Stealth Cabinet 1.0
I'm using a SuperCloset stealth grow cabinet for my first grow that came with most everything I needed to get started. A couple days after I purchased the cabinet an acquaintance was going to throw away a bunch of clones that were healthy and happy (they weren't going to be used in his grow) so I took them in. The cabinet wasn't set to arrive for 4 to 5 weeks so my mission was to just keep them alive and I guess stunted in a sense. I managed to keep them alive even though I was not getting the watering right, feeding, EC, etc. Now that the cabinet is here I am prepared for my first grow (I've done A LOT of reading in the last few weeks). I transplanted them from 1 gal. plastic pots to 3 gal. fabric pots. They came in straight coco so I'm growing in coco. I mixed perlite with the coco to get a 75% coco 25% perlite ratio. Their EC has been really volatile and I was definitely having trouble with that part, but now I have the runoff EC within the acceptable range so I expect to keep it stabilized going forward. I have four plants in the flowering chamber and am running three different strains. I also have the same amount of plants/ strains in the germination/ veg chamber below. I guess I'm keeping them as mothers for now. During transplant I noticed that the two Mac & Cheese (M&C) strains root system was present, but genuinely underwhelming. The one Mr. C strain had a much better root system with them going all around the coco. Lastly, my one Kali Mist (KM) strain had exceptional root structure, much like I've seen in advanced growers journal photos. For the two M&C plants, I've utilized LST and tied them to the side of the pot to even out their canopy. I was hoping this would be more efficient than topping or super cropping since these plants don't have the best root system. For the Mr. C and KM, which were a bit taller than the M&C, I simply twist tied them to my net scrog that came with the cabinet. They also are already at half the distance to the light so I'm trying to have them continue to spread out rather than up. I was really hoping I can send them to flower within a week, however I do understand that may not be possible. I honestly don't really expect much from this first harvest. The plants were stalled out for weeks, I didn't get to train them from seedling or even young clone, they had a touch of nutrient burn, and then lockout. Unfortunately they've got a noob caretaker that read too much and was advised to do different things; I don't expect the best performance ever here, but I would like a final act as soon as possible to move on to the 2.0 version of this journey. I'm using Canna brand coco nutrients, along with Alliance Biologics. Hand watering (unfortunately with hard water) for now.
Questions for you pros...
- Do you think they could go to flower soon?
- Would once a day some days/ twice a day other days be enough watering for my 3 gal. smart pots?
- Is there a way to get the roots on my lackluster M&C strains to improve?
- Germ/ veg chamber below is holding the "moms" I have under two T5 lights that are not on a switch. Should I get them on one or are they ok with 24/0 schedule?
- If I didn't want to keep any of the moms as moms in that chamber, could I keep them in their veg state while this first grow completes itself and then flower those in a couple months when I'm ready to do another grow?
It has been two days since transplant and four days in the cabinet and I think all the ladies are doing great. There are lots of new growth tips and they look healthy for the most part. My one Kali Mist leaves are.. drooping.
I believe she is wanting more water, this is the plant with the best root ball of the four plants. Mac & Cheese #1 had a couple fan leaves also starting to droop like KM. The other two are popping!
I have a couple leaves on a couple plants that I believe are showing signs of a calcium deficiency.
I wasn't sure if I'd need a cal-mag nutrient because where I live the water is quite hard. TDS in the tap water has been running around 600ppm; which, to my understanding is not great to be using. I'm trying to work out a solution to run an RO filter. Until then, gotta work with what you got right? I digress, I figured there would be enough calcium in the water, it being that high.. but I guess not. To the garden store I go tomorrow. I think my biggest challenge right now is figuring out if I'm supposed to give it my Canna Nutrient line in every application of water or just some. I've read that it should be every one. I've read every other one. I've read and been told by local growers to only do once a week, water for every other propagation. It's really quite confusing to know which is right. I also am having trouble getting the humidity up past 30%. Not only is the water hard here, it's also extremely dry year round. I'm currently using a towel wick (large cup of water with a towel hanging a quarter of the way in it). That bumped me up from 27-29% to 36-40%. I was recommended to take a layer of my perlite in a container with some water, that'll it probably produce better humidity so I'm going to try that tomorrow. My next focus is to get myself a reservoir because keeping up with the watering and having to ph and add nutes and measure EC every day is taking up a lot of my time. I feel like having even only a 5 gal bucket reservoir of ph balanced water that I can pull from to add my nutes would save me time. I've also read that keeping the water at a specific temperature stabilizes the ph so a reservoir would allow me to do so.
