Kellogg cactus soil, MiracleGro "Tomato" & household LED lightbulbs

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az2000

az2000

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[CORRECTION: The prior two feedings said they occurred 22 & 18 hours after the feedings which they followed. Add 24 hours to those numbers. I'm feeding more frequently than every 2 days. But, not more frequently than once per day.]

DAY 22 (today, Monday, Sep. 2)
This photo was taken 24 hours after feeding (which included FISH EMULSION). Nodolo (L), Dolo (R):

day22 - together - 1200x900.JPG


Dolo has had a burst of new growth in the center. (The previous time I fed, which included epsom salt, Nodolo had a burst of growth.).

I think the FISH EMULSION has helped. It has a more natural green color to my eyes. More lush, the way I expect it to be. Until now, it's been more of a flat/pastel papery green. It still doesn't seem right. But, this is the first time the leaves seem more like I expect them to be. More "veggie."

I don't know if it was the higher N content. The ratio last feeding with was 3.61-1-1.7 (458/530). That was significantly more N (proportional to all the salts) than ALL-PURPOSE by itself (ratio: 3-1-2). Or, if the improvement is from the FISH EMULSION's more biologically-active form. Maybe the roots need that activity? Maybe the cactus soil was too sterile.

Dolo's burnt tip occurred two feedings ago (when that leaf was new/unfurling, and I fed strong ALL-PURPOSE 1-1/8tsp/gal). Some of Nodolo's new growth has burnt tips, which happened the last feeding (when I fed the same ALL-PURPOSE strength, but added 1g/gal epsom salt). It seems like those two feedings hit the boundary for "too strong." However, the last feeding (with FISH EMULSION) was equally strong. I don't think it will burn because FISH EMULSION is gentler.

I've been thinking I might try TOMATO & FISH EMULSION. I could use more FISH EMULSION that way (because Tomato is 1-1-1.2 ratio. I could supply N using more FISH.). That would help show whether the plants are liking more N, or more biological activity in the soil.

Nodolo's lower/larger leaves seem to be cupping down. But, the newer growth is praying upward more like Dolo. I wonder if I damaged Nodolo when I aerated the soil a few days ago. That was about the same time Dolo greened up, and Nodolo switched and became the more yellow/lime plant. That was he same time Nodolo started being droopy, looking "too wet." (I haven't aerated since. I usually don't aerate except in flower. And, the container is larger. In these 20oz (600ml) seedling containers, I should have used a 1/8-inch diameter rod to aerate. Not the 1/4-inch which I normally use in flower. That was a bit large for these small cups.).

LIGHTING:
They're still under four 9w'ish (60w-equiv) globeless 5000k lightbulbs:

day22 - lights - 1200x900.JPG


You can see the inter-nodal growth starting to occur in the crotches (between stalk and leaves).

I'm going to have to add a fifth light soon. I'm also going to have to transplant into 1gal containers soon. (I'll definitely add the light then, if I haven't already. The plants will be further apart, unable to share each other's light.). And, I'm going to have to top Dolo above the 5th node soon.

If I wasn't still puzzled about the leaves, and what best to feed, I might have switched to 12/12 right now. But, I want to continue trying some things. I'm not entirely happy with how it's growing. It's hardy, and thriving in many ways. But, something about the leaves is off (the green; the blotchy either/or filling in of green; the papery texture at times.). I'd like to have a little more time playing with that. I still wonder if EPSOM SALT helped. And/or, if Fish Emulsion did (and whether that's because of more N, or the yucky biologic stuff added to the soil. I also want to see if FISH EMULSION starts causing problems. I've speculated that this soil lacks pH buffers, and may be prone to easy pH movements. Organic matter tends to acidify. I'm worried I might cause a problem using FISH.).
 
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az2000

az2000

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DAY 22 continued (yesterday, Monday, Sep. 2)....
During the day I was thinking about returning to TOMATO for the next feeding. 2g/gal (1/2 tsp rounded) TOMATO mixed with 4tsp/gal FISH EMULSION creates a nice ratio (2.39-1-1.11). I'd like K to be higher. But, in my last post I said it's not clear if the plants looked better due to the prior feeding's higher N, or from the more organic fish emulsion itself. This ratio will have lower N. But, twice the amount of the organic source. This would be a good test (compared to the last feeding. Although, I'm sure it takes more than one feeding to detect trends. Changing things each feeding probably isn't everything I make it out to be.).

FEED (Tomato!!! & fish emulsion. 2g/gal (1/2 tsp/gal "rounded") TOMATO (233/305ppm) & 20ml/gal (4tsp) Pennington Alaska Fish Emulsion (317/355ppm). This creates NPK ratio 2.39-1-1.11 (550/660ppm)

It appeared the soil wouldn't make it until the next morning. I decided to feed at 6pm, 32 hours after the prior feeding (8 hours after the last photo). That gave the plants 5 hours to feed (until lights out). But, the soil wasn't as dry as I'd like it to be. (I could have sprayed the soil surface with water to carry it until the morning. But, I need to transplant soon. I didn't want to delay by feeding with plain water. But, then again: maybe it would have been good to feed that way after the THREE prior strong feedings.).

6pm - I fed 2.0g/gal (1/2 tsp rounded, 233/305ppm) Tomato 18-18-21 + 20ml/gal (4 tsp) PENNINGTON ALASKA FISH EMULSION (317/355ppm)
- Creates NPK ratio: 2.39-1-1.11 (550/660ppm). That's lower N than the last feeding (ALL-PURPOSE mixed with FISH).​
- I started with one quart of tap & RO water to get 159 ppm.​
- I added 0.50g MiracleGro Tomato. The resulting ppm was 353 (a 194ppm increase).​
- I added 5ml (1tsp) Pennington Alaska Fish Emulsion. The resulting ppm was 866 (a 513ppm increase over TOMATO. 727ppm increase over water only.)
- I don't know why this is significantly stronger than calculated. I even went out and bought a new bottle. It's *stronger* than the old bottle (last feeding). 1 Tsp/qt of this bottle came out be 1-1/2tsp/qt (476/532). That amount calculates (mixed with 2g/gal TOMATO) to ratio 2.77-1-1.09 (709/837ppm).​
- I added a small amount of sugar (from the kitchen, like I did the last feeding.).​
- I spread the pouring over 30 minutes. Initial slow wetting without runoff. Wait 30 minutes, pour for 10% runoff. (Discarded 30% of the nutrient solution.).​
- RUNOFF PPM: 1220ppm.​

That mixed up stronger than I anticipated.[1] I was very nervous about using this. But, I know FISH EMULSION is gentle. This grow is intended to learn, not be safe. So, I gave it a whirl.

The RUNOFF PPMs are getting high. I know I'm feeding strong. I'm waiting to see if more FISH EMULSION (but less overall N) is better. (The prior feeding was higher N, less fish goo.). Once I see that, I will go the appropriate direction and reduce strength.

THOUGHTS
The plants looked VERY GOOD just before feeding (8 hours after the last photo, 32 hours after the prior feeding). I really thought I'd hit the sweet spot. The leaves looked lush, rich, veggie. The odd papery color was gone; the odd uneven "fill" was gone. It really looked perfect.

After feeding: Nodolo looked like "Cousin It" from the Adamms Family (droopy leaves, top to bottom.).

Lights went out at 11pm (till 5am). I spent the night worried about the strength of what I fed, and how droopy Nodolo looked (probably from the soil not reaching a drier state before I soaked it again).

[1] I bought a new bottle of FISH EMULSION. It produces even stronger ppm result than the old bottle I used the last feeding. I wonder if more things than just nutrients (salts) make water "conductive" (which is what TDS/PPM pens are measuring, conductivity). Maybe the fish guts, enzymes, pureed protein... makes water conductive? Maybe it's not stronger than the 5-1-1 nutrient depicted by its label. (But, in reality, those labels are only minimum guarantees. It could contain more nutrients/salts than the label.).

DAY 23 (today, Tuesday September 3)
I got up at 7am, 2 hours after lights-on. They looked very good to me again. Healthy, lush, like a vegging plant should. Nodolo didn't look droopy. (It was amazing how Nodolo perked up. I should have taken a photo the night before.).

However, as the day wore on, I'm seeing the old, lighter green, papery finish, uneven "fill." They definitely looked better yesterday before I fed. Apparently they liked more N (not yummy fish gut matter).

It's almost like the soil is competing with the plant for N, drawing N from the plant if there's a shortage. (I've read that a way to correct N-toxicity is to amend the soil with wood chips/mulch which will draw the unwanted N from the soil (as it decomposes). I feel something like that is happening in this cactus potting mix.).

I took these photos at 6pm, 24 hours after they were fed (Dolo-L, Nodolo-R, yes they're reversed today):

day23 - together #2 - 1200x900.JPG


Dolo:

day23 - dolo - 1200x900.JPG


Nodolo:

day23 - nodolo - 1200x900.JPG


LIGHTING
Still four 9w'ish bulbs like the last update. Dolo (L) & Nodolo (R):

day23 - together - 1200x900.JPG


TRANSPLANTING
I will transplant in the morning (DAY24). That will be 32 hours since they were fed. The soil may be a little too dry (for transplanting). I may spray around the surface and sides (a little) with plain water. Then transplant 30 minutes later, after that moisture has had time to spread out. (I don't want them to be too dry/loose to work with. But, not sloppy wet either.).

I am going to make the soil pre-wetting water using weak bloom nutrients. Since I want this grow to be simple--something you can do from the local hardware store--I'm going to use MiracleGro BLOOM BOOSTER (15-30-15).[2] I'm going to use 1.5g/gal (1/4 tsp heaping, 162/239ppm). I typically use half-strength bloom nutrients. I still don't know what "full-strength" is. (I should probably use nitrogen since that seems to be the point of contention.). But, I'm going to try to do it like I normally would. That's about 1/2-strength the way I typically feed my dialed-in soil.

