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Old 01-28-2020, 04:39 AM #1
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Grow Lab: Various Methods

This will be an ongoing journey exploring different styles to achieve the same goal that we all seek.

To start things off I will share the techniques I like to use for organic soil as well as coco coir. I need to look through some of the pictures I have been taking but until then here are a few to enjoy. The next post will include more detail. I like to keep things as simple and affordable as possible without sacrificing quality.

Coco Coir


Coco Coir


Soil
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Old 01-28-2020, 05:35 AM #2
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First let's start with the nutrients I like to use with coco coir and how I go about using them. I currently use MasterBlend Tomato & Vegetable with Calcium Nitrate and Magnesium Sulfate. It is a complete profile and can easily be adjusted. Other comparable nutrients with similar profiles are Jacks, or Chem-gro.



Elemental PPM Profile
(MB Tomato & Veg/Calcium Nitrate/Magnesium Sulfate) 2g/2g/1g at 5g total per gallon

N 101
P 41
K 167
Ca 95
Mg 29
S 34
Si 0

I like to make 32oz A & B stock solutions because it is easier for me to administer liquid with a syringe in to gallon jugs instead of weighing powder.

Stock Solution A(Masterblend/Magnesium Sulfate) and Stock Solution B(Calcium Nitrate) are used at a 1:1 ratio

15ml per gallon of A and 15 ml per gallon of B are what I use. That mixes up to about 1.3EC(650ppm) in RO water for me.

Here are two 32oz containers(measured) with Reverse Osmosis water(Distilled is preferred) and all the components weighed out:
128g Masterblend and 64g Magnesium Sulfate + 32 oz water = 2gMB/1gMagsul per 15ml.

128g Calcium Nitrate + 32 oz water = 2gCalnit per 15ml


First add the MasterBlend component to container A while trying to pour it as close to the water as possible to avoid a plume of fertilizer dust. Agitate ever so often with a plastic spoon or paddle of some type until it completely dissolves. I used a plant marker. Of all the components this takes the longest to dissolve which still is not very long.


Now add the Calcium Nitrate to container B. Either rinse or use a separate plastic spoon/paddle to agitate so that it completely dissolves.


After MasterBlend is dissolved it is time to add the Magnesium Sulfate to container A. Agitate it with with the mixer a few times until it completely dissolves.


Here is the completed Stock A & B solution.


Once again the recommended strength is 15ml A and 15ml B per gallon of water. ALWAYS add A first, mix and THEN add B.

What is the point of A and B? Why don't we just mix everything in one bottle? Of course control over Nitrogen and Calcium is one reason but the other even more important factor is avoiding PRECIPITATE. Has anyone here ever tried to get Maxigro, Maxibloom, Vegbloom, or Megacrop to completely dissolve and notice it is near impossible? That's because it is not a good idea to combine magnesium sulfate and calcium nitrate in one bag. When Calcium Nitrate and Magnesium sulfate come into contact at high concentrations in water at the same time they form Gypsum. In other worlds an unknown amount of calcium and sulfur drop out of solution.
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:48 AM #3
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Not a fan of using Hydroponic Nutrients? This this might be more up your alley 😉 When growing organic I like to stick purely to dry amendments as a nutrient source. It is simple and very easy. When using dry amendments you shouldn't have to use anything else except for plain water.

I like to use a common tried and true base mix but slightly adjusted with more Perlite and less EWC. It's not necessary to create a base mix from scratch. A store bought mix will do just fine as long as it fluffy and has enough aeration. Keep in mind if using a store bought mix with fertilizer already added you may need to omit or reduce the use of dry amendments.

5 parts Peat Moss

3.5 parts Perlite

1.5 parts Earth Worm Castings

2 tbsp per gallon of powdered dolomite lime or 1 cup per cubic ft

This completes the base mix. What I like about it is the possibilities are endless from here on in terms of what amendments you would like to add. I prefer to keep it simple as always. This is a tried and true recipe that works very well for me.

Blood Meal at 1 Tbsp per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic ft

Bone Meal at 2 Tbsp per gallon or 1 cup per cubic ft

Kelp Meal at 1 Tbsp per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic ft

With this mix it is necessary to moisten and periodically blend for at least a few weeks. Sometimes referred to as "cooking". This allows the microbial life to grow, stabilize, process and mellow out the mix so that it can be ready for planting without negative effects. I love this mix!

Lately I have been trying out a slightly different approach. Instead of the above amendments I have been adding:

Dr Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb at 4 Tbsp per gallon or 2 cups per cubic ft

I treated this with a slight difference. Instead the amendment was blended with the base mix but I planted right away. I believe the Fish Meal and Alfalfa meal as a Nitrogen source offer more of a mellow start than Blood Meal so in my experience when using this amendment it was not necessary to let it "cook". It is still beneficial to do so but it's nice to know that it's not absolutely necessary unlike the recipe with Blood Meal above.

