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Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble


New Member
Hi there folks

story short, got some seeds out of a purchase and they germinated! =D

2 plants from seed, planted in generic homebase multipurpose compost in peat pots, then peat pots buried in more of the same compost in icecream tubs.

they are being watered to saturation then leaving to dry out mostly (rapid draining soil) water is southampton tap water (tepid temprature)

starting to see some little white spots and what look like very small blisters and some leaf serrates curling upwards.

Lighting is 3x 20w CFLs pushing out 1350 lumins each at 2700k spectrum.

i have no way to check temprature or PH levels atm till money flows a little better, but someone may know the PH of my water.

oh my plants are around 2 weeks old, not sure exactly as i work a lot and the sun comes up and goes down ad infinitum =/


first img of spots


second img of spots


signs of leaf curling


size of plants and soil view.

Hopefully someone can help, i know that spider mites seem like something i may have trouble with, but im not sure as it looks more like a nute deficiency.
Im really hoping that its ph lockup and someone can say from my tap water wether i need to PH up or down.

I keep them in a small cupboard atm so the heat from the 3 lights is just about enough.


New Member
Re: Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble.

ok im taking a risk in making a diagnosis myself just from reading the web, thats why i was hoping for a 2nd opinion.

My guess is magnesium def caused by ph lock up

if this is the case then im thinking of adding a tiny bit of vinegar to my next watering.

any replies would be gratefully recieved


New Member
Re: Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble.

Are you are talking about the discoloring in the middle of the leaf? Or those really white small dots? Those white dots seem unnatural, i thought they were glare from water or a camera thing at first.

Dont quote me on this but I think there is a website you can go to that has all the information about the tap water in your county/city. It might have ph listed there. I know you said money was tight, but you can buy one of those ph testers with the bottle of green stuff for pretty cheap if you are really concerned about the ph of your water and cant find an answer. They aren't the best but they give you a good idea.

Another thing you are going to want to have or look into for your future grows or even this grow is Powdered Dolomite Lime. When you include this in your soil mix it really helps keep the ph stable. You can also top dress with it if you are seeing deficiencies it just takes a little longer to work its magic. Its pretty cheap too and if you cant find the powder you can get the pebbles and crush it yourself. You can probably get 10-15 grows worth for like 5-10 bucks.

Hey and thanks for chiming in on that other thread. I appreciate it, I was starting to feel like an asshole for even trying to help. Also I know it can be difficult to be open about stuff like that. So right on man :)

Also just in case you haven't seen it. This is probably one of the most useful threads on the site.

Cannabis Plant and Pest Problem Solver - Pictorial

Here is an article on leaf curling that will help you diagnose your plants.

Leaf curl/cupping & leaf margin rolling-signs of Plant Moisture Stress

Quite often I hear groans from folks having leaf problems -> “Help, my leaves are cupping and the leaf edges are turning brown!”, or, “My plant's leaf tips are curling down and turning black ....what's wrong?” Unless insect damage has occurred or the plant is suffering from a severe case of calcium deficiency, the plant is trying to tell you that it is water stressed. It's hard to tell *exactly* what the culprit is, and unfortunately the “solution” the grower chooses many times is not the right one. A mis-diagnosis only serves to make matters worse by promoting further decline. I’ll try to cover some of the more common causes that can induce these common symptoms and try to offer a few simple solutions. The ultimate and correct solution is in the hands of the grower.

1. Over-fertilizing - the most common cause of leaf cupping aka leaf margin rolling, leaf margin burn, and leaf tip curl/burn is the overzealous use of too much plant food in relationship to factors such as plant vigor and rate of growth. The first unit of a plant to show moisture stress is the leaf at its margins and/or tips, reflected by margin rolling (cupping) or burning. A hard, crispy feel to the leaf frequently occurs as well, as opposed to a soft and cool feel of a happy leaf. When you have a high concentration of salts in solution (in the root medium) compared to the salinity levels found in the plant’s tissue, water is actually drawn out of the plant across the root gradient in order to fix the ppm imbalance. IOW, this is a natural, osmotic response that serves to equalize salinity levels on both sides of the root’s epidermal gradient. Back off on the amount and/or frequency of plant food. Too much plant food can also burn the roots, especially the sensitive root tips, which then creates another set of problems. Note - as soil dries, the concentration of the remaining salts rises further exacerbating the problem.

