If you would have told me a year ago that I would be undertaking marijuana cultivation, be convinced and moved by the compassionate care scene, and would find a zen-like relaxation in the botany, science, and biology of growing I would have told you you were out of your mind. However, I suppose like all things, times change and have found myself entirely consumed.
I did some research when I purchased everything I thought I needed to start my grow. A couple friends gave me some input however I have returned to the grow store multiple times to pick up this and that (most of which I probably didn't need in the first place lol).
This is my first attempt at growing anything. Im a big believer in doing something right, so if I was going to do it, I was going to do it well. And as I have learned, buying the best equipment doesn't grow the best chronic. There is a lot that can go wrong. 99% of the time its user error.
Ok so the setup:
I went with a sterile setup
12' x 13 x 7' attic space
* fully insulated
* mildew resistant sheetrock
* black heavy duty 6mil plastic floor
* covered in black/white panda film
* separated area for ballast, reservoir, and air pump
* a Pex water line was run through the old chimney from a basement spigot for my H2O
* 15 amp romex wire was also run through the chimney on its own breaker for extra power
(1) 1000W Raptor hood
(1) Galaxy 1000W digital dimmable ballast
Blue Labs Guardian Monitor
Active Aqua 12 Site 2 gallon Grow N Flow Hydroponic system w/ Hydroton media
12,000 BTU Portable AC
Hurricane 6" Inline Fan
Homelite air purifier
600cfm Phat filter
CO2 Tank, regulator and Titan Atlas 2 controller
I started with 12 clones which were rooted for 2 weeks before I got them:
(3) New York Power Diesel
(3) Mother of Berry
(3) Bubble Berry
(3) Violator Kush
Initially I got the whole setup put together and ran the hydro system for a little over a week before adding nutes and plants just to see how it all worked, check for leaks, calibrate, etc.
I also started a spreadsheet which I add data to every day as to environmental temperatures, humidity, water temp, ppm, and pH, canopy temperatures for each plant as well as plant height and special notes.
I decided to mother one from each of the Mother of Berry, Bubble Berry, and New York Power Diesel and planted them in 15gal soft pots
When I first started I added full General Hydroponics nutes based on Aggressive Vegetative Growth at the manufacturer recommendations.
The light cycle was set at 18/6 with feedings 3 times a day for one hour and one feeding at night. Here are some pics of day 7 veg.
The reservoir was changed and cleaned out. I noticed even though I ran water through the media before I put them into the system there was a considerable amount of residue still inside the bottom of each pot, the feeding bucket, and the reservoir. Nutrients were added the same as the first week with manufacturer recommendations for aggressive vegetative growth. I noticed that my ppm was around 1800 and I was pretty sure I read somewhere to only use a fraction of that amount but I figured the plants looked healthy enough and could reevaluate the mix if I needed to later. The light schedule was consistent with week 1 at 18/6 with feedings 3 times during lights on for one hour and one feeding during lights off. here are some pictures of week 2 veg.
Averages for the week:
H2O Temp: 67
was eventful as a few different things were tried. I went to the grow store inquiring about CO2 systems unaware that it would add another $700 to the setup I already had. I decided then to try and use the 24 to 48 hour CO2 pucks in 100ml of water in the room. The next day I noticed that because of the amount of space I had in my room, the CO2 pucks were getting used up in the course of 24 hours and no significant signs of growth had occurred in that time vs. not using the CO2 the previous week. I went back to the store and purchased the CO2 tank, regulator, and controller and installed them that night. The unit was factory set to monitor and control for 1500 ppm. However, within 48 hours even with the room sealed up tighter than a snare drum the ppm's were dropping pretty rapidly. I went back to the grow store thinking that they gave me a partial tank and they asked me about my setup. What was happening was the phat filter was filtering the CO2 mixed air inside the room through the light and exhausting outside, wasting a 25lb tank in less than 48 hours. I disconnected the phat filter and discontinued the CO2 until I could figure out a way to use it without losing it through the exhaust. Heat was a major issue this week. It is the tail end of winter and we actually had our first 60 degree day. The canopy temps were hovering around 94 degrees!. I turned the Hurricane around so it was pulling air from the outside instead of exhausting but it did little to help as the air was still passing over the light before it entered the room. I did manage to get the temp down to 88 but the reservoir was still at 83. Thankfully it cooled off for the next couple days and was able to get the room temps back down. I purchased a portable AC unit and turned the Hurricane back to exhaust and exhausted the air again. I dont have any pictures from week 3 but there was very little to no growth on most plants. The feed cycle was changed to 2 times a day for 2 hours and one feeding right before the lights came on because I figured the lack of growth had to do with the temperatures and the assumption that the plants werent getting the amount of nutrients they needed.
Averages for the week:
H2O Temp: 67.8
was a drastic improvement on temperatures and humidity. However the humidity was in the low 30's and at one point down to 28. I purchased a humidifier to counteract the dehumidification of the AC unit. Levels rose to around 44% on average through the week. I FIM'ed all the plants today, including the mothers which I have decided to flower along with the rest. I also super cropped a few branches on different plants (just to see what happens). The mothers growing in soil are looking beautiful. While only 13" tall, they are dark green, leaves pointing up with a little sheen on them. The hydro plants have started to droop and there are quite a few yellow leaves with some inward curling lengthwise along the leaves. I attributed the appearance of the plants to trauma. The reservoir was changed again this week with the same aggressive vegetative growth mix since week one. I will get some pictures posted soon.
Averages for the week:
H2O Temp: 65
Im not sure if changing the environment so much is hurting the plants but Im trying to get everything dialed in. I am starting to understand why people say hydro is really not suited for beginners, but Im determined to persevere! The first day of this week I changed the light cycle to 24/7 and found some root rot on a couple tap roots in the bottom of the net pots. I did some research and it appears that the 2 hour feed time is probably the cause of the droopy, sad looking plants. The bottom leaves are continuing to yellow while the top growth is very healthy looking. A couple of the plants are curling and the leaves have a very dry crispy feel to them. The buckets were relocated closer together and the light was lowered to about 24" above the canopy. The feed times were reduced but the frequency updated. I am now feeding at 12:00am, 6:00am, 12:00pm, and 6:00pm for 30 minutes each. Hopefully that will give the media and the roots a chance to air out between feedings. The mothers are still looking awesome. They were transplanted into 20gal soft pots this week and have shown signs of growth already. They are really the only 3 plants to have grown at all in the last 2 weeks. Im pretty sure my hydro plants should be much bigger than 12 inches five weeks into veg. I changed the reservoir again this week and only used Â¼ strength nutes but continued to use the full recommendation for the CaliMag. My ppm is down to 820 now. Finally got around to taking some pictures for you guys. I could really use some input to see where I might be going wrong. Hopefully the changes to the environment I made this week will pull the plants out of their funk by next week. Anyways, pics... here they are:
Averages for the week:
H2O Temp: 68