[2] 1 Tbsp MiracleGro Bloom Booster weighs 11.258g (new box). This may depend on how fresh it is, if it's absorbed moisture, or dried out. I scooped out a tablespoon, didn't compact it, dragged a straightedge across the top of the measuring spoon. Anyone who chooses to recreate what I'm doing should weigh their fertilizer. Ultimately the strength depends upon the weight, not the volume.

Beware: Scotts makes a "special blend" of Bloom Booster which is 10-52-10. It's in the same exact packaging, same product name (just some fine print at the bottom: "Special Blend."). It's not on their web site as an actual product. There are times when I wanted to raise P without altering the N & K ratio. That product could be handy. But, I'm only using products easily available from any hardware store. 15-30-15 is the real product. (You probably won't find it at Ace/TruValue. If you did, you could have a catastrophe. Look closely.).
 
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az2000

az2000

965
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DAY 24 (today, Wednesday September 4)
First thing in the morning I noticed two of Dolo's lower leaves have some marks. One was covered by Nodolo's leaf (the leaves were touching.). I thought the marks were from moisture (transpiration) and/or rubbing. But, the same node's leaf on the opposite side has the marks too.

day24 - dolo leaf problem - 1200x900.JPG


That's probably from feeding strong the past 4 feedings. In some ways it looks like magnesium deficiency. But, it's just these leaves. And, the way more leaves are cupped: if it has anything to do with magnesium, it must be the result of feeding too strong. (I fed stronger because I wanted to confront the odd yellow/lime green colors the plants had; the lack of uniform blending of color.).

It's possibly ph-related. I've suspected that this cactus soil doesn't have much pH buffering (because it doesn't have much soil in it). But, Dolo is the plant with 1.5Tbsp dolomite per gallon of medium. If these were Nodolo's leaves, I'd think ph.

The plant's colors looked very deep, dark green this morning -- a nice even color. But, it's also looking dark/deep enough that I'm worried about N toxity. Transplanting with weak, low-N nutrients should slow all this down. Hopefully this doesn't cause another problem....

TRANSPLANTED!!!
7am
- Wet the new soil using half-strength bloom nutrients. 1.5g/gal (1/4 tsp heaping, 162/239ppm) MiracleGro BLOOM BOOSTER (15-30-15). Ratio: 1-2-1.
- I started with 1/2 gallon (two quarts) of tap & RO water mixed to get 133 ppm.​
- I added 0.75g MiracleGro Bloom Booster. The resulting ppm was 308 (a 175ppm increase).​

Dolo's roots:

day24 - dolo - 900x1200.JPG


Nodolo's roots:

day24 - nodolo - 900x1200.JPG


Nodolo (L) & Dolo (R):

day24 - together #1 - 1200x900.JPG


You can see Dolo's affected leaf on the right edge of the photo. The opposite leaf (facing Nodolo) has it too.

You can see Nodolo's lower leaves are cupping. And, there's some clawing in the newer leaves.

They look darker/greener in person. I think I'm at that point they'll go N-toxic if I continue feeding as I have. I don't think the N ratio has been too high. I think it's just been too strong. (They needed more N. Just too much of everything, I think.). RECAP:

Two feedings ago (DAY 21: 2.758g/gal ALL-PURPOSE + 10ml/gal FISH EMULSION, NPK ratio: 3.61-1-1.7 @ 458/530ppm strength) seemed like the best. But, it should have been 20-30% less strength. About 32 hours later, the plants looked the best I'd seen them. They looked perfect.​
- That's when I fed the last feeding (before transplanting). I used TOMATO for less N, and twice the FISH EMULSION to make up for it. That feeding had lower N as a ratio, and more organic matter feeding the soil. I wanted to test whether N helped, or the gooey fish guts. I fed that a little too early, the soil was a little too wet. Nodolo's leaves looked very overwatered immediately after feeding (looked like "Cousin It," all the leaves laying down, top to bottom). That also had the problem where the fish emulsion added significantly more ppms than expected.​
- So, all in all, I fed too early (still wet); too strong; after 3 deliberate strong feedings (in pursuit of a better, healthier green leaf.). I should resume with DAY 21's feeding (the feeding before the last feeding). But, weaker.​

Now they'll be in fresh soil which the roots haven't grown into (they'll stray wet 3 days. I was reaching 32-hour drying before transplanting). The new containers (new cactus mix) was wet with a low-strength, higher-P nutrient solution because I think that reduces root shock. This should be good for them being overfed. If my theory is correct (yesterday, that cactus mix is sucking nitrogen out of the plants), they'll go back to two-tone coloring (doesn't "fill in" uniformly).

NEXT GROW IDEAS: I was thinking how I like the way this soil drains/dries so well. I'm thinking about trying this again, but mixing Espoma Tomato Tone (or Bio Tone, or Garden Tone. They make a few "tones." I haven't looked at them yet.). That could improve the N-def condition I've been fighting. That might make it more like my soil (with soilless Pro-Mix HP & Kellogg Patio Plus for the "soil"). Maybe it would be more "soily" with a "tone" amended into it. All the hardware stores have Espoma tones. It would fit my goal of keeping this simple, everything available at an ordinary store.

LIGHTING
I added one 9.5w Phillips 2700k warm globeless lightbulb[1]:

day24 - together #2 - 1200x900.JPG


I rearranged the lights. I added a hanging light (one over each plant).[2] The back corner light moved to a PVC "leg"[3] in the middle of the tent. The folding arm[4] light moved to a (direct-mount) tent-leg mount on the same leg. (The reason I moved the back corner light: I wanted the two sidelights to point toward each other, so maybe the plants might catch a little from their neighbor's light.). The warm light is in the gooseneck desklamp (I could use a different fixture, like the PVC "leg." But, I'm lazy. I had this desklamp in the tent back when these were just days old. I used it to take photos under more diffuse light (it had a globed bulb). I just keep using it now (with globeless bulbs).

The hanging lights are 4-5" above the top of the plants (rim of reflector to plant).

[1] Bought at Home Depot. Philips 9.5w warm 2700k 800 lumen (60w-equiv, dimmable, "warm glow").
9.5A19/PER/827-22/P/E26/WG
3235 830202 02
Model: 9290018373A
UPC: 0 46677 47957 2
[2] The hanging "fixture" is described in this how-to (<<link) where the "low-profile socket" is discussed.
[3] The tent-leg mounts, including the PVC "leg" added to the center of the tent, are described in this how-to. (<<link)
[4] The folding arm mount is described in this how-to. (<<link)
 
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az2000

az2000

965
143
DAY 25 (today, Thursday, September 5)
9AM: I took these photos 25-26 hours after transplant. Dolo-L, Nodolo-R:

day25 - together #2 - 1200x900.JPG


day25 - together #1 - 1200x900.JPG


The recently-emerged new leaves have some burnt tips from the last 4 strong feedings. The lower leaves are cupped/droopy from that too. (You can see Dolo's discolored, Mg-deficient'ish leaf facing Nodolo. I'm pretty sure that was overfeeding, not mg-def.).

NEXT FEEDING (thoughts)
I will probably feed tomorrow. I'm not sure when the medium will be dry enough. It was drying in 32-36 hours (a little faster than I like). But, now with new medium which the roots haven't grown into yet, it will probably take 3 days. Probably late tomorrow. (I might have to spray some plain water around the top of the medium to help it be uniform while waiting for the wetter areas to dry. I don't like doing that. It's easy to keep the medium too wet that way. I like to drench and dry, not try to partially water.).

Back on DAY21 (<<link) I fed:
- 2.758g/gal (3/4 tsp/gal) ALL-PURPOSE (300/352ppm)​
- 10ml/gal (2tsp) Pennington Alaska Fish Emulsion (159/177ppm)​
- Created NPK ratio: 3.61-1-1.7 (458/530).​
- However, the fish emulsion added 248ppm -- considerably more than calculated. That strength would be like 3tsp/gal (calculated). Calculated, that much fish emulsion with All-Purpose would create an NPK ratio: 3.78-1-1.61 (538-618ppm). My measure was 583ppm (not counting the water).​

I felt like the plants responded to that the best. (The next feeding after that was TOMATO for less N & double the FISH EMULSION, to see if the organic matter is what they liked. That was considerably stronger too due to the fish emulsion being stronger than calculated. I don't think they liked it as much. Plus, it was definitely too strong.).

The next feeding, I think I'll reduce the strength, and keep N a bit higher:
- 2g/gal (1/2tsp rounded) ALL-PURPOSE (217/255)​
- 10ml/gal (2tsp) FISH EMULSION (159/177)​
- This creates NPK ratio 3.75-1-1.63 (376/433ppm).​
- The only thing I'll have to compensate for is how FISH EMULSION is creating more ppms than calculated (and the new bottle I bought creates even more than the old bottle I had for years -- which I used for DAY21.). Maybe what I'll do is not rinse the measuring spoon clean in the nutrient mixture. Maybe that would be a repeatable way to get less PPMs.​

Considering how overfed they were after four strong feedings, I would feed even lower. But, the transplanting introduced fresh, nutrient-free medium. And, I fed weak bloom nutrients when I wet that soil. So, they will have had a break for awhile. I think that will be a good starting place. I think I may end up having to increase N further, but reduce the strength.

This will be interesting in flower. The way this has been going, TOMATO's 1-1-1.12 NPK might be considered a "bloom booster." :)

LIGHTING
Yesterday, I replaced the new 9.5w 2700k warm bulb with a 9w 5000k daylight bulb. There are presently five "9w" (they range from 8w to 10w, generally 60w-equiv, 760-820 lumen) 5000k daylight globeless bulbs.

The reason I replaced the new warm bulb is because the plants seemed to grow vertically more with that spectrum added. I noticed that when I experimented with a 40w-equiv bulb on Day 15. (<<link). I usually veg in a 7' tall tent and appreciate more nodal spacing. But, in this 4' tall tent, I'm liking the more compact growth under the cooler 5000k daylight.

