SAFC Photoperiods: Experienced Newb, growing 4 strains
Hi All! I've been growing for five years but I'm new to HFF. This will be my first grow with an auto-watering system and my first grow journal. This will be my second grow using HFF. I'm growing four different strains with similar flower times. I'm excited to grow with everyone and maybe get some input along the way.
I veg in a 2x4 and flower in a 4x4 tent (in my garage)
LED lights 700 watt HID equivalent
5 gallon pots
50/50 coco perlite mix
Auto water system
GH Flora Trio, Armor Si, Rapid Start, Kool Bloom, Botanicare Hydrogaurd,
Nectar for the Gods Yucca Extract
Growing: Girl Scout Crack, Afghan Kush, Gelato OG & Llimonet Haze CBD
I'm a dork so I started my seeds today at 4:20. I soak my seeds in a probiotic/distilled water mix for 45 minutes then I transfer them to hydrated Jiffy Pellets (hydrated with the same probiotic/water mix). I keep my pellets in a humidity dome with a heat mat underneath, until the seeds sprout. I cover the dome with a dark towel to keep out light.
Sorry for the sideways pic. This is the probiotic I use to germinate. I also use it throughout the grow, once or twice, as a foliar feed.
My Afghan Kush seed broke the surface of the Jiffy Pellet! I usually put the sprouted Jiffy Pellet under a CFL and keep the other un-sprouted Pellets in the dark until their sprouts reach the surface. Reading through Dr. Coco's germination guide, he says "when the radicle is longer than half an inch it should be placed in media which will protect it from light. Once the radicle is safely in the media, light should be applied to the top of the media to signal the direction of growth for the cotyledons."
I'm going to assume the other seed's radicles are longer than half an inch, which means they should be under the light as well. I moved the humidity dome off of my kitchen counter and into my 2x4 veg tent. I have one CFL light (100w equivalent) shining on them, about 4 inches away (i'll add more light as the others emerge). I put a hygrometer in the humidity dome and will monitor them and add water as needed.
Next time, I might try Dr. Coco's method of paper towel to Jiffy Pellet germination. I can see the benefit of knowing the seeds sprouted before putting them in the Jiffy Pellet.
Hopefully the other seeds will reach the surface in the next couple of days. I've only ever had two seeds fail and I noticed I overwatered the Jiffy Pellets when those failures happened.
I had my Master Kush auto in my 2x4 veg tent. I had to move her to my 4x4 flower tent with my finishing photo plants. She'll have to finish in 12/12 light. This auto was my first attempt at HFF, from start to finish. She is in a 7 gal. pot and I hand watered her. I messed up and used 70/30 coco/perlite, instead of 50/50 so I overwatered her for most of her life. She still faired pretty well. She's a huge plant but the edges of her leaves are slightly curled and her flowers are somewhat small. She was under an LED equivalent to 300 watt MH.
I have done pretty much everything imaginable wrong in my five years of growing cannabis. I haven't had a good system for growing so I'm stoked to have step-by-step instructions from Dr. Coco. I'm really excited to see what my plants can do when I follow a proven plan.
I'm hoping for 16 ounces from my four plants. I usually get about 12-14 ounces but my plants look like they've gone through hell by about mid-flower. I've never known how to water coco correctly. I sometimes apologize to the seeds right before I germinate because I know they'll be going through some tough times with me. I'm going with a more positive vibe this time...no apologizing to the seeds, just positive optimism.
16oz is doable in a 4x4 but it will come down to the light. Your description says "800w equivalent".. what is the true wattage?
I might have killed them already. I forgot to plug in the heat mat under the humidity dome. The dome was in the tent, in my garage all night and it got cold. It looks like growth stalled on the seed that had pushed past the surface. None of the other three seeds have broken the surface yet. It's too soon to tell. I'll wait and see if I have to replace the seeds.
Well, I didn't kill them. The last two broke through the surface and are doing fine.
I planted Afghan Kush and Gelato into their little seedling pots. The coco I use is already buffered. I pre-wet the coco with seedling strength nutrient water before I planted the pellets. These two plants are under a full-spectrum, 9watt LED light (equal to 100 watts). It's 12 inches away from the plants. I've never used this light for seedlings, I'll see how they like it. The two in the humidity dome are still both under a CFL.
