Long time gardener + outdoor experience, new to indoor. Looking for any advice

Recently joined this group, and am facinated by the wealth of knowledge here. Didn’t start reading these forums until a few weeks ago. Haven’t grown MJ in over twenty years, and then primarily outdoor. learning from experience and posts here that there is a world of difference. Cloned two AK-47’s from a friend in mid July. hardened them off outdoors, and they stayed in small pots until end of August when I finally got indoor set up ready. Transplanted to 5 Gal buckets. Mixed local bagged topsoil with Vermiculite and screened compost from my compost pile (including worms. Was worried aobut other critters, but so far so good.) Stated out using T5Ho-24 (2’ 4 bulb) lighting in 3’x3’x72" tent. For the first month I was completely winging it with only the basic NKP and PH test kits using powder capsules. slow growth due to inadequate lighting and PH and Nute imbalances. I now have a soil probe for PH, but have still just been altering PH levels with wood ash and vinegar. one time accidentally burned leaves when vinegar water touched a few leaves, and this morning when I tested soil it read close to 7, so I again mixed some vinegar in when watering, and as you can see from the meters in these photos, near the surface I’m hovering close to 6, but down lower closer to 4. I need better method of balancing PH, and need a digital water tester so I get better water balance prior to watering. I am also wondering what type of meters you use for measuring Nute levels. I’ve seen some on Amazon, but it looked like they just showed over all nute levels, not broken down by NPK.

Now two weeks into flowering, and introduced 300W Viparspectra into tent, with Fluorescent now providing side lighting. When I entered Flower mode these girls were still only producing single leaves. You can see that has changed fairly rapidly. All in all doesn’t look too bad for mad science project, but am definitely taking notes as I learn from you experts. I may have to get a heat source in tent, as with these two relatively cool lights, my tent is currently only in lower to mid sixties. Tent is located in basement so freezing isn’t issue, but it ain’t getting any warmer up here in the Green Mountain State.

Thanks for any pointers.

Not sure if these photos uploaded properly

Ok. Decent pH meters are Apera - they have a $36 model ‘basic one’ thats very highly recommended around here. And a… more expensive one that does ppm’s as well. If u dont mind spending for wuality those are super efficient.
I just bought a cheapy… Deerwerer or something. $14. Gets the job done. But ill be more calibration solution.

The EC/TDS/PPM meter thing im not sure. Ive only ever seen them read for Totals… never one that can break down chemicals. Although i imagine such a device would be pretty expensive… like $100s. If not $1000s… the cheap ones work

Those soil meters tend to run a bit wonky and i wouldnt trust it.

How far are your lights? The girls look good but they could probably go for a bit more lighting. A general rule of thumb growing indoor is ‘50 watts per square foot’ so that 50 is ACTUAL wall watts. Not advertised ‘equivalent’ watts.

Thank you. Yeah, I think you are right about the lighting. The LED is currently around 19" up, side Florescent much closer, but only having one means lots of rotation. I have a bunch of old 4’ FLourescents with full spectrum bulbs, just haven’t had the time to figure out how to best squeeze them in this space. Definitely plan to add at least one more 300 LED. I’m limited in space at the moment, so this will probably be my largest grow space for a qhile, not to mention the grow limit in VT. Hope to add small veg space at some point.

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Any recommendation on nute meter?

Any ppm meter works. Just dont go like 7$. Think i saw another $14 meter. Just pH was more important

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so it looks like a lot of folks here are focussing on accurately PH’d water, then testing the water drainage after watering? Do I have that right? So I could run a tube through one of the holes to drian into a bowl for testing?

Nope. PH your water to appropriate levels then water. At a certain point watering to runoff is coming out is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED, if not mandatory. You test the runoff out the bottom of your pot. Thats why drainage is HELLA important

Sorry, wasn’t clear. That’s what I meant, running tube into one of drainage holes to collect water to test. So basically all of the testing is done through the water, not soil. Do you buy callibration solution separately or do they usually come with a little to stat off?

Thanks for assitance.

Also, I know I’ve read it in here somewhere, but could you remind me the optimal watering and drainage levels for both veg and flowering?

Yes. The water is a more accurate thing to measure. Soil changes n the pot

N as for drainage. I always add perlite to my soils. Even if its already got some. Just to help with the draining factor. Ill add say a ratio of 1:4 perlite:soil. Minimum

Here is a link to the Apera PH20. It comes with 2 calibration solutions but you should pick up some: PH up, PH down and Standard Reference Solution (7.0).


Soil probe PH meters are not worth the money. Unless you spend a LOT. Measuring individual chemical constituents in your nutrients would requre you evaporate the liquid from your mix then run it through a spectraphotometer or gas chromatograph: there’s no way to pick out individual chemicals using a electrical conductivity (EC) meter. Nor do you really need to.

A slurry test of your soil would be advisable in that it’s home made. You can acquire different buffering agents depending on which way you may need to adjust. 6.5 PH is nominal. You can mix equal amounts of distilled water and soil, let stand for 30 minutes then test the PH with your new meter.

You are correct that the one LED is insufficient to bring them to a good finish. You will get flower but with less light it tends to be airy and light without any mass to the buds. That requires light and nutes.

A good simple heater that adds humidity is an aquarium heater immersed in a 5 gallon bucket of water, set to 80F. Top off as needed. Late flower though you want to keep the RH down so that might not be the best. More lights will add heat to the space and will do double duty: keeping the space warm and adding needed light.

FYI cannabis in flower needs an INSANE amount of light compared to when they were in veg.


Only question I have is… what’s your lighting schedule… on/off times…?


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great advice about aquarium heater, hadn’t thought of that. Unfortunately gave mine away about 10 yrs ago. Miss the good ole sunshine for growing Lol, but nice getting a grow in during the off season. Will get another LED ASAP plus this PH pocket tester. Never really bothered with much testing back when I did a lot of outdoor, but managed some bountiful harvests. These plants sure want to thrive even with our best efforts to destroy them :smile: Gotta love that weed!


switched to 12/12 about two weeks ago from 18/6 veg.

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Outdoor soil tends to buffer PH better than containers of soil so somewhat less important.

I’ve said it before: you have to treat these plants like a race car: you don’t put “regular” in one lol and if you optimize the parameters of your grow you will see the results.

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Thanks for that. I’m really starting to notice a difference. 25 years ago I was just tending the indoor male nursery for a buddy. He was handling budding and fertilization, so I never paid close attention to how soil was maintained, and the males required very little attention. I never gave it much thought difference between indoor vs outdoor. AS others have said here, looks like it can be quite addictive the more you learn and more you realize how little you actually know!


Not that I completely ignored PH outdoors, but was pretty familiar with my garden soil, and Ammended it pretty well every spring

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Just threw a drop light in there, and temp just jumped in past hour from 64-66. Also just ordered Vipraspectra 600, which draws 285 Watts. That added to my 300 which draws 130 and the 2’ 4 tube T-5 ought to bump production up a bit. I wish I had come across this site before investing in the T-5 and VS 300, becasue now I can see that I’ve joined the crowded field of $$$$ invested in ok lighting.

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Still invested in ok lighting :wink::wink: how much that 600 run you?

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