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A new guy/girl/person here with a lot of questions and concerns, I hoped you could help me out a bit. As one can see from my nick, I’m a little paranoid about trying out this hobby. I live in Europe, in a country with fairly strict laws regarding certain plants/substances (Sweden, go figure). I managed to grow some mushrooms for personal use and I'm tempted to try the discipline you all are practicing. I've found stores in which I could get most of the equipment needed but I don't know what exactly I need or even should I go for it. What I have is a 55x55x150cm closet, white from inside, neighboring my clothes closet. Nowhere to extract the air out and no drilling the closet allowed). I’d like to try and grow one autoflowering plant for myself. I have no relevant previous experience as well, just a wish to learn. What is a minimum setup you’d see working out? I was looking at lights and have no clue what would be the best for this most minimalist of setups. Likewise, I don’t know if having the closet opened a bit would satisfy the need for ventilation? Would the plant stink the hell out of everything or is the smell bearable? Idk, maybe some strains smell less than others? You guys use a bunch of fertilizers and plant foods, what is a bare-ass minimum one could go with?
Eli5 and cheap Any info from seasoned pros is valuable Love you all!
i am still an amateur grower so i can only help a little, but here goes:
i think you will be fine to grow a plant in that space, maybe even more, but if you pack too many in there you will decrease yield. i dont know how many to recommend in that space but since you are only looking to grow one then i would say go ahead and use that space.
as far as minimum set up goes, the white paint might be okay as it is. some people succeed with white painted walls, so you can save a lot of money there, but you might regret it. i dont know how much difference it makes though, so i would definitely do some research on that.
you will need at least one pot, probably about 12 inch i think and one tray for the pot, also however much soil you need to fill the pot.
you might get away with not having an air movement fan in there, but extraction is a much bigger problem. the plant will STINK. maybe there is a less potent smelling strain but i do not know of any that i can recommend. which means people are likely to notice if you do not have a door and you do not filter the air from the room. it sounds to me like proper air extraction is a must for you if you do not want your plants stolen. this leads to the problem with the door. maybe you could take the current door off and build a new door that you can drill all the necessary holes in? then you can put the old door back on when you move out. you can build extra stealth into the door too then and customize it to your needs. if that is an option you will need an extractor, carbon scrubber and some ducting. if the door is not an option then i would say the only way the plant could survive would be if the door was open for a large portion of the day, which is eventually going to stink.
as for lights, i cant recommend models etc as i only have experience with one. but i do recommend LED. you will get away with a very small light in that room, its very cheap to run and it will keep temperatures down. although in sweeden you might actually be trying to keep it warm? so maybe another, hotter lamp might be a better option.
as far as fertilizers go, i think tomato feed is probably the minimum you would want to use, but i know almost nothing about feed, i currently follow a schedule that i plan to change later down the line when i know more.
Let me preface this by saying that I'm not a master grower. Nor am I really the guy to ask when it's about the finer points of cultivation. But I can get you some basic info to start learning about while you wait for a more qualified guy to help out.
Hm, if my conversion and subsequent math is right, then you have something like 4 square ft in horizontal space to work with; which isn't huge, but still do-able I'd imagine.
Going by the old "50watts per square foot" rule-of-thumb, you'd be best off with a 250watt HPS (High-pressure Sodium) light, the typical ones used for pot. You could get away with 150w HPS, but it wouldn't be ideal. That's about all I know to recommend regarding lighting, no experience with any other type except old CFL bulbs during germination/sprouting.
Autoflower could be just the type for this size of a setup. Any strain would do fine; especially small, stout indicas and autoflowering types, but even a branchy sativa would grow well-enough to yield a decent amount of good results that it'd be worthwhile if you wanted sativa.
-A basic, cheap-enough HPS light kit from ebay or similar; one that has a reflector, bulb, socket thingy, and a ballast (the powerhouse for these types of growlights). Should be absolutely minimum 150 watts, ideally 250watts. Not really any more than that or it'd be overkill. I haven't looked at prices in years but it shouldn't be more than 100 - 125 US dollars. Convert to your currency.
-Good soil. The old gold-standard was always "Fox Farms Ocean Forest" and it still kicks ass. Plenty cheap enough for a smaller, 12L - 20L bucket/pot of soil. If you don't have to pay shipping, then a bag that contains at least 40L costs around 20 US dollars. IDK what the conversion rate for you is, but that's nothing.
-Nutrients for when the soil in the bucket is pretty much used-up and lacking enough nutrition for the rest of the plant's life cycle. If you already have Fox Farms soil, may as well get their nutrients as well. For the sake of saving money, you can certainly get away with getting only their main 3pack of nutes: "Grow Big, Big Bloom, Tiger Bloom". If you REALLY can't afford the 3pack of small sized bottles, you could technically drop the "Big Bloom" but I recommend against doing so. The smaller bottles that are like 4-8oz are plenty for your first grow.
Include the "pH Up/pH Down" of some sort, that's needed for... you guessed it, adjusting pH. Make sure to have the pH ID solution as well. Should come bundled together. The stuff that lets you know what the pH of your nutrient water and plant watering runoff is at.
-The seed you want to grow. Completely up to you.
-Some kind of simple, household box-fan for air circulation. Crack your closet door, have the fan blowing across the plant enough to wiggle it's leaves and branches. This boosts plant strength and will be plenty of air circulation for this size grow. Just be sure to always allow fresh air to enter at all times during the "daylight" hours.
That's pretty much all that's needed. With this stuff, and enough studying of the correct information, you're practically guaranteed to harvest bud that's surprisingly good, even on your first time. Yields could be somewhat lower with lack of experience but certainly not guaranteed to be low.
About lights. I'll try to keep a long discussion as short as I can:
- The classic growlights, which are very effective and efficient for their price, are the HPS (High Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide) lights. MH bulbs are for vegetative growth, HPS are for the flowering/budding stage. You can leave the MH out and use HPS for the entire life cycle with no seriously negative effects. MH will give ideal, peak "veg" growth/performance, but I and many others don't bother. Probably best to ignore it on your first grow when you're trying to save money.
- Flourescent lights can be used for growing to bud, but they really aren't ideal. They are great for sprouting a seed though. Just keep it close to the plant and have a good strong one if possible.
- I have zero experience with LED growlights. Years ago, when I was up-to-date, they hadn't quite made it to the point of awesome performance while also remaining affordable. Maybe times have changed, but I'd almost bet that they haven't changed too much. Probably too expensive to be worth your time at this stage of your growing experience.
About smells: Depending on the strain and genetics, the plant could be quite stinky. Usually this doesn't become a factor until the last few weeks of the grow, but man can they get strong if it's a smelly genetics type. Though, some don't seem to get very bad at all, waiting until after they're dry and cured to show their smelly side. Hard to tell ahead of time.
And this should cover pretty-much everything that you would need to get a first grow completed and end up with a good amount of great smoke. I expect you'll need more reading to know how to identify a good light, and you certainly don't need to limit yourself to using only "Fox Farm" brand stuff, but their soil is fantastic, as well as cheap, considering how great it is for weed. Use any nutrients you like, I just only have experience with FF stuff.