GARDEN FEVER (Part IV) Growing Culture

Several months ago I placed seedlings in an all-water system. I have ended that experiment for now, because I have not been able to bring the oxygen levels up, and the roots are drowning. In addition there were pH and some nutrient problems. Right now, the plantlets are in a sorry state. I plan on bringing these sickly specimens back to health and flower them within 30 days.

Here’s how I revised the system: I cut the polystyrene foam sheet in half and filled the 64 holes with the best plants, They remained in 6” centers, then laid the sheet on a bed of hydrocoral that fills a 4’ x 4’ x 6” tray, which is resting on nine inverted planting containers. I installed an overflow drain with a tube connected to it and a bottom drain on its side that also drains into a tube. Both tubes flow into a 40-gallon reservoir sitting to the side of the tray.

The submersible pump is controlled by a timer that is set to go on one of every three minutes throughout the day. The light is being kept on 20 hours per day. We’ll see how the plants do in the new environment.

Meanwhile, the plants in the greenhouse are doing very well. The top buds were approaching the ceiling, but I bent them or clipped them to avoid it and to encourage top growth of the strong side buds.

The small branches with tiny buds were removed, so that they would not thwart growth of the larger top buds. This opens up the space so there’s less humidity and more light getting to the important buds and their supporting leaves. All of these plants are being grown hydroponically. The plants in the back are in planting mix and watered using a wick system supplemented by drip watering from the reservoir twice a day, supplying the plants with about 10 ounces of water daily. The plants in the front are planted in hydrocoral in eight 8” high plastic colanders sitting half submerged in water. These plants are also irrigated by a constant drip.

The plants are in their second to third week of flowering. In the next week I’m going to install blackout curtains to speed up flowering by allowing the plants only 11 hours of light daily. I hope to harvest in six weeks, at the end of September.

The outdoor garden is in a 2’ x 4’ hydroponic tray with 1.5 gallon containers filled with hydrocoral. They are sitting in the tray with a constant drip irrigation system. They get about five hours of direct sun and bright light the rest of the day. In addition, they receive light reflected from the white wall behind them. These plants are in the first stage of flowering. To speed up the flowering process, I plan to start using light deprivation in the coming week, helping the plants to ripen by mid-September, while the days are sunny and warm, avoiding the iffy weather later in the season.

 

The plants in the greenhouse. Small lights turn on automatically early in the morning and then again in late afternoon to supplement the limited natural light.

Lollipopping a plant, or removing the lower portions and smaller buds.

The greenhouse in direct sunlight with the plants.

Early budding on the ER Super-Bud plants, 2-3 weeks into flowering.

The greenhouse plants in a recirculating drip system. They get direct sun as well as light reflected from the wall behind them. Notice the roots coming out of the colander.

The outdoor system—plants are thriving and in the early stages of flowering.

 

TIP OF THE MONTH

An easy way to grow some bud in autumn is to place plants in an unobstructed, south-facing window. The sun is at an oblique angle, rather than high in the sky, so it will shine directly on the plants for a good part of the day.

Perhaps you or a friend have some plants that are ready to flower. If not, you may be able to purchase some “adolescents” from your local cannabis dispensary. They can be flowered immediately. Just put them at the window and don’t turn on lights, even for a moment, during the evening. Fertilize with bloom formula, and they will soon start to bud.

If you have only clones, use them. If you want them to grow a little before flowering, do interrupt the dark period with light several times each evening. Soon after you stop the nightly interruptions, the plants will begin to flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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