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  #11  
Old 12-03-2009, 01:50 AM
midnitefarmer midnitefarmer is offline
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nice write up man....one of the best tutorials ive seen on any of these boards...great job!
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2009, 09:55 AM
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HerbalTea HerbalTea is offline
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Default Hey guys...:)

Nice to see ya again Useless, Eddie, SFC, midnite...n' to meet another grower, heya Nesta...Wazzup guys, and thanks for the props....Glad you could stop in, siddown, pull right on up, n' roll yerselves a fattie...

I oughtta have another block o' material sorted soon, and thought I'd cover summa the less glamorous--but needed basic--stuff next, but I'll see if I can rustle up some recent bud porn, too...Fortunately for my lazy ass a lotta the work is already done LOL...
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2009, 05:58 PM
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very nice, reminds me of my ventures. Alas the cabs were trashed due to relocating, I still have the lamps and ventilators and my server case. I thought it might be better to build something new when I'm finally ready again. Thank god I'm in a much cleaner and less stressful environment, not having thee need for cannabis atm.
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  #14  
Old 12-12-2009, 06:15 PM
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Wazzup Don, glad to see ya. Yeah, I sympathize bro', I followed along with yer recent move as I dug around the site. Butcha saved the most important gear fer when ya decide to start back up...the cabs're the cheapest part. Good thinkin' dude, and I agree. Easier n' better to plan a new one from scratch, when the time is finally right...Heh,heh...strictly speakin', I don't think I really "need" to grow either, but surprisingly it's turned into a fun lil' hobby I can relax with and enjoy. Don't mind savin' the dough on black market crap anymore, either...
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  #15  
Old 12-12-2009, 07:45 PM
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Default The Growiní Stuff

It took a bit oí well needed prodding to finally get around to covering what are proíly my least favoriteóbut vitalógrowiní topics. To keep things brief aní a manageable size, Iíll cover the specific care ní tips for my own long-term mothers, takiní clones, etc, in another post. While Iíve gotten awesome advice from other growers over the years, OldTimer1ís essay on bonsai mothers has been absolutely invaluable, and covers it all betterín I ever could, so I wonít even try. Itís been making itís way around the MJ forums for years (...itís that damn good...)and I strongly recommend ya save yer own copy. A must read IMVHO.

I went with soil from the start, since itís supposed to be a forgiving medium. That still hasnít prevented me from killiní off my girls with over watering and other common mistakes. I make a generic mix for all my plants to use in every stage, usiní a base of unfertilized potting soil. Itís readily available year Ďround here and...dirt cheap. (Sorry, had to...)Iím firmly in Greg Greenís school of thought that the dirt oughtta be one of the least expensive parts oí the grow. Not that I think the premium stuff isnít doiní anything but favors for those inclined ta use it. And no way is my mix sterile, either. Over water and fungus gnats are a certainty...

Medium:
Iíll mix up from 10 to 20 pounds oí dirt at a time, in a 10 gallon container. Twenty pounds worth of potting soil is as much as I can get in there while ensuring a thorough mix with amendments, and a finished batch that size comes to slightly lessín 6 gallons total. Thatíll last 6 to 8 weeks in my garden, and the container is still small enough to discreetly ní easily store away.

Soil Recipe:
4 parts potting soil
1 part amendments (50:50 perlite/vermiculite)
2 cups/gal soil, worm castings (0.5-0-0)
1/4 cup/gal soil, Espoma Plant-tone (5-3-3)
One 9oz jar/20 lbs soil, activated carbon
2 Tbspns/gal soil, dolomite lime grit
1 Tbspn/gal soil, hydrated dolomite lime

