NL Autos Grow Journal

Hello everyone. I thought I’d try to consolidate my posts in this format as my first real attempt at growing.

About me: 61, male, scitech background, no contraband in nearly 25 yrs due to testing possibilities with job. Hopefully that’s about to change.

Room- 10’Lx4’Wx7’H, block enclosure previously used as the canning pantry in basement. Painted flat white. Using 1/2 the length as grow space.

Power: 40 amps in two circuits dedicated, timers, outlet banks, surge protection, everything off the floor.

Environment: fresh air intake and exhaust fans, 450cfm ea. 18”pedestal fan on timer for circulation, small ceramic heater, humidifier, dehumidifier as needed. One 4’ fluorescent fixture general lighting. Room temp and humidity measured locally, one remote temp measurement.

Lighting: Two homemade fixtures with six 13 watt (23watt on order) 6500K CFLs each, two 450PAR (120 actual watt) LEDs

Media: non-fertilized org soil with perlite, coco in base, smart pots. Soil pre-watered.

Water: Hard tap, 180ppm, pH, 7.3 prior to treatment

Nutes: FF TRIO, Cal-Mag

Misc: pH, TDS probes, paper strips, the up/down stuff and acids/bases to make my own.

Weed: ILGM NL Auto flower, 3 planted, all Germinated, one pot grow, no transplants.

Current temp in room: 70, outdoor 40 and gusting
Humidity: 37% in room
pH: 6.4 in 6 gal open bucket

Currently running lights 18/6
Circulation fan is on 3hrs, off 30 min, no reason, just variations.

Humidifier and heater, intake and exhaust on continuously.

Age: 1 week.

Observations: Germinated in 48-72 hrs. First mistake was one of impatience, helped a seed case off and subsequently cotyledons only. Tiny leave just now visible on that one. The other two look ok I guess, you tell me. I domed the seedlings until yesterday with plastic cake pan covers and watered only by misting around the stem while protecting the seedlings from overspray with a shot glass. The soil feels barely damp.

Pictures- Six seedling pics, 3 right after germ, 3 today. the runt with the tiny leaves is the on I helped off with her coat. That’ll teach me. I took these with the LEDs off and then on. The ones with the LEDs on the leaves look really yellow?Comments appreciated. More next week unless I f something up beforehand.


@nod you are off to a good start. Please tag me in…It is fun to watch a new grow start.:+1:

My first grow is 30 days old today, have a look: First Grow From Beginning to End


looks good @Nod welcome to ilgm forum!
northern lights is a great strain all around,you will not be disappointed…


@merlin44 Yeah I’m watching you and envious not only of your plants but of your DCS. I’ve used Emerson, National Instruments and Camile in my career and would love to be able to dial in a system like you have done.

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After all of your efforts… you will need more light to make this a 100% return… :wink:
Lookin good so far … just not enough light. … :wink:
More light… :wink:
Welcome to ILGM… :wink:
:v: :sunglasses:

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@peachfuzz Could you be more specific please? I just switched from 12 CFLs to my LEDs and the seeds have only been in the ground a week. Can you tell from the pics that I need more light or are you speaking just in general terms with your opinion?

I thought someone posted a general rule of thumb is 35 watts per square foot? If that’s true I should have enough light for 3 plants at half the actual rated watts of one of my lights and I’m running two. I’m estimating one 5 gal pot is about a square foot, maybe a little less. My lights are rated (not a quantifiable number, I know) at 400 watts with an actual 210 watt draw.

I was talking about when you start to flower… :wink:
Of course it’s just my opinion… I don’t use led’s so I can’t say for sure one way or another if it will be enough… it just seems like you have a good head start and have put alot of time and thought into this grow and I just want to see you reach your goals… so like I was saying it’s a possibility that you might need more light once you start to flower… only time will tell… :wink:
Best wishes fellow cultivator… :wink:

:v: :sunglasses:


Many thank for you best wishes. I have a compulsive problem when dealing with technical subjects with which I have limited knowledge. I want to know, if not all, then enough for my own usage. I am very interested in quantifying the light energy required, in average ranges, to fulfill the energy requirements for the varying levels of photosynthesis in this plant. I realize others have said “you cannot have too much light”, but also realize what they actually mean is light energy above what the plant can utilize at any given time “doesn’t hurt”, discounting effects from heat. My personal motivation at this time is budgetary. As a beginner I don’t want to overdo for my small grow area. Also energy usage has been a home grow giveaway to the authorities in my part of the world. Thanks again and keep the tips coming. @peachfuzz


@dbrn32 knows alot more about led lighting… maybe he can give you some advice… :wink:

:v: :sunglasses:

Didn’t realize you had another thread going, sorry!

