Hiker's Basement 2.0 - Multiple Strain - Perpetual - Now With LEDs!

Hello 420 family :Namaste:

It's taken far too long, but I'm finally starting a new journal to document all the changes that have happened in my basement. I'm a geek, so I'm into gear and hardware. Pictures of pretty plants and flowers are nice to look at, but I gravitate towards journals that talk about the actual 'growing' as much, or more, than the plants themselves. That being said, I WILL include pictures of plants, but realize my intent for this journal is to help others growers with ideas on how to setup their space. I'll also talk about my philosophies towards growing and many of the "why's" behind the way I do things. I hope you all find something useful here and thanks for stopping by.

Can you believe it started like this? :yikes:

Now it looks like this! :biglaugh:

Well that's the view from roughly the same spot. That's the doors to the flower room. More later...

First, I want to give credit to the book that got me started

Jorge, Bob, and Ed... Thank You :Namaste:

If you look closely, you can see a bunch of post-it notes sticking out. Those are my same bookmarks from the 90's, when I bought this book. :)
You can also see that I removed the book cover for the picture. I bought it while in college, so I covered ALL my books at the time. It seems to have helped this little gem survive 25+ years so far. :thumb:

Many of you like to know what strains a journal features.
I'm working with: Blueberry, Critical, AK-48, Bubba Kush, and Apollo 13 x Vortex

This is a perpetual grow, so plants are in many different stages of growth.

I will go through each stage in detail, but a brief overview of the tech or hardware involved...

Cloning is done in 2 DIY cloners. They get no special environmental considerations other than I soemtimes insulate the totes from the cold floor. They get lighting from the veg trays nearby.

Vegetative growth occurs in 2 trays with a DIY flood & drain ystem, under 2 T5 fluorescent lights w/8 bulbs each.

Flowering is a separate room. There are 2 CAP Ebb & Gro systems with 12 sites each (24 plants total).

It was pretty exciting when all this new gear came in. Guess what is in these boxes? There are 6 more already down that hatch in the background. :winkyface:

Lighting is 24 Mars II 400W lamps.
:yahoo: :morenutes:

The environment is maintained with an AC,

CO2 generator,



and various fans all controlled with timers.

My nutrient line is mostly General Hydroponics Flora, but I use products from several companies. I'm considering moving to their organic line as I'm using some of the products and like them, but I've been getting good results and am reluctant to make too many changes. :winkyface:

I have an RO system from the filter guyz that supplies all the water used for growing, and drinking. :winkyface:
It feeds it's own barrel with a float valve. I have a pump inside and a long hose that comes out the top. I just control the pump with a power strip (shared with drain bucket pump). I'm realizing now I have no pictures of this.

I make bare root clones. There are LOTS of very good write ups about this. I'll assume you've read some of them and are somewhat familiar with the process. I would like to make a couple comments where my technique differs from some of the more common advice.

I don't think an obsession with sterility has any benefit. I don't even use a new razor blade most of the time, and I get 100%, or very close, all the time. I write the strains on some plastic cups filled with RO. Then I just cut my clones and pop them into their cup. Larger clones seem to get larger plants faster, but how big really depends on your setup and schedule. When looking for a clone, I want 4-6 actively growing nodes and about 2-3" of stem below them. I simply slice the branch off longer than I need and pop it into the cup while I cut the others.

After all the clones are in cups, I put them into the cloner. I will usually recut the stem at an angle making sure to get into the water immediately to avoid any air bubbles (although I'm lately questioning if the 'bubble' theory has any basis in reality). I'll also scrape along the stem on both sides before putting it into the neoprene disc.

Inside the cloner is just plain RO until I see roots, then I will add some transplant food at a very very low concentration. The stuff I use is Lily something or other from sprawlmart's garden section. I got it for the houseplants, but it's got vitamins and hormones that help promote rooting. The Superthrive has some similar ingredients to promote root development. I may be wrong, but I get good results. Roots usually start to appear in 5-7 days and I like to remove them from the cloner at 18-24 days old.

Pics of the cloner and clones.





Veg Area

This is my veg area. It's a standard flood and drain tray system. For those that are not familiar with hydroponics, I'll briefly explain how this works...
Each tray has 2 drain fittings and it's own pump. One drain is 'tall' and controls the water depth, the other sits at the bottom of the tray with the pump connected to it. When the tray is in flood, its pump turns on and nutrients are pumped in. The water level will rise until it starts to spill down the 'tall' drain. When the flood cycle ends, the pump turns off and the trays drains out through the pump.

