100% beginner on a (reasonable) budget

Are you sure I’m in flower? I asked above if those were preflowers or buds and @blackthumbbetty said those were buds. If this link works, it should take you directly to the post above where I asked the question:


I can take some more close-up photos if needed.

Yeah you look like your in early flower. What is your light schedule at right now?

I had go back through your post. I see your doing autos so light isn’t the issue. It’s going to keep on flowering. Yeah you really should have started your LST right out of the gate.

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Still in flower. :grinning:

So… I guess it’s time to switch from my Metal Halide bulb to my High Pressure Sodium bulb.

I have a few questions about that:
Should I set it at the full 1000 watts? I’m currently running the Metal Halide bulb at 75% (750 watts).
Any suggestions on height, or should I just go with the lowest height that still keeps the plant from getting too warm? The light is currently at 32 inches above the pots and about 20 inches above the tops of the plants.
Even though these are auto-flower, is there a suggested on/off time (e.g. 12/12) to use?

Tagging @raustin and @Drillbit who also gave lighting advice to me early on.

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I would just set it at 18/6 and 75% for a couple days and then start bumping it up. As far as light height raise it up and gradually bring it down a little at a time.

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I would do exactly what @OldSchoolGrower said, good advice.


It turns out that the Quantum digital ballast that I bought is not very compatible with all the HPS bulbs out there. I already returned the Ultra Sun bulb it came with in exchange for a Genesis bulb, which turns out to also be incompatible (it won’t fire either one of them at all). Now I am being asked to return it in exchange for either a AgroSun or Hortilux bulb. It sounds like there is a lot of incompatibility with this ballast - a warning to others considering purchasing it.

I’m torn whether to keep running my Metal Halide bulb until the replacement arrives, or go to my local hydroponics store and spend money on another bulb so I can switch right away.

Tommy, how many plants do you plan on running at a given time? Also do you plan on sticking with autos or do you have plans to run photoperiod plants?

I plan on only growing 4 plants at a time in my 4x4x6.5 tent. For now, I will stick with autos… someday I may venture into photos.

I should have done this 2 weeks ago, but life got in the way… today I finally went and got nutrients for my plants, which have been flowering for about 2 weeks. I got a bunch of Advanced Nutrients products after talking to my local hydroponics store about products that would be good/easy for a beginner like me.

The main product I purchased is the pH Perfect Sensi Bloom, parts A & B. These are the actual nutrients. I will start out using it half strength (1/2 tablespoon per gallon or 7.5 milliliters per gallon). I will water with the nutrients, let the soil dry, water with plain water, let it dry, repeat with the nutrients. The pH Perfect product makes it so that I shouldn’t need to adjust the pH of my water, but I am using distilled water in the first place.

I purchased a couple of bonus products as well. Bud Candy is a big carbohydrate boost for the plants. It may possibly change the taste of the end product, so I might only use it on one plant and compare later. Big Bud is supposed to increase the density of your flowers and buds. I was told to go ahead and use these products full strength, unlike the nutrients above which I will do half strength at first.

Bonus!!! The store threw in a jug of of Sensizyme for free! This product has enzymes that rejuvenate the roots (kind of like skin exfoliation as it was explained to me, the layperson) and help them absorb nutrients better. I was told to use this at full strength as well.

I am letting my soil dry right now and am hoping to mix some stuff up and start using it tomorrow night or the day after. I’m excited to see what happens next…

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Looks like you’ll be good to go. Can my girls come over to play?

I’ve been watering my plants lightly 3 times a day and they always look healthy. This is my first time drenching the plants, so therefore my first time letting the soil dry up. After 24 hours, one of my Super Skunk plants was looking very sad and droopy:

I mixed up 2 batches of “food” - one with Bud Candy and one without. The nutrients (Sensi Bloom A & B) are mixed half strength - 8mL per gallon of each. The other products are full strength at 8mL per gallon of each.
I called Advanced Nutrients just to be absolutely sure about the mixing order. They said to do each portion one at a time, starting with the nutrients, adding one product at a time - mixing each one in and waiting a few minutes until proceeding with the next product.

24 hours later the plants look good. There is a tiny bit of yellowing on just a few of the leaves. If this doesn’t spread any more than this, I will continue with the same mixture. If it gets any worse, I will drop my nutrients down from 1/2 strength (8mL/gallon) to 1/4 strength (4mL/gallon).

By the way, the plant that was droopy perked right up after about 6 hours:

I will now wait about 2 days (I’m guessing right now, but I will base it on the weight of the pot) and then do another drenching, this time with plain distilled water adjusted to a pH of 6.5


A little nute burn is a good sign you’re feeding correctly. Your girls look great.

Keep up the good work, looking great :grinning:

They’re lookin’ good Tommy…

Well, after 4 tries I finally received a High Pressure Sodium bulb that will work with the Quantum QT1000 ballast. For those interested, the bulb is a Hortilux Super HPS LU1000B/HTL/EN. But at this point I have to recommend people stay away from this ballast. It has been nothing but trouble when it comes to compatibility issues.

So, 2 weeks into flowering I’m finally able to use the proper lighting - an HPS bulb. I am running it at full power - 1000 watts. My light fixture was 20 inches above the plant canopy with the Metal Halide bulb running at 75% power, so I’m going to raise it up. I’m not sure how high to make it - I guess I’ll shoot for 30 inches and wait for @raustin or @Drillbit or anyone else to chime in.

Yes, 30" is a good place to start. Do the hand test to make sure the plant isn’t getting too much heat. You should be able to hold the back of your hand in front of the plant comfortably, without burning.

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Wow, I’ll tell you what - having an air cooled fixture makes a huge difference. I just went to check - at the full 1000 watts, I can put my hand directly underneath the fixture and it just feels a little warm.
The overall temperature in the tent went up 5 degrees though, so I turned my fan speed up from slow to medium.


Excellent, then you should have no problem coming down from 30".