Kellogg Patio-Plus soil; GrowMore Sea Grow fert; household LED lightbulbs; scrog

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[MOD EDIT from thread owner: The original subject of this thread was "Kellogg Cactus & Patio Plus potting mixes; MiracleGro Perf. Org. Edibles fert; CMH-150 light". This grow was intended to test the fertilizer & light (and re-test the cactus mix after a challenging grow in straight cactus mix a year earlier <<link, which I attributed to the cactus mix -- but learned early into this grow it probably had more to do with the MG fertilizer & my high temps.).

Changes to the original subject line:
- By DAY 5 (post #6 <<link) I determined the CMH-150 would be too warm for this short 4' tall tent and/or at this time of year (in my desert climate, still warm). This turned into a household LED lightbulb grow which I've done for 6 years. I.e., not a test of something new.

- By DAY 23 (post #16 <<link) I had experienced enough of last year's challenges to conclude that the problem wasn't the cactus mix. The problem appeared the MiracleGro fertilizer, perhaps not having enough urease inhibitor (perhaps exacerbated my my high'ish temperatures). I decided to try GrowMore SeaGrow, which I normally use.

- By Day 26 (post #20 <<link, last post of this page) I aborted the MiracleGro fertilizer. I summarized what I'd recommend if anyone wished to try to use it. I think it would have worked if my temperatures were cooler.

SUMMARY: by the end of page 1, this grow became much less of what the original subject-line stated. It's hardly a cactus-mix grow either. I'm using only 15-20% cactus mix. Page 2 starts as Patio-Plus soil; Sea Grow fertilizer; household LED lightbulb & scrog :END MOD EDIT]

A year ago I experimented with Kellogg Cactus potting mix, MiracleGro All-Purpose & household LED lightbulbs.<<link That went pretty well. It started out rough because the Cactus potting mix was very N deficient. It also seemed heavy/dense which I didn't like. But, being sand (frangible), it dried in 36 hours (which is faster than I like). I think that potting mix would benefit from vermiculite for water retention, and maybe some compost or rich potting mix added to it for better "soil" activity.

Since then, I've been thinking about how I'd like to replace the Pro-Mix HP in my favorite soil mix with that cactus mix.[1] The cactus mix seemed to act like a soilless medium. So, that's caused me to think about how it might work mixed with Kellogg Patio Plus (which I use in my favorite soil mix).

So, I'm doing that in this grow: 2 parts Cactus mix, 1 part Patio Plus, 1 part perlite.[2] Plus some dolomite lime.

Both the Cactus mix & Patio Plus are labeled 0.30-0.10-0.10. That sounds too strong together. But, the cactus mix appeared to have no nutrients when I used it for that last experiment.

Note: Kellogg Palm, Cactus & Citrus potting mix isn't available everywhere. MiracleGro's cactus mix looks ok (0.10-0.09-0.07). It has the "Moisture Control," which I'd rather not have. But, my experiment using Kellogg Cactus would have benefited from that (it dried too fast). I haven't looked at this product. I'll buy a bag just so I can visually compare it (and say whether it needs perlite, for example).​

I was planning to use my favorite nutrient schedule (custom made, using GrowMore Sea Grow as the base, plus various other budget supplements to vary the NPK ratio through the grow, feed the microbes, etc.[3]). That's always worked well for me. I've used it for 6 years, and know how to tweak it.

But, I recently saw MiracleGro Performance Organic Edibles <<link (9-4-12). Wow! I like the sound of that NPK ratio: 2.25-1-3. More people are growing with higher N through the entire grow. And, I know cannabis likes higher K. More people are shunning higher P in flower. So, that NPK ratio sounds like a good fit for this new movement.

I prefer making an example of a single fertilizer product a new grower can easily acquire at the hardware store. (My Sea Grow schedule isn't high-end. But, Sea Grow isn't as readily available at local stores. Plus, my schedule is complicated mixing 4-8 different things together. I'd rather demonstrate a single product that a new grower could easily do.).

I've been wanting to try the "Summit 150" CMH <<link which uses a Sun Pulse 150 CMH bulb.<<link (SPD diagrams are in PDFs at that link).

I love my LEC315 which covers 3x3' square at 35w/sq ft. I'm thinking that Summit150 should cover a 2x2' square at 37.5w/sq ft. That would be perfect for the space I experimented in last time. The only possible downside is that the space is only 4' tall. I'm concerned how much distance the Summit150 will require between bulb & canopy. I may have to scrog (or do a sea of green without much time in veg.).

I bought the 3.2k, 4k, 6.4k & 10k bulbs. I'd like to try the first 3 bulbs in veg, but I'm nervous screwing around like that might cause too much stretch (when I'm limited for height.). I guess I could buy a 5' tent in a hurry, if I need to.

If anyone has a suggestion for which spectrum bulb would be best to veg under (for compact height), please post. I'm thinking 3.2k. I noticed that once with my LEC315 in a 7' tall tent. It's 3.1k seemed to produce tighter nodes than its 4.2k. (I'm wondering what 6.4k would do. All this sounds backwards. I'd think the cooler light would produce less stretch. But, I've seen the opposite with the LEC315's 3.1k, and Blackstar UFO which was more red.

[1] Pro-Mix HP is great. But, I don't think it's that great. I don't like having to go to specialty shops for it. I'm planning to make my own using ordinary peat moss from the hardware store, 35% perlite, and add some dolomite & myco.
[2] My favorite soil to grow in is 2 parts Pro-Mix HP, 1 part Kellogg Patio Plus, 1 part perlite. I actually do heaping scoops of Pro-Mix because a perfect 2-1-1 is a little too heavy, slow-drying due to the Patio Plus. 3-1-1 is a little too soilless and fast drying for my taste. Somewhere in the middle. My soil is documented completely here.<<link
[3] My favorite feeding schedule using GrowMore SeaGrow is here.<<link
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Aug 20 (Day minus 9)
Mixed the soil.

50% Kellogg Palm, Cactus & Citrus - all purpose indoor & outdoor mix (0.30-0.10-0.10)​
25% Kellogg Patio Plus - premium outdoor potting mix (0.30-0.10-0.10)​
25% Perlite​

Added 2 Tablespoons dolomite lime (per gallon of soil mix). That's 41.16g of Fertilome Hi-Yield Agricultural lime plus 5.44g calcitic lime.[1] I usually only use 1 to 1.5 Tbsp/gal. But, this mix seemed a little acidic (using my Control Wizard soil pH probe). I went a little higher with the lime. I actually considered adding 1/2tsp hydrated lime (per gallon) to make a fast adjustment. But, I thought I'd try more dolomite which will stabilize the soil longer.
I mixed together thoroughly, then pre-wet the soil to activate the lime. This pre-wetting can wash the lime out. So, and mixed the soil again as it dried. (I did this in a mortar mixing tub. If I did this in the actual soil containers, I would pour the runoff through the top to get the lime back in.).

FWIW: These are photos of the products in case anyone can't find these, but would like to try to recreate them.

Kellogg Cactus potting mix:
kellog cactus mix1.JPG

kellog cactus mix2.JPG

Kellogg Patio Plus




Final Mix
[I don't have that photo yet. I will either edit this post, or post the photos later]

[1] Dolomite has a ratio of elemental Ca to Mg of 1.62:1. I've read that cannabis prefers a range between 2:1 to 4:1. I add calcitic lime (which has a 10:1 ratio) to create a 3:1 ratio. Calcitic lime is a little hard to find. You can use gypsum which will add Ca at approximately the same rate per gram. Gypsum is in the 20-26% (by weight) range (it's never pure, so it never has 29% which pure would have). It has no magnesium. So, about the same proportion of weight (dolomite to gypsum or calcitic) will produce the same 3:1 Ca:Mg ratio. Just a small amount will bump the Ca higher. (But, dolomite by itself works fine. Most people use it by itself. You don't need to tweak it.).


Aug 23 (Day minus 6)
Germination (first 4 seeds)

I planted 4 Northern Lights hermie seeds[1] directly into soil. Actually, I scoop out about 1Tbsp of the soil, and fill that depression with a "seed bed" which I make using the guts from Jiffy pellets mixed with perlite which I crush in a plastic baggie to a sand/powder consistency. I mix that Jiffy material about 2 to 1 (or 1 to 1) with the crushed perlite.

The reason I do this is because I think the soil is a bit too chunky for seedlings. The Jiffy pellet material is nice & fine, but too heavy, stays wet too long. The perlite makes it just right. (I would never use the pellets by themselves. The netting impedes the young roots. And, the fine peat material stays too wet too long for my tastes.).

Aug 25 (Day minus 4)
Germination (next 4 seeds)

I got a bad feeling that they seeds might not be viable.[2] They've been in the fridge 6 years. I decided to soak 4 seeds in 1% hydrogen peroxide solution. (That's 1 part hydrogen peroxide 3% to water, which makes 1%).

I like to use peroxide because the extra oxygen module will precipitate, clinging to the sides of the seeds, and keep them floating to to the surface (less chance of drowning, I think). Plus, it has mild sterilization which would help if the seeds carry any bad stuff.

[1] These seeds came from a Northern Lights which I mistakenly thought was an autoflower. When it didn't switch to flower, I put it under 12/12, then back under 18/6. I did that 3-5 times before I realized it probably wasn't an autoflower. It produced a lot of seeds as a result.

