Blue Dream and Green Crack, 2nd bloom

Discussion in 'Grow Journals' started by simpleleaf, Oct 6, 2018.

  1.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    I decided to add one more LED light to my tent, a 4x2x6. It had two 140w LED fixtures, about 280 (true) watts, I wanted a third mounted between them, maybe I'll use the extra light after bloom begins (420 true watts with all LED lights on, might be too much, not sure).

    I like rope-ratchet hangers due to their ease of height adjustment, but as vertical hangers they take up over a foot of tent height which is all lost growing space. I decided to horizontally mount the ratchet hangers, so the ratchet would pull the light's cables over a crossbar. The problem was there was only one short crossbar, and as designed the crossbars would slide.

    I made extra tent crossbars from 1/2" EMT conduit with the aid a metal-cutting bandsaw, a 6" vise, a long pipe for extra vise-handle leverage, hammers, and some solid-steel dollies (as in "hammer and dolly"). I also used a belt sander and a rat-tail metal file to smooth the cut ends.

    I've made 5 crossbars, and in addition to the one that came with the tent, there are a total of 6.

    new crossbar.jpg

    The next problem was fixing the crossbars in place, so they wouldn't slide. I cut more EMT conduit to specific lengths as spacers (PVC would probably work), then looped steel-bailing wire around one crossbar, threaded the cut-wire ends through the spacers, pulled them tight with pliers and twisted the wire ends around an adjoining crossbar, making sure the twisted end was pointing away from the tent's fabric. This provided push & pull solidity and sufficiently locked the crossbars in place.

    Post Grow 1 tent changes.jpg

    The lights can easily be lowered or raised to within a couple inches of the tent's ceiling.

    Observations from past crops: None of my buds from recent blooms have been large in size, most are the size of marbles, some smaller, while the growing tips are maybe the size of small thumbs. As medicine, this works fine, however the aesthetic of larger buds would be nice.

    For my last 3 blooms I've been using a 36-hour dark period at the beginning of bloom, and I'm wondering if that's a contributor to the small-bud issue. For this bloom, during the transition to bloom, the darkness hours will increase incrementally, hopefully simulating the fall season. First 6 hours, then a week or two later, 8 hours, then 10, then 12, something like that.

    As far as the soil mixes are concerned, I haven't yet come to any final conclusions, Blue Dream in the 6.6 pH soil is doing fine when irrigated with 6.5 pH nutes.

    Both Blue Dream and Green Crack grew a little too large, they were in vegetative too many months, so the tent is only getting 2 plants for this bloom. Green Crack is on the left, and Blue Dream is on the right.

    green crack and blue dream begin bloom number 2.jpg

    In the next few days, they will be repotted.

    Critical comments are particularly welcome.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  2.  
    Coloradoclear

    Coloradoclear Well-Known Member

    What are true watts . . . Does that mean what you are drawing from the wall? What size pots are you using? What strains are you running? What nutrients are you using and the amounts? Shoot us some more pics with some white light.
     
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  3.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    To my understanding, yes. I do not have the equipment to measure the wattage or amps at the wall, so am going by specification. Lights were sold as "300w" units, and specified about "140w" draw.


    That's a great question, and one for which I don't have a brief answer. The current pots are 9.5" diameter at the top, and 12" tall. They will be repotted to 12" diameter x 14" h pots. I would like even larger pots, but don't have them yet. The local ag supplier has some nice pots, but at 26" diameter, won't quite fit in this 24" wide tent, and has caused some regrets for not obtaining a 4x4 tent!

    Both of these seeds were sold as bred by Garden of Green.

    I attached a PDF to this post which is my worksheet when weighing fertilizer.

    I have an old PPM meter, apparently it gives me unreliable readings, so am not using it. I'll probably buy a replacement at some point in the future. Thus strength is currently difficult to quantify. These are dry nutrients, the vegetative formula uses 11.8 g/gallon, and the bloom formula, 9.54 g/gal. This is probably not optimal, but am not sure how to correct it without reliable EC readings.

    I have a variety of digital scales, usually I use one which reads to 1/100 g, but I measure calcium hydroxide with a 1/1000 g scale.