I have picked up cal-mag to add to the nutrient mix. The plants have had it for almost 48 hours now. I feel like there has been improvement in the plants overall health since I have started to regulate their fertigation. I was nervous about nute burn because I am a new mom and don't know any better. After some research in deficiencies I think I am confident that after another day or so of consistent 2x a day fertigation I will see major improvement in color. As far as growth goes, they are doing great and if I can get them looking a little better.. I feel I am ready to switch them to 12/12. Today's feeding went in at 1140 PPM (Hanna) and pH of 6.0.
Mr. C (she is doing the best of all of them) run-off was perfect (hence why she is #1) at 1270
KM run-off was lower than feed 985 PPM. I swear I read that the run-off reading lower is an anomaly and can't be so I am really confused by this. Awaiting advice from established growers and research. Going back to the understanding EC, PPM article that is provided on this site with hope of figuring this out. She is the one that had the most discoloration and I think she is looking a bit better.
M&C#1 run-off was even lower than KM!! 😫 What is happening with this! 753 PPM. The color on her could be better. She had my second favorite canopy until I accidentally snapped the best looking soon to be cola yesterday while rearranging their positions/ training them 😭. I attempted to graft it back on (what a noob trying to graft in their first grow 😝 ), but I don't think it is going to take (surprise, surprise).
M&C#2 run-off was 1100 so I think it's good even though technically it is lower than the 1140 that went to it? The color says deficiency to me so we'll see what comes in the next day or two.
I have not yet had success with making a DIY reservoir with a drain hose. I think I definitely butchered the hole now for the size grommet and elbow I have, but we'll see. I really just need to go to home depot for a couple different size grommets.. worse case scenario a size up on the elbow? I don't know.. may be wiser to not use that bucket for water and start over again with a new 5 gal bucket. I'd like to get it right before actually setting up a 20 gal reservoir for an automatic halo feed that I am going to build out. I believe once I can set up an appropriate amount of fertigating (which to my understanding is 2x - 3x a day for coco in 3 gal pots) I will not have these deficiencies that I believe are currently occurring.
I'd like to switch them to 12/12 and start flowering maybe Monday if they are looking better in color. They have pretty much filled their growing space, I don't have room for them to get much bigger (IMO).
Well these ladies are doing ok. I was advised to flush them, which I did, to get the EC down. It could still be a little lower, however, I feel confident that my nutrient amounts are now where they should be and the EC still being a bit high is because my water situation is still not ideal. I am working on the solution, however, I have been sick the last few days so everything has been on a standstill beyond fertigating those ladies. Oh how I wish I had already set up an automatic watering system. Switched the ladies to 12/12 last night... I'm nervous and excited and hoping that everything I am doing is ok. I guess we'll see soon enough. I still need to transfer the mom's I have in the lower chamber to the smart pots I bought and probably give them a good trimming.. A couple of them are over max height for that lower chamber. Hoping I feel better tomorrow enough to do that and also to see some improvement in the ladies that have switched to flowering.
We are cooking with gas folks! I finally figured out how to connect my reverse osmosis (RO) filter to a water source to filter me some actually healthy water. I hijacked my cold water source from my bathroom sink, then when I was done filling a reservoir and some water for the house to drink from, I disconnected the filter and hooked back up the sink connection. Pain in the ass no doubt.. but my ladies will finally be able to thrive.
I've been sick with pneumonia, which made the already challenging task of keeping those ladies healthy (thanks to unhealthy water) even harder! Although I was really struggling, they are so much better than they were and that was still before I got this RO H2O. Here's a lil picture comparison for you.
Mac & Cheese #1
Mac & Cheese #2
So much better! Especially that Kali Mist, she's stunning. So basically what I did was take Canna's feeding recommendation as what it should get for one week and divided that amount by 14 (2 feedings a day, 7 days a week) to know what I wanted it to get per each feeding since I had been watering by hand. Now I've got to figure it out all over again because I am using water that is completely different. My tap water is around 900ppm (Hanna), with a brand new filter in the fridge the "filtered" water is 530-630 ppm (Hanna), and now my RO water is 43ppm (Hanna). So I think I will need to increase the amount of each nutrients mLs in order to get my ppm up to what it should be. Either that or add some straight tap water, but really after all this, I want nothing to do with our tap water. I'm even reporting our water quality to various agencies and news outlets because it's no where near what is considered drinkable. Anyway I digress... I'm finally feeling a bit better. My ladies are almost through their second week of flower and have exactly what they need to thrive. Things are looking up fam! Here's a close up of one of Mr. C's growth tips to leave you with
*long drawn out sigh* Well I was really hoping to be fully automatic and loving life right now, but that is so not the case. The first problem is that the self draining saucers did not work out. I have zero room for a bucket in the flowering chamber.. I thought I could run the tube into my port between the upper and lower chamber and have the water drain into a bucket below but the lines have to go back up above their starting level to get into the port before dropping down so the draining effect wasn't really working and then the tube came unattached from the washer and.. yeah it just didn't work. It's not a tent that is really easy to just put a hole in the wall for tubing, it's a metal cabinet with fairly thick walls. So that was all extremely frustrating, created a mess, a waste of time, and even worse a waste of money since I can't use those saucers or return them with holes in them.