Here is a FastBuds Stardawg Autoflower that I used to test out the fertilizer. So far it is doing well although I will say the mix had a touch of extra N. Next time I will substitute 1 Tbsp of DE Tomato, Veg & Herb with 1 Tbsp of DE Bud & Bloom Booster(Less N Higher P and K) and see what happens.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:42 AM #4
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Old 01-28-2020, 08:53 PM #5
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Same! Those flowers look killer.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:43 PM #6
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I'd like to show and tell about these different styles so I have my tent just about a week into flower. I will be dropping periodic updates here. There are 4 strains in the tent and there is a mix of the two growing methods above.

The order is like this as if you were looking in from the front of the tent so it reads from back to front:

G13 c99(blood,bone,kelp, peat moss mix) x G13 Giga Bud(blood,bone,kelp, peatmoss mix) x G13 c99(blood,bone,kelp,peatmoss mix)

Barney's Farm Tangerine Dream(coco coir) x Super Lemon Haze(coco perlite) x Barney's Farm Tangerine Dream(coco coir)

Super Lemon Haze(coco perlite)emon x Super Lemon Haze(coco perlite) x Super Lemon Haze(coco perlite)

The soil plants in the back are fed plain unfiltered tap water only. I don't let the chlorine off gas nor do I filter or treat the water for chloramines. I've done grows with filtered and unfiltered tap water and honestly did not see much of a difference so I stopped using a carbon filter. Less maintenance is always nice. For reference my tap water usually sits around 0.4-0.5EC(200-250ppm) with a pH of 7.5.

Here are the two C99's and the Giga Bud in the back. I will say this Giga Bud has some ridiculous vigor.


The coco coir plants in the front two rows are fed with Master Blend(hydroponic nutrient), Calcium Nitrate, and Magnesium Sulfate with a pH of 5.8-6.0 and an EC at 1.3(650ppm). For these plants I like to use RO water or tap water mixed with RO to 0.2EC(100ppm). I have used my tap water at 0.4-0.5EC(200-250ppm) and it works but can eventually lead to carbonate build up witch increases the mediums pH and is undesirable.


Lately I have been playing with LED. I used to use a 600w HPS for flower and a 216w T5 HO for veg. Now I use very efficient Samsung LM301H LED boards at 3000K(my veg tent section also has one of these at 3500K) with Meanwell drivers that are dimmable hooked up on a heat sink. Instead of paying an incredible mark up from other sellers I bought these on Alibaba from Kingbrite. I highly recommend them if you are trying to save some money. In the 4x4 tent I have two 240w Kingbrite kits which is adequate lighting for the space and it cost me a total of $320 shipped. They run much cooler than HPS and if dimmed the heat output is barely anything. All of the pictures so far are from LED lighting and honestly I don't see myself ever going back to HPS.
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:36 AM #7
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Same! Those flowers look killer.
Thank you for stopping in to enjoy the ride! Good to have you.

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Here are some root shots comparing a peat moss based soil mix, and coco coir fed with hydroponic nutrients. It is interesting to note a pretty identifiable difference in the amount of roots as well as the health of the roots. I attribute this to a few factors. Of course the availability of nutrients is one thing, but I think more importantly it is the difference in an approach to watering as well as the medium air capacity.

When using a peat moss mix with organic amendments I tend to water once every few days, or when the plant needs it. Aside from a bit of air entering the medium passively during the dry cycle my peat moss plants only get fresh air actively pulled in to the medium on the water days.

When using coco coir with hydroponic nutrients I like to feed once a day so there is a daily renewal of air in the medium. Coco coir doesn't require any additional amendments to be used and has very good water and air retention thus it can be irrigated daily without worrying about encouraging anaerobic conditions.

I don't particularly think one medium is "better" than the other since both approaches can yield high with good quality, but there are certainly trade offs to each.

Peat Moss


Coco Coir
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:52 AM #8
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cool beans, small side note your soil recipe isn't really organic. both methods shown are buying consumables from the shelf, same waste industry. organic, sustainable that is to say, would be planting outside in the dirt or putting some dirt in a cup harvesting your own kelp and making compost is a good way to start
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:24 AM #9
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cool beans, small side note your soil recipe isn't really organic. both methods shown are buying consumables from the shelf, same waste industry. organic, sustainable that is to say, would be planting outside in the dirt or putting some dirt in a cup harvesting your own kelp and making compost is a good way to start
Thank you for stopping in. I hope you enjoy!

I understand that many like to source their own kelp or other alternatives if they are not coastal, and like to make their own compost in order to avoid store bought products. I think that is very cool and applaud any who do so.

However, whether one decides to raise cows to ultimately get blood and bone, harvest kelp from the coast, and make compost at home comparatively with obtaining those inputs from someone who did it for you does not define whether a soil mix made with said ingredients is organic or not.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:18 AM #10
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Autoflowers sure are fun to grow!

Here is Stardawg currently at day 58 from sprout. This started off as a side experiment for the Dr Earth dry fertilizer, but it's turning into a really nice plant. I honestly was not sure what to expect from these LED boards but I will say they are pretty impressive in not only light output, but penetration and running temperature.


I also have one more Autoflower going from Dinafem called White Cheese at Day 23 from sprout. This one is in a coco/perlite mix fed with Masterblend daily at 1.3EC(650ppm) which is 15ml A and 15ml B from the stock solution I posted above.
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