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SoG DWC Grow op

Discussion in 'Indoor Growing' started by RisingStock, Mar 5, 2008.


    RisingStock Active Member

    I'm going to be keeping a photo journal of a new grow op I'm starting, based on Al B Fuct's SoG thread:
    First and foremost, thanks Al, we're in you're debt.

    I freely welcome all comments and critique's, anything that is constructive. I'll try to provide any information I may not have posted-just ask. To see the gallery of pics (only-thereby skipping all my boring commentary) as it progresses, go to:
    .....or just click on 'Gallery' in the top right corner.

    So let's get into it.

    The first pic is at week 4 (from SEED). I'm starting here because, frankly, there wasn' much to photo before this. I started with 12 seeds (all femiminized), 10 of which germinated, in rockwool starter cubes. The beginning was in small started kit-including heat mat and humidity dome. I'm attempting to follow info gleaned from the web to insure females: DUTCH-PASSION
    We'll see.

    In this picture the motherz (to be) are the ones not in a web pot. The mothers are adjacent to their respective sisters. The middle diamond are 5 Dutch Passion (DP) White Widow (primarily Indica), the right hand 3 are DP Strawberry Cough (primarily Sativa), and the left hand 2 are Pukka Bubblegum (50/50).

    System is a Deep Water Culture (DWC) with the bubblers picked up at the fish shop. Light is presently 24/7. No nutrients (nutes) as of yet. Temperature of the water is about 68 degrees...heat mat is under container. The container, by the way, is just a storage shelf bought from the local DIY center. pH is between 5.8-6.0, although I just purchased the Champs meter, and frankly, am still getting the hang of taking readings. Any help there would be appreciated. (The reading constantly changes(?))

    Couple things I'm aware of, but comment if you have something useful to add.
    -water source should be covered
    -rockwool is getting green algae, but although unsightly, this is not harmful
    -may or may not get females, even though feminized.
    -wish I had done more research before seed purchase. Indicas grow best indoors.

    That's about all for now.

    Hope this thread will be a useful learning tool for all...me included.

    Ride with me.:weed:

    Attached Files:


    cheetah2007 Well-Known Member

    good luck man! I'll check this journal.keep it green.Peace!!!

    RisingStock Active Member

    Thanks cheetah......yea, I'm super stoked about this, as I think Sea of Green (SoG) is IDEAL for indoor growers. This isn't my first op, but this is my first attempt at SoG. It just makes sense, no matter what light you have, deep foliar penetration is difficult, at best, and the lower parts of the plant are almost always under-developed and lag behind the rest of the plant. So why not just concentrate on the most productive part of the plant.

    Anyway, I digress. For those of you wondering, no....a week hasn't gone by, but my first pick was a actually taken a week ago, I was just late starting this thread. So, with no that, here is week 5.

    2 pictures here, first showing the general set up. As per the first post, I'm following the advice of the dutch passion peeps to try to insure as much female development as possible. Thus, in the first pic (lights_camera) you see a hydrofarm CFL grow light and a blue spectrum 'grow light' I picked up at the local DIY center. The DP site advocated more of the blue light spectrum during the VEG state to help feminization. Besides, it closest mimics Mother Nature (early spring light) anyway. Both are set on a timer to provide 18/6, as less light is also supposed to help with fem. Not shown is a standard aquarium flourescent I set on a box in front of the reservoir to bathe the plants in light. More light can never hurt!

    In the 2nd pic (week 5) we see the current state of affairs. QUITE a bit of growth since last week!:grin: pH is around 5.8, water temp is about 68 (thanks to the heat mat...it's winter here). Walls are covered in mylar. Still no nutes, but thinking to begin adding a weak mixture in the next week or so. Besides, the water needs to be changed anyway. (I have spare buckets filled and sitting on a heat mat, where the water is allowed to sit for a few days (removing any possible chlorine) and perfect the pH.

    In the week 5 pic you will see I put the mothers to be into their own personal rockwool cubes. It was a snug fit with a wee bit of root damage (but none to the main tap root) but I'm a little worried as stress can turn plants male-ish, but I doubt it was too severe (note to self, next time-trim the rockwool). Speaking of tap roots, you should have seen the one on the bubblegum--must be about 7 inches long already. Actually, pretty fascinating how each strain has it's own particular root development characteristics.

    Anyway, on the right you see the 2 Bubblegum, in the front the 3 Strawberry Cough, and in the back the 5 White Widow. Almost to the 3rd level of leaf development, and I'm happy with what I see so far. Interesting note, one of the Straw is the tallest, while another is by far the smallest.