Using a 2700k warm for a couple hours each day might be good. (Put it on a separate timer. But, it's dangerous juggling multiple timers. I let one go unpowered for a few hours once, and forgot how it was out of sync with the main-light time. I was turning lights on during the dark period.). It's interesting to see how a little warm light affects growth. I think they look healthier when they receive it. More alive. But, I want to keep them short.
 
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az2000

az2000

965
143
DAY 26 (yesterday, Friday, September 6)
While waiting to feed again (transplantied two days earlier), I summarized the previous feedings so I could think about how to resume feeding:

Previous feedings used TOMATO. "ppm increase" refers to total PPMs minus the ppm of the water.
DAY 10 (Aug 21) ======== .
All-Purpose: 2grams/gal (1/2 tsp rounded) (217/255)​
NPK ratio: 3-1-2
Result ppm: 361 (210ppm increase)​
DAY 13 (Aug 24) ========​
All-Purpose: 2.15grams/gal (234/275ppm)​
Result ppm: 383 (231ppm increase)​
Note: I intended to feed 2.3g/gal (5/8 tsp) 250/294ppm. (The result was weaker because the quart was over-full. I forgot to pour off the excess before mixing.).​
DAY 15 (Aug 26) ========​
All-Purpose: 2.758grams/gal (3/4tsp) (300/352ppm)​
Result ppm: 408 (265ppm increase.)​
Note: A little weaker than expected (again), but still stronger than the last one.​
DAY 17 (Aug 28) ======== BEGIN STRONG FEEDING (BEGIN BURNT TIPS)
All-Purpose: 4.147g/gal (1-1/8 tsp) (451/530)
Result ppm: 623 (481ppm increase)
DAY 19 (Aug 30) ========
ALL-PURPOSE: 4.147g/gal (1-1/8 tsp) (451/530)
EPSOM SALT: 1g/gal (a little less than 1/4 tsp, 60/60ppm)
Still NPK ratio 3-1-2 (511/590)
Result ppm: 723 (580ppm increase, 14% stronger than calculated)
Note: All-Purpose added 477ppm (6% higher than calculated). Epsom salt added 103ppm (72% higher than calculated).
DAY 21 (Sep 1) ======== (I felt this worked the best. The plants looked very nice when it was time to feed the next one. A nice, veggie, lush look).
ALL-PURPOSE: 2.758g/gal (3/4tsp 300/352)
AK FISH: 10ml/gal (2tsp) (159/177)
Creates NPK ratio: 3.61-1-1.7 (458/530)
Result ppm: 736 (583ppm increase, 27% higher than calculated).
Note: All-Purpose added 299ppm. Fish added 284ppm (79% more PPM than calculated! Used a 5 year-old bottle.).
DAY 22 (Sep 2) ======== TOMATO again, for lower N, and more FISH to make up for that. (DEFINITELY TOO STRONG. Plants looked stressed next morning)
TOMATO: 2.0g/gal (1/2tsp rounded) (233/305)
AK FISH: 20ml/gal (4tsp) (317/355)
Creates NPK ratio: 2.39-1-1.11 (550/660)
Result ppm: 866 (727ppm increase, 33% higher than calculated)
Note: Tomato added 194ppm (a little less than calculated). Fish added 513ppm (62% more ppm than calculated! Used a new bottle.)
DAY 24 (Sep 4) ======== TRANSPLANT with weak bloom nutes to reduce root shock
MiracleGro BLOOM BOOSTER (15-30-15) 1.5g/gal (1/4 tsp heaping)​
Creates NPK ratio: 1-2-1 (162/239)​
Result ppm: 308 (175ppm increase)​

I fed strong because I continue to be puzzled with the leaf quality. It was a patchy khaki green. It would darken occasionally, but there was a two-tone appearance. It didn't look lush, veggie green. Something was off in a odd way. They didn't have a healthy, "alive, thriving" green.

In that regard, DAY 21's feeding looked the best. (3.61-1-1.7 (458/530)). When I prepared to feed 32 hours later,[1] I remember thinking "I should stop here, this looks great." But, I wasn't sure if it was responding to more N, or the rich organic fishy matter I had used the first time DAY21. The cactus mix seemed sterile and soilless (not "dirty" in the sense of "soil" used as a verb.). If I had stopped DAY21, I would have always wondered. At least I got that out of the way.

All four days produced new growth tips that were lightly burnt. (The older growth has cupped, thickend, puckered, and will probably yellow and drop.).

The PPMs went: 201, 231, 265, 481, 580, 583, 727 (wow!), 175 (transplant).

In retrospect, the 583's ratio (3.61-1-1.7) on DAY21 looked the best. But, I knew it was too strong. So, I want to resume feeding near that ratio. But, somewhere between the mild feedings and when I started pushing it hard. I'm thinking 300-350ppm would be a reasonable place to resume. I can watch the new growth and , vary things up/down from there.

Now, I have a better idea of the boundaries to play within. I wasn't sure if it needed steeper N (as a proportion), or stronger overall. I was worried I was making too-modest changes. Maybe it needed more. I've ruled that out (now I know how high I'm *not* going). I can vary N within a PPM range that's more conclusive. I still think it may benefit from a higher N proportion (example: 4-1-1.5). It might benefit from more PPMs also. Maybe 400 is a good strength. But, right now I'm thinking ratio: 3.61-1-1.7 & 300-350ppm will be a good place to resume playing with that.

[1] Feeding 32 hours later was too soon. But, lights would go out in 5 hours. I wanted to give it some time under the lights eat before darkness. The soil would be too dry if I waited till the next morning. I didn't want to moisten the soil with water to tide it over till the morning (because I needed to transplant soon. I wanted to delay things). So, I gave it the next feeding at 32 hours. I think that added to the stress of overfeeding. They weren't quite dry enough. I think that affected Nodolo more. (Nodolo always seems to be more affected by being too wet.).

DAY 27 (today, Saturday, September 7)
The plants had a 3-day hiatus from my 4-day strong feeding spree. Since the roots are growing into fresh cactus mix (which was pre-wet with weak bloom nutrients to supposedly reduce root shock), I sprayed the top of the soil once about 36 hours ago (to help keep the drying more uniform. That always makes me nervous because that's how you can keep the soil too wet too long.).

NOTE: I covered the containers with white posterboard (cut 8" cicles that lay over the container. I cut a slot from the outer edge to the center, for the stalk to slip into.). This helps the top of the soil to not be too dry. It also reflects light into the canopy. I'll take a photo of this eventually. I think it's a good idea to do. I should have been doing it sooner. (I like to do it for the reflected light. I think it helps. But, slow-drying soil, or humid environments might result in mold.).​

7AM - (exactly 72 hours after transplanting with mild bloom nutes).

I took the following photos BEFORE FEEDING. I often tell new growers how surprisingly fast roots grow. I noticed roots are poking out the new container's drain holes:

Dolo (peekaboo):

day27 - dolo root peekaboo - 1200x900.JPG


Nodolo (peekaboo):

day27 - nodolo root peekaboo - 1200x900.JPG


Below is Dolo's damaged leaf (which was pictured DAY 24, when transplanting):

day27 - dolo leaf hole - 1200x900.JPG


You can see a hole appeared in one finger of the leaf, near the base of that finger. It's curling up and dying. There is a hole on the opposing finger too. That first hole appeared the day after transplanting. (I just noticed the second one by seeing it in the picture.).

It appeared this leaf damage happened due to DAY23's strongest 727ppm feeding (when I went back to TOMATO, so I could use twice as much FISH to raise N). I knew the plant didn't look right when I got up the next morning and glanced at it as I passed by (13 hours after feeding, 2 hours after lights on). It was really quite noticeable compared to how well it looked before feeding, when I felt the previous feeding had been the best one (although, too strong). That strong feeding was after 3 significantly strong feedings, and was the strongest (by a lot).

Here they are together (before feeding; 72 hours after transplant). Dolo(L), Nodolo(R):

day27 - together #1 - 1200x900.JPG


day27 - together #2 - 1200x900.JPG


FEED (2.3g/gal (5/8 tsp) ALL-PURPOSE (250/294ppm) & 5ml/gal (1tsp) Pennington Alaska Fish Emulsion (79/89ppm). This creates NPK ratio 3.41-1-1.79 (329/382)

This is the 1st feeding 3 days after last feeding -- which was transplant with weak bloom nutes. (However, I did spray the top of the soil with plain water 36 hours ago because the top was too dry, while waiting for the rest of the soil to dry.).

8am - I fed 2.3g/gal (5/8tsp , 250/294ppm) ALL-PURPOSE + 5ml/gal (1 tsp 79/89ppm) PENNINGTON ALASKA FISH EMULSION
- Creates NPK ratio: 3.41-1-1.79 (329/382). This is higher N than when I was feeding weaker (ALL-PURPOSE only ratio: 3-1-2). But, much weaker than when I started feeding more N with FISH (583 & 787ppm).​
- I started with a half-gallon of tap & RO water to get 155ppm.​
- I added 1.15g ALL-PURPOSE (half the amount to make a gallon). The resulting ppm was 409 (a 254ppm increase).​
- I added 2.5ml (1/2tsp) Pennington Alaska Fish Emulsion. The resulting ppm was 478 (a 69ppm increase over ALL-PURPOSE. A 323ppm increase over water only.)
- I was having problems with FISH EMULSION creating 62-72% higher PPM than calculated. (The 5 year-old bottle produced higher than the new bottle. [I said the opposite on DAY 22. I was mistaken.]. The new bottle produces 62% more, The old bottle produced 72% more.). What I did this time was: pour the measuring spoon, but not completely. I didn't let it drip completely empty (and even didn't quite pour completely). I left a little remaining in the bottom. And, I didn't rinse the spoon in the nutrient solution. This produced just about the amount calculated. (Much closer than if I rinsed the spoon, which I was doing before. I think that's what put me over the calculated PPMs.).​
- I added half a "pinch" of sugar (from the kitchen, like I did the last feeding.).​
- A pinch is officially 1/16th tsp. That's about the amount you can pinch between your fingers, and rub off. I did about half that much.​
- I spread the pouring over 60 minutes. Initial slow wetting without runoff; wait 30 minutes; pour until tiny runoff; wait 30 minutes; pour for 10% runoff. (Discarded 25% of the half-gallon nutrient solution.).​
- RUNOFF PPM: Dolo: 1010ppm. Nodolo: 1020ppm.​

The runoff ppms look better than the 1220 runoff last feeding (I didn't measure them when I transplanted).