The harvested plant was very potent, and very stinky/skunky. I think these seeds will be females since they weren't the product of pollen. I.e., I think they lack the Y chromosone, and will be like "feminized seeds" we pay a premium for. If they turn out like the plant that produced them, they'll be very good smoke, potent.

[2] I keep my seeds in the refrigerator. They are kept in small dram glass jars, filled halfway with uncooked rice grains which act as a 1) descant to control moisture, and 2) thermal mass to stabilize the temperature inside the dram jar. I keep these dram jars in a sealed plastic food container which adds an additional buffer to changes in temperature in the fridge. I think this is about as stable environment as it can be.


Aug 27 (Day minus 2)
All four soaked seeds popped. Two soil-planted seeds sprouted.

Three of the soaked seeds popped after 36 hours of soaking. The 4th popped after 48 hours. I planted them into soil (like I did the seeds 4 days earlier).

Two of the soil-planted seeds sprouted 4.5 days after planting.

LIGHTS: 1 9w 4000k​
1 9w 6500k​
Note: The 6500k bulb is hard to find. I bought mine on Amazon (ASIN: B07BH37N89).​
Note: I cut the plastic diffusion globe off these bulbs for more directional light. That's discussed in the prior experiment with Kellogg Cactus (linked in the first post of this thread).​
Note: The lights are about 6-8" above the seedlings. Maybe I should take a LUX reading for comparison.​

Aug 28 (Day minus 1)
Two remaining soil-planted seeds sprouted.

The two other seeds planted directly in soil sprouted 5 days after planting.

LIGHTS: 2 9w 4000k
1 9w 6500k
1 9w 2700K
330ppfd (more area covered, not really stronger yet.)

I took these photos on Day minus 1, when all four soil-planted seeds have sprouted. Those four are in the center containers. (The soaked seeds are planted in the four containers around the outside):

day 0 - 1-8.JPG

These are the seeds that sprouted first (the day before):
day 0 - 1 and 2.JPG

The following two photos are the two soil-planted seeds which sprouted today. They had helmet heads.
day 0 - 3.JPG

day 0 - 4.JPG

Aug 29 (DAY 1)
Three of the soaked seeds sprouted.

Two of the soaked seeds sprouted 54 hours since they popped in water.
One more sprouted 60 hours since it popped in water.

One more remains unsprouted (it was the last one to pop in water).

I'm calling this Day 1. For some of the plants, yesterday or the day before would be Day 1. For the remaining unsprouted plant (if it sprouts tomorrow) tomorrow will be Day 1. For ease of discussion, I'm calling today Day 1.

I took these photos on Day 1. This shows the soaked seeds which sprouted earlier in the morning (the one on the far left).

day 1 - 1-4 and 6.JPG

This is one of the soil-planted seeds which sprouted two days earlier.
day 1 - 2.JPG

The container on the far right has the last soaked seed which was the last to pop, but hasn't sprouted yet.
day 1 - all.JPG

Watering: Before sprout, I've been spraying the soil surface twice a day to keep the soil wet. This soil seems to dry quickly. I've sprayed evenly across the surface. Maybe more around the edges after the center is moist, and I imagine that it's most for an inch down. I don't spray enough around the edges for runoff. I just want to keep it hydrated. Maybe a couple times I sprayed enough around the edges for a small bit of runoff (so I can see the soil in the drain holes turns dark).​
I've been using 80% RO water with 20% tap (which is about 400-600ppm by itself. I haven't measured it recently. It fluctuates.).​
After the seeds sprouted, I've been spraying once a day, enough for runoff. I spray around the sides mostly. Not a lot at the stem. Just enough to get it wet. I had a couple helmet heads, and sprayed them lightly. They fell off on their own.​

This post brings this journal current with the grow. I'll post updates as they occur.


Aug 30 (DAY 2)
Increase lighting

LIGHTS: 1 9w 6500k (cool white)​
2 11w 5000K GE Basic PAR38 (Lowes)​
2 11W 2700K "" (warm or soft white)​

420 ppfd center​
320 ppfd around edges​

These lights are mounted in an overhead fixture shown in the next day's photo. (I'm not using the tent leg mounts).​

CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS LIGHTS INFO: Previous days said light was 4000K. That was a typo. They were 5000K (called daylight, or white light).​

CORRECTION TO 1st POST<<link: I said MiracleGro Cactus potting mix could be used as a substitute if Kellogg Cactus mix isn't available. I DO NOT recommend that. I bought a bag of MG Cactus mix. The "moisture control" seems problematic. It doesn't seem to give back any moisture; it only absorbs moisture and gives the feeling the soil is heavy/wet when it's not.

If Kellogg Cactus isn't available, I would consider Black Gold or Espoma cactus mixes. Those should be easy to find in the US. Eventually I'll get some and post an update about how their consistency compares.

Dr. Earth's cactus & succulant potting mix looks very interesting, with nice ingredients (including beneficial bacterials/fungi).

Also, I'm already getting the impression my 2-1-1 soil mix is drying too fast. I am starting to believe the 1 scoop of perlite would be better if replaced with 1/2 scoop perlite & 1/2 scoop vermiculite. (One nice thing about vermiculite is that it is reported to provide silica. Apogee's Dr. Bugbee says this in his YouTube video Maximizing Cannabis Yields. <<link).

UPDATE TO 2nd POST<<link: I didn't have a photo of the final mix. I'm providing that here:

Final Mix (2-1-1 Kellogg Cactus, Patio Plus & Perlite):
2-1-1 kellogg cactus - patio plus - perlite1.JPG

2-1-1 kellogg cactus - patio plus - perlite2.JPG

Aug 31 (DAY 3)
Funeral for #8

The fourth soaked seed hasn't sprouted. I have pronounced it dead. I only intended to sprout 4 seeds. So, 7's probably more than I need anyway. I think I may have damaged this one. I knocked the container out of the saucer with some force. That was a day or two after I planted it in soil. Maybe that broke the root, or something.

This is the fixture the lightbulbs are in:

day 3 - tubular fixture.JPG

That holds 4 GE "Basic" PAR38 11w bulbs. Two are 5000k. Two are 2700K. The 9w 6500k is in the center. These all have the front diffusion globes/lenses removed. The LED chips are exposed, pointing down. (None of the leg-mounted lights are turned on). How to make that fixture is described here <<link.

Closeup of the plants:

day 3 - all.JPG

The three soaked seeds are around the outside. It's interesting how they haven't stretched like the four soil-planted seeds which sprouted first.

I think this shows that I used too little light (or not enough warm light) in the beginning. I'm always afraid of using too much light on tender seedlings. Then they stretch. This time, with staggered sprouting, the first ones got 300ppfd. The later ones got 350-400. That doesn't seem like much difference. It could be the larger proportion of warm light. (I always hear blue prevents stretch. But, I think red light has something to do with it too. I've seen it with a Blackstar UFO which is red & blue, and always produced very compact plants.)

day 3 - close.JPG

I feel like I'm seeing N deficiency again, like when I grew in the cactus potting mix by itself. The green seems blotchy with yellow coming through (again).

I'll give them 1/8th strength fertilizer on Day 7 (maybe Day 6 for those four in the middle which sprouted earlier).

Planning the CMH 150
I was planning to run the fixture in the center of the tent, and use LED lightbulbs on both sides of the tent. I.e., the CMH 150 should be good for a 2x2' space at 37.5w/sq ft (about the same coverage as a CMH 315 over a 3x3 space at 35w/sq ft). The tent is 2x4'. So, I would need enough lightbulbs @ 25-30w sq ft to cover that additional 4 sq ft. That would be 100-120w total. With the CMH in the center (covering 2x2), that would leave 1x2 (2 sq ft) on each side that wouldn't receive as much light as necessary. Each side would need five or six 9-11w bulbs.

I was thinking of scrogging the entire tent that way. I've got the 7 plants for that.

But, I've been thinking it might be better to put a reflective barrier across the center of the tent (grow in only half the tent: 2x2'). That would demonstrate the Summit CMH 150, to see how it compares to the 315 (apples to apples). I'm very interested in seeing that because I like CMH a lot.

I'm leaning that direction. I'd like to get more yield from twice the space. But, I'll never know how the CMH 150 works by itself. If it works well, then that would justify using two of them in a 2x4 space. That's really more important for me to learn.

I'm going to switch to the CMH this weekend (Day 7 or so).
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Sep 2 (DAY 5)

[Mod edit from thread owner:
I determined the CMH-150 would be too warm for this short 4' tall tent and/or at this time of year (in my desert climate, still warm). This turned into a household LED lightbulb grow which I've done for 6 years. I.e., not a test of something new. ]

I ran the Summit CMH-150 (4000k) for 24 hours. 12" from leaves produced 380 ppfd center, 320 ppfd around the edges. (That was with the tent door open. If closed, the reflective inside-material might increase that. Especially the edges.).

My climate is still too hot for this light. It will be more feasible November through February, when I usually keep the house colder (the heat from the lamp will be beneficial.). I might be able to use it in flower for this grow. I doubt it. I might have to do a 2nd experimental grow after this one.

The ballast on top of the fixture is extremely hot (like the original LEC 315 which has the ballast in the hood). I'm thinking about taking the ballast cover off to see which model it uses, and investigate whether it could be remotely mounted. (I don't know if any ballast can be; why some can't, etc.). I know my LEC 315 with remote ballast makes a significant difference (keeping that heat source out of the tent.). It's like a little stove.