The root of the last two seedlings came out the bottom of the Jiffy Pellet. They got planted in their pre-fertigated seedling pots. The oldest two plants get fertigated twice today (382 EC, 6.3ph) and the youngest two will be on that same schedule tomorrow.
I'm flipping them from 24hr light to 18/6, tonight. I had their light bulb 12" above and they were stretching. I downloaded a lux meter to my phone and lowered my lights to 6". All four plants are now under a full-spectrum, 9watt LED. Two plants per light. Lux is just over 13k, under each bulb.
the stretch up close:
I have a humidifier and a ceramic space heater in the tent. Humidity is around 75%-80%. Temp is around 70-75. A clip fan is blowing over the top of the plants. My tent's exhaust fan is on for fresh air exchange. Now I just gotta keep them happy and fatten them up.
edit: the LED bulbs were too dim (I don't think they were giving out 13k lux, as the phone app said). The plants kept stretching. so I switched them out for my HLG quantum board. I have it 18" away from the plants.
I edited my last post to say that I changed my light. The low-watt LED was way too dim. Since I didn't have enough individual fixtures for four CFL bulbs, I used my veg light (95 actual-watt LED quantum board). I was afraid of light burn, so I hung it at 20" which caused more stretching. I lowered it to the recommended veg height of 16" and they did fine after that.
I noticed the smaller plants leaning inward, which I assumed meant they were reaching for more light. I raised them up with jar rings to be even with tallest plant.
I've been fertigating twice a day for the past week. I slowly increased the EC at every feeding to reach an EC of 1000 yesterday. Today, I changed from seedling fertigation formula to early veg formula (I'm following Dr. Coco's nute chart).
I noticed two of my girls are showing signs of calcium deficiency (Llimmonet Haze and Kush have twisty leaves). I foliar fed all four plants with CalMag water. The next fertigation will be CalMag only for the two that are showing signs of deficiency.
They'll be ready to transplant soon. This is the most on-point grow I've had so far. I followed Dr. Coco's plan last grow but I didn't pay attention to all the details in the seedling stage and I didn't use a humidifier. I've mentioned this before but I also had them in 70/30 coco. This grow, with all the details coming together, is making me very happy.
Haven't been able to pot up yet. The Gelato plant is taking her sweet time. The other three plants have roots out the bottom, but none from Gelato. I think one problem is the seedling pots/bags they are in are too big so it's taking too long for the roots to fill up the bag. Next time I'll have to either plant with less coco in the bag or safety pin the bag to make it more narrow (I have a big stack of these seedling bags to use up).
The other problem slowing her down might be the CalMag deficiency. I think this has come up because I diluted the nute solution with regular water, rather than CalMag water. To fix this, I've done three foliar feeds with CalMag water. I also subbed one feeding a day, for two days with CalMag only at the same EC as the regular nute solution.
The Kush plant is looking a little deficient and sad. The GSCrack plant is drooping, which might be from too much humidity. I'm having trouble maintaining stable humidity. I've had a ceramic heater in the tent and that makes the temp and the humidity swing up and down. I'll be glad when it's warm enough so I can get rid of the heater.
I'm going to wait a couple more days and then just go ahead and pot up all four plants into their one gallon pots. Maybe I should fill the GSCrack pot with less coco than the other three, since she'll be behind? I'm thinking she'd have to make less of a root ball in a smaller pot and even out the next pot-up time frame.
The babies got their second potting up a couple of days ago. They look a bit rough from the calcium deficiency and probably the humidity swings. I decided against putting the smaller plants in less coco. I figured the root ball would be too small, going from less than a gallon to a five gallon on the next potting up. The larger plants will just have to wait until the smaller plants catch up.
I'm using one-gallon plastic, disposable grow bags. They have holes on the sides and the bottom for air and drainage. I've been using them for a while because they make it easy to repot, since I can cut them open. When I run out, I plan to get one gallon air pots with velcro.
This pic is after two days of growth. They didn't seem to have any shock from the potting up. The kush plant has some issues. She has some bumpy leaves and her new growth is curled. I thought the curled leaves might be wind burn, so I made the fan less intense.
Yesterday, the plants moved to Mid Veg nutes (on Dr. Coco's feeding schedule).
