Top Drip Recirculating A La WaterFarm - 1 Pineapple Express - Scrogged - 400watt

Thread starter #1
Bucket Size - 5 gallon.
Resevoir- separate container w/ 4 gallons solution.
Pump -160 gph., continuous Top Drip, no airstone.
Medium - Rapid Rooter placed in Hydroton.
Lights - (1) 400w MH and HPS.
Nutrients - FloraNova Bloom start to finish.
Strain - Pineapple Express
# of Plants -1

Grow Space - DIY 2-6" x 2-6"x 6-8" (old doors).
Will be scrogging.

Inline fan, 6"w/ Heat and Cooling Temperature Controller and speed controller.
Temperature - average 70*.

Humidifier w/ Humidity Controller.
Humidity - 50% average.

PH of reservoir - treated to 5.8
Tap Water TDS - 100 ppm. , PH - 6.4
Blue Lab Combo Meter

I've been lurking here for more than a year, learning as much as can fit in my tired old brain. This is my first grow and I'm going to need help. I will greatly appreciate any advice.

My plan is based on a grow done by ScottyBalls over at in 2009. He did a fantastic journal. All the necessary info made it into the journal and he apparently inspired a lot copycats, including me. (Pineapple Express G13 Lab's Seed to Harvest | Rollitup). My heart is with 420 Magazine.

Here are a few shots of what I built.

I had some trouble germinating. I got way too complicated with it. Sheesh, there's a lot of conflicting info on the interweb! With the help of some members, I got it straightened out. (When to move germinated seed into light?). The advice I finally followed was: soak seed, stick softened seed in Rapid Rooter with plug over hole, place in pot, put under cfl, and smile.

3 days later.

One day after that:

This looks a little stretchy to me this morning, so I removed the cfl and fired up the 400 watt metal halide. It's about 34" above the seedling. You think I should lower the light?

The plan is to start gentle feeding in another week. Does that sound right?

I do need your help :1:
Hey eggzin, I'm not a hydro guy, but have dabbled some with vegs over the years. I now grow in soil, almost to hi brix stage. Fascinated with living soil!

I stopped here because your setup looked mighty interesting. Using doors (or whatever you can) is commendable to "where there's a will, there's a way." I would like to know how your grow turns out. Green to you!
Thread starter #4
Just a quick update.

My light is 28 inches from the top of the seedling. I could probably lower it, but I don't think I'd gain much in terms of growth rate. This growth rate seems to be on a par with other seedlings I've seen pictures of on this site after a week.

This cabinet is in the basement where it's quite cold (52*f.) and dry (27% RH).

My reservoir water temperature is at 63* f. It sits on 1/2" foam placed on the concrete floor inside the cab.

Inside the cabinet the temperature is, on average, 73* f. and humidity on average is 43%. These figures are average because every time the inline fan kicks on to control high temps, all the humid air created by the humidifier gets sucked right out. I read about ways of keeping the humidity more consistent, but the most consistent thing I read was that humidity is not that big of a deal as long as it's upwards of 40%.

After a week, I'm still not feeding any nutes. My plan is to start with 250 ppm in a couple of days. As I said earlier, the plan I'm following calls for FloraNova Bloom all the way through. According to the Blue Lab Combo meter, the tap water measures 100 ppm, so, after nutrients at 250 ppm, the meter should read 350 ppm, correct?

Here are photos taken today


As I said before, I welcome any input, whether it be to correct my statements and assumptions, or to make me think along other lines.
Thread starter #5
I thought I would describe my set up in a bit more detail.

It's based along the lines of a Water Farm. It consists of a top, 5 gallon bucket with a 9" net pot filled with hydroton and a bottom tote holding 4 gallons of solution. Solution is pumped up to the drip ring by a 160 gph pump. The solution drains out the bottom of the upper bucket into the reservoir and re-circulates. The pump runs 24/7. The idea behind the (2) separate buckets is to provide more than ample space for the root mass in the upper bucket and to enable easy access to the inside of the reservoir.

The temperature controller energizes an electrical receptacle. One plug is for cooling, the other is for heating. When the temperature inside the cabinet is raised to a pre-determined level, the inline fan kicks on and the temperature is drawn back down and shuts off at the set temperature. When the light goes off after 18 hrs., it starts to get too cold in the cab. When the temp drops to a certain level, the "personal" space heater kicks on and brings the temperature back up.

The humidity controller does a similar thing. When the RH of the air inside the cab drops below a certain level, a humidifier inside kicks on. Then it shuts off after the RH of the air reaches the set level. Because it's so dry these days in the basement, the humidifier is necessary. In the summer this controller can be used to run a de-humidifier because the basement air will be too humid.

That's it for now.
Thread starter #10
Here's some updated pics.

3-23-17 (12 days after sprout)

3-26-17 (15 days after sprout)

On day 11 I began to add nutes. I added 290 ppm of Flora Nova Bloom and adjusted the PH to 5.7. I'm monitoring once a day. I'm roughly following the feeding schedule of the guy who inspired my plan.

The ppm is roughly holding steady, but naturally one wouldn't expect change at this stage of the plant's size (right?).

The one thing that I don't quite understand, and this seems to be a common occurrence, is that the PH drifts higher --even in the space of 12 hours. I add PH Down to bring it closer to the 5.8 ideal on a daily basis, but I can't imagine why it drifts. I washed the livin' bejezus out of the hydroton --even so far as to soak for a while in vinegar, which I've since come to realize is ridiculous.

There's nothing in the system that should change the PH --black tubing, well washed bucket and reservoir, washed hydroton, and one tiny plant. What would change the PH? Light? Does the chemical loose it's potency? I've even seen the PH drift higher than my original tap water's PH.

Well, I'm about 2 weeks in and the plant seems to be growing as it should. I expect things to get very "colorful" for me, in a week or so. I mean, I could kill this thing in a heartbeat....
Thread starter #11
Updated pics:

Good growth this week. Ppm is @ 410, kept Ph @ 5.8 until 3 days ago when I noticed the white-ish markings on some leaves. Then I let the ph slowly rise to 6.3.

4-2-17 21 days after sprout

The white marks look like pics of cal/mag deficiency I found when searching for a diagnosis. I then learned about different nutrients getting absorbed by the plant at differing ph levels so I've decided to let the ph roam within the proper ph range. It appears magnesium isn't absorbed until the ph is a little higher in the range of values.

21 days after sprout

Would someone give me their opinion as to what the white markings are?
Thread starter #12
Day 29 Update

Still seeing the white-ish markings on some new leaves this week. Last week I had decided it was a magnesium deficiency. Also wondered about possible light burn. Tried raising the light, letting the Ph rise naturally --no effect. It's growing well, but I'm watching for trouble. I have decided to keep the Ph in the lower part of the range for a while and see what effect results. Both calcium and magnesium are moderately absorbed in lower Ph.

I changed the reservoir yesterday. Nutrients (Flora Nova Bloom) are at 850 ppm and Ph is 5.1 this morning. I'm expecting Ph to slowly rise.

I'm going to start LST today to get her ready for the Scrog, which I'll probably start next week.

There was good growth this week. The plant is 4 1/2" tall with 7 internodes.

4/9/17 29 days after sprout

Thread starter #14
Yes, Nice looking Ladies. Are they growing at a speed you expected with your top-drip system? I'm used to soil grow, but always enjoy looking at pretty ladies!! Great buds and Happy Smoke to you.
I don't have much experience, so it's hard to tell. The Water Farm (or my version of it) is reputed to be a style that causes fast growth. I can't imagine it's any faster than any other top drip method, though. It seems that the only difference between this and an RDWC, is that the roots don't sit around in water.

It does seem like the plant grew a lot between last week and this week. I'm happy:1:

Thanks for asking. Happy Smoke to you, too!
Thread starter #15
I stumbled upon Bassman59's ideas about defoliation this week and found that my plant's development was at a perfect stage to try his method. Thank you Bassman!

My LSTing couldn't get enough light to the nodes I'd really hoped to develop, so I severely defoliated. The plant is still short and I have a good bit of height, so, until I get the plant up to scrog height, I'm going to try to widen it. This is before:


This is after:


Over night she recovered and again looked robust. There still could be more light getting to the lower branches, so, what the hell, more defoliation ...with, of course, heavier LST:


Then I noticed that, as a result of the LST yesterday, sometime between then and now, the main stem split:


Clearly though, the foliage above the split is fine --still healthy and green. So, onward and upward. I'll see if I want the install the scrog next week.
Thread starter #16
There was excellent growth this week.

The white-ish streaks on some of the leaves has stopped. I believe, at this point, it was caused by light burn --not from heat, but from intensity. It's a brand new 400 MH. It's now 34" above the canopy.

I've decided to veg another week. The defoliation last week was responsible for some robust branching. I could probably go another 2 weeks-I believe I have the space-but I can only be just so patient.

I defoliated again yesterday, and I'll flip to 12/12 next week.

Here are some Before/After shots:

4/22/17 Before



And, a day later (today), it's filling back already

Thread starter #17
The plant got pretty bushy since the defoliation last week. There are a lot of branches to manage and it's difficult continuing to tie them because I've run out of anchor points that will work.

As I said I would, I flipped to the 12/12 schedule--did that yesterday. And I put in the scrog which I'll begin to use to manage the branches and the lighting resources.

Very bushy

Here's a shot to give some perspective of the size of the plant relative to the closet and the space I have for flowering.


So, I installed the scrog. As the plant begins to stretch, it will reach the net and I can begin to spread all that growth.


As it warms up with spring springing, the basement's humidity and temps have changed. I've got to make some changes with ventilation, humidifying, and temps inside the closet. The 400w HPS is running much cooler than the MH. Hence the inline fan doesn't come on anymore and I need to provide air changes. Convection is doing the job right now.

The humidifier is no longer running, but the closet is in the neighborhood of 65% RH because of leaf transpiration. The basement outside the closet is mid 50's. I do want to get the closet's humidity down to 50 RH and below.

That's all for now. I'll be back next week with another exciting episode:thumb:

And Maineiac --thanks for paying attention. Without you there'd be an echo in here:;):
Hi eggzin,

Glad to follow along. I enjoy watching grows mature, people learning, and journals pictured. I especially like alternative growing methods. So fascinating. SweetSue is doing a "hempy" grow; similar to yours. Your pineapple express is looking very nice. I'm still wondering how much pineapple smell and taste they have. Fill me in at the appropriate time.