The reason I ran the CMH fixture was because the seedlings continue to show N deficiency. I was wondering if it was the light quality from the household LED bulbs. But, 24 hours of CMH 4000k didn't make any difference. The leaves are praying the same either way. The chlorophyll remained the same (blotchy, pale, crepe papery).

Sep 3 (DAY 6)
First feeding

I fed 1/3 strength MiracleGro Performance Organics All Purpose (11-3-8). I used this because it has a higher ratio of N. (The NPK ratio: 3.67-1-2.67). Since the the plants are showing N def, I used this instead of the Perf. Org. "Edibles" (which is 9-4-12, ratio 2.25-1-3. That should be a great ratio in a normal grow. But, this one's messed up like the last grow.).

Starting water = 150ppm​
Added enough MG PerfOrg AP for 78ppm (228ppm total)​
Runoff: 605ppm (substantial runoff, mini-flush)​

I'm considering 220-240ppm full-strength. So, that was about 1/3 strength.

Sep 4 (DAY 7)
Preparing to transplant early (thinking excess dolomite is the problem).

These are photos of the plants today:

day 7 - top.JPG

One plant (indicated above) hasn't produced a 2nd set of fan leaves. I bumped my finger/hand into this one a few days ago (mashed it a little). I probably damaged the growth tip. (I don't need 7 plants anyway.).

day 7 - side.JPG

They seem to be praying nicely. But, they have a lime green color which doesn't look right. Crepe papery appearance. There is some darker green coming in, but it looks like a tan (it's just a "bronzed" patch of green between the veins):

day 7 - closeup.JPG

This is exactly like the last grow (when I grew in 100% Kellogg Cactus mix). I'm increasingly thinking it's the dolomite.

I had that thought when I made this 2-1-1 (cactus-patio plus-perlite) mix. It's always stood out to me (since the last grow) that "nodolo" (the plant without any dolomite) seemed to suffer from overfeeding/N toxicity more. It's always been in the back of my mind "what if I tailored the nutrients for that plant... Maybe it would have performed better than "dolo" (which had 1-1/2 Tbsp/gal dolomite, and I was pushing N to it.).

Back then the cactus mix pH seemed to fluctuate (when I tested it before planting). That's why I added dolomite.

This grow, I added 2 Tbsp/gal dolomite thinking the addition of real soil would benefit from more lime. But, I think I have the same problem as last time. I don't think it's the cactus mix (although, that could be part of it. It's mostly sand, which probably doesn't absorb the lime the way a more organic peat/wood/dirt type of medium does. That could require much less dolomite. Bumping the dolomite up probably put me back in the condition I was in last time.).

Something else I'm not liking about this mix: it's drying in 24-28 hours. The last time I grew (100% cactus mix) it was drying in 36 hours. I didn't like that either. I like this even less. I thought the Patio Plus would take longer. But, I think the equal part of perlite cancelled that out.

Today, I mixed a new batch of potting mix which I'll transplant into:

1 part Kellogg Cactus​
3 parts Kellogg Patio Plus​
1/2 part perlite​
1/2 part vermiculite (fine consistency, Sta-Green brand).​

For lime, I added 1/4 Tablespoon/gallon. (Fertilome Hi-Yield Agricultural Lime: 5.15g per gallon. Calcitic lime: 0.69g/gal).​

So, this will be a very different mix (compared to 2-1-1). I wouldn't think that transplanting into a different soil would be a good idea. But, I've been down this road before (N def through the entire grow). I don't want to do this again for 2 months. I'll take a shot at this.

The Cactus mix has a lot of sand & perlite. That should help the Patio Plus not be too dense/slow drying. The 1/2 part of perlite should help.

This is the first time I've used vermiculite. It's supposed to aid drainage. I'm nervous that it retains water. But, as fast as my 2-1-1 mix is drying (and as fast as Cactus dries by itself), I figure I'll try it (betting on every horse in the race at this point). Vermiculite's supposed to be good because it has a high CEC value. Dr. Bugbee says it provides silica. Vermiculite's also supposed to have a high pH. That's one reason I dropped the dolomite so much. (I was entertaining 1/2 Tablespoon/gal. Decided to go less.). I'm not using much vermiculite. It probably won't have that much effect on the pH. Maybe more dolomite would be better. But, at this point, I want to err in the opposite direction since I think too much dolo has been my problem.

I filled a 20-oz container with this mix. I put it in the grow tent alongside the plants to see how fast it dries. If it dries too slowly, I might bump the perlite up to 1 part. If it's still fast drying, I'll up the vermiculite to 1 part. Maybe make each 1 part.

This is the Sta-Green (fine) vermiculite:
sta-green fine vermiculite1.JPG
sta-green fine vermiculite2.JPG

I don't know if that's good to use, or if I should have used a coarser/chunkier vermiculite. I bought a bag of this a year ago, not realizing it was fine.

This is the texture of the final 3-1-0.5-0.5 mix:
1-3-.5-.5 Kellogg cactus - patio plus - perlite - sta-green vermiculite1.JPG
1-3-.5-.5 Kellogg cactus - patio plus - perlite - sta-green vermiculite2.JPG.JPG

I think it's going to be ok. That's about the amount of perlite I see in my normal 3-1-1 mix (Pro-Mix HP which has 35% perlite - Patio Plus - perlite). That dries in 2 to 2.5 days.

This mix has 3 parts Patio plus which has peat & forest/wood products. The cactus mix adds sand/pumice (and has 50% perlite, I think). So, it's hard to say how fast this will dry. The 3 parts Patio Plus makes me nervous that it will be slow. But, the Cactus mix has a lot of sand and perlite. Have to wait and see.

Second feeding
I'll have to water again in an hour or two. I plan to feed about 100ppm of Pennington Alaska Fish (5-1-1). That high-N should green them up. (I'll continue this day's entry in the next post).

I'm hoping to transplant in a couple days. That will be too soon. I usually let them stack some leaves in the small seedling cups (they're in now) before transplanting. I'm hoping to get them jumpstarted into a better soil sooner. Maybe some of the existing soil will fall off if I do it too soon (and when they're more dry). That might help repair what I think is the excess dolomite in these seedling cups.
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Sep 4 (DAY 7) continued...
Second feeding continued.

I fed 103ppm Pennington Alaska Fish (5-1-1). Starting water was 139ppm. Runoff: 483ppm.

Sep 5 (DAY 8)
Transplanted into new soil mix.

6am: Wet the new potting mix with 140ppm Pennington MorBloom (0-10-10). Starting water: 140ppm. I always use mild bloom nutrients for transplanting. In this case, maybe more N would have been better. But, the way I traumatized the roots when transplanting, the PK might help them recover better.​

7am: Transplanted the two tallest plants. Their soil was too wet. They fell apart in my hands. (I intended to bury these two to repair their stretch. But, the way they fell apart, I didn't want to play with it that much.).​
10am: Transplanted two more. (I was surprised the first two were still living three hours later.).​
1pm: Transplanted the last two.​

I culled the 7th plant which wasn't producing a new set of leaves. I think I accidentally fimmed that one (at the first node) when I bumped into it 3 days ago, and mashed it a little.​

I collected the original soil which fell off the roots (and the one I culled). The pH was about 3/4 point higher than I usually grow in. The new soil is about 1/4 point lower. (I think I could have used dolomite @ 1/2 Tbsp/gal, instead of 1/4 Tbsp. I'll see what the pH looks like before transplanting again. Maybe I'll mix the soil I transplant into with a bit more.).

These are the plants 4 to 10 hours after transplant (the ones in the middle were first. The rear two were last):
day 8 - transplant side.JPG

day 8 - transplant top.JPG

Those are 20oz cups. I'll transplant to 1gal before flower.

Nothing has changed. Still:​
2 11w 5000k​
2 11w 2700K​
1 9w 6500k​
The edge of the reflectors are 8" to the plant tops (9" from the LED surface within the reflectors). Center: 500ppfd. Outer plants: 460ppfd.​

Next feeding (probably 48 hours from transplant): I'm planning to feed 220-240ppm MG Perf. Org. All Purpose (11-3-8. Ratio: 3.67-1-2.67). I consider that full strength. That's high N (proportionally) too. It's tempting to think they're just hungry. But, the last time I did that, I substantially overfed. They were N deficient then. So, I'm trying to be careful, and give more N first.

Hopefully the new soil mix will make a difference. It's more soil'ish now.


Sep 6 (DAY 9)
Sprayed the top of soil to keep it moist overnight, so it dries more evenly while waiting to water/feed.

Sep 7 (DAY 10)
Plants are greener after transplant (bug damage?).

I think they've greened considerably since transplanting into the richer mix:

day 10 - all top.JPG

I see some water spots on the leaves from spraying the soil with a spray bottle (water droplets got on the leaves. Maybe nutrient burn sitting on the leaves).

day 10 - all side.JPG

This morning, one plant showed damage:
day 10 - bug damage.JPG

I have a small foster dog with me. I'm wondering if he took a bite of it (wondering what my interest in these plants is about). I've never had bug damage like this. Sometimes something will take a bite out of a young plant. Maybe a cricket. I don't usually notice it until the leaf grows and the bite looks larger. I've never had this much material gone overnight. I have to believe the dog took a mouthful.

I've looked all over the tent, under leaves, under/between the containers. I don't see any bugs. That plant (and that side of the plant) was facing the open tent door (I rotated the tray 180 degrees for the first photo). It must have been the dog.

