It is the winter solstice - the perfect day to begin a winter grow journal. Sorry for the WoT. I promise not to cover you with a page of poop in future posts. Expect weekly (very weakly) updates ... or as needed.
If you followed my previous shower/phonebooth grows, you probably want to skip most/all of this introduction. In fact you ALL may want to skip it. On to the preliminaries.
Plants / Strains:
I started 8 plants, all from seed, but a maximum of 4 will make the final cut. All seeds are non-fem, so I hope to get at least 4 females to choose from. I used the "volcano sexing technique" on my seed selection. It will be interesting to see what the results are.
I have 4 plants I call GASS = Grape Ape x Sensi Star, an F2 hybrid. Both parents are Indica-dominant and this unstable cross could lean toward either one, or be a mix of traits. The seeds were bred by Hermetic Genetics from the following:
"Grape Ape, propagated by Apothecary Genetics and Barney's Farm, is a mostly indica strain that crosses Mendocino Purps, Skunk, and Afghani. Named for its distinct grape-like smell, this indica is known for providing carefree relaxation that can help soothe pain, stress, and anxiety. Its dense, compact buds are wreathed in deep purple leaves which darken as this indica reaches full maturation following its 7 to 8 week flowering time."
"Sensi Star by Paradise Seeds is a legendary indica strain that is renowned worldwide for its powerful full-body effects and subtle cerebral invigoration. Crystal trichomes sparkle like a constellation of stars against this indica's dark green and purple coloration, reflecting a potency worthy of placement in the 1999, 2000, and 2005 High Times Cannabis Cups. Her stunning results at maturation have also won the hearts of growers who cultivate both indoor and out in either hydroponic or soil methods."
The other 4 plants are seeds I was gifted and which I call GT+. The mother is Golden Tiger. The male is WYD (Who's Your Daddy = unknown). The Golden Tiger description from Ace:
"Golden Tiger combines 2 of the most potent and resinous landrace sativas we have ever worked with: the famous 'killer' Malawi and a Hmong Thai (exceptional highland thai from Cannabiogen).
The outcome is a 100 % sativa hybrid with great vegetative strength, remarkable for its overpowering potency and its exceptional floral traits. The flowers overflow, forming dense buds with little leaves. The trichomes are huge, plentiful and loaded with powerful cannabinoids.
Golden Tiger is an excellent alternative to the haze sativas. It will fascinate the most demanding growers, looking for new sativa experiences of the highest order. We recommend low-average fertilizer levels for the whole cycle, especially Nitrogen.
100 % sativa. F3 semi stabilized hybrid. Malawi killer x Hmong Thai. Very branchy and elegant sativa of thin leaves and medium node lenght. Organic, fermented and resinous aromas, with woody and spicy background, and touches of lemon and ripe mandarine. Flowering at 10 — 14 weeks. High yielding. Extreme effect of psychedelic sativa: dense, stimulant and very long lasting. It may be devastating for beginners. Recommended only for the harder and most experienced sativa users."
GT+ could be a fun one, but it is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the GASS plants. Their extreme differences could make for a challenge in the grow room.
Toddlers are in veg under 18/6. All seeds were soaked overnight on November 21 and planted into soil the following morning. I was lucky enough to get 100% germination with all seeds above ground in the first week. 3 of the 4 GT+ were up first. Seeds were started in Solo cups with un-amended soil (I don't recommend this) and were up-potted into amended soil in 1 gallon pots on December 14. I'm calling today, day 24 for all. Once the plants are sexed and culled, the remaining girls will go into 7 gallon pots to finish their ride.
Grow medium and nutrients:
Second run Doc Bud's High Brix Blend using soil from my summer grow. I added some of the root ball from the previous plants and a little more EWC, then amended and cooked for about 5 weeks at 75 degrees.
I set up a feeding schedule of DeStress on Mondays and Brix on Thursdays. Drenches are "as needed". So far, all received a single drench of 0.5 ml Tea and a ¼ strength Trans-water using 1.5 ml of Transplant when they were up-canned. I've always used wet/dry cycles so I am glad Doc and the gang uses this technique. Their next drench will be Growth Energy, which could be today. I'm keeping a close eye on them. The pots are light and I think I'm just beginning to see some of them look thirsty. So far they've had two applications of DeStress and one of Brix. They are working on their 6th node right now and are about to receive their first haircut (topping). My plan is to top twice for 4 primary flowering nodes. Dunno how that will work with GT+ ??? I'm probably fooling myself.
Currently all toddlers are vegging under a 2', 4 bulb 6500K HO T5. I'm old school - still not convinced in these new-fangled LEDs. For flowering I run a 600W HPS with hood and 6" cool tube as my primary light source. I pulled it down and gave it a good cleaning and replaced the bulb even though the old bulb only had about 3300 hours on it. I do have two Mars 300 (130 true watt) LED panels I use for supplemental lighting, when needed.
These will all hit the shower soon. My commandeered space has a floor of 33" x 33" but the plants can spill out a little so I call it a 3' x 3' = 9 square foot grow room. I added insulation to the floor to help keep pots and roots warm. My shower/grow room is in an unheated building.
I use three fans in my little operation. The primary extraction fan is a 6", 440 CFM that pulls air through the light's cool tube. This fan is on a thermostat set to kick on when the temperature reaches 80 degrees since my HPS lamp provides most of the heat for the room. The fan is also run with a variable speed control which is set at about 75%. In order to help control humidity, and provide constant air turnover, I run a small 4", 85 CFM duct "booster" fan at full speed at all times. It was crammed into the other end of the cool tube and also helps cool the lamp. My final fan is a 22" oscillating pedestal fan for air circulation within the shower.
Other than that, I use a small, two speed, 375/750 watt heater on another thermostat set to turn on at 70 degrees. This heater also helps keeps the shower dry since I battle humidity. It makes the big fan turn on and pull additional air through the room.
I'm able to hold temperatures in the unheated shower well. Generally it runs up to 79-80 with the light on and down to 70 when the light is off. Extremes are never more than 68/81. RH is my big battle. With the new heater and fan added, I've been able to keep it in the 40-50% range for the most part. I've seen it range from 29-70% but those extremes are very brief. Most of the day, the room is in pretty good shape and I've never had problems with mold or PM (knock wood). My other battle is with mites. I've done my best to sanitize the room, the pots and my tools, but I have no doubt the little bastardos will return. They always seem to make themselves known in mid-bloom — right about the time I see the plants begin to fade and I no longer want to spray for pests with anything. I will try to be more proactive in veg and early bloom this time.
I would like to make more effective use of the "Kit" products to increase yield and prevent my usual mid-bloom fade. I measure yield in grams per square foot, and grams per square foot per day. My previous indoor grow from 5 plants yielded 236 grams over 105 days for 26.2 grams/sq-ft, or 0.25 grams/sq-ft/day. I hope to learn how to double my yield per sq-ft ... someday. Hand-in-hand with learning the "Kit" in particular, is understanding and improving my general growing techniques. I also need to learn how to keep pests away, or at least make sure they don't have an impact on my grow. So far, I've had to deal with mites and root aphids. I'm confident, if I can control the pests and limit the mid-bloom fade, I can hit my yield goals. My final goal is to get a good start on my outdoor summer grow once this round is nearing the finish line. More on that later...
My thanks to Doc Bud, Dr. Ziggy, all the "Hi Brix Gang" and all of you who help me, grow after grow. You help keep this old man young and you all ROCK!
If you made it this far, I promise it will be all downhill from here.