New to growing, looking for some advice

Hello everyone, nice to meet you! Like the title says, I’m new to growing and getting ready to start my first grow. I just wanted to stop in and say hello, and say how helpful this forum has been thus far. You guys have been so helpful and I haven’t even asked a question yet. Every time I thought about posting some sort of question I’d find the answer in the next thread or something. It’s awesome and for that I say thank you for getting me this far.
Now I’ve already taken the first couple steps in the process and while I did the first couple major ones without consulting the forums here, hopefully I didn’t screw up too terribly. It is what it is to this point I guess though so don’t be too hard on me. Ha!

I ended up getting a spider farmer 2’x2’x5’ grow tent kit that came with a fan, filter, a sf1000 upgraded model with the dimmer switch, timer for the lights, fan speed control switch and a couple of fabric 5 gal pots.

I ordered girl scout cookies extreme autos from ILGM and they arrived yesterday. I’m going to start them on Sunday I think, but I wanted to run some stuff by the forum and see if I could some answers before I light the fuse.
I’m only going to grow one at a time, at least this first go around.
I’ve purchased a ph meter, ph up/down, 7.0 solution and I think I have a handle on that. I was wondering a couple things on this though. How long can ph’d water last? Say I ph a gallon of water today, use some of it, do I dump the rest or can I keep it and just ph it again next watering? To piggy back off of that question, how long will the mixed nutrient water last?
Another water question. I’m going to be using my well water. I figure letting it sit out the 24 hours can’t hurt, but is it needed with well water untreated?
I’m using ffhf as my medium and I mixed up some perlite with the dirt last night and put it in the pot and in the tent to warm up. It’s been in my truck the last few days and it’s been pretty cold up here lately.
I’m using ff trio, but I won’t start following the schedule until week 4 is what I’ve been gathering from reading and starting at 1/4 to 1/2 strength. Still a little confused on this part, but I still have a few weeks I figure.
Guy at the shop recommended calmagic, said I could water 1/4 to1/2 strength every watering. I thought I’ve read that is the case, but was wondering about that as well. Do I start doing that from the get go or wait until I introduce the trio?
I’m going to plant directly into the pot in the tent as I’ve read that’s the best with autos. That being said, I’ve read just as many posts saying to do the solo cup method. Also going to dome it. My question about the doming though is, do I only spray the cup or do I still water the soil lightly?
I have a list of notes and questions, but these are a few to start.
Thanks in advance!


The Ph water should last a few days as far as nutes mixed with it about a week. I did that when i had to go into the hospital so my wife could feed them. Just make sure to shake it up good. On the well water you don’t have to let it sit for 24 hours. I do mine for 24 hours cause i’m on city water with chlorine in it. the FFHF soil should carry you for 4 weeks before you need to add any nutes then start out at 1/4 and work your way up. I plant my seed in a solo cup after it has germinated. spray the dome twice a day. If you have any questions ask away.


Welcome to the forum @Caveman86
Good questions and you will find answers to all of them here.
One thing I do is mix in about a quart or so of water with the happy frog soil before I plant my seed.
Place the soil in a clean bucket, pour in the water and stir up up well. Soil will be damp but not soaked.
Put a dome over the seed and once it breaks ground I remove the dome permanently. With the water already in the soil it can go a week or more before it needs watering.

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I was thinking of giving the soil a good watering on Sunday when I put my seeds into water then lightly water it when I put it in the dirt a couple days later.
About the ph level to shoot for, I’ve seen the range of 5.8-6.5 throughout the forums. Should I shoot for the higher of the range at 6.5 or shoot for middle of the road at 6.1?
I should mention I do have a tds/ppm pen from work that was supposed to be used to test chemicals in a tower loop. I’ve never used it and not really sure how to work this particular pen, but I’m going to attempt to learn.
I forget the thread and who said it, but it was basically how you can easily ruin a grow by chasing numbers and it’s a good idea just to test it out just to learn and see what/how it changes. That sounds doable and not to overwhelming right away.

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How does my tent setup look?
The lights aren’t measured to height yet. I’m a little unsure about that. It comes with a dimmer switch, and on the website it gives heights and intensity descriptions.
Seed: 25-30” at 40-60%, veg: 18-24” at 60-90%, flower:12-18” at 90-100%.
Does that sound ok or should I just run it at 100% the whole time? Before they put the dimmer switch on the top, it wasn’t as easily accessible so I figure most probably ran it at 100% anyways. Maybe I’m wrong there?
Also, I know my ducting needs some work. Not really sure where I’m going to vent it to at the moment. Hoping the room is big enough to handle the extra load.

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Welcome. And good luck. With all the help you’ll get here you’ll do just fine.

Welcome here! You will get a lot of support on this forum.

I will try and answer what I can. Being a second time grower. First grow was Wedding Cake fem and Grape Ape bagseed. This one is autoflowers. All tent grown. I use AutoPot hydroponic and have one in a Soft Pot. I tend to over germinate as insurance then have a hard time killing off a seedling so I pop them into a Soft Pot.

Per Solo cup: a lot of people use them and have good luck. For me I LOVE the CowPot biodegradable. It is made of cow manure and it naturally biodegrades. Not a redundant statement as many of the biodegradables do not actually biodegrade in a timely manner. I pay $1.35 for a one quart pot. The thing I like about that is that when I am ready to go to the larger pot all I have to do is drop the CowPot in there. I don’t have to worry about transplant stress.`(if you use them and see a white bloom on the outside of the pot, that is beneficial and totally fine)

Calimagic: if you are on well water I would not use it until they tell you they need it. And they will pretty quick. I am on well water and when I use it for my plants in the Soft Pot I just add the nutes, ph it, and use it. But mainly pour reservoir water into those and that is distilled and I do use the CaliMagic for the that.

