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Calling All Noob Growers

Discussion in 'Newbie Central' started by riddleme, Mar 28, 2010.


This thread should be a sticky?

  1. Yes, it was very helpful

    603 vote(s)
  2. No, this info is already covered

    75 vote(s)

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    First let me say hello and tell you that you have come to the right place to learn to grow this wonderful plant, there is so much info here that it will easily overwhelm you.

    There are so many different ways of growing, so many different styles of nutes, and mostly so many differing opinions. How do you, a new grower wade thru all of it and come away with a simple understanding of what is real and what is myth?

    Not to worry as I have done it for you, when I came here I spent over 1000 hours just reading threads. I also purchased and read 45 books and I have over 20 dvd's. Now I grew back in the day before all this designer stuff happened, so it was all new to me and even with experience I was overwhelmed. I decided to do several experiments to figure out on my own what was real and what was crap.

    I am all about personal medical grows and showing folks how easy and cheap it is to grow your own medicine so for my first grow (to prove a point) I grew Matilda a 21 inch tall plant under one cfl with an added T9 (it was only 97 watts of light) I harvested 47.2 grams off her (1/2 gram a watt) and while pics of her are all over this site I am including them here for those of you that have never seen her.

    During all of this experimenting I figured things out and in the process broke several known myths, I decided to share this info but realized that most folks would not get it. I came up with a plan to create a little game in order to share the info and several members played and helped create a very truthful, imformative thread that has helped many new growers. It worked and as a result every one that participated got thier grow on and started having sucess in thier gardens.

    A new member recently followed the whole thing and told me it took him 2 and half days to read it all. I realized that this would limit how many people would actually take the time to do this and decided to post this thread giving YOU new growers the final reward (from the game) so you could decide for yourself whether or not you wanted to take the time to follow the game/class and get the info for yourselves ( the game itself happens in the first 40 pages of my NooB Advice thread, but has links to other threads, know that the answers are all in the thread so you don't really have to follow the links unless you want to. But I do advise it.)