I'd like to switch to 12/12 and stop playing with this. But, I don't feel like I've nailed down the veg feeding. I'm thinking about toping both plants (maybe 2-3 times over the next two weeks) so I can keep it smaller while continuing to experiment with veg feeding. It needs to open up and bush out a little. I think I'm keeping it too condensed with the 5000k light. If I start treating it like "mainlining," I could add a 2700k warm bulb, let it grow more naturally (more spacing, more open) while still keeping it small -- and have some time to continue veg feeding (nail down a good ratio & strength).

I've done mainlining once. I like it. But, it added to the veg time. I don't think it's worth it. But, since I want more veg time... maybe I'll do that.
 
az2000

az2000

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Sounds awesome. I vote YES 🙋🏼‍♂️ To this idea. Would love to see the results.

I think I will mainline it (<<link) tomorrow. That's topping & defoliating. You wait till it has 5-6 nodes (defined as fan leaves with growth tips in the crotch of the stalk/leaf), then "top" above node 3. Remove all the growth beneath it. (You can keep doing that to each resulting 2 nodes. It becomes exponential.). I did 8 nodes once (three toppings and defoliatings). It works very well. But, the amount of time spent recovering from each one, it seemed like it would have been the same to just flower a typical single growth node. (I'm not a fan of defoliating, either. Topping makes sense when needed. But, mainlining is a step beyond that.).

But, in this case, mainlining would be useful as a "do over." Wipe the slate clean, start with two new growth tips. (Do it again, if necessary.). The lower leaves are overfed. They're going to drop anyway. (It's not like defoliating a healthy plant.).
 
az2000

az2000

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I think I will mainline it (<<link) tomorrow. ...

As they say in the old world, "why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?"

DAY 27 (today, Saturday, September 7) continued...

Dolo:

day27 - dolo mainlined - 1200x900.JPG


Nodolo:

day27 - nodolo mainlined - 1200x900.JPG



Topped at the 3rd node (which, unhappily, was the node with the messed up leaves from last Friday). Removed all growth beneath.

Those are the white posterboard disks. I think they help a lot with light. And, they moderate the top of the soil becoming too dry. (If you lay two over each other to cover the slot, they make it harder for fungus gnats to access the soil.).

This is what they looked like immediately before decapitation (Dolo-L Nodolo-R):

day27 - together 12 hous later #1 - 1200x900.JPG


day27 - together 12 hous later #2 - 1200x900.JPG


I'm not a mainlining advocate. But, in this case I think it makes a lot of sense. It was hard to discard the later, healthy growth. But, I want to start over. Mainlining makes great sense for that. (That time delay, starting over 3 times is what I didn't like about it in an ordinary grow. Why traumatize it and make it grow a certain way when it would have produced buds sooner with just one vertical growth tip?).

I see clawing in the new growth. But, I also see the bi-polar green in Nodolo's leaves (the ones that grew out during 3 days of post-transplant). The clawing says N-tox. But, that weird green pattern (uneven "fill") says something else. (Probably ph. That's probably what I'm fighting against. I refuse to acknowledge it.).

So, right now, I'm unclear if the problems are overfeeding (too much N that way, complicated by overfeeding everything). Or, if it's the ratio too high.

The one thing that's clear: I overfed (and then some). So, my plan now is to grow out these lateral nodes using the NPK ratio I fed at this morning. I'll lower the strength next time (now that there's less plant). I'll just play with the strength. I won't play with NPK. I'll let it grow out 6 nodes.

Then I'll decide whether to "mainline" again, and try something else.

I've seen stressed plants turn out amazingly well (better than a plant that was healthy the whole time). I'll keep working with it as long as it's alive (and fits in the tent.). I felt like I had the sweet spot one night (before the pre-transplant, heaviest feeding of all time). But, it's confusing because I'm sure this is like a rail car going down the track. What I did 2-3 feedings prior could have contributed to what I saw that night. So, I want to back up to that, and fiddle less with it.

That was my concern when I started feeding heavy. I felt like I was poking it gently and would run out of time without really testing it. Now I regret testing it. (But, if I poked it along I would have regretted not testing the boundaries.).

I'm concerned Nodolo might expire. That growth looks troubled. It's not done well for some time. (I should go back and see what happened then. I think that was when I fed epsom salt, and the roles reversed: dolo thrived and was more evenly green. Nodolo wasn't. Maybe I'm seeing the results of adding dolomite lime Maybe that's the difference. Maybe with the added salts in the soil, and the more organic fish gunk fermenting. I was worried about that last part.).

LIGHTING
I have turned off the two tent-leg mount sidelights. The plants are now receiving just the two hanging lights, and the one desklamp sidelight. Sometime tomorrow I will turn on the two sidelights again. That should let the sheltered growth adjust. I don't want *stretch*. I don't want to overdrive them either (I did that a little in seedling).
 
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az2000

az2000

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DAY 28 (yesterday, Sunday, September 8)
LIGHTING: 10am: I turned on the two sidelights (which were turned off last night after mainlining, and the exposed growth seemed tender).

Noon: I put the 9w warm 2700k bulb back in the desklamp. (Now that the plant's shorter, expected to grow laterally a bit more, and subject to possibly two more decapitations.... I'm feeling better about letting it grow faster.).

2PM: I used some wire to stake the lateral branches down (after the exposed growth seemed more hardened, 18 hours after mainlining). I had to stop using the white reflective disks over the containers. The stakes are in the way.

DAY 29 (today, Monday, September 9)
I took the following photos before feeding. It's been 1.5 days since "mainlining."

Dolo:

day29 - dolo - 1200x900.JPG


Dolo's bouncing back nicely. The newer leaves have the bright yellow and blotchy fill that I've been trying to understand. But, the mature leaves look nicely filled. If it's just the new growth, I'm ok with that. My problem was the more mature leaves remained that uneven -- and even seemed to fill and drain (changing back and forth like a cuttlefish ). I really think the cactus mix is N deficient and was/is competing with the plant (even mobilizing it out of the plant.).

The mature leaves look good, but I see the N-tox clawed tip starting. I'm not worrying about that now. The soil has a lot of unused nutrients in it. I need to wait some more feedings and watch the newer growth. (The last feeding should have been weaker and more volume to wash out the unused nutrients. I decided to mainline 14 hours after feeding. That could have been planned better. 100% runoff and 20% weaker would have been good.).

Nodolo:

day29 - nodolo - 1200x900.JPG


Nodolo has struggled more with the heavy feeding, the first to show stress. There's still a lot of unused nutrients in the soil (at least for the reduced plant size). It's going to take 2-3 feedings (with generous runoff) to let it reach equilibrium.

FEED (1.8g/gal (1/2 tsp) ALL-PURPOSE (196/230ppm) & 5ml/gal (1tsp) Pennington Alaska Fish Emulsion (79/89ppm). This creates NPK ratio 3.5-1-1.75 (275/319ppm)

This is the 1st feeding 2 days + 4 hours after the previous feeding , and about 1.5 days since "mainlining." (However, I did spray the top of the soil with plain water 24 and 12 hours ago because the top was too dry, while waiting for the rest of the soil to dry.).

8am - I fed 1.8g/gal (1/2tsp , 196/230ppm) ALL-PURPOSE + 5ml/gal (1 tsp 79/89ppm) PENNINGTON ALASKA FISH EMULSION
- Creates NPK ratio: 3.5-1-1.75 (275/319).​
- I started with a half-gallon of tap & RO water to get 147ppm.​
- I added 0.90g ALL-PURPOSE (half the amount to make a gallon). The resulting ppm was 339 (a 192ppm increase).​
- I added 2.5ml (1/2tsp) Pennington Alaska Fish Emulsion. The resulting ppm was 424 (a 85ppm increase over ALL-PURPOSE. A 277ppm increase over water only.)
- I am using less than 2.5ml fish. I pour about 7/8 of the measuring spoon. (I don't rinse the spoon in the nutrient solution either).​
- I added half a "pinch" of sugar (from the kitchen, like I did the last feeding.).​
- I spread the pouring over 30 minutes. Initial slow wetting without runoff; wait 30 minutes; pour for 20% runoff. (I used the entire half-gallon nutrient solution.).​
- RUNOFF PPM: Dolo: 982ppm. Nodolo: 954ppm.​

That strong'ish runoff probably wasn't good (the past 1.5 days) for the suddenly small plants' nutritional needs ("mainlining"). I wish I had planned that a little better. Runoff should be around 600-800. (That's where they were before I fed heavily.).

I'm going to continue feeding in the 250-330 ppm range and see what happens. It's confusing right now because the plant may be overfed from what remains unused in the soil. It's not that far off that I want to traumatize it with a real flush (although, that would have been a good idea when I fed 2 days ago). I'll have to give it some time. I don't mind doing that now because I can "mainline" it again (two more times). Each one requires 5-6 nodes before topping at the third. So, I should have some time.

I think it needed N, but milder feed. I may need to go even lower strength (like, 1.5g/gal AP) and higher N (as a proportion.). I expect that I'll play that way. The last feeding was 330ppm (ill-advised, considering mainlining 14 hours later). This one is 275ppm. Maybe the next one I'll do 250. But, that's going to be the range I expect to be within. I may increase the proportion of N, depending on how it looks.

This has been very different than my soil and nutrients (which I've dialed in, and just work without thinking about it). I've never used N higher than 2-1-2. I would have never dreamed of feeding 3.5-1-1.75. (My concern now is that the N is slow acting and I'm going to get slammed by that slow-moving train. But, I have seen fairly immediate results. It's probably not a problem.).

