I'm new to this site, so let me start off by saying I have been reading threads nonstop in my free time from work, and have learned so much from you guys already! There's so much useful info on here, I can't stop reading! Lol
Anyways, I'm a prop 215 patient in Cali, and have always gone through collectives/clinics to get my medication, but I'm seriously thinking about just growing my own small personal stash. I will probably only growing 2-4 plants, but would like to know everything I can beforehand so I can do it right the first time. I have tried growing once before; basic hand watered in soil under CFL's in the closet, but it didn't go over so well because I pretty much didn't know what I was doing. I want to go in a different direction this time, so I want to see what I can accomplish with a small ebb & flow system with alot better lighting, more as an experiment and hobby, since I can still just visit the local collective if things don't work out. I've been doing as much research as possible, but still have a few questions floating around in my head. I'm definately a DIY'er, so I will be building this system myself out of everyday stuff (except the light/ballast equipment), like so many people have done before.
Well first off, what is an appropriate dimension for a grow area for 4 plants? Would say 4'x4' be acceptable, or can I go a little bigger with reflective material on the walls? Just so I can have a little more room to work if I'm in there trimming, refilling the reservoir, or for light system heat dispersal, etc.
Second, I'm planning on buying the 400w HPS/MH light setup w/ remote digital ballast from HTG Supply. Is this a good setup straight out of the box, or am I going to have any problems? I would love to run a vented hood also, but funds are limited, so will it be absolutely necessary since it's not the biggest light setup? (I'm alot more worried about burning my house down than burning my plants. Lol) Plus a vented hood means running a seperate vent system other than the room itself, aka alot more $$$!
Third, I have a full time job with a schedule that bounces around alot, so I I may or may not be home at any given time to be flipping light switches. So since the light setup will only be 400w, what kind of wall timer would you guys recommend? Wal Mart sells Brinks digital timers for around $20 that say they're 500w, but to me, that just sounds like it's cutting it too close still. Once again, I'm way more worried about burning down my house than anything.
Fourth, I will be using Rubbermaid-type tote bins for my reservoir and flood tray, but I read somewhere (don't remember, it was years ago) that nutrients will eat thru the plastic material that the tote bins are made of. Is this true, and if so, what do you DIY guys do to solve this problem?
Fifth, since I'm using the tote bins, is the heat from this light setup going to be a problem for the plastic? I know heating plastic causes chemicals to be released, which I definately don't want in my medication! And I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate it in their water either! Lol
Sixth, what kind of nutrients are you guys having great results with? I don't know if this makes a difference, but I'm definately more of a fan of strong Indicas, so that's probably all I will be growing.
Seventh, I was going to start my seeds in rockwool cubes or those little Jiffy cubes used for cloning until they sprout and get a small root system going, then put those into 12" plastic flower pots full of Hydroton. Is this a good idea, or should I go about it a different way? I really don't want to use any grow medium that will possibly clog up my water pump, so that I can reduce the chance of failure and losing the crop.
This is all I can think of right off the top of my head, but I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting. I will post anymore questions I can think of, and probably start a grow thread once I get this all figured out and under way. Any help you guys can give me will be extremely appreciated!
Peace fellow tokers!