    One of my upcoming tent upgrades will be some 6500K fluorescent (for sitting with them and for pics), but they're not yet installed. Will be happy to oblige when completed!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  4.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    On Friday, I increased night hours from 6 to 8, creating a 16/8 photoperiod. Earlier in the week I was able to repot into the largest pots I have on hand, unfortunately, Green Crack's roots were damaged, about half the bottom of the root ball fell off,:o so I expect a 2 week delay for transplant shock. It was planted in G&B Premium Topsoil. While I did not picture the meager roots, I was not impressed with them, they seemed weak. The repot was done a couple days too early, it wasn't dry enough yet to transplant, and that contributed to the root-ball failure.

    green crack transplanted.jpg

    A couple days later I learned Blue Dream had a fabulously healthy root system, it was planted in the 6.6 pH mix of Kellogg's Palm, Cactus, and Citrus and G&B Premium Topsoil. Mixing soil.10.10.2018.JPG

    Here's both of them after repot and watering, taken earlier today (along with lights and hangers): GC and BD heights and lights.oct.13.2018.jpg

    I can't make any absolute conclusions about root growth versus the particular soil, since the two plants are different cultivars and not identical clones, but my guess is the 6.6 pH mix allowed more oxygen to the roots due to the larger soil-particle sizes. As you can see from the photo, Blue Dream has mostly caught back up to the height of Green Crack, so the soil mix seems okay.

    Saturday, earlier this morning, I fertilized with 50:50 vegetative:bloom. The prior watering had been with 100% bloom. Blue Dream's new growth looks a little twisted as of today (repotted yesterday), and I'm wondering if that will go away in a few hours or overnight or if it's some nutrient deficiency or excess, perhaps boron, calcium, or could it be ammonium toxicity or excess?

    BD new leaves twisted and tips not healthy.jpg


    I'd put my bet on the latter, as the bloom formula I use has a good % of MAP. So I reduced the ammonium by mixing 50:50 vegetative and bloom. If this doesn't help I may have to flush and reapply only vegetative (no added MAP) until the plants both start growing blooms. I think this means I started the bloom formula too early. The plants are large enough that if I give them straight vegetative, they will grow too fast, but I could make it with less CalNit.

    What is happening with ammonium versus nitrate?

    www.smart-fertilizer.com/articles/ammonium-nitrate-ratio
    "Thus, when the plant takes up Ammonium (NH4+), it releases a proton (H+) to the soil solution. Increase of protons concentration around the roots, decreases the pH around the roots. Accordingly, when the plant takes up Nitrate (NO3-) it releases bicarbonate (HCO3-), which increases the pH around the roots. We can conclude that uptake of Nitrate increases pH around the roots while uptake of Ammonium decreases it."​

    I did not check the runoff pH, haven't done that in awhile, perhaps it's time. My vegetative formula only includes MAP to whatever amount the commercial manufacturer of 4-18-38 added to their mix, while the bloom formula has quite a bit. This might explain why I seem to have stalled bud growth when the plants are in bloom, what results in a preponderance of marble-sized buds.

    magazine.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/may-2016/the-skinny-on-hydro.aspx
    "The pH in the root zone can be raised, lowered or held steady using specific mixtures of the two main nitrogen sources. Knowing that ammoniacal nitrogen drops pH three times faster than nitrate nitrogen raises it, the water-soluble grower can mix ammonium sulfate with calcium nitrate and/or potassium nitrate to achieve a 1:3 ratio of ammonium to nitrate nitrogen. As plants uptake these two nitrogen forms, the opposing pH pressures cancel each other out, resulting in low to no pressure on pH.

    "Changing the ratios produces variable amounts of pH pressure up or down depending on the mixture, but in a recirculating hydro system, the grower wants to target and hold the 1:3 ratio to “hold” the pH steady. Even with a “hold” nitrogen mixture, pH will vary within some range. If that variation is too great, acid can still be used to bring the pH down, and the amount of acid used will be less than if the nutrient recipe used only pH-raising nitrate nitrogen.​

    I wonder whether I should reformulate a different bloom formula? One which pays more attention to the nitrate:ammonium ratio.

    I'm hoping this next week to get some trimming done, as well as make a few clones, as right now I only have 3 plants, and am allowed 6 under our recreational laws. I'm definitely gonna clone blueberry and green crack at least once.

    Here's an interesting video about a professional medical cannabis grower, produced by CBC News, they propagate via tissue culture in sterile agar, and have interesting air moving equipment in their grow rooms, which may contain several thousand plants. They claim they use only recycled air, no fresh air is brought in. I don't believe they mentioned whether they use CO2 injection.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBW34r4JbWA&t=195s
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
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  5.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    I'm so glad I discovered the bloom fertilizer excessive-ammonium problem.