A SOIL IDEA
I mixed 50% Kellogg Cactus mix with 25% Kellogg Patio Plus and 25% perlite. (I added 1.5 Tablespoon/gal dolomite. I only used Fertilome Hi-Yield Agricultural Lime. I didn't add calcitic lime to tweak the Ca: Mg ratio.). I wet a couple container-fulls and am monitoring the ph.

I'm thinking about germinating a seed in the next couple days and fit that into this grow. Since I have some more time remaining... the worst that would happen is that it would be a 12/12 from seed. (But, it could get 2-3 weeks of veg.). That would give me some information about that mix.

I'm thinking it needs vermiculite. But, I want to keep it simple and be able to see the difference vermiculite makes. I've never used vermiculite. I lean toward faster drying, and vermiculite would work against me in that way. But, this soil dries too fast for my style of growing. I think Patio Plus will slow it down a little (I've noticed that increasing Patio Plus in my soil causes it to dry closer to 3-3.5 days, not 2-3 days.). So... I think it will be best to test this mix without vermiculite first. I'd like to be able to see how vermiculite changes that.

I'd like to add some Espoma BioTone (soil starter). That stuff has a lot of beneficial microbes (colony forming units). It looks good, but I don't know what I'm looking at either. I was thinking I'd use a small amount just to "seed" the soil with those microbes. But, like the vermiculite. Maybe I should do that as a separate test so I can see the difference.

The soil I've used for a few yeas is 56% Pro-Mix HP; 22% Kellogg Patio Plus; 22% Perlite. It works really. I keep thinking this cactus mix's problem is the lack of some real "soil" (inherent nutrients; a hospitable platform for microbes). Pro-Mix is soilless (like this cactus mix seems to be). So, essentially I'd be substituting it. If it works as well as my mix... this should be a winner. If it doesn't, then I know the cactus is the culprit.

It seems worth trying. If I fit it into this grow, I should have a quick idea about it.
 
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az2000

az2000

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Day 75 from sprouting (5 weeks + 5 days after 12/12). HARVEST, Friday Oct 26.

I wanted to update this thread with the results, in case someone finds it on google and wants to grow this way. I harvested today:

 day75 - together 1200x900.JPG


 day75 - together #2 1200x900.JPG


 day75 - bud 900x1200.JPG


2019-10-25-090407.jpg


2019-10-25-090641.jpg


2019-10-25-090827.jpg


In some ways it looks too early. I think that's because I've been supplementing Pennington Alaska Kelp, which causes buds to swell/dense (due to growth hormones from the kelp). I started using it when a few pistils turned brown a couple weeks ago. Kelp's growth hormones caused pistil growth to explode. So, the new pistils make it look young. But, they were starting to brown 10-14 days ago.

This morning, the trichomes were cloudy/milky. I've been wanting to harvest earlier, experience clear trichomes. (I tend to wait too long, being focused on bigger buds.). So, I decide to err on the side of too early. I might have waited a day or two longer than I should have. They seemed milky all of a sudden today.

Dolo is in the front, and did better. Nodolo was more nitrogen toxic (through the entire grow)

When I started this grow, I felt like the differences were strain-related. As seedlings, Dolo looked deficient while Nodolo looked better. When I started feeding stronger, and more nirogen, Dolo was the star performer, and Nodolo looked overfed, n-toxic (constantly).

I think I did notice one constant difference related to dolomite: Dolo's runof ppms were always 50-100 higher than Nodolo. Since Nodolo looked overfed. You'd think there would be more leftover salts to wash away. But, it was Dolo with the consistently higher runoff ppms. I've been thinking that might be due to the dolomite reacting, buffering, breaking down (releasing Ca & Mg).

pH
I'm really thinking the dolomite is what made Dolo turn out so well. However, when I measured the soil ph (after harvesting), Dolo was 5.6. Nodolo was 6.5. That is opposite what I think dolomite does. You'd think it would raise the ph. But, the ph levels do coincide with Nodolo being n-toxic. More nitrogen would be available the soil were always at that higher ph range.[1]

I never pH'ed anything as I grew this. I just used tap water mixed with RO to get 150ppm starting water. (In flower I started using gypsum and epsom salt to get 150ppm starting. I felt like the plants liked this better than tap. Not sure how that would work in veg.).

Feeding
When the plant was grown into the container, I had to feed every 1.5 days. The Kellogg Cactus potting mix dries that fast.

I had to feed twice as much N as I usually do. (Usually I feed an NPK ratio 2-1-2 in veg, and finish flowering at 1-2-2.). I had to feed almost 4-1-x in veg. I finished at 1-1-x.

By transition I had the feeding worked out. It seems to like 200-230ppm of nutrients (added to 150ppm water). If I went above 250ppm, I saw signs of overfeeding. The runoff ppms should be in the 650-750 range. If it's in the 800s, you're probably seeing signs of overfeeding.

In veg, you should be around NPK ratio 3.8-1-x (I say "x" because the way I was using hardware-store products, I wasn't dialing in K as I normally would. It just comes out however it comes out. Usually 1.5 to 1.8. (I think closer to 3.0 would be better, with that amount of N. I did get K higher when I used kelp in mid to late flower. But, I wouldn't use kelp in veg because it can cause weird stretch.).

To get that veg ratio, I used MiracleGro All-Purpose (24-8-16, ratio 3-1-2), and added Pennington Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1) to increase the NPK ratio to 3.8-1-x. In theory, this is 1g/gal All-Purpose (109ppm) and 7.5ml/gal Fish (119ppm). In reality, the products are a little stronger than their labeled content calculates out to. So, you have to add half those amounts, stir, check the PPM increase, and figure out exactly how much to add to get the desired PPM. Ultimately, if you add enough of each product (to get those ppms), you'll get NPK ratio 3.95-1-1.53. That seemed like a good ratio.

Below, is what I would feed through the entire grow:

Germination - prewet the medium with 1/8th strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
MiracleGro All-Purpose (24-8-16): 0.13g/gal (14ppm)​
Pennington Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1): 0.94ml/gal (15ppm)​
Seedling - 2nd week after breaking ground - 1/4 strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
All-Purpose: 0.25g/gal (27ppm)​
Fish: 1.88ml/gal (30ppm)​
Later in that 2nd week - 1/2 strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
All-Purpose: 0.5g/gal (54ppm)​
Fish: 3.75ml/gal (60ppm)​
3rd week veg through transition (2 weeks after 12/12 lighting) - Full strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
All-Purpose: 1.0g/gal (109ppm)​
Fish: 7.5ml/gal (119ppm)​
Note: If you think that's too much N, you can reduce the overall strength. Or, try:​
NPK ratio: 3.51-1-1.74:​
All-Purpose: 1.4g/gal (152ppm)​
Fish: 4ml/gal (63ppm)​
I liked that ratio. I tended to drift N around 3.5 to 4.0. The important thing is to keep the resulting PPMs in the 200-230 range.​
2nd week after 12/12 lighting - Reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 3.54-1-1.73​
All-Purpose: 1.3g/gal (141ppm)​
Fish: 4ml/gal (63ppm)​
NPK ratio: 3.25-1-1.88​
All-Purpose: 1.7g/gal (185ppm)​
Fish: 2ml/gal (32ppm)​
3rd & 4th week after 12/12 lighting - Reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 3.15-1-2.69​
All-Purpose: 1.55g/gal (168ppm)​
Pennington Alaska Kelp (0.13-0-0.60): 14ml/gal (39ppm)​
NPK ratio: 3-1-2​
All-Purpose: 2.0g/gal (217ppm)​
NPK ratio: 2.5-1-1.79​
All-Purpose: 1.7g/gal (185ppm)​
MiracleGro Tomato (18-18-21): 0.25g/gal (29)​
NPK ratio: 2.23-1-2.41​
All-Purpose: 1.0g/gal (109ppm)​
Tomato: 0.4g/gal (47ppm)​
Kelp: 20ml/gal (56ppm)​
5th week after 12/12 lighting - reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 1.98-1-1.58​
All-Purpose: 1.3g/gal (141ppm)​
Tomato: 0.6g/gal (70)​
NPK ratio: 1.74-1-2.67​
All-Purpose: 0.4g/gal (43ppm)​
Tomato: 0.6g/gal (70ppm)​
Kelp: 30ml/gal (84ppm)​
NPK ratio: 1.52-1-1.39​
All-Purpose: 0.8g/gal (87ppm)​
Tomato: 1.0g/gal (116ppm)​
6th week after 12/12 lighting - reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 1.22-1-2.19​
Tomato: 1.0g/gal (116ppm)​
Kelp: 30ml/gal (84ppm)​
NPK ratio: 1-1-1.17​
Tomato: 1.9g/gal (209ppm)​

Note: The above in flower is a guideline for reducing N. You can play around, lower/higher.

Always focus on adding enough fertilizer to get the desired ppm increase. The stated amounts (grams, milliters) are hypothetical, based upon the product's label ("guaranteed analysis" is a guaranteed minimum content. Typically, products will be a little stronger.) Add half the amount, stir, see how the ppms change. Add more. After you do this a few times, you'll know how the actual ppm differs from the calculated amounts.

I wouldn't use kelp too early because it can cause stretch. After veg growth is finished, and the plant is well into growing buds (less chance of stretching the entire plant), then use kelp. I show using it in the 3rd and 4th week. But, I wouldn't use it until late in the 3rd week (maybe stronger late in the 4th week. The 5th week is a good time to use more kelp @ 2Tbsp/gal.). Just remember: kelp adds nitrogen. (You're also adding a lot of potassium, raising the K ratio. That's good! Cannabis likes K.).