    Here is the final reward summary of the class quoted from page 36 of the thread,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    All of you that have played my little game have earned this. You have done the research and contributed to the thread in a very positive way. I have found that things click best and we tend to remember better when we do our own research and put things together on our own. I feel that to be a good teacher you have to know how to lead a horse to water so to speak.
    Thank You for playing my little game and thank you for helping to make this thread work!
    Now let me tell you a story, all the books I have read start out (or contain) a history of the plant we love. Some add in some of the myths, my fav is the notion that MJ is an alien plant that traveled here long ago and has been helping humans out in various ways. I want to believe this one because of all the good and positive things that are known to come from this plant. No, I'm not gonna dwell on history or notions. Let's just say I started this like all the others and move on.
    There are many myths that just keep on surviving, simply because no one knows better. I suspect that it's like the game where you whisper something in another persons ear and pass it to the next person, the more people in the circle the more the info gets distorted. It's a fun exercise to try. Could also be that black market commercial growers have distorted the facts over the years to cut down on competition? Does not really matter where they came from, they exist, and there is some truth in all of them.
    But lets get to the prize, for starters then we'll discuss some other things. With your help I have managed to include all of the facts (mantras) that allowed me to see what was happening. Plus I added a few extra clues to help fire up your thinking processes, get the juices flowing as it were. I know that if you are serious that you read my grow journal and saw what happened when I did my first flush and then fed her the so called super tonic ( I will continue that experiment and it will be detailed in my journal).
    Here is what actually happened,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I simply made it rain.
    Ponder on that and if your mind does not click things into place and start running a million miles a second you need to go read some more. Joking, What we hear called the flush is very simply what mother nature does when it rains. Now as I continue this story I am going to put my thoughts into laymens terms so that everybody gets what I am trying to say. I am not a botanist and while I know some of the big words and what they mean I do not pretend to fully understand all of this plants functions. That being said. The one missing third of the flush question in the thread was the fact that buds tend to fatten up towards the end (last 2 weeks) DURING THE FLUSH. Of course in most grows she dies eating herself, because folks tend to let her due to some taste, smell, whatever thing???
    Remember earlier in the thread when we were talking about watering, someone quoted Uncle Ben and said water till you get PLENTY OF RUNOFF, sounds like a flush to me? not a drip, not a tray full, but PLENTY. You will get what looks like over watering and that can be scary the first time, as I detailed in my journal it was cool to see her curl up and droop. In my way of thinking this is when they actually sleep (mother natures way) cause we know they are doing things in the dark period. But I must admit that my research said they sleep in the dark period?
    Now for me I think they are sleeping because during a rain there is most usually no sun (for awhile) and the PH of rain is 5.6 so no nute uptake, and the roots are soaked in water so there is no oxygen. Damn she is basically drowning. But I believe she shuts down and waits for the sun to come out, at which point she goes into overdrive to WICK the water out of the ground ( another word you hear UB use a lot) I believe that what I saw happen with that growth spurt (I have proved it with subsequent waterings) was being able to read when she wants water and when she wants food.
    Let me draw the picture for you, mother natures way is to rain, then all the plants transpire the water back into the air and it rains again. Knowing this the best advice I could give a Noob when it comes to watering is to follow the instructions on your shampoo bottle,,,,Rinse & Repeat. Remember I was watering normally and it was taking 5 to 7 days before she needed water again but after the flush (rain) she wanted water after 2 and 1/2 days, this was when I gave her the super tonic. So basically I fed her. I see this as the acidic nature of rain is to release nutes from the soil so that once the water is wicked off the nutes will be available for the plant and the circle of life continues. So to tell you how to read your plants is simple after she has had a good meal, she wants it to rain again and after she has wicked off the water she wants food. WARNING if you do this in veg you will have trees! Remember that as you plan your grow to fit your garden.
    It really is that simple and because you are both God and Mother Nature in your garden you can make it rain when ever you want. And because it takes time for the rain to activate the nutes in soil putting some in there after the wicking process makes them imediately avaiable. Please note that I did not PH my water down to 5.6 (but I am gonna experiment with it) when I flushed which I feel makes the nutes we feed her available even faster as we do not have to wait for the PH to balance itself as much.
    Now lets get to some truths from the forum, everyone says start feeding at 1/4 strength, this makes total sense when you realize how we are now feeding her. If we gave her full strength every 3 or 4 days we would burn/kill her.
