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Old 07-08-2009, 12:25 AM #1
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Oregon Organic Guerrilla 2009, with your host BACKCOUNTRY

Hello friends! Its that time again! This is the latest I have started a grow thread, usually I start them in late April/Early May, but Spring took its time getting started this year, and a few set backs also delayed my season. But I am for sure in for the long haul this year!

I'm sorry I have not been around, about the time I planted my 4th plant this spring I found out one of my children has a very serious condition. After this was found out, most of my free time has been taken traveling to many doctors, usually to hear bad news. I barely had time to drop in and water those few plants, much more have been waiting to go out, getting root bound in the process, but I am determined to get it done.
The prognosis looks much better for my child, and I can't get into what it is, but those of you with children will understand.

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For those who don't know me and the region I grow in, a brief but detailed explaination:

I live in the south-west quarter of the fine state of Oregon. Although my state is usually considered a part of the Pacific north-west, my region of the state is nothing like stereotypical PNW often envisioned by outsiders. Often the PNW is portrayed as perpetually foggy, cloudy, and rainy, and covered with tall trees and moss, this vision may be half true for Seattle, and perhaps 1/4 true for Portland and the rest of North-west Oregon, but over half my state is actually bone dry desert, and the south-western portion were I live resembles the Northern California wine country much more than western Washington or NW Oregon.



I get 18.86" total rainfall in a average year, compare that to 19.70" for San Francisco, 36.30" for Portland, and 37.19" for Seattle! As you can see, SW Oregon is not your typical wet PNW climate.

Other than big brother, my main enemy is my extremely dry summer climate, my average rainfall for May-Sept is 3.5", very dry! Compare it to Tuscon, Arizona with 6.61"" and Albuquerque, New Mexico with 5.1"! My humidity is also quite low, so my plants dry out even faster than in more humid climates, high humidity bad for humans, low humidity bad for underwatered plants.
Ever since the start of my Guerrilla growing years ago, I have struggled against the need to be constantly supplying water to my plants, typically once or twice a week from June-mid Sept. This has inspired me to find ways to use the water more efficiently, make it easier to get on site, and if possible...to find ways to reduce the need for such frequent visits, which puts me at greater risk of getting caught.

I typically grow enough plants for myself and other family members who smoke, this year I was going to go bigger, but now after set backs I am just trying to fill my personal jars.

I have decided to go Organic only from now on, not a drop of Miracle grow or Osmocote! Its not so much because they don't work(cuz they did), its just that I have always been all organic in my vegetable garden, and I no longer see the advantages of using the chems with Cannabis. I was also using those as a example for newer outdoor growers looking for a cheap and easy route, as I have always tried to make growing Bud more important than how it was grown. Its just a personal decision to finally go all organic.

Irrigation test
One of my goals for the season was to try several different irrigation systems, as a test and example of using them, for my benefit and anyone else interested. At the end of the season, it was my intent to pick one or two methods to base all my future grows on.

My original line up was going to consist of some timer based "drip" systems, some Blumats(a German made, high efficiency, self activating drip system), and my Earth hole invention.

The first problem with my plan was the Blumats, I had a hard time finding a US source of them that seemed reputable, so I gave up on them for this year.


My preseason disaster
The second problem involved a bear . In late March I found a great location in the higher elevation ridges a ways further out from where I normally plant. I had found what appeared to be a year round source of water. I had located the spot while scanning a valley from a ridge top a half mile away, I noticed a local water loving specie of tree called Red Alder, these trees need lots of ground water and act like sign saying WATER HERE, especially in these dry hills. A trip in confirmed there was indeed water.
I proceeded to haul in 3 huge loads of soil amendments, water reservoirs, and 400' of 1/2" poly pipe to siphon the water from the water source to a south facing hillside nearby. After parts of 2 days, I managed to get the reservoirs filled, and the pipe hauled out. I left my soil amendments well hidden for my next visit.


In two weeks I returned to the spot with 4 nice OR95 females, and found that my rough tote reservoirs had their lids torn off, the water fowled with dirt and rotten wood, and all my soil amendments were dug out, and a large hole dug in all the bags, even the Soft rock Phosphate and Dolomite. I had no Blood, Bone, or Fish meals, only Manures, Kelp meal, and other things that no large animal should find interesting.
The only thing I could figure was that this was a garbage bear, relocated from a more populated area, to this remote area. I have bears in the areas where I normally grow, but I have never had one interfere with a grow! Only thing I could figure was this guy was only interested in my stuff cuz he was used to exploring anything left by a human.
I repacked my plants, and hiked out to the pick up point a mile away, and wrote off what would have been my largest producing plot. I certainly couldn't conduct my grow with a bear constantly destroying it.

