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Sea Of Green Grow

This grow is going to be a sea of green grow. I am running 16 plants and it is almost flip time. Since I'am the architect of my grow (software, and hardware) I decided to bend the rules of the matrix and run 28 hour days. Yep you read that correctly since I program my controls I can change the rules days are no longer 24 hours in my tents they are 28. The idea here is just to see if there is more growth or more biomass. From the research I have done suposedly I will not see a big increase in harvest but I will see reduced flip time. I am not aware anyone has tried this with Cannabis so we are witnessing a first here. So far we have stringy stems but I think that is more to the fact that the first week I was not giving them enough light (150uMol) now I got them hardened off at 1,000 - 1,200 uMol.

I am enriching CO2 using cheap diy fermentation process, but I am using gelatin to slow the fermentation process down. I am getting between 650 - 950 ppm. Fermentation slows down when the tent cools off and speeds up when it heats up. Supposedly using gelatin allows a batch 4 cups water 4 cups sugar, 3 packets gelatin (not the JELLO brand silly just straight gelatin) slows the process down enough that a charge will last a month. I am highly skeptical of this but hey might as well try it.  The weight of 4 cups sugar is around 800 grams so a fermentation process should yeild 15.4 grams co2 for every 10 grams of sugar. So I should get 1.2KG of co2 or ~2lbs of CO2. I think I am going to need more CO2. I am in tents so I don't know if I really want to waste money enriching my house with CO2 using the precise tank method. I would need two cylinders, and two regulators. I have the sensors, and controls but I just cannot see spending 500 bucks to just try CO2, and have it just evaporate out of the tent everytime the exhaust fan runs to cool or remove humidity from the tent and later on in the grow that will become more and more of a problem as the fans will have to dump more and more humidity.

One other change is that my fertigation system is no longer based on timers. It is using fancy TDR moisture sensors, these sense how wet the media is and fertigates based on dryback. I found a source of cheap TDR (TIME DOMAIN REFLECTANCE) sensors, and these things so far are awesome! They work by sending a 200mhz wave down thier wave guide antena (3 forks that penitrate the media) and measuring how long it takes for that wave to be reflected back. The time difference determines the bulk capacitance of the media. Water has high capacitance it is 80x more capacitive than coco and 85x more capacitive than air. The trick here is to use a high enough frequency so you don't polarize the nutrient water in the media. This is why cheap capacitive soil sensors suck. I did try a head to head TDR and capacitive soil sensor last grow. The cheap capacitive sensors are highly sensitive to the EC of nutrient solution. They operate in the 10khz to 1.1mhz range at this frequency it polarizes the nutrient solution and causes errors of 10-50% depending on the bulk EC of the media. So yes it would do fine watering a plant and keep it from drying out but for precision fertigation it doesn't work. Especially as your changing the ec and composition of the nutrient solution as your growing. I also experimented with precision stressing of the plants by controlling the drybacks and monitoring the runoff ec. This worked far better than my wildest dream, my last harvest is out of this world as far as terps, and potency. The TDR sensors also measure bulk ec, and media temperature. This allows you to "estimate" the pore EC of the media. I'am still on the fence about how well this is working. The runoff EC and the Pore EC seem to have a relationship but also the VWC (Volume Water Content) of the media seems to affect the Pore EC. I would expect the Pore EC to rise as the VWC decreses in the media but that is not what is being reported by the Pore EC calculation. However stragely enough the Pore EC does follow the runoff EC it is within 10% most the time. Therfore I am not giving up on it yet as I tweak and tune the polynomial all this from a $35 sensor this type of sensor for the "professional" systems costs 10-20x more. So I am quite happy with it, but I will eventually have to test drive the "professional" sensor to compare results. I am going to hop on my phone and in the next post we can see some pictures of what is going on in the tent. Or join the Smotpoker Humpdaze show to see it live in person. Also a shout out to Dr. MJ Coco for being a gracious host, and allowing us to have these journals. 

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Posted : 04/22/2024 4:49 pm Big Mike ATX liked

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See how stringy the stems are 150uMol is not enough lite but notice the tight node spacing after the first set of true leaves.

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the cloudy fermentation is without gelatin the one with the clear layer is with gelatin. So it is slowing down the fermentation process as the yeast has to also work thru the gelatin mud. 

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this is the TDR moisture sensor plugged into the plant media. I have two of them for redundancy. Calibration was a pita but it seems to be worth it

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Posted : 04/22/2024 5:06 pm Big Mike ATX liked
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Well we have flipped into flower let’s look at the plants and see how they are growing.