    Put your finger in to test the moisture of the soil, this makes sense to understand when she has actually wicked most of the rain water out of the soil. Remember we do not want it to dry out we want to add our nutes right before she runs out of water to wick and while she is in overdrive to do so. Remember also that the next day after I fed her she was dry again and wanted more water. Hell I had not yet figured it out so I watered her as usual and she settled back into that lets go slow thing again. It was all of the total picture and having the mantras in my head that made it click for me.
    Now that you understand how to water and feed properly, let's talk about soil. Obviously when starting out with seedlings/clones you need to nurture them and a good soil is an important part of this. Regardless of what you think or have read about it being possible to grow in Miracle Grow, stay away from it! It most usually comes in with a low PH (around 5.5) has bugs in it and is bad for our plants. I honestly believe they do this on purpose to cause harm to us MJ growers but that is just my opinion. That being said any good quality light soil (not hot with nutes) will do, as you know I like Happy Frogs (which would be considered a medium nute soil). You should start out in 6" Coir pots (available at nurseries) because they will get you thru the nurturing phase and transplanting up is as easy as planting the coir pot into a bigger pot. The proper way to do this is to fill a big bowl or pan or bucket (you get the idea) with water and submerge the Coir pot in it until it is soaked (no bubbles comming out) plant it in the bigger pot. No problems, no worries, no messing with roots. Do NOT water her after you put her in the big pot. Here is what happens, by submerging her in water, you put her to sleep. When she wakes up she will transpire (wick) the water out (from being submerged) and then will go into the new soil (in the bigger pot) looking for nutes. This method assures that there absolutely no stress from the transplanting.
    NOTE; You can do all of your control stuff during this nurturing/veg stage things like topping, LST or supercropping (totally your choice, I suggest you experiment with all of them and learn what you like best). You can do the make it rain thing to get bigger plants or you water them the slow way (to keep em small), simply remembering not to over or under water (I have already told you how to figure this out)
    Ok so now let's talk about the soil in the big pot. It does not have to be fancy and does not have to be organic, does not have to have nutes in it. WHY? because we are making it rain and suplementing nutes. This is why things like soiless mediums work. What we want now is called a Potting Mix (as opposed to potting soil), this puts us in complete control with regard to nutes and feeding and allows us to totally dial in how many nutes our plant (strain) can take without burn. Go to your local nursery and ask them to reccommend a good potting mix, and just get it. Now into this potting mix we want to add 1 cup (about a handful) of Sphagnum Moss and 1 tablespoon of Dolomite Lime this per gallon of soil (gonna refer to the potting mix as soil from now on, easier to type). WHY? because the Moss retains water and has a PH of 3.5, The Dolomite contains CAL/MAG (which MJ loves)and buffers the PH back into an acceptable range with each watering. I work and am gone everyday for 9 to 10 hours, the last thing I want is for my plant to wick out all of her water while I'm gone, so water retention is important to me. This is also why I put an inch of perlite in the bottom of my big pot. If your soil does not have perlite in it add some ( 1 cup per gallon of soil) when you mix it up. Because you want GOOD DRAINAGE for when you make it rain.
    Now let's talk about Nutes, You only NEED one or two (you should get both and alternate them) First is DynaGro ($12.99)as it contains ALL of the necessary nutes that a plant NEEDS in just one feeding. Second is Jack's Classic ($4.99) as it is stronger in N-P-K values and has other needed supplements. Also add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of GRANDMAS UNSULFERED MOLASSES (as long as unsulfered other brands will work, but I like Grandmas)to 1 gallon of water as it contains Carbs and Sugars (has other good nutes as well) that aid in growth, MJ loves it. When you feed Nutes you just need enough runoff to know that the pot is now full of nutes (no point in wasting them). As to measuring, start out at 1/4 strength per the instructions on the package and slowly (with each feeding) work your way up until you notice ANY sign of nute burn. At the VERY FIRST SIGN of nute burn you have discovered what your plant can eat in a single feeding without problems GO BACK A STEP (I would go back 2 steps) and now you have your proper feeding mix for your plant (strain). I am including the word strain where it is important as no two strains will respond the same, why you should only grow one strain at a time and learn it. And by learn it I mean you should be keeping notes as to what works best with each strain so you can consult them in future grows. NOTE: By slowly working your way up I do not mean going from 1/4 to 1/2 more like 1/16 to 1/8 increments to get there, after all we do not want to overburn them! P.S. YES Nutes are this simple.
