Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, July 20, 2007

Week Four of Bloom, an Unexpected Blackout

This is week 4 of bloom and I’m growing six cannabis plants using Connoisseur A & B as my basic bloom fert. I allowed my ladies (they’re sinsemilla—or virgin female plants) four full weeks to veg to maturity, then the fifth week became week 1 of bloom.

My plants aren’t as tall as my last crop, but then I allowed eight weeks of vegetative growth. During this time, I fed them with the AN Sensi Two-Part, an excellent fertilizer in its own right.

Since then I was informed by the Advanced Nutrients Medical tech advisors that if the plants become too tall during the veg stage, they spend all their energy transporting nutrients up to their top leaves, leaving less oomph for the production of buds.

I feed my plants a moderately light diet using the Plus Program on the AN Nutrient Calculator. That means that in addition to my basic premium fert I also mix in fourteen different supplements, additives, bloom enhancers, and root colonizers at various times during the bloom cycle.

I grow my medicine hydroponically using a six bucket ebb and flow system with a 72 Liter reservoir. The whole operation takes place under one 600W High Pressure Sodium light, with an electronic ballast.

During veg, I used a conversion bulb to provide blue spectrum illumination, which is to approximate the wavelength of the sunlight that is necessary for vegetative growth. As soon as I started the bloom stage, I switched my lighting period from 18/6 to 12/12 and put in a regular HPS bulb, which emits light on the red end of the spectrum.

During week 4 I pour in 163.44 mL of Connoisseur A and the same amount of Connoisseur B into my pre-mix tank. This is the tank I use to make sure that my nutrient mix is properly blended and that my PPM, EC, and pH readings are all appropriate for this specific time period.

Week 4 calls for 1400 PPM or EC 2 and the desired pH balance when growing in water is 5.6, slightly on the acidic side. It seems that cannabis plants can absorb nutrients better when the solution is slightly acidic.

Last time I fed my six ladies too much of a good thing and pretty soon after administering Connoisseur, I noticed a slight tip burn on some of my plants, a common symptom of overfeeding. So I went from Medium to Heavy feeding to Light to Medium feeding. As soon as I did that, the tips of my plants stopped shoring signs of stress.

Cannabis plants are susceptible to many different types of stress, that’s why I’m putting in 259.2 mL of B-52, a B-complex Vitamin designed to relieve plant stress. I’m also putting on 30.24 grams of Big Bud Powder, in order to enhance bloom production.

Connoisseur alone not only ensures the production of many more buds than so-called normal ferts, but with the help of the bloom enhancers Bud Blood, Big Bud, and Overdrive, it resulted in a humungous harvest for me last time.

Claire and I are slowly enjoying the 30 huge colas that my six ladies produced with the aid of this premium fertilizer. It was explained to me that the polyamino alcohols in Connoisseur make the cell walls of plants elastic, enabling them to store more sugars.

These sugars and carbohydrates in turn are utilized by the plant when it comes to producing bigger, better, more numerous and more potent buds.

For all this intercellular activity to take place, all plants need light, water, and nutrients. Whereas in nature they also need soil, in my hydroponic grow room baked clay pebbles have replaced soil as my grow medium.

One of these vital ingredients was abruptly cut off a few days ago, when a bulldozer accidentally knocked over a power pole and cut off electricity to my location for 48-hours. It took that long to have the power restored, since the dozer caused a short circuit and blew several large transformers that had to be replaced.

A few postings ago I was enthusing about how my grow room is almost completely digitalized. But digital technology is great, as long as there is a constant flow of electrical current to all the gadgets and tools that need it to function.

I could manually fertigate my plants by using a ladle and bucket system at periodic intervals. But how do I replace the light energy required for photosynthesis?

A friend of mine turned me on to this electronics rental place in a nearby city, where I was able to rent a bank of blue and red LED lights (see my earlier posting on the subject) which produced enough lumens (10,000 to be exact) necessary for my plants to grow and thrive.

How did I power the LED’s? Light Emitting Diodes do not run an alternate current, they require a direct current power source. So by renting a DC power supply of the correct voltage for the lights, I was able to temporarily supply my plants with adequate light.

Needless to say, I have a newfound respect for LED technology.

posted by Wes @ 1:02 AM

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