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Tentoes1962

Starting a small indoor grow.....

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So I am seeing some small gnat-ish-looking flies buzzing around the soil of my plants.  There are not many at all but I just wanted to ask.  They are small (like a gnat) but I can’t give you any more identifying information.  I plan to get some traps to catch a few and maybe then I will have more info to share.

 

I just want to make sure I am not seeing something that might be a major problem.....

 

Thanks for all the information!

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Fungus gnats are not a problem themselves but are a sign of too much water. Let them dry out a bit.

Root Aphids on the other hand are a problem, deal with them by putting at least an inch of course sand over your soil so they can't get into and out of the roots.

 


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Posted (edited)

C3742BD8-8ADE-4CF5-963B-FC659C6803A3.jpeg.063fb178a19d6e794fcc754b3d016dec.jpegHi all so I have caught my first few victims and I have uploaded one photo.....If it isn’t clear enough then let me know and I will try and get a closer, macro pic. 

D7B6D793-2F24-4A2C-A021-40A0BBA9CE15.jpeg

Edited by Tentoes1962
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Yeah, fungus gnats. 
Generally means you are keeping things TOO wet.

diatomaceous earth will work, but only as long as it stays dry. It clumps up when it gets wet.
I was growing in buckets, so I top treated the soil with sand (or DE) and watered from the bottom.

 


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Hello again, I would like to ask a few more questions about my grow, which by the way is located in the garage of the duplex that we rent.  It is my understanding that ANY stray light hitting the plants during night-time is very undesirable (can lead to things like hermaphrodites)

1) In an attempt to reduce any and all light that enters the garage (grow area), I have applied poster board with aluminum foil backing to the translucent windows of the garage door (on the inside).  This does an excellent job of stopping almost ALL of the unwanted light, but a little light gets through the sides of the garage door.  Should I do something about this light coming in from the sides of the garage door?

2) What is the best way to deal with hermaphrodite flowers, if they do develop?  In my one stealth grow, I had an injured plants that would make bright green “bananas” (male flower parts I believe).  Since I was worried that these small male parts could destroy my entire grow, I would regularly remove these male parts.  From reading in this forum I gather that I have maybe been throwing away a good source of “feminized” seeds (I.e. these hermaphrodite seeds are always females).  Is this true?

 

I thank everyone here for the help!

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Posted (edited)

Hi there KarrMcDebt:

Quoting you from a previous entry,

......”I was growing in buckets, so I top treated the soil with sand (or DE) and watered from the bottom”.

 

   So this sounds interesting to me.  I use plastic “homer” buckets filled with Fox Farms Ocean Forest.  At the bottom of the buckets I have drilled four (~1/8 inch) holes in the sides to allow excess water to escape.  Typically I simply water from the top, very slowly to try and minimize any excess water running out of the bottom.  

 

So when I see your post about “watering from the bottom”,  am I correct in assuming that you water your plants by letting the water enter the soil medium from the bottom, then allowing the water to saturate the soil before letting the excess be drained away?

Edited by Tentoes1962
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Sorry for being AWOL for the past week or so, but life can be a blur in the fast lane.

 

For a simple "crawling critter spray" that works on ants, fungus gnats, springtails, water beetles, etc...and not harmful to pets or wee ones, try this concoction:

 

For 1 gallon:

2.5 ml Pyrethrin (5%)

7.5 ml of Neem Oil (biodegradable organic pesticide)

8 oz of Diatomaceous Earth (I prefer foodgrade variety: Fossil Shell Flour (FSF) as it is sourced from fresh water sources)

 

Pour half the water in a container, add ingredients in order listed, and upon dumping the DE, immediately cover container for a 30 seconds or so (don't want to breath silica diatoms), then mix well and add water to the 1 gallon mark.

 

MIx well and use a heavy duty chemical type spray bottle. Shake continuously to prevent the DE from separating.

 

Modes of Action:

Pyrethrin induces a neurotoxic effect

Neem induces a ovicidal and larvicidal effect 

DE (amorphous silica gel) absorbs oils and fats found in the critters cuticles (causing them to dry out and die) and the diatom's sharp edges slice and dice the critter to pieces.

 

Combining both Pryrethrin and Neem with DE provides me with an excellent synergistic critter spray. I recall root aphid study where Neem and DE did nothing when used separately, but ranked first when the two were combined. Similar results with Pryethrin and DE...Pyrethrin half life nearly doubled when mixed with diatoms.