    I want to spend just a moment on organic, if you somehow feel you must go organic then I'm not sure how it will work out for ya? In my opinion organic is a thing created by high commerce much similar to the fancy MJ nutes. I don't knock it cause it creates jobs for folks but also I don't do it. I honestly believe that if you sit in a blind taste test with properly grown, properly cured MJ, that you could not tell which one was organic and which was not. Not only myself but Uncle Ben agrees with this as well and several books I have agree it does not matter. Both DynaGro and Jack's are high quality nutes made from the best chemicals with the best processes available. Not like MG which is crap. And I just followed a grow journal where the member switched to Jack's and said there was hands down no competition from thier previous grow, Jack's was the shit.
    Humidity and Temp as we discovered in the class/game, are very important as is the heat index, as the proper combination helps with fast transpiration (wicking). I will briefly touch on the humidity for veggin should be 50 to 60%, think april showers bring may flowers. For Clones & seedlings should be 70 to 80% cause they need more moisture in the air till good roots develope and for flowering should be in the low 30's to prevent mold as for temp MJ is temp tolorant from 50F to 90F but what you want during flower is a fall like temp with a heat index that does not exceed 78F (remember mine was 76.5) this is why I gave you the link to the heat index calculator. You want your humidity and temp combos to have a heat index just a few points above your actual temp to achieve fast easy (no stress to plant) transpiration. doing this will create the perfect enviroment for your girls and they will love you for it, by giving you big buds.
    Circulation, is also important as we discussed in class and can assist in maintaining your humidity and temp. no need to go into detail here as there were several good methods for measuring it in the thread. Also no need to go into CO2 here we covered that as well, just know that if you were to go commercial, that the addition of CO2 allows you to raise all the numbers and make things happen faster. Also and this is very important, your plants want space between them. I see so many growers cramming plants into thier garden which goes against ALL known gardening facts. Your pots should have at least a foot between them and a foot and a half is better. This aids in circulation and light penetration and gives your plant the space it NEEDS to flourish.
    Keepin em green, is not only a mantra, but a way of growing. It allows you to harvest the good (big) tops and then lower the lights and finish the lower buds (increasing your yields) and allows you to put her back in veg and go again with the same plant, just remember to leave the fan leaves on when you harvest the lower buds. It also allows you to flower longer and get those those huge donkey dick buds everybody drools over. as long as your plant is healthy and happy there is no reason for her to die. The saying "Patience is a virtue" is completely true. So many new growers are in such a hurry to harvest that they chop early. The reality is you should chop when the buds are ripe (and huge) and the breeders estimations of grow times are crap, the plant is done when it is done. My advice to you is this, grow more than one plant and when you think it might be done, only harvest one of them so you have some smoke and let the others go to see what they do, My other mantra do it, watch em and learn. This way you will learn what ripe is for you and the for you part is all that matters it's your smoke/medicine.
    Water, There are so many theories on what kind of water to use. As you know I run regular tap water thru a brita filter I do this because it comes out 6.8 ph and filters out the crap that MIGHT be there (I'm not gonna pay to have it tested). I DO NOT let it set out to vape chlorine and I do not let it reach room temp. Let me share some more common sense with ya. All over the USA folks are watering thier lawns, trees, shrubs, bushes and flowers with city water from a hose or sprinkler system. NONE of them are dying, there are lush, green, pretty yards all over the place, so I'm pretty sure tap water is ok though it is true that there are areas that commonly have hard water (discussed in the Insiders Guide book, no reason to repeat, you should have purchased that book). Also I have, many times stood outside while it was raining and it is always COLD, plus I have experimented with it. Silly idea I had about how the cold would shock the plant and how the ground is warm from the sun, so I started with room temp water and gradually made it colder to see what would happen. Guess what it slowed transpiration down and she did not droop. So when you make it rain just use regular cold tap water, filter it, if you like and know that her drooping is a good thing!
    Lights, We pretty much covered this in class, you know that I prefer CMH. WHY? Closest spectrum to the sun there is from ANY bulb. Less heat to deal with. Can be used for both veg & flower (since it has both spectrums) and has UVB to make more resin. Only available up to 400 watt and requires an older type magnetic ballast is why commercial growers don't like em. But for personal medical grows this light is the bomb, period! I have proven you can grow big buds with a small light, that was my intent in doing so (and let's be honest it's why your here cause it got your attention) I have shown you that not everything you read/hear about lights is true.
    Summary, I have given you all the info I know, (and broken many of the myths) I have shown you with pics that I am not full of crap, don't know what I'm talking about Blah Blah Blah. I have proven that the Sum of ALL parts is what makes your grow successful by growing Matilda under one cfl (light is just one of the parts , that is most misunderstood) And Lastly I have had a BLAST doing it! Now get your grow on and good luck.