    Any comments, suggestions, pointers are always welcome.

    Thanks for tuning in .

    Ride with me.:bigjoint:

    Attached Files:


    LoudBlunts Well-Known Member

    i dont understand how this is a dwc?

    get some covers over that RW....algae will start to grow b/c light is hitting the medium.....

    once the roots grow out of the medium light will kill your roots as well! just food for thought!

    RisingStock Active Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, seriously....but DWC stands for Deep Water Culture, correct? Meaning the roots are totally immersed in the medium, which mine are-right?

    If I've mis-named it, please let me know. But my understanding was that in a DWC, unlike flood or drip ops, the roots are always underwater and receive their oxygen via submerged pumps which aerate the water.

    In later stages these plants will be moved to a separate area for the mothers, and 4 different 'staging areas' for the blooming plants, all submerged in pump-aerated, nutrient rich water. Yea?

    In the future I'll have a cover, but this one time there out in the open, primarily because I'm waiting for one op to finish before I move the mothers into there own area (I have a cover, but only 8 pre-cut holes---D'oh!)

    Point well taken though, LoudBlunts, water exposed to light encourages bacterial growth, but contrary to popular belief, does not kill the roots. See:

    Next week or so will be covered, though.
    Al B. Fuct

    Al B. Fuct once had a dog named

    Hi Rs, can't promise I'll check in here often, but I thought I would make a cpl notes..

    What's that floodlight lookin' character

    in there? If that's incandescent (makes light with a glowing wire filament), please smash it, then put it in the bin and run the bin over with a bus. Twice. And then go apologise to the plants. About 80% of the output of an incandescent is infrared heat energy. Plants will get thin & stretchy, fall over and die with incandescents.

    Yes, DWC is 'deep water culture.' You can start plants in rockwool cubes, then nest rooted clones in netpots full of pellets, allow roots to hook into the pellets and then when they emerge from the netpots, allow the roots to dangle into a constantly aerated nute solution.

    If you have started in rockwool, you must treat it a bit more like a flood system than DWC until the roots are out of the netpots. You don't want to saturate or submerge your rockwool cubes, which given that you say you have algae on them, is what you've been doing. This will give you essentially overwatering problems- slow, sallow, sickly growth. Raise the netpots or lower the water level so it comes up to no higher than about 1/2" (13mm) below the bottom of the RW cubes, wetting the pellets but not the cube.

    Once the roots emerge from the pots, they'll be fine in a constantly aerated solution. RW can't allow sufficient oxygen to the roots because there's no circulation of oxygenated nutes if cubes are constantly submerged or saturated.

    While you can get great results from it, I have to confess that I'm not a DWC fan- it has some inherent problems in practise and usage. DWC is wholly dependent upon air pumps and stones running constantly in the nute solution. A power outage, pump failure or a clogged bubble curtain can spell the end for a lot of work in just a few hours. IMNSFHO, DWC ops should have redundant air pumps and stones- and an uninterruptible power supply, such as for a desktop PC, if you can fund it. Losing the air supply for a day would be a disaster.

    Provided you can assure a full time air supply, DWC has some complexities when used for SoG. The whole point of SoG is raising a large number of small plants. That means lots of rootballs to aerate. You can use individual aerated buckets for each plant (ye olde 'bubble bucket') or attempt to dangle roots from all plants in a single, large aerated tank of nutes. The individual bucket method limits the number of plants you'll be able to put in per sq ft. The common tank method allows roots to knit together, making them immovable until harvest. You can't shift an underperforming plant into a preferred light position if you need to. The common tank method requires great attention to water levels, as well.

    Yes- roots must be protected from light. In DWC, you need to lightproof whatever is holding your nute solution.

    I know you said you've done DWC before, but I think it may not be best applied in SoG. Pots of some sort of absorbent media in a flood system afford greater flexibility, resilience in case of water pump failure due to water storage in the absorbent medium and portability of plants within the op, for evening out growth and maintenance jobs like pruning and spraying.

    I think you may want to rethink the DWC end of this. I think you'll get more output from your available lighted space in pots of RW floc, perlite/vermiculite or Fytocell.
    Al B. Fuct

    Al B. Fuct once had a dog named

    oh and... if you're gonna SoG, don't expect to do it with fluoros. There's an HPS in your future, you just have to work out the size, at 50W per sq ft of area you want to grow in.

    RisingStock Active Member

    Comments and responses from/ to AL.......

    Hi Rs, can't promise I'll check in here often
    No worries, I appreciate the comments Al.

