My unintentionally difficult return to growing - The Journal


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Hi There,

First journal, not sure I need a discussion thread but made one here:

I was a member of back at what seems to my memory like the late 90's early 00's. I had all the book learnin' I could get, and could answer any relatively entry level question like a flash card (I still try).

I managed to get one 2x4 linen closet DIY 400watt HPS grow under my belt before I met my now and long time wife and had a change of plans (this was me dipping my toe before my plan to gut my basement and go full grow). Here I am 20+ years later and am now a legal grower, and have been allowed to build out an 8x8x8.5" (with bulkhead in the middle unfortunately) room in my basement.

I've definitely learned that I didn't know what I didn't know, and have made mistakes. I see them as self-deprecating learning opportunities.
For example, see here for the literal "tail" end of my current cycle, Last 2 of 7 :

I'm in week 17 now, I'll post some updates on that ridiculousness here. I'm laughing and crying.

I'm going to save this entry to get the ball rolling. I'll add a room description next.


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My Room:

Electrical Service:
240V, 40AMP sub panel, dedicated. Multiple 20AMP outlets, and a 240v oven style outlet.
Timer: Intermatic 40 to a box of outlets. I have 2 split off as 120V, the rest are 240V. Purchased used.
2 x 600 Watt Switchable, digital "DigiBrite" ballasts as re-branded by a local hydro shop long ago. Purchased used.
Veg: 2 Spectralux MH bulbs, Flower 2 Hortilux (I think, I'll need to go find the boxes).. MH Bulbs new, HPS used but never actually used.
8x8 square opening, to round wall flange to 6" 700cfm generic looking fan, through hoods and back out wall. Purchased used.
170 pint danby, built in humidi-stat, continuous drain.
Exhaust: A/C Infinity T6 6" 400ish CFM NEW
Hurrican 16" wall mount fan at canopy height.
Intake: Passive 8x8 square opening with a dark room louver to prevent light leaks. (Adorama)
Cooling: Home Central A/C.

I have completely sealed and insulated the room, then cut the passive intake holes (2 8x8 squares, one for intake, one currently used for air-cooling the hoods). It has angled ceiling due to the bulkhead. and I have the ability to change from passive intake to sealed if that ever works out for me, for now, it is a negative pressure room. Essentially the entire 8x8 room is a tent.

To managed run-off into my 2 floor drains, I built two tables with flood trays and ran the drains into the pipes. It costs me height, but I don't have the faintest clue how to slope a drain, and have new plans anyway.

During peak summer heat, the room over lunch would get to 30c, and otherwise would be around 27c. Now in fall, it sits at 23c.

Pics to come likely tomorrow now that I see the time.


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Grow Attempt:

- 2 Nefertiti clones from Pyramid seeds

I grew one of these synthetic using Future Harvest line up, and one organic using Perlite/Coco and Gaia green (all purpose, then power bloom) only.
The synthetic threw naners like crazy, and I spent some time picking them off, then gave up as the buds seemed to start falling apart. I harvested it, but am not proud of the result by any means. The "organic" went longer, but had about the same result,. I got these from my father who successfully grew them out.

- 2 Lemon Thai Kush from Humboldt Seeds
Same syntheitc and organic split as above, they look the same though, although the organic is a bit greener. These are still sadly going at week 17 (or it it 18 now?), see my thread linked above.

- 1 AK47 x White Widow
Same organic mix. I took this one too full term 110 days I believe in total, trichromes amber and all, but saw some strange drying of buds and didn't bother to ask. I harvested and 4 days into drying got paranoid it might have been PM. Partially dried, I tried to H2O2 wash them. They SOAKED in the water of course, what else would they do.

Then I tried to fast dry them. The outside felt crispy, but the smell was gone, and they looked weird. I cut them up and laid them out on a screen to dry inside, and they continued to get worse. Then I found fuzz. She weighed 180 grams at day 4 of drying, and was put to rest in a garbage bag 7 days post harvest. For all I know it was never PM and had I not been paranoid, I may not have had to throw it away. Ah well.

- 2 Unknown bag seed.
Same split of synthetic and organic. The syntheitc, I screwed up the PH and it was my first nanner experience. I harvested this one very early at day 70 or so. It is smokeable, but not very potent and very larfy. Early harvest are what they are. The other organic one strangely yellowed out completely in a soft fall kind of way, and darkened up but never fattened up. It smokes ok, but is also not very potent, and is also quite larfy.