    Monday: There's a leaf droop I don't like, particularly the Blue Dream, which was planted in the more acidic soil. By afternoon, I didn't like what I saw, some very tiny dead spots on the new leaves that had formerly been twisted (probably not clear in photo below), as well as more droop, which is more clear. It's been a little colder at night, but I don't have a tent temperature gauge. Cold can also cause droop, although freezing temps are not an issue in my location. In the middle of winter, it will commonly get down to 45 °F, but winter days are in the 70s or 80s.

    BD some leaves twisted and droop not healthy.jpg

    I decided to flush with plain RO water; and maybe later, perhaps tomorrow, will follow up with nutrient solution. Prior, they seemed to like the vegetative formula without any added ammonium, so I will avoid MAP as much as possible based on how poorly the plant seems to react to it. By evening and several hours after the flush, the droop was slowly disappearing.

    The old bloom formula is now obsolete and won't be used again. As a result of fertilizer changes, primarily not using MAP and also strength adjustments, I'm making too many different changes this bloom cycle to know if the incremental increase in darkness hours makes any difference.

    Tuesday: Shortly after lights on, droop still exists. I gave them vegetative formula 3-1-2. Drain pH of Blue Dream was checked, it was at 7.2, same as it was measured after perlite addition (6.6 pH before perlite).

    Droop might also be caused by low temperatures. I'm placing a small seed germination heater on the floor and keeping it on overnight. I live in a temperate part of California, but nighttime temps during winter are often around 45 °F. Recently, our minimum temps have been in the low 50s.

    Wednesday: Plants look a little better this morning, much less droop and a little growth. I cut a piece of 1/2" polystyrene to fit in the tent floor below the tent's tray and installed it to insulate from the concrete slab's morning cold. The polystyrene had mylar or a reflective surface on one side, and once in place, it looked just like all the other reflective tent surfaces. I suppose the floor is now a little more fragile.

    floor insulation material.jpg

    Thursday: Blue Dream continues to look better. Insulating and warming the floor seemed to help, this morning the pots felt somewhat warmer to touch, but it's also typical for them to grow better on the 2nd day after irrigating with nutrients. So I'm not sure which had the greater effect.

    BD healtheir again oct 18 2018.jpg

    BD and GC recovered 10.18.2018.jpg

    At night, the exhaust fan is off, and the intake vent flap at the bottom is closed. With a germination mat as floor heater, and the insulating polystyrene on the floor, this combination seems to be working well for our current nighttime temps.

    I can conserve a little more warmth by closing off the exhaust vent at night when the exhaust fan is off. It is just a straight pipe up to the attic and I believe that thermal convection can cause nighttime-cold attic air to fall into the tent, and warmer tent air to rise up into the attic, thermal siphoning it may be called. Closing that off would hopefully block that convection. Would looping the ducting prevent it? I think it might, but it I'm guessing it would also slow down the airflow when the fan is on.

    exhaust fan.jpg

    I remember I was worried about winter cold when I decided on a tent location, which was in a non-heated area. I guess a temperature activated exhaust fan would probably be a better solution, as the LED lights do emit a little heat, but it should also operate when humidity is too high. I still need to install a top to bottom fan with duct to mix the tent's warmest and coolest temperatures.

    I've decided to leave it on 8 hours of darkness for at least one more week, I'm going to trim the plants back, they're too large and tall, and I want them to regrow a little before slipping into bloom.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  6.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    This week I cut back the plants, they were simply too tall. I should have done it sooner. I'm trying a trimming technique dr.tomb mentioned (link), although I didn't do it as aggressively as described, and since I cut them back, not on a primary growing tip. I should have cut them back much earlier during vegetative so the tips would have regrown. This is my last grow of Blue Dream. It's not quite the right strain for me. I can get more seeds if I want to grow it again.

    BD and GC after trim oct 19 2018.jpg

    Since I had cuttings, I made some clones. I had so many cuttings I had to throw a bunch away. They're sitting in cool water.