    I know this is a long winded thread and I thank you for taking the time to read it, I hope that you found enough info here to make you want to read the thread to fill in the banks, knowing that it will take time but in the end be very worthwhile in helping you to fully understand things. After the class the thread goes on answering question and discussing other things, reading all of it will also be beneficial.

    Here are the pics of Matilda,,,,,Enjoy

    Keep Em Green and Happy Growing to All

    Attached Files:


    NuBud335 Active Member

    Your post was very helpfull but I'm confused on a few things. Now remember this was a n00b tut so my questions may seem.....simple mined perhaps and I do maybe have the answer but being the noon I want to make sure I have it right. Nutes=nutrients? The others pertain mostly to the watering and just terms mostly. It sounds like the word "flush" means to over water the plant? You said to water until there is "plenty of runoff". The other term related to that is "wicking". If my theory of flushing is correct then is wicking the process in which the plant begins to obsorbe the water.

    So then flushing (or drowning? Which is also said to be bad.) puts the plant to "sleep" where it droops. When it awakes it starts to wick the water at a high rate.

    Again I'm probably wrong and misunderstood but I also didn't read your journal yet.

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    Yes nutes = nutrients or fertilizer

    Flushing is the act of running 3 times the water as the pot size thru your medium (soil) ie; if you have a 1 gallon pot you flush with 3 gallons of water

    Wicking is a slang term describing the transporation process, for wick think oil lamp how the wick goes in the oil and the oil follows it even up out of the oil, for transporation think you and I sweating. these are merely layman explanations to help you understand. The plant actually wicks the water back into the air so it can gather and rain again (outdoors)

    to describe, the difference, between flushing (pouring a lot of water thru the pot/medium) and overwatering (watering to frequently without allowing the medium to dry out)

    Hope that helps
    SaltFarm420 likes this.

    IAm5toned Well-Known Member

    got my vote for a sticky.
    that entire post summarized my 10 yrs soil exp in a cpl paragraphs.
    tho i will disagree to a point on some of the statements made against organics (mainly in that most people just dont use them right)
    you get bigger/better yields with chem, hands down.
    but organics work awesome for soil ammending...... which is prettu much making your own slow release nutes.
    then its a matter of using chem to supplement micronuntes & boost npk in flowering

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    Agree most folks don't use organics right, my point was not against it, rather that it is possible to damage the myco's in the soil with chem ferts and additives, also that making it rain on organic soil takes away your "total" control over the grow and how your feeding as different levels of nutes are available from the organics
    John marks likes this.

    NuBud335 Active Member

    So wicking is the plant obsorbing the water and releasing it into the air (or returning). That clears up the reason why you said to give it the nutes when it's almost done wicking becaus the plant will suck it right in along with the rest of the water. So do you flush it everytime you water it? And this flush/wick process is just for speeding up the growth of the plant? Thanks for clearing some of thinstuff up

    villian13 Member

    in the noob defence- me being a semi noob atleast 2 this site.i understand about all the info out there & how people dont look up things before they ask q's,me ,i ask q's before things go south w\ my plants.there is alot of reading on here,but what is good & bad i dont want my plants 2 suffer 4.i try 2 ask q's so i get up 2 date info,not cause im try'n 2 take a short cut or bother people,i dont want 2 be a bother-im here 2 learn just like everyone else.nice reading above.

    Trivial Member

    Hey riddleme, I am about to start growing in a 78"H x 48"W x 24" D grow cabinet I built. I will be using a 400w MH HID and several CFLs for lighting. I have built a dwc hydroponic system; will be using co2 as well; and will be using hydroton as my medium. My nutes are fox farm. Growing three strains: Barney's Farm LSD, Afghan Kush, and Lemon Haze.

    My goal is to grow a few plants as big as possible for the space provided. I just started germinating the seeds yesterday. How many plants should I grow in that amount of space to get maximum yield? Also any input or advice is welcome. Thanks for helping out a first time grower.