I don't know how the 2 foxtailed Lemon Thai Kush will turn out, but on average I am seeing about 130 grams per plant in spite of my poor technique. I'm curious to see how they will turn out, but am more excited to get them done and over with so I can move on. I am re-tooling the room before I try again.

My next post will be the lessons I think I leaned along the way. I am actually hoping someone will read that, and let me know if I'm way off base.

Through out the day tomorrow I will add some various pictures of the grow, which until late flower was going quite well it seemed.

To be continued.


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Back To the Beginning

After discussion with my wife, it was agreed I would be allowed to re-purpose the unfinished bathroom in the basement left by the previous owners. The stipulation is that everything plant related must be contained inside the area except for any supplies that could safely be stored on shelving in my laundry area (coco, nutrients, and other items that could be tucked away on shelving).

I pulled permits and began the demo. I removed the old drywall and fiberglass shower, then built a bulkhead around the steel beam in the centre of the room. That's when I noticed my basement walls were not floating, and just that year I have had major problems with my floating slab dropping by over 4" for winter then raising again in spring.

I don't need these problems! I hacked the walls out, shortened the studs and put everything back. This took me many extra weeks as I am not skilled and have almost 0 tools.

6" exhaust ducting was all I had room for along the beam, so I opted to use rigid ducting. I was worried about not being able to run an 8" but figured since I only ever planned to grow in a 4'x8' space, 6" might be enough. I was not allowed to cut new holes in the joist ends (also fair), and I wanted to vent outside (I thought). I had to have the ducting make 2 really tight 90 degree elbows one after the other to go up and over the steel beam and then down-size go out an old 4" dryer vent a total of 15' of ducting with 2 90's. (BIG MISTAKE - I'll come back to this.)

For air intake, I added two 8"x8" framed in squares in the bottom right of the main wall with plans to open only one of them as a passive vent to my back basement hallway for now. With 6" ducting having an area of 28.70 sqin, I figured the 64 sqin of the opening to be right on, but framed the extra opening in case I needed to cut a second intake due to any added airflow restriction from any light proofing or filters.

For electrical, I ran a 40 amp sub panel off my main panel, and then range 240volt appliance outlet into the room. I placed two 20 amp outlets on all walls, and two in the ceiling over the 4'x8' grow space.

I called for inspection to get permission to close, and was told that I couldn't have an exposed Logix foam basement, it had to be covered with something rated at least 15 minutes for fire safety. I now had to essentially finish my basement!

Flash forward A YEAR Later and a renewal of my unused grow permit!

Basement dry-walled and primed, I got back to the room. I sealed the room with vapor barrier and acoustic seal to the concrete floor. I put up 5/8" drywall I had on hand, and realized due to amateur hour, when factoring in strapping on the Logix, and drywall thickness, I am closer to 7' 10 3/4" or so. Damnit, nothing standard fits, I have to shave everything down. I'll have to deal, we've come too far!

After endless filling and sanding from my horrible drywall hanging job it was time for a door. I hung the door and added a footer and neoprene tape all the way around the lip to seal it when tightly closed. It closes, and is light and air-tight. Small victories!

At this point I had planned to continue building out my seedling/veg space and a max 5'x5' flower space with partition walls, but was offered the Nefertiti and Lemon Thai cuttings, I talk about above.

With the room basically useable, I decided to get a cycle in and see how things worked out.

It was time to add some of the equipment and finishing touches. To keep the light from coming in the passive vent, I over spent and purchased this: which by the time exchange and fees came in, ran me almost $100 but it works if not overly air-flow restrictive.

I installed the AC Infinity T6 I got on sale (but was still expensive). I really DO NOT like the features on this fan (I have a post detailing my complaints I can dig up if anyone asks), but do like the quiet, and do like having a humidity and temp probe for now that I didn't need to buy separately.

I was already low on budget at this point, and HID equipment is easy to find used. I picked up a few (4) used 600 watt switchable ballasts (3 digital one mag), 4 air cooled hoods, and 5 unused EYE Hortilux 600 watt SuperHPS bulbs from a guy who was running a grow and shutting down all for $400. I hung 2 of them without the glass, started 10 seeds in addition to the cuttings and went to town. (Yes, vegging under HPS, no budget left!)