    GC extra trimmings, could clone them oct 19 2018.jpg

    I like to make clones from large cuttings, I have better survival stats. I currently use the same soil mix as I use for the larger plants. The cups have heat-melted drain holes, and when I cut the stems, the bottom is diagonally cut through a node.

    cloning method oct 2018.jpg cloning put in potting mix oct 2018.jpg

    I cut the leaves because it helps me see the new leaves once rooted, and they fit better cut in the upside down clear cup I use. These clones were started on the 19th and 20th. It takes 14 days, and I can usually pull the lid off and leave it off, sometimes they're rooted in 10 days, perhaps it depends on the warmth. These are located inside an insulated and heated area, but it is along an outside wall and I don't have a warm mat for them. I've had failures under LED lights, so I use, preferably, a small 6500K CFL, but a 5000K is fine, and quite a distance away, more than a foot.

    next crop of clones oct 2018.jpg


    I've turned on the third LED light fixture in the bloom tent. That light's diodes don't have focusing lenses, it puts off a pinkish white light. I'm not convinced I like the response of the plants to this light, some minor or initial interveinal chlorosis on newer leaves has appeared on Blue Dream. This showed up at a time after a nutrient change to 2-1-2 as well, thus making it hard to guess which change is responsible. I'm considering swapping an LED fixture in the tent with the one in the vegetative room (where it works awesome and I would like to leave it there).

    Some white hairs have started on both cultivars, this seems to mean the beginning of bloom. Bloom began on Thursday the 25th of Oct under 16/8 photoperiod, and a few days earlier for Blue Dream (21st). I increased darkness hours from 8 to 9 for a 15/9 photoperiod.

    BD first bloom sign oct 21 2018.jpg

    That pic is of Blue Dream and was taken on the 21st, I don't have a pic of Green Crack, it started showing yesterday on the 25th, but there will be more pics later.

    Likely harvest range: Dec 27 is 9 weeks, and January 10 is 11 weeks. Last time I harvested Blueberry at about 7 weeks due to a limp-stem issue with it, it still had a bunch of clear trichomes, and it's the best smoke of all three cultivars, I can continue doing things. Dec 13 is 7 weeks. I don't know how these projected dates might be affected by the incremental increase in darkness hours.

    My guess is it's time to try a 2-2-2 nutrient mix, give it more phosphorous.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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  7.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    The blooming plants are currently on 13/11 day/night photoperiod, where they'll be left for some weeks. They're being fed 2-2-2 formulated of the same ingredients that are in 3-1-2 (vegetative, no MAP), but with increased EC. The plants seem to like it. I took this photo earlier today:

    well into bloom 13-11 photperiod nov 10 2018.jpg

    I was unable to run the 3rd light, I think because the plants are too tall. When I cut them back I should have been more aggressive and taken another foot of height. A couple weeks ago Blue Dream developed a little interveinal chlorosis after turning the 3rd light on, so I turned it off, it was only on for a couple days. The next photo is from Oct 28, right after I noticed the problem. I guess it's the beginning of light burn.

    minor light burn oct 28 2018.larger.jpg

    I got 100% rooting success on my clones. My camera's battery ran out of energy after taking the first picture, so it's getting charged. BlueBerry rooted in 10 days, and Green Crack took 19 days. I've cloned Green Crack prior, and didn't have the rooting delay, not sure why it occurred. One possibility is that the mother plant was in an increasing night-hours or bloom photoperiod when the cutting was made, while the planted cutting was placed under 24 hours of light. That did not occur with BlueBerry, both mother and cutting were under 24 hours of light. If this possibility is the cause, I should take any clones while mothers are still in vegetative. Maybe I'll get a photo of the clones next time when the camera's battery has more charge.

    Last week I decided I needed more potting mix for the next crop and the clones just rooted. Earlier (link) I had missed a photo of the trashcan upside down and used as a windbreak during soil sanitation. I do this outside due to the odor. Any outdoor breeze exerts a greater-than-expected cooling effect on the pot, and without which takes longer to get the potting mix to temperature. I only fill the pot half full so it's easier to mix with a large brewer's spoon at 1/2 hour intervals. With this setup, it takes about 1.5 hours to heat about 1/3 ft³ of potting mix which is 1 batch, or about 4.5 hours to bring all the bag's contents, 1 ft³ or 3 batches, to about 180°F:

    pot filled with soil oct 29 2018.jpg pasteurizer set up, no trashcan for wind, oct 29 2018.jpg pasteurizer set up, with trashcan for wind, oct 29 2018.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
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  8.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    At what I'm calling 3 weeks of bloom, buds have been growing, plants are still on 13/11 photoperiod. So far, they seem to like the 2-2-2 relative NPK fertilizer mix, although some lower fan leaves have been yellowing and dropping. I'm considering formulating a 3-2-2 with higher nitrogen for the beginning of bloom, maybe next bloom cycle.