Cactus Mix revisited:
My foray into vermiculite for the first time caused me to think about CEC (cation exchange capacity). I think that sheds light on why I had so much trouble the last grow (100% Cactus mix) <<link. That Cactus mix is mostly sand, pumice & perlite (some forest/wood product). Sand has CEC of 2. Perlite has 3. Pumice is 75. Vermiculite has 125'ish. Whereas shagnum peat has 150'ish.

So, I think that's what my problem was the first grow <<link: A very low CEC. I think my use of dolomite may have made that worse. The "nodolo" plant didn't need as much nutrient. I tailored the feedings to the "dolo" plant (because I thought dolomite is always better). Now I'm wondering what the nodolo plant would have done if I tailored the nutrients to it. (But, in the end, I don't think the soil was ideal due of its low CEC.).

I thought adding Patio Plus in this grow (more organic material) would help. But, at 2 parts cactus mix (which itself is 50% perlite) & 1 part perlite (to the one part Patio Plus I started with), I don't think that was enough change. Plus, I added almost twice as much dolomite as the first grow (which I think hurt the first grow).

Until now, I never thought about CEC much. I've heard the term, understood what it meant. But, I had (have) a soil which works perfectly for me (using GrowMore Sea Grow nutrients). I just assumed it was a matter of drainage and drying time. Apparently CEC is important too.

So, I would not recommend cactus mix (sand) as a base. Maybe something like 1 part Kellogg cactus mix (which has 50% perlite to begin with), 1 part vermiculite (for its CEC & water retention vs sand), and 1 part Kellogg Patio Plus (for its soil'ish character) might work well.

I think cactus mix has a place alongside perlite for drainage/aeration. They're both low-CEC. It's just a matter of size/consistency. Perlite creates a lot of large air bubbles in the soil. I think sand (cactus mix) would distribute smaller air bubbles throughout the soil. I guess the same could be accomplished by crushing perlite into a sandy/powder consistency. I often add 35-50% perlite. In the future, I might do 15-25% perlite & 15-25% cactus mix. I.e., split that drainage/aeration goal between large and small components.

Vermiculite's CEC would be beneficial. I'm still nervous about its water retention. (I know very well that cannabis doesn't like to stay wet.). Vermiculite is odd in the sense that it improves drainage like perlite, but holds moisture unlike perlite, and adds a lot of CEC (very unlike perlite). I think vermiculite would be good to use if the soil is fast-drying with perlite and sand/pumice.

1st feeding after transplant into richer soil.
I'm going to feed in 3-6 hours. About 230ppm MiracleGro Performance Organics All Purpose (11-3-8. Ratio: 3.67-1-2.67). I bet that will make a big difference in plant health. It already looks better than the night before transplant. This should kick it in the pants.

I will continue this day in the next post, with photos showing the after-feeding.
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Sep 7 (DAY 10) continued....

Performance Organics (11-3-8. Ratio: 3.67-1-2.67).​
Starting water = 126ppm​
Added 4.04g/gal for 243ppm increase. Total ppm: 369.​
Runoff was 1460ppm. But that was meaningless because the saucer had dried/crusted residue from last runoff (transplant).​

Sep 8 (DAY 11)
24 hours after feed.

They look healthier now. A better tone of green; stacking nodes:
day 11 - all top.JPG

day 11 - all side.JPG

Pest who ate my leaves:
I think it was a lizard. Last night, I found a 1" long (not counting tail) immature lizard on the wall, about 6' from the grow tent. That's the only creeping thing I've seen. I bet it was deprived of bugs (being indoors) and was hungry. I caught it in a jar and put it outside.

Next feeding:
The next feeding will be MiracleGro Perf. Org. Edibles (9-4-12. Ratio: 2.25-1-3). That was my original plan. I think Perf. Org's All Purposes's ratio (3.67-1-2.67) is too high N. I'll see how it goes with lower N for a feeding or two.


Sep 10 (DAY 13)
Feed & change lights to be more blue.

It took 2 days (plus 4 hours) for the soil to dry enough to water/feed. These are the plants before feeding:
day 13 - b4 feed top.JPG

day 13 - b4 feed side.JPG

I feel like the last feeding (243ppm of Performance Organics All Purpose 11-3-8) may have been a little two strong. I've noticed some leaf-edge curling up. The fan hasn't been blowing too hard on the leaves. The temperatures have been the same. The humidity has been slightly lower. So, I think it might be related to how strong the last feeding was. That might have pushed it over the edge a little (with the 82-86F temps, and the slightly lower humidity.).

I'm using 3 parts Patio Plus potting mix (of 5 total parts. I usually use 1 part of 4.5 total parts.). The Patio Plus may have a fair amount of nutrients in it. I was thinking "full strength" feeding would be 220-240ppm based upon past experience. But, it may be more like 160-180.

This time I'm feeding 30% less strength. And, I'm using MG Perf. Org. Edibles, which has a more balanced/reasonable NPK ratio (compared to the MG Perf. Org. All Purpose's very high N. See the last feeding.).
MiracleGro Performance Organics Edibles (9-4-12 Ratio: 2.25-1-3).​
Starting water = 138ppm​
Added 4.04g/gal for 194ppm increase. Total ppm: 332.​
Runoff was 1000ppm. This was into a clean saucer. No leftover crust (dried runoff) to skew it.​

Since Day 2 I've been running:
1 9w 6500k - in the center​
2 11w 5000K GE Basic PAR38 (Lowes) - on the arms​
2 11W 2700K "" - on the arms​

That seems to be working well.

I thought I would try more blue just to see if it makes any difference. I'm now using:
2 9w 6500k - on the arms​
2 11w 2700K GE Basic PAR38 (Lowes) - on the arms​
1 11w 5000K Phillips BR40 (Home Depot) - in the center​
530 ppfd center​
460 ppfd sides​


Sep 11 (DAY 14)
24 hours after feeding MiracleGro Perf. Org. Edibles (and changing lighting to more blue)

These are the plants after 24 hours:

day 14 - after edibles - top.JPG

day 14 - after edibles - side.JPG

They seem to like that MiracleGro Performance Organic Edibles (9-4-12. Ratio: 2.25-1-3) at 194ppm. They seem to have greened up more than the MG Perf. Org. All Purpose, which has high N. Maybe Edibles's high K was good for them.

I think they stretched a bit with the bluer light. I'm always confused about this. Everything I've read says more blue creates less stretch. But, I've seen bluer/whiter light cause larger plants than reder/warmer. I've seen it with an old Lighthouse Hydro "Blackstar" which came in either blurple (red & blue) and cool white with blue. The latter produced larger, taller, more-open plants. It was good for larger/taller grow spaces. But, the blurple was great for this 4' tall tent. It kept the plants more compact.

This was the lighting for the past 24 hours:
day 14 - after edibles - lights.JPG

Prior to that: I had one Triglow A19 9w 6500k in the center. Two GE Basic PAR38 11w 5000k on the arms (where the two A19 9w's are in that photo. The two GE Basic PAR38 11w 2700s were there as well, unchanged.). It was that way for 7-8 days. It seemed to be growing well. Not much vertical growth. That lighting was shown in Day 5 <<link (where I also linked to instructions to make that fixture.).

This morning (after 24 hours of that bluer lighting) I replaced the center (11w Philips BR40 5000k) with the 2700k version of that same bulb. The four lights on the arms remain the same.

2 9w 6500k - on the arms​
2 11w 2700K GE Basic PAR38 (Lowes) - on the arms​
1 8.8w 2700K Phillips BR40 (Home Depot) - in the center[1]​
520 ppfd center​
460 ppfd sides​

Compared to the first 10 days: this is warmer in some ways (there's no 5000k bulbs now). But, it's also bluer in some ways because I have two 6500k (instead of only 6500k which was in the center).

I'll see how this does for a day or two. I may go back to the original balance. (Soon I'll have to start using the tent-leg mounts. The plants will start growing broader. I'll need to cover more area.).

[1] The Philips BR40 may use more efficient LED diodes than the one (5000k) I bought a year ago. It was 11w. I'm not sure what the 2700k was back then. Today, both the 5000k & 2700k are 8.8w (same stated lumen output).

It's worth noting that I have removed the plastic diffusion globes/lenses from all these bulbs I'm using. It's a straight view to the LED diodes surface mounted. I talked about this more in the prior Kellogg Cactus mix & MiracleGro nutrient experiment,<<link which linked to some resources about how I use these lightbulbs. That's important to read because removing the diffusion globes may expose surfaces with line voltage. They should be powered through a GFCI outlet to protect against shock,


Correction to previous feeding (Sep 10 - Day 13):
I said "Added 4.04g/gal for 194ppm." I did add 194ppm to the starting water. However, it was not 4.04g/gal. I copied that from the previous feeding (which was Perf. Org. All Purpose at 243ppm.). The "Edibles" product is about 12% stronger than the All Purpose (which means: you use a little less for the same ppm). And, I mixed the Edibles 30% weaker last time (194ppm instead of 243 for the All Purpose). I didn't keep track of the g/gal of Edibles last time. But, it should have been about 2.8g/gal.​

Sep 12 (DAY 15)
Feeding @ 12-1PM

MiracleGro Performance Organics Edibles (9-4-12 Ratio: 2.25-1-3).​
Starting water = 144ppm​
Added 2.64g/gal for 180ppm increase. Total ppm: 324.​

Runoff was 880ppm. This was into a clean saucer. (No leftover/dried runoff to skew it).​

Note: I'm adding a pinch of ordinary kitchen sugar to every gallon. (A pinch is about 16th tsp.). I've done that with every feeding, but didn't mention it. I do this just to help the soil microbes. I may use molasses. Sugar is sucrose. Molasses contains a percentage of glucose in addition to sucrose & fructose. I believe glucose is metabolized sucrose, and therefore more available to the microbes.​
pH: I should mention that I am NOT pH'ing the nutrient solution. I never pH my preferred soil & nutrients (what I use when not experimenting like this). I don't think it's necessary in soil. I see my preferred soil swing a full pH point (or more) from wet to dry. I think if the soil starts out with a good ph, and has sufficient buffers in it, and you don't feed too strong (which acidifies the soil with salt buildup), I haven't found pHing the nutrient solution to be necessary. I didn't do it the last grow. It seemed to turn out ok. I.e., I went to 12/12 flower just 8 days after mainlining the two plants. I got 50g from the two small'ish plants. That was a low-CEC soil and I struggled with it. But, it still did ok without pH'ing.​
The above was a little weaker nutrients -- just to see what it looks like. The runoff tells me I'm not overfeeding, and should probably go stronger. I'll probably do 210ppm next time.

