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Old grower learning new tricks


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Howdy all, Woodrow W. Woodchuck here. Been reading your forums for a few months now and decided it was time to pony up and join in. [This turned out longer than planned so twist one up and pour a beverage or cup of tea.]

I’m a child of the 50’s, finished school in the 70’s, had a farmstead by 1980. Logger, stone quarry, carpenter, electrician, mason… Same story as many folks back home in NE PA, jack of many trades. Cut logs, cut stone or starve was the saying. Injured on the job in ’92 and back to school to learn computers and get a desk job. No govt cash for me going back to school. I sold the farmstead and worked full time to put myself back through school! Not much call for office jobs in the sticks so packed up the old truck and moved to the big city in NC. I enjoy vegetable gardening, always had a large garden to put up for the winter, so a few more months of growing seemed like a good thing.

Enjoyed recreational pot smoking in the 70’s, who didn’t then? Tried growing our own a few times by tossing seeds in the ground and come back in the fall to harvest some pretty rank, harsh, barely smokeable, seedy but free weed. By the time I bought the farmstead I’d met folks who were growing inside and producing a mighty fine product. Light bulb goes off in the head, Hey, I could do that too! So invested in rockwool, HPS, MH, some pumps, fans, all that good stuff and setup a grow. I ran a drip irrigation, SOG, water to waste system, two 2’ x 4’ trays with 3” cubes, up to 4 mothers and the lights were either 400 or 600 watts, I do not remember. I kept the mothers and clones in one room under 4’ fluorescents until the clones were rooted then tossed them right onto the trays. They were small, maybe a few inched tall at most. It was a constant rotation system and as I recall, the trays were really never full to capacity. I’d be harvesting 2, 3 or 15 buds while adding a few back that just rooted. The buds were a thing of beauty, 10” to 15” tall and all a bud, solid and happy looking. Don’t remember the strain (sativa or indica) but it was a happy high that kept us picking and grinning, I called it Bob. Used bag Peter’s bloom fertilizer, in a barrel with an air stone for the cubes and Peter’s general formula for everything else. I didn’t know anything about flushing or all the stuff I’ve been reading about, just dilute the fertilizer, let it drip away, harvest and be happy.

This worked for 4 or 6 years, small harvests about every month but enough to keep the group smoking for free. I played clawhammer banjo and mine was the place to go and pick on the weekends, it all worked out great. I also started making wine and extracting the alcohol out of it, in the basement. Another great hobby that I can recommend but not endorse due to the law not approving of it. Anyway, I heard that adding CO2 to the grow room will accelerate growth. Hey, I can do that! Fermentation produces CO2 and alcohol as byproducts. So took to fermenting in the flowering chamber and using a garden hose to transfer finished ferment to the basement. Don’t recall if there was any significant improvement in the operation due to CO2 but it had devastating results. I did have good air circulation and air changeover but all those spores floating around found a new happy home to reproduce, and not in the crock. Mold. The bane of my operation took hold and shut it down hard and fast. I tried disinfecting the room but on each of the last two tries mold would appear and kill the clones and eventually the mothers lost their lives also.

Well, I grew outside for a few years after that using bag seed with satisfactory results, it really depended on the quality of the seeds we got. I would save a male and pollinate a particularly promising female branch for seeds but always ended up planting a new supposedly superior smoke the next year. I got busy with work and a company I started and stopped smoking pot so no need to grow it anymore. Besides, at that time the ‘war on drugs’ was big and I didn’t need to lose everything I was building so… As I remember NY passed a law that made possession of 1 ounce of pot carry a sentence longer than for murdering a police officer. Yeah, it took them a few years to realize that error before they corrected it.

Forward a couple decades to NC! I moved down and rented a nice rural house, got a job, a black lab (Wendy), started a vegetable garden and went on with life. I was looking to buy a house but back in 2000 onward home prices were quite out of my range at that time. I mean, get real, homes started on average at $250,000 within any reasonable commute to work. Back in Hicksville, Pennsyltucky $70,000 bought a farmhouse, barn, stream, outbuildings and privacy on 70+ acres. I did finally get a nice place on 1.5 acres in 2005 but that is an interesting story for another time.

Anyway. My new neighbor was Jose, he lived in the trailer a shout and a holler away. We’d meet every evening for a few adult beverages and to let the dogs (he had two) play while we relaxed and chatted. Turns out he was not a wet back. The river was low and he only got wet up to his knees. He’d teach me Spanish and I’d help him with English and to get his NCDL and green card. So, one evening we are drinki…errr.. talking and the subject of pot comes up. He’d been smoking while we talked right along and he knew I didn’t partake due to the possibility of random drug tests at work. He could sure put down his share and his friends were no slouches either when it came to passing a few around! So, he mentions how unreliable his supply is and the cost going up and such. I asked why he didn’t grow his own, after all the weather is great, long growing season, hot… He said he had no idea about how to grow anything so had never thought of it. Well, that started me back into an old hobby.

First year we had good results. Plants were 6’ to 9’ tall but too much variety and most of them crap for quality. Not much for technique, trowel up a 2’ round area, maybe 6” deep. Put a scoop of Sta-Green slow release in, mix, scatter a dozen seeds around and water. We scattered these around the old tobacco field next door, maybe twenty patches in all, couple here, couple there. You would always lose some to deer or bugs or weather. We’d water when it had been real dry and visit them regularly to pinch tops, kill off the males, decide which ones to use as daddies for the next generation and pee around them. I figure it this way. I plant 100 seeds. 50% will germinate or make it to seedling stage. Out of those, 50% will be female. Out of what makes it to bud 25% will be lost to deer, weather, bugs or something. So start with 100 seeds and harvest a dozen or so plants. Sure some years it works out better but that is how I look at it. We did have one favorable year for weather and got a bumper crop, 10# to 12# on trees that averaged 10’ tall. Every plant seemed to be female and all survived. Largest was 11.5’ tall with buds as large and long as your whole arm. Never had it happen again but when you see pictures of those huge buds and they say they are hard as a rock, you can believe them.