2. High Heat - the plant is losing water via it’s leaves faster than what can be replaced by the root system. The leaf responds by leaf margin cupping or rolling up or down (most times up) in order to conserve moisture. A good example is reflected by the appearance of broad-bladed turf grass on a hot summer day, high noon, with low soil moisture levels - the leaf blade will roll upward/inward with the grass taking on a dull, greyish-green appearance. Upon sunrise when moisture levels have returned to normal, the leaf blade will be flat. Lower the heat and concentrate on developing a large, robust root system by practicing sound plant culture. An efficient and effective root system will go a long way to prevent heat induced leaf dessication and leaf margin curling. One short episode of high heat is enough to permanently disable or destroy leaf tissue and cause a general decline in the leaves affected, which often occurs to leaves found at the top of the plant. The damaged leaf (usually) does not fully recover, no matter what you do. Bummer in the summer. One can only look to new growth for indications that the problem has been corrected.

3. High Light - yes, it’s true, you can give our faves too much light. Cannabis does not receive full sun from sunrise to sunset in its natural state. It is shaded or given reduced light levels because of adjacent plant material, cloudy conditions, rain, dust, twilight periods in the morning and late afternoon, and light intensity changes caused by a change in the seasons. Too much light mainly serves to bleach out and destroy chlorophyll as opposed to causing leaf cupping, but it often goes hand-in-hand with high heat for indoor growers. Again, back off on the light and concentrate on developing/maintaining an efficient and robust root system.

4. Overwatering - for those doing soil, this practice only serves to weaken the root system by depriving the roots of proper gas exchange. IOW, the roots are not getting enough oxygen which creates an anerobic condition inducing root rot and root decline with the end result showing up as leaf stress, stunted growth, and in severe cases, death. <gasp!> Overwatering creates a perfect environment for damp-off disease, at, or below the soil line. Alot of times folks think the plant is not getting enough plant food (which it can't under such adverse conditions), they add more nutes for a "curative", and just add insult to injury.

5. Underwatering - not only is the plant now stressed due to a low supply of adequate moisture, but carbohydrate production has been greatly compromised (screwed up). Step up the watering frequency, and if need be, organic growers may need to water from the bottom up until moisture levels reach a norm throughout the medium. If the pot feels light to the lift - it’s time to water. Don’t wait until the soil pulls away from the sides of the pot or leaves droop before you water. And of course, leach once in a while to get rid of excess salts.

All of the above issues relate to a plant's internal cell turgor or cell water pressure. If water pressure within the plant's stem and leaf cells are positive, the plant will look strong and stocky with flat leaves that are cool to the touch due to good transpiration from the leaf surface. By the same token, if the water pressure is not up to par, whereby water is being extracted from the plant and not replenished like it should be.... the leaves and/or stems will droop.

Happy gardening,
Uncle Ben


New Member
Re: Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble.

many thanks.

i do seem to be having some trouble with my water atm, in the new tubs (48 hours in them) despite stabbing plenty of holes in them, seem to hold a lot of water, tubs are heavy despite the fact the top 2 inches of soil are almost bone dry already oO

some updates tho. i failed to find the PH of my water on any government sites, but funilly enough found someone saying the water in southampton is 8.1 PH on a tropical fish keeping site

also i managed to dig the bag out of the bottom of the recycle bin so i can now identify my soil type. lol

Im using ' West Plus Advanced' compost for all plants.
used neat with just southampton tap water. no nutes yet as they still babies.

today ive decided after reading the 'roots grow in the dark' thread to switch to 20/4 as i have been on 24/0.

temprature wise im having difficulty keeping the temprature UP. even tho its one of the hottest spings we have had in a while, my plants are rarely hitting 20c +

i find it a very good soil so far, will put a few more holes in my pots for drainage, but apart from that its great for not getting boggy.
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New Member
Re: Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble.

just a quick one as i can afford to do this tommorow =D

DIY pH testing-- Cabbage water


This is an easy and fast way to test the pH of your tank without having to go out and buy those expensive kits.
1. Buy some RED cabbage (it won't work with regular), throw about five or six leaves into a pot, and boil it. With water, of course.
2. You should see the water start to change color in about two minutes, but it takes about fifteen to get it a good and dark blue (it should be almost purple).
3. Once the water has turned a dark blue, remove the cabbage leaves from the pot.
4. Measure out about 3 drops of your tank's water into a dish. Add about 3 drops of the cabbage water. If the tank water turns pale pink, your water is too acidic. If the tank water turns pale green, your water is too basic. If the water color stays dark blue, your tank water is neutral.

found that on a fish keeping site.
anyone tried it?

is a PH of 7 tolerable to our girls? if i can use this to make sure the water seems neutral i might be good till i can buy a propper kit on payday.