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    I don't do hydro, so for me I would only have 2 plants in that space, plus you are already going against most of my advice using CO2 (which is a waste of time in that space IMO) and mixing strains (as they will all respond and react differently, affecting your grow and your yields)

    So I'm gonna do the best thing I can do for you by giving you these links

    First this was Mammoths thread (he is no longer with us) Really good thread with lots of good info, plus his last grow there was a Barneys LSD which got way out hand in his space (why I'm sharing the link)

    The rest of these are still here and you can learn from them as well as ask them questions, I am giving you folks that do hydro :bigjoint:

    This is a link to Cruzers grow, great info, and a lot of good ideas on DIY stuff, busy thread lot of folks follow it

    This is my GoofyGolfers thread, he just had a harvest, good solid grow to follow plus he participated in my game/class

    and lastly Shrubs 2nd grow here, he has a degree in horticulture and really knows this stuff

    I hope this helps
    SaltFarm420 likes this.

    gumball Well-Known Member

    hey riddleme, will you take a look at my signature journal and give me your opinion on my dilemna? I dont want to post a whole bunch here and ask that way. I would really value your opinion on my situation. thanks, and either way I will take a toke for the both of us! :bigjoint:

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    Your very welcome Gumball, best of luck!

    I was going to close the poll but it won't let me, doesn't seem to be that much interest?

    jumboSWISHER Well-Known Member

    hey riddle, ive been reading around but i wus wondering if u know of a thread tht explains how to get usable seeds from a hermi plant. im jus not sure how to tell when the seeds are done (not really worried bout buds ya kno lol) and if i need to do anything speacial while drying/curing to ensure they will sprout.

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    Nothing special just need to let em go till they are mature, takes a couple of more weeks and best way I know is to "test" a small bud (calax) every few days till you find well formed mature seeds, dark with the stripes like you should be used to seeing (they are white when young)

    then just dry em out and you can still smoke the bud and it will still be good

    Danielsgb Well-Known Member

    Hey Riddleme,
    Thought I'd bump this up for ya. TONS of useful info.
    I'm going to add some Grandmas molasses to my next watering. Is it OK to mix with my other nutes, or better on its own?
    P.S How's my journal update with new pics look? (Day 25)

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    Yes it is ok to mix molasses and nutes just need to know that both will reduce ph so ya gotta pay attention to it, remembering also that molasses is more beneficial to the soil than the plant

    Danielsgb Well-Known Member

    I mixed some up (tsp/gal) and I'll let it mellow a couple days. I'll have to wait a bit cause today I fed my girls Miracid (thx for you and UB's advice) :joint:

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    If you mix up a batch of nutes and let it sit for a day or two, be sure and re-check the ph before using it as it will change/fluctuate

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    Here lately it seems that is a lot of similar threads that keep getting repeated. I have posted in several lately, they just keep commin. If folks would just take a bit of time to research and read there is so much info available.

    That being said,,,,,,,,,,,

    lets talk about a fan on your plants making the stems stronger?

    This is yet another myth but like all the ones we have previously covered/busted there is truth in this one as well

    The benefit of a fan circulating air in your indoor garden is that it prevents several diseases known as Damping Off, here is a quote from another site defining/explaining them,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Now I couldn't say it any better than that and there is yet another benefit of the top layer of soil being dried by air circulation it will show you whether or not there is salt building up in your soil the edges will have a white or yellowish dried powder look to them If this happens do not water or flush but rather remove the top 1/4 inch layer of soil and discard it without replacing it, we do not want those dried salts going deeper into the soil.

    Hope this helps everyone to understand why a fan is beneficial to healthy stem growth
    John marks and SaltFarm420 like this.

    Danielsgb Well-Known Member

    I need to get a good, cheap Ph tester. I have a POS one. Any recommendation? I'm gonna feed some molasses with the next watering. Mixing with nutes is something to experiment with later. I gotta get mine growing good. I always use my mixes within a day (or I feed them to a random houseplant). When the Hippie Gardener has a good 150 :rolleyes: there's always one or two to pick from.
    Did you see the story of the grow shop I checked out yesterday in my grow journal?

    riddleme Well-Known Member

    I also found this little ditty in my research travels and thought I would share it with you as the next thing I am goint to talk about is leaves being shaded from light. So before I go there it is important to better understand exactly how plants see/use light and this a really good article about it. Even though I have already covered this info in my NooB Advice thread I thought it a good idea to repeat it here.


    The truth about shade leaves comming soon,,,,,,,,,,
    ayr0n and SaltFarm420 like this.

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