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I think I'm done with Smart Pots

brotherbuddz

New Member
Hey WeedyMcWeedWeed I love your saying on your sig. That is exactly how i live my life :)

"If at first you don't succeed, it wont hurt to smoke some weed"
 

brotherbuddz

New Member
I love my fabric pots the ones i have are from Root Pouch. I'm currently on my 2nd grow and im only growing 2 plants one is a Hawaiian skunk haze(regular) and the other one is the Big Bang from greenhouse seeds. The hawaiian is about 4.5 feet tall now and multiple bud sites are showing. It went from a 1.5 foot plant and shot up to 4 feet in two weeks lol but i expect that as it is a dominant sativa strain, the big bang is bushy and short prob about 3 feet tall a dominant indica strain. My first grow i grew 3 trainwreck strains but due to my mistakes i was only able to yield about 10 - 12 grams, I'm expecting much more with this grow. Also the root pouch im using is a 1 gallon and I'm in the third week of flowering.
 

UncleCannabis

New Member
Wicker baskets work well if you're able to find them cheap somewhere. I line my baskets with newspaper which works ok but plan to try burlap sacks for liners on my next run.
 

Outragedpluto

New Member
Hey everyone. I love my smart pots!!!! I started out with the plastic sorts. They worked awesome, except for some hiccups. Like water running out the sides, not able to absorb water from the bottom. But they grow some great buds. I switched to fabric for this grow and I love them even more. I use the SWICK method of watering, and since i grow organically it is an awesome balance of aeration and moisture, allowing my micro life to thrive and move around as pleased. The only time i really water from the top is when i use a tea or inoculate with my Great White Myco.


My SWICK container


My lady enjoying her all you can drink buffet!!! (While avoiding root rot of course)


And here she is currently drying out for a tea watering


Anyone interested in the SWICK, here is a link
420 Magazine ®
 

Canna Bus

New Member
Like you I'm moving back to plastic pots. I started out years ago with plastic Perfect Pots... never had any problems. Glad I kept them!

I've experienced what you've experienced so you're Not off your rocker.
 

Heirloom

Member of the Month: July 2016
I've used 'Smart Pots' or fabric pots for years. They do tend to dry out faster, as well bleed excess water out the sides. Also for years I have poked holes to help absorption. People have also complained about roots growing into the fabric and causing root damage/transplant shock, not so much in my experience. I developed my own 'Smarter Pot' a few years ago using the blue walmart bags as material. I patterned and sewed up 1 gallon and 5 gallon sizes. On the 1 gallon I sewed in Velcro on the vertical seam on the side of the pot. This made transplant extraction out of the 1 gallons a breeze and I never damaged roots nor had transplant shock. I am going to Velcro my 5 gallons for next year because I will be starting early and transplanting from 5 gallon to ground rather than finishing in the 5 gallons.

IMHO they are good for smaller plants owned by chronic over waterers. Larger leafy plants could need watering 2-3 times daily (depending on temp, humidity, size of plant and soil mixture). Those that dry fast or have a hard time absorbing can be soaked in a small plastic tub filled with a few inches of water or nute solution.

With that said, I still use them, both 1 gallon and 5 gallon. The only reason I still do is because they take off better (again, IMHO) after transplant than out of plastic pots. The root balls seem to be more fibrous (feeder roots) than what comes out of plastic.

Root binding is really only an issue for a plant such as a fruit or ornamental tree that is going to live for many years and could possibly choke it's self out with wrapped roots that get larger and larger over the years. Cannabis doesn't live long enough for it to become a real problem.
 

Belseth

New Member
I'd recommend trying burlap sacks. You can buy them in bulk for just under or over a $1 a piece depending on size. You can get rid of the rigidity problem by wrapping hardware cloth around them. If they are allowing too much evaporation just wrap plastic around the outside of the hardware cloth. If there isn't enough air space along the wire for air pruning add in some 1"X2" spacers on the outside and a second layer of hardware cloth around that then plastic. The support structure will last a lot of years and you just replace the burlap bag with each grow. The-bags last 3 to 4 months or more so it's plenty long enough for a cannabis grow. They're also a 100% biodegradable so toss them in the compost pile afterwards. If you have any mold problems give them a good spray with Dr Zymes. I like the smart bags a lot but I like cheap even better. Just do a web search for "bulk burlap sacks". I can't remember the web site off hand but there's a fabric site that had the best prices. You have to buy a 100 at a time for that price but one order will keep you in bags for a lot of years. You can even split an order among friends. You can also do the hardware cloth trick with Smart Bags so if you just need a few I'd still consider going that route. So long as you add spacers you can just use cheap plastic wrap as a wind break. As far as the over watering issue I think Smart Bags are designed more to work with a drip system than watering every couple of days. Like every system there's good and bad but I do like grow bags so I'd still consider that route. I've seen grow bags go for more like a $1 a piece but they will need a structure.
 