New Member
Re: Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble.

My tap water comes out at 7 and I don't add anything to it. I do have dolomite lime in my mix.

Thats a pretty cool trick though. I think you are making the stuff I was talking about in the green liquid ph tester stuff with cabbage :) I might try it just for fun.

Heres a really good post I found on a gardening site in regards to ph and alkalinity.

When we measure pH, we are measuring the concentration of hydrogen (H+) ions in the irrigation water or soil (nutrient) solution. As a guideline, water for irrigation purposes is usually best if its pH lies between 5.0 - 7.0. The measure of alkalinity gives us the water's ability to neutralize acidity. The level of bicarbonates, carbonates, and hydroxides in water determine its alkalinity. The desirable alkalinity range for irrigation water is 0 to 100 ppm carbonates, with 30 - 60 ppm optimum for most plants.

Whenever you test the water you'll be using for irrigation, you should always include the measure of both pH and alkalinity. A pH test on its own, does not give any indication of alkalinity. Water with high levels of bicarbonates or carbonates (high alkalinity) always has a pH value >7, but water with a high pH doesn't necessarily have high alkalinity. This is a very important concept because high alkalinity exerts more significant effect on plant nutrition and the fertility of growing media than pH.

High pH irrigation water generally causes no problems as long as the alkalinity is low. Since high pH water with low alkalinity has little ability to neutralize acidity, it's effect on media pH will be minimal. Cause for more concern are situations where you must utilize water having both high pH and high alkalinity for irrigation, which will cause the pH of the growing medium to increase substantially as media ages. If your water analysis is known to be alkaline, you may need to significantly reduce the addition of compounds containing Ca or Mg because of the dilute solution of limestone in the water. The smaller the container - the more serious the issue because small volumes of soil offer less buffering to pH change. In high alkaline situations, you can often expect/experience Ca and Mg deficiencies along with micronutrient deficiencies (both real and antagonistic).



New Member
Re: Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble.

ok its gonna take some time for my brain to digest that!

my entire life ive thought of the PH scale as simply low = acid-high = alkeline

i did find this on a pool maintainance web site and it seems to fit as an appropriate response as i have no way to monitor ppm

"It is more important to maintain a pH in the 7.2-7.8 range, than it is to maintain a TA of 80-120 PPM. Your water probably contains some minerals, other than bicarbonates and carbonates, that cause the buffering effect to be higher than normal. Try and keep the pH in range. If you can do this without great difficulty and without daily corrections and, if the water is clear, there is no reason to do battle with the TA. The staining could be due to algae: as the pH rises the chlorine effectiveness decreases and that , in turn, can lead to a greater likelihood of algae growth. From your letter it doesn't seem that you are having pH control problems, so I suggest that you ignore the TA. The staining could, also, be due to dissolved minerals: as the pH rises the solubility of many minerals decreases - another reason to keep the pH in range. Adding a quality Mineral Treatment is always a good idea, if minerals might be present."

also my plants have had 4 hours of darkness now, so i have tidied up their home some, here are the latest pics.


this is a total of 4050 lumins@ 27k in an area smaller than 4cf hope they like it ;)




New Member
Re: Noob grower - zero budget - some sings of trouble.

ok woke up this morning to browning on the leaves!!!

here is the best close up picture i can achieve


For those that dont want to zoom to read ;)
RED = The new browning of the leaves that developed over night.

YELLOW = The initial leaf curling that the plant has had for several days, does not seem to be getting worse

BLUE = White dots, No idea what these are. Plants have never been sprayed with anything but tap water, possibly an indicator of species?

I am about to look at the stress test pictures, but as im a nOOb it would not be difficult to misdiagnose so expert opinion is much appreciated! :popcorn:

EDIT: 8meg camera used, if pic is saved and viewed through a propper viewer the white spots are much clearer.

