How much light do I need
You should have at least 40 Watts worth of CFLs per square foot or 30 Watts per plant. That would be about 3000 lumens of light a foot or 2500 lumens a plant. This is however the minimum. The more you get, the better and more buds.
How far away should my plants be from the light
CFLs wont get too hot so you can put those plants within about 3 inches of the bulb. The closer the better but make sure they don’t get too close and burn. Put your hand under the bulb and see if it gets hot. Find a right distance where the light is warm but not hot.
There are two different light cycles youll need to know about. How much light you give your plants will determine when they are in vegetative state and when they start to flower.
Vegetative: After your plants have sprouted they will be in the vegetative state. Here they are only growing and not producing any flowers yet. They will stay this way as long as you give them a minimum amount of light a day.
Typically growers will give them from 18-24 hours of light during the vegetative stage. There are many people who swear 18 hours light 6 hours dark a day is the best and many people are convinced continuous 24 hours light is the best. Both seem to work fine so it will be up to you to decide.
When you want your plant to start flowering you will need to switch to 12/12 (12 hours light/12 hours dark).
A simple timer (~3$) will help you automate this.
Vegetative 18-24 hours light a day.
Flowering 12 hours light 12 hours dark
For the same reasons I didn’t go into HID or HPS lights im not going to go into soilless mix hydro or other systems.
Heres just the fundamental on soil, don’t reuse any soil from old plants, get some new soil or use some from a good compost heap. Miracle grow with time released nutrients should be avoided. Get something with perlite, this will loosen up the soil and give the roots more air.
Ventilation and heat
Ventilation is important for several reasons especially if growing in a small space.
For one, this will help the temperature in your grow area to be regulated. Ideally it should be 70-80F, however they should do fine up to 90F if nothing can be done about it.
Second Ventilation will create an artificial breeze that will help the stem of the plant grow stronger. Place a rotating desk fan in your grow area or if you are growing in a grow box, use some modified PC fans to blow air out of your box. On further information on how to build these look here:
On how to best position them look here:
Reflective surfaces in your grow area is a great way to maximise your lighting. Dark walls will absorb light so you will want to do something about this. Usually the first reaction to this is a visit to the kitchen drawer to grad some aluminium foil. Stay away from this because the foil can create hot spots that burn your plant. Also if your growing in a small space, lining the walls with this will basically create a little oven trapping the hot air.
What to use:
Mylar, more on the expensive side.
Reflective gift wrap that you can find at the dollar store is a great cheap alternative to mylar
White paint on the wall will also works very well
Other common mistakes
For new growers there will hardly ever be a problem of adding to little fertiliser to a plant during vegetation but rather of adding too much. That’s why try not fertilizing at all until necessary (during vegetative).
Common mistake is overwatering your plants. You don’t need to water them every day and there are several factors that decide how much water a plant needs such as container size, growth stage or temperature. Either buy a water meter (~5$) or use the basic rule of sticking your finger in the soil, once the 2-3 inches is dry its time to water again. Give it a good watering, once its dry start over again.
Too close to light
Although you should get the plants as close as you can, placing them too close will burn your plant, this could be fatal for small plants.
During the dark periods, especially while in flowering it is very important to make sure no light gets to the plant. This could cause big problems such as you plant turning hermie or preventing your plants from flowering so make sure your area is light proof.
Growing can be very exciting and one of the biggest challenge is keeping it secret. It can be very tempting to share your experience with your friends but this is can be a big mistake because often they get very tempted to tell somebody else. Try to keep it to yourself, youll risk getting busted if word gets out.