a tent. That seems like the better solution when it comes to clean up, keeping a clean space, light regulation, humidity, etc. Besides, the legal limit in VA will be four plants to a home and only two of those plants can be mature. All four of my plants will be on the same grow cycle, of course, but to comply with the law only two of my plants will be on a standard VA education and the other two will be forced to watch Rick and Morty during light hours. So which two will be immature? Look, I don’t want to start any fights here so please draw your own conclusions.


Current Tent Pick: Gorilla Grow Tent 4x4

gg4x4.jpg


Reasoning: Okay this seems a little pricey and that will probably end up being a trend, but the reviews seem solid and we all know that every extra dollar spent is a direct measure of quality received and happiness banked. There’s also the stability, durability, uh… light-tightability, the marketing where a bunch of guys are hanging on it and I’m a Winston main in Overwatch so do I really need to look any further? I might also go with the one foot extension for the added height if my ceiling fan is wiling to part with the space.


Current Grow Light Pick: Grower’s Choice ROI E-680

ROIE680.jpg


Reasoning: Kinda pricey, so that’s good. By all accounts this is a great fit for a 4x4 and reviews are stellar. It has a “balanced spectrum” which sounds like a pretty awesome marketing term, a dimmer nob, and that Master Lighting controller looks pretty great if I ever decide to go that route waaaay down the road when I know I’m really into this (adding overly expensive controller to cart, and… done).


Current Vent Fan & Filter Pick: AC Infinity Cloudline T6 and AC Infinity 6” Carbon Filter

CLT6.jpg


Reasoning: Expensive? Check. Quiet? Check. This one keeps coming up as one of the top on lists when noise level is a factor, and just seems like a great fan over all. Is a 6 inch fan with 402 CFM overkill for a 4x4 with ~106 cubic feet and 4 plants? I haven’t the slightest idea, please stop asking, but I will be looking into this a little more before making any purchases. I’m also not sure if I’m going to want an intake fan or if I can get away with a filtered intake vent. I need to look more into that too.

That’s about as far as I’ve made it on general equipment possibilities. I think I have a piece of paper around here with model numbers for small fans, some PH meters, a lab coat, pocket protector, a wig to give me crazy science hair and other things I both absolutely need and absolutely do not need at the same time. That list is a paradox and may have folded itself into some kind of quantum singularly. Or maybe its on my messy desk somewhere. I suppose I’ll focus more on the incidentals when I get the other stuff nailed down.


What do I plan to grow?

Two years ago I grew the most amazing Fatalli peppers, but I think I’m going to try my hand at some of dat dere marijuana you kids are always raving about. I hear it can help with pain and I'm hoping it can also help with regrets.

My most recent plan that I’ve all but trashed (current shelf life for my plans stands at 30 minutes to an hour) was to grow some Strawberry Cough alongside some BlackBerry Kush. I’m kind of a Sativa guy and keep running across Strawberry Cough during my personal research (read: manic youtubing) and well, it just sounds lovely and I’d like to give it a try. My best buddy that isn't a dog fell in love with some Blackberry Kush on our last trip to Telluride, CO and I figured growing that for him would be a pretty solid gesture to prove I’m a better friend to him than he is to me. I could use a win here.

That said, the internet has taught me that Indicas might be a little easier for a total beginner such as myself. Then the internet taught me that Blackberry Kush, though an Indica, is considered “difficult” and that Strawberry Cough is considered “easy,” and that maybe I need to take a bunch of other considerations into account before making these decisions. In short, the internet did what it normally does and left me increasingly confused and sad the longer I dared to stare into the abyss.


Grow Medium

I know you’re probably thinking I want to go hydro because it has a larger up front cost, but in this singular case you would be wrong. I plan to grow in organic soil because it’s the most interesting to me at the moment and because regardless of the facts, or “irregardless” for all of you poor, dumb, iliterate bastards out there, I could really make use of the extra smug-factor when I gift my friends with bud and home-made edibles. “Oh by the way, its organic in case that’s a thing that matters to you.” Doesn’t that sound great?! Incidentally, the idea of creating a happy pot of soil for a happy plant is rather endearing, even if the ending of the story will inevitably parallel Old Yeller.

Oh, I imagine I'll be growing from seeds too since I'm kind of own my own here.


Soil Mix?

Don’t be cute. You know I have no clue what I'm doing and that I’m not particularly good with math. I’m totally going to plagiarize something that a lot of internet people think is solid and go from there. I am doing my due diligence and learning what I can though.