I like the cheap, generic potting soil, but Iíll pick up something better occasionally, or come across a find. Commercial stuff varies by region, but it all tends to have a lotta acidic sphagnum or hypnum, so in addition to the stabilizing lime grit, I feel better addiní a lilí hydrated dolomite lime, too. The ladies donít mind the extra Ca or Mg either, but this stuff is rocket fuel so I use it cautiously. Normally I use Hyponex potting soil, each 10 pound bag being roughly 2 gallons worth of volume, if it isnít too wet or compacted. The sand in it makes it a bit heavy IMO, but it has no pre-added nutes, and adding vermiculite and perlite lighten it up considerably. Iíd rather use the large and chunky perlite, but havenít been able to find it locally. No BFD. Worm castings are my favorite amendment to use, 2 cups per gallon oí dirt, but donít always have Ďem on hand. I also add Espoma Plant-tone, ľ cup per gallon of dirt, which is less than 40% of normal usage levels. That might get bumped up to 1/3 cup if castings arenít around. Lastly Iíll throw in some activated carbonócharcoalóto help keep the soil sweeter for longer, the same stuff used for aquarium filters. When complete, the pH level still tends to the acidic side, but well within MJís tolerance. I take readings in 4 spots for a given plant, which ranges roughly from 5.5 to 6 ĺ pH. Then I use those numbers to find an average, that typically falls around 6 to 6 Ĺ for a brand new batch oí soil. Perfect. Over time, I want that average pH level to maintain from 6.0 to 6.8+.

I use a cheap olí rapitest pH meter to check my dirt, which does surprisingly well if you clean it thoroughly before every session. That piddly rag it comes with ainít up to the job either, use some 600 or finer grit sandpaper, or better yet some Scotch-Brite. You hafta wait a coupla minutes as well, and let the needle settle from its first wild sways to get a solid reading from it. It wonít work if the soil is too wet, so Iíll wait from 1 to 3 days after a saturation watering before checkiní. All this attention to pH mostly applies to the long-term mothers, since their progeny have another more immediate fate, LOL. Itís still good to know the dirt is stable, though...Aeration has been a great side effect too, and incidentally that will also help dry things out much faster if you should ever happen to over water. Ahem...

Containers:
The pots I used were getting progressively bigger with each grow before I went with my first SOG. With the limited floor space in Cab #3 I needed containers that were under 4Ē, round or (preferably) square, but still reasonably deep. Short of making my own, 16 oz cups fit the bill best, and I used Ďem again for this grow. The various styles are all roughly 3 ĺĒ ō and stand 5 ĹĒ high, almost the same height as the mothersí 6Ē pots, and they help keep overall plant size down by restricting the rootball. This grow the WR and DM both range from 9-10 inches finished, the taller ones gettiní to 11 inches, which is a more typical height for the newer Caramella these days. Really extraordinary ladies will hit a foot to 13Ē, and I always appreciate a visit from those, but even growiní indoors I get seasonal variation. Seems thereís always a damn stubby dwarf or two per cycle that shows up too, which appear to be the slowest rooters oí the bunch. (The DM usually...figures...) Theseíre the ones that cause all that irritating variance in my final harvest weights. MJ can still get surprisingly tall even in a beer cup, though. In my earlier SOG the Nirvana NL5xBigBud normally ranged from 27 to 31 inches, while the White Widow (from bagseed) in that grow was hittiní 18-24Ē tall. The pics show some a day or two after chop...


The cups are double stacked, the outer one being intended to hold any possible overflow. I prefer to use 2 opaque cups to prevent algae growth, but if at least one is, I'm satisfied. The inner cups have bottom drainage holes naturally, and the outer liner cups have tiny vent holes drilled high up their sides too. This is to prevent an air-lock if water needs to drain down, since the cups fit closely together. Usiní cups made on a variety of molds helps keep Ďem from fittiní too close...The bottom of the inner cup sits up to 1/2" higher than the liner, so they're never left in any standing drainage. Occasionally plants will send a few roots into this area, a first sign of being pot-bound, but with an expected lifespan of only 9 or 10 weeks total in these containers, I canít say that I let it worry me. After harvest, the rootballs are firm, but crumble easily, ní have a fine network of healthy roots throughout.



