First time grower, have some questions

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Happyreefing

Happyreefing

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Hey everyone!

So my dealer gave me a handful of seeds and I planted them in the first week of September in a "community" pot (8" diameter). There were 9 seeds and I got 5 good plants growing out of them (2 of them were incredibly tiny, and 1 of them just didn't want to survive), which is still more than I have room for in my tent. I don't know the strains (likely bag seeds my dealer acquired), but they seem to have indica leaves. Once they developed their first true leaves, I put them into their own small clay pots, and now that they've grown larger than those pots, I moved them into 5 gallon fabric pots as their final spot.

Since I have a handful of plants to experiment with, I wanted to top 2 plants, possibly LST one of them, LST a non-topped plant, and then let 1 grow naturally (I don't have room for all 5 in my tent, so one of them is being given to a friend).

Earlier this week, I decided to top 2 of the plants. Both were roughly the same size, each having their first true leaves, a set of 3 leaves, a set of 5 leaves, and a set of 7 leaves. The first plant I topped, and I know I missed. I cut too low. The second plant seems to have been done properly as it's growing 2 new stalks from the cut.

The first plant is bushing out fine, but the too low of a cut has a single growth of a new main stem coming out, and it's already being shaded by the growth by the cut. The plant looks healthy, but I suspect a very low yield from it now. No biggie - you can't always with learn without making mistakes.

The second plant is doing very well.

I was debating on doing some LST today, but I think I'm going to avoid it this grow. I have a trellis net that I'm going to use, so there's at least something to help spread the canopy. If it's highly recommended I do LST, please let me know.

So, my babies are now a month old from planting, and I'm trying to be prepared for the next stage of the grow. This brings me to my questions:

1.) When should I start trimming the plants? Now? Should only the bottom fan leaves be removed? The 4 nodes are just coming in now, so I'm not sure if it's too soon to start trimming, or if I should wait another week or 2.

2.) When should I be able to tell the gender? The true leaves popped out about 3 weeks ago. I'm assuming fairly soon, yeah?

3.) How to flip into flower mode? Right now I'm running 18/6 with the lights and I know I have to change to a 12/12 cycle. Do I just do this when I think the plants are at a proper height (I know to expect 2x the height growth during flower), or will the plants tell me when?

4.) Can you pollinate a single flower on a plant?

4a.) Can you pollinate an auto flower?

In regards to question 4 - I'd like to eventually be 100% self sufficient in harvesting not only flower, but seeds as well. I know with my current plants, it's likely that I'm not going to get some top quality stuff, but I figure it's a learning process, so why not start with what I have? Can I harvest the pollen sacks from a male plant, then pollinate a single bud to get seeds? I don't want to pollinate an entire plant, so I'm looking for best options. I don't have the room, or setup for clones (kids in the house, so I have very limited space on where I can grow, and we're heading into the super cold season now, so outside grow isn't happening for a few months). Would it be better to just get some of the weed spray off amazon (marketed for weed, but it's just a mix of colloidal silver in a spray bottle) and spray a branch of a feminized plant instead of mucking around with an unknown strain male?

5.) I've ready auto's should be on a 18/6 or 20/4 or 24/0 light schedule. Is this from veg state onward, or can the germination/sapling stage use 12/12 just fine? I ask because I'd like to ideally start cycling plants in and out of the tent as one group is finishing up, and I have photoperiods in there now, but when I get ready to harvest them (likely mid January I think), I'd like to have some auto's already hitting the veg phase ready to go.

Thanks!
Hey brother nice looking grow especially from a handful of bag seeds you might have some real gems in there keep at it, I am by no means an expert. However I wouldn’t trim anything too early unless it is blocking bud sites or just getting too crowded in general, as far as running auto flowers I have seen people run them successfully with all different light schedules I think it is really up to you I think most people run 18 hours on and six hours off or 20 hours on and four hours off, as far as pollinating I have no knowledge of that I recommend low stress training auto flowers by bending the main stem over after it has about five nodes on it just to expose some of the lower growth sites again I really don’t know much but I wanted to share what I have found helpful good luck dude and I will be tagging in , nice carrots 🥕
 
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elusiveshame

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Humidity kept up well last night, and the top plant was dry enough to warrant a watering this morning.

