Hempy Gen3 Experiment & Write-up by Anthro

Discussion in 'Hydroponics & Irrigation' started by Anthropolis, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. Anthropolis

    Anthropolis Canna Jedi in training.

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    [​IMG]


    Hello again friends! It’s your buddy Anthro again with some more fun new ideas! It had occurred to me that the hempy method in its most basic form had some shortcomings. So I set out to scour the web for tips and tricks, and to see if I could mash-up a few newer ideas. Now, I’m no hempy master, this will be a test of me too! This round will only be my second hempy bucket attempt, but I like pushing boundaries and science experiments, so here we are. It will be using chem nutes Osmocote Plus and Dynamite Flower plus some Azomite granules to help with micro nutrients.

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    Last round I tested a few of these ideas with some pretty good results. Here was the 79.5 gram dried Dinafem Blue Amnesia XXL, and I battled CalMag and micro nute deficiencies all the way through. We’ll be overcoming that this time.


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    Here were her roots, the bottom roots aren’t rotted nor slimy, and I think it was the Real Growers Recharge and Root Excelurator which I heard can stain a little. This also highlights my mistake in not lightproofing the bucket sides by having a little algae. Don’t think it mattered too much overall, but every root helps so we’re correcting this oversight from here out.


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    So here we go! Let’s get started. Okay, buckets… I strongly believe that only “Food Grade” containers should be used, as I feel it could be theoretically likely for the cheapo buckets to be leeching BPA and who knows what else into your roots thus plant. These “Food Grade” buckets should be clearly marked, cost a bit more, but should be easy to find.


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    I’m using 2-gallon buckets found at the local home improvement store, that’s about 7.5 liters. They also had 5-gallon buckets. First thing I do is rip off the metal bucket handle, it just gets in the way and has no use.


    Get ready to drill! Seems like each hempy guide has a different water hole size. I feel it’s important to have a larger hole and use a screen (to keep in the perlite) so that there can be some air exchange down there.


    Now the 5-gallon hempy tutorials out there say drill 2 inches (5cm) up from the bottom of the bucket. For the 2-gallon buckets, I think 1.5 inches (about 4 cm) from the bottom is more proportionate.


    So, 1.5 inches up, put a big hole in each bucket. While you have the drill out, drill small holes along the top lip, spaced apart about 2 inches (~5cm) all around the top circumference. This is for the LST tying down points. It is not fun to drill these holes when the plant is mid veg and needs training!


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    Now it’s time to lightproof the sides. I thought for months about this; about how to keep temps down, how to keep light out, provide some slight insulation, and still reflect some of the light/radiation. People use the black Gorilla tape a lot for this but I feel this isn’t the most appropriate. It’ll just get hot and absorb the light radiation transferring it into heat.


    Then I thought just white duct tape! Nope, it still lets a ton of light through. I almost just said screw it and taped some aluminum foil around it, then I remembered HVAC tape! This is the tape workers use to tape and seal up buildings’ air conditioning and heating vents. It should reflect radiation, lets zero light through, sticks strong with no goopy edges like duct tape, and should in theory help keep the rootzone cooler! Ultra win!


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    (Nevermind the lower LST holes in that pic, this was my reused bucket from last round and now I made the choice to have the holes as high as possible, so taped over the earlier holes.)


    This part is going to be a lot of work, sorry but there’s no cheats or hacks on this. Good news is you should only have to do this once for the life of the bucket. Starting at the bottom, I wrap around one time, cut with a couple cm of overlap, and then tape the next layer up.


    Major issue: buckets are tapered slightly and this tape has NO flex or give to it. Thus there will be ugly crinkles and you’ll be fighting with it the entire way up lol! I found that keeping a good bit of tension on the tape roll helps, and many times you’ll have to peel up the last couple inches and lay it down again. I taped all the way up to a few millimeters below the LST tiedown holes.


    You’ll now need to punch out the tape over the drain hole. This was super easy with the metal tape, I just punched it with a pen cap. If you’re using duct tape or Gorilla tape, it’ll need a razor blade or an Xacto knife.

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    Now for the wicks and screens! The fun stuff! First you’ll have to make a decision on tape, and here’s another point I thought a great deal over. You’d want the tape which seems the least toxic and most minimalist. Electrical tape is out, that’s super toxic. Clear packaging tape might be okay.