Sep 13 (DAY 16)
24 hours after feeding (48 hours of the warmer light)

I took these photos 24 hours after the last feeding:
day 16 - top.JPG

day 16 - side.JPG

Note: That burnt tip in front is from when I transplanted. That tip was right on the edge of the container. I I think I pinched it with my hand/fingers against the edge of the container. It's not nute burn. No other leaves have it.​

Compared to the experiment I did a year ago (growing in straight cactus mix), this is looking much (much) better. I see some patchiness between the veins, which looks like Mg def. But, those are the older leaves before I transplanted into a richer (higher-CEC) mix, and fed stronger.

The new mix of soil (1 part Kellogg cactus, 3 parts Kellogg Patio Plus, 1/2 part perlite, 1/2 part vermiculite) is drying in about 2 days + 5 hours. I like that interval. I wouldn't mind if it took 6 hours longer. I'm thinking maybe 4 parts Patio Plus might work better.

I'm thinking the cactus mix is useful only as an adjunct to perlite for drainage/aeration. Back when I first saw Kellogg Cactus mix at Lowes (5 years ago), I thought it would be ideal for cannabis. But, the low CEC probably isn't ideal. Also, it dries in 1.5 days -- which is a too fast, IMO. I have a rule I live by: "more perlite (the more the better)." I'm thinking a cactus mix could augment that. Perlite improves drainage/aeration. But, at a chunky level. I think the cactus mix does the same thing, but at a finer level. I think the two work well together for that goal. I also think vermiculite would be good too. I've always steered clear of that because it retains water. But, it improves drainage (unlike perlite, it's porous & water flows through it.). A small amount of vermiculite might be good insurance against the soil drying too much (the pockets of moisture would give up their content). Plus, it raises pH & adds to the CEC (compared to sand or perlite).

Next steps:
When I transplant into 1gal containers, I'm thinking of mixing 1 part Kellogg cactus, 4 parts Patio Plus (instead of 3), 1 part perlite & 1 part vermiculite (instead of 1/2 part each).

I'm still trying to decide whether to scrog, or mainline. I want to keep these in a 2x2' space. I think six mainlined plants may not do that (I'd probably cull two plants). Scrogging might help keep all six in the desired space. I've never scrogged before. I'm nervous about the plants being locked in (unable to remove them for maintenance). I mainlined last time. If I did it again this time, that would be a more apples/apples comparison (especially if I went to 12/12 flower just 8 days after mainlining, like last time.). But, I'd like to get a better harvest (make the most of these six plants). So, that implies scrogging.

I'm going to feed stronger MiracleGro Performance Organics Edibles tomorrow. I may use the higher-N Perf. Org. All Purpose after that. I can't tell if they'd benefit from stronger feeding (Edibles's more balanced NPK ratio), or more N.
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Sep 14 (DAY 17)
Feeding @ 12-1PM

Fed a little stronger than last time:
MiracleGro Performance Organics Edibles (9-4-12 Ratio: 2.25-1-3).​
Starting water = 168ppm​
Added 3.29g/gal for 216ppm increase. Total ppm: 384.​
Pinch of sugar.​
Runoff was 880ppm (again). This was into a clean saucer. (No leftover/dried runoff to skew it).​

Sep 15 (DAY 18)
24 hours after feeding (and light change)

These are the plants 24 hours after feeding:

day 18 - top.JPG

day 18 - side.JPG

I'm still seeing what looks like Mg def (yellowish patches between the veins.). I was wanting to feed the higher-N MiracleGro Performance Organics All Purpose tomorrow. But, instead, I'm going to feed "Edibles" one more time. But, this time I'll create the 100-200ppm starting water using epsom salt (and a little gypsum for balance).

Till now, I've been creating the starting water using tap water (600ppm) mixed with RO to get around 150ppm. My tap water is mostly sodium & sulfates. My preferred nutrients (Sea Grow) have Mg in them (and they work great). These MiracleGro Performance Organics products don't have Mg. So, I'm thinking maybe the plants will benefit from some added magnesium (especially since my tap water doesn't have much).

So, I'm planning on feeding Perf. Org. Edibles again tomorrow using the 150'ish water made with epsom salt (and a tiny amount of gypsum). I don't want to change too much at one time. I'll try the higher-N Perf. Org. All Purpose next time (to see how higher N looks).

It's getting hard to cover all 6 plants while getting a good mixture of cool & warm white. (I.e., one plant gets more cool, and seemed to grow taller than the others.). Today, I removed one 11w 2700k GE Basic PAR38 (from one arm of the overhead fixture). I added two 8.5w 2700k GE Basic A19 lightbulbs (one to each tent-leg mount).

The current lighting is:
2 9w 6500k - on the arms​
1 11w 2700k GE Basic PAR38 (Lowes) - on the arms​
1 8.8w 2700k Phillips BR40 (Home Depot) - in the center​
2 8.5w 2700k GE basic A19 (Lowes) - on the tent legs​
560 ppfd center​
450 ppfd sides​

This photo shows the lights:
day 18 - lights.JPG

When the plants get a little larger (or after I transplant into 1gal containers), I'll add a 5000k to that unused arm on the right. (Or better yet, I'll move the 11w 2700k on the left arm to the right, and put the 5000k on the left arm. That would create a better mixture of warm/cool.

Note: That rag is something I occasionally wet & leave in the tent to increase humidity (which has been around 28-34%).

Planning for the future: I think I'm going to scrog these. I'm making a tent leg-mounted screen using PVC elbows (corners, you can see one resting at the bottom of the tent leg in the above photo) & PVC pipe for the sides. I've never scrogged before. I'm unclear when to install the screen or begin training the plants sideways. But, I know it won't be till after I transplant, which will be in about a week.


Sep 16 (DAY 19)
Feeding @ 7AM-1PM (staggered over 6 hours). Used epsom & gypsum to create starting water.

Still using Miracle Grow Performance Organics Edibles even though I think the plants would like more N. I've been seeing signs of magnesium deficiency, and wanted to hit them with magnesium before using more N. I did feed higher N once (first feeding after transplant). They seemed to do very well with that. But, I wanted to see what higher Mg looks like first.

I created the starting water's PPMs using epsom & gypsum. Until this feeding, I was mixing tap (which is about 600ppm) with RO water to get something between 100-200ppm. My tap water is mostly sodium & sulfates. Diluting it down to 150'ish ppm contains about 5ppm Mg (and 10ppm Ca).

Fed: MiracleGro Performance Organics Edibles (9-4-12 Ratio: 2.25-1-3).​
Starting water = 167ppm​
I created those ppms with:​
RO water: 11ppm​
0.485g/gal gypsum: 46ppm​
1.013g/gal epsom: 110ppm​

Note: It can take 12 hours for the gypsum to dissolve. You should add that to the water & stir occasionally for a few hours. The epsom can take a little time too (10-15 minutes before you see the PPMs stop rising). If you add the epsom too soon, you'll see the gypsum continue to add PPMs and you'll think it's the epsom. It's not very important if that happens.​

Added 3.40g/gal Perf. Org. Edibles for 226ppm increase. Total ppm: 393ppm.​
Pinch of sugar (note: I don't measure the ppms after adding the sugar. It may raise ppms a tiny amount. I don't count it. It's just to treat the soil microbes.).​

Runoff was 930ppm (again). This was into a saucer with leftover dried runoff residue from last time. Previous runoff ppm was 830ppm. The residue probably made this runoff higher. (I'm going to have to get used to this because I plan to scrog. The plants will be captive in a runoff tray.).​

I gave this feeding 6 hours apart. The soil is so sandy and well drained that it doesn't take much to get runoff. I think the plants like it better provided over a longer period. I often do that with my preferred soil to grow in (2.5 parts Pro-Mix HP, 1 part Kellogg Patio Plus, 1 part perlite). That soil doesn't drain as fast as this. Takes a little longer to dry (1/2 to 1 day longer). But, I often pour, then wait an hour, and pour the remainder. I'm waiting longer with this soil because it pours through faster, dries faster. 4-8 hours seems like a good interval to pour the remainder. Then wait for it to dry (about 2 days)

Soil pH
I've been testing the soil pH after the above feeding (first time I've tested since planting. The probe is 3/8" diameter. That's large/disruptive to these small 20oz containers). The pH looks good, maybe 1/3 point low. I'm reluctant to quote actual numbers. I use this probe ($70 Control Wizard) to see the range from wet to dry. I don't think it's comparable to other meters/methods. I'm accustomed to what I see with my preferred soil and nutes. What I'm seeing with this soil looks close, maybe a little low.