    13-11 photperiod nov 17 2018.jpg

    Green Crack:

    green crack 13-11 photperiod nov 17 2018.jpg

    Blue Dream:

    blue dream 13-11 photperiod nov 17 2018.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  9.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    My Green Crack clone seemed pretty sickly, even at 1+ month of age. I put all clones on a germination mat for extra warmth, even before removing the humidity domes. Since removing Green Crack's dome it had one watering with 1/4 strength vegetative solution, which wasn't strong enough. This would seem to mean the soil mixture doesn't have a lot of fertilizer value. The second watering two days ago it got full strength veg fertilizer, and today it started looking a lot better, the new growth had the expected vibrant coloring. The Blueberry clones have gained a lot of height, they've been growing well since removing their domes. I guess it's time to consider cutting the tips to branch them out.

    clones nov 24 2018.jpg

    I can see from the picture that I should turn the heating mat 90 degrees. By so doing, I can warm some of the bottom of mother Blueberry on the right.

    Vegetative plants are all under 24 hours of light, no dark periods. I prefer it, more hours of photosynthesis every day. No timer needed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  10.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    One day shy of 5 weeks, still on 13-11 photoperiod. These plants are drying out, but not yet dry enough to water. The cold temperatures at night are not optimal, it's often around 60°F in the mornings in the tent. I don't want to put more heaters in the tent, I don't want the energy expense.

    13-11 photperiod nov 28 2018.jpg
     
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  11.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    I decided to mix up some soil using the new bag of Kellogg's Palm Cactus and Citrus which I heat treated a few weeks ago, getting ready to transplant the clones into bigger pots. I should have tested its pH first, this bag is much more alkaline than the prior bag. I should have checked that before spending the time to heat sanitize it. My first bag was 6.1 pH, this second bag is about 7.7 pH. Wow. That's a huge variance from bag to bag! I guess I could add some peat, but I don't like how much water-holding capacity peat adds, I prefer mixes which dry out faster and require more frequent waterings. Maybe I should acid bath the mix? Another possibility is to reformulate fertilizer with ammonia sulfate. Elemental sulfur I'm ruling out due to the longer acting period of time which it takes to lower pH. I only use the potting mix for a few months, however long to bring the plant to bloom, then use new soil with the next batch of plants. I put old potting mix on my trees outside.

    I think I may try sulfuric acid, if I can obtain some. This is all pre planting, so if something goes wrong, I can just delay the repot until getting a different bagged soil. I want the potting mix to be about 6.5 pH, but 6.3 to 7.0 is okay.

    This was an unexpected problem! Maybe I would have been happier if I had never learned about soil pH.
     
  12.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    I got some sulfuric acid. I understand that folks who grow blueberries use it with success. I mixed a lot of tap water with potting mix in a big plastic tub, then added acid until the mixture measured 6.5 pH. I let it set for a few hours, stirring intermittently, then drained it through fiberglass window screen. I've never used this type of acid before, but I understand it reacts with any free lime or carbonates which may exist (link). My pH meter went awry during this process, so I reverted to pH paper. The acid treatment seemed to lower the mix pH about 0.5 relative to untreated mix. I repotted the clones, with a clone of blueberry in each mix and will see if there's any growth difference over time.

    Thursday December 5th was 6 weeks of bloom. No red hairs yet.

    6 weeks of bloom 13-11 photperiod dec 7 2018.jpg

    The buds are getting heavy enough that the branches are beginning to bend, which suggests the buds are heavier than last bloom, although the shaping is more top heavy this bloom.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 1:43 PM
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  13.  
    simpleleaf

    simpleleaf Member

    I can already see that the potting mix which did not have the sulfuric-acid bath is not supporting as-healthy growth. The blueberry clone on the left was planted in the acid-bathed potting mix (last week), the two plants on the right were planted in the same basic potting mix but not acid bathed.

    clones dec 8 2018 with lines.jpg

    I know the light isn't ideal for photos, but the plant on the left is healthier looking. I drew some lines with arrows pointing at yellowing leaves, which under this light look brownish-gold. At some point I'm probably going to dip the two pots on the right in a bucket of water adjusted to 6.5 pH with sulfuric acid (our tap water is typically 8.1 pH). It might not be as effective as the technique with stirring, but maybe it will work as well if dipping and pH adjustment is repeated a few times. I doubt it it will hurt the plants at that pH.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 8:15 PM
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