    If that's incandescent (makes light with a glowing wire filament), please smash it...
    Oh snap! Done and done. Thanks

    If you have started in rockwool, you must treat it a bit more like a flood system than DWC until the roots are out of the netpots....
    Yea, guess I should have mentioned that. Part of the non-photographed first 4 weeks was done using Al's 'keep them moist but not soaked' method...ie, daily small waterings. That is, until the roots came out all over the rockwool (about week 4) at which point I put them in the netpots with the clay stones and situated them directly over the bubblers, but still with the water line only at the lower eigth, so as not to super saturate them.

    I think you may want to rethink the DWC end of this...... an uninterruptible power supply, such as for a desktop PC......The common tank method....
    Good point, especially on the power supply point. However, and not against your better advice, gonna give this a go. We'll know in a few months if it worked. I have some ideas about the common tank method, so stay tuned! But this will be a work in progress, and through trial and error I may indeed eventually opt for the flood and drain method--if I can figure it out. D'oh!

    ...don't expect to do it with fluoros. There's an HPS in your future..
    Yess.....searching for a 1,000watt HPS at this time (and a PC power strip!). The CFL's are only for the pre-bloom (flowering) stage.

    Again, thanks!
    Al B. Fuct

    Al B. Fuct once had a dog named

    I would never for a moment deny anyone the fun factor of puttering with a system to make it work. Innovation and creativity can be great fun. I'm often accused of McGuyvering quite a lot of my op.

    Naturally, I know the SoG technique relatively well and have streamlined my system to suit. I only suggest what I do as I've come to certain conclusions based on my level of tolerance for bother vs max yield. I'm here to tell you, I'm a stoned slacker and I don't use the methods which could produce a tonne per square mm.

    One of my compromises is absorbent media vs a medialess watering system ie aero, DWC. If a pump dies in my floods and I'm so slack that I didn't check for a couple of days, my plants will still be alive. Wilty, but probably not cooked.

    Early on in the piece, maaaaaany years ago, I ran my op as DWC/common tank, made from a flood tray. Then I lowered the water level and added a bunch of bubble curtains and voila, it was aero. I was bitten by air pump failure and opted for pots of media and converted the trays back to flood config to prevent another catastophe at the sacrifice of greater possible output due to DWC's superior root oxygenation.

    If you have the fiddling time, have at it. Hope you sort out plant portability, but with exposed roots, that won't be easy. Rotsaruck. :)

    Starting with a 1000? Ambitious. Got 20 sq ft to light? That's what a 1000 will cover. If you are not thinking that big, go a 400 or 600.
    Mr Green Man

    Mr Green Man Well-Known Member

    Hi, I'm about 2 weeks into my first ever DWC grow, in fact really it's my first ever grow!

    As I am now facing the possiblity of a power cut, i'm a little nervus and think I will be buy a Power back up supply ASAP.

    Good luck i will keep an eye on how you get on.

    genfranco Well-Known Member

    Nice! First time here too... Im going to be doing 6 Plant DWC as well... ill definately check your progress with the rest of these people... bongsmilie
    Al B. Fuct

    Al B. Fuct once had a dog named

    You can turn even the very cheapest ($80-120) desktop computer UPS into a 40-50 hour air pump backup power supply, just by adding a good sized car battery.

    Open the case on your cheap UPS- you will find a sealed lead-acid battery, probably of about 7 to 10 amp-hours (AH) capacity. Disconnect the + & - leads to that inbuilt battery and connect them to a car battery, which you have charged up previously using a standard car batt charger. The UPS will maintain a charge on the car batt but may take a long time to charge one from a fully discharged state.

    The inbuilt 7-10AH batt in a typical cheap Chinese UPS will run a PC and CRT monitor (~300W) for about 15 mins. With a car battery, it will run a PC & mon for about 4-5 hours. An air pump draws about 30-35W, roughly 10% of the PC & monitor, so one could estimate a UPS on a decent sized car batt (in good nick) would run an air pump for 40-50 hours.

    Car batteries will do, but they're not intended for long-term discharge. If you're buying a new battery, look at deep-cycle marine batts for electric trolling motors. A deep cycle batt will add 50-80% more time to the backup.

    RisingStock Active Member

    Week 6

    Changes: -Added a weak 'grow' fert mix for the 1st time.
    -Removed incandescent light.
    -Raised CFL a bit.
    -Turned off heating mat.
    Plants showed explosion of growth.
    Atmosphere has gotten much warmer-spring!

    pH-5.8-6.1, Temp about 70'

    OK Sports Fans.....onward and upward, now into week 6 of my SoG DWC Grow Op......

    As you can see from the attached pictures, the little bastards are really starting to come into their own.

