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First Coco/Autopots Run

olegren

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Well, here we go. :smoking:

I had my heart set on shifting from soil & bottled nutes to a totally organic grow. I'm still working on it, but that is going to take some time to get going with all the nuances of building a good soil. In the meanwhile, I'm home all the damn time, and the tent is empty.

I purchased a set of fabric Autopots (SpringPot) a few months ago. So I busted them out, soaked & buffered a coco brick, and germinated some seeds.

The details:

Seeds: Mephisto Double Grape (x1) and Mephisto Strawberry Nuggets (x1)
Medium: Mother Earth Coco (Compressed) -- I hydrated, screened, and double buffered (Two 8-12 hour soaks) in cal mag solution before mixing 70% to 30% Espoma Perilite.
Container: AutoPot/SpringPot fabric 5gal totes
Nutrients: Prescription Blend
Light: HLG 260W V1 QB @ 3000K (24/0 for extra heat -- Will seek to shift to 18/6 or 20/4 once I can start running light hotter)
Water: RO (Bought a system finally) - Administered by hand initially. Will activate AutoPot reservoir somewhere around 20 days in.

I'm trying a lot of new things this grow.

First, the obvious: I've never messed with coco or a self-watering system. I see all kinds of people having trouble with coco. But I also see all kinds of grow reports from people using coco with autopots and achieving amazing results. Taking hand watering out of the equation surely removes a lot of variables (not to mention the time investment), and I've always been intrigued by the benefits of coco. So we'll see what happens.

Until I activate those autopots, I'll water by hand daily to about 20% runoff. I'll check PPM of that runoff to keep tabs on conditions through those first couple weeks. Once the autopots are turned on, I'm hoping I just have to make sure I'm providing input in the right ranges and reap the rewards. I will ramp up feed slow, starting at 25-50% of vendor recommended doses and incrementing carefully.

Last but not least, I'm skipping a transplant this time. I used to plant a seed directly into moist soil in a solo cup; then transplant to a 3gal pot once the leaves' tips hit the edges of the cup. That didn't seem as simple with coco, and I wanted to skip the day or two lull brought on by transplant. So I picked up some Root Riot cubes and gave them a shot.

Germination:
As mentioned, this was my first experience with root riot cubes or any kind of plug. I bought them at a local hydro store and had them stored in some plastic baggies to keep moist. (Dude opened a bag and sold me 6 of them so I didn't have to buy a bag of 50) I hydrated two of them with some distilled water for about 4 hours, then set them into a little 6-pack seedling tray on a larger tray -- and set all that on the heat mat. I pulled both seeds directly from storage in the fridge and dropped them into the plugs. It was fairly un-scientific. Covered them with little plastic domes and left them alone in a dark room in the house. A couple times, when they felt like the plugs were drying, I sat them in a shallow pool of RO water for an hour or two.

Growth seemed at least on par with a direct germination in soil; which is the only thing I've ever really done with any degree of success. Between day 2 and 3, the Strawberry seed head was poking out the top. A few hours later, the tap root for Grape came out through the top. Carefully dug around in there and was delighted to find that the seed head was very close; just blocked by a tougher patch of the plug. It's like it took a sideways turn right below the surface. I tore that path off, and it popped right out.

Even better: When I pulled the plug out to do the aforementioned digging, I found that tap roots were emerging from the bottom of both plugs already. So I plugged them into their mixed final pots and set them under my light at max height (~29") on minimum dimness. That was two days ago.

Day 1:
Tough to say much at this early stage. Both plugs have been in coco for about 2 days now, and I am seeing a bit more activity above ground in the last 24 hours. Temps were a little low that first day; drifting as low as mid 60's. I made some adjustments (including adding the heat mat) -- and incorporated the wet towel/bucket of water trick for extra humidity. Averages for last 24 hours are 72.4F and 55.4% RH.

Both were still shedding their shells yesterday, but today both cotys are open and I see a tiny set of true leaves on each. That extra warmth is definitely helping.

Last night, I gave both a very light watering around the plugs -- kind of like I would normally do with soil. But, after some more reading, I gave them a thorough watering (Roughly 1 gal each) with a sprayer to about 25% runoff. Just RO water with a minimal dose of seedling nutrients to about 60ppm. PPM coming out was about 200 higher, and given the buffering I think I'm OK with that. I'm chasing some issues with my BlueLab pH pen, but I'm confident what's going in is around 5.9pH.

Gonna give 'em a few days, but will update with more (and some photos) once things get a little more interesting. For now, here they are being sassy:

Day 1 - G.jpgDay 1 - S.jpg

Cheers! :cheers:
 
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Daipot

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Autopots are the easiest growing method there is man. So easy to use. Personally I’d veg in in a smaller pot the transplant but as your growing auto flowers I wouldn’t bother. There’s an abundance of threads here with autopots of you get stuck too.

good luck grow bro! You‘ve chosen the best growing method there is!!!
 

olegren

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Autopots are the easiest growing method there is man. So easy to use. Personally I’d veg in in a smaller pot the transplant but as your growing auto flowers I wouldn’t bother. There’s an abundance of threads here with autopots of you get stuck too.

good luck grow bro! You‘ve chosen the best growing method there is!!!
Thank you! @blue absolutely sold me on Autopots being solid for the grower whose time is always on a budget. So many of the diaries I've read show stellar results for what seems like less effort than I'm spending on my soil grows. I'm sure I'll find a way to create some issues, but super excited to be taking these things for a spin.

In retrospect, I wish I had read more about starting in a smaller pot (e.g. solo cup) with coco. I didn't want to mix soil and coco even for a plug, and what little I messed with the coco made me think there was no way a transplant would work unless I did a DIY sort of plug with a cut-apart cup. I still can't get over how quickly it dries and how light/fluffy it is when dry. Lessons learned for next time. :)
 

Daipot

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Thank you! @blue absolutely sold me on Autopots being solid for the grower whose time is always on a budget. So many of the diaries I've read show stellar results for what seems like less effort than I'm spending on my soil grows. I'm sure I'll find a way to create some issues, but super excited to be taking these things for a spin.

In retrospect, I wish I had read more about starting in a smaller pot (e.g. solo cup) with coco. I didn't want to mix soil and coco even for a plug, and what little I messed with the coco made me think there was no way a transplant would work unless I did a DIY sort of plug with a cut-apart cup. I still can't get over how quickly it dries and how light/fluffy it is when dry. Lessons learned for next time. :)
Mixing soil with coco will do no harm. But now your in the coco club. It’s virtually impossible too fuck up a coco grow. I’m a hydro grower these day but I’ve served my time in coco autopots. If you get stuck just drop me a tag and I’ll help ya out mate.
 

Mañ'O'Green

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Thank you! @blue absolutely sold me on Autopots being solid for the grower whose time is always on a budget. So many of the diaries I've read show stellar results for what seems like less effort than I'm spending on my soil grows. I'm sure I'll find a way to create some issues, but super excited to be taking these things for a spin.

In retrospect, I wish I had read more about starting in a smaller pot (e.g. solo cup) with coco. I didn't want to mix soil and coco even for a plug, and what little I messed with the coco made me think there was no way a transplant would work unless I did a DIY sort of plug with a cut-apart cup. I still can't get over how quickly it dries and how light/fluffy it is when dry. Lessons learned for next time. :)
Use A-ok 1.5 inch rock wool starter cubes right in the coco then a seed. Easy peasy.
 
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