    I went with fine automotive painters tape, it has a paper backing atop very minimal adhesive. Also, at the end of last grow, I noted the adhesive was all intact and easy to clean off. Ideally if you find some tape advertised as non-toxic, get and use that, but I couldn’t find any so I thought a lot and landed on that fine-quality green automotive painters tape.


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    Screening: this could be almost anything really. You could use actual window screening, but I found something more minimalist and more inert. (Window screening is often fiberglass cored, and that was just a no-goer in my book.) So I found a perfect roll of this inert looking plastic screening which I think is used as a masonry backing and for concreting. Cut a couple inch (or few cm) square and tape it over the hole. That’s done!


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    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
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  2. Anthropolis

    Anthropolis Canna Jedi in training.

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    WICKS!!!! This is super important to this whole concept of a next generation hempy. Ok so if you’ve done hempy or read up on hempy, there’s supposedly a huge lag during the time the seedling or transplant is planted, and when it can reach the water down below. The wicks solve this lag, gives the taproots something to follow and grow down, distributes water and any nute it carries right up a corridor to the roots, and helps keep the overall rootzone in a more uniform wetness.


    For me it was extremely important to use real hemp cordage as the wick. I think mine is about 4mm~5mm thick. You’ll want something natural like jute cord, thick cotton twine, cotton rope, and options like that. Real hemp cord comes in all thicknesses, is very cheap, nontoxic, environmentally friendly, and just makes sense. It can be bought all day online for very cheap. I would not use standard artificial ropes like paracord, climbing ropes, ect, they’re just not natural and don’t wick as well as plant matter ones. Maybe you could use those cotton wicks they put in tiki torches and lanterns, but know that those are bleached unless stated otherwise. Sorry to keep harping on these health concerns, but it is stuff to be cognizant of.


    The way I have it set up, the wick will be doubled over for more effectiveness, have a height to the top of the media, be taped to the bottom, and have a couple inches / few cm laying on the bottom to soak up. If you’re using thinner wick, like jute cordage, you might make a little jig and double it up a few times to make a thicker overall wick.


    Here’s the wick, just holding it up with a paperclip to show how it will go straight up the middle.


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    That sums up the basic bucket structure. Repeat all this for as many buckets as you have. This took me a couple days actually to complete, but I was taking my time, taking pics and notes too. I have a 2 ft x 4 ft floor and 4 buckets seemed like the right amount for regular autos. If I were doing photoperiods or so-called superautos like DP AutoUltimate, I’d probably do 2x 2-gallon buckets or just one 5-gal.


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    But wait, there’s more lol! Me being the endless experimenter that I am, I decided to try something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now. Assisted air delivery to the root zone. This isn’t a new idea, but new for hempy. Now I know the whole idea of hempy is that it’s “passive” not requiring flow and oxygenation like standard hydro. Still, I’ve just been dying to try out getting air under a container grow. I’ll try it with soil too one day.


    Anyway, I have a pair of White Widow auto seeds for this particular experiment, and one is getting air. I drilled a larger hole up at the top of the bucket by the top lip, here is where the air tube exits. I ran it out the side (instead of straight up out of the media) in order to have some strain relief on the tubing for when I move it around. It goes down to a T fitting and two short tubes. It’s not supposed to be perfect or perfectly even, just to get some darn air down there and see what happens. Maybe it’ll ruin it, who knows, we’re going to find out.


    It’s attached to a basic aquarium air pump, on a timer to run for 30 minutes at an interval of 4 times per day equally spaced out. It’s just on my backup analog timer so it only has 30 min increments. I think a digital timer with perhaps 2 to 5 minutes each hour would be better. Theoretically it should bubble a little bit during the times the res layer is filled with water, but I wasn’t looking for it directly to bubble, just move air.


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    Reservoir Layer time! I’m trying out two handfuls of hydroton pebbles in each bucket, shaken and mixed with the perlite. That’s not much at all really and I’m not looking for it to do anything extra. The only reasoning is that I know roots love occasional rocky things to anchor onto, and they really like variety. Also, why not?! Theoretically they could hang on to salts and could raise the chance of needing a flush sometime, but I’ll take the chance. Just two handfuls is not much, I don’t think enough to cause problems.


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    Shake, shake, shake, not trying to get it perfectly distributed.

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    Media!!! So more work is ahead, this is probably the most important work of all! Yet it will theoretically save work later.


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    Now we do two important things: we expand the coconut coir brick, and we prepare the nutrition for the plants’ entire life cycle.