    Raised the CFL a bit to accommodate their burgeoning growth. This may have had something to do with adding a VERY weak mix of 'Grow' fertilizer. (Strangely enough I can't remember the name of the brand...post it later.)

    Now...what was I talking about? :bigjoint: OH yea......the difference between week 5 and 6 is fun to watch. About two more weeks I'll be starting 7 of the plants into the 8-9 week 'cycle' of production, and the 3 Moms will be ready for their first 'cloning'.....heady times, indeed.

    Couple notes, gone from last weeks pic is the big blue 'grow light'...based on superior advice, I had the 'offending character' removed. Apparently, these are infamous for sickly, stretchy plants.

    As you can see, that doesn't seem to be the case here!

    Also, pH seems to naturally rise every time I check in, but keeping between 5-7....(actually, about 5.7-6.3). A few drops of pH down always seems to rectify this. Question to y'all: Is it OK to add the pH 'Down' directly to the reservoir? Or should I dilute it first?

    Also, turned off the heat mat I had under the reservoir. It's getting warm here and it's no longer needed.

    One, small, concern. Some of the lower leaves, but not the top new growths, have a wee bit of browning on the tips. This was actually present before fertilizing, and is almost not worth mentioning...but in an effort to be proactive thought I'd throw it out there, JinC anyone sees any cause for concern there. Naturally, you don't want to see anything but green, man.

    Any constructive comments, suggestions are welcome.

    Until next week....

    Ride with me:bigjoint:

    Attached Files:


    cheetah2007 Well-Known Member

    man, they looks awsome.

    RisingStock Active Member

    Thanks cheetah......

    I'm always pretty happy with the Veg stage of my Ops. It's the Bloom stage when problems always seem to arise (Thats the main reason for this thread, so I can hopefully get it right,then just replicate.)

    We'll see........

    RisingStock Active Member

    Week 7
    Cut holes in the tray to fit each individual netpot, plants now rest in the solution (except the 3 momz)
    Changed the water--Added a stronger fert mix

    Week 7---no where near the same explosion of growth as between week 5 and 6.Or is it.....? You be the judge.

    Some plants are noticeably smaller than others, not sure why.....?

    A bit of browning, mostly on the lower leaves...however, color isn't as 'happy deep dark green' as I like....so I decided they were ready for stronger ferts.

    Within the next 2 weeks will be moving Momz to their own space, the rest will begin the 4 tray cycle.

    Stay tuned!

    Ride with me:bigjoint:

    Attached Files:


    genfranco Well-Known Member

    looking good man... so you say explosion in week 5... cant wait... im having soo much fun with my girls... I just hope i dont loose the wife over it... hehehhee.... do you check the ph everyday..? and what ph down do you use?...what ppm you running ?:peace:

    genfranco Well-Known Member

    So you say that you have the plants in the solution?... like how far up?... cant really tell by your pic... by week 7 you should have some nice hanging roots.... there should be a gap between the rocks (bottom of net cup) and the water of about 1 inch at this point...:weed:


    RisingStock Active Member

    Just to hit on a couple quick questions (genfranco)...

    There was a lot of growth in week 5, but in the next post (week 8) ANOTHER spurt....

    Ph is around 5.8-6.2, depending how cold the water is, I suppose. Honestly, this is my first time using a pH meter (I used the litmus strips before) and I'm still working the kinks out. Would be GLAD if someone wiser could tell me why the meter is so variable......
    does the water temperature affect the pH AND why does the meter constantly fluctuate when taking a reading? Shouldn't the value stop at a certain constant?

    Anyway, between 5.8, 6.2. As far as the ppm,again....the meter has a ppt and mS gauge....but would be happy if someone could tell me how to covert these to ppm/EC. Anyone? Anyone? (Bueller? Bueller?)
    So, so far I've been just using a weak Flora Nova fertilizer nute. AND monitoring leaf/plant health daily, looking for signs of burn or discoloration. All green so far!:clap:

    Solution level is about a half inch up the stems, but only b/c the mothers and the pre-blooms are sharing the same area---which will be rectified next week. Simple explanation for why so high, the 3 mothers roots are sitting in the tray, the other 7 are in pre-cut holes thus submerged.

    Lastly, I think there is some confusion between DWC and aeroponics. If not by others, maybe me. My understanding is in a DWC, the roots are completely or partially submerged in the solution. In aeroponics, the roots are partially submerged or completely exposed. Once again, someone wiser......

    Thanks for the input.

    cheetah2007 Well-Known Member

    some plants are smaller than the others because of their genes.do you using clones?

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