I use one reservoir to feed both trays as they are at the same growth stage. I found this great timer that lets you control 2 outlets independently. Note: in this picture the 2 pumps are NOT plugged in to the timer. This was transplant day and the reservoir was not filled yet. It's also why there are no plants. :winkyface:

My T5 fixtures are not hung using the hardware provided (those wires you can see attached near the corners. I wanted the ability to get them closer to the ceiling, so I couldn't use the hanger that is attahed to the lights. I tried shortening the hanger, but the lamp was not stable. Using the yo-yo ratchets this way works really well. :thumb:

Clones @ ~1 week

@ ~2 weeks

Here they are on transplant day! ~4 weeks in the trays

There is one other detali about the veg trays I want to share. My goal with my veg area was to allow transplant into my ebb&gro with the least amount of transplant shock. This meant I needed the plants to be in rock, and I needed each plant seperate.
My solution was to put each plant into it's own pot. This works OK, but of course the roots just grow down through the bottom of the pots and into the tray. My first solution was to put a piece of copper mesh at the bottom. This helped, but did not solve the problem. This is what I came up with.


I now use 3 pots for each site, along with 3 pieces of copper mesh at the bottom of each. This is working very well. I will periocically twist or spin the pots inside each other to help break up any roots working their way through the copper mesh obstacles. The copper doesn't stop the roots, but it definitely slows them. The nice thing about using multiple pots is I can move the plants around and I don't lose my "holes" in the rock. :)

Transplant Day! These plants are going into the flowering room.



to be continued in next post...
This is the part most people care about. :morenutes:

The total flowering space is ~18'x12' with 24 plants occupying ~ 8'x 14' of the space.
There are 2 C.A.P. (Custom Automated Products) Ebb & Gro systems in this room.
I have 2 so that I can run 2 cycles at a time (ie perpetual). I tried one crop with 18 plants, but I feel 12 is the sweet spot for my space.


The air pumps are no longer sitting like this. I now have them suspended by a piece of silicon tubing. This helps isolate their vibration. They still make noise, but a little less and they aren't in the way.

The room is light tight, and mostly sealed.
Here is how the doors are constructed. It's a layer of styrofoam sandwiched between 2 layers of plywood.

The outside layer is larger than inside to form a flap or lip.

Here you can see the detail of how the header, sides and footer are built to create the light tight seal.


The footer is also removable so I can move large things in and out if needed.

Like I said above, the room is lit with 24 Mars II 400's (~200W draw each). One light for each of the 24 plants. The lights are spaced ~24" apart, so their coverages will overlap a little.



Much like the T5s in veg, I did not like the way the hardware made these lights hang. My vertical spacve is limited, so I wanted to get them closer to the ceiling. This is the solution I came up with. I simply shortened the hangers by running them across the top of the light before connecting them to the carabiner. I wanted to be able to adjust each light's height independantly as well, so I simply run a 1/8" cord through an eyelet above the lamp and then across to a small cleat to anchor the cord. Keep in mind that I have plywood under the drywall on the ceing so my eyelets and cleats are securely attached to wood. Do not try this with just drywall. It will not hold. Each lamp weighs somewhere around 20 lbs. Lowering the lights is easy, but to raise the lights, I do have to pull on the cord with one hand while I secure the cleat with the other. It's not hard, but you could look into a pulley if the lights were too heavy for you. I really like the system. I can go to one wall and adjust all 12 lights from one spot. It works well. :thumb:



Here is some gratuitous bud porn :blalol:



In these 3 pictures, you can see some specific details I want to talk about



One thing I do different from CAPs advice is the the use of "tails" for each bucket. You can see them pretty well in the first pic.
Instead of connecting each bucket to the T fitting. I use an elbow at the bucket and put an 18-24" piece of tubing between them. This serves a couple purposes. First, it allows a much greater range of motion when moving the plants around. By using the elbow and the natural curve of the tubing, any 'extra' tubing always stays right up against the bucket and out of the way, but it's always there if I need to move the bucket further away. The tails also address another issue many growers have with these style of systems. Sometimes, the plants roots will grow out of the bucket chasing the water. If you connect the system using CAPs design, the roots can get passed the T fitting and start clogging the main line. This can starve other the plants further down the circuit. The tails eliminate this problem completely.

I'm putting this on a seperate line to make it stand out. If you run any sort of bucket system (and they ALL are designed this same way), add some tails.

There is one other "mod" I do to this system. Another complaint some growers have is stagnant water sitting at the bottom of the buckets. This bothers me too, so I made small risers to help the buckets drain more completely. Basically it raises each bucket ~3/4" relative to the brain.
You can see them in use in the second pic. They are sitting at the ready in the other pictures, as I'm trying an experiment with that batch. :winkyface:

This is the view looking out of the flowering room.

Here is the canapoy a week or so from harvest.

If you use a bucket system, make some of these:

It's just a hole cut into the lid of a 5 gallon bucket. It works great for moving plants around without damaging any roots.

My harvest have several steps: Dis-assembly, pre-trim, wash, trim, dry, cure.

I put a plant into the holders above, and using big garden cutters, I cut off branches so that they will hang on a string. I made a drawing to illustrate how I cut up the plants.