    I feel it is extremely important to do what’s called “precharge” the coco. This is the process of expanding the coconut coir brick with water that has some specific goodies in it, and at the correct pH. At this time, as far as I’m concerned, I know of only 1 company which is selling coco coir bricks that are clean enough to do this with: Canna brand. It’s not cheap coco, but after one episode of fighting with a Botanicare brick for over an hour, in an old pillowcase, just to rinse out the salts (ppm) and get the pH above 4.0, I knew I wasn’t doing that again lol. Obviously if you have to run the garden hose through it for an hour+, it will then be expanded and can’t be precharged.


    Say you have your favorite coconut coir, whatever brand, in block form, it is time to expand it! I’m expanding a bit hardcore, but you don’t have to go as crazy as I do. Absolute minimum is the use of CalMag, whatever brand, at least 100% strength but 150% works, and then pH down or up to 5.9.


    Quick note on pH, I’ve seen people on other forums fighting all day about whether hempy should be 5.8, 5.9, 6.0, or even 6.1. Yet if you look at the nutrient charts, different nutes are locked out all along that range of 5.8 to 6.1! So I just shoot for 5.8 or preferably 5.9 of the medium itself and vary the water pH a tiny bit. Again I’m not claiming to be any master of this stuff, just thinking of how to give the plants what they need.


    This write-up is way too wordy lol. There’s still more work to doooo! Ok expanding the coco, I start with the purest, cleanest RO water I can find. Found some that is 001 ppm and pH perfect 7, essentially pure water. Those H2O molecules in there are so lonely they’re writing country songs lmao!!!!


    Now I add per every gallon:

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    · 1 teaspoon Yucca root powder (this is called a surfactant, or an alternative to Water Wetter, Wet Betty, or the lame drop of dish soap. It makes the water [and whatever it carries] easier to spread out and soak up.)

    · 2ml Mammoth P

    · 2ml Canna Rhizotonic (optional, I was just trying to finish the last bit of a bottle)

    · 2ml Earth Juice Microblast (probably also optional, am just hoping to squelch any micronutrient deficiencies, and also trying to finish the last of a bottle lol.)

    · 1 teaspoon Real Growers Recharge

    · 2ml House & Garden Roots Excelurator Gold (important, I feel)

    · 1 teaspoon Silica powder (important, get the soluble organic natural stuff at https://www.kelp4less.com/shop/soluble-silica/)

    · 8ml Botanicare Cal-Mag Plus (that is about 150% strength)

    · pH’ed down to 5.9 with Earth Juice crystals


    So we mix all that up and get the pH right. It’s going to look brown and juicy!


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    Here’s another beautiful thing about Canna blocks, they come in two slabs. Each slab is wrapped separately and you can expand the individual slab in the individual bag! It is also indented and ready to chop a slab in half if you need, but I usually just expand a whole slab, you’ll have extra to save for later, that’s okay.


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    Now we have our delicious treat filled water, pour it onto the slab, get some down the holes. Of course, 1 gallon isn’t going to do it. You have to dole everything out again, mix another gallon again. For 1 slab I had to mix 3 gallons but only used about 2.5 gallons. Poured the extra on the flower bed.


    Here’s the luxurious looking Canna coco expanded. Really it looks almost edible. Like if it came on the side of some sushi dish at some trendy new Asian restaurant, you’d be saying “yeah sure let’s all try some!” lol!


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    For the other portion of the media, we’re doing 3 parts Perlite to 1 part Vermiculite. You’ll need another big mixing bucket like a 5-gallon, or if using 5-gal grow containers you might need a really big mixing container. Also, this should be done outdoors, there’s all kinds of dust no matter what you do. Plants can handle it, human lungs cannot. The pic is just in the tent for example purposes. I’m using Black Gold but pretty much perlite is perlite, and vermiculite is vermiculite. One thing we know not to use though is the Miracle Grow perlite that is “precharged” with who knows what crazy Monsanto ferts.


    Here’s the bags and the coco.


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    Here’s a mixing example and a separate mixing bucket. 3 to 1, perlite to vermiculite.


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    Nothing to this really, mix mix mix, 3 to 1, until you have enough. I estimated fairly well with the 5-gal mixing bucket but yours can be different. I figured I have four 2-gal buckets, so 8 gal total media. Then minus maybe a half gal or almost a gallon for the perlite-only reservoirs. So 7-ish gallons. Half of that is going to be this perl/verm mix, so 3.5 gallons of mix. I just kept mixing in the 5-gal bucket, 3-to1, until it felt like about 3.5 gallons. At the end I was only just barely short and had to make one more 3-to-1 mix.


