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newbie needs a critique(&maybe a mentor)!

mojomon

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Here's what I am starting with folks- below that are some more specifics, if you would be kind enought to evaluate and offer any input---


[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Nutrient Film Technique (more info)[/font]​

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]5' Height x 21" Width x 27" Length[/font]​

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]6 plants, 3 - 6 ft tall (more info) [/font]​
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/font]​



[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]NFT trays, frame, micro tubing and fittings[/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Step-By-Step Grow Guide [/font]​











[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif](6) 4" Net Pots[/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Complete Pro Quality Grow and Bloom Nutrients [/font]




























[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]5 Gallon Reservoir[/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Dutch Rock Wool Cubes [/font]




























[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]84gph Pump[/font]






[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Hydroton Grow Rocks [/font]























[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]400w HPS AgroMax Light, 55,000+ lumens[/font]









[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]pH Kit, pH Up and Down[/font]​



[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Includes a 400w HPS system with ballast, socket, power cords, spectral batwing reflector, 55,000+ lumens Agromax bulb (enhanced with 30% more blue spectrum than regular HPS bulbs), and hagning hardware. 1 Year warranty on everything.[/font]
I also chose to add a dual conversion light bulb kit (according to them for optimum sprouting and initial growth) : It includes both a 400 watt UPS and Metal Halide Light. Got a digital timer for the light as well, 7 day programmable.

Here's my situation:
Newbie just starting out, what you see above is my just-ordered system(www.ezhydrokit.com), and these are the seeds I have on the way:
GNL(Global Northern Light), Starlight, and Masterhaze (this one listed as "not for the novice grower"), all purchased from Global Seed Network (www.amsterdamseeds.com), and all listed as indoor strains.
My growing space (pictures coming later) will be a closet with two track sliding doors, dimensions approximately 8' high, 2' wide, 5.5' in length. Walls are painted standard white. Shelf running length of closet approximately 6' from floor.

A few questions for any of you all-wise and experienced growers out there who might be kind enough to mentor a newbie attempting his first grow:

-Do I need to add any sort of ventilation to this set-up, or can I get by with just opening the doors a little, or will the airflow be adequate that moves through the spaces around the doors (approx 1-1.5" gap in places)? (I have central air conditioning, and there is an adjustable vent in the ceiling of the room where this closet is). If so, any recommendations?

-Can I grow different strains at once, or should I start my crop with all of the same strain?

-How should I store the seeds I don't use, and what is their typical shelf-life?

-Do I need anything else that isn't listed here?

-My tap water is VERY hard, should I use distilled water instead for my hydro system?

-Any tips, do's and dont's, or no-no's I should look out for? This is my first grow, I've been unable to procure smoke for a VERY long time, and I want this first crop to be successful. It just has to be...

Any advice, suggestions, comments, theory, or general ****-chat would be most welcome!
Thanks in advance,
MojoMon

6pack-gal-hex.jpg
 

Diseased Strain

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-Do I need to add any sort of ventilation to this set-up, or can I get by with just opening the doors a little, or will the airflow be adequate that moves through the spaces around the doors (approx 1-1.5" gap in places)? (I have central air conditioning, and there is an adjustable vent in the ceiling of the room where this closet is). If so, any recommendations?

You will need some kind of fan to blow on the plants. I'm using the same light you are. And in a 4x4x4 without ventlation it get's over 120 degres. So you will need to install some kind of bathroom exhaust fan and vent it out into the attic or a wall. The gaps in the closet doors should be enough for the air intake.

Just my opinion, but unless you plan on never using the room or leting anyone in it, or think nobodys going to stumble in there by mistake... or whatever may come up. I wouldnt leave the doors open. The light will leak out = less light for the plants = less growth = less bud = light in the room = blacking out windows = higher chance of geting caught = could never sleep near it Heh. That also brings me to the problum of light leaks when the doors are closed. You said there are gaps. I would close them off personaly and get an air intake fan. But that's me.

-Can I grow different strains at once, or should I start my crop with all of the same strain?

Sure. Just number them or tag them or write on the plastic near the plant, what plant that is.


-Do I need anything else that isn't listed here?
-My tap water is VERY hard, should I use distilled water instead for my hydro system?