Second problem I think can be worked around, it better be at least, or I might just put a stick of dynamite in the cabinet and call it a day. I set up the automatic watering system: halos and tubing e.t.c and I'm getting leaks where the vinyl tubing connects to the tee connectors. I know this is likely because I couldn't get the vinyl tubing all the way back on the tee, but if I can't get it on, there's really not a lot I can do about that. So I'm not sure if I should grab my epoxy and try to use that as a seal or if there is some sort of plumber's tape and I can wrap it around those sections super tight or electrical tape.. ugh. I am starting to feel like growing in coco is not going to work between all of the issues with getting them water 2-3x a day, not having draining saucers and having to vacuum out water all the time. I am pretty close to wanting nothing to do with growing because of these things. I can't have a life or job outside of my house in the slightest bit if this is how the system has to run. I am gonna have to figure out a way to get through another 6 weeks of flowering and try and not be too upset about the fact that I'll have wasted a few hundred dollars trying to set up a coco grow system.
Watering system is fixed. I managed to stop the leaks and then my poly tubing mainline wouldn't stay connected to the pump, it's just not snug around the nozzle, so I switched the mainline tubing over to the vinyl and it is working now. I think that if you're using a metal cabinet like I am for growing, hand watering is going to be your best option as far as irrigation options go. I also think that if you need to water by hand, soil is your best option as far as medium goes. After these ladies flower I'll make the switch and see if that goes smoother than this has gone.
So now to figure out.. height of halos, should they be pushed all the way down to the top of the soil? Should they be a half inch above the soil? More? I read that they have a more even spread of water in the medium, but it doesn't look that way? I don't know. Lastly for my reservoir... it said you can use good bacteria instead of H202.. a product called Hydroguard I think? Well I have a product, Alliance Biologics that is a "blend of beneficial plant growth- promoting bacteria" so.. does that work or no not the same bacteria? Solve one problem and have 3 other problems jump up 😓.. but them ladies sure are looking good though!
Well I have to say.. their growth and health is stunning since getting the automatic watering system set up and running. I did some supercropping this morning. One last attempt at evening out the canopy and giving the colas more space before these buds fully develop. So far Mr. C is leading the pack for bud development. Her buds are here and she seems like she just can't wait to fill them in.
The second best bud formation is actually coming from the two Mac & Cheese plants. I was a little surprised by this since I was advised that this strain is a harder one to grow.
The last to develop is my Kali Mist. She's still not opening up these tips, but the pistols are starting to show.
I feel pretty settled finally. I'm a bit nervous about my reservoir, that maybe my beneficial bacteria isn't working or I need to add more of it, maybe less. The instructions on the bottle say to use within 24 hours of diluting, I wonder if it makes a difference that it's being circulated by the air stones in the reservoir. I've been monitoring the EC and pH daily to make adjustments. It's been fairly stable. One day the EC was a touch higher than it should be and the next day the pH was a slight bit higher. I'm wondering if I should be switching their nutrient schedule to the next phase of flowering since the buds are developing on most of these ladies. Of course the one Kali Mist doesn't have the buds like the other plants so if I should switch do I turn off KM halo and hand water her a different nutrient schedule? They look so much better than they did.
Well things are growing right along here. It's so much easier since setting up a reservoir and a system that allows me to water from anywhere. I don't have much to do besides watch it grow and drain water from trays. They look beautiful and seem to be coming along fine. Having some trouble spacing out certain parts of the canopy, but I didn't get to train and shape them from the very beginning. I am trying to get the canopy lower because it's getting closer and closer to the light, but it's not burning the leaves at all. Here's some updated pictures as week 2 of flower comes to an end and we start to head into week 3.
Mr. C is doing the best, her buds are developing the fastest. They smell sweet and I'm really excited to see how they continue to develop.