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Posted : 05/02/2024 8:21 am
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They are growing up nicely this is calendar day 23 of the grow, and solar day 19. What is a solar day, well since this the light cycle is based off 28 hours I am calling one day in the plants life cycle a solar day. 

So far things are going well except I made one mistake or oversight if you will. I didn't compute the amount of water 16 plants will consume. They are drinking about 3 gallons a day, and they aren't exactly big plants yet.

If you got this far let's talk about a 28hour light cycle. I am starting to see some effects from this part of the experiment. What I have noticed is that they are growing faster. Just looking at them they are about 10-20% larger than plants in a 24 hour cycle. However I don't think this is a good metric since I would have to run clones of the same plants some in 24 hour days and some in 28 hour days.  Keep in mind the smaller plants are only 16 calendar days old. The large plants are the true 23 calendar days old. 

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Posted : 05/02/2024 9:52 am

The Watering system, and Pore EC. I am starting to see some fruits here, the runoff EC and pore EC are lining up, but the Pore EC is turning out to be a better measurement. Since it is in situ (in the actual media being measured) it is showing all sorts of neat things. I have 4 of these sensors in my system now. In the fabric pot with the biggest plant I put two sensors in it one 2 " from the bottom of the pot, and one 2" from the top of the pot. I am seeing the top of the pot is always quite a bit drier (evaperation) and contains a higher ec. The bottom of the pot is very wet, and has very low ec. The bottom sensor shows that there is a quicker dryback than the top sensor. My therory here is that the roots are taking most the water from the bottom of the pot, since it has lower ec, and more available water. The bottom sensor is used to control when fertigations occur. The top media sensor will report 100% saturation then about 15 minutes later settles down to 65% saturation then just flatlines it might loose about 5% saturation untill next fertigation. I think gravity is pulling the water down, lower into the pot. The bottom of the pot will report about 105% right after a fertigation then 15 minutes later it  settles down into 100% saturation then over the next 4 hours it drops to 90% saturation, and triggers another fertigation event. It is very regular but you can see that the times between fertigation events are decreasing. At first it took a day to dry back to 90% now it is happening around every 4 hours, depending on if the lights are on. 

Finally onto the poor mans CO2 generator. The gelatin seems to work but the container size is very important, or more the shape. In a tall cylinder 2 litter bottle the CO2 generator craps out in about 3 - 7 days. In a gallon jug the CO2 is still going after 8 days. However it is starting to tapper off. I think this is becuase the surface area of the gallon jug is more spread out. As the yeast ferments the sugars it creates alchol, and that eventually poisions the yeast and fermintation stops as the yeast dies out. Next I am going to try a 2 gallon jug on it's side, I think that will have a lot of surface area and spread out the reaction and slow down the poisioning of the yeast. I hope to see about 20 days from that fermentation process. 

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Posted : 05/02/2024 10:44 am

Okay we have some real hard data here, and some pictures. 28 hour light cycles result in short stalky plants. 

Lets look at the size of the fan leaves they are huge not just some huge ones almost all are very large here are some pictures showing off the leaf size next to my hand. 

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Now all these plants are very short in stature, I am going to have to do a trim job because the cannopy is very dense. Here are some general pictures these are 1 gallon grow baggies, so they are not very tall. 

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This is calendar day 28, solar day 23. Look at how short these plants are they are compact, but yet they have full cannopies. 

Here is what I call the runt plant this plant is as old as the oldest plant but it's seed was damaged. It is stunted in height but it still is growing large leafs. @CrispyWannabe this is the runty plant your following in this grow. 

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This one since it is runty it's media conditions are being monitored by the control system. It is taking up nutes and water but obvioulsy it isn't as thirsty and hungry as the tallest keystone plant. 

All in all would I recomend this light cycle to another grower? The answer is it depends, if your trying to grow short stocky plants this seems to be an effective way of doing so. The DLI if you look at a 28 hour day there is more potential hours of light. I am not observing pistles yet, so my therory that they would transition faster does not appear to be happening. They are in the bolt cycle but they are not bolting up, they are bulking instead. Now it is not all beer and skittles here there is the fact that the light cycle is odd to manage as every day the lights turn on and off at different times. I have to look at a tablet to know if it is safe to open the tents. If your goal is to grow sea of green style I think this is a winner winner chicken dinner. I am already having to think about trimming the plants, also I have been monitoring brix levels and the sugars are not really high on these plants pushing 3-5.6 on the brix meter. 3-5.6 is not a very good number for brix they need more nutrients. I am noticing they are really draining the coco dry of nutrients in the runoff. I think my growth rate is being limited by the nutrients I am supplying them. Let's look at one plant that is showing some defficencies look at the yellowing of the leaves. 

