Building Lights From Scratch And Mainlining White Widows

Rookie growers often assume marijuana growing as an expensive hobby. However, as the years go by, they learned that spending could be kept to a minimum as long as they know how.

These growers inspired Middlecoast to build the lights for the White Widow grow.

Producing the lights helps growers understand the importance of the lumens and their position to the plants.

Another thing that the amateur grower wanted to experience for this grow is mainlining, a method that experienced growers suggest to bring abundant yields.

Join Middlecoast as he sets on an adventure of what appears to be two of the roads less taken by cultivators.

White Widows for Middlecoast

White Widow often tops the list of most famous marijuana strains in the world. It has been in circulation since the early 90s, and a lot of growers learned the ease of growing these plants on their own.

The buds that they yield are white, with crystal resin that warns of powerful effects.

After a shock of euphoria and energy, smokers may find it easier to stimulate conversation and do creative projects with this strain.

Grower’s Profile:
Name: Middlecoast
Location: USA
Seeds: White Widow
Yield: 48 oz (wet)/ 11 oz (dry)


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  • 60% Indica 40% Sativa
  • THC levels up to 19%
  • High yielding easy growing plant
  • Mind opening euphoric high


  • VIVOSUN 36” x 36” x 72” Mylar Hydroponic Grow Ten
  • iPower 6” 442 CFM Inline Fan, with 6 Inch Carbon Filter
  • Fan speed adjuster (a must in my opinion)
  • Grow light hangers
  • 5-gallon buckets
  • FoxFarm Ocean Forest Organic Soil
  • FoxFarm Big Bloom, Grow Big, Tiger Bloom
  • SensorPush Wireless Thermometer / Hygrometer
  • 6” clip on fan
  • 1 x Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive
  • 2 × Mean Well HLG-240H-C1400B with dimmers
  • 6 × 140mm Pin Heatsink
  • 6 × Bridgelux VERO29 (3500K 80 CRI B) with Molex connectors
  • 3 x 8 ft aluminum angle (1/2” size)
  • Fox Farm Ocean Forest
  • Fox Farm Big Bloom
  • Fox Farm Grow Big
  • Fox Farm Sledgehammer
  • Humboldt Nutrients Equilibrium (Calcium-Magnesium or Cal-Mag)
  • Coco Coir
Building lights for growing marijuana at home
Building lights for growing marijuana

Germination Phase


All growers have different styles and capacities when it comes to keeping their marijuana plants happy, healthy and productive.

Middlecoast wanted to test the limits of his capabilities and set out on a one of a kind adventure: building a DIY LED light for his grow. Here are the things prepared to create a 440-watt light:

  • 1 x Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive
  • 2 × Mean Well HLG-240H-C1400B with dimmers
  • 6 × 140mm Pin Heatsink
  • 6 × Bridgelux VERO29 (3500K 80 CRI B) with Molex connectors
  • 3 x 8 ft aluminum angle (1/2” size)

Once finished, the grower set the light at least 24 inches above the plants. As of the moment, it is still let on the lowest setting in the dimmers.

Building lights for growing marijuana at home


Initially, the row of LED lights is spaced 12.5” from the center. However, after gathering opinions from other growers, Middlecoast moved them closer to at least 3.5” closer, so they are now only 9” away.

On top of all that, the seeds finally came in and are now soaking in a shot glass.

Building lights for growing marijuana at home
Building lights for growing marijuana at home


After 24 hours, the White Widow seeds settle into Rockwool cubes. Two days later, there is no evident growth from those two.

Still, keen on not giving up, Middlecoast dropped them in the soil. Again, three days of being in the ground did not do anything for the seeds.

Then, he decided to start over by dropping two other seeds in a glass of water and then, on with folding it in a paper towel.

It worked well this time as taproots appeared 48 hours later. Skipping Rockwool altogether, the grower dropped the seeds in a mix of 50% Fox Farm Ocean Forest and 50% Coco Coir.

For the meantime, Middlecoast wrapped the cups in a plastic bag and placed them in the tent. The DIY lights are currently running on 25% on the dimmer.

If his calculations are correct, it is releasing about 164 watts of output.

Vegetation Phase

vegetative marijuana phase


Three days since sprouting, everything seems to work out well for Middlecoast and the White Widows. They have spurted out a couple of inches of growth and grew some leaves as well.


Day five and the leaves grew broader and greener over time. The seedlings do not get any nutrient as of the moment because Middlecoast believes Ocean Forest contains what they need for now. He only gives them reverse osmosis (RO) water pH’d at 6.0.

Although the lights increased to about 50% in the dimmer and is lowered at 20” now.


  • Temperature: 78°F
  • Humidity: 35%


  • Temperature: 72°F
  • Humidity: 40%
vegetative marijuana phase


The seedlings are two weeks old today, and while they certainly grew, there is evident droopiness in the leaves.

Thoughts immediately go to overwatering as the culprit, but after leaving them for a day, there is no visible change. That is when the grower realized that he might be under watering instead.

