Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, October 20, 2006


Expert Advice, New Online Store

Spent an hour on the phone with the Advanced Nutrient Medical growers and patients support line guy, and it was a very informative session. I found out that the biggest pitfall for medpot growers is keeping the pH of your nutrient solution on the mark. It seems that many people mix their ingredients, take one pH reading and proceed with administering the solution to their plants.

Wrong thing to do! Most medpot growers are small-scale, so they mix in a bucket. If you’re using Barricade, add it the night before. This is because this product dissolves very slowly and it’s also highly alkaline.

Then mix the other ingredients the next day, and take pH readings every half hour, until you have two consecutive identical readings. That is a sign that your mixture has settled and you can administer it to your plants, provided that the pH is correct for your grow medium

In water, your pH should be 5.6. If you’re growing in coco coir, the ideal is 6 pH. In soil, what you should be aiming for 6.3 pH. Using Advanced Nutrients Medical pH Up or pH Down will help you to arrive at the optimum pH level. Since these products are concentrates, they are much cheaper than the competitors diluted pH correctors.

There are some rules of thumb that should be remembered, but are often forgotten. For instance--the man told me--synthetics are better for a hydro grow, since organics tend to clog up hydro systems. This is true especially for drip irrigation ones, but also the ebb and flow system which I have, since the recycling pump does have to be cleaned frequently, or else it clogs up.

So my intuition telling me that I should switch to EPN SensiPro wasn’t far off the mark. Also, the rule is one basic nutrient with one flower booster at a time. He warned me against using products like Bud Blood, Big Bud, and Overdrive at the very same time. “If you do, they will burn your pot plants to a crisp,” said he.

Bud Blood helps initiate flowering, so it should only be used during week one. These bloom enhancers should only be used in stages. Consult the Nutrient Calculator at the new Advanced Nutrients online store, if you’re not clear on this. Big Bud is to be used during weeks two, three, and four of flowering.

Overdrive is usually administered during weeks five and six. That gives you two weeks before harvest to run Sweet Leaf through your system and then to flush it with pure water, to get rid of any residual, unwanted taste.

He also explained that Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice should be used at half-strength only in a hydro situation, especially when Carbo Load Liquid or Powder is also used. The reason for this is that the carbohydrates in the latter product stimulate and increase the size of the microorganism colonies in your roots to such an extent, that they turn into a brown mush, covered in slime.

Don’t confuse this with root rot, since it has no smell. If you’ve been using the above products full strength in a hydro grow, the remedy is to flush your system with a mild solution of HyOx (see, there is a good use for this product!) in order to kill about 50% of the microbes. Then you can reintroduce the root colonizing products, but only at half strength.

If you’re growing in soil, using Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice full strength is okay.

When you’re growing cannabis, the temperature of your grow room is crucial. I’ve touched upon this in past postings. If the temp is high because of a CO2 generator (let’s say around 86º F) your plants will be fluffy, airy, non-resinous. If, however, during the last two weeks you lower to temp gradually to 73º F or thereabouts, you’ll get a tighter, more resinous harvest.

Your CO2 parts per million (ppm) should be the same as the ppm of your nutrient solution. Let’s say you start the flowering cycle at 800-1000 ppm, then you should increase your ppm by 200 each week up to week 4, then decrease it again—1000, 1200, 1400, 1600, 1400, 1200, 1000, and 800 ppm at harvest.

Don’t give your seedling CO2, until their roots develop and they have three or four leaves. Then you can start at 250 ppm, the following week 500 ppm, then up to 750 ppm all the way up to that thousand level, which is ideal until the beginning of the flowering stage. During the vegetative stage you can give your plants 18 hours plus a day of lighting, then if you want to induce flowering, cut back to 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of total darkness.

My hour on the telephone was well spent. I probably saved myself a lot of headaches by asking an expert.

posted by Wes @ 12:44 PM

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