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This plant is looking like it wants more nitrogen, and more of everything (it is hard to see the yellow leaves they are more pronouced). Inflow ec is 1000 uS but the group runoff is 158-200  uS. This is crazy low,  I am going to give 25% more of everything, and let the inflow ec rise to 1400 uS. That is very high for a grow it is rare that I feed at that high of an ec without runoff ec becoming an issue.

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Posted : 05/07/2024 8:57 am

I just did a manual runoff collection and no the runoff is not at 140 it came back as 938 uS. I guess my runoff collection device is malfunctioning, and doesn't work correctly. I will have to make some modifications I think it isn't collecting enough of a runoff sample to properly measure it. 

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Posted : 05/09/2024 12:07 pm

About to hit the road, so let's see some pictures. Some plants are starting to show pistles, so we are go for fems. It just sucks that I am going to probably be gone for the next few weeks. I will have to have someone keep an eye out for males. 

 

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Stout little plants, there is 8 in each tent, I just trimmed up the final shoots only left the top 2 nodes for flowering. I did top them once so each plant should produce 4 big colas! Brix is up at 13 so I am happy with that level, and for now I got my fungus gnats under control. Bascillius to the rescue. 

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Posted : 05/16/2024 7:33 am

It's been too long since my last post. A lot has happened in the tent since the last update. I haven't seen these plants except for photos from the cameras. The cameras are burried in the plants so the photos are not all that good. So we have had a few hardships since I last posted. I have been gone for about 2 weeks. About a week ago my doser lost power, and went offline. I do not have the ability to make batches or even fill the resivor with water. To mitigate this dire situation I lowered the light output to 50% in both tents. I also cranked up the humidity to about 73%, this slowed down the plants quite a bit. I need to conserve water since I am officially in a drought condition. I have my roomate filling up the mix tank every other day with 3 gallons of water so I can give them minimal amounts of water and keep them going. They don't look bad it's just that I am leaving growth on the table, with low lights. However even if I didn't have that problem my plants are sucking all the CO2 out of the air in the house. We live in Arizona so out houses are a bit more insulated and sealed than an average house. My roomate is working 2 shifts so there is nobody at home to make CO2. I just ordered a CO2 tank, kit and regulator today so when I make it home tomorrow, and get the doser back online I can enrich my atmosphere with CO2 I am not going to add CO2 to increase growth I am just going to suplement it to about 400 ppm. Which is what it is when there is a person home all the time. Tomorrow or Friday I will post some live pics as I will be home. 

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Posted : 05/29/2024 12:53 pm

Okay I promissed pictures and here they are. These plants have huge internodal spacing these plants are crazy huge spacing.

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I put a net on these plants as some of them stretched all the way upto the light. 

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I almost want to start over, this is not the grow that I wanted but it is the grow that I got.

We do have flower I culled 4 plants 2 were males and 2 were just not worth the light and nutrients. 

Here is some flower porn. 

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Here is the crazy bending I had to do to get these plants to a more manageable height.

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This grow has not gone to plan at all, I am quite disapointed with the shape of the plants, and flower density. Equipment failures will do this. It took me 10 days to repair the failure, and this is the price I pay leggy sparce plants.  Most growers would have dead plants so I need to keep my dissapointment in check. 

If I could put up a poll I would ask should I just fold my cards and start over? Well I don't want to waste all the watts and nutrients for nothing. 

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Posted : 06/05/2024 12:18 pm Big Mike ATX liked
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Okay time for the weekly update, after consulting with @birkshirebud about my plants. He made a few suggestions last week. His first suggestion was trim up the plants and see what you think about them. The second suggestion was to cull some plants, and finally on the Smot & Crispy humpdazed and confused show he suggested taking some clones. Well I did items 1 & 2 I trimed everything up to get rid of the larf, and the tallest plants just looked like sad Charley Brown christmas trees. There were several plants that were not as tall, I think they were CO2 deficent my daytime CO2 was plumeting to 250 ppms. The plants farthest from the air inlet were small, so they got a new lease on life. All the really bolted tall plants got culled. So the shorter ones now are the stars of the show. Let's see how they are doing. 

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As you can see the canopy density is far far better I would like more cannopy but givin this grows challenges I will take it.  The flowers are just starting to come in and I think we are comming to the end of the bolt phase. 

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So this grow started off with 16 plants and now it's down to 6. I am going to start supplementing some 660nm light, and start with crop steering. Crop steering will consist of more red light, precission drybacks and cooler temperatures. 