Food ní Water:
I have municipal water drawn from reservoirs, although if thereís another drought goiní on water also gets pumped in from the river. I filter it for all my own cooking and drinking needs, I certainly canít do less for the garden. A normal week will take from 1 Ĺ to 2 gallons worth for all the cabs, and I use test strips to check on things. Iím mainly concerned with the pH levels, which look pretty good all over, so I donít adjust it beyond what any of the added nutes do. To my uneducated eye, the rest oí the info looks good as well, but I havenít delved into the topic much at all. Always more ta learn. Filtered tap water, RT:pH=6.8, Nitrate ppm=0-20, Nitrite ppm=0, Hardness ppm=75, Alkalinity ppm=80-120. Straight tap water:pH=7.2, Nitrate ppm=20, Nitrite ppm=0, Hardness ppm=150, Alkalinity ppm=80-120.

For the 2 weeks of veg the girls get after transplanting outta the dome, they get no additional feeding from me at all. Itís filtered water only. When they first go into veg, their soil has been settled by a thorough soaking, so new transplants donít even need watering for 2 or 3 days. When they finally dry out enough, an ounce or two a day is enough to keep Ďem damp ní happy, but not sodden. Thatís also pretty much the same case with plants flushed towards the end of flower. Iíve found the olí heft/weight method to be the quickest ní simplest way to determine if, and how much, water is needed, but it does requires ya to know yer pots. I usually shoot for that vague ďmoist-but-not-too-wetĒ zone every growers gotta learn. Once or twice a week Iíll skip watering for a night, Cabs 2 ní 3 both, and let Ďem all get a good, dry breath. All the small containers in general dry out quick enough Ďround here that I donít need to do it more oftenín that. If I should need to leave the garden unattended for a long weekend, Iíll do a saturation watering for Ďem all the night before I go.

When a batch of plants moves to flowering they begin a 6 week feeding regimen. It used to be 5 weeks, but the new Caramella strain is taking longer to finish, so all of 'em have recently been moved onto a full 8 week schedule. Most of my plants require watering or feeding on a daily basis, but not always. The DM likes to hold water especially...so a daily dose can range from only a healthy shot-size glass, up to about 1/3 of a cup for a thirsty lady or one nearer the fan. I'll feed them daily if the containers have lost enough heft, using an 80% normal strength mix of Schultz 10-15-10 with micro-nutes and Liquid Karma, 0.1-0.1-0.5. Any plant that looks like it's burning gets put back on a water-only regimen. Flower mix:pH=7.2, Nitrate ppm=160, Nitrite ppm=5.0, Hardness ppm=150, Alkalinity ppm=120-180.

I'm flushing at 6 weeks now, rather than 5, and it takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes (in the kitchen sink with tap water) depending on how many plants are in the cycle. To do a proper job would probably add another hour, but I just donít have the patience for it. Then the last 2 weeks it's filtered water only.

Whew!...Peace ní happy growiní to ya...

Last edited by HerbalTea; 12-12-2009 at 08:53 PM. Reason: 'Cuz the damn thing blanked itself! >:(
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  #16  
Old 12-12-2009, 07:59 PM
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Default Interlude in Caramella


The new Caramella strain from Homegrown Fantaseeds has a pretty firm toehold in my garden now. The buds shown here are from 2 different batches, 5 and 3 weeks along in flower respectively. Itís listed as an 80/20 Indie dom, and does pretty well in a SOG. She takes after her branchier Indica side oí the family, which makes for a lotta good bud sites, and likes to make a strong central cola. The footprint is slightly broader than the DM though, and I hafta tie these up more often than not. Thereíve been a few snags ní hitches along the way, some of my own makiní, but my take on this one so far is a mixed bag at best. Iíd still rate it as a worth while buy overall, at a fair price, but Iíll detail summa the beginnings in a later post.


There is one Durga Mata along for the ride in this same batch, aní these two particular girls have been recently flushed as they start their last 2 weeks of flower. The Cara will start to frost up more from here on out, but compared to her DM sister, aní even the WR, sheís the slowest resin producer, as you can see. But the award for All Time Resinator in my garden would hafta go to the Chocolate Chunk below that I grew out a while ago. Wazza beautiful plant too, with a bright, electric green to it...