Pics:
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Everything just keeps on getting bigger :)

The sugar leaves are starting to get frosty now - checked it out under a loupe, and it’s pretty cool seeing the trichomes appearing.

I did a few more tucks to open up for the lower tops, but that’s it. Saturday I’m thinking will be the last defoliation I do, even though I’ll be at day 18 or 19 in flower instead of 20/21.

I notice the bottom of the fabric pots starting to get a little grimy from the run off - any issues with spraying a water/peroxide mixture on the outside? I don’t think there’s any molding or mildew happening, but I don’t want to let it exacerbate and turn into an actual issue.
 
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Zill

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Hey Elusive,

I'm an outdoor grower. I respect all the work you tent guys do to cultivating the plants. Many threads chat about air circulation and defoliating helping to ensure adequate light penetrates the leaf canopy, allowing for better air circulation, etc..

Question: Depending on the stage in the life cycle defoliating is recommended. It never made any sense to cut off the factories that are making the stuff that may end up in the trichomes. I got the concept that - after the flowers have formed and the plant is entering senescence it doesn't need all that foliage and makes harvest easier. But, instead of defoliating, has anyone placed an LED panel facing "up" into the canopy. Need to be isolated from water, droppings of course. One could always direct the light at a side angle. The light coming in at an odd angle illuminating the understory of the canopy may allow you tent growers to keep more leaves longer.

Zill.
 
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elusiveshame

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Hey Elusive,

I'm an outdoor grower. I respect all the work you tent guys do to cultivating the plants. Many threads chat about air circulation and defoliating helping to ensure adequate light penetrates the leaf canopy, allowing for better air circulation, etc..

Question: Depending on the stage in the life cycle defoliating is recommended. It never made any sense to cut off the factories that are making the stuff that may end up in the trichomes. I got the concept that - after the flowers have formed and the plant is entering senescence it doesn't need all that foliage and makes harvest easier. But, instead of defoliating, has anyone placed an LED panel facing "up" into the canopy. Need to be isolated from water, droppings of course. One could always direct the light at a side angle. The light coming in at an odd angle illuminating the understory of the canopy may allow you tent growers to keep more leaves longer.

Zill.

The light question is interesting. I have seen some expensive setups that had side/under canopy lighting. I'm not sure how much it would help as the top of the leaves are where the majority of the chlorophyll is, which does the photosynthesis. The underside of the leaves aren't nearly as green, so I don't think it would help much or really worth the effort to test it.

As for defoliating, there's a few things at play here, at least for indoor growing. The first is creating space for airflow. The fans can only get so powerful for the space they occupy, which is nowhere near the strength of a typical gust of wind. This is going to help prevent mold and mildew since these low powered fans have to get the air to move through the foliage. The other part, which I would also attribute to outdoor growth, is that any small leaf just limping along is going to be taking more energy and nutrients than any benefit its going to give the plant. As the nutrients go up into the plant from the soil (or whatever your medium is in), it's going to go in every path. Cutting off a path that's not doing a whole lot for the plant will give those extra nutrients to the places that will benefit the most.

Think of it like a river with a bunch of small streams coming off of it. The more you block off those small streams, the river water level rises and flows stronger. Same applies here since the plant no longer has to feed something that isn't helping with its overall growth.

Just my $0.02 on it.

I am looking forward to spring to grow some auto's outside, so it'll be a fun grow to see the big differences between indoor/outdoor grows.
 
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Zill

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Elusive,

You are absolutely correct. Don't underestimate that leaves not in full sun or are beginning to yellow actually become parasitic to the plant. Consider an apple orchard in June. Depending on weather conditions the tree perceives it will undergo a "June drop" and abort lots of apples.

Zill.
 
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Zill

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Don't replace the top lighting. Augment the canopy lighting with additional panels directed at the base.
 