I pollinated a variety of the nicest females with a nice sativa looking male and planted those the next year. Better, stickier buds and the quality, at least from what I heard, was much better. It took several years but now have two pretty reliable strains, one with smallish purplish buds that are very resiny, I call it Jose. The pistils and upper bud leaves are purple from the beginning, a beautiful plant and the one that I prefer to watch grow. Looks very typically sativa; tall, lanky and late to finish. Only smells for a short time unless you are right on top of them. A good characteristic for growing outside and one that I like. The other looks more indica and has fatter buds and stays more squat, its name is Santos. Half of them are almost white with glands and the buds will fill up nicely on the stems. It has a strong skunky odor from early bud onward so needs to be planted in more discrete locations. If the wind is right you can smell them for a few hundred yards off!

That brings us up to today. Last year I lost the entire crop, and most of my heritage vegetables to something in June. Brown spots appeared after a rain and eventually plants, and some species of flowers/grass died. Only vegetables that lived were a few green peppers and one tomato plant I had bought from Lowe’s. I planted crops again in late July or August and did manage pot plants that were up to maybe 2’ tall. I have seed for next year so that is a lucky thing. A slim crop and not enough to keep my friends from having to buy until next fall. That is what I grow for, to keep a small group supplied with happiness that they can rely on the quality and it is free. I’m also interested in trying it for my pains. I grow medicinal herbs and make teas, tinctures and decoctions that I use. If I lose my job or find one w/out the possibility of drug testing I want to have a supply and be ready!!! I have not smoked pot in…. bet it’s been 20... 25 years. Been growing it though! Heck, I might just go for broke and try it again anyway.

So what to do. I have decided to go back inside to grow, at least for the winter. I’m single and have a small house so room is not an issue. I took over one bathroom a few years ago for fermenting and such so it is stripped down, just a tub, table and shelves. Moved the copper pot out, I’ll make that a summer project and fire it up outside to make supplies for the winter now. Going with 3-GLH 180 LED’s (bloom/grow table), 4-90 watt UFO’s (for Mothers and/or clones) and 2-2’, 4-double 4’ T5’s (for clones, segregation room or starting seedlings). New 20 amp 12/2 circuits for lights, timers, receptacles, fans and all that fun stuff, done. Tilted, plastic covered tables done. Framework for Mylar and hanging lights from, done. Barrels for water storage, done.

This is also a multi-purpose project. I can start my veggies earlier inside and possibly have a tomato plant, peppers, spinach and such growing inside for the winter. I mean come on now, $2.50 for a green pepper, $3/lb for tomatoes (and truck ripened ones at that), $2 for lettuce… Sheesh! After the garden finished for the fall this year I had a rude awakening going into the produce section. I had been eating on the cheap since last spring; prices sure have jumped since then. I have not put up produce for years but looks like I’ll have to start again for next winter. I also smoke tobacco. Been buying flue cured leaf from a local farmer, deveining and processing it myself. I can now start tobacco seedlings inside and transplant next spring. Something for you tobacco smokers to look into there. It costs me around $4 for a carton of natural tobacco cigarettes. I separate it into 3 categories, lower leaf, middle leaf and upper leaves. Mellow is lower, full flavor is middle and if you have time with nowhere to go fire up some top leaf and kick back! Best part is no taxes on any of it. Once I start growing it will be around $1.20 for a carton. So, all in all the initial cash outlay for lights, wiring and all that can pay back for more than one project.

I’m going to try with Pro-Mix BX and a starter set box of nutrients from HTG. We’ll see how it goes, I might go to soil or move on to hydroponics, who knows. I have 5 gallon spackle pails, 3 gallon American made black pails (dollar store can be a good thing at times), 1.5 gallon pails, some storage containers and all that stuff. Carrots grow great in those Styrofoam coolers you can get for free after local festivals, folks leave them all over!

For stock I still have Jose and Santos but want to try something new. I got 10 beans each of: Papaya, White Castle, Full Moon, Haze #13, Northern Lights, PPP, Blackberry, Bubblicious, Snow White and White Rhino. No, don’t plan on growing them all at the same time! I figured while I still had a job with access to the internet (none at home) I’d stock up. Besides, I do not know which one will like my setup, water, way of growing and give me the best results. Also which one is going to do the trick as a med. For my medicinal herbs I started with around 50 kinds and after trying them all I settled on the few that worked best for me. I grow only 12 or 14 for tinctures and teas now. What works for one person might not work for you.

I figure with 3 main lights I can try papaya for a fast finish and WC, FM and #13 to round out the first crop. I’ll post a grow journal once I’m up and running and have something to report. I’ll try and describe my setup in detail. Beans are germinated and sprouted. It will be a few weeks before I clip them, root the clones and see which are females. No pictures at this time, I have no digital camera, sorry.

Have to add that in the short time I have been reading here I have gained a world of knowledge! I never would have even thought of LED’s but after seeing Irishboys, SS’s and the others accomplishments with them know I can at least manage a decent crop. Trick seems to be good quality lights, higher power LED’s for penetration and don’t try for a huge footprint. From an old hippy, thanks for having a place with all this knowledge and folks to share it with!

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lil stinker 420

New Member
glad you could join us here. this is def. the most informative site around heres some reps. to get you started. by the way good luck with the grow, post some pics. of those trees we like bud porn on here.


Plant of the Month: June 2010 - Nug of the Month: July 2010
Damn! That's one helluva introduction! Glad you decided to join us and that you are older than me....by a lil :)


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