These two go together, You will need a RO unit for your water. It will make sure your water is the best. They are about 100 bucks, on e-bay you can find them even cheeper. If you use your tap water, it will kill them.

-Any tips, do's and dont's, or no-no's I should look out for?

Keep that light about 8" away from the top of the plants. Any closer and they start to burn, any farther away and they start to stretch.
I see that's a 6 plant setup. We did 5 with the same light and the buds came out more fluffy then solid. I dont think 400w is enough to do 6 plants, but it depends on the dementions of the setup and what you will have around it and the size of the plants.
It's going to be hard to get light to refract off of anything close enough to do any good. So you will loose alot of light. I'd wrap some Mylar around around that closet.

I would then section off the top of the closet to use as a Mother/veg area. Hang 2 or 3 4' floros from the celing and use the shelf to set the plants on. Make sure there are no light leaks into the flowering part of the closet.

I cant comment on the hydro setup, I'm a soil grower. I'v seen the same one at the grow shop here though. And they have some plants growing in it. And they look good I guess.

-How should I store the seeds I don't use, and what is their typical shelf-life?

I just keep them in a pill bottle. And I'v planted bag seed that was years old. So I'm not sure. Just keep them dry and try not to get them to hot I immagine.
 

mojomon

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Thanks DS and webjunkie, appreciate the info and encouragement, respectively.

Diseased, just a few follow-up questions:

That also brings me to the problum of light leaks when the doors are closed. You said there are gaps. I would close them off personaly and get an air intake fan. But that's me.
-Can I get an intake and exhaust as a system, or would I be able to put one together cheaper from say Home Depot? As these are sliding doors, any recommendations on materials/design for closing off the gaps?

You will need a RO unit for your water. It will make sure your water is the best. They are about 100 bucks, on e-bay you can find them even cheeper. If you use your tap water, it will kill them.
-What is an RO unit? Any places to find them besides ebay? Is bottled, store-bought distilled water not an option?

I see that's a 6 plant setup. We did 5 with the same light and the buds came out more fluffy then solid. I dont think 400w is enough to do 6 plants, but it depends on the dementions of the setup and what you will have around it and the size of the plants.
It's going to be hard to get light to refract off of anything close enough to do any good. So you will loose alot of light. I'd wrap some Mylar around around that closet.
-So the mylar should make it work adequately with the light I will be using, or should I look at upgrading the light? Should I section the setup in one corner/area for tighter fit?

I would then section off the top of the closet to use as a Mother/veg area. Hang 2 or 3 4' floros from the celing and use the shelf to set the plants on. Make sure there are no light leaks into the flowering part of the closet.
-I saw this clone set-up on the same website--what do you think for using it as the set-up for this Mother/veg area:
Includes:
- 2 Gallon reservoir with EZ drainage tap
- 4 net pots
- 72gph submerisble water pump
- Micro tubing and fittings
- Grow rocks
- 8 rock wool cubes
- 5 month supply of grow and bloom nutrients
- pH Up, pH DOWN, pH testers
- Our EzGrowGuide and EzCloningGuide
- 30w Compact Fluorescent Clone Light (6500k)
- Light socket with power cord, switch, and plug
- 2oz cloning gel
Cost: $99
Also, any recommendations on what material to use to close off the veg area from light/light leaks, and does it need the same kind of ventilation(can it be tied in with or utilize the main growing area's ventilation)?

Seeds--I just keep them in a pill bottle. And I'v planted bag seed that was years old. So I'm not sure. Just keep them dry and try not to get them to hot I immagine.
-How about in the fridge?

Hope my questions aren't too stupid, and I appreciate your assistance--it's always great to have the voice of experience to lead you down the proper path---many thanks and I look forward to our contunued dialogue---hopefully I will have some beautiful photos in the future to show--
Thanks!
Mojo
 

Diseased Strain

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-Can I get an intake and exhaust as a system, or would I be able to put one together cheaper from say Home Depot? As these are sliding doors, any recommendations on materials/design for closing off the gaps?