 

Don't mind the light powdery overspray as it will harm nothing and can be swept/mopped up later (if you want, but I don't). Great for ridding kitchen ants too--spray the outlets, holes, cracks and enjoy months of ant free kitchen.

 

Hope this helps.

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Regarding runoff: It is best to water any containerized plant to the point where there is 10-20% runoff. I water my plant with half gallon of water (64oz) then I expect to see 6-12 oz of water in the saucer.

 

Is it best to remove the runoff? Yes. If you are wicking from the bottom, then the above rule DOES NOT APPLY. Different rules.

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So it has been a habit of mine (ever since I read an article in a “Grow Encyclopedia”, published by “High Times” magazine way back in, like, 1978) to be VERY vigilant about not watering to excess or runoff, for the purpose of not flushing out beneficial bacteria and nutrients.  Believe me I am not disagreeing, just telling what I do and the reasons behind it and I am always looking for methods and improvements to the way I grow.

 

For now I manually water the plants from the top with a manual sprayer and I slowly add water amongst the plants until I begin to see water coming from the holes in the bottom.  That bucket immediately goes into another,  identical bucket but with no holes in the bottom.  The idea is to catch the runoff, and allow the runoff additional time to be absorbed back into the original bucket (to make sure there are no “dry spots” in the soil in the big bucket).  After a while I take the bucket out to make sure that the excess water has been absorbed, and if not, then I discard the runoff. 

 

I have have been a big believer in this method but I am willing to change if there is a compelling reason.

 

I appreciate your ideas and opinions, Backdoor!

:)

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First, I squeak when I walk (tight ass) and since I have more time than money--I must always balance my genetic defect: I am both perfectionist and a connoisseur of fine things; that said let's discuss benefit over cost.

 

On one extreme--if one waters a containerized plant just shy to the point of runoff, then the possibility of grow medium dry spots is greater (water flows vertical with gravity--and will water tension will cause it to flow horizontal). Now let's swing the pendulum to the opposite side: if one waters excessively, then goodness is being leached away and if the runoff sits int he saucer, then the grow medium will become anaerobic . Somewhere in between is the Goldilocks answer (not too much, not too little, but just right). The best test is for you water same sized pots with your grow medium and compare the results when using different water quantities. Here's is what I did, took a #5 plastic container made 2x2" square cutout windows along the sides, lined the inside with clear plastic and observed what happens with different watering techniques. As I adjusted my grow medium ingredients, I would observe how the water moved inside the container.

 

Watering just until runoff began to dribble caused half the grow medium to remain dry.

Watering until excess runoff caused complete saturation and leaving the water in the saucer caused the grow medium at the bottom center to never dry and had the lowest root growth.

Watering until 10-20% runoff caused the grow medium to be 75% wet...and when I let the runoff to wick back to the grow medium I observed the bottom portion of the grow medium to be wet while the top surface (1") was dry.

 

Watering with runoff does seem to create more "tunnels" and crevices within the grow medium, some smarter people suggest these become pathways for roots. So, what would I do--pack a container with grow medium, water the grow medium like you normally do, wait about half hour and then flip the container upside down, remove the container and observe the grow medium. Notice how the moisture is not even.

 

Fast forward to today. I use a combination bottom wicking (layer of orchid bark at the bottom of the container) and target 10-20% runoff, and allow it to be absorbed. Results, I have roots growing out of my drain holes...btw I changed to those grow bags instead of soft sided fabric grow pots, which I changed a few years ago after decades of using hard sided plastic containers.

 

Best answer will always be the Goldilocks solution...what works "just right for you".

 

 

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Hey thank you very much for that detailed answer!!  Those thorough explanations are appreciated because they allow a person to be able to apply the knowledge to different circumstances.  Bravo man!

 

To me it isn’t a trivial subject, and I have plans to incorporate soil-moisture sensors (as in burying multiple ones in the growing media) to be able to sense when the soil has been ideally watered.

 

For me I still like using homer buckets because:

1) The hard plastic rims are good for providing a solid structure to attach wires for LST and;

2)  If, after watering I see a lot of runoff, another unused homer bucket can be used to catch the runoff and allow some runoff water to “wick” back into the grow medium.  If the water in the catch bucket doesn’t get sucked back into the grow medium after about an hour, then I get rid of the runoff and take the “grow” bucket out of the “catch” bucket.

 

Oh and also.....do you water your plants on a daily basis, or do you water when the soil starts to dry, or the leaves begin to wilt slightly?