In veg, I mixed tap water with RO filtered water to get a stating ppm 150. But, in flower (especially 2-3 weeks after 12/12, when the buds were developing), I added gypsum and epsom salt to get 150ppm. (I pre-dissolve 3grams gypsum in a liter bottle. I pour some into the RO water to get 40ppm. I add epspm salt to get an additional 100ppm. This is 44ppm Mg, 25ppm Ca and 78ppm Sulfur. That doesn't sound like a great Ca to Mg ratio. But, I felt like the plants liked more Mg than Ca. You can vary it and see how it works (more ppms from gypsom, or from epsom). It didn't seem to mater much. But, I felt like epsom did more good. Both have sulfur, and that seemed good.

One time in mid-flower I fed 200ppm of epsom salt (RO water with 200ppm added, no other nutrients). The plants seemed to like it. The runoff ppms *tanked* after I did that. (Runoff went from 750 to 600ppm. It was like the plant consumed the extra salts in the medium.).

The way I harvested earlier than I expected, maybe I should've cut N lower/sooner. I did experiment with that in mid flower, but took it back up because it seemed like too little/too soon. I think in the late 4th week, and 5th week I should have gone lower. The above guidelines are more in that direction, what I would if I grew this again.. But, you might try finishing the 5th week at the 6th week's levels of N.

I'm pretty sure you don't have to go lower N than 1-1-1.17 (Tomato's ratio). You could mix MiracleGrow Bloom Booster (15-30-15) to create a "booster" ratio. But, the way this cactus potting mix needs so much N, I think Tomato by itself is pretty much there. If you were going to try going lower N, maybe mix 0.9g/gal of each (Tomato 105ppm & Bloom Booster 97ppm) to create 1-1.45-1.09. That's not really "booster" level (the way most people think of boosters being in the 1-3-2 to 1-4-3 ratio range). But, this cactus potting mix is so N deficient, what I'm suggesting would be a pretty extreme ratio. I'd only feed it once (toward the end) and see what happens. (I don't think "bloom boosters" do much. I'm just saying, if you wanted to experiment, that's what I'd do. I considered doing it. But, harvested sooner than I thought I would.).

From early flower (3rd week, when bud sites were developing) I added 1/2tsp/gal Grandma's unsulphured blackstrap molasses. I usually don't use molasses. I think it's a lot of hype. I typically add a pinch of sugar to every gallon of water (which is what I did through veg and transition of this grow). But, since this cactus mix seemed nutrient deficient (like "soilless"), and I'm using MiracleGro which isn't the best fertilizer in the world, I thought the extra minerals in molasses would help. The goal of this grow was to use things that are easily available from the hardware store. Molasses fits that criteria.

When I harvested, I didn't flush. I fed Tomato by itself (ratio 1-1-1.17), about 200ppm. And, I harvested before the soil dried the next day.

LIGHTING:
I finished using 134w in a 2x2' space. (33.5w/sq ft). This photo shows all the lights used:

day74 - lights 1200x900.JPG


That photo was taken the day before harvest. It shows:
1. my Tubular top-light "fixture," which has:​
- four 11w GE "basic" PAR38 floodlights (front/outer lens cut off, and the LED lenses inside removed.)​
- one 9w globeless/reflectorless lightbulb in the center.​
2. Four tent-legs, each with two 9w globeless lightbulbs in my clamp-on reflectors (8 lightbulbs total).​
3. A gooseneck lamp sitting on floor with one 9w globeless lightbulb.​

That's 44 + 9 (53w) on top. And, 72 + 9 (81w) around the sides.

The lightbulbs are evenly mixed 2700k (warm) and 5000k (daylight). It wasn't mixed this way until the last week or two. (See further down this post for more info about "color temperature."). I think 6000-6500k (cool) would work better. You have to order those online. They're hard to find.

I added bulbs as the plants grew, and got further into flower (when more light helps). In veg, I was only doing about 17w/sq ft.

- When I tranplanted up to 1gal containers (Day 24) I was using five 9w bulbs, total: 45w.​
- When I switched to 12/12 (Day 33) I was using six 9w bulbs, total 54w. When​
- At the end of 2nd week of 12/12, I was using four 11w (PAR38 from the top) and five 9w bulbs (one in the center of the 11w on top). Total 89w.​
- First day of 4th week 12/12, I was using the four 11w, and had seven 9w. Total 107w.​
- Second day of 4th week, I added another 9w bulb, total 116.​

That gives you an idea how I scaled up the light. (Over the next week I added two more 9w bulbs, ending at total 134w.).

Earlier in the grow, the w/sq ft wasn't easy to calculate. The plants weren't taking up 2x2 space. But, when it finished, it was pretty much 2x2. (Growing two plants in that space wasn't the maximum use of the space. But, to accommodate them it took about 2x2.). Prior to that, the space was typically 2x1.5, or 2x1.8). When I thought in terms of w/sq ft, I thought of it in those reduced spaces.

COLOR TEMPERATURE:
I used almost entirely 5000k lightbulbs in veg and first 2 weeks of 12/12. Occasionally I would swap one out for a 2700k. But, I felt like I saw some stretch. If I were growing in a larger space, I might have appreciated the plants growing more that way. But, in a 4' tall space, I didn't expose it to much 2700k. Occasionally I would, for a few hours (I'd swap a bulb warm for cool).

During the first 2-3 weeks of 12/12, I had just one 9w warm. I didn't have another warm bulb until the first day of the 4th week. At that point, I had four 11w cool (on top), one 9w warm (on top), five 9w cool and one 9w cool around the sides.

I didn't start warming things up until late flower (week 4 and 5). I ended with a 1:1 ratio of 2700 & 5000k. I didn't reach that until 4-5 days before harvest. I kept the light pretty cool until the end, the last couple weeks.

NEXT STEPS:
I'd definitely grow this again. I like how it performed. (The only remaining question is taste, potency. I'll pot an update about that soon.). The only thing I might change is add vermiculite to slow down how fast it dries. Maybe 25% vermiculite to 75% Kellogg Cactus potting mix. I'd use dolomite again (1.5 Tablespoon per gallon of soil).

While growing this, I realized MiracleGro Performance Organics "All Purpose Plant Nutrition" (11-3-8)[2] is NPK ratio 3.67-1-2.67. That would be absolutely perfect. That's the correct amount of N. And, the K is considerably higher. (Cannabis loves potassium.). And, it's derived from organic sources. I like that better than the purely synthetic MG All Purpose.

So I'm planning to start another Kellogg Cactus mix grow in 2-3 weeks. I'm going use that MG PO product. I'm thinking: 3.5 grams (205ppm). But, as mentioned above, the product label is just a "guaranteed minimum." The product can be stronger. I would mix half, see how many ppms it creates. Add more as necessary. You can calculate how much more you need after seeing how much ppm a measured amount creates.). In flower, maybe I would mix in MG Tomato (18-18-21) to reduce N.

I plan on adding vermiculite. I didn't like feeding this every 1.5 days. I like 2-3 days. I've never used vermiculite. I'll have to guess how much to use. I'm thinking 25-30%. I was thinking about maybe adding crushed perlite (sand consistency, no larger than bb-pellet sized, 0.177"). Maybe 10% of that, and 30% vermiculite. I always felt like the cactus mix was too dense (the sand packed together). But, it dried in 1.5 days. And, the plants grew well. So, I don't think it needs more perlite. But, I think finer perlite distributed through the sand might help a little. That will go against my goal to have it hold moisture longer. So, I think more vermiculite (30% instead of 25%) would be good. That's how I'm thinking about it right now.

I will post a final update about taste, potency (photos of the trimmed harvest). The buds aren't terribly frosty. But, it's been warm. Until mid flower the tent was often 82-84F (28-29C). The last couple weeks it was more like 79-81 (26-27). I'm used to pushing the limit on heat (and taking a hit on frostiness). It always seems potent to me, even when it's less frost than this. I've grown warmer with less frost, and it seemed potent enough for me. I'm happy with how this one looks (compared to other grows in my heat). The next one I grow, the weather will be much cooler. It will be interesting to see if that makes a difference. I'll be using the same lights. Just different MiracleGro nutrients.

[1] Soil ph is a complex topic. It's not a fixed value. It rises a full point from wet to dry. There can be pockets of different ph. The soil was still fairly wet when I harvested. So, 5.6 doesn't seem bad to me (from my own experience with my light, airy soil I normally use). As it continued to dry, it would rise to 6.6.

If the soil had continued to dry, I would expect *no*dolo's ph to rise higher (out of range), while dolo's ph would pass through a good range. I think that difference in ph range might be why dolo got more N through the entire grow. If I fed less N (as a proportion), *no*dolo might have turned out better, and dolo would have suffered. But, the vibe I got the whole time was that dolo was thriving more than *no*dolo. I think dolomite is good to add, even if it's the reason I had to feed higher N. I.e., I don't think it would have turned out as well without dolomite (and feeding more normal levels of N). I think they would have both had higher soil ph (as *no*dolo did), and suffered from that. But, it could be worth trying. (Maybe I should have mixed different nutrients for each plant. But, I was only mixing 1/2 gallon to feed them both. Mixing a quart would be tedius getting ppms correct with tiny amounts of nutrients. Mixing larger quantities is easier to fine tune using larger amounts of nutrients.).

[2] Regarding MiracleGro Performance Organics "all purpose plant nutrition" (what a mouthful), you have to be careful. There is another "granules" product which has a different NPK value. The one I am referring to comes in a square box, and NPK is 11-3-8.
 
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basscaptain

basscaptain

5,276
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Good to see your still with us....................................... been worried about you.... :)
 
az2000

az2000

965
143
POST-HARVEST (6 weeks dry/cure) Dec. 6, 2019

I weighed the dried harvest yesterday

Dolo: 27.2g​
Nodolo: 21.3g​

I took these photos yesterday:

Dolo:

DSC04332 1600x1200.JPG


DSC04335 1600x1200.JPG


DSC04339 1600x1200.JPG


Nodolo:

DSC04345 1600x1200.JPG


DSC04353 1600x1200.JPG


I sampled both yesterday. They taste normal to me. The only thing I notice that tastes "off" is a sandy taste which I believe came from the cactus mix. Through the entire grow I smelled a sandy, dusty/chalky smell. Maybe like the smell of concrete or bricks. If you've ever lived in the desert, you know what it smells like before the rain. It's like the ground exhales, and you get this dusty pungent smell (a little mesquite smell too). I smelled that through the grow. I think I taste it a little, especially with Dolo which seems more N deficient.