Bathroom fan would be all you need. They go for about 20 - 60 bucks at Home Depot. I'd say 50 Cfm would do you fine. They are $29.99.
As for the Sliding doors, this is what I would do. I'm seting up a second grow in a closet with sliding doors as well. So I have been thinking about this for a while. What I have been planing on doing is taking 4 or 5 layers of black painters plastic(can be found at home depot) cut in strips about 3" wide and tape or staple them to the back of the doors so they over lap the gaps when the doors are shut. Since they will just slide back and forth they shouldnt come loose or anything. If they had to swing open then it wouldnt work. But till my new house is ready to move in I'm just guessing.

-What is an RO unit? Any places to find them besides ebay? Is bottled, store-bought distilled water not an option?
R.O. = Reverse Osmosis. Water purity is scaled in PPM (parts per million). Regular tap water would be about 150 - 200 ppm. R.O. water is about 1 - 10. Lower PPM = less water contamination. The contamints <sorry cant spell for ****> could be anything from bits of sand to (what most people have) Calcium. My tap water runs about 330 ppm and is high on Calcium and my plants die in about 4 days using it. If you have hard water then you will be around that same range. An R.O. unit will also remove the chlorine. Tap water has alot of it. And Your plants wont like it.

Distilled water is an options but if you look at water from a R.O. unit compaired to the cost of distilled water. It's alot less.
Figure 100 bucks innital cost of Ro unit. 50 bucks for new filters every 2 years = $350 + water bill for 10 years of water. Distilled water, 1.29 including tax per gallon, 16 gallons a week (2, 5 gall. innital fill, 3. gall top off, per week; might be a bit less, never done hydro) for 10 years would be; ((16x1.29)x52)(x10) = $10,732.80

-So the mylar should make it work adequately with the light I will be using, or should I look at upgrading the light? Should I section the setup in one corner/area for tighter fit?
That I cant tell you yet. I have just put mylar up over the foil I used for this last grow. But from what I have seen the in two weeks it has been up is amazing. Most of the plants were one sided last grow. These new ones are little full bushes on all sides. We havent hung the second 400w yet. So It seems to make a diffrence. But the plants are still small (clones about 10") and just now flowering so If it has any bud effecting abilitys, I dont know yet. But I hope so. Way more reflective then foil or white paint. But I would still upgrade the light when you can. But it will get the job done. So dont let my last post discourage you. More light would just make it that much better. Um... I cant think of a way to close off the plants themselves and have you be able to get in to them without it being a pain in the ass each time. So sectioning the closet is an option. The less space the light has to fill the better.


-How about in the fridge?

No. I only know of one seed that needs to be chilled before it will grem. And that's lowrider. But if I remember right. I read somewhere any temp extream will be harmfull. So, No dont put them in the fridge.


Hope my questions aren't too stupid, and I appreciate your assistance--it's always great to have the voice of experience to lead you down the proper path---many thanks and I look forward to our contunued dialogue---hopefully I will have some beautiful photos in the future to show--
Thanks!
Mojo

Heh, your welcome. I'm not that experienced. I have a grow or two under my belt but I'm still learning. And I read alot. :)
 

Hick

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I don't have much knowlwdge of "water farming", so I can't comment on your setup there, but I do know that flat white paints reflective properties are only slightly less than mylar. I think mylr is around 97% while paint is around 94% I believe. While foil is waaaay down there, like 40%.
Seeds should be stored in the crisper of the fridge in an airtight container, with a desicant, for longevity. If you're interested in storing them for years, they can be frozen. Again, airtight and a desicant.
Keeping them chilled and more imortant, dry will retain the viability for years.
 

mojomon

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Thanks DS, Hick--

DS: Thanks for all the help. I just moments ago completed some of the finishing touches on the grow room formerly known as a closet. Got the bathroom ceiling fan (50cfm/4.0 sones)@ Home Depot for $12.99, a wall mount oscillating fan for $19.99, a roll of black painter's plastic (a few bucks), and an indoor/outdoor thermometer w/humidity indicator(around $10.00). I mounted the thermometer on the wall away from the direct light, and placed the outdoor sensor at the level of the pots where the plants will be. Used the plastic as you suggested, and have managed to stop most of the light leaks. Had an old thermal camping emergency blanket with the reflective material on one side so I put that down on the floor, shiny side up (on top of the plastic liner I placed on the carpet in case of spills). Hooked up my 400w MH and it is damn bright in there. Couldn't find any mylar (may have to order online), so I thought I might see how I do with the bare white walls.
The temp in the closet appears to hover at around 78-80 degrees F, and rises a little above 80 when I have turned on the light for a few moments. This is with the oscillating fan and the exhaust fan both on as well. It seems there is enough gap around the doors to provide air intake, but I was wondering if I am going to have to put in some sort of passive intake/hole in either the door or wall (would rather not if possible). Any suggestions?
Once again, thanks for all the help---
Mojo
 