He also went out of town for a couple of days, as soon as Middlecoastis back the plants are begging for water already. They were given half a gallon each, but two days later, they look overwatered.

The plants were left as is, but that did not yield anything useful. Plants were left as is, but that did not yield anything good.

  • pH: 6/3
  • Nutrients: 1/2 dose of Fox Farm Big Bloom twice a week
  • Light: 350-watts and 20” away from the plants


  • Temperature:78°F
  • Humidity: 35%


  • Temperature: 72°F
  • Humidity: 78
growing marijuana


After much convincing from Bob31, the plants are now in bigger containers. The cup removal was real work, but it looked marvelous once removed:

Once Middlecoast eliminates the cup, the plants and its compacted soil drops in 5-gallon smart pots filled with Fox Farm Ocean Forest Soil.

48 hours later, the White Widows grew beyond recognition. They shot up a couple of inches taller, and the leaves turned to a yellow-greenish hue.

Also, to aid with the run off, the pots are sitting on top of some gravel. It will take more than a liter of water before the plants even touch the water.

  • Water: Tap water pH’d to 6.5
  • Light: 250 watts at 22” from the plants


  • Temperature: 78°F
  • Humidity: 50%


  • Temperature: 72°F
  • Humidity 60%
growing marijuana


Manifolding or mainlining, as other would call it, means forming a “hub” of stems from a single node.

It results in an equal distribution of energy from the roots to the top of each cola. Middlecoast started by topping everything up to the fourth node. So, the plants ended up with two mainlining branches.


Five days later, as the plants seem ready enough, the grower cut everything but the first and third node.


The girls were looking quite like a jungle. The grower maintains it by trimming what needed to stay and giving them an ample amount of water per day.


Almost a week later, another problem arises. Middlecoast has a hard time figuring out the perfect amount of water for the plants. The leaves drooped a lot, and under watering may be to blame.

Nonetheless, they are both under low-stress training (LST) to keep their shape.


After a few days, Middlecoast started to get the hang of it, and the girls perk back up.

Part of the plants’ maintenance is cutting and trimming lower branches’ fan leaves to keep their shape.

The grower plans on keeping them and making something out of them in the future, so the fan leaves are now drying out in a bag. This process has him thinking of what else needs to be done in the tent to make everything a little more exciting.

The next plan is to utilize as much space as possible. Adjusting the lights to the fans would give this curious grower about three feet of space to work.

Usually, growers SCRoG (SCReen of Green) while the plants are short and bushy, Middlecoast decided to do otherwise. Instead, they are going to get scrogged as soon as they hit their 18” mark.

  • Water: pH 6.5; Every other day about one gallon per plant
  • Nutrients: Fox Farm Grow Big and Big Bloom according to their schedule (PPM: 1150)
  • Light: 400-watts about 12” from the top of the plants


  • Temperature: 80 to 85°F
  • Humidity: 50%


  • Temperature: 70 to 75°F
  • Humidity: 60%


The girls are getting close to the trellis. Nonetheless, roots are crawling out of the bottom of the smart pots. Although, there may be a change of plans.

Instead of starting to scrog them at 18”, it would begin as early as the plants hit their 16” mark. Then again, another scrog net would support the plants as they hit 24”.

Flowering Phase


The girls are now about 17” in height. A couple of inches are already passing through the net. It means Middlecoast has about three feet of space to work with.

While everything seems fine, the only thing that worries their grower is pruning.

  • Water: Half a gallon of water each plant pH’d to 6.5
  • Light: 400-watts; 12” away from the plants


  • Temperature: 80 to 85°F
  • Humidity: 50%


  • Temperature: 70 to 75°F
  • Humidity: 50%


Only a week into flowering and the buds already built their way up.


Traditional watering includes watering around the edges of the plants to promote outward growth. However, that does not work well with smart pots.

As they are made out of fabric, water only leaks out of the sides. From that theory, Middlecoast went out to try new things.

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Instead, he floods right at the base until the water reaches two to three inches then moves on to the next plant. No problems resulted from this method yet so another technique gets done.

Instead of the usual every other day watering routine, the grower does it every single day. Each plant gets half to a gallon full of water every day so they do not drown.

While at it, Humboldt Nutrients Equilibrium to the daily watering. In any case, this is how a week looks like for Middlecoast and the ladies:

  • Sunday: Fox Farm Nutrients + Cal-Mag
  • Monday: Cal-Mag
  • Tuesday: Cal-Mag
  • Wednesday: Fox Farm Nutrients + Cal-Mag
  • Thursday: Cal-Mag
  • Friday: Cal-Mag
  • Saturday: Fox Farm Nutrients + Cal-Mag

However, with the continuous usage of Cal-Mag, trouble brews. A lot of leaves fall down on their own, some even with the lightest touch.

Experienced growers advise stopping with the use as soon as possible because it is only meant at least once a month or only when necessary.

Leaves underlying the broad canopy, on the other hand, claw because they lack energy.