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So I have settled on testing one of my Earth holes, and a few plants will be grown using "Pitcher irrigation", which consists of Terracotta planters with the drain holes plugged being placed in the ground next to the plants. The Terracotta pots sweat the water out to the soil as the soil drys, if this works, I could develop a irrigation system based on it that runs on its own for weeks.

Now on to the season...........


I have 4 plants out right now, all OR95(my personal strain). One is in a Earthhole, the other 3 are planted using pitcher irrigation.

Here is OR95 #3- Planted May 20, 2009


I started by digging a big hole with my D-handle shovel, the hole is 1.5' deep, by 1.5' wide.


I used some large garbage bags to line the sides of the hole prior to refilling, but not the bottom. This will help block the water I provide from being stolen by native plants and soils nearby.


I poured in a mixture that was mostly steer manure compost, with some Chicken manure, Kelp meal, Rock phosphate, and Dolomite lime.


I then mixed back in enough native soil to bring the soil level back up to native.




The plant and Terracotta pots being placed in the hole. The Terracotta pots have their drain holes plugged, and will sweat water into the soil as the plants need it.




And here is the plot all set up.

OR95 #3, May 28, 2009


OR96 #3, June 25, 2009


OR95 #3, July 2, 2009


Here are the other two OR95s, also planted in the same fashion-

OR95 #1, May 20, 2009


OR95 #1, May 28, 2009


OR95 #1, June 25, 2009


OR95 #1, July 1, 2009


OR95 #2, May 20, 2009


OR95 #2, May 28, 2009


OR95 #2, June 25, 2009


OR95 #2, July 2, 2009

Last edited by BACKCOUNTRY; 08-05-2009 at 12:03 AM..
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:26 AM #2
BACKCOUNTRY
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Here is a reposting from my Earthhole thread, which helps explain a little about how Earthholes work, if Earthholes interest you I recommend visiting the thread and reading up, here is a link ------ Earth holes: A experiment in Guerrilla irrigation
Quote:
Originally Posted by BACKCOUNTRY
(1-14-09) Since my Overgrow.com days I have had a mission, to develop a practical irrigation system for Guerrilla growers with the following attributes:

1.Ultra reliable and simple in operation: No Timers to malfunction, no valves that stick open or shut, no small pipes or drippers to plug.

2. Efficiency: As little water waste as possible, stretching the water you haul/store to the max, very important in arid climates and in grows with few visits.

3. Easily camouflaged: A system that is well hidden and not a beacon to the enemy.

4. Could be made to last multiple weeks between visits: This is critical to me for security, the longer between visits the further into the wilderness you can put your plants, making them harder to find. Also fewer visits means more difficulty for law enforcement to investigate you. Also the freed up time means you could care for more plants through the summer, than you could when watering weekly by hand. For me this will allow me more time with my family and doing my normal legit job, while still growing enough bud to smoke personally and enough to cover many of my critical bills(times are tough!).

Of course the trade off is more preparation work in the off seasons.

So my mission is a ultra-reliable irrigation system that can be developed to last 3-5 weeks between visits. This is a tall bill, and developing it will take a bit of experimentation, which I will start on this summer, my hope is to have a solid dependable system ready to use for 2010.
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At the end of my disappointing 2008 season I decided it was time to finally stop talking about this mythical system, and start developing it. My first ideas broke my rules concerning small tubes, and often compromised other mission goals.

This winter though, Silverback posted up his excellent thread concerning his Gorilla Collar, I was inspired by the Air-tight version and thought the principle behind it could be applied to a watering device designed for extending irrigation visits to multiple weeks.
After a bit of sketching I came up with the GSWD, which was also inspired by the Earthbox(a self-watering planter). At the heart of the GSWD was a soil wick which sat in a small reservoir of water, the wick helped the soil of the hole uptake water from the device through capillary(or wicking) action, as water was drawn from the soil by the plant, it was replaced through the Capillary action from the device.
The weakness of the device is it required a external air-tight reservoir to operate and refill properly, I found that building reservoirs with enough capacity to reach my 3-5 week goal was going to be too expensive because of the containers and fittings I'd need to accomplish a truly air-tight system.

After being forced to abandon the GSWD, I turned again to the Earthbox which had inspired it, and then was born my current idea, the Earth hole. Basically its a Earthbox that you can build on site in the planting hole.