It has been my habit to only water when the plant begins to show it’s thirsty, but that’s probably a whole ‘nother can of worms.....

 

thanks for the shared wisdom!

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Let's assume all grow mediums are the same, in texture, water & air holding capacity, material size, in composition and that cation/anion thing. If all grow mediums were identical, then all growers would practice identical watering habits. Unfortunately, this is not the situation. When I deliver 64oz of water to my 1 cuft (7.5 gallon) grow bag, it is immediately absorbed (no pooling) and in about 30-45 seconds later runoff will appear. Some will see runoff immediately; others will never see runoff.

 

Permit me to step on my soap box and preach the importance of dialing in the air/water porosity rates for your grow medium. The mix I use for those baby 16oz cups is NOT the same I use for my 1 cuft grow bags. In my garden, smaller sized containers require more aeration (I add more perlite/vermiculite to my mix). How do you know if your mix needs more air/water porosity? You perform a test for each container size. My progression is: Cuttings start in 2" net cups in a "rooting mix" (equal parts of peat & vermiculite), then transplanted to 16oz square cups (equal parts "rooting mix" and my basic "grow medium"), then I use my grow medium to transplant to 1 gallon grow bags, with the best performing plants promoted to 1 cuft grow bags. The grow medium I use is designed for larger containers and I modify it for use in smaller containers.

 

I refer to my earlier post discussing air/water porosity matters; it works.

 

Oh, how much and often do I water? It depends on the plant.

 

The Purple Punch plants in flower mode (target harvest date is August 1) consume 64 oz of water each day. If I feed them 48 oz, no run off and they will be dry as a bone the next day; if I feed them 96 oz, runoff galore and the soil will remain moist the following day. When I feed them 64 oz, I see about 8 oz of run off (and since I bottom wick, those sitting in saucers I let the run off remain in the saucer).

 

On the other hand, Cherry Cobbler plants vegging in 1 cuft bags are water sucker-uppers. If they don't receive 96 oz of water each day, they will be dry as a bone the following day.

 

The fussy pussy Crown OG, she is deceptive--the soil surface can appear to be moist, but lift the container and she is more dry than wet. Daily rates in the veg of 48 oz is too little and 64 oz is too much.

 

Now, I have some Cherry Cobbler plants in veg that should have transplanted from 1 gallon bags to 1 cuft bags weeks ago, but still remain in 1 gallon bags. Those I feed with 64 oz of water (yep run off galore, maybe 20 oz or so), but the following morning, all saucers will be dry. If I skip a day (water every other day) then everybody happy. But if I feed them daily with 48 oz of water, both plant and saucer will be dry the following day.

 

During the process of reclaiming my grow medium, I separate the rootball from the grow medium and here is my observation: Plants that swung from extremes (wet -> dry -> wet -> dry...and so forth) had sorry looking roots; lots of thin thread like roots that showed signs of stress. Plants that were continuously moist (never dried out) had thickest mass and plenty of white fat thread like roots...lol, even weeks after harvest.

 

That said, a targeted water deficit at certain during the plant's life can be beneficial: greater root mass, greater bud size, increased flavors and aromas are things I have noticed.

 

The best learning experience is to "experiment"...try several water techniques and then conduct your own rootball autopsy. To have a great upstairs (buds) one must have a greater downstairs (roots).

 

Hope this helps.

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On 7/26/2020 at 8:03 AM, Backdoor said:

That said, a targeted water deficit at certain during the plant's life can be beneficial: greater root mass, greater bud size, increased flavors and aromas are things I have noticed

 

If you have time, some of your findings on this subject would be appreciated as well.  It seems to be standard practice to stop soil fertilization and even to “flush” the plant with excess water near harvest time.

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On 7/26/2020 at 8:03 AM, Backdoor said:

Those I feed with 64 oz of water (yep run off galore, maybe 20 oz or so), but the following morning, all saucers will be dry. If I skip a day (water every other day) then everybody happy. But if I feed them daily with 48 oz of water, both plant and saucer will be dry the following day

 

Just so I understand, the saucer is used to catch the excess water or runoff?  And you leave that runoff in the saucer to let it be absorbed back into the soil?

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Regarding imposing water deficit to improve root mass, many studies have shown that AMF (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) will kick in high gear and boost root development during moments of water deficit. Funny things happen when we impose abiotic and biotic stress on healthy plants.

