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Cheap/Free/Low-price Growing Materials for Bankrupt, Poor Man, and Cheap Bastards

SciFi

New Member
So.. We've all been there...

Money's tight, you're over budget or just simply broke as flip. :)
Perhaps the baby momma is a blood sucking harpy along with your 3 ex wives.
Or maybe you're a cheap bugger, or just super paranoid about leaving paper trails.. Whatever the case it..

I'm starting this thread to point out places where I sourced free supplies and where I got other items for very cheap (but may have required a bit of DIYer), and most of all, without a paper trail.

**** FREE CONTAINERS ****

So.. You need something to put stuff in?

Maybe it's literally dirt (compost manure), or it's to organize your hell hole of a grow room, or perhaps even to put a soil or soil-less, or hydro in... And you can get them FREE, very low-key, and most places won't think twice about you, if you ask nicely and don't give them a reason to think you're up to bullshit. :)

How you say? Almost every restaraunt including fast food use 5-gallon buckets.

Food-safe (YAY) white (boo), buckets, then they throw them away (booooo for earth, yay for us).

Because of the way the food safety rules were wrote in the USA, you can only use food-safe buckets once, then they have to be thrown away or recycled into non-food use buckets... They want virgin plastics in food-grade.

That, combined with the fact that some places only get one or two buckets a week, most managers don't save them, sell them, or recycle them. They pitch them in the trash.

Just about any bucket you get like this, is going to smell like what was in it. The best way I've found to get rid of lingering smells, and colors is to fill the bucket up with water, put a 1/4 cup of baking soda in there (SODA NOT POWDER), put the lid on and let it set in the sun for a few days. Rinse, repeat as necessary.

A lot of places you will find get their pickles, butter, and sour cream in large 5-gallon buckets, and usually after the baking soda, a good scrub with a tiny bit of bleach in there takes care of anything residual.

Beats the poo out of paying $6-7 bucks at the grow store, or using non food-safe buckets from home depot. :|

**** CHEAPER HID LIGHTS ****
If you have electrical wiring knowledge, you can pick up used, industrial lights on Craigslist, and convert them to a remote ballast.


Always pay cash, meet the guy with the lights somewhere inconspicious, preferably without camera, and give some bull story about your barn/security/flood light went out, and your electrician son/friend/brother said to get these lights.

I payed $35 a piece, cash for 400W MH industrial/high-bay ballasts, which included a large aluminum dome reflector, a phillips bulb, and the mogul socket.

After finding the wiring diagram on the side of the unit, I read the schematics and rewired it into a remote ballast, and used chain to hang the reflectors with the moguls mounted inside them. I used some romex from HD, and made sure to get the amp/volt/temp requirements needed to operate the ballast.

Again, thou, I'd like to point out.. DON'T try this high, nor try this if you have no experience around electricity. You can really flux yourself up.


*** Coverings ***

Cheap semi-disposable mylar can be obtained from Walmart or other megastores in the camping section as an "emergency blanket".

Don't try to just tape this stuff to your wall either.. or use sticky wall putty. It's tempting but it'll fall, and potentially land on a light leaving you with a shattered bulb, and broken dreams at the least, and no more grow rooms/house and prison time at the worst.

Another source for these blankets? Emergency Road side kits. The kind you stuck in your trunk or glovebox and forgot about. Check there.. you might have one handy at 3AM in a pinch.
Oh and be careful throwing this stuff in the trash.. It's not very commonly used and sticks out like a sore thumb in your trash can.


Well, that's all for now.

Thanks for reading. :)
 
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Tulip

New Member
Great Post, SciFi.

I met a lady 1st time grower once on another site, named Kind Princess. For her first grow, she used plastic cups for grow cups, with slits cut in the sides and bottom of them. She used a kitchen sponge cut up into squares for the rockwool, and drive way granite gravel in her cups, substituting for hydroton. For a reservoir tank, she used a styrafoam ice chest. She had a used $2.00 air pump she bought at a flea market and one one inch long blue airstone that came with the air pump and tube. For nutes, she used some kind of powdered fertilizer for violets in soil. She had 4 42 watt CFLS, all 2700 k warm white bulbs. She made a simple plain DWC, sativa bag seed, and harvested 2 plants after 4 months and got a few ounces of buds.
she documented it with pics too.