Wow....that was a lot. I need a bowl, but am feeling the journal tonight. I'll be back in a more elevated mood.



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And so I grow

So I can't keep this stuff on the bare concrete floor, and I'm not actually sure what my plan is regarding the floor at this time in the room build (or even now as I type this, I'd love to epoxy, but I have other things to worry about for now......).

Oh how I would love to be able to slope drains and other skilled tradesman type work, but I am a computer programmer and tinkerer and prefer to keep my failures low key.

Instead, I went to home depot, and bought some foam rigid insulation and lumber. I framed in a box and cut the foam to fit, then covered it in white-side-up panda plastic. I don't know if my floor would have got too cold, but I figured a small foam layer wouldn't hurt.

This didn't make the drains usable, but would at least keep spills in long enough for me to deal with them.

I'll keep this one shorter and get some real plant pics up for a change!

Oh looking back is fond memories....damn how this went off the rails for me.....stay tuned!



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Hrm That's Not Right!

So looking at the pics I just posted, I see I am showing off shiny blue light. Some time into the grow, I picked up 2 Spectralux 7,500K MH bulbs for $50 each from a local grow shop. I swapped them out, and did seem to notice some improvement in growth, however this change was also at the time they were getting established and fully rooted and were likely beginning to take off anyway!

I know blue spectrum make a difference, but don't want to over attribute what I saw to just that alone.


Weed Modifier
Thanks! you might be my only audience for now. I'll try keep it mildly entertaining!
I'm sure more will pop in. Can always stop by my thread if you like. Just have to get your name out there, and get noticed and they will pop into your thread ;)


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My First Cannabis Transplant!

So I am a hobby gardener and have no fear of transplanting, root pruning, and general plant maintenance, but when I thought back to my first grow 20ish years ago in DWC, I popped seeds in rockwool and placed them in netpots with hydroton.

I've pruned cannabis, and watched my father (who also grows medically for himself) transplant, but I had never actually transplanted Cannabis before!

All along so far I have been keeping a rubbermaid bin of my gaia/coco/perlite mix damp and have been stirring it frequently. I noticed the smell go from an acrid almost ammonia like smell to that rich earthy forest after a rainfall smell.

I prepped pots by filling them with empty solo cups inside, then removing the solo cup leaving the empty impression of the cup ready to receive the transplant. I popped out my plants, dusted them with Myco Jordan's innoculant, and dropped them in. (possible mistake alert).

I was also growing hald my plants synthetically, and transplanted them into plain coco/perlite at the same time.

At this time I had 5 synthetic plants and 5 organic.

  • Nefertiti
  • Lemon Thai Kush
  • Unknown Seedsman seed, possibly Dr.Seedsman, or possibly not seedsman at all. *see below
  • Banookie Smash seed from my Father's nannered up and stressed out first grow.
  • Rainmaker seed from the same nanner garden.
  • Nefertiti
  • Lemon Thai Kush
  • Either a bagseed from my highschool days (pre 1997), or an Unknown Seedsman seed. **see below
  • AK-47 x White Widow, Maybe? ***see below
  • Rainmaker seed from the nanner garden.

*When I bought my lights for $400 the guy threw in his left over Future Harvest nutes, and some seeds. He explained that they were in labelled bags, but there was a spill. He could guarantee they were feminized, but not the strain. This one came from a bagie labelled "Dr. Seedsman Feminized?" The ? was written in pen on the printed label.

**I had tried to germinate a small handful of the bagseed I'd been saving since I started smoking in 1993. A few germinated but stalled except this one. I labelled it "Highschool". I then for fun tried to germinate more, and not a single one germinated. I since suspect I make have mixed one of the Unknown Dr.Seedsman seeds up, and this may have been just a random unknown feminized seed.

***The guy gave me anther bag labelled AK-47 x White Widow, this time no question mark, but the same seed mixup might still apply. I have 2 more seeds in this bag, if it was stable, and they all look the same, I'll assume it really is AK-47 x White Widow, otherwise it's just another unknown rando.

These early days were good days. My ego was growing with my plants. Seemed like my research planning, limited experience and general exposure to cannabis growing had helped!