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Well, I wish I had gotten to this thread a little sooner, unfortunately I have limited time to post on forums such as this one due to my business. I think the idea diseased had with the "freezer curtain" of black plastic is ingenuitive, however it is a lot of work, when the same result could be attained by simply getting a 5 mil roll of black plastic at Wal-Mart ($7.98) for a 50 foot roll, and making a home-made shower curtain. I am a firm believer in Mylar as a reflective surface, but I also know that some people have limited budgets, and have come up with a solution that seems to work almost as well. Emergency camping blankets (also sold at Wal-Mart for $2.64) seem to acheive the same results for a small percentage of the cost. They do unfortunately allow some light to pass through them however, so you do lose a slightly higher amount of light than you would with mylar. I suggest ebay for mylar rolls, you can get a 55" x 100' roll for less than $40 shipped to your door. As far as your ventilation, I would have suggested a dayton squirrel cage fan hooked into your hood if at all possible. If you do not have a sealed hood, then always try and take the air out of your grow area from the highest point possible (heat rises), and vent it out through a discreet location. I usually recommend simply cutting a hole in the interior wall of the closet in this situation, and venting into the walls. I would also like to say that if you vent in the wall, take your air in from the ceiling, or vice-a-versa. It would be pointless to take in the hot air you just expelled. You would be amazed at how well a 1/2 inch of drywall filters out odor. Regardless, that does not relieve you of having to provide some form of odor control. I suggest ozone generators (www.air-zone.com). The small dorm room version they sell is enough to do the job in most rooms up to 20 plants. The wall mount oscillating fan was an excellent purchase. The constant airflow will cause your plants to grow stronger stalks and stems, which in turn will increase growth potential and overall plant health/strength. The wall mount also helps reduce risk of electrical fire in the event of an accidental spill which is quite probable with hydroponics and large nutrient reservoirs. Diseased was also right about purchased an osmosis system. They keep the water at a consistent PH, with low PPM which makes nutrients easier to monitor with a simple TDS meter. Hydroponics typically require a lower ph than soil grows hovering between 5.7 to 6.4 ph, whereas soil plants prefer a solid 7.0. With hard water, you can also experience nutrient lock (very bad in hydroponics). You can lose an entire crop in a matter of hours if nutrient lock occurs. I am sorry if my post is disorganized, I have had to stop several times during this post to take care of various tasks.
 

Diseased Strain

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I think the idea diseased had with the "freezer curtain" of black plastic is ingenuitive, however it is a lot of work, when the same result could be attained by simply getting a 5 mil roll of black plastic at Wal-Mart ($7.98) for a 50 foot roll, and making a home-made shower curtain. --

Actually I said stapling strips to the back of the door where they would slide with them between the jam to block the light before it got out. Second. You would have to find somrthing to hang that home made shower curtian on. I dont know how big his closet is but mine are alot bigger then my shower. Third. That curtian is just one more thing in your way. When you have your hands full of stuff and your trying to get into the closet, you dont want to be fighting with a flimsy curtian. Fourth. I dont consider stapling a few strips of plastic to the back of a door hard work. But it sounds like the crutian ideah will just be a pain in the ass in the long run. I dont really see how hanging a curtian would be cheeper or easyer. But it is an option I guess. The only thing I can think of when I think about that ideah is how many layers you would have to hang. That wal-mart stuff really leaks light. Just a pain in the butt if you ask me.

I suggest ebay for mylar rolls, you can get a 55" x 100' roll for less than $40 shipped to your door.----
If you have a grow shop around you that same roll you would pay 40 bucks for would be about 30. Other then that I cant say anything about this comment. E-bay is your friend.