We all told her she'd never get a crop or harvest. She proved us wrong too.

I knew her for 3 years. She learned much more, got high tech, changed her name to kp, and became a very knowledgable grower, teaching on two other sites.

When I hear DIY, I always think of her. She was an aswesome sweet lady but she didn't take no crap from bashers who told her it would not work.. I mean drive way gravel for hydroton?????
You never know.
 

SciFi

New Member
Yea, I've heard of gravel being used and the lavastone from a garden instead of hydroton. And fiberglass in place of rockwool (I do not recommend that.. it's tiny hairs of glass.)

The asian hydroponic crowd has been using inert sponges in place of rockwhool for sometime. That sounds like an idea worth looking into. I think the biggest problem would be making sure the sponge is washed of all of it's chemicals used to make them, and free from bacteria or mold.


And I'm staring at the styrofoam cooler right now, I was going to make a DWC from. *BLUSH* Perhaps I'll just use it for a staging place for res changes.

I considered documenting my plastic cups..

My big lady started in a plastic blue cup with a few dozen holes melted in the bottom, and that worked out pretty well, but netpots are SOOO cheap here. I forgot some people just have NO access to a hydro shop at all.


Thanks for popping in man. Always a pleasure to have your comments.
 

HashAssassin

New Member
Sci Fi... I checked out your grow and here's a free bee you could use.

3 1/2 gallon buckets that fit into a 5 gallon bucket are available from most grocery store bakeries (frosting and jelly filling) and usually come with a lid. Just drill a pattern in the bottom of the 3 1/2 and slide it into the 5.

Home Depot also has cheap mixing trays ($5) that make killer ebb and flow tables.

Also a full range of round and square pots can be obtained from nurseries or landscape companies that have a recycle program.

My current grow is all DIY, with the exception of a borrowed tent, and cost around $60 total to build. All with materials from HD or Lowes.
 
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HERZWO

New Member
Construction site dumpsters = enough materials to build an entire grow room, less for maybe light / fan / carbon scrubber would additionally be needed , but even those can be gotten easily.

I ripped a 4" inline fan from a broken vacuum cleaner, bought my cool tube for a buck at dollar general, used spare 4" aluminum for ducting, peeled the shiny mylar coating from some leftover big 10-12" insulated HVAC tubes and now I have enough reflective material to cover a 4x4 room, and about fifty, one to three gallon buckets from the landscaping, enough money leftover to buy a fancy carbon scrubber....... priceless
:slide:
 

CaneyeBus

New Member
Another "Freebie"....bubble wrap mylar is at your local pet stores that sell fish. The fish are shipped in these bubble wrap containers that measure 6' x 4 /1/2'. THEY THROW THIS STUFF AWAY!!! (every weds). Just tell them you have a school science project, your daughter wants to make a bubble wrap space suit, you have a work costume party and want to be a spaceman/martian, you have fish you want to ship.... there are a myriad of reasons to be given if asked "why " you need this. Most times they'll be happy to give it away if u can catch them re-stocking the fish. Otherwise...it's dumpster diving..!!! I got 6 "bags/containers" and have enuff reflective material to do three 4x4x4 grow rooms. eh...now don't every1 run out and mob their pet stores at once...

pic of mylar bubble wrap

<--inside

<--cut ope

Peace...
 

G-Dog

New Member
Driveway gravel is funny... But there is no reason it won't work.

I have used used high bay lighting from craigslist too.

I love keeping it cheap.


I know people that think they are elite because they only use the best of the best. It is like their grow room is a place where they entertain people. "Here is our new digital ballast and fancy grow nutes on display"

High five to keeping the price down.
 