 

Go to google scholar

https://scholar.google.com/

 

...and enter the following search terms and read away

 

"water deficit" amf

"water deficit" cannabinoid

 

and for kicks and giggles for us oenophiles, it seems the better vintages were one's with a wee bit of drought, try this search term

 

"water deficit" terroir wine

 

For those that don't read research papers---allow me to share this:

 

Upon harvest, drought-stressed plants had increased concentrations of major cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) by 12% and 13%, respectively, compared with the control. Further, yield per unit growing area of THCA was 43% higher than the control, CBDA yield was 47% higher, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) yield was 50% higher, and cannabidiol (CBD) yield was 67% higher. Controlled drought stress may therefore be an effective horticultural management technique to maximize both inflorescence dry weight and cannabinoid yield in cannabis, although results may differ by cannabis cultivar or chemotype.

 

Hmmmm....hope this helps.

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Good stuff!...thank you man!  

 

SO many different ways to grow weed!  In some ways I look at the grow I’m doing now as a kind of “control” in that I would like to show, after I’m done, what kind of quality can be expected by growing in a “Betty Crocker” methodology....just follow the instructions, add water and “voila!”, ...”...we are now entering orbit around Nebulon 5....it is advised to keep your seatbelts fastened....”

 

I also understand that adding UV light (UV “A”, I believe, during flower) also increases THC as well as other desirable compounds as well.  I am obviously not up to your level of expertise but believe me I appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.  If I don’t immediately adopt your recommendations, don’t think that I am dismissing your ideas!

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Oh, compared to the smartest peeps I've met, I am a mere midget in a land of giants. What I know today, is because years ago I did not know much. What I will know in the future, will because of things I don't know today. Remember, I'm and old guy and everyday I try to learn something new; which is easy in a world with swift technological advances. 

 

Yes, UV-A/B are good generators of terps. When I ran HPS  lamps, I had a simple routine that blessed me with killer potency. For the first few weeks (during stretch) I used Metal Halide 7.2K Kelvin (Plantmax 600w) https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/115289/PX-MS6007200.html , then 1000w HPS (3k) for blooming, then for the final 3 weeks I used Metal Halide 10k (Plantmax 600w) https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/88311/PX-MPS60010K.html .

 

And I imposed water deficits during the final weeks, but harvested plants fully hydrated.

 

That routine produced killer buds, then I migrated to full spectrum Ceramic Metal Halide 315 watt lamps and haven't looked back. These 315 watt bulbs produce ample UV-A/B and produces a light spectrum that is almost identical to the sun, and is comparable to output of 600 watt HPS (with about half the energy).

 

BTW, I haven't forgot about the saucer, draining and runoff discussion. I searching for some worksheets and procedures that I've downloaded years ago and will present those later. I forgot how important and beneficial it is to use good watering techniques, and hopefully improve the quality and yield without the need for overpriced bottles with labels containing cartoon characters. Pure technique.

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For veg I use Philips CDM Elite TMW 315/942/U/O EU. https://www.lighting.philips.com/main/prof/conventional-lamps-and-tubes/high-intensity-discharge-lamps/ceramic-metal-halide/mastercolor-cdm-t-elite-med-wattage/928601167331_EU/product

 

Why? Spectrum.

 

First here is the spectrum of the Sun.

image.png.2dec030e93340a005376c01cbdad878c.png

 

And the spectrum of the popular Hortilux 1000w Metal Halide. Notice the spikes of blue at 470ish, 510ish, and the spike of red at 590ish, as well as the multiple valleys (low to no spectrum) below 500 nm, the blues. Unlike the sun with a spike around 450 nm..

eStart_m1000bUbt37htl-es-nf.png

 

And the spectrum for the Philips 315/942 (4200k). Ahh, compare these blues with the sun's. Hence the "fuller spectrum" statement.

2ea9ac8c02ea47459bcba4a300a966aa?wid=102

 

 

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And for flower, I use CDM ELITE TMW 315/930/U/O EU https://www.lighting.philips.com/main/prof/conventional-lamps-and-tubes/high-intensity-discharge-lamps/ceramic-metal-halide/mastercolor-cdm-t-elite-med-wattage/928601167131_EU/product

 

....and below is it's spectrum

3c25806f80f646c498eaa4a300a9614c?wid=102

 

Compared to Horti's Super HPS

SuperHPS_lu1000bHTLen-noheader-nf.png

 

Same observation--compare Brands A & B with the sun and select accordingly. And remember, terpenes and flavonoids are effected by the blues.

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