Domes: I don’t think you need to spray them. They will condense on their own pretty quick. You just have to watch if the little seedlings turn a bit yellow then they are most likely too wet under there. I forgot totally about the dome on the second grow and they did just fine.

Temperature: I live in an arid area and our temps are plummeting at night. Tent was 63 this morning. I put a little tiny ceramic heater in the tent for that this morning and will use it through out this grow now. That might be a handy thing to have on hand.

Tent height: go ahead now and learn about topping, FIM, LST. They will get taller. But for me that was super fun. I think the idea of one plant is great. It gives it loads of room to spread out. It does mean you don’t have a backup plant but that is okay. But don’t be afraid to try these methods out. I even did some supercropping on my first grow as I battled some beastly Wedding Cake that expressed it’s sativa phenotype.

And I have said this over and over on this forum: so many times my mistakes were someone else’s method. Have fun and don’t stress. I still learn daily. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.


About the calmagic, sounds good on the not using the calmagic right away. Are you saying that I’ll have to use it pretty quick into the grow, or when they need it, they’ll tell me pretty quickly?

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Using well water you may not. And they do let you know early on. I am using half strength nutes on my hydroponics and CaliMagic full strength but need to re-evaluate as I am seeing signs of calcium deficiency in the Soft Pot one. That is my morning challenge. It surely doesn’t hurt to have it on hand. My first grow I ordered it after I saw the issue and it took a week to get in, what with the slower mail service, and they did great. This one though is a bit of a head scratcher to me as it has had CaliMagic all along due to being watered with reservoir. I am thinking I will change to the Fox Farm nutes on it and forgo the reservoir water. For that I will use our well water.

Here is photo of what I am dealing with now. Also, the grow this morning. Five autos. Four in AutoPots. All put in first part of September. Big ones are Lemon Haze and smaller ones in front are Blueberry X Big Bud. (BBBB in soft pot to the right in the photo and hardly seen) In a 3x4 tent. Yes, once again I over planted. :rofl:


Yes chasing the Numbers is not a good idea when Ph-ing your water. Better off giving your lawn the water and start over. Over watering is one of the biggest problems new growers make. Ask me how i know LOL. What brand is your Ph pen and TDS. Try to get your Ph as close to 6.5 as you can. In soil Ph is between 5.8 and 6.8 with the sweet spot being 6.5

Those plants look great! How far along are they?

The tent looks good as far as the light for height and power follow what the mag. suggests

I believe I have a Hanna waterproof ph meter. Got it at the local grow shop for $50. I just got it yesterday and to be honest I haven’t even opened it up yet.
The tent and light got delivered on Wednesday night and the seeds came last night.
I finished setting up the tent and got the soil all ready last night. Tonight I’m going to play around with some water and get the feel for ph’ing some water. I think Sunday is the day we’re going to start the germination process.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about all this and I haven’t even started yet haha!

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I wouldn’t recommend letting ph ed water sit around at all. Use it immediately as the ph will change as it sits and once ajusted it shouldnt be readjusted again.letting it sit a day BEFORE ph ing is no issue but make sure to ph and just before use. Imho. Also I didn’t see a runoff container under your pot, make sure you use one to collect runoff.

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Not familiar with that Ph meter maybe @Myfriendis410 @Covertgrower @Hellraiser @Nicky @Cannabian might know

It is super fun.

So, I just did some re-evaluating and found out I made a simple error in amount of CaliMagic. I had read 1 ml/gal and it was 1 ml/liter and 1 teaspoon/gal. They were getting about a 5th less of CaliMagic than they needed. Easy fix!

Get you some UV protecting goggles for when in tent.

Also, with the pH meter. You should have got solution to calibrate. Mix that up in glass jars and keep it. First time I calibrated I tossed the solution. No need to do that. I have one called Dr Meter. pH in the reservoir tends to stay stable for me. That meter has saved us tons on hot tub chemicals as the strips were wildly inaccurate, so it is working double duty.

Neither am I but I’m sure it’ll work. White distilled vinegar should be 4 something. If you want to check.

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@Deepsix I have an Ultrapen PT1 for a tds meter, or at least I thought it could possible work for that. It’s from work and was supposed to be used to measure cooling tower loops, but I never have used it yet. I have a more expensive meter that I use at work, but it probably wouldn’t be as handy for testing water in a grow.

That’s the pen there. Again, not sure about it it would work, I just thought it might.
Also, thought I had a Hanna ph meter, but it’s a MH ph meter. It was $50 at the grow shop, but not really impressed with it off the bat.
Last night I was looking things over and realized I’m going to need a small heater in either the room the tent is in, or the tent itself. It was down to 15c with the light off as I was testing things out. I’m going to play around with that today/tonight. I figure it’s good to find these problems before I have anything planted lol. Do you guys run a heater 24/7 then, put it on a timer switch, or do they auto shut off and on?

Tomorrow is the day though that I’m going to start the seeds soaking and go from there.

I do have another question about ph’ing your water though. Will the amount of drops I put in stay the same for the most part over time? I tested my water last night and it was coming in at 7.8-7.9 so I added 22 drops of ph down to get it to 6.5-6.6. It kept bouncing between the two and never really settled at 6.5. Should I go lower than that to ensure I’m in the right range?
One other question about lights, should I leave them on a 24 hour schedule for the first few weeks or so I start the off with a 18/6?

I don’t know anything about that meter. I don’t run a heater my tent is in a room off my bedroom. As close to 6.5 as you can get it. I run my grow light 24 hours for about a week then switch to 18/6

@Myfriendis410 @Hellraiser do either of you gentlemen know anything about these meters. Post 12 and 17