The Mac & Cheese strains are second in growth and I'm most excited for their orange hairs
Kali Mist buds are the slowest to develop, but they look promising!
Well, it has been quite some time since my last update. Not really much to report while mid flower besides adjusting the nutrients according to the Canna schedule I've been going along with. Last week was week 4 of flower and they were given their one week of PK 13/14. They have been doing great, I've done my best to spread out the canopy as evenly as possible and trim it correctly. Because I'm so new to this I don't know what I should keep or get rid of and I probably leave stuff that can be gotten rid of.
Mr. C has great cola structure I think and smells so freaking good, I'm stoked..
Mac & Cheese #1 & #2 are doing great as well. #2 has more colas than #1, but they also smell incredible and have orange hairs that look really funky awesome..
Kali Mist doesn't quite have the bud development the others have. I totally understand some plants need more or less care than others. I've found it a challenge to accommodate an individual plant while running a reservoir that feeds them all. Her buds smell completely different than the others and I really enjoy it. Hopefully she produces just fine..
I transplanted the other four plants I've been keeping as moms in the veg chamber below from 1 gal plastic pots to 1 gal fabric pots. Since the fabric pot was wider and a little shorter I needed some more medium. I have to say I'm not the biggest fan of the amount of water that gets wasted with my current set up. Now I haven't grown with just soil yet, but from what I can tell coco goes through so much more water than soil would. Plus I'm using an RO filter which has a waste water line so.. I feel like it adds up to quite a bit of wasted water and it's not an infinite resource so.. I grabbed soil to fill the 1 gal fabric pots extra space with in hopes that as I make the medium more soil, it maybe won't require water as often. It does require more to achieve runoff, but not that much more. I'm now watering those every every other day for the most part. I transplanted them a couple weeks ago and the roots have come through quite nicely on the Mac & Cheese moms
they also got a good topping and clean up as they were grown to the top of the chamber right up against the T5s.
Mr. C had better roots than Kali Mist, but not on that Mac & Cheese level..
Kali Mist roots aren't popping like the others, but I'm sure she's just fine.
I noticed a slight deficiency in a couple of the moms so I've lowered their feed EC a bit and see how they respond. I hadn't really thought about how my mom plants would be on a different NER and EC than the water running out of my reservoir and was giving them that water, just mixed with regular water to hike the EC down a bunch. I figured it could be a fun little experiment for my first time grows to be giving them tiny amounts of nutrients they wouldn't be typically getting at this stage and see if they produce just fine or maybe even better than this first run. I am going to grow those four plants out rather than keep them as I had originally intended. I would like to grow in soil rather than coco for water consumption and waste purposes alone. Other than that, I really like the medium's potential. I need to figure out what watering will be like for when I transplant those up to the 3 gal fabric pots my flowering plants are in now. I want to fill with soil so the medium composition would be about 1 gal coco core I guess with 2 gal soil around it to fill the pot.
Everything has been going great really besides the fact that I keep forgetting to put gloves on while trimming or taking pictures or observing and my fingers get so insanely sticky it blows my mind.. I mean, I barely touch them. I also need to wear long sleeve shirt because I had a breakout during my first good trim and also then my arms get crazy sticky. But yeah, that's all for now! Thanks for following along 😊
Yesterday I was doing my weekly reservoir cleaning and some plant maintenance when I discovered a small patch of white mold like growth on the coco near the edge of the pot. So I turned off the light briefly to take some photos and discovered that the perlite on the top layer was all green covered in algae. You should have seen my face! 😲 So I snapped some pictures and went into a flurry of research and messages to grow pros worried I had a problem on my hands just weeks before harvest. Turns out that there is beneficial mold that can grow on healthy root systems and the algae isn't really a problem either. I've moved my 4" fan down below the canopy and am going to purchase another to run a fan above and below the canopy. Other than that they look pretty good.. hoping they fatten up a bit before harvest. Maybe next week (week 7) I'll give them a final extra healthy dose of bloom. I need to order my magnifying lens for my camera so I'm able to look for the change in the trichomes and be sure I'm ready for harvest. Probably should settle on what I'll do to dry the harvest. I was going to get a drying rack, the mesh one that hangs with zippered openings for each section. This way I could hang that in my closest and switch those moms over to the flowering chamber, maybe give them a few days to adjust to the KIND LED from the T5s before switching them to flower. I want as little down time as possible in between flower cycles. Probably should start practicing cutting and rooting clones while I have the opportunity. Here's some pictures for the week. Enjoy!