Caramella has been a very low odor plant, both those on the ďhighĒ and ďlowĒ feeding regimens Iíve run so far, great for stealth growiní. I was hopiní for some girls with the red-pistil trait, but all my initial run looked more orange to my eye, similar to the DM. There was a strong warning from the breeder about nutes interfering with the flavor, and Iíve been tryiní to tune into that happy medium as I go along, but these have been some really hungry ní thirsty girls. I havenít found the taste to quite live up to its hype, but itís interesting none-the-less. To be fair, I should note that I havenít tried any dried Cara smoke olderín about 3 weeks yet...not exactly whatcha might call the best cure, but the flavors between batches was the same IMHO, the biggest difference merely beiní bud size.

The overall aroma is soft, with a main astringent tone that smells like vinyl plastic to me. Thereís also a green/piney undertone to it, but it takes a real good shake to get anything at all. All these flavors come through after drying, rather than the sweet one I was expecting, but maybe Iím over thinkiní it all, too...When I relax aní enjoy the whole ďgestalteĒ of the flavor, ratherín micro-examining it, I can see how it could be considered a ďsweetĒ aftertaste...but itís not in the same way as some really good Bubblegum I once tried, if that makes any sense. Itís a very soft and non-expansive toke, and the high doesnít last as long as the other strains. Perhaps 2 or 2 Ĺ hours, but itís similar to the DM in that itís an upbeat and pleasant one. If these buds are half as dense as ďregularĒ nugz, Iím beiní generous. Not that airy buds are a big surprise with fluoros, but this strain is by far the airiest one Iíve tried so far. Still, she makes for some nice big colas, though she wonít replace the WR in the garden as originally planned.

One particular Cara yielded a lilí surprise...4 seeds. Neat trick with no males in the garden. Theyíre not mature, and I kept Ďem as novelties moreín anything else. Another plant was kept as the mother in any event, and Iíve been running these as clones since first germinating from seed. It takes 8 days for the quickest cuttings to show roots, and by 2 weeks even the slowest are at the party.
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  #17  
Old 12-12-2009, 08:25 PM
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HerbalTea HerbalTea is offline
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Default Interlude in Caramella Redux...


I get a lotta nice compliments, and itís easy to see why folks think I have some mighty clean cabs. I took my cab pics right after their construction, and the runniní shots I typically take after a cleanup. But Iím not a neat freak, though I was pretty damned obsessive about my cab construction, and I just shovel the cabs out whenever I get fed up with the mess. You can proíly see why I normally take pics at those times. Iíll leave the other cabs to your imagination, but as long as the plants are healthy aní doing well, Iím williní to put up with some day-to-day crud. Yeah, I leave dishes inna sink, too...but not ifín company is cominí over.


Even if house keeping isnít one oí my strong suits, I still keep up with the regular maintenance. Recently 2 fans started makiní freaky noises, and I replaced Ďem before they got to be a problem. One was the small circulation fan for Cab 3ís interior, the other was the exhaust for Cab 1. Their new specs are fairly close to the old fans, and itís already updated in the ventilation post. I got about 3 years of non-stop service from those guys, so Iím satisfied, but these new fans from EBMpapst are superb. Iím tempted to switch out the flower cabís as well, their noise level is so low, and Iím thinkiní 35dB max for my new personal noise limit. The air exchange rate for Cab 1 is slightly higher now, but temps are pretty much in their normal range, any fan differences werenít that drastic...

Interior temps in the flower cab are slightly higher however, even with the new circulation fan. I rehung a coupla Mylar panels in Cab #3 after I raised the lights to accommodate the taller Caramella strain. The tallest White Rhino or Durga Mata so far mighta hit 13 inches, but 9 to 12 is the norm here, so I had hung the lights at 13Ē from the top edge of the pots for those strains. The Caramella cuttings have been ranging anywhere from 16 to 18Ē fully flowered. One of the things I looked for in the new mother was low height, but the average is typically 16/17 inches for the smallest. Iíve got high hopes I can adapt these, and no doubt theyíll lose some vigor with age...the original DM mom flowered out in the pic below was almost the same. I raised the lights to 18Ē, the outside limit of my comfort range for the best light I think these things throw, and itís proved harder on the 2 shorter strains. (Yup, still have the Rhino, for a few reasons...) I rehung 2 small panels of Mylar on the side walls, hoping to compensate some for the raised lights and still keep the temps down. Temps have increased 3 to 5 degrees in the flower cab, easily managed so far...but this is only early Spring, too. Maybe that fan upgrade isnít as far behind as I thought...