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elusiveshame

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Elusive,

You are absolutely correct. Don't underestimate that leaves not in full sun or are beginning to yellow actually become parasitic to the plant. Consider an apple orchard in June. Depending on weather conditions the tree perceives it will undergo a "June drop" and abort lots of apples.

Zill.

Oh definitely agree there. The sucker leaves I’m talking about are the under developed ones. There’s definitely a different look to naturally color changing leaves vs an issue changing their colors.

Don't replace the top lighting. Augment the canopy lighting with additional panels directed at the base.

Oh of course not. I just don’t think side/under lighting would be worth the hassle, though if there are studies done to where it shows it helps a lot, I’d consider doing it.
 
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Zill

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Agree, It may not be a good approach. But I read tons of threads talking about canopy shading.

Maybe one of our LED suppliers would evaluate. Oh I’ll bet you a six pack they come agreeing wholeheartedly you all need side lighting.
 
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elusiveshame

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Agree, It may not be a good approach. But I read tons of threads talking about canopy shading.

Maybe one of our LED suppliers would evaluate. Oh I’ll bet you a six pack they come agreeing wholeheartedly you all need side lighting.
I think that might be a losing bet, but I’ll wager that :p
 
TSD

TSD

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I sometimes do side lights while I'm waiting to move outside... because I don't want to loose Leaves at that stage of growth when they really need them... but if I were to stay inside I'd probably defoliate a bit earlier than I would outside for training purposes... I feel like you kinda just have to inside, especially while scrogging, op probably has more leaves than most people keep on a scrog, but I agree, they are important to keep early on in growth if you want a nice vigorous plant come flower. I prefer to just " shave the legs" and smaller offshoots all together and keep more leaves on what's left... everyone has thier own ways. @elusiveshame your plants look great, just keep on eye on your nitrogen, they look very dark green, but not in a bad way yet lol... could just be the photo too.
 
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elusiveshame

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I sometimes do side lights while I'm waiting to move outside... because I don't want to loose Leaves at that stage of growth when they really need them... but if I were to stay inside I'd probably defoliate a bit earlier than I would outside for training purposes... I feel like you kinda just have to inside, especially while scrogging, op probably has more leaves than most people keep on a scrog, but I agree, they are important to keep early on in growth if you want a nice vigorous plant come flower. I prefer to just " shave the legs" and smaller offshoots all together and keep more leaves on what's left... everyone has thier own ways. @elusiveshame your plants look great, just keep on eye on your nitrogen, they look very dark green, but not in a bad way yet lol... could just be the photo too.
Yeah, I was nervous of over pruning, so I didn't go ham on it. I'm going to defoliate one last time this weekend (likely Saturday). I also wasn't 100% sure I was going to scrog or not, but I'm glad I did it.

As for the possible nitrogen issues - I'm on my last week of full nutrients I believe for my feeding schedule, so I don't think it'll present much issue, but I'll def keep an eye on it. I think the photos are a little darker than they really are, but not by much. There's no clawing or yellowing tips.
 
TSD

TSD

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Yeah, I was nervous of over pruning, so I didn't go ham on it. I'm going to defoliate one last time this weekend (likely Saturday). I also wasn't 100% sure I was going to scrog or not, but I'm glad I did it.

As for the possible nitrogen issues - I'm on my last week of full nutrients I believe for my feeding schedule, so I don't think it'll present much issue, but I'll def keep an eye on it. I think the photos are a little darker than they really are, but not by much. There's no clawing or yellowing tips.
Yeah they look very healthy just a lil dark, but they'll use it once you switch your levels I'm sure. I did a scrog outside for the first time this year and was very happy with the results. It's nice to have all your buds be close in size, makes drying easier too.
 
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elusiveshame

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So while doing a quick inspection about 15 minutes ago, I saw what I thought was a fungus gnat flying about.

Okay, so, it's only 1, and I can't even find it now. I figure I'll deal with it in the morning and decided to drain the humidifier catch bucket I have in the tent (which I suspect is now somewhat of an issue now that the humidifier is running a lot more now, but I'll touch on that in a minute). As I pull the container out, I see 4 dead fungus gnats in the water. Fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff.