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    So now we have a difficulty to overcome. We have to fill the rest of these buckets with a 50%-50% mixture of the coco and the 3-to-1 mix, and also uniformly mix in the time release fertilizers, all while not disturbing the wick.


    Here are the ferts, each bucket will be getting 2 Tablespoons of each: Osmocote Plus (OC+ for short), Dynamite, and Azomite. (It appears from my research that the application rate of these dry time release ferts for Cannabis hempy is 1 Tbsp per container gallon.)


    Note that Azomite comes in these granules and in powder form, the powder form is good for liquids and top dressing soil, but these granules are better for going into the media. I put 8 Tablespoons of each into these bags just for an example.


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    So how do we get the ferts in there uniformly? Take a mixing cup, put your 2 Tbsp of each fert in the cup, mix it up evenly.


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    Now, we have everything to mix the main media together with! The coco, the 3-1 mix, and the ferts. Now it really helps to have an EXTRA bucket of the type you’re growing in. We’ll mix everything in this extra bucket, fill mix up to an inch and a half or so from the top to account for the space of the perlite layer, then put it the final grow bucket.


    Everything set up and ready to make the media for 1 bucket. Again do this outdoors, nasty dust kicks up no matter what. Pic in the tent just for example purposes.


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    Now we mix the media! In the extra identical mixing bucket, Throw in a scoop of coco to a scoop of the 3-1 mix, and toss in just under a Tbsp of the three-fert mix. For scooping I’m just using another empty cup.


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    Then mix mix mix!!! It’s starting to look pretty!


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    Keep on adding and mixing, 1 scoop coco, 1 scoop of the perlite/vermiculite mix, about 1 Tbsp of the fert mix. The goal is to get through that 6 total Tbsp of the fert mix somewhat evenly through the media mixture. It worked out quite easily for me. Fill mix up to where it seems like it would be full with a perlite layer.


    Now you should have an amount of mixed media which would fill a bucket. I think it is important to give it one more good mix, so I throw it into a bigger 5-gal bucket and mix mix mix some more. When it seems evenly mixed, it is time to fill a bucket!

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    Take the scooper or cup, take a grow bucket, and start adding media. It is possible to hold the wick up straight with one hand while adding media with the other hand. Or just dump some and fish your paw down in there and pull up the wick. It’s easier if you hold it up the whole time though.


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    Fill baby, fill!

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  3. Anthropolis

    Anthropolis Canna Jedi in training.

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    There we have it, a bucket filled! Now the painful task of doing those steps all over again for every bucket you have. If you were running an industrial operation, you would want to get precise with measurements and math out the precise amounts of everything and then build an automated mixer. Yet for the home personal medical grower, it’s not really that bad to do the work for a few containers like this.


    Here’s a bucket filled, see the top of the wick loop is just barely visible, be sure to have a decent divot for your seedling coco!


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    I have a stock of specialized coco that I expanded with rooting stuffs just for starting the beans in. I put a dollop of this on soil too, it’s just been a much more successful way for me personally. It is the same Canna brand coco, just expanded with RO water, House & Garden Roots Excelurator, Canna Rhizotonic, and General Organics Bio Root, pH’ed to 6.3.


    On each container, soil too, I leave out a divot and place a Tablespoon or two of my “seedling coco” and smooth it out. Now it is ready to be a loving home to a bean lol!


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    Repeat whatever is needed to complete the buckets, and we’re ready for planting seeds! Here the buckets are finished and laid out in roughly the position they will be in when they get bigger. The bucket with the air pump experiment is up in the corner nearby the air pump. The tubing comes from the bucket, to a double male connector (so I can disconnect the air easily if needed), then to the air pump.


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    Plant your beans, pointy end down as always, and cover up with a couple millimeters of coco. Now a trick I’ve been using is to take a clear solo cup and put over the seed site. This does several things: keeps humidity very high under the cup, eliminates the fight to keep it moist, and reduces some of the LED light so as to reduce the chance of frying seedlings in those first days.


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    Here we are, all planted and labeled on Jan 19th, 2017. Plants will be: one World of Seeds brand Afghan Kush Ryder, one Dinafem brand Industrial Plant CBD auto, and two Seedsman house brand auto White Widow (one is getting the forced rootzone air, one is not).


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    Let’s get to the growing!