Only 3 seeds finally germinated outta the pack of 10 Caramellaówhadda PITAóand the last one (named plant C in a fit of imagination...) needed huge amounts of TLC and nursiní along. Glad I did it, since in the end it was the best overall mother material in the competition. They all started in 16 oz cups, shown above a week into the seedling stage. The pics below are 2 week seedlings. All were eventually transplanted into 4 ĹĒ square pots later, but only one made the final cut to the 6Ē mother container. The last shot above is 3 weeks after repotting. But the first 3 were takiní their own sweet time showing any pre-flowers, and I rooted some cuttings to eventually flower Ďem out for sexing. No big deal, grower SOP, blah, blah, blah...But at some point I musta screwed up somewhere, Ďcuz I was surprised to see males (from B) in the flower cab after I thought Iíd already verified everything as female. (...Dumb-ass, donít take cuttings stoned!...doh!) The boys showed up as part oí the same batch I posted about just previously, bumping two girls and puttiní a big ding on harvest. Such is life. There are two remaining plants currently in veg that are from the same potentially flawed batch, and Iíve got a sinking feeling that there are more males to be culled...


Three weeks later...
...the same Caramella plant from earlier has filled out aní frosted up very nicely.

Unlike her sisters, this particular lady wasnít quite ready for harvest at the usual 7 weeks. Iím not finicky, I simply judge Ďem by eye, waiting until 50 to 75% of the pistils have matured and turned color. This one needed extra time though, and used it well. Iíll gladly change my schedule to accommodate, but they still tend to look a lilí under-done to me...Two more Cara males were culled from the garden too, so the harvest will suffer a while more. Those oughtta be the last boys...


Durga Mata:

These latest runs have been heavy on the Cara strain, but thereís an occasional stick of Durga Mata or White Rhino in the mix at times. The next batch of plants is heavy on DM, and theyíre looking pretty good since they sat a lilí longer than normal in the dome. They still have a week more of veg time left before hittiní the flower box...

White Rhino:

Although itís as potent as any other Iíve tried so far, and itís a decent smoke, I was never impressed with the flavor of the WR. I suppose this is why I donít say as much about it as the other strains, and I was originally planning on phasing it outta the garden completely after establishiní the CM. These arenít the most recent pics, but it does make some pretty buds, and I continue to add cuttings from her to the grow occasionally.

Itís safe to assume part oí the reason I kept the WR mother is that Iím just beiní a pack rat. I managed to rationalize it all in the end by keeping the plant to use for ďexperimentalĒ purposes. Whenever thereís a new idea to try, I do it on this plant first and watch the results. Itís been very educational. ATM, Iím considering learniní how to graft...
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:48 PM
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:16 AM
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Awesome job ther HerbalTea. Im a fellow CFL grower myself. I have a current grow just finishing up week 2 of 12/12. Not much budding going on yet im afraid. That should change this week though I like the SOG your running. Ive been doing 3 plants LST'd myself but have the same problem as you, running out before the next harvest. Keep up the good work man. Peace
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:13 PM
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Default Howdy :)

Wazzup virago, glad ya could stop in bro', an' welcome to 420G BTW. I've seen some great buds done under CFLs, and hopefully you'll get a good n' frosty harvest from it...but runnin' out is somethin' that doesn't happen here anymore since I went back to a SOG, which was rather part o' the point. That isn't sayin' I never run out or get low, though. That usually happens when I smoke out a buncha friends, or if I'm feelin' lazy an' slacking off with taking cuttings. But for a regular, dependable supply, a perpetual SOG has been the best fer me that I've found so far, and I simply can't recommend it enough for personal growers out there.
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