Okay, that's where things currently stand. I have plenty of time to nail down decisions and figure out the rest as I have some extended vacations coming up in the next couple of months and probably won't actually be able to start the grow until pretty close to the actual legalized date. If the timing works out I hope to feel like a badass outlaw... if only for a fleeting moment. In the mean time I am ever so happy to accept any advice or mental health counseling you have to offer.

Peace!

Schwer
 
Sparky1980

Sparky1980

Right on, Schwer. Looking forward to seeing your grow. Wish I was back home in VA! Compliments on the blackberry, as I'm eyeing that for my next grow.
 
lvstealth

lvstealth

Supporter
humidifier and dehumidifier.

pots - they have bag ones with Velcro so you can easily up-pot.

i was given the advice to plant the same strain at first. they would be the same height and would have the same needs... mostly. and with one big light you cant raise and lower on each one.

you sound like the type who would enjoy setting things up on a smart system. get smart plugs and smart sensors for temp and humidity and even lux, you can control it all with Alexa, or google - or like me, the cheap way, with ifttt (if this then that). you can spend lots! and start setting it all up now, getting your tent to maintain a temp range when lights off and then on. they even have smart floor vents for the furnace so you can control your room more accurately. so much to spend money on! and you can do it as you wait.
 
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
Thanks guys!

Right on, Schwer. Looking forward to seeing your grow. Wish I was back home in VA! Compliments on the blackberry, as I'm eyeing that for my next grow.

Yeah, about that Blackberry. I was looking at seeds last night and it seem like Blackberry Kush autos are the only seeds available. Are they only autos? I have no idea. I have my heart set on doing a photo run for my first time out so the Blackberry might have to wait for another run. My current sub of choice is Skywalker OG assuming I'm not going to run into the same issuw. I've always wanted to try it but could never get my hands on it, plus as an indica dominate hybrid I thought it would still be cool to pair it with the sativa-dominate Strawberry Cough I'm looking to grow.

... you can spend lots!
i was given the advice to plant the same strain at first...

I may have been overcaffeinated and slightly manic when I wrote my original post. Sometimes I joke around too much and my actual intensions get lost in the shitty jokes.

I don't really want to spend a lot of money and I never set out to do so. In most realms of my life I'm pretty thrifty and a dedicated saver. That said, when it comes to impassioned hobbies I don't mind spending more up front to get quality equipment because it usually means I spend less in the long run. Now while that almost makes me sound like a responsible human being I also have a wicked case of gear acquisition syndrome and over time I end up buying shit I want moreso than what I need. No regrets though, as I never spend beyond my means and in this particular case its also for the greatest of causes.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way... about those smart systems... 😁

As for growing different strains, the advice you shared is what I've generally heard as well. However, I was planning to use the SCROG method and my understanding is that SCROG-ing largely mitigates the potential height/light issues, with the biggest added challenge introduced to the grow then being the potential difference in nutritional preferences between strains (assuming similar grow cycles). But hey, this is only where I've settled for the moment based on my very limited knowledge on this subject and "you don't know what you don't know." I'll keep seeking advice on this before I jump into it so this is still subject to change.

Thanks for a reminder about the humidifier and dehumidifier as well as the pot info. From what I've read so far my tentative pot plan was to begin with solo cups or something similar, transfer to 1 gal, and then transfer to 5 gal to finish. I'm pretty sure four plants in 5 gal is going to be more than enough to fill out my 4x4 space, especially using SCROG. Might even be too much already.

In other news...

I've been doing a lot of research on a soil mix that isn't overly complicated for a beginner like myself. I think I've made some progress on that front and will post my plans on that in detail a little later.

Peace!
 
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
Tossed together a little comparison I found of the two in ilgm.com. Looks like the timing works with the biggest issues being the tall vs compact. Hopefully that could be mitigated by SCROG and giving the Strawberry Cough a bit more floor space? Or am I just setting myself up to be a bad father?
comp.jpg
 
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
Tentative Soil Mix Plan

The base mix I’m considering in split thirds of peat moss, EWC, and perlite for water retention, nutrient availability and drainage respectively. Here are brands I know I can get in my area. You may see a lot of Coast of Maine stuff, but that's mostly because I know the two big independent nursery's in my area carry their products. I'm certainly not married to the brand.

mix.jpg


I’m considering the following amendments for that base:

Dolomite Lime – My understanding is that this is necessary for neutralizing the acidity of the peat moss, and that dolomite lime is a good choice for slow release. About 1 cup per cubic foot soil. Not sure on my total soil requirements so I can’t get specific on measurements just yet.