I'm thinking 1/2 Tbsp/gal dolomite would have been better (I used 1/4 Tbsp after getting the impression that I used too much dolomite in the soil I put the seedlings in.). This is a moving target because I started out with 2 parts cactus, 1 part patio plus, 1 part perlite. I added 2 Tbsp/gal dolomite. That seemed too much, probably due to the amount of sand (cactus) and perlite (cactus, patio plus, and the 1 part I added). I transplanted into 1 part cactus, 3 parts patio plus, 1/2 part perlite, 1/2 part vermiculite. I used 1/4 Tbsp dolomite in that. The lower amount of sand & perlite (i.e., the higher proportion of peat from the patio plus) would probably benefit from more dolomite.

Sep 18 (DAY 21)
48 hours after feeding

I took these photos this morning (48 hours after the magnesium supplement), just before feeding again:

day 21 - top.JPG

day 21 - side.JPG

I think that dose of magnesium helped. (The yellowish leaves on the far side are from the warm 2700k lights.).

They're getting a little crowded in this saucer. I'm going to have to put them in a larger tray, and probably add another light for coverage. They seem a little stretchy again. Maybe because they're crowded and shading each other more than necessary.

I'm going to top all of them between the 4th & 5th notes. I think I need to do that now to the 3 tallest. I was thinking I'd wait till I transplant into half-gallon containers (in 2-5 days). But, I think those 3 tallest will need topping now.

Feeding @ 8AM-2PM
I'm switching to the higher nitrogen "All Purpose" to see how that looks. I fed that once (the first feeding after first transplant). I thought they looked very good after that. I was thinking the "Edibles" NPK ratio (2.25-1-3) looked more reasonable. But, I've had the feeling the past 4 feedings (using Edibles) that they looked a bit starved for N. The last feeding tested magnesium, which I think was an improvement. Now I'll see how higher nitrogen works (I'm also still creating the starting water's ppms with epsom & gypsum).

Fed: MiracleGro Performance Organics All Purupose (11-3-8. NPK Ratio: 3.67-1-2.67).​
Starting water = 187ppm​
I created those ppms​
RO water: 13ppm​
0.516g/gal gypsum: 60ppm​
1.222g/gal epsom: 114ppm​

Added 3.967g/gal for 223ppm increase. Total ppm: 410.​
Instead of sugar, I added bout 1/4 tsp/gal molasses to treat the soil microbes.​
I won't get runoff until I pour the rest in 3 hours or so. I'll continue this feeding info with the next post.

Soil Mix
I'm playing with a little different mix which might not dry as quickly, testing the ph before transplanting into it. I'm increasingly thinking growing in cactus mix isn't ideal. This new mix moves further from it. I think the sand of a cactus mix would be ideal at some small level for better drainage/aeration at a finer level than perlite. I'm thinking just 1/8th to 1/10th of the total. That last mix (I transplanted into) was 1/5th. (The first one I planted the seeds into was 1/2 the total.).

It's hard to say because the Kellogg cactus mix I'm using has about 50% perlite. I think I overshot the perlite because the Kellogg Patio Plus contains more perlite than the last bag I had. The last one, the perlite was relatively insignificant. Maybe 5%. This one definitely has more (maybe 20%). You can see that in the photo in post #2 <<link. I'll take a photo of the new Patio Plus. The difference in perlite content is substantial. I didn't mentally accept that until the last couple days.


Sep 18 (DAY 21) CONTINUED....
Feeding continued:

The last time I posted, I was in the middle of a staggered feeding (two pours over 6-hours). To complete the feeding info:

Runoff was 980ppm. This was into a saucer with leftover dried runoff residue from last time.​

TOPPING (prep for scrog):
I topped the plants (the three tallest at noon, the other three at 6pm).

I put the plants in a larger saucer[1] so I can spread them out. Plus, when I put the plants under the screen, I won't be able to deal with individual saucers. It should be easy to suction runoff from this one tray.

Three days ago (DAY 18) I removed one of the 11w PAR38s (5000k) from the top fixture's right arm. I enabled a couple 8.5w tent leg-mounted lights from the left corners. This was for better coverage. Now that the plants need more space between them (and I have the larger tray to do it), I returned the 11w PAR38 on the top fixture for better coverage now that the plants are spread out a little more. (I put it on the left arm, and put the 2700k from the left arm on the right arm. This is because the tent legs have 2700k. Putting the cool between them balances the light a little better.).

2 9w 6500k - on the arms (front & rear)​
1 11w 2700K GE Basic PAR38 (Lowes) - on right arm​
1 8.8w 2700K Phillips BR40 (Home Depot) - in the center​
1 8.8w 5000K Phillips BR40 (Home Depot) - one left arm​
2 8.5w 2700 GE basic A19 (Lowes) - on the tent legs​
460 ppfd center​
420 ppfd sides​

Sep 20 (DAY 23)
Feeding @ 8AM-4PM

The new growth which I cut off two days ago (when topped) ago looked very nice, even perhaps too green. Now that I have little new growth to see, I'm nervous about feeding this high-N product. I'm afraid I might cause some N toxicity.

I've been debating whether to feed the "Edibles" product this time. But, my experience (especially the last experiment a year ago) has consistently been not enough N. So, I'm going to continue with a relatively sane strength of the high-N product again this time. I don't think there's much risk of overshooting it.

Fed: MiracleGro Performance Organics All Purpose (11-3-8. NPK Ratio: 3.67-1-2.67).​
Starting water = 168ppm​
I created those ppms with:​
RO water: 11ppm​
0.454g/gal gypsum: 50ppm​
1.087g/gal epsom: 107ppm​
Added 3.836g/gal MiracleGro Perf. Org. All Purpose for 225ppm increase. Total ppm: 393.​
Added about 1/4 tsp/gal molasses to treat the soil microbes.​

I'm pouring in two stages again. I won't get runoff until I pour the remainder in 6-8 hours. I'll continue this feeding info with the next post.

Soil PH:

A couple days ago (Day 19) I finally tested the soil pH using a fairly expensive soil probe. I said then that it seemed 1/3 point low. However, I've continued testing it, and it's seeming 1/4 point high now. That could be the gypsum I've been pouring in the past 2 feedings (plus this one this morning. I probed after pouring). Using this probe, I see different values from wetter to dryer soil. So, this isn't an exact reading. I'm accustomed to a range with my preferred soil & nutrients. It can vary. I just know what looks bad, particularly when salt buildup is occurring. I don't usually see too high. So, I'm thinking what I'm seeing now could be the dissolved gypsum I'm pouring in. I'll measure again before I pour the remainder later today. (And then measure after pouring.).

I took these photos an hour after pouring:
day 23 - after topping - top.JPG

day 23 - after topping - side.JPG

The older leaves look a little droopy. I think that might be from the stress of topping (plus, I've been probing the soil pH. The probe is 3/8" diameter. That's pretty disruptive to these small'ish 20oz containers. I'm probably stressing the roots.). The new growth looks perky.

One photo notes the plant in the rear, which has sharper discoloration of the leaves (compared to the softer yellow patches of the other plants, which looks like Mg-def or N-def). The other one looks like mosaic virus, and is on the newer growth. When I first saw it a week or two ago, I thought it was from spilling water/nutrients on the leaves. But, now I think it's genetic. That plant's more sensitive to something, or just has this weird leaf discoloration. (I'm thinking it and another one in the front-left could be males. They have a lanky appearance that stands out to me as usually being male. But, they're herm seeds from the same plant. Maybe some strange genetics came out in these two.).

With the newer growth gone, the plants look worse due to the older leaves standing out more. The new (topped) growth looked really (really!) good. I wish I'd taken a photo before discarding. These older/larger leaves are from when they were in the smaller seedling cups -- which I think had too much dolomite, and were yellowing like the experiment a year ago (when I grew in pure Kellogg cactus mix, and the dolomite plant needed more N than the non-dolomite plant). I transplanted this grow into significantly more soli'ish mix, and significantly less dolomite. They seemed to do good after that.

So, I don't think the overall appearance in those photos depict where the plant's are right now. I think the new growth will look really good. But, the current appearance (and the higher pH) has me worrying perhaps I should lay off the gypsum. If too much dolomite was a problem (perhaps due to pH being too high), maybe I'm creating the same condition right now with gypsum.

I only added the gypsum to the water for some balance (I felt I only needed the epsom for Mg). Usually you'd add equal parts (by weight) to get a good 2:1 Ca:Mg ratio in the water. I've been adding 2 parts (or even more) epsom to 1 part gypsum. So, I haven't been adding much gypsum in that sense. I only added some because it seemed like it was a good idea for balance.

Perhaps gypsum has been plain unnecessary. I'll be watching the new growth, and am anticipating using epsom (Mg) only next time (or not at all). I'll be watching the soil pH too.

Transplanting & scrogging (preparation)
I need to transplant soon. I'll probably feed one more time before transplanting. I'd like to let them recover more from the topping before shocking them with transplant. (On the other hand: a couple plants are a bit stretchy. I want to get them under the screen soon. Maybe I'll top them again, one node lower. I don't know. I'm actually hoping they're males. Or, maybe I should just cull those two since 4 plants scrogged in a 2x2' space should be enough anyway. But, then I think maybe their genetics might be different, worth harvesting if females.).