Ph ranges from 5.9-6.4
EC around 1200, runoff around 1200-1250
Fertigating twice a day
The Kush plant is looking grim. She's had bumpy, curled leaves for several days now. Her new growth is yellowish.
Looks like she's getting the beginning of holes in her larger leaves.
The other plants don't have the same curling, bumpy leaves as Kush does. Although, Llimonete Haze looks like she still might have calcium deficiency.
I have problems like this with every grow. My plants get symptoms that don't match the usual symptoms of the cannabis deficiencies I find online. I just guess at what's wrong or ignore the unidentifiable symptoms and try to fix any errors in my grow protocol. This time, I've gone crazy with foliar feeding. I've foliar fed with CalMag water. I foliar fed with probiotic to see if that would help. I foliar fed with diluted fertigation mixture yesterday. Today I foliar fed with kelp/fish fertilizer, as a hail mary.
I'm wondering if this is overwatering but the other plants are watered the same (twice a day, about ten hours apart). The inflow Ph (5.7-6.4) and EC (1200-1250) are in the right range. The outflow EC is in the right range. The lights aren't too close to the canopy. The only odd thing in their environment is the fluctuation in humidity and temp, due to the radiating heater in the tent.
Saturday, my plants got their last potting-up into their final 5 gallon containers. That was one week after their second potting-up. So they've been growing semi-descent, even with too many nutes and having too high an EC.
The roots on the Kush plant looked pretty good, inspite of her stress:
Sunday, I set up the Automatic watering system. I've been fine-tuning the timing and flow of the waterings. Man, I already love this thing! My plants get watered in seconds, rather than carrying buckets of fertigation fluid back and forth from my kitchen to the garage. I love the fact that I can time the waterings to get just the right amount of runoff. I'm going to save a lot of water, nutes and time with this system.
I hadn't done any cutting for mainlines since my plants were showing signs of stress. I gave my plants a couple of days to recover after the potting-up, then did the first cuts for their mainlines today. I've only mainlined my plants once before and that was a couple of years ago. So, of course, I made some mistakes. I took too many leaves from two of the plants. I accidentally cut one of the growth tips from the third node of the Kush plant, so I cut her down to the second node (she's also one of the plants that I took too many leaves from). It will be interesting to see how the over-cutting impacts the two plants.
The Gelato plant has some sort of mutation and had naturally mainlined herself:
I foliar sprayed all four plants after the cuts. The spray contained distilled water, probiotic, yucca extract and some Diamond Nectar. Hopefully that helps them recover, especially the plants that lost too many leaves.
I feel okay about making mistakes while following Dr. Coco's system. I can easily learn from my mistakes following a step-by-step system, rather than winging it like I used to. It was hard to identify what I was doing wrong before since I was semi-guessing about what steps to take and when. When I make mistakes now, I can identify what I did and most likely not make the same mistake next time since I'll be following the same steps every time.
The plants have grown well and filled out a bit since their first mainline cut.
I waited until both main stems grew out to four nodes, then I topped them to the third node (I think Kush got topped to the fourth). I'll top those two branches when they get to their second node. I need to go in my tent often and make sure the two main branches stay even, so neither branch gains dominance.
Gelato's two main branches are really thick. She had a mutation that split her main branches into a mainline, which is cool but it makes it difficult to do LST without pulling her main trunk apart. She started to split when I tied her branches down. I wrapped her with garden tape and I have garden wire supporting her.
My Kush plant is still struggling. I lowered the inflow EC to around 900-950 but she still appears to have too much nitrogen. Her trunk and branches are thin and she's growing slowly. Last night, I diluted her fertigaiton water with CalMag water. She perked up a bit. I'll dilute again, if necessary but I don't want to cause deficiency so I'll be conservative with that.
The CBD plant is also showing signs of too much nitrogen, with the tips of her leaves curled just a bit. I'm going to dilute her fertigation water in her feeding tonight. Since my plants are on an auto-water system, I dilute the fertigation by hand-watering some CalMag water. I add it at the same they get an auto feed.
(the hole in her leaf...if you can see it, is due to a pressure wound I accidentally gave her when I leaned on her leaf)
I was hoping for a six week veg time but that's happening. That's alright though, I'm happy they are looking well despite feeding them too much at first. My Kush plant needs some time to get things straight so the extra veg time will do her some good.