First grow - White Widow (photo) - Indoor, soil

As stated, this is my first grow. Any feedback is welcomed. I’ve done a lot (a LOT) of research so hopefully, I’m doing ok.

I got the seeds (White Widow, photoperiod) way sooner than I expected (I was expecting 1~2 weeks, they came in 3 days) and wanted to get started. So, I went to Walmart and got a storage container and an extremely cheap “grow light”. Yes, apparently Walmart sells grow lights? It was stupidly cheap, like $13 or something. The label says it’s 15W. It actually looks pretty bright but it appears to be just 2 wavelengths. It’s fine for germination but there is no way anything would grow under it. I got some stretch but not as bad as I’ve seen people post about when using no lights, so it does help and it uses less power than a white LED/CFL bulb.

I started off germinating 2 seeds on 11/09 in peat pellets. The first one popped 11/14, the second never popped. I tried removing it from the pellet and soaking it, still didn’t pop. Dud I guess since the other popped in the same conditions.


At this point, I still didn’t have a tent, so when I started to get some true leaves I went back to Walmart and got a larger container, a mylar tent, a power strip, and some other stuff (see pic) and built this:

This solved my heat problem, actually a little too well. I had to keep the lid propped open or it would get way too hot. The biggest downside of this setup was that my house has low humidity, as in I struggle to keep it above even 30%, so the moisture evaporated very quickly. This led to a very big issue, I had to keep checking it every few hours. Eventually, I removed one of the bulbs and that made it so I didn’t have to keep up as much.


At this point I got my actual grow light (listed below) and temporarily set it up in my closet (using the remains of that mylar tent).

So, you may notice there’s another plant in this picture. When the light and air pots came I went to the store to get soil. When I got back I prepped the closet. Notice I never said, “checked on the seedling”… yeah. The peat pellet dried out. Completely. As in hard as a rock. I thought for sure I killed it. I immediately rehydrated it. I figured I might as well just transplant it and see what happens, so I did. I also started another seed because I figured that this one was as good as dead.

Because it’s off season for growing here (it’s winter, sub-freezing temperatures) I had a very limited selection. I went with Miracle-Gro “Nature’s Care”. Yes, I know Miracle-Gro is a horrible brand, but it was this or paying $40/bag for soil online. I watched some videos on YouTube said that the Nature’s Care line wasn’t horrible and had very little nutrition in it, so I went with it. I did add a bunch of perlite.


Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t give up on the little girl because she didn’t suffer at all. In fact, 4 days later I had new leaves…


I finally got my grow tent and various supplies…

She’s doing well…


That’s today! Ok, we’re caught up to the present now.

So, there we are. How am I doing?

I’m am having some issues with the tent, the sides are caving in a bit because of the vacuum. Even turned all the way down this fan can really move air. I’m looking at getting a 4" inline-style fan to use as an intake to help alleviate that but I’m not sure.


Off to a good start. I wouldnt worry much about the tent sides pullin it, just open more vents if needed.
Happy growing

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Your plant looks really nice. Welcome to the forum.

The miracle grow soil you are using is ok. The nature’s care is the stuff you want to use if you go MG. I am assuming you are using the potting mix? Looks like it.

I would go easy on the nutes, maybe wait a few weeks. The soil has some food in it, so a little gal in a pot like that has food.

the only thing I dont see in your right up is what you are doing for managing pH and ppms? If you manage and monitor pH and ppmsof the water and nutirent solution going into your plant; as well as montoring the pH and ppms of what comes out the bottom of your pot when you water, you will be in great shape. You want what’s going in to be 6.5 an what’s coming out the bottom to be 6.2 to 6.8 pH. You want the ppms coming out, at this young stage, to be less than than 1000ppms, no more than 2500, which is the beginning of the danger zone.


My ceiling actually was too low. The tent measurements were wrong, and unlike most sellers on Amazon they actually understated the height, nearly a full inch taller than it’s listed as. So I could not assemble it properly. What I ended up doing was just having the vertical poles sitting on the ground and zip tied them to where they were supposed to connect. It works, but because of the extra slack in the tent the walls can be pulled in quite a lot. For being a cheap tent and fan both seem really well made, even with a 6" vent and a 4" vent opened up a bit it still pulls the sides in majorly.

As for the nutes, I’ve only fed once. I mixed the fox farms according to the schedule but used half, in this case that’s 3 tsp of Big Bloom and 1/2 tsp of Boomerang into a gallon. I also did not give it a full gallon, maybe a third or less. I mainly did it because from what I read those are the microbe focused ones so I figured it’d be good to make sure that side is going well. I’ve been watering daily right after the lights come back on (18/6) and I do not saturate it. I’ve been just watering the edges. I’ve seen some people say that giving only a bit of water daily at the edges at the start encourages the roots to grow out and look for that water vs saturating the pot every few days. This aligned with everyone saying starting in the final pot, which is too big for the plant, requires being careful with watering.

