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$200 CFL Microgrow - Pictures & Write-up

To all you growers on a budget: It's possible!
by WasabiMayo

Published with permission.

Check out WasabiMayo's amazing (budget) CFL microgrow with pictures and read his write-up... 

The only marijuana growing supplies I could afford for my CFL microgrow...
The only nutes and soil I can find locally.

Note: It is important to avoid any Miracle Grow soil with "time released" nutrients for growing cannabis. It will seriously hurt your yields.

Final Yield: 29g = 1.02 ounces

More than an ounce of top-quality cannabis from this CFL grow

Total Cost: ~$200 including price of seeds

The only things I bought for my CFL microgrow are displayed in the picture above (except for the 125w CFL which cost ~$45).

The seeds cost about $70 for 5 x "G13 labs OG13" feminized seeds w/ stealth (insured) shipping

(Learn how to safely buy seeds online)

Grow Journal Details

Growing Medium - Soil & Perlite 

Miracle-Gro isn't the best soil for cannabis, but it was all I could afford/find. You gotta work with what you can get. There's no such thing as a grow shop in my city.

Just make sure you do not get the Miracle-Grow soil with "time released" nutrients! That means do not get the "orginal" Miracle-Gro potting mix. It will burn your plants in the flowering/budding stage by releasing the wrong type of nutrients at the wrong time. If at all possible, I highly recommend you get better soil for growing cannabis to start! 

I used the Seed Starting mix for the seeds, and a mix of Organic Choice and Perlite after that

Miracle-Grow Seed Starting Potting mix


Miracle-Gro Organic Choice soil


Miracle-Gro Perlite


Nutrients Used

Vegetative Stage

Local All-Purpose Plant Food 
10-15-10 Nutrient Ratio
(there was also general purpose nutrients in the soil)

Flowering Stage

Miracle-Gro Liquid Cactus Plant Food
2-7-7 Nutrient Ratio
(adequate nutrient ratio for flowering cannabis plants)


Grow Lights

  • 1 x 125w CFL 6500k bulb above
  • 4 x 23w CFLs 2700k on the sides
  • Total of 218w of CFLs

My Setup

The room she's growing in is in a room pretty far from the entrance to my apartment, inside a cabinet you could pick up from IKEA.

The grow space is about 1.5' x 1.5'. It's only one plant so actual grow space is probably closer to 1'x1', since I have the bulbs about 3" away at most. I give the plant a 90 degree turn every couple days. 

There's a bar about 4'-5' up that the zip ties are connected to and I wrap the cabling for the lights around it to secure them.

For the most part I just hang them but the bulbs on the left I jerry-rigged; it wasn't close enough to the buds so I made hooks on the ends of a straightened piece of clothes hangar.

One end went around the Y-splitter the other the edge of the wing and it brings the lights in sufficiently. The reflectors are made from folded over heavy duty foil--heavy duty is the only kind that retains its shape when molded.

View how WasabiMayo set up his supplemental side lighting

How much did it smell?

I think I've gotten used to the smell. I don't even smell it anymore, lol. When I walk into the room I only smell slight hints of it. Even when I put my nose against it it just smells like slightly herby grass.

But if i just brush the plant with my fingers and bring it to my nose it smells like a real earthy varnish, STRONG.

My friend who doesn't smoke says he smells it when he walks into my place but only because I told him about it, if I didn't mention it he probably wouldn't have noticed it.

No smells in my hallway at all. (I live in an upper floor apartment landlord is never around.) I've also had other friends/family around but no one's ever said anything so I think he's right.

When the lights are on I leave the cabinet open. It's in a room that gets real good air circulation, when I leave the window open a crack I get a nice gentle breeze and the temp around the plant is spot on 77f with a RH of 20%. So I kind of lucked out on not needing a fan/carbon filter to control odors.

Vegetative Stage

  • Vegged for 30 days using just the 1 x 125w CFL 6500k bulb located above the plant
  • FIMed once on week 3 (the third grow node was just coming in)
  • Transplanted a couple days before going 12/12
  • I didn't defoliate during veg at all, as I didn't read about it till about a week into flower. I hear you see best results when you start defoliating in veg so I'll definitely be trying that for my next grow. But even for starting defoliation 2 weeks into flower I'm pretty happy with the results.

The 125w alone was more than enough for veg. In fact, I think I could've fit another plant in there if I used a smaller pot.

Here's the plant in the seed starter mix + perlite.

Beginning of LST

At this point I moved the plant to a 5 gallon pot filled with only about 3 gallons of soil. This time I used the organic mix + perlite.

More LST


Flowering Stage

  • I added the supplemental lights (4 x 23w CFLs) on the side after I flipped the lighting to flower.
  • I started LSTing a week into going 12/12.
  • Started defoliating 2 weeks into flower, gradually. (10%-20% of the leaves at a time every 4-5 days)
  • I ended up clipping all fan leaves about a month after the start of flowering and just adjusted LST so the canopy remained open.

Day 10 of Flowering (40 days from seed)
Day 10 of flowering - 40 days from seed - CFL microgrow

Closeup of LST

To tie the plants down, I cannibalized metal clothes hangars. I stretched and straightened them with pliers and then clipped them to whatever length I needed bent in half so I could stake tops down.

See the structure of the plant after all the LST (low stress training)


Closeup of LST hangers

Day 60 of Flowering Stage - 3 or 4 Weeks Left Until Harvest

View marijuana plant in the full setup

Closeup of marijuana buds grown under CFLs

See the internal plant structure of this marijuana plant, which was LST'ed to grow short and bushy

An even closer look at the internal structure of this cannabis plant, you can see the string that was used to train the plant to grow short

A great view of the whole plant

Closeup of the marijuana buds

Closeup of the marijuana microgrow plant

Day 80 of Flowering Stage - Harvest Day

Mini cannabis plant just before harvest

Mini cannabis plant in hands at harvest


Final Yield After Drying Buds:
29g = 1.02 ounces


More than an ounce of top-quality cannabis from this CFL grow

It was my first grow so I can only compare it to what I've seen on various forums but to be honest it wasn't all that great a yield. But this is based off of one grow and my first to be fair. With that said, I really have no complaints. The smoke was sublime, and I hit my goal of one ounce. I'm going with their strain of Cheese this time around and it is blowing up. It's roughly the same size as the OG13 during harvest at four weeks.

If you're looking at G13 labs seeds I'd recommend their Pineapple Express. I hear it gives a good smoke and yield.

Defoliation & LST

One thing I learned was there's no such thing as too much LST! I think my biggest issue as far as yields was simply not vegging long enough. I was worried about height since I use CFLs (bad light penetration) so I flowered early but the LST did even more to keep it squat which is why I'm going 6 weeks veg this next time around.

You really don't have to worry about defoliation. I took off every fan leaf by the 6th or 7th week and she didn't hermie on me. She didn't really bulk up as much as I liked but I think that was mainly due to the light and genetics but then this was also my first grow so I have no basis of comparison. Also it's really no different than some techniques used by fruit farmers of pruning branches to increase yield (longan trees come to mind).



Jump to...

Look at another CFL microgrow! (with lots of pictures)

Basics of growing weed with CFLs

CFLs vs HPS grow lights

Breakdown of all the different grow lights