They seem as potent as what I typically grow with lightbulbs. It's not top-shelf, but none of the light-bulb grows are. I get better results with CMH or T5HO. More UV, I think. The store-bought lightbulbs only go up to 5000k. I think 6000-6500k would work better. I found a couple on Amazon. ASIN: B07BGBTR4X & B075B8NPNK. Or, B07LFRSL83, B017VIJ10S. Or, B07BH37N89. (I bought some of that last one to try next time I grow with lightbulbs.).

I was thinking I'd grow in Kellogg Cactus potting mix again, but using MiracleGro Performance Organics (11-3-8. I think that NPK ratio would be perfect, especially the high N.). I was going to add 25% perlite (crushed to sand consistency) and 25% vermiculite for slower drying. But, I don't think growing entirely in sand is a good. (It did seem to impart some sand taste to Dolo. I feel like it could have something to do with the N deficiency Dolo experienced more. But, adding soil to the sandy cactus mix would probably be better.).

I'll probably try replacing my go-to soil's Pro-Mix HP with this cactus mix. Something like 30% Kellogg Cactus, 30% Kellogg Patio Plus, 20% perlite, 20% vermiculite. I think that would create a well-draining soil like my go-to soil has (when I mix 56% Pro-Mix HP, 22% Patio Plus, 22% Perlite). It would be more like a soil than cactus mix by itself. Pro-Mix's peat retains water. Cactus mix doesn't (it was dry in 36 hours, whereas my mix usually takes 60 hours.). The vermiculite should compensate for that. (I think it would be nice to find something that works well without having to get into specialty-shop Pro-Mix product. That would be my goal trying to use cactus mix, but create something more soil'ish with Patio Plus.).

48 grams seems pretty good for two small plants (in 1 gal containers, which are more like 2-3 qt. The "1 gal" is a trade name, not actual volume.). I was running lights at 34w/sq ft at the end of flower. In that respect, it's not bad. But, I was running 134w total. So, that's less than 0.5g/watt. The two plants didn't fill the space very well. A 3rd plant would've. I harvested too early. I wanted to experiment with the effect of clearer trichomes. I always tell myself I want to do that, but then wait longer than I should. I think I overcompensated a little too much toward the "too early" realm. If I gave it more time, the buds would have swelled more. I was seeing it happen every day.
 
jaguarlax

jaguarlax

Supporter
888
143
this is cool...
Day 75 from sprouting (5 weeks + 5 days after 12/12). HARVEST, Friday Oct 26.

I wanted to update this thread with the results, in case someone finds it on google and wants to grow this way. I harvested today:

View attachment 904717

View attachment 904718

View attachment 904716

View attachment 904720

View attachment 904721

View attachment 904722

In some ways it looks too early. I think that's because I've been supplementing Pennington Alaska Kelp, which causes buds to swell/dense (due to growth hormones from the kelp). I started using it when a few pistils turned brown a couple weeks ago. Kelp's growth hormones caused pistil growth to explode. So, the new pistils make it look young. But, they were starting to brown 10-14 days ago.

This morning, the trichomes were cloudy/milky. I've been wanting to harvest earlier, experience clear trichomes. (I tend to wait too long, being focused on bigger buds.). So, I decide to err on the side of too early. I might have waited a day or two longer than I should have. They seemed milky all of a sudden today.

Dolo is in the front, and did better. Nodolo was more nitrogen toxic (through the entire grow)

When I started this grow, I felt like the differences were strain-related. As seedlings, Dolo looked deficient while Nodolo looked better. When I started feeding stronger, and more nirogen, Dolo was the star performer, and Nodolo looked overfed, n-toxic (constantly).

I think I did notice one constant difference related to dolomite: Dolo's runof ppms were always 50-100 higher than Nodolo. Since Nodolo looked overfed. You'd think there would be more leftover salts to wash away. But, it was Dolo with the consistently higher runoff ppms. I've been thinking that might be due to the dolomite reacting, buffering, breaking down (releasing Ca & Mg).

pH
I'm really thinking the dolomite is what made Dolo turn out so well. However, when I measured the soil ph (after harvesting), Dolo was 5.6. Nodolo was 6.5. That is opposite what I think dolomite does. You'd think it would raise the ph. But, the ph levels do coincide with Nodolo being n-toxic. More nitrogen would be available the soil were always at that higher ph range.[1]

I never pH'ed anything as I grew this. I just used tap water mixed with RO to get 150ppm starting water. (In flower I started using gypsum and epsom salt to get 150ppm starting. I felt like the plants liked this better than tap. Not sure how that would work in veg.).

Feeding
When the plant was grown into the container, I had to feed every 1.5 days. The Kellogg Cactus potting mix dries that fast.

I had to feed twice as much N as I usually do. (Usually I feed an NPK ratio 2-1-2 in veg, and finish flowering at 1-2-2.). I had to feed almost 4-1-x in veg. I finished at 1-1-x.

By transition I had the feeding worked out. It seems to like 200-230ppm of nutrients (added to 150ppm water). If I went above 250ppm, I saw signs of overfeeding. The runoff ppms should be in the 650-750 range. If it's in the 800s, you're probably seeing signs of overfeeding.

In veg, you should be around NPK ratio 3.8-1-x (I say "x" because the way I was using hardware-store products, I wasn't dialing in K as I normally would. It just comes out however it comes out. Usually 1.5 to 1.8. (I think closer to 3.0 would be better, with that amount of N. I did get K higher when I used kelp in mid to late flower. But, I wouldn't use kelp in veg because it can cause weird stretch.).

To get that veg ratio, I used MiracleGro All-Purpose (24-8-16, ratio 3-1-2), and added Pennington Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1) to increase the NPK ratio to 3.8-1-x. In theory, this is 1g/gal All-Purpose (109ppm) and 7.5ml/gal Fish (119ppm). In reality, the products are a little stronger than their labeled content calculates out to. So, you have to add half those amounts, stir, check the PPM increase, and figure out exactly how much to add to get the desired PPM. Ultimately, if you add enough of each product (to get those ppms), you'll get NPK ratio 3.95-1-1.53. That seemed like a good ratio.

Below, is what I would feed through the entire grow:

Germination - prewet the medium with 1/8th strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
MiracleGro All-Purpose (24-8-16): 0.13g/gal (14ppm)​
Pennington Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1): 0.94ml/gal (15ppm)​
Seedling - 2nd week after breaking ground - 1/4 strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
All-Purpose: 0.25g/gal (27ppm)​
Fish: 1.88ml/gal (30ppm)​
Later in that 2nd week - 1/2 strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
All-Purpose: 0.5g/gal (54ppm)​
Fish: 3.75ml/gal (60ppm)​
3rd week veg through transition (2 weeks after 12/12 lighting) - Full strength nutrients (NPK ratio: 3.95-1-1.53):​
All-Purpose: 1.0g/gal (109ppm)​
Fish: 7.5ml/gal (119ppm)​
Note: If you think that's too much N, you can reduce the overall strength. Or, try:​
NPK ratio: 3.51-1-1.74:​
All-Purpose: 1.4g/gal (152ppm)​
Fish: 4ml/gal (63ppm)​
I liked that ratio. I tended to drift N around 3.5 to 4.0. The important thing is to keep the resulting PPMs in the 200-230 range.​
2nd week after 12/12 lighting - Reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 3.54-1-1.73​
All-Purpose: 1.3g/gal (141ppm)​
Fish: 4ml/gal (63ppm)​
NPK ratio: 3.25-1-1.88​
All-Purpose: 1.7g/gal (185ppm)​
Fish: 2ml/gal (32ppm)​
3rd & 4th week after 12/12 lighting - Reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 3.15-1-2.69​
All-Purpose: 1.55g/gal (168ppm)​
Pennington Alaska Kelp (0.13-0-0.60): 14ml/gal (39ppm)​
NPK ratio: 3-1-2​
All-Purpose: 2.0g/gal (217ppm)​
NPK ratio: 2.5-1-1.79​
All-Purpose: 1.7g/gal (185ppm)​
MiracleGro Tomato (18-18-21): 0.25g/gal (29)​
NPK ratio: 2.23-1-2.41​
All-Purpose: 1.0g/gal (109ppm)​
Tomato: 0.4g/gal (47ppm)​
Kelp: 20ml/gal (56ppm)​
5th week after 12/12 lighting - reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 1.98-1-1.58​
All-Purpose: 1.3g/gal (141ppm)​
Tomato: 0.6g/gal (70)​
NPK ratio: 1.74-1-2.67​
All-Purpose: 0.4g/gal (43ppm)​
Tomato: 0.6g/gal (70ppm)​
Kelp: 30ml/gal (84ppm)​
NPK ratio: 1.52-1-1.39​
All-Purpose: 0.8g/gal (87ppm)​
Tomato: 1.0g/gal (116ppm)​
6th week after 12/12 lighting - reduce N:​
NPK ratio: 1.22-1-2.19​
Tomato: 1.0g/gal (116ppm)​
Kelp: 30ml/gal (84ppm)​
NPK ratio: 1-1-1.17​
Tomato: 1.9g/gal (209ppm)​

Note: The above in flower is a guideline for reducing N. You can play around, lower/higher.

Always focus on adding enough fertilizer to get the desired ppm increase. The stated amounts (grams, milliters) are hypothetical, based upon the product's label ("guaranteed analysis" is a guaranteed minimum content. Typically, products will be a little stronger.) Add half the amount, stir, see how the ppms change. Add more. After you do this a few times, you'll know how the actual ppm differs from the calculated amounts.