As you pointed out: PH and TDS are critical. A good digital meter for measuring each is wise. Don’t bother with drops or strips or worst of all a soil probe.


I see, maybe add a couple supports betwween poles, 1inch pvc pipe is lite and sturdy. It will help keep tent sides out.
Just a thought :thinking:


I have digital PH and TDS meters. I’ve been using bottled water (Deer Park) which has a natural PH right around 6.4-6.6 (I’ve tested several batches) which seems perfect. I mixed the nutes in distilled water. My tap water sometimes has high sulfur (seasonal changes) and the PH is way off so I didn’t want to deal with it.


I’ve been considering having something fabricated to shorten the pole lengths. Maybe something to push the sides back out would be good too, but that would interfere with getting into the tent… hm.

P.S. Thanks for the comments everyone :slight_smile:


With regards to lights in order to have the whole tent covered you will need at least 1600 true watts of light. That would mean at least 4 of those dimmable lights you mentioned above. Tent is 4 x 8 = 32 square feet x 50 true watts = 1600 true watts.

Light expert @dbrn32

How many plants you thinking of growing?


Probably 6-8 plants when I get comfortable with growing. 3 of the linked light would be close, they use 534 actual watts, so let’s say 500. 500*3 = 1500. I was thinking of getting some single COBs for side lighting (1 in each corner) as well, but couldn’t find anyone else doing that. That could make up the missing 100W though.

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Yes three of those lights would probably do it. My math is suffering this morning. Your girl looks great. Keep up the good work. All of us here have your back. Happy growing.

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Using bottled or distilled water is going to be pricey once they get older. Is your tap water from a well or from city/town water?

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Town. Probably once the plant is a bit more hearty I’ll start mixing the bottled with tap and transition to tap.

Edit: Apparently I can’t post again for 22 hours because new users are limited, so…

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There are some cheap filter systems you can buy. I have well water, which has a pH about 8 and ppms of 180. It comes pre-calmag’d from mother nature. If you let your tap water sit for a day, some of the bad things like chlorine go away. Plants actually need sulfur too. Have you tested the pH and ppms of your tap water?


You can light that tent with less power if you use better lights. Those will work though, if you’re going with something like 3 lights down the center you’ll be a little weak at edges though.


What lights would work better? I’m trying to get a good balance of cost/coverage/power. I had planned to do 2 rows of 4 or 3 plants in my 8x4 tent.

My plan was to get 3 of those and supplement with a RapidLED single CREE COB in each corner and maybe 2 in the middle as well (so 4 or 6). That’s pretty spendy though. I was also looking at the RapidLED 4x4 CREE kit but I wasn’t sure if 2 of those would be equal to 3 of the VIPAR PAR1200 in terms of usable light output but it looks like 2 of the COB kits would have better coverage and use less power than 3 of the VIPAR. The cost is about the same. But if I get the COB kit then I don’t need the supplemental singles, so it’s cheaper there, but it may be less usable output.

All the info on COBs and about how they are better seems to be put out there by the people selling COBs. That makes me distrust them as sources of information. Who’s going to say their product is inferior? I know COBs put out a higher PAR value but PAR isn’t weighted. So green light is included, which while I know some green is important, it’s not as important and generally speaking white light is largely green light. That means it’s not an apples to apples comparison. This makes a spectroradiometer graph much more useful, but I don’t trust manufacturer/seller provided data and not many hobbyists have a device that costs several thousand dollars laying around.

Another unknown to me is how far the COB kit needs to be away from the plants, I have limited height on one side of the tent because of the exhaust and filter.

This sounds like a question for @dbrn32

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This ^…

You have to remember that a watt isn’t or doesn’t reference light output, it’s only power consumption. A 50 watt cxb3590 will have a ppf of about 110 umols per second. So figure 1320 umols per second per 4x4 fixture. There is no independent sphere testing on par 1200, but using metrics of similar built lights, it’s total ppf is going to come in around 600 umols per second or so. So safe to say it takes at least two par 1200’s to get to same par density levels as a single 12 50 watt cxb build.

Would you like some comparable alternatives? All of these available as hang up and plug in too.

image image


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@dbrn32 So you are saying that 2 of the 4x4 kits from RapidLED will outperform 3 of the PAR1200s and use (~30%) less power? I wasn’t sure if that was the case or not when trying to decide this earlier. I was under the impression COBs were more expensive than the typical LED setups but if that’s the case these are actually kind of cheaper?

Edit: Also, Vero 29 or CXB3590? I don’t see a difference between the 2 on the RapidLED site…

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Need to put @dbrn32 for a reply.