CaneyeBus

New Member
Indeed Hash,

Great point about the insulating properties i failed to mention. Definitely a plus. IMO if you can cultivate exceptional MJ for a sliver of the price the "elite" or commercial growers do,
by means of DIY, freebies, or using every items found around the house a gives one a sense of pride and accomplishment. Not to mention the big kool-aid smile you get when it actually works. lol..ok..rant over. Lastly, the most important thing I' ve gained from the grown love shared on this site is....just that..GROW LOVE. Peace.

Keep it Green Keep it Smokin'
 

willoby

New Member
Do you have any ideas on how to get money back from a baby momma who is a blood sucking harpy thinking you OWE her the world!!!!!!No just kidding, but I really enjoyed the vocabulary to identify my ex. I'm guessing you may know her or met her a one point!!!!HA HA:welldone::thanks::adore::adore::adore::adore:
 

CanaHealer

New Member
Just stumbled on this one the other day. Left hydro store wishing I had the $ for some nice trays to catch runoff. But a $75-$100 for a plastic tray... I just cant do it. Anyways on the way home I stop at a big feed store for some food for the dogs and come across plastic trays for catching the droppings in animal pins. (rabbit birds etc.)
They had 24*24 30*30 and 30*36 trays. Good thick durable plastic. Depending on the size they were from $10 to $18.
They are only about 3 inches deep so they are probably not good for hydro tables, But for catching runoff from buckets or pots I thought it was a true poor mans deal.
 

HashAssassin

New Member
Home Depot carries 2 different size tubs for even cheaper! They're 7.5" deep and I've used them for ebb and flow trays for years. The small one is 24.5" x 27.6", holds 10 gallons and is only $5. The large tray is 24.5" x 35.5", holds 20.9 gallons and is $12.
 

CanaHealer

New Member
HashAssassin,
Those sound excellent. What is their intended use OR what department would they be in. Are they the ones for mixing mud?
 

oldgardener

New Member
Another source of Free....
Many of the Home Depot stores have a set of shelfs outside the garden area where people can recycle/freecycle planting containers, flats etc.
I asked the lady in the garden area if they had any 4" plastic pots and she said "No" but to check the recycle shelf.....well there were all the 3 and 4" pots I needed free, and later when I needed to get rid of some old flats, guess where I left them?
peace,
old gardener
 

HashAssassin

New Member
HashAssassin,
Those sound excellent. What is their intended use OR what department would they be in. Are they the ones for mixing mud?
yep...concrete mixing tubs.

Oldgardener...Think I mentioned the recycle shelf earlier for pots. Most greenhouses or nurseries have recycling bins for pots, usually the bigger the nursery the bigger the pots. Nurseries that carry trees are the best for big pots.
 

oldgardener

New Member
yep...concrete mixing tubs.

Oldgardener...Think I mentioned the recycle shelf earlier for pots. Most greenhouses or nurseries have recycling bins for pots, usually the bigger the nursery the bigger the pots. Nurseries that carry trees are the best for big pots.
Indeed you did, guess I skimmed thru it....

How about used coffee grounds as soil amendment?
I use them in the compost pile and even directly into the garden.
Star Bucks will give you big bags for free. Like 50 pounds!
Really good in minererals and nitrogen, as well as adding tilth to the soil.
And even though you would expect them to be acidic, apparently that is leached out when you brew the coffee, so they are about 6.9-7 pH.

Coffee Grounds and Composting -
 

HERZWO

New Member
Indeed you did, guess I skimmed thru it....

How about used coffee grounds as soil amendment?
I use them in the compost pile and even directly into the garden.
Star Bucks will give you big bags for free. Like 50 pounds!
Really good in minererals and nitrogen, as well as adding tilth to the soil.
And even though you would expect them to be acidic, apparently that is leached out when you brew the coffee, so they are about 6.9-7 pH.

Coffee Grounds and Composting -
ummmm you're giving me ideas of coffee drenched hasch plants with mocha after taste
 
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