I'm still pH testing a richer mix, and deciding whether I'll transplant into that (or more of what I transplanted into last time). I'm nervous about screwing it up when the plants seemed to be growing nicely before I topped them. Maybe I shouldn't alter the soil any further. But, the current appearance (which I think is misleading) has me thinking about tilting the soil richer again. I think they're drying a little too fast still. I think richer soil would (and slower dry time) would be good. But, I don't know if it's wise to have uneven layers of soil like that.

If I do tilt it further (richer) to soil, it won't be as much of a change as I did when transplanting from seedling cup to these 20oz containers (which are essentially larger seedling cups). Just a bit more in that direction.

[1] I cut the bottom off a Hefty 8.5gal/34qt storage tote (Lowes). After cutting, it's about 23x16". It's about 7" tall before cutting the bottom off. I cut 3" off the top using a jigsaw. I measured, marked, then laid masking tape across the marks to act as a guide for the jigsaw. The center of the bottom tends to sag. I put cardboard under it to keep the bottom fairly level.


Sep 20 (DAY 23) continued...
Feeding @ 8AM-4PM continued...

[Mod edit from thread owner:
I had experienced enough of last year's challenges to conclude that the problem wasn't the cactus mix. The problem appeared the MiracleGro fertilizer, perhaps not having enough urease inhibitor (perhaps exacerbated my my high'ish temperatures). I decided to try GrowMore SeaGrow, which I normally use. ]

Runoff was 938ppm. Tray had leftover dried residue from prior runoff. Probably raised the runoff 100ppm.

CORRECTION to prior post about gypsum perhaps raising the pH: Gypsum is pH neutral. So, I doubt my use of that in the water raised the pH.

However, I was reading about the different forms of nitrogen. Apparently urea raises pH as it converts to ammonia/nitrogen. The nitrogen in MiracleGro Performance Organic All Purpose (high N, NPK ratio: 3.67-1-2.67) is about 82% urea. I don't know how that compares to other products. I never pay attention to it. For example, Jack's Classic 20-20-20: N is 90% urea. I've never used that product, but everyone seems to love it. My preferred fertilizer (GrowMore Sea Grow All Purpose 16-16-16) has 62% urea. It works great for me.

So, I wouldn't think 82% urea would be causing a pH problem (or problematic volatility). I'd be more inclined to blame the soil. But, the pH rose after I switched from the reasonable-N ratio "Edibles" to the high-N "All Purpose." That got me to thinking about urea. Maybe it's the amount that I'm putting in the soil. For example, Jacks has higher urea. But, as a proportion to the whole, it's much less than I'm putting in the soil. So, perhaps that's what caused me to see the soil pH rise a bit.

Sep 21 (DAY 24)
24 hours after feeding

I took these photos in the tent 24 hours after feeding.
day 24 - top.JPG

day 24 - side.JPG

The containers aren't in the same positions as the last photos. (For example, the plant with the mosaic-like leaf discoloration is in the middle row, farthest away.).

It's hard to get a good color balance with the cool and warm lights. They tend to make it look both better and worse (depending on whether it's green or pale/discolored).

I took these photos at my patio door with no artificial light:

Rear two plants:
day 24 - nat. lite - rear.JPG

Center two (right one has the mosaic discoloration. You can't hardly see it in this photo. It shows up more under the warm lightbulbs):
day 24 - nat. lite - center.JPG

Front 2:
day 24 - nat. lite - front.JPG

The new growth is looking good (not too green or N-toxic as I feared).

However, I feel like I'm seeing a noticeable ebb and flow in the green.

For example, that older fan leaf in the "front corner" (the finger of the leaf pointing to the right corner of the tray). The green is fairly (vibrant/living) green, and starting to fill in the yellow a little. The green & yellow is a vibrant contrast. But, last night the green wasn't as strong. It was dull and fading out, going more N-def like the lower leaves (which are more all yellow).

This is something I saw in the last experiment <<link (when I grew in straight cactus mix). If I recall, I even described the effect as a "cuttlefish" (those fish that pulse different colors, saturation of color). It's not that rapid. But, I feel like I see the N flow in and out of the plant.

It's strange because I'm feeding such high N (as a proportion). Even the "Edible's" (NPK ratio: 2.25-1-3) proportion of N is high by my standards. If I hadn't fed the higher-N "All Purpose" (NPK ratio: 3.67-1-2.67) yesterday, I bet I'd be seeing more fading out right now.

So, this is strange to me. In the last experiment (straight cactus mix), I thought the potting soil was N deficient (or I used too much dolomite). But, this time I'm in a much richer mix of cactus + Patio Plus + perlite + vermiculite (20-60-10-10), with much less dolomite. I would expect that amount of Patio Plus to improve whatever problem I thought existed with the sandy (low-soil, low-CEC) cactus mix. Instead, it's working about the same as last time. I'm having to feed much higher N than I'm accustomed to.

Maybe I should feed stronger. But, with Patio Plus being 0.30-0.10-0.10, I've been nervous that I'm pushing the limit now (feeding the same strength I did last time, when it was straight cactus mix). I feel like I need to be feeding slightly higher N (just like last time, touching/exceeding 4-1-2 ratios).

Considering feeding something else
I'm strongly leaning toward feeding my GrowMore Sea Grow All Purpose (16-16-16) with the K bumped up a little (using potassium sulfate, like I always do, to create 1-1-1.8'ish NPK ratio).

I'd like to see if that works substantially different. I'm wondering if the weirdness is the nutrients. I've been thinking it's a soil problem. But, I've changed the soil so much, I'm starting to think it's the nutrients.

I've grown in my preferred soil using MiracleGro Tomato (NPK ratio: 1-1-1.2). That worked pretty well, especially considering the low N (as a proportion, compared to what I'm facing now, and faced the last experiment.). I didn't have to push the N, and compensate. I did overfeed in the beginning because it seemed deficient, but then stabilized and did well. The beginning was problematic. That's the one thing all three of these experiments have in common. But, this one and the last one continued to be touchy (requiring a lot of N, by my standards). The Tomato grow makes me think it's the soil. But, the soil should be rich enough now that it wouldn't be this much of a problem.

So, I've been thinking since last night that it might be a good comparison to switch to my Sea Grow fertilizer.

I feel like I'm fighting something -- just like last time. Last time was fun to get the plant through it all. Good experience. But, I'm not looking forward to doing that again. I feel like that's what's happening. If it's the fertilizer, I want to find that out and do something else. As rich as the soil is now, I'm thinking it's the product. (But, that Tomato grow did well in a 2.5-1-1 mix of Pro-mix HP - Patio Plus - perlite. It wasn't as verdant and thriving as I'm accustomed to. But, it wasn't as challenging as the last one -- which this one is feeling like.).

So, I think I'm going to try Grow More Sea Grow for a couple feedings, and see what that looks like. The soil is fairly rich now. It's 60% Patio Plus. I know I didn't overdo the dolomite at 1/4 Tbsp/gal (when I typically use 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp/gal with my preferred soil, which only 22% Patio Plus). So, what other variables are there? The nutrients seem to be the next thing to change.

Part of me feels like I should keep going, and give it some time. But, I've seen this before. It's not turning out to be that much better. I'm definitely seeing the ebb/flow of green, like I did last time. It greens up, then seems to fade (then greens, fades). It's like I'm competing against something that wants N (but, I can easily overdo it if I'm not careful. It's like I'm at the limit -- and it's unforgiving either direction. That's how it was last time.). The only thing that might be worth trying now is feeding 20-30% heavier, just to see if it's merely hunger. (But, last time it wasn't that way. it was something touchy about N.).

At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Sea Grow makes a big difference. If it doesn't, then it must be something about the soil. I've never thought soil made that much difference (if it's fast drying, good drainage). So, I'm betting the change in fertilizer product makes a difference. At this point (knowing what I do from the experiment a year ago), it seems worth trying.
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Sep 22 (DAY 24)
Feeding GrowMore Sea Grow All-Purpose

Fed: GrowMore Sea Grow All Purpose (16-16-16. NPK Ratio: 1-1-1).​
Starting water = 126ppm (RO & tap mixed. I.e., no gypsum nor epsom)​
Added 2.023g/gal for 242ppm increase. Total ppm: 368.​
Added pinch of sugar for the soil microbes.​

Fed in 3 pours (8AM, 11AM & 5PM.)​
Runoff: 992 (into tray with dried residue from previous runoff).​
I replaced the Triglo (Amazon) 6500k bulbs with 8w Philips 5000k. I don't think the cooler color temperature was helping. Essentially one plant would get the most of it, while the plants next to that plant got warmer (2700 or 5000) light. I don't think the 6500k is balanced enough for that. It might be beneficial to have 6500k mixed into warm and neutral white. But, it's not mixed enough this way (using individual bulbs). I think 5000k supplies more red, and is better.

Current lighting is essentially the same. The only change: two 6500k bulbs are 5000k now:
2 8w 5000k Phillips A19 (Home Depot) - on the arms​
1 11w 2700K GE Basic PAR38 (Lowes) - on one arms​
1 8.8w 2700K Phillips BR40 (Home Depot) - in the center​
1 8.8w 5000K Phillips BR40 (Home Depot) - one arm​
2 8.5w 2700k GE basic A19 (Lowes) - on the tent legs​
480 ppfd center​
430 ppfd sides​

LST (prep for scrog)
I started tying down the sideways growth (resulting from topping). I tied down two taller plants.

Sep 23 (DAY 25)
24 hours after feeding Sea Grow - More LST (prep for scrog)

I tied down 3 more plants. One plant remains to be tied (still a little too small).