As far as your ventilation, I would have suggested a dayton squirrel cage fan hooked into your hood if at all possible. ----
There is pic's of his setup in the first post. He does not have this option. Not to mention a dayton would have added hundreds to his grow bill and is not needed for a 400w light. I have 4 of them, each in a smaller space then his closet, all with 50cfm fans.

Regardless, that does not relieve you of having to provide some form of odor control. I suggest ozone generators (www.air-zone.com). The small dorm room version they sell is enough to do the job in most rooms up to 20 plants. ---
It will also cost about 300 bucks and the ozone it let's off is unhealthy to any living people/animals you might have in the area. It would be cheeper to go pay about 100 bucks and build a carbon filter, and works about the same.

The wall mount also helps reduce risk of electrical fire in the event of an accidental spill which is quite probable with hydroponics and large nutrient reservoirs.---
Good tip here. Pay attention to this guy Mojo.

Sorry I'm not trying to pick his post apart. It's just a slow day at work today. Heh.
I can tell E.C.H.C. works or owns a shop, he is doing a really good job of selling up. Although some of his suggestions are the expencive/easy way to go, they are still good options. Anyway. Some good info there. Thanks for shareing E.C.H.C.. And good luck with whatever you do Mojo. Sounds like it's coming together.

Oh...
The temp in the closet appears to hover at around 78-80 degrees F, and rises a little above 80 when I have turned on the light for a few moments. This is with the oscillating fan and the exhaust fan both on as well. It seems there is enough gap around the doors to provide air intake, but I was wondering if I am going to have to put in some sort of passive intake/hole in either the door or wall (would rather not if possible). Any suggestions?

Try this. Turn it on tonite. Let it run. See what it is in the morning. If they go above 90, you might. But I dont see it geting that hot in there. You did say the house has central air ? That should keep the air coming in cooler through the door then it ever would through a wall.

I do my cloning in the garage and it's always 100+ in there in the summer. But besides taking in alot of water, they never seem to be hurt by the high heat. So dont get to worried yet.
 

mojomon

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Thanks, Strain, and thanks also for the reply to my "best germinating" post. I will be going with the 24/0 light plan for veg.

My seeds (after cracking and showing the white root) were transplanted to rockwool (dipped in 5.8 pH water form my res) yesterday morning, but no sign of them sprouting yet. I've read it can take up to 10 days or more, is this correct? My grow guide says to put the rockwool in the net pots, and turn on the pump to my NFT system and also to turn on my MH 400w light at this point. This is where I am finding conflicting theories on how to sew the seed and get it to break through. Most of what I read says no light required until sprouts push through and tiny leaves are visible, and to keep rockwool wet but not soaked and never let stand in water. So, I turned off the pump and light yesterday because the rockwool seemed a bit saturated, and I drained off the excess this morning. Had the light off last night, but turned it back on this morning to hopefully allow the rockwool to dry out a bit. I don't want to overthink this (too late, right...), but I just want to do it right the first time if possible.

Also, the upper shelf section of my closet is pretty tight, about 2' 3" high and maybe 11" wide, about 5' 6" long. I have already installed a wood frame around the face, attached piece of 3 mil balck painter's plastic folded in half, stapled tight at the top and velcro'd on sides and bottom, seems pretty light-leak proof. I also went the extra dollars and step of installing seperate intake and exhaust fans for this area, just like I now have for the main grow area in the closet. I have a four plant cloning system on the way to me (from the same company I got my six plant NFT system from) for this upper area. It appears to run on the same type of system, only it is in a round two gallon bucket. I will have two 30w 6500k blue spectrum lights with a reflector for the clones (if and when...).

So what do you think? Lights and pump off until I see sprouts, or is there a better way? As always, thanks for your invaluable assistance--
Mojo
 

Diseased Strain

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I've read it can take up to 10 days or more, is this correct?----

Doubt it will take that long but I have had some stubborn ones that have taken a week or so.

I havent noticed any diffrence between on or off. I leave it on personaly because as soon as they sprout they start to grow. More light, less strtch. Even in the seedling stage I like to have them growing 100% from day one. But as far as the rule on or off goes. I dont have a clue. :)
 

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