Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, November 24, 2006


Contactor Relay Timers, Vitamins and Wet Betty

Hopefully, we all learn by our mistakes! (Could someone please tell George W. Bush this homespun bit of wisdom?) In my case, this involved my first cheap timer that I bought at Home Hardware.

It was around the time that I set up my basement grow room. I was about to embark on an adventure to start growing medicine for my wife, Claire and I. She suffers from regular major migraines. At that time, I was puking my way through chemo therapy.

In growing pot, timing is everything. So you’re told to put your light on a timer, your hydroponic system on a timer, you CO2 burner on a timer. So you research the web and find that timers vary greatly in price.

You set out to your hardware chain store and find some neat looking timers for a fraction of the cost of the web ones. So you think you’re smart and buy three of them, figuring that they’ll free you up from having to constantly supervise your pot plants.

Wrong! No timer is a substitute for supervision. Anyone who has a computer should know by now that electronics can malfunction—frequently! So if your fifteen hundred dollar laptop can screw up, what makes you think that a $19.95 timer won’t end up jeopardizing your entire harvest?

Anyone putting more than a 400W light on a timer is taking a big chance. I found this out the hard way. I put my 600W High Pressure Sodium light, with a conversion bulb in it, on my newly bought timer. It worked fine during the eight weeks of the veg stage, then I programmed it to turn the light on and off at twelve hour intervals.

As you know, in order to flower, cannabis plants need 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of total darkness. I don’t like to go into my grow room during the dark period, even with a green bulb. So I did all my work in there during the “daylight” hours.

What I didn’t know is that my cheap timer fused in the “on” position, due to the high wattage current running through it, and my light was staying on 24 hours.

My pot plants refused to start flowering. At first I thought my feeding schedule was off, or I was giving my plants the wrong supplements. They got bushier and bushier, but hardly any buds. I started to panic.

Now even though a grow room is supposed to be totally light proof, what saved my harvest was that crack under the door that revealed to me one night that in fact complete darkness had not descended on my six pot plants.

I caught it in time, bought a decent, contactor relay timer, and gave my plants some more Bud Blood to induce flowering.

But my cheap timer had worked for eight weeks, without any trouble? That’s the dangerous part of trying to save money on an essential piece of equipment. The internal fusing can happen at any time, and without adequate supervision, the results could have been catastrophic.

The smallest contactor relay is a 2k unit, featuring two plugs. You insert these into your regular wall socket. One circuit goes through the timer, the other goes directly to the light. Actually, this unit can handle two 600W HID lights. It takes the load off the timer, thus eliminating the danger of fusing.

I’ve been using decent timers ever since that mishap, and they have proven to be reliable.
A 3k relay with a four plug output can handle up to three 600W HID’s, or four 400W lights. A 4k one can run up to four 600W lights, or three 1000W ones. And they also have larger relays with a bigger capacity.

My ladies are into week seven of their vegetative stage, so it’s time to test out my timers to make sure they work properly. It’s also time to feed the plants some essential B vitamins. I give them B-52, which not only has all the B’s they need, but also a whole bunch of biostimulants that promote plant health.

B-52 has B-complex plus folic acid, suspended in a high concentration of quality humates. It also contains a seaweed extract rich in phytohormones and osmoprotectants.

These phytohormones come from a natural source, more specifically from the algae Ascophyllum nodosum, commonly known as Norwegian kelp or Rockweed.

I find that my cannabis plants become more vigorous and grow faster, whenever I apply B-52 with its biologically active ingredients. The application rate is 2 mL/L.

Another supplement that I add at this time is Sensi Cal Mg Mix Grow, with its essential supply of calcium and magnesium. It also has Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Boron, Molybdenum, and Cobalt. These micronutrients are equally essential, albeit in minute amounts.

The application rate for this product is 1.25 mL/L and its has an NPK of 2-0-0. The calcium is chelated, and the micronutrients are in easily absorbed compound forms, such as sulphates, nitrates, and proteinates.

Soon, I’ll have to switch over to Sensi Cal Mg Mix Bloom, which is a product engineered and best suited for the flowering stage of my marijuana plants.

Growers who have experienced the devastating symptoms of calcium deficiency, will understand the importance of regularly administering these vital supplements.

My ladies are still on a basic diet of Sensi Grow, A & B, which is a superb fertilizer specifically developed for cannabis. After next week, I’m changing the regimen to Sensi Bloom, A & B. flushing the system in between.

In order to offset the synthetic nature of this basic diet, I use a number of organic supplements. Not the least of these is Wet Betty Organic, which is a surfactant that facilitates the transport and absorption of nutrients.

Wet Betty is a new, 100% organic product, that contains natural steroidal-triterpenoid saponins derived from Yucca and Quillaja. Saponins not only help plants resist stress, but they also manufacture phytohormones.

Given these properties, plus its unique ability to aid water absorption, Wet Betty helps deliver larger harvests. Since I’m hoping for a unique Mother Plant from my selection of six ladies, a large harvest is exactly what I need.

posted by Wes @ 1:09 PM

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