First let me give a brief description of the Earthbox. The Earthbox is a self-watering planter that consists of a large plastic container split into two sections, the top part is a planter, it contains the potting soil, below you have a reservoir containing a supply of water. Extending from the planter section into the reservoir is a container allows the potting soil to contact the water of the reservoir, this soil wick is the heart of the system.
The Earthbox works by Capillary action, if you aren't familiar with this term please look it up on Wikipedia or in a search engine. Here is a link to Wikipedia explaining Capillary action- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capillary_action

Basically Capillary action is the phenomenon that allows wicks to work, in a oil lamp it draws the oil up to the flame through the wick which is made of a porous fiber. In the Earthbox the porous nature of the potting soil allows the same wicking action, as the plant takes up water and dries the soil, it draws more water up from moister soil below, and in tern the soil below that draws more moisture, ending at the water surrounding the soil wick, and as the plant takes more water the process repeats itself.

The other great thing about the Earthbox is that it is a closed system, because the soil and water are completely contained, drier soils and plants around the planter cannot steal the moisture, most of the water you bring is used by the intended plant.

The Earth hole


My Earthhole is basically a Earthbox in operation, but instead of having a planter section made from a large cumbersome container like a tote or garbage can, it is built in the hole by lining the hole with plastic to isolate your planting soil from the surrounding drier soils. The remaining recognizable part of the Earthbox is the reservoir and wick sections, which are placed in the hole beneath the plant and refilled through a tube extending from the rez to ground level. The plastic lining is placed on the sides of the hole from top to bottom, leaving the bottom open to allow excess rainwater to escape, also the plants roots should be free to wander should they choose to explore.

My versions of the Earth hole will use large wick/reservoir devices since I am trying to develop long lasting systems, they could take much smaller forms. Installing them will take a bit more digging than for a normal planting hole. Also the materials I am using will be low quality and cheap, this is due to these being experimental, no use making it to last if I don't continue using them. If the idea is proven sound, I'll develop much more durable and efficient designs based on my experiences in the 2009 growing season.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:28 AM #3
BACKCOUNTRY
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This section is to help catch everyone up on my Earthhole experiment.

OK, I planted my only Earthhole on May 28th.


I started in mid-winter by building this rain harvester, it collected 32 gallons of water through the rainy months.


I started by digging a hole, and placing my wooden Earthhole emitter in the bottom, and placing the fill tube in place.


Next I filled the wick with Coco coir, this will soak up the water in the rez, and transfer it to the potting soil.


Now I place a large garbage bag on top of the emitter, the bag has a hole the bottom, which I center over the wick.


Now I fill the garbage bag with a highly potent organic potting soil I made. There will be 10 gallons total in the garbage bag.


I carefully filled in around and over the garbage bag with some native soil, leaving the opening to plant in.

I filled the rez of the emitter with water and let it sit for a few days.




When I returned with a plant a few days later, the rez was holding water nicely, and only a little water had been used to moisten the soil.


A cutaway view of the Earthhole I have going right now.

Earthhole #1 May 28, 2009

Here is the OR95 seedling planted in the hole.

Earthhole #1 June 25th, 2009

As you can see, this plant not only survived nearly a month of cool, often rainy weather(not much need for moisture, I feared the plant may become waterlogged) in the Earthhole but has grown to 3' tall and quite wide(this plant was topped). No problems with wet roots, or stagnet water as many predicted.
I didn't fill the rez as it was only half empty.

Earthhole #1 July 2, 2009

Here is the plant compared to a 1 gallon jug.
I filled the rez this day, and will start monitoring water use on a weekly basis. Once I know how fast it uses water, I'll know how big I'll need to build future Earthholes so they will last several weeks between fillings.

Last edited by BACKCOUNTRY; 08-17-2009 at 06:45 PM..
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:08 AM #4
Rolando Mota
.....................huh?

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way to go backcountry!

I've been looking forward to following your thread again this year. I'm glad things are looking up for your world and you have time again for the fun stuff.


Good luck!


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Old 07-08-2009, 05:44 AM #5
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This is going to be good. Organic, guerilla, and the Earth Hole. I'm going to ride along
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:33 AM #6
TheGreatBC
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What organic nutes do you plan on using throughout this season ?
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:37 AM #7
zielonylasss
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I am in the thread BC!
Always loved to watch your shows here.
Happy growing and succes with your new irrigation methodes!

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Old 07-08-2009, 07:49 AM #8
Gantz
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Proof that the Earthole and other earthbox diy versions WORK!!!
Nay-sayers beware!!!
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:52 AM #9
DiscoBiscuit
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:17 AM #10
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Glad to here your son is doing better. I have read some of your other threads & have picked up some really good info. So I will continue to read this one, good luck with your grow
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