I wouldn't use kelp too early because it can cause stretch. After veg growth is finished, and the plant is well into growing buds (less chance of stretching the entire plant), then use kelp. I show using it in the 3rd and 4th week. But, I wouldn't use it until late in the 3rd week (maybe stronger late in the 4th week. The 5th week is a good time to use more kelp @ 2Tbsp/gal.). Just remember: kelp adds nitrogen. (You're also adding a lot of potassium, raising the K ratio. That's good! Cannabis likes K.).

In veg, I mixed tap water with RO filtered water to get a stating ppm 150. But, in flower (especially 2-3 weeks after 12/12, when the buds were developing), I added gypsum and epsom salt to get 150ppm. (I pre-dissolve 3grams gypsum in a liter bottle. I pour some into the RO water to get 40ppm. I add epspm salt to get an additional 100ppm. This is 44ppm Mg, 25ppm Ca and 78ppm Sulfur. That doesn't sound like a great Ca to Mg ratio. But, I felt like the plants liked more Mg than Ca. You can vary it and see how it works (more ppms from gypsom, or from epsom). It didn't seem to mater much. But, I felt like epsom did more good. Both have sulfur, and that seemed good.

One time in mid-flower I fed 200ppm of epsom salt (RO water with 200ppm added, no other nutrients). The plants seemed to like it. The runoff ppms *tanked* after I did that. (Runoff went from 750 to 600ppm. It was like the plant consumed the extra salts in the medium.).

The way I harvested earlier than I expected, maybe I should've cut N lower/sooner. I did experiment with that in mid flower, but took it back up because it seemed like too little/too soon. I think in the late 4th week, and 5th week I should have gone lower. The above guidelines are more in that direction, what I would if I grew this again.. But, you might try finishing the 5th week at the 6th week's levels of N.

I'm pretty sure you don't have to go lower N than 1-1-1.17 (Tomato's ratio). You could mix MiracleGrow Bloom Booster (15-30-15) to create a "booster" ratio. But, the way this cactus potting mix needs so much N, I think Tomato by itself is pretty much there. If you were going to try going lower N, maybe mix 0.9g/gal of each (Tomato 105ppm & Bloom Booster 97ppm) to create 1-1.45-1.09. That's not really "booster" level (the way most people think of boosters being in the 1-3-2 to 1-4-3 ratio range). But, this cactus potting mix is so N deficient, what I'm suggesting would be a pretty extreme ratio. I'd only feed it once (toward the end) and see what happens. (I don't think "bloom boosters" do much. I'm just saying, if you wanted to experiment, that's what I'd do. I considered doing it. But, harvested sooner than I thought I would.).

From early flower (3rd week, when bud sites were developing) I added 1/2tsp/gal Grandma's unsulphured blackstrap molasses. I usually don't use molasses. I think it's a lot of hype. I typically add a pinch of sugar to every gallon of water (which is what I did through veg and transition of this grow). But, since this cactus mix seemed nutrient deficient (like "soilless"), and I'm using MiracleGro which isn't the best fertilizer in the world, I thought the extra minerals in molasses would help. The goal of this grow was to use things that are easily available from the hardware store. Molasses fits that criteria.

When I harvested, I didn't flush. I fed Tomato by itself (ratio 1-1-1.17), about 200ppm. And, I harvested before the soil dried the next day.

LIGHTING:
I finished using 134w in a 2x2' space. (33.5w/sq ft). This photo shows all the lights used:

View attachment 904719

That photo was taken the day before harvest. It shows:
1. my Tubular top-light "fixture," which has:​
- four 11w GE "basic" PAR38 floodlights (front/outer lens cut off, and the LED lenses inside removed.)​
- one 9w globeless/reflectorless lightbulb in the center.​
2. Four tent-legs, each with two 9w globeless lightbulbs in my clamp-on reflectors (8 lightbulbs total).​
3. A gooseneck lamp sitting on floor with one 9w globeless lightbulb.​

That's 44 + 9 (53w) on top. And, 72 + 9 (81w) around the sides.

The lightbulbs are evenly mixed 2700k (warm) and 5000k (daylight). It wasn't mixed this way until the last week or two. (See further down this post for more info about "color temperature."). I think 6000-6500k (cool) would work better. You have to order those online. They're hard to find.

I added bulbs as the plants grew, and got further into flower (when more light helps). In veg, I was only doing about 17w/sq ft.

- When I tranplanted up to 1gal containers (Day 24) I was using five 9w bulbs, total: 45w.​
- When I switched to 12/12 (Day 33) I was using six 9w bulbs, total 54w. When​
- At the end of 2nd week of 12/12, I was using four 11w (PAR38 from the top) and five 9w bulbs (one in the center of the 11w on top). Total 89w.​
- First day of 4th week 12/12, I was using the four 11w, and had seven 9w. Total 107w.​
- Second day of 4th week, I added another 9w bulb, total 116.​

That gives you an idea how I scaled up the light. (Over the next week I added two more 9w bulbs, ending at total 134w.).

Earlier in the grow, the w/sq ft wasn't easy to calculate. The plants weren't taking up 2x2 space. But, when it finished, it was pretty much 2x2. (Growing two plants in that space wasn't the maximum use of the space. But, to accommodate them it took about 2x2.). Prior to that, the space was typically 2x1.5, or 2x1.8). When I thought in terms of w/sq ft, I thought of it in those reduced spaces.

COLOR TEMPERATURE:
I used almost entirely 5000k lightbulbs in veg and first 2 weeks of 12/12. Occasionally I would swap one out for a 2700k. But, I felt like I saw some stretch. If I were growing in a larger space, I might have appreciated the plants growing more that way. But, in a 4' tall space, I didn't expose it to much 2700k. Occasionally I would, for a few hours (I'd swap a bulb warm for cool).

During the first 2-3 weeks of 12/12, I had just one 9w warm. I didn't have another warm bulb until the first day of the 4th week. At that point, I had four 11w cool (on top), one 9w warm (on top), five 9w cool and one 9w cool around the sides.

I didn't start warming things up until late flower (week 4 and 5). I ended with a 1:1 ratio of 2700 & 5000k. I didn't reach that until 4-5 days before harvest. I kept the light pretty cool until the end, the last couple weeks.

NEXT STEPS:
I'd definitely grow this again. I like how it performed. (The only remaining question is taste, potency. I'll pot an update about that soon.). The only thing I might change is add vermiculite to slow down how fast it dries. Maybe 25% vermiculite to 75% Kellogg Cactus potting mix. I'd use dolomite again (1.5 Tablespoon per gallon of soil).

While growing this, I realized MiracleGro Performance Organics "All Purpose Plant Nutrition" (11-3-8)[2] is NPK ratio 3.67-1-2.67. That would be absolutely perfect. That's the correct amount of N. And, the K is considerably higher. (Cannabis loves potassium.). And, it's derived from organic sources. I like that better than the purely synthetic MG All Purpose.

So I'm planning to start another Kellogg Cactus mix grow in 2-3 weeks. I'm going use that MG PO product. I'm thinking: 3.5 grams (205ppm). But, as mentioned above, the product label is just a "guaranteed minimum." The product can be stronger. I would mix half, see how many ppms it creates. Add more as necessary. You can calculate how much more you need after seeing how much ppm a measured amount creates.). In flower, maybe I would mix in MG Tomato (18-18-21) to reduce N.

I plan on adding vermiculite. I didn't like feeding this every 1.5 days. I like 2-3 days. I've never used vermiculite. I'll have to guess how much to use. I'm thinking 25-30%. I was thinking about maybe adding crushed perlite (sand consistency, no larger than bb-pellet sized, 0.177"). Maybe 10% of that, and 30% vermiculite. I always felt like the cactus mix was too dense (the sand packed together). But, it dried in 1.5 days. And, the plants grew well. So, I don't think it needs more perlite. But, I think finer perlite distributed through the sand might help a little. That will go against my goal to have it hold moisture longer. So, I think more vermiculite (30% instead of 25%) would be good. That's how I'm thinking about it right now.

I will post a final update about taste, potency (photos of the trimmed harvest). The buds aren't terribly frosty. But, it's been warm. Until mid flower the tent was often 82-84F (28-29C). The last couple weeks it was more like 79-81 (26-27). I'm used to pushing the limit on heat (and taking a hit on frostiness). It always seems potent to me, even when it's less frost than this. I've grown warmer with less frost, and it seemed potent enough for me. I'm happy with how this one looks (compared to other grows in my heat). The next one I grow, the weather will be much cooler. It will be interesting to see if that makes a difference. I'll be using the same lights. Just different MiracleGro nutrients.

[1] Soil ph is a complex topic. It's not a fixed value. It rises a full point from wet to dry. There can be pockets of different ph. The soil was still fairly wet when I harvested. So, 5.6 doesn't seem bad to me (from my own experience with my light, airy soil I normally use). As it continued to dry, it would rise to 6.6.

If the soil had continued to dry, I would expect *no*dolo's ph to rise higher (out of range), while dolo's ph would pass through a good range. I think that difference in ph range might be why dolo got more N through the entire grow. If I fed less N (as a proportion), *no*dolo might have turned out better, and dolo would have suffered. But, the vibe I got the whole time was that dolo was thriving more than *no*dolo. I think dolomite is good to add, even if it's the reason I had to feed higher N. I.e., I don't think it would have turned out as well without dolomite (and feeding more normal levels of N). I think they would have both had higher soil ph (as *no*dolo did), and suffered from that. But, it could be worth trying. (Maybe I should have mixed different nutrients for each plant. But, I was only mixing 1/2 gallon to feed them both. Mixing a quart would be tedius getting ppms correct with tiny amounts of nutrients. Mixing larger quantities is easier to fine tune using larger amounts of nutrients.).

[2] Regarding MiracleGro Performance Organics "all purpose plant nutrition" (what a mouthful), you have to be careful. There is another "granules" product which has a different NPK value. The one I am referring to comes in a square box, and NPK is 11-3-8.

This is good stuff
 
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