Edit 2: Heat damage is unlikely as my grow room is cold by comparison (16-20celcius) and the 3 cfls are not close enough to burn.
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New Member
URGENT help pls!

ok i think i may have poisoned my plants =(

i just tried my red cabbage PH testing system

i made it with the tap water so it looks very blue.

when i put it in my tap water it stays blue.

when i watered my plants enough to get run of it appeared as violet/purple

i recently like a stupid idiot watered my plants with a bottle of fizzy water (thinking of slow release co2) and i just tested that fizzy water and it came out purple (estimated PH4)

as i have just mentioned i watered the plants with ph8 and had half run off.

should i keep running ph8 water through it till the run off balances out?

i use west advanced plus compost, i have never used nutes and i dont have any until at least friday.

if i flush until cured am i going to kill all the remaining nutes in that soil or is it likely to keep enough to last till weekend =(

Todays pics


Current state of leaves



I know we shouldnt pull plants, but i needed to know how the roots are doing.
that is the peat pot i planted in a bigger pot, as you can see im not seeing a lot of root growth.

fish cake

Member of the Month: Nov 2012
wow that looks realy wet

fish cake

Member of the Month: Nov 2012
let them grow a little and dry out


New Member
ok just tilted my pots to drain a little more out of them.

the shade of purple is a little darker, i can only guess but it seems my run off is very close to 6.

before i flushed them i had waited till they were wilting from thirst.
so hopefully this drenching wont hit them too bad.
i wont do anything else now till they dry to the point of thirst or one of you guys reccomend a course of action.

fish cake

Member of the Month: Nov 2012
ok just tilted my pots to drain a little more out of them.

the shade of purple is a little darker, i can only guess but it seems my run off is very close to 6.

before i flushed them i had waited till they were wilting from thirst.
so hopefully this drenching wont hit them too bad.
i wont do anything else now till they dry to the point of thirst or one of you guys reccomend a course of action.

hey bro ;REMEMBER ITS A WEED! I think when its young and nobody else is in the way; like dandylions and grass the dandylion will grow and grow. Im just sayin to give it a chance before you get the lawnmower. dont add stuff untill its ready. the dirt was probley good enough and looking at the pics your almost rootbound so give them more space. :cheer:


New Member
hey bro ;REMEMBER ITS A WEED! I think when its young and nobody else is in the way; like dandylions and grass the dandylion will grow and grow. Im just sayin to give it a chance before you get the lawnmower. dont add stuff untill its ready. the dirt was probley good enough and looking at the pics your almost rootbound so give them more space. :cheer:

ok i just deleted everything i was about to say, im here to be nice and to learn.

Please fish cake, all i ask is that you try and understand the details of my grow before offering advice.

its impossible for the plant to be root bound as that is a peat pot, roots eat through that (and it has been pre soaked). the tubs in the other pictures are 5 litre, massive compared to the peat pot...loads of room to grow.

dont add stuff untill its ready

again, i have said several times that no nutes have been added. the mention of adding nutes at the weekend is directly connected to the possibility that in trying to correct my borked PH i may unintentionally flush the already existing nutes out of the compost.

appologies for my terse manner, i dont want to alienate anyone, but we have to be honest, your replies dont in no way help me =(


fish cake

Member of the Month: Nov 2012
good luck dude. if I can see roots pokin out like that i belive its close to outgrowing its space. just my opinion more room more forgiving to what can go rong.:Namaste:aint no expert


New Member
fish cake, you really should read the posts he made before posting. The tiny roots poking out of the peat he dug out of the larger pot (bad move, generally speaking) are just fine, they have LOTS of space to grow in once back in the pot.

Gigabane, there's no way around it: Get a pH test kit. It's cheap-ass and saves lives. Do it now. Skip dinner, even lunch if you have to. While you're at it, skip breakfast and get "pH down".

Your tap water may be 8, but your runoff should be around 6.5 - that's what the plant wants. Until you can take accurate measurements, you'll likely make matters worse.

Your plant is old enough to require a basic supply of nutrients, so you might want to think about giving it 1/2 strength during the next weeks, depending on how much you flushed out of that soil... good luck!


New Member
Thanks LEDman.

I would normally never dream of pulling a settled plant out of its bed, but i had to see the roots to check they hadnt started dying or something.
they look pretty healthy, beautifully clean and well formed.

strictly between me, you and now the entire 420 community, im totally screwed for cash till next payday. the car broke and pushed me beyond into the red =((

i would say that from a 5 litre pot of soil i flushed around a litre of water through it and it ran off the balance it didnt want to keep.

that compost im using is fantastic for drainage so surplus water sits about an inch below where the roots currently are and rebalances by osmosis. i expect i will not need to water them again till friday. and by then ill have a ph kit and nutes =)

this whole ph 8 goes in and ph 4 runs out is crazy. i think my next attempt will be in some kind of neutral medium, so that my bottle of nute enriched, ph corrected water is the only PH in the equation.

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