Kelp Meal – additional macro and micro nutrients

Kelp.jpg


Lobster Meal –Calcium and some other macros

lobster.jpg


Alfalfa Meal – NPK and micros

alfalfa.jpg


Tomato Tone Fert – For a bit of everything.

tomatotone.png


Neem Meal - Slow release N and possible pest repellant?

Neem.jpg


And that's about all I have on the list for the moment, but with ALL of that being said I suppose I could also take the easier route and opt for the Coast of Maine Stoneington Platinum Growers Mix which seems to have most of what I listed in it to begin then and then amend accordingly. So that's a possibility as well and might be easier for a first grow.

stone.jpg
 
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
I did a little scouting today and all of the items listed above are available a couple miles up the road with the exception of the CoM Stonington Blend. I did manage to find the Stonington at the other nursery in town so that remains a viable local option too. Any thoughts on using the Stonington (possibly w/ several amendments) vs making my own? Looks like the price difference would be a wash for initial cost, though making my own soil might win out in the long run on price.
 
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
I still more questions than answers, but man I've learned a lot in the past several days.

But okay okay, I think I'm finally ready to accept that I may be biting off more than I can chew for this first grow by trying to go with my original choice of 2x Strawberry Cough and 2x Blueberry Kush. I'm coming to this conclusion mainly because of the probable height differences and the fact that I'll be relying on my non-existant LST and SCROG skills to maintain a relatively even canopy. That, and those sativa dominate hybrids might be too large to SCROG in my 4x4 alongside two other plants. So yeah, lots of reasons to take a different approach.

The new plan is to stick with the two Blackberry Kush, pick another indica or indica dominate hybrid to fill the other two spots and start with that. The sativas can wait for the next grow and maybe I'll just do 2 or 3 of those and try to fill the screen.

Any suggestions on what should fill those open spots? 😀
 
Sparky1980

Sparky1980

I still more questions than answers, but man I've learned a lot in the past several days.

But okay okay, I think I'm finally ready to accept that I may be biting off more than I can chew for this first grow by trying to go with my original choice of 2x Strawberry Cough and 2x Blueberry Kush. I'm coming to this conclusion mainly because of the probable height differences and the fact that I'll be relying on my non-existant LST and SCROG skills to maintain a relatively even canopy. That, and those sativa dominate hybrids might be too large to SCROG in my 4x4 alongside two other plants. So yeah, lots of reasons to take a different approach.

The new plan is to stick with the two Blackberry Kush, pick another indica or indica dominate hybrid to fill the other two spots and start with that. The sativas can wait for the next grow and maybe I'll just do 2 or 3 of those and try to fill the screen.

Any suggestions on what should fill those open spots? 😀
Probably a good idea to stick with Indica dominant strains this first run rather than mix them up. Can you grow outdoors? Sativa's do great outside and will get huge if you let them. For the open spots inside, I had great results with ILGM's Blueberry, and you can't go wrong with GDP. Love the purple strains.
 
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
Probably a good idea to stick with Indica dominant strains this first run rather than mix them up. Can you grow outdoors? Sativa's do great outside and will get huge if you let them. For the open spots inside, I had great results with ILGM's Blueberry, and you can't go wrong with GDP. Love the purple strains.

I'm not 100% sure about the legality of growing outdoors in Virginia with this new measure in place, but the law does require that grows "aren’t visible from a public street and precautions are taken to prevent unauthorized access by minors." Sadly it doesn't really matter in my case because my backyard is widely visible to the street and two neighbors.

Also, your comment sold me on GDP. It was already on my short list as I was browsing ilgm.com so that makes the decision easy. Thanks again.
__________________________

I spent a lot of time yesterday looking into the tent, lights, and ventilation and was happy enough with my original choices to place some orders. I think I mentioned earlier that I have some extended vacations coming up so its going to be bit before I actually start this grow. It will still be nice to have most of the essentials in place so I can get this going as soon as I'm ready. Besides, I'm not sure what the market for this equipment will look like in VA come July!