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Again, looing back at those photos, I see I've now expanded the pre-framed intake. I was having trouble getting the air-flow right, and thought if I lowered the restriction on intake, the 90 degree elbows and down sized exhaust might function better.


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Transplant 2

Here is transplant 2 into 7 gal pots. I had been watering coco/perlite mixed with Gaia Power Bloom 2-8-4 for weeks and it smelled like the forest floor.

I lined my pots with this, then mixed some of the 4-4-4 coco with this and added an inner layer and transplanted in after another dusting of Myco Jordan's.

Here you can see I've built a table of sorts. I noticed my local grow shop had some 2x4 flood tray that were a bit smaller outer diameter. I fashioned a frame around them, and ran tubes to my drains to handle run-off. Water does pool in the tray around the slightly raised drain, but the fans seem to take care of the stagnant water quick enough.

I also got tired of pouring water/nutrients and bought a eco 633 submerisble pump and a watering wand. I water out of a 5 gallon bucket while starring at the water taps sitting unused on my wall.

I have already learned that I do not like mixing nutrients or hand watering.



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More looking back. By this time the temps had gotten too much. I was into summer now and lunch was sending me up to 31c for 3 to 4 hour chunks if I left the door closed. I cut a new hole and hooke up the air cooled hoods. It made a 2 to 3 degree difference since I was only pulling in room temp air from the neighbouring room. Anything helps, but the room tuning problems are starting to show up now. Humidity is also climbing. I began researching dehumidifiers around this time.


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Let's Jump Ahead Shall We?

I vegged in the 7 gal pots for another week, and then got worried. I didn't know the strains and building the flood tables took a good foot away from my height.

I also got paranoid of the questionable genetics I was running. I decided to kill off the seeds I knew came from the nannered plants from my fathers grow. I've since learned more about

This left me with 4 synthetic and 4 organic.

Here in these pics during my first lockout panic, you can start to see the problems mounting. I had neglected to calibrate my ph pen, and with drift and incorrect watering, my runoff was coming out around 4.7 by the time I realized what I was doing.

I hooked a hose to my cold water tap and ran flushed like mad, then watered in new nutrients at 5.8.

This seemed to be the turning point for me, in a bad way.

The unknown seedsman plant was my first actual nanner, and I pulled the plant right away around day 70.

I had nowhere to dry it, and so built a drying box out of some extra large moving boxes and bamboo stakes. I hooked up an inline fan on a variac set to low and ran that to a carbon filter.



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It wasn't all bad

While that was going on, the organics seemed, although one was starting to yellow out while the synthetic lockout was happening.

Here are some shots around week 5. I'm at week 17 now on the Lemon Thai so have more posting to do. I'll be back again soon!



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So week 18 or 19 I think. Still waiting on these crazy foxey ladies I messed up. Just kind of seeing where these end up. Not expecting much, but excited for the next grow.

I harvested some other plants before these. This is just a quick flash forward to present day!

My other plants came out ok, but could have been better. These two just hate me with a passion.

Only up from here!



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A return to the past

As I showed above, I am down to 2 rather tattered looking plants. Before that we were in full flowery goodness.

A week after I pulled the 'nanner plant, I also pulled the yellowed out plant. I was worried the yellowing would get into the buds, and decided to cuy my loses.

Here are some shots of the buds I ended up with from it. Not particularly potent, and a bit strange smelling, but works.



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5 Plants Remain

I made a mistake above, I didn't have 4 synthetic and 4 organic, I had 3 synth and 4 organic.
After harvesting 1 synthetic early, and one organic semi-early but yellowing, I had 6 ounces dry to work with.

This left 2 synthetic (Nefertiti, and Lemon Thai Kush) and 3 organic (Nefertiti, Lemon Thai Kush, and AK-47x White Widow).

Things continued to go bad for the Nefertiti synthetic, nanners started forming which I plucked every day, and I mean every day. The buds ended up tattered and worn looking, and the entire plant looked like it was falling apart.

I cut the synthetic Nefertiti down at day 90 give or take. It was under developed, and sad over all but still weighed in at 4.6oz dry.

2 weeks later I took down the organic Nefertiti which basically started forming nanners but much less, and looked like it too was starting to fall apart. This on yielded 3.6dry.