Fertilizer comparison
It's too soon to say whether Sea Grow works better than the MiracleGro Performance Organics I was using. I took these photos 24 hours after feeding Sea Grow:

day 26 - after sgap - side.JPG

day 26 - after sgap - top.JPG

Note: The front left plant isn't tied down. The others are. So, the plants don't look as good (overall) as they might if left to their natural structure. (I'm not sure if I have the plants in the same places as the prior photos. I'm sure the front-right plant & middle-left are. The middle-left one is the one with the mosaic-like leaf discoloration.).

I took these under natural light (again):
day 26 - nat. lite - rear.JPG

day 26 - nat. lite - center.JPG

day 26 - nat. lite - front.JPG

Again, it's too soon to make conclusions. However:
  • They seemed to green up much faster yesterday, a couple hours after feeding.
  • I'm smelling more veg & sulfurous/terpine smells. It smells more healthy to me. (I had been thinking how I wasn't smelling as much as I'd expect. The last experiment, when I grew entirely in cactus mix, I didn't smell the veggie and skunky/terpine type of smell I'm accustomed too. So, it stands out to me now. Smells more normal.).
  • The soil is drying much faster today. The final pour was 5PM yesterday. They may not stay wet enough to make it till tomorrow morning. They seem to be processing/consuming more.
  • One interesting point to me is that the GM Sea Grow AP has a 1-1-1 NPK ratio. I was barely keeping these plants green with MG Perf Org. AP's 3.67-1-2.67 ratio. When I fed Sea Grow, I was worried it might turn yellow due to the lower proportion of N. The fact that it's remained as green (even improved the yellowed leaves) makes me think the problem was the nutrient. I've never had to feed that high of a ratio before (except that last experiment in pure cactus mix, which I assumed was N deficient soil, competing with the plant. But, now the soil is fairly rich. And, it seems like this 1-1-1 ratio worked fine -- or better.).
The question remains whether they'll hold their color. I could have greened them up by adding fish emulsion to the Perf. Org. AP. The real problem is the ebb/flow effect I was seeing. The tops I cut off were almost too dark-green. (That's why I was worried about feeding high N while waiting for the new growth to appear.). But, as newer leaves become older, they seem to have a strange "osmotic" effect with their color (it fades, then returns. They'd turn olive/yellow, then back to green.). I wouldn't mind boosting N with fish emulsion. I could make it work. But, it's been like a moving target. New growth suggests I can easily overshoot it. Old growth suggests I'm not feeding enough. (I saw the same thing the last experiment, in straight cactus mix. I thought it was the soil. Now the soil is much richer/normal. I'm thinking it's the nutrients.).

Next feed
I'm going to feed Sea Grow again. One feeding isn't enough comparison. It was taking a day or two for the ebb/flow of chlorophyll to happen.

I need to transplant soon to the final containers. They'll be half-gal (actual 1.5qt).

If the soil continues to dry fast, I might get two more feedings in before I transplant. That would be good because I'll water in the transplants using a half-strength bloom solution. If I have three Sea Grow feedings before that, it would give me an idea how that compares to the MiracleGro. I should see the fade out/in by then (if it's the soil). Especially with the low-N transplant nutrients.
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Sep 24 (DAY 27)
Second feeding GrowMore Sea Grow

I miscounted the previous two days:
Sep 22 (DAY 24) is DAY 25
Sep 23 (DAY 25) is DAY 26

Fed: GrowMore Sea Grow All Purpose (16-16-16. NPK Ratio: 1-1-1).​
Starting water = 147ppm​
I created that using:​
RO water 11ppm​
added tap: 60ppm (tot 71)​
added 0.451g/gal gypsum: 50ppm (tot 121)​
added 0.224g/gal epsom: 26ppm (tot 147)​
Added 2.128g/gal GrowMore Sea Grow All Purpose for 234ppm increase. Total ppm: 381.​
Added 1/8 to 1/4 tsp/gal unsulfured molasses. Just to treat the soil microbes.​

Runoff: 833ppm (into tray with a little dried residue from last time. More volume this time is probably why it's lower.).​

I poured a little last night at 8pm because the containers felt too dry to make it until the morning. Again, I noticed a quick verdant/emerald green within an hour or two (like the first Sea Grow feeding a day before). I poured a little at 9:30am this morning, the rest at 11am.

I'm a little nervous about how long I staged the waterings yesterday (three pours over 9 hours). That might be a bad idea. Cannabis doesn't like to stay wet too long. This soil is drying fast. But, that might not have let it dry as much as it should (in that period of time). I haven't seen any problems. But, my typical staged watering is to lightly wet the soil, wait 30-120 minutes, and pour the rest. I'm going to stay more in that realm.

A word about creating starting water with gypsum & epsom:
Previously, I said mixing equal weights of gypsum and epsom creates a nice 3:1 Ca:Mg ratio. That's a confusing topic. Gypsum is known to be impure. I get fewer ppms than it should produce. My epsom salt produces considerably more ppms than it should. So, my two products create a good ratio "by weight."

0.9g/gal of my gypsum creates 100ppms. 55ppm should be Ca (44 should be S)​
0.8g/gal of my epsom creates 48ppms. 20ppms should be Mg (27 should be S)​

That's a good 3:1'ish ratio. I only use the weight as an approximation. I watch the ppms.

The only time I go heavy with the epsom is if I think I'm having Mg def. (You have to be careful doing that, however. Creating an imbalanced ratio in the soil could interfere with Ca. (FWIW: I noticed some orange/brown Ca-def spots on older leaves after my heavy/imbalanced use of epsom for 3 feedings, after the 3rd feeding. I think there was no Mg def; I was creating an imbalance.).

Note: Gypsum can take a few hours to dissolve. It's best to use fine/powder gypsum. If yours has any coarse sand-like particles, those can take awhile and continue to add ppms. I add the gypsum 3-8 hours before adding epsom. (The epsom can take 15 minutes to dissolve. Give it some time too.).

If you create your starting PPMs this way: it's good to start doing this by giving each plenty of time, stir occasionally, read the ppms each time. You'll get a feeling for how it dissolves. (Even better, pre-dissolve the gypsum, and add the ppms you need from that. Gypsum isn't too water soluble (only 2.0 to 2.5g/L). So, you could pre-dissolve 8.5g in a gallon of RO water, and use about 1/8th of that water to make a gallon of your starting water. Add the proper amount of epsom to that. You can make a much more concentrated epsom solution. It's soluble to 350g/L.).

I usually make my (starting) water this way during flower when there's a higher demand for those minerals (and sulfur for the terpines too). During veg, I typically mix RO & tap to get my 150ppm starting water. I also vary it. I might add 40ppm gypsum & 20ppm epsom (with enough tap water to get 150ppm).

How I'm tying down the plants:
I started tying down the plants the past day or two (keeping them flat after topping). I use some 22ga solid electrical wire (hookup wire, typically used for wiring electric guitar controls), nylon mason twine & a mini Acco paperclip.

I hook the wire onto the branch, and clamp the twine onto the container:

I find that much easier to work with (than trying to tie twine around a branch, or routing the stiff wire through the plant.). It's like the best of both worlds. Easy to hook on & easy to get to the anchor point (and adjust).

20-22ga works for smaller plants like this. If the plants were bigger/maturer, and the branches stouter, I'd use 18ga (or 16ga, even 14ga for larger branches) from the hardware store. The key is that it be solid wire, not stranded. Solid holds it's hook better. (Larger/stronger Acco clips are available too.).

Note: When you bend the hooks it can retract the insulation, exposing some copper edge. It's possible you could scratch a leaf with that sharp metal edge. You might not notice it until the leaf matiures/enlarges. Then you'd think you have thrips, or something. Just be aware of that risk. Be careful with the end of the wire. It might be sharp.​

I'll feed one more time with Sea Grow All Purpose, then transplant using dilute bloom mix. After that I'll decide if I'll go back to MiracleGro for additional comparison.

I think I've seen enough to know how that will go. I can make the MG work (like last time, when I grew in straight cactus mix & thought that was the problem.). But, I feel like something isn' right. It's like the nitrogen vaporizes out (volatile). It's like a chick who's "hard to get." It would look good for 2 days, then fade. An emotional rollercoaster. ("finally!" followed by "oh no!"). That's how the last experiment was a year ago. I just carried it through.

So, it might be interesting to make it work through finish. But, I've already done that. I know enough right now to know what to do to make it work. I don't have to do it again. I'm thinking I'll switch to my preferred Sea Grow, and add Liquid Karma (and potassium sulfate); do it my normal way, and be done with it. (I think it would like some karma.). But, it might be interesting to go back to the MG Perf. Org. products again just to see what happens.
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Sep 25 (DAY 28)
Third feeding GrowMore Sea Grow (NPK ratio customized)

[Mod edit from thread owner:
I aborted the MiracleGro fertilizer. I summarized what I'd recommend if anyone wished to try to use it. I think it would have worked if my temperatures were cooler. ]

Feeding (two pours 2am & 5pm) NPK ratio: 1.84-1-1.74
I thought I would customize the NPK ratio using potassium sulfate & fish emulsion. This is the sort of thing I do when I grow with Sea Grow (ratio 1-1-1). I always bump the K up to 1.7 to 1.9. (I use a silica product in veg to do that, and get the benefits of silica. But, this time I used the ordinary potassium sulfate, which I use in flower because I've heard silica might not be good to use in flower. Might accumulