PTGC Toppers: Cross-Training Auto White Widow
I disassembled the auto-fertigation system and my drain tray in preparation for emptying and cleaning the tent and then moving it to a new grow space.
Trying to figure out how to fit things in a very small room with two doors. Also, whether I could ever fit a second 120x60-cm (4'X2') or a 90x90-cm (3'x3') tent into the space along with it in the future. I don't think I could fit a second 4x2, unless I move my seedling table and drying area. A 3x3 would fit, but there would be no place for the reservoir. I think I need to just focus on this grow and worry about future expansion another time.
My plan is to exhaust the tent out of the top, and run the duct up over the drying/light rack to the window. I'll need to put some screws into the ceiling joists to hang it. I also have to:
- Build a new table to support the tent high enough to get my drain bucket under it, but low enough to be able to vent out the top.
- Retrofit the drain tray to use a sink drain that won't leave a cm of runoff in the tray.
- Rebuild the auto-fertigation system using actual hydro halos.
- Figure out how to auto-fertigate the party cup.
Just a couple of more days before I drop my seeds, and this is going to be another typical BerkshireBud complicated grow. Here's my current plan:
- Germinate seeds as usual (scuff, soak, paper towel, seedling mat, dark).
- Plant sprouted seeds in pellets in seed starting tray with humidity dome (seedling mat, adjustable blurple).
- Move to Mars Hydro 4x2 (120x60-cm) tent with Mars Hydro SP250 light for start of veg.
- Move to Mars Hydro 3x3 (100x100-cm) tent with new Mars Hydro FC3000 once Doc is done testing it, and finish grow in that space as part of the product evaluation program.
Of course, that means I have to setup the auto-fertigation and auto-drain system twice for two different tents, or build two systems or something. Which means I'll be making all sorts of changes in the middle of the grow. Again.
But, for the opportunity to try out that FC3000 light, I will absolutely make whatever changes I need to! Plus, the larger space will be welcome (1 square meter instead of 0.72 square meter). I'm trying to figure out how I can fit all this in my little grow room. I moved my little squares around on the graph paper, and thought I had it, until I realized that I was blocking all the openings on the 3x3 tent if I try to have them both in the room at the same time. I may leave the 4x2 in the garage where it is now and hand-water, while I setup the auto-fertigation in the grow room for when the 3x3 and new light arrive.
Pics when I have something setup, or at least when I drop my seeds!
P.S. Oh. The Party Cup. I was going to grow it in its own box, but I am thinking of going the cup holder route in the tent instead. Add cup holder to the shopping list that already includes 18 ounce party cups.
P.P.S. I have 4 Auto White Widow seeds from ILGM that @PotiusMori gave me. If they all germinate and survive to seedlings, I'll have 3 autos and the party cup in the 3x3. If only 2 survive, I'll have to decide on whether or not to do the party cup grow.
I just love moving little boxes around on graph paper drawn to scale (1 square = 10 cm) to figure out will fit where.
Here's how I could fit a 100x100-cm (3x3 ft) tent, across from my existing seedling table that has an adjustable lighting and drying rack hanging above it:
But, then I realized that if I wanted to, I could squeeze in a 120x120 (4x4) the same way and still have foot passage between them.
Or, if I am willing to give up my seedling table and drying area, I could even do both a 120x60 (4x2) and a 120x120 (4x4).
So, latest plan revision is:
- Don't worry about a permanent solution. I always change things anyway. Just worry about this grow.
- Start seeds (tomorrow!) on the seedling table, and grow seedlings under the 45W adjustable blurple.
- Move the 120x60 (4x2) tent into the grow room across from that table and set it up for veg with the SP250.
- Veg in the 120x60 (4x2).
- Once @dr-coco has finished his PAR test of the FC3000, and we know what it's coverage is, remove the 120x60, install either a 100x100 (3x3) or a 120x120 (4x4) tent in place of the 120x60, and finish veg, then flower under the FC3000.
Damn. I'm hooked on this growing thing.
Today, I got my seedling table all cleared off and cleaned, hung my adjustable 45W blurple from a ratchet hanger, and setup the seedling mat.
I scuffed the 4 Auto White Widow seeds from ILGM that @PotiusMori gave me, and put them in 30°C pre-warmed distilled water in a small pyrex container on the seedling mat.
After 2 hours, 3 of them had sunk, and I put them on moist paper towels in a larger pyrex container. After 3 hours, the 4th one still hadn't sunk, but I put it on the paper towel anyway.
Meanwhile, the starting pellets are soaking on the seedling mat too. I've always started my seeds in coco coir without much trouble, although I know others have problem. I am now using unamended coco starting pellets that I used for clones in my last grow, but that I haven't used for seeds yet. I soaked them in tap water (EC 238 µS/cm). After they were fully expanded, I checked the EC of the soak water, and it was up to nearly 700. So, while they may be unamended, I also don't think they were well rinsed. I rinsed them several times, changed the soak water, and decided I might as well buffer them while I was at it. So, the pellets are now soaking in water with cal-mag added to bring it up to about 1500 µS/cm. Before I plant the seeds, I'll rinse them down to a low EC again.
Yesterday, seeds WW3 and WW4 had radicles, so I planted them in the starter pellets in a humidity dome on the seedling mat, under about 10W of blurple LED. WW2 had just a hint of a radicle, and WW1 was splitting but no radicle yet.
Today, WW2 showed about 2mm of radicle. I usually wait until it has grown longer than that, but this time I am trying getting it in to the starter pellet as soon as the radicle is growing, so in she went. Meanwhile, WW3 and 4 are already poking their heads up and a couple of squirts of warm water with the syringe and the seed coats came off. Still waiting to see some growth from WW1.
Meanwhile, I cleaned and moved my tent into the grow room. Nothing is hooked up yet.
I built a low stand for it (about 20cm). I actually just put legs on the wooden frame from the scrog net I made a few months ago, and then screwed on some plywood. It is high enough that I can hopefully drain the tent, but low enough that there is room above the tent for exhaust ducts and the like. When I get my 100x100-cm tent, I'll have to build a stand about 45-cm high, as for some reason, Mars Hydro does not seem to include a top exhaust port on the 100x100, just side ports. At least, that's what their website shows. If anyone has a Mars Hydro 100x100 (3x3) tent and knows otherwise, I would love to hear!
I bought some 18 ounce party cups, and a cup holder for my tent. Soon, I'll make my Party Cup Airpot. And then the Party Cup auto-fertigation system.
My apologies for letting it go a whole week without an update! So let's catch up.
On Day 4, WW3 (on the left) is already putting out her first true leaves. WW4 is a bit behind, probably because of a stuck bit of seed coat that held the tips of the cotyledons together until I removed it.
Day 5, WW4 is putting out her first true leaves, and WW2 had a tiny tail so I put her in a starter pellet. WW1 hasn't even cracked.
Day 6, WW1 still hasn't cracked, and there is no progress from WW2. WW4 is losing one of her cotyledons, and one of her true leaves doesn't look too happy. I think this is all still a result of that stuck bit of seed coat. And, despite their youth and spindly appearance, both WW3 and WW4 have their tap roots out the bottom of the starter pellets, so it is time to transplant them into 500-ml pots. Just to confuse things, WW4 is now on the left!
Day 7, I poke WW1 and the seed is mush, which brings us down to 3. Still nothing happening with WW2. Crossing my fingers, but not hopeful. WW4 is doing a bit better, but not keeping up with WW3.
Day 8, WW2 still has her seed coat on and is showing no signs of cotyledon growth to pop it off. A gentle nudge with a toothpick and the whole top falls off, leaving just the radicle! And then there were two. At this point, I don't want to use one of the two surviving auto White Widows for my party cup, so I am starting a new journal and dropping some photoperiod seeds for that, as I have no more autos left. Check it out!
Day 9, I am still worried about WW4.
Day 10, WW3 is growing strong. WW4 is showing a bit of nutrient burn or something on the tips of her leaves. I think she is having trouble getting her roots established.
Which brings us up to today, Day 11 since dropping the seeds. Tonight I will move these two into the 120x60 tent, which I have just about completely setup in its new location.
End of the day on Day 11, everybody moved into the Mars Hydro 120x60-cm tent. Here's what they looked like on Day 12.
Still under a 45W blurple LED. I mounted the SP250 driver outside the tent, but I haven't dimmed it down and switched over to it yet because I still have the Party Cup girl (and now some clones) in the same tent and they are not quite acclimated to the brighter light. Soon!
Here's this morning, Day 13. I think they have been focusing on their roots. At least that's my hope. Second leaf sets are out on both, although WW4 is still lagging a bit. The other plants in the tent are nearly acclimated, so I hope to switch to the SP250 tonight.
WW3 is growing well, with her 3rd leaf set just emerging. Absolutely perfect, symmetrical growth.
WW4 is still a bit, odd. I think this is due to whatever defect caused that cotyledon to die early and everything has been a bit twisted since then,
Tomorrow I'll take out the blurple and turn on the SP250. Then we will see some growth really start!
Finally got the blurples out and the SP250 turned on. I moved the light about 110 cm from the tallest plant this morning, and left the light on full for a bit to see how the plants handled it. After a few hours, the leaves were curling a bit, so I finally turned the adjustment on the back of the Mean Well driver for the first time. I dimmed the lights down, and I'll leave it at this height for a bit, then start lowering it down. Once I get to about 40-cm, I'll start turning the light back up towards full. I can't wait to have a light with a real dimmer.
Anyway, this is a bit of a crossover period, while the two Auto White Widows, the Pure Power Plant seedling, and the four UK Cheese clones are all in the tent at the same time. It's going to get crowded by the time the FC3000 arrives and I can setup the 100x100-cm tent for the photos!
Also drying buds in the same room that the tent is in, so walking that fine line of RH, trying to keep it around 62% in the room and 65%-70% in the tent. I should setup the 100x100 (need a fan for it first) and use that for drying until the FC3000 arrives.
Meanwhile in my other, other grow, it was a harvest day today.
When I opened the tent this morning, WW4 was leaning way over, almost touching the ground! I carefully firmed the coco around her to straighten her up, but she is still having trouble telling which way is up. C'mon, baby, you can grow out of this!
I think she might have been too much in the path of the breeze from the fan, now that the humidity dome isn't blocking it; that was the direction she was leaning. So, I moved her out of the direct breeze.
WW3, meanwhile is growing strong. I'll mix up some early veg nutrients today, and get her started on those, as her third node is grown now. It looks like her leaves are out past the edges of the pot from this angle, but they are not quite. Still, she will be ready to pot up to a 4L (1 gallon) pot soon!
Growth definitely has taken off since I switched them to the SP250 light. I have that hanging at 110 cm, but I'll start moving it closer starting tonight, to get them up to about 700 µmol/s/m2 for veg.
Even with the SP250 at 110 cm, the leaves started curling within a few hours of that laast post. So I turned it down to its minimum (which turned out to be 97 watts using my handy dandy new watt meter). I lowered it closer to the plants each time I fertigated, and tonight I had it down to the final height of 45 cm above the tallest plant. Next I will start increasing the power.
WW3 is definitely ready to pot up. WW4 continues to lag and continues to have that weird growth problem she has had since she was a sprout. It is going to be hard to train her in a cross, when one side won't grow any leaves!
Tomorrow I will finish prepping some reused coco and transplant both of them into 4L (1 gal) pots.
I rinsed and re-buffered about 50 liters of coco, filled the new pots, and made party-cup-sized holes.
I sprinkled Mykos in the holes, and on the roots before potting up.
I have been fertigating with early veg nutrients at 1150µS/cm EC for almost a week now. When they were in their party cups of coco that was buffered but then rinsed down to a low EC, outflow was trending up, but still around 700. Now that I have them in their new pots of rebuffered coco, outflow EC with the same nutrients is 1288. That's right around the EC of the buffering solution I used (a bit below it), so I wonder if this is just the nutrients displacing buffering solution that was held in the coco.
The SP250 is up to 144 watts now at 45 cm. I'll keep it there for a bit, then up it to around 190, with the plan of increasing it to the full 235 watts for flower.
This morning we had a frost outside. Although I had the seedling mat in the greenhouse, it wasn't enough to keep up, and the temperature in the tent was down to 19°C this morning. I turned on the heat in the grow room, and increased the seedling mat temperature to 24°C. It's only 20 watts, but if it helps warm up the bulk of the coco, that should help keep the temperature steady, and with the grow room ambient temperature at 18 or above, that should be enough.
I increased the SP250 to 188 Watts input. We are only 10 days from the flip, so these girls have a lot of growing to do! I'll increase it to 235 Watts (full power) on (or maybe before) Flip Day. Switched to mid-veg nutes. The well water is up to 156 µS/cm EC, and the nutrient solution mixed up to 1340. Outflow EC the first time was 1174.
Almost time to top the larger of the two and start her cross training, maybe tonight. She has absolutely perfect opposite phyllotaxy, and is growing strong. She should be a breeze. I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how to train the other one, though. She seems to have lost her seedling symmetry entirely, and is growing more like a clone, with alternate leaves and branches instead of opposite. Which makes it hard to do cross-training. Once her roots seem to be well established, I'll choose the healthiest branches that are well spaced around the stem, and train them either into a 4-armed cross or a 3-armed Brigid's cross.
On Day 24, I top the Auto White Widows. Normally, I would let them grow another node before topping them, but part oof the challenge for me is seeing if I can do this training with a short vegetative period. So, with the 5th node grown and the 6th only just starting to appear, I top just below the 5th node.
Then, I prune off the branches on the 1st and 2nd nodes, but leave the leaves at their bases.
This leaves me a perfectly symmetrical plant, with large leaves at all 4 nodes, and branches emerging at the 3rd and 4th nodes. Once these grow a bit in length, I will start to train them down and out. I think I will have time to let the branches grow at least one full node each before Flip Day. If I top just above that, I'll have 8 colas per plant. If I have time before the flip to let two nodes grow, I could get 12 colas (not 16, because I would have to prune off the downward facing branches on the 2nd branch nodes).
Oh, and here's WW4. As you can see, she is not doing great, and has lost her vegetative opposite symmetry above the 2nd node.
So, I figure I might as well experiment. I top her above the 3rd "node", but then also cut off the branch at the 3rd node, leaving the leaf. I'm going to see if I can do a cross with nodes 1 and 2.