Belseth

New Member
I'd recommend trying burlap sacks. You can buy them in bulk for just under or over a $1 a piece depending on size. You can get rid of the rigidity problem by wrapping hardware cloth around them. If they are allowing too much evaporation just wrap plastic around the outside of the hardware cloth. If there isn't enough air space along the wire for air pruning add in some 1"X2" spacers on the outside and a second layer of hardware cloth around that then plastic. The support structure will last a lot of years and you just replace the burlap bag with each grow. The-bags last 3 to 4 months or more so it's plenty long enough for a cannabis grow. They're also a 100% biodegradable so toss them in the compost pile afterwards. If you have any mold problems give them a good spray with Dr Zymes. I like the smart bags a lot but I like cheap even better. Just do a web search for "bulk burlap sacks". I can't remember the web site off hand but there's a fabric site that had the best prices. You have to buy a 100 at a time for that price but one order will keep you in bags for a lot of years. You can even split an order among friends. You can also do the hardware cloth trick with Smart Bags so if you just need a few I'd still consider going that route. So long as you add spacers you can just use cheap plastic wrap as a wind break. As far as the over watering issue I think Smart Bags are designed more to work with a drip system than watering every couple of days. Like every system there's good and bad but I do like grow bags so I'd still consider that route. I've seen grow bags go for more like a $1 a piece but they will need a structure.
 

spacef

New Member
with you 200% especially the flushing part that sucks with smart pots and i can feel the difference w i th the weed grown in regular pots


Let me start off by saying that I think that Smart Pots and their ilk are a good idea and certainly have their place. I think I have been using them for 3 years now and they have served me well - most of the time.

Like many things, they have their pros and cons. I think they are great for the beginning and novice grower. They really do protect you from some really common mistakes like over watering, or bad soil, no root binding, etc.

That said, I'm moving back to plastic pots.

Recently, I had a problem with a non-ph potassium lockout. I think that the mechanism (and what makes Smart Pots a decent option) of action of a Smart Pot was at least indirectly to blame. More on that in a moment.

Here is why I'm going back to plastic:

  • Significantly more water consumption
  • Uneven watering - water can and will hit the sides and run out the pot
  • Uneven drying - the airflow through the pot can dry soild faster in some areas
  • They get "sloppy" during the grow - i.e. there is a lot of movement of the pot and the soil/plant because the pot isn't rigid
  • Corrective flushing is hard - water just flows out everywhere instead of evenly top to bottom
  • I believe that because of the uneven drying, you can easily get concentrated nute pockets with no water to act as a carrier to roots

Maybe I'm completely off my rocker with this, but at this point in my growing life, I think I have just "out grown" Smart Pots. Like I said above, I think they are a good thing overall, they just don't fit my needs anymore.

B-
 

AKGrower907

New Member
I dont have any problems with air pots, i water from the top and bottom. I noticed if you water too fast you will get water off the sides squirting out. I fill up the water trays and let the soil soak up to finish watering. I like them cause they can get alot bigger while staying in the same pot. Saves time on transplanting how many times into a bigger pot.

Sent from Deez Nutz
 

DreamingGreen

New Member
I'm about to use fabric pots for the first time. I'll be growing in coco, and treating it like hydro (watering/feeding at least once a day), so I'm not too concerned about the watering issues. I have a friend who has an outdoor flower and herb garden with soil in fabric pots, and those plants always look happier than the ones she has in plastic. That's what led me to my decision to give them a shot. I guess I'll see how it works for me.
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019 - Grow Journal of the Month: Jan 2020
After reading this entire old thread I had to weigh in with my opinion too. I was slow to move to smart pots for all the reasons stated above, but after extensive experimenting over many years, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing better to grow our weeds in than smart pots. There are some tricks however, in getting things right.

The primary thing to note about smart pots is that since water can and will flow out of the sides if allowed to do so, you have to slow down your watering process. You will never be able to dump a large amount of water on the top of a smart container, and expect it to make its way down into the soil like it will in a hard container. Water follows the path of least resistance, and until you moisten the soil and get some suction going, the water will simply flow out of the edges. If you slow down however, and carefully build your column of water in the container, it is possible to get just as much water in a smart container as a hard sided container. Some people actually dunk the entire smart pot in a tub of water to do this quickly, I prefer to take my time and enjoy the process. I treat my watering of a room as a several hour event... and I try to get at least 4 rounds of water during that time, using small amounts each time so as to not feed more water than the soil can absorb.

The second thing that annoyed me and apparently several of you, was the unstability of the bag of soil and its inability to hold a large plant upright. Experimentation showed that this one was on me, and now when I pack a smart pot with soil, I poke and compress as much soil in there as I can get. I pack it so tight that my smart pots almost bulge with soil, and could not possibly hold any more. To get to this point I have used my fingers and my garden tools to make sure... absolutely sure that there are no non packed void areas in the pot, and especially along the sides. Water and/or roots that try to make it out of the side of the bag will encounter the most densely packed part of the container before reaching that side. As a result, my smart pots maintain their shape, even with some moving around in the tent and I have no areas of my containers that dry any faster than others and my plants consistently reach a point where they are able to drain all the water I can give them, even in 7 gallon smart pots, every other day. I get the same water consumption from my plants, and maybe more, in the smart pots because of the better root systems. There is no uneven drying in my smart pot containers... the top 1/2 inch may dry out on top/bottom/sides due to air evaporation, but the water disappears from my containers because of root action, and I just see a more even drying out at the end of every wet/dry cycle, with no constant water table at the bottom of the container.