Today I'm going to keep looking into organic soil option and see if I can get some feedback here or elsewhere. I'm also going to look into a humidifier that might pair well with my setup, but I'm going to get some a cheap RH meter or two first to get some baseline readings for the room.
 
lvstealth

lvstealth

Supporter
you can set up the tent and lights and venting and see what you will need to maintain temp and humidity!

i have an ok humidifier, it does what its suppose to, but the one feature i love on it is that you can turn all its lights off by putting the display to sleep with one button. one of the more interesting learning journeys for me has been tuning in the environment. now i can leave it and it runs at the right temp and humidity... mostly
 
Schwer

Schwer

Supporter
you can set up the tent and lights and venting and see what you will need to maintain temp and humidity!

i have an ok humidifier, it does what its suppose to, but the one feature i love on it is that you can turn all its lights off by putting the display to sleep with one button. one of the more interesting learning journeys for me has been tuning in the environment. now i can leave it and it runs at the right temp and humidity... mostly

Hell, I wouldn't have even thought about the lights on a humidifier or dehumidifier. Thanks. It will be interesting to see what I'll be able to get away with in this room with the central A/C. I would expect it to be on the dry side even in VA's summer, but I guess we'll see.
________________________________________

Pieces and parts are arriving in the mail which is always a lot of fun.

Today the lights arrived along with a few incidentals. This Friday the tent and fan should arrive, so I expect I'll be able to clean the room, get the basics setup, and start a bit of preliminary temp/humidity testing by the weekend. I mean, it will probably be a whole different season by the time I actually start my grow, but at least I'll have a baseline and know that everything works.

Good times!

I've also decided to keep it simple and do my first grow using the CoM Stonington Plat mix. I'll be using 5 or 7 gal pots so it looks I'll have to do some amendments during flower based on CoM's recommendation.

Lights.jpeg
 
dire wolf

dire wolf

Hey s , I've had great results with coast of Maine , I highly recommend it ...did you discuss a pest treatment if one arises ? It's a big concern and one that is almost certainly going to surprise you , get yourself prepared for spider mites , fungus gnats , and thrips for starters .....
Do some research , I like neem oil to fight mites but I think I'm old school and there may be some newer products that don't leave an oily smelly residue , get a bottle of spinosad
Research that one .... Then get it , I'll be the first person you'll thank on your new friends list 😜
 
dire wolf

dire wolf

Also there's a silver bag of coast of Maine nutrient mix , I forgot what it's called , it's a general organic feed , not the lobster one , it smells like shit , but if you do a few teaspoons in your gal container , you should be ok , it's what I use ....
Also look into worm castings , it is shit but surprisingly dosent have any odor , your seedlings and small growth will eat it up , it's one of the least harsh , and richest nutrients young plants use ....it's amazing , just go easy with it , tends to stay wet and can compact mix , be sure to use 15 or more % perlite in your mix , some go as high as 25 /30 %
 
dire wolf

dire wolf

I still more questions than answers, but man I've learned a lot in the past several days.

But okay okay, I think I'm finally ready to accept that I may be biting off more than I can chew for this first grow by trying to go with my original choice of 2x Strawberry Cough and 2x Blueberry Kush. I'm coming to this conclusion mainly because of the probable height differences and the fact that I'll be relying on my non-existant LST and SCROG skills to maintain a relatively even canopy. That, and those sativa dominate hybrids might be too large to SCROG in my 4x4 alongside two other plants. So yeah, lots of reasons to take a different approach.

The new plan is to stick with the two Blackberry Kush, pick another indica or indica dominate hybrid to fill the other two spots and start with that. The sativas can wait for the next grow and maybe I'll just do 2 or 3 of those and try to fill the screen.

Any suggestions on what should fill those open spots? 😀
Scrog can be a bit of a pain in the ass for a first grow , limits access to your containers and locks you up in a position , as a new box you might want the freedom to move your containers around and not be tied up in a screen , for instance if you have to treat one plant for pests , or position , you might be at a disadvantage .....
Also I like rigid plastic pots for beginners , same story , they contain water and roots so you won't deal with spills or mess ,....and I don't see any disadvantages to them

Instead of Scrog , maybe try fimm , and low stress training , you can even go super cropping , and bend , break your stems and tie down the shoots to fill in space , without the Scrog , you can push , pull your individual pots around and fit branches into empty light advantage spaces ...
That's what I'd do
 

Similar threads

Lynch_Ironside
Replies
2
Views
84
Lynch_Ironside
Lynch_Ironside
therealdalmatian
Replies
0
Views
372
therealdalmatian
therealdalmatian
DoBetterr
Replies
15
Views
198
DreamwalkerJ
DreamwalkerJ
Top Bottom