Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, February 09, 2007

Are those carbon emissions coming from your grow room?

Whatever your choice is with regard to tuning into the media, it’s hard to avoid all the talk of global warming these days. And at the root of this man-made problem are carbon emissions.

As I did my regular grow room maintenance this past week, I came across my slightly dusty red, second-hand CO2 generator. The thought occurred to me—“Hey, here I am generating carbon dioxide and contributing to global warming.”

Now before Squirrel, our gutsy daughter, starts attacking me for being an environmental pariah, I better examine this whole question of generating CO2 in my grow room to make my cannabis grow better, in order to produce a better grade of medicine for Claire and I.

If you’ve just started reading this blog, Claire suffers from periodic migraines (characterized by excruciating pain, if you’ve never had one) and I started smoking medpot in order to alleviate the pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy for cancer.

My cancer is (knock on wood) in remission, and Claire manages her migraine pain much better since she started using therapeutic cannabis. If you visit the Advanced Nutrients Medical website, you can read all about how this healing herb is used daily by thousands of ill people around the world.

It helps to increase their appetites, boost their immunity, stop their chronic pain, reduce the pressure in their eyes, or get rid of the nausea that is a side effect of certain invasive therapies.

Carbon dioxide enrichment is a time-honored tradition in commercial greenhouses. I’ve been using it in my grow room because cannabis plants are high-energy plants and they will benefit from the addition of this gas to stimulate their growth.

According to the Advanced Nutrients tech guys, the rate of application should be the same as the rate of your nutrient mix. So, if at a certain stage of your grow or flowering cycles you are administering 1200 parts per million of nutrients, then you should also crank up your CO2 burner to 1200 ppm.

Under bright lights, such as my 600W High Pressure Sodium lamp, high energy plants consume anywhere between 1200 to 1500 ppm of CO2. Given optimum conditions, administering the correct level of CO2 can double the rate of growth of your cannabis plants.

I’ve noticed incredible results with my CO2 burner and that is why I’m reluctant to abandon it. Normal air has only 300 ppm of CO2, so the rest you have to generate. You can either burn propane to make CO2, which is the method I use, or you can release compressed CO2 from a bottle by way of a CO2 emitter system. Needless to say, this is more expensive.

Contrary to mistaken beliefs, you do not administer CO2 to the roots of your plants. Your roots require oxygen. CO2 is absorbed by the cannabis leaves and then used to produce growth boosting sugars, as well as some water and oxygen.

The question I had for the Advanced Nutrients tech guys is how much of the CO2 I generate escapes from my grow room, contributing to global warming? They didn’t think it was a problem, since most of the gas is absorbed and used up by the plant.

“Some grow rooms are what is known as closed rooms, where there is no ventilation to the outside,” said the tech advice man. “I gather you have an exhaust fan, so a small amount of CO2 might get sucked out of the room that way, but if you turn down your exhaust fan to minimum speed while you’re generating CO2, the amount of gas that leaves is negligible.”

Whew! What a relief! Now I can relax my conscience. I just hope I can convince Squirrel, before she starts pummelling me for polluting the atmosphere!

Two bi-products of my old-fashioned CO2 generator are heat and water. This inadvertently raises the temperature and humidity in my grow room. Given that it’s winter, the heat doesn’t bother me much at the moment, I just turn my radiators off when I’m generating CO2.

The humidity can be a problem, since an extra humid grow room can lead to fungal infestations. I use Barricade religiously during both vegging and flowering, and wish that Advanced Nutrients Protector were available again,

Protector was specifically designed to prevent and fight powdery mildew. It is temporarily discontinued until Advanced Nutrients can solve a labelling problem. The authorities wanted the company to label it as a fungicide, which it is not. It doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals.

Plants treated with CO2 drink more, eat more, grow faster and bigger (require more room), and are generally higher maintenance than non-CO2 plants. The temperature in the grow room can be slightly higher than normal since they are high-energy plants.

So when I’m adjusting my Nutrient Calendar, I punch up either moderately heavy feeding or just plain heavy feeding. During week 6 of my ladies’ flowering stage, this nearly doubles the amount of Sensi Bloom A&B I have to pour into my reservoir, along with doubling the amount of Mother Earth Tea Bloom, Grandma Enggy’s Humic Acid and Fulvic Acid, as well as of B-52.

The amount of SensiZym I have to add goes from 288 mL if I’m light feeding, to 578 mL during heavy feeding (during week 6 of flowering). The amount of Barricade increases from 5.75 mL to 11.52 mL. Carbo Load Powder goes from 17.28 grams to 34.56 grams.

The parts per million of my nutrient solution peaks at week 4 of flowering. It’s 1200 ppm if I’m light feeding and 2000 ppm while I’m generating CO2 and heavy feeding.

CO2 is heavier than air, so normally it would leak out of the grow room in the cracks under the door and other openings. A room chuck full of CO2 will return to normal levels (300 ppm) within three hours of the generation being stopped.

In order to be a solid environmental citizen of this planet, I have plugged up the crack under the door and stuffed batten into other openings, except the ventilation ones. This way whatever CO2 I generate will be sucked up by my plants and used by them in a beneficial way.

And it won’t seep out into the atmosphere to worsen global warming.

posted by Wes @ 2:55 PM


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