After the plant is dis-assembled into branches, I remove all the large fan leaves. Basically, anything without crystals gets removed. I do this right on the string. I simply put a piece of foam over the cans to keep the leaves out. It makes cleanup easy too as I can just 'dump' the foam panel into one small pile to sweep up.

Once they are pre-trimmed, I wash them. The first can has a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. The other 2 are plain water. All use RO water. For more details check out the bud washing thread. There are lots of folks doing it, so you will learn more by reading multiple growers' experiences with washing.

and fyi, this isn't some new gimick. Even Jorge says to wash the buds in my book from the 90's. He only mentions the lemon juice, but I think I like the results with the addition of baking soda better.

After washing, I like to let the branches drip dry for 1-2 hours and then trim them within the next 12-24 hours. I think the sweet spot is ~2 hours after wash, others think 24 hours is better. I think plants are too limp after that long, so I prefer to trim fresh.

During the trimming, we remove all the stems and I dry the nuggs on racks as shown above and here.

I fresh freeze my sugar trim and use this setup:

To make this :)

I've also built this:

Which makes this! :yummy:

It has not taken very long, but like many folks' signatures here say...
I'm only in it for the oil. :roorrip:

Hopefully you find something useful here. I know I skipped a ton of detail. I cover some of this stuff in my old journal. If you have questions, please ask!
I'll add more plant pictures to chronicle a batch going through the whole process. I'm taking more clones this weekend, so I'll be sure to take pictures.

I did try to get a video, but I lack that skillset and it was taking too long for my OCD personality to get something I was happy with. :rofl:
Sorry, you will have to settle for still pictures. :blalol:
just so much info & awsome pics to look at my heads going to explode lol im going to have to come back later & read everything through this looks really cool.
Nice brother,
Rock on
Wow.... Nice setup man! Subbed!

Are you going to do a write up on how you make your oil/shatter?

No. It's my understanding that discussions of making BHO are not allowed here.
I think it's OK to talk about purging, but there isn't much to discuss. Use a vacuum pump and temps @ 100-140F. You can't over purge afaict, but don't get it too hot.

If you have any specific questions you can ask them, but a mod may remove them. :blalol:
So much knowledge here, wow. I'm never gonna look at my tomato cages the same ever again, ever!

Thanks for sharing

Holy Mother of God! Welcome back........WOW!
wholly shit man :thumb:
btw might want a gauge for your vacuum
unless its just not in the pic
Awesome shit tho
So much knowledge here, wow. I'm never gonna look at my tomato cages the same ever again, ever!

Thanks for sharing


Thanks! and dammit I forgot to talk about the tomato cages :blalol:

They are awesome. I leave the garden wire on between grows too, so they get better as they 'age'. :biglaugh:

I used to scrog 'back in the day', but then I switched to this bucket system. I like having individual plants, but I wanted a way to secure the branches. My apologies to the inventor, but I can't recall his name... Vick I think? He had "porta-a-scrogs" made from tomato cages with some wire mesh attached. They were slick. :thumb:

I got these thinking I might do something similar, but I ended up liking them like this.

Thanks for pointing them out. They really are an important piece of the gear! :Namaste:

wholly shit man :thumb:
btw might want a gauge for your vacuum
unless its just not in the pic
Awesome shit tho

Not in the pic, but it's on my mind! That manifold is all 1/4" which is what most gauges are. I just haven't ordered one yet. I'd like to get a 'normal' one and one of the low(high?) vac gauges, ie reads more accurately at very ummmm 'deep vacuum levels. I hope you know what I mean. More vacuum, less air. :blalol: Anyway, there are 2 kinds, and I can't find the 'other' kind that aren't major $$$. There are some DIY's though, so still haven't decided on what route I will take. Most likely I'll get one from that shopping site that I'm a member of :winkyface:

I've also got an idea about how to make that jar into an oven with an arduino. :thumb:
It's gonna be awesome. DIY vac oven for... $50? If I refined the design I could get parts down to < $20 I'm sure. We'll see. The prototype always costs a little more. I have sourced (not purchased) most of the items needed. I'm pretty slow to start spending money on these sorts of projects. I think about things too much, and I don't have time for all my 'ideas' and projects. I've got some awesome audio equipment, like DIY tube amps, from my audiophile phase. :biglaugh:
Very Cool. Subbed.

Welcome. :Namaste:

just so much info & awsome pics to look at my heads going to explode lol im going to have to come back later & read everything through this looks really cool.

lol thanks :thanks:

Thats absolute awesome... :thumb:

...thanks for the Pic^s and stuff...:Namaste:

Thanks for joining me. :welcome:

Nice brother,
Rock on

Will Do :theband:

Thanks for coming


Holy Mother of God! Welcome back........WOW!

Thanks :thanks:

Some of those pics are thanks to your help brother. :Namaste:

I'm in this is stellar.

Glad to have you. :party:
I wanted to get subscribed, so back I go.
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