As far as keeping everything in the container, I use large river rocks in my drip trays to keep the smart pots elevated above any runoff I get, and I do water to runoff each time. The river rocks allow me to keep the bottom of the bags dry, and in humid months I can suck up the runoff to get it out of the tent, and in the dry months I allow it to stay, so as to raise the humidity in the well aerated room.

I love everything about the smart pots. I even have one with a huge half dollar sized rip in the side, and I enjoy watering it while watching my methods defeat that dumb hole. You would think all my water would leak out of that hole about halfway down the side, but it never happens. I have even moved to using 1 gallon smart pots as soon as I am done with the solo cup stage. I no longer find myself being forced to uppot to larger hard sided containers because of the plants becoming root bound, and because of that, smart pots have solved several issues of timing that I had in my veg tent. My plants are all developing very dense root structures that quickly expand out to a larger container upon transplanting, way more robust than what happens in a hard container where the roots are forced to wrap.

The one valid criticism is the difficulty of flushing a smart pot. I grow organically so that is not an issue, but probably this necessity to flush periodically when running synthetic nutes kept me from moving away from large final hard sided containers. Flushing would indeed be a pain in a smart pot... point taken and acknowledged. I submit that this is just another good reason to get away from synthetic nutes... that and flushing is a pain in the back.

Anyway, thank you Blazer420 for your thoughts on this matter. I don't agree with all of your conclusions, and it was fun to examine why my mind had changed over the years and what I had done that moved my preference away from hard sided containers, especially after I have written so extensively about using those containers and managing soil flow throughout them with proper watering techniques. Hard containers still have their place, but I now look at the smart pots as a specialized tool in my arsenal that allows me to get the most out of my plants... you just have to adjust a few things to take care of and take advantage of their unique qualities.
 

Tennessee Tim

Well-Known Member
I have not experienced many problems with "Smart Pots". I have been using them for 8 years(at home) and regular plastic pots. I have never had root rot or any soil borne fungus problem with smart pots in that time. Having said that, I have only had root problems a few times in plastic pots(growing Cannabis) and that has been 7-8 years ago when my wife helped water them. I use organic home grown compost very generously in my soil mix along with milled peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. I believe that good compost helps prevent many problems including, ph problems (natural ph buffer), helps hold and distribute moisture, supports beneficial organisms/enzymes, prevents crusting and resist compaction, etc.,etc. This may explain why the air pruning bags work well for me. The air and good drainage, if water needs are monitored daily, helps prevent disease while allowing the good organisms in the compost to thrive. I do water by hand and am very attentive to each pot and may or may not water daily , only as needed. Examining the roots after harvest I see the bags are pretty uniformly filled with small feeder roots. For a large indoor grow I don't know how some irrigation methods might work for the smart bags. On trees and shrubs I have grown in the field as a horticulturalist, we hill the rows of bags in with mulch (Helps distribute and retain moisture and keep the bags cooler in 100degree heat) and sprinkled irrigation works pretty well and the bags prevent girdling roots, root rot and makes for no transplant shock. Definitely less loss of stock in the bags as compared to plastic in our hot and humid climate. Hydroponic grow would solve any of these issues, but I like natural methods myself. Anyway that's my two cents on the subject. :rollit:Certainly, I understand that what works for one may not be the best for another! Happy growing!
 

El Kabong

New Member
Wow! Lots read here and take in -----and I appreciate all that take the time ---I too would like to mention --- I am a "grow bag " farmer...and I have found that a much improved growing mix in grow bags has been coco mixture -- I have even added a couple of inches on the bottom of the mix with 100% coco croutons to mimic a hempy root environment set up a drip irrigation that provides hydration around the edges of the pot --- the high O2 content allows for watering 2-3 times a day --- yes there is more know how to learn, (ph and cal/mg needs) but I would rather work at knowing what my plants are doing as coco means I run the show on nutes but the root structure I am getting and the clean taste is worth the work and ORGANIC AS HELL!!! my body is a temple! Budda..........me too!
 

upinsmoke365

Well-Known Member
Good read here. I didn't like the pooling in my trays when I watered my coco. I ended up using a gate and a few bricks to lift the pots off the ground and putting the trays underneath them. Worked like a charm for watering.
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Why Doe

New Member
I bought these smart pots for my second grow because more "oxygen to the roots and not getting rootboud" seemed like a great idea! But now y'all got me worried! Seems like a lot of hassle just for those 2 things. I have saucers underneath my pots so I have to figure out a way to get them elevated while still being under the saucers. Also I didn't really understand the chopsticks, besides just watering slowly is there anything else I need to do to evenly water?
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019 - Grow Journal of the Month: Jan 2020
besides just watering slowly is there anything else I need to do to evenly water?
Thats pretty much the secret of dealing with smart pots right there. As far as elevating them from the saucers, try some large river rocks. I put about 5 of them under each of my plants, 4 around the edges and one in the middle
 
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