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    In a few days’ time, we have sprouts! Planted on the 19th, first sprouted on the 24th. Planting them directly into media without soaking does seem to add a couple days to the hatch time. The reason I’ve switched to this is because I kept getting unexplainable rashes of seed fails when I soak and crack them in water. No matter how much I sterilized, I’d sometimes randomly have beans die off on me. This was getting expensive, and so planting directly I haven’t had any problems yet.


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    Now they have been above soil for a couple days, looking bright and healthy. I’m removing their humidity domes and am beginning with the application of Optic Foliar Overgrow. This stuff is incredible and a bunch of us tested it with outstanding results. I have enough to continue testing it throughout this grow too! It is safe for seedlings and is for use in all stages until late flowering.


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    Check them out right here: http://www.opticfoliar.com/


    Thanks for coming along with me! It’ll be fun up in here when things really get moving! Thanks for making it through the long-winded write-up lol! As you can see, I really love experiments that might one day help someone. Peace and love!
     
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  4. woody

    woody Choose not a life of imitation Staff Member Global Moderator

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    You sir are a gentleman :toke:
    Thanks for taking the time to make this thread- always loads of growers asking questions about hempy grows.
    This will help a lot of people out
    :slap:
     
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  5. Bum

    Bum Smoke Cannabis Live with Friends on AFN

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    [​IMG]

    I love it! :D
     
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  6. Habitual

    Habitual Pollen Chucking Closet Hack

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    To bad this is not a side by side that would prove or disprove any modifications. What strain are you useing? Do plants really benefit at this stage from optical foliar? Will be good to see how the added CRF's help, I always saw P deficiencies right at pre flower and then Ca def in flower with oc+ coco hempy's. Soil was always fine. I'd like to watch. :pop:

    Old School Straight Coco Hempys always grow em big ... good for a couple zips, Hempy always used 10 liters to grow huge sati trees

    IMG_2131.jpg


    if it aint broke? :smoking:
     
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  7. Anthropolis

    Anthropolis Canna Jedi in training.

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    Thanks guys, I like trying whacky things. Side by side would be nice to do sometime, I'll need a bigger tent for that lol! The strains are 1x AKR (Afghan Kush Ryder), 1x Dinafem Industrial Plant CBD auto, and 2x Seedsman house brand White Widow auto. As for the Optic Foliar, it should make a difference even this young. It's safe for seedlings, I know that for sure at least. Yeah this is a lot of variables at once but I'm having fun! :biggrin: If it ain't broke, I'll find a new way to broke it lmao!
     
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  8. Anthropolis

    Anthropolis Canna Jedi in training.

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    So far so good, but if ya have seen one seedling you've seen 'em all. In a few days they'll be getting the first full big watering (pH'ed to 5.9 with a lite dose of goodies) to fill the bottom reservoir. They've been on just a bit of RO top-watering around their edges, non pH'ed.

    PhotoGrid_1485530807209.jpg PhotoGrid_1485530763423.jpg
     
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  9. Anthropolis

    Anthropolis Canna Jedi in training.

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    So far so good! Noticed a spot on one leaf, might be Magnesium, I didn't pH down their first few days of blank RO water. Not worried, they have plenty of time overcome. Fed today with RO water pH'ed to 5.9, with Recharge, silica, Roots Excelurator, and 2ml of the Botanicare CalMag Plus. Spraying the #OpticFoliar #Overgrow too, every other day.
    20170130_103259.jpg 20170130_103253.jpg
     
  10. Anthropolis

    Anthropolis Canna Jedi in training.

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    Coming along great so far! There were indeed a couple bad splotches on the early leaves on one of the White Widows, but all new growth looks good, so not concerned. I think I now see a couple leaf discolorations on the AKR, looks like calmag def again, but I'm upping the feed of the Botanicare CalMag Plus, and will watch it carefully.

    Overall the Seedsman brand White Widows are outperforming the AKR and IP CBD, but it could just be a fast strain. Have not grown it before now so I'm unsure if it's just faster. Nothing looks stunted and there's tons of time left so nothing to be concerned about yet. Of the WW's, the one WITHOUT forced air is moving faster, but it's still way too early to judge anything by it. Who knows, it could turn out that the air is a bad idea. I have a theory that it will have a greater effect when there's actually roots down there later.

    Overall so far so good.
    20170205_170713.jpg

    AKR left, Industrial Plant CBD on right:
    20170206_121656.jpg

    Seedsman White Widow autos, can see the spot on a leaf on the left but new growth is good:
    20170206_121707.jpg
     
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