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Hey all! As the title suggests, I'm new to all things growing. Mid Atlantic region of the US, which means long hot humid summers. This post is going to be pretty picture heavy (though maybe not idk) since I'm dumping about 2 months worth so just fair warning on that.

My first four beans (Purple Cookies, Rum Runner, Motor Punch, and Purple Canyon, all photos from Greenpoint) popped 7/4 and have been living it up in my 2x2. Running two "100w" spyder farmer LEDs, the one that came with their tent kit and one I bought separately (though the upgraded version). Things are going fairly well with them, they were started in root riot cubes with myco and were transplanted to 5g fabric pots from there. Grow medium is FFOF, and have been using their bottles nutes following their recommended feeding chart. Each girl gets approximately 8 fluid oz of feed every Tuesday after about the same amount of water (I have not been watering to run off, and I'm wondering if I should be increasing volume/frequency of feeds/water for these girls and my autos below). Decided to follow the original guide to manifolding cause I can never do things the easy way. Aiming for 8 colas per ft², though some breakage during LST has skewed that for a bit (definitely need to dial in how much force to use and when the best time to actually pull branches is, I'm working on it). I have been heavily defoliating these girls from the start based on the manifolding guide. They were just flipped to 12/12 about a week ago and are starting to show the early signs of sex. Everyone looks pretty happy to me overall (based on my experience growing other plants) but again, this is my first run so I could be wrong.

Because I have no self restraint, I dropped two more beans, a Critical auto and a Somango XXL auto (both from Nirvana) when they showed up in the mail; they popped on 7/16. Then another batch of came in (I may have gone a little crazy buying seeds, oops) and I dropped a WWxBB and an Auto Kush (both from female seeds), which popped on 7/21. Everything the same as the photos, only these four ladies are living their best life on my second story balcony on the (true) south side of my house and have had basically no training, since all the reading I had done suggested that minimal interference was best with autos (since I started reading here I've found that this is a myth that has been busted). They have been getting boatloads of sun up there and the heat doesn't seem to be bothering them one bit. They are all pretty solidly into flower, the WWxBB has taken the lead in development though she is by far the smallest of the four. In my novice (though I have done a metric tonne of reading) opinion I think she probably has at least 2 weeks left. The Somango is next furthest along and I would guess three or four more weeks on her. The other two still seem to have a long ways to go. I heavily defoliated them all last week which I know can be a bit of a hot button topic, my husband (who last grew about 20 years ago and is of the "sucker leaves" camp) told me I should basically strip them about a week ago, idk if it was the right choice but its too late to change it now. I will tell you that my balcony smells heavenly and I'm pretty sure the constant wind up there is smelling up the whole neighborhood.

On to the fun part, pictures!

Purple Cookies Photo (Greenpoint)
Popped 7/4/21
Day 63
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Rum Runner Photo (Greenpoint)
Popped 7/4/21
Day 63
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Motor Punch Photo (Greenpoint)
Popped 7/4/21
Day 63
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Purple Canyon Photo (Greenpoint)
Popped 7/4/21
Day 63
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Critical Auto (Nirvana)
Popped 7/16
Day 51
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Somango XXL Auto (Nirvana)
Popped 7/16
Day 51
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WWxBB Auto (Female Seeds)
Popped 7/21/21
Day 46

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Ope, looks like I hit the file limit. Will finish up in the comments (if I can, not sure yet ).
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Ok, looks like I can

WWxBB cont.
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Auto Kush (Female Seeds)
Popped 7/21/21
Day 46
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So, things I've learned so far:

The preflower stretch is a real bitch, I was not prepared lol. My fault, honestly, since I spent a week hyperfocused on getting my 7yo daughter's room finally unpacked/cleaned/organized. I *should* have waited until after to flip my photos to 12/12 because I wasn't checking on them like I should have and they absolutely shot up on me. Training during the stretch is *vital* or else things get rather nuts. The Purple Canyon went from the runt of the litter to the tallest real quick and in a hurry, to the point where she was almost touching the lights and had to be moved to the back of the tent.

I definitely need to make holes in my pots for training (or maybe I should use those tiny binder clips since I'm in fabric? Input would be appreciated on that). Only having the two handles to tie down to now that they've stretched is absolutely a pain in the ass and the lack of symmetry is making me batty. Also going to assume I've made a whole new issue for myself with branches crossing on different plants.

Autos move *fast*. I knew this was the case going in, as I chose my fastest seeds per breeder site when I picked the WWxBB and Auto Kush to germ, but the WWxBB really surprised me as she shot up quickly and started showing sex at 3 weeks on the dot. She didn't seem to stretch much, if at all, once she started flower. She was the first of the four, even ahead of the Critical and Somango who were a week ahead.

I will definitely be doing some more extensive training on my autos next run, the single cola thing is kinda meh imo, and after seeing the training some of yall do I'm a bit jealous.

LST is a lot more stressful than I anticipated, it seems like your timing has to be impeccable or else you're going to break something. Too soon and they snap, too late and you have to apply way more force and they snap

I do have some questions that may have gotten lost in the sauce, so I'll ask them down here.
With the LST, what is the best way to attach tie downs in fabric pots? I've seen some of yall sticking the wire directly down into the dirt? Do they not pull out when you do that? Should I make holes in the fabric or would I be better off attaching binder clips? Some other solution? I'm all ears!

In regards to water/feeds, am I doing enough? My girls all seem pretty happy based on my experience growing other stuff, but the amount I'm giving seems miniscule compared to what I've read some of yall do. Same with feeds, am I giving enough (volume, not concentration)? I haven't noticed any deficiency issues, but with removing as many fan leaves as I have I'm worried that I've removed my way of watching for problems. My girls outside do get whatever rain we get, though we really haven't gotten a ton this year, it just mostly *looks* like its going to rain and then doesn't.

Also regarding feeds, should I be feeding my outdoor girls who are further along a different recipe than the two who are not as far along? As of right now I am following the full FF feeding schedule to the letter, though only once a week vs the recommended 2x. I extended veg on the indoor girls with manifolding, so they will be getting week six on Tuesday, while the outdoor girls will be getting week seven. Should I be feeding/watering more volume/frequency than I am or does it look like everything is good where it is? I almost feel like I should skip ahead to the later flowering feed schedule for the WWxBB and Somango but I'm genuinely not sure.

Since I'm feeding bottled nutes I know that I should most likely be flushing prior to the girls finishing. What is the best way to judge when to start that? Should I just keep going along as I have for now? I'm really not sure how to tell how far they are from finishing and I don't want to starve them early when they could be continuing to beef up instead.

I would love to hear any comments/constructive criticism/etc you all may have for me. I like to think I'm doing pretty ok for a first timer, but since I have no personal experience to compare this to I'm really not sure.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my novel. I make no promises on every being anything but long winded. Happy growing yall!
 
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Looks great! I'm a noob too, planted my first in May, planting 1 about every 3 weeks to try and keep 6 going all the time. As far as attaching to fabric pots, I've been using a sail needle to poke a jute twine through the fabric. I tie it to the edge of the pot with a slippery hitch for easy adjustment. I loop the other end over the branch and tie it with a sliding hitch ("rolling hitch"), so I can adjust it from either end of the string. It looks like the binder clips are easy too, but I'm a knot guy.

I never saw anybody defoliate so much! Looks like it's working, so hey. I look forward to watching your techniques evolve. Keep growing and keep journalling!
 
Good first run. You always learn a lot. I use safety pins they seem to work really well long as you get the painted ones. The metal ones tent to rust.
 

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