So you’re working in what’s essentially a 6x4’ space? As @peachfuzz pointed out, not critical at this point obviously but you’ll be a little low of par levels for flowering. You can in fact have too much light, although most people don’t. But light saturation levels and levels of diminishing return are a real thing. But without any type of linear conversion you really can’t determine that by any measurement of watts. We really shouldn’t, but we throw basic numbers around all the time. It’s a lot easier than explaining electrical efficiencies of different leds and drivers and quantum efficiencies of different light sources. When shopping something like amazon for led lights there may be some differences in construction and quality, but they all pretty much use the same level of performance in components.

Light output is what you’re really looking for. A cheap led that is configured to show a lot of watts will be less than 30% efficient. While a really good led that’s configured to maximize light output per watt can be over 60% efficient. Translating that into something useful, let’s say we have two lights that both draw 100 watts. You get 30% of that in light output from one and 59-60% light output from the other. Not hard to see which one you’ll need more power with right?

Going back to the amazon panels, just about all of them are closer to that 30% efficient mark than say 50-60%. So through the countless number of people using them, we relate the old hid number of 50 watts per square foot fits pretty well. Doesn’t mean you can’t grow good weed at 35 or 40 watts per square foot, but you’ll probably be a little shy of maximizing potential. There are certainly people on here doing extremely well with even less than 30 watts per square foot of leds. But they’re also using uber efficient leds that cost considerably more.

The cfls are a whole different ball game. You can flower a plant under them, but at a much lower yield per watt. So we usually limit them to seedings and veg outside of maybe micro grow applications.

You’re at a total of 24 square feet at 6x4. If you plan on using that whole space for plants, using the standard method, you would be looking for in the neighborhood of about 1200 watts from the wall in hid or Amazon panels. As discussed earlier, it’s more of a target than exact science. But with two lights drawing 210 Watts each, that’s like 17 watts per square foot. The cfls don’t really plug in watt for watt due to the weak intensity, and I believe that’s what @peachfuzz was trying to point out. Depending on plant count and how big you want plants to be you can probably shrink your area in reflective material and do a little better. Otherwise you’ll need your lights fairly high to create a footprint that big. Lights high mean low intensity and that equates to airy buds.


@peachfuzz @dbrn32 I understand on all counts. Thanks for spelling it out for me.

The Amazon lights certainly matched my budget, and for a newb looked pretty good on the specs. My current grow space is closer to 4x4 and will certainly increase if I’m lucky enough to bush a bit. This isn’t a very good pic but you get the idea.

My intentions, before I add more energy, are to see how this run goes and learn my lessons. If I’m satisfied, I can get in another auto flower run this season, and maybe start a scrog next season.

I really appreciate everyone’s tips and comments and if there’s any suggestions on which LED to add next please send them on.

I did add back my CFLs after peach fuzz said I needed more light. Was that a good idea, a no-no, or waste of time and energy?


These plants are under cfl’s only… I think there 23 actual watts… but they do a good job in my overflow vegging area… :wink:
Also remember that they only last about 4 to 6 months and then the light wave length isn’t strong enough for plants… then I just use them for the house… :wink:

:v: :sunglasses:


What reflective material are you using there?

You’re all good by me. Not a bad idea at to run a couple of grows before spending all your cash. The led tech changes a lot, so run those grows and see what you feel you want to do better at, and we can see what’s out at that time that lines up with your budget. I would recommend in the meantime that you don’t try a bunch of low cost band aids though. Seems to be the route a lot of people take in the beginning, and it usually ends up being money thrown out the window.

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Right now I’m trying my best to keep from watering and fertilizing!

Ya, I’m not sure what non fertilized organic soil means?

No added chems. That’s what I wanted to germinate from. Just the soil and pH water.

It’s amended with natural nutrient sources though correct?

That reflective material is to put in your windows to keep out the sun… they sell big rolls of it at Lowe’s and home depo… :wink:
Woks really good because it holds its shape… :wink:

:v: :sunglasses:

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