I can't see any flying around in there now, but I did see one, plus the dead ones, they must be in the soil. Fortunately it doesn't seem like a huge infestation. I decided to be proactive, though. I mixed 1 cup water with 1/4 cup of 3% peroxide in a spray bottle, shook it good, and then sprayed a somewhat generous amount on the top soil of both plants. I'll also do another round of that in the morning, and I'll snag some yellow sticky traps at the shop this weekend. Since I'm using bottled nutrients, I'm not really concerned about the peroxide doing any damage to the microbes in the soil.

Why I think the catch bucket (just a small Tupperware container), and possibly even the location of the humidifier hose is a potential problem is because it's releasing/fogging right next to one of the plants, and I suspect it's keeping a bit of the soil on that side more moist than normal. I did extend the hose as far as I could so it's more in the middle (along with the bucket). So, it'll take some messing around with to find a temporary solution. I do want to redo my tent after this grow as I kind of built this very on-the-fly when I got started back in September.
 
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elusiveshame

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Get a few yellow sticky traps and maybe sprinkle some diatomaceous earth on the soil and you're fine. Fungus gnats are probably the least problematic of all the pests, mostly just annoying... unless there's like a swarm of them and they start munching roots.

Yep, already working on it :) putting together an Amazon order with some stuff for the next grow(s) plus what you mentioned.

Any thoughts on the fabric pots with LST holes? Seems kind of pricy per pot when compared to other options.
 
TSD

TSD

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Yep, already working on it :) putting together an Amazon order with some stuff for the next grow(s) plus what you mentioned.

Any thoughts on the fabric pots with LST holes? Seems kind of pricy per pot when compared to other options.
I personally don't like fabric pots, but if you like them it's easy to make your own holes in cheaper ones. I prefer nursery pots with holes drilled all over for air and in the rim for lst, basically hillbilly air pots lol. I'm cheap, so any time I can rig something with stuff I have around the house rather than buying something, I do.
 
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elusiveshame

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I personally don't like fabric pots, but if you like them it's easy to make your own holes in cheaper ones. I prefer nursery pots with holes drilled all over for air and in the rim for lst, basically hillbilly air pots lol. I'm cheap, so any time I can rig something with stuff I have around the house rather than buying something, I do.
Haha that’s fair. I’ve been using binder clips myself. Hard to justify $24 for 5 pots when you can buy a 12 pack without the holes for $20. I ended up snagging 25 bags between 3, 5, and 7 gallons (growing more than just weed in the springtime) for the price of 10 with holes.
 
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elusiveshame

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Today’s pics:
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A lot of the tops are now through the second net.

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She’s getting frosty too 😍

The plant on the right likely needs to be watered again. I lifted the pot and it felt light, so I used my soil tester and it’s reading as dry / dry+. I just watered her on Wednesday, so I feel like watering today would be a little much. I’ll deliberate on that until early afternoon. I may just wait until tomorrow morning to feed her.

The left plant is still nice and saturated, but I watered her yesterday, so that’s kind of expected.
 
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elusiveshame

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gnats are not so much an issue though the larvee is and if left untreated can eventually kill your plants..

Yeah, that's what I was reading - the gnats themselves aren't much of a problem, but the plant roots are at risk if the infestation grows. I sprayed both pots with a peroxide/water mixture (1 cup water, 1/4 cup peroxide) and sprayed until the top soil was moist, but not soggy or soaked or anything. I didn't see any buzzing around at all today, and there weren't any dead ones in the humidifier water catch bucket, so hopefully that did the trick. I have the yellow stickies arriving from Amazon tomorrow, so I'll toss a pair in each pot and see what happens in the next few days.

I did decide to water the right plant. No nutrients this time, as I already fed her twice this week with them.

I'm going to give them a final haircut tomorrow, even though it's a few days before 21 days of flower. I just have the most time tomorrow to give them proper attention instead of rushing and doing a shaky job.

That's probably all for today since the girls will be asleep in 25 minutes.
 
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