Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ozone Generation and the Final Flush

Even though I use a carbon filter on my exhaust fan, some telltale odors do escape from my grow room now and again. As you know, my wife Claire and I are medpot patients, growing legal marijuana according to the laws of the state we live in. However, the federal government doesn’t recognize the validity of this state law, so their drug enforcement agencies have been known to bust and prosecute patients growing medical cannabis, especially if they grow more than the allotted amount.

We don’t need this hassle, even though we’re only growing six plants each time. So we would prefer to keep the existence of our grow room secret from our neighbors and any authority types who might come sniffing around. To make a long story short, I’ve been looking into the wisdom of using an ozone generator to get rid of the odors completely.

Ozone generators use ultraviolet (UV) light to turn the oxygen in air (O2) into ozone (O3). The ozone molecule is somewhat unstable and is constantly looking to unload the extra oxygen molecule by binding with other molecules. Odors are particles consisting of molecules that float in the air, so they become the most convenient thing for that extra oxygen molecule to bind with. This binding process is often referred to as oxidization.

A word of warning is warranted—never look directly at the UV lamp or tube. The intensity of the UV light can damage your retina beyond repair. Also, never use an ozone generator in a completely closed grow room. Adequate ventilation is absolutely essential. Smart growers keep the ozone generator in a separate space, next to the grow room. Then they vent the odors through this room to get rid of them, before finally venting the odorless air to the outside.

The reasons for all these cautions are based on the never-ending quest of the O3 molecule to get rid of that extra oxygen atom. Once it finishes cleaning the air of odor particles, it looks around for anything else to bind with. Your cannabis plants are handy, so it starts binding with the marijuana molecules. If you see chlorotic spots or streaks on your plants and you’re running an ozone generator in the room, you might be seeing ozone damage.

Once it kills your cannabis plants, the ozone will devour your plastic buckets or trays. It’s bad news. Many a grower has gone away for a few days inadvertently leaving their O3 generator on and have returned to find complete devastation. Also, if you happen to be working in the room, the ozone will attack your lungs. A good idea is to go in, switch off the machine, then go out again. Go back in about half an hour to do your work in the grow room.

If you’ve ever smelled ozone, you’ll never forget the smell. It somewhat resembles the smell of burnt hair. Narcs are also aware of the sudden smell of ozone outside your grow room. It’s like a red alert for them. That’s why I’ve always stayed with carbon filtering, but unfortunately it’s not as effective in eliminating odors as ozone is. But I’m going to keep my carbon filter and incorporate it into this new system. I wonder if it will remove the ozone smell before I vent my exhaust air to the outside?

Since I use automatic timers to run all my mechanisms—lights, ventilation fans, radiator heaters, CO2 generator, the pumps that flood my six-bucket ebb and flow system periodically only to switch off and allow my nutrient solution to return to my reservoir—I would also have to put the ozone generator on a timer. If I had the unit inside my grow room and the timer failed I could damage my medicinal crop or worse.

So I am rerouting my exhaust fan ducts through an adjacent closet, which will be completely sealed. I’ve been meaning to do this work for quite some time now, but I never had enough time to do it. I am taking a week off so I’ve gathered all my tools to do this work. I’ve also bought a well-made ozone generator, one with a dead man’s switch that makes direct eye contact with the UV light source impossible.

Some growers use their ozone generators as an anti-fungal tool. Ozone is used in sterilization, so if your have a mold and mildew problem in your grow room, running ozone for a few hours will get rid of it. Luckily, I don’t have a fungal problem. I use Advanced Nutrients Barricade to strengthen the cell walls of my cannabis plants so they can fight off and repel pathogens. I also keep the humidity down in my grow room and don’t’ believe in misting.

Another trick to prevent any kinds of pathogens from getting a foothold in your grow room is to spray regularly with Scorpion Juice. I’ve sprayed my six ladies ever since they were seedlings every three weeks with this very effective product which imparts induced systemic resistance to my plants.

This is week 7 of the bloom cycle, so all I’m doing is flushing my system with Final Phase and clean water. As you know, I’ve fed my ladies the ultra premium basic fert called Connoisseur A & B since week 3 of flowering. The super nutrient has done its work. My stems are thicker, my leaves are bursting with life, and my buds are gigantic. I’m looking forward to harvesting them next week!

I’ve used all the supplements with Connoisseur that I had been using with my Sensi Grow A & B and Sensi Bloom A & B, which are the basic ferts that I would use normally. So the vitamins, organic and synthetic supplements, beneficial fungi, bacteria, and microbes, debris-munching enzymes have had a synergistic effect in producing a larger than normal harvest, crowned by the use of Advanced Nutrient’s top of the line fert each week for the past four weeks.

And even though I stopped adding Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice in week 2 of the bloom cycle, the live microorganisms contained in these products continued to thrive in the roots of my ladies until this final flush. They helped make the roots grow large and strong and enabled them to better absorb all the vital nutrients that ensured this phenomenal harvest coming up.

Claire and I are both in awe of the size and vigor of our trichome covered buds and their enhanced fragrance. Come to think of it, the Connoisseur-induced extra fragrance (assisted by the use of Sweet Leaf) was the reason that I put my plan into place to start ozone generation.

posted by Wes @ 2:48 PM


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