Nevertheless, the show must go on. For the finishing touches, pruning still confuses Middlecoast. Currently, the plan leaves some branches trimmed and others as is. Of course, the productive branches would be left as is.


Middlecoast addressed the problem with Cal-Mag before anything else. He used one and a half gallon of water mixed with Fox Farm Bush Doctor Sledgehammer to flush the plants.

In the end, he discovered the PPM are soaring quite high with the plants.

  • Left plant (Smokey): 1310 ppm, pH 6.5
  • Right plant (Bandit): 2010 ppm, pH 6.3

Also, even though both plants received the same amount of nutrients, trained, and did everything almost the same way, Bandit seems to fare better than Smokey. It is taller and more productive than her sister.


As the grower spends a few days away from the ladies, the temperature rose, and now, it is quite difficult to control. It sometimes gets close to 90°F.


Another trim for the White Widows, and this time they would be relieved to find a more proper and adequate airflow for them.

Below the net shines some branches that are free from the unwanted undergrowth and popcorn buds. Once done with lollipopping, Middlecoast only misted the ladies as their soil are still damp from yesterday’s watering.

Here is what they look like before trimming:

And after lollipopping:

  • Water: One gallon each yesterday; a quart of water each for today’s misting
  • Lights: 475-watts and 14 to 18” away from the top of the canopy


  • Temperature: 85 to 90°F
  • Humidity: 40%


  • Temperature: 65 to 75°F
  • Humidity: 35%


Middlecoast’s efforts pay off with lots of thick and aromatic buds. It helped that he followed Bob31’s advice of altering the watering schedule to every other day.

Although, a small amount of Cal-Mag gets added whenever the girls drink water, but it has not done them any further harm. The amount of water used depends on how heavy the pots are and how damp the soil is.

There is some purpling of the leaves. However, it may also be because of the White Widow’s genetics which is causing this certain discoloration:

Nonetheless, the plants amaze with their dense and heavy buds:


The adventurous grower went out of town for a few days and left the White Widows in the care of a friend. While they both look healthy, Middlecoast noticed a significant difference in their color.

The plant that experienced purpling eventually ended up taking in more purple hues. Which may be why Bandit appears to be darker in color than Smokey:

One thing changed with the grower’s routine. Nutrient uptake is lessened from thrice a week to only two times a week. Also, now that they are on the 10th week of feeding, Middlecoast removed Grow Big from the mix.

  • Water: One gallon per plant three days ago; a quart of a gallon for foliar spray today
  • Light: 475-watts; 14 to 18” away from the plants


  • Temperature: 85 to 90°F
  • Humidity: 20% (The humidifier had to be turned off for increased trichome production.)


  • Temperature: 70 to 75°F
  • Humidity: 30%


Day 45 of flowering and harvest day is getting really close. As preparation, Middlecoast fed the White Widows Week 10 nutrients and Cal-Mag last Sunday.

Today, they are prepped by flushing with Fox Farm Sledgehammer. Amber pistils are dominating the plant; however, he is still on the lookout for more ambers on the trichomes.


For the final stretch, Middlecoast switched all the lights off to give the plants a full 24 hours of darkness before harvesting the ladies.

He was supposed to wait until after harvest since flushing the nutrients out of the plants require 5 to 6 days of rest. However, for this excited grower, it is not an ideal set-up to harvest after the holidays.


White Widows hanging on hangers brighten Middlecoast’s place. The harvest started at 5 in the afternoon and ended at 2 in the morning, all trimmed and ready for drying.

Both plants have a heavy wet weight of 48 ounces.

Smokey alone weighed 14 ounces:

Bandit ended up the game with 19 ounces of buds now hanging up to dry.

The rest is a combination of other things like free nuggets, sugar leaves, and trimmings.


Middlecoast went on a little holiday trip over the weekend and overdried the plants. Nonetheless, the outcome still makes him proud. Here are the dry weights of everything in his grow:

  • Trimmings: 118g
  • Loose Buds: 14g
  • Smokey: 78g
  • Bandit: 101g

Total: 311 g (11 oz.)

The Road Less Taken

Like all things tried for the first time, it is a nerve-wracking journey for Middlecoast. With only prior knowledge and research to guide him, the agenda for the White Widow journey is to build a light system. It is easy to say that the goal made its way through.

Although, another part of the plan is to mainline the ladies. This second target also proved itself as a success with 10 ounces of yield to show.

Middlecoast has a couple of lessons to take away from this grow:

  1. Do not be afraid to jump the gun. Not because of only a handful of growers does something shows its inefficacy, but maybe just a few are as courageous as the curious grower.
  2. Nutrients are only a part of the plants’ needs. The grower grew anxious about continually checking with the nutrients, not knowing it was the supplements that may be causing the problem.
  3. Lay low on the cal-mag. Calcium-Magnesium does not need a continual application. Sometimes, it even brings more harm when used more than necessary, like what happened to Middlecoast’s plants during flowering.

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