So far I am un-impressed with the 28 hour days. I think even if I didn't have my system malfunction and had to turn down the lights I would have taller plants than I want. I was hoping that the extra energy the plants had would goto bulking out instead of bolting up. Only way to know these things is to try them. Next grow will be returned to planet earth and 24 hour light cycles. 

I do have some observations about the 28 hour light cycle however that might prove intresting. 

1) The plant's will flower under a different light regimine. 28 hour days if you cut back the lights to 14/14 on/off they will flower just like a 24 hour day with 12/12 lighting. 

2) The extra 2 hours does cause the plants to grow bigger. With proper training this could be used to fill up a large tent with fewer plants. 

3) Just because the lights are on and off longer it doesn't change the timing of things like flipping from vegging to flowering. In matter of fact it slows things down relative to a 24 hour day. For example it took 12 solar days to transition the plants from veg to flowering which is 14 24 hour earth days or calendar days. The plants seem to be aware of the number of light cycles they experience, and regulate themselves accordingly. So I am anticipating that 60 days of flowering under the 28 hour regiment will equate to 66 calendar days (24 hour days).  Now with that being said I will anticipate a bigger harvest due to the extra time they will flower. Normally I would start seeing the plants scenesceing, at this time in the grow under 24 hour lighting they would be day 42 in flower. However the pictures show they think that is day 36 of flower. Which is how many solar days they been under 14/14 hours of light. 

My final thoughts for this post are that since they will have more collective time under the light I hope that I will get a larger yeild. I would not recomend at this time a 28 hour day to anyone. It is too much of a pain to manage, with the lights on and lights off times shifting every day. I am not seeing any growth that I couldn't get with a longer veg cycle (and in reality I did have a longer veg cycle). The 28 hour day is a way to extend a grow cycle, because the plants appear to be going longer since their days are longer relative to a 24 hour day. However I am just not seeing the value add here, and I was hoping I could patent a 28 hour day timer but no it wouldn't add much if any value to a grow. The trend is that the 28 hour day can extend a plants grow so it exposes the plants to a higher total DLI for the entire grow since the plants experience less day light cycles relative to a 24 hour day. When this experiment was first started Dr MJ Coco suggested that this might be one of the possible outcomes. This doesn't save time and relative to a normal grow it doesn't actually grow bigger plants. I expect I might see a little bump in the harvest size but since I had a malfunction that will be very hard to quantify. 

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Posted : 06/12/2024 11:19 am

I have added about 30 watts of 660nm lights to increase the ppfd but I cut back my white lights a little bit to keep the ppfd the same. I am just looking to shed some watts about 20watts. That keeps me from having to turn down the ac to a lower setting while keeping the temps the same or lower. This is working well, and I am happy with the expediture. 

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Posted : 06/17/2024 7:07 pm

Well the flowers are filling out we are about 2 solar weeks out from harvest or 18 days for those of us on the 24 hour earth schedule. These plants will yield but this isn't going to be a blockbuster harvest. The 660nm reds are working out great temps are staying stable at max 81f and avg of 79.8f. The plants are bulking up as we will see in the photos. I will be heading out next week to a job for the next month I will have to make a trip home to harvest one weekend. I will probably shut down the system until September  as my work schedule will be very busy the next few months.

Let's see some pictures of the progress in the tent. 

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It takes about a week to recycle the tent and get new seeds started. On my next grow I am going to change up the automated controls. I have been working on a smaller quieter system, that reduces power. I have been growing with this home brew automation system for the past year. It is starting to show it's age, and well it's McGuyver engineering. I need something that is a bit more integrated. I also need a system that is easier and quicker to flip. My dosing system has made over 600 gallons of nutrients in the past year.  My fertigation system has watered over 1800 cycles, and the pumps I chose for this are wearing out their pressure switches. 

The goals of the automation system were to allow me to grow without being physically present to do mundane things like making nutrients, watering the plants, and controlling the enviroment. I have tried many sensors, runoff collection systems, and the likes. The main learning experience is what sensors go the distance. Now that I know that I need to work on simplicity, and elegance. Looking at my wire mess is not something that an average grower would want to deal with. The complexity is too much I am looking at a bus system that only requires one cable to be daisy chained for controls. I also have decided on setting up each tent with it's own resivor. I want to be able to keep 2 tents in different stages of growth. 

My next system will be modular, I am making individual components that can be mixed and matched to accomodate the system I will be building. I have learned alot in the past year, and I have to thank the community for thier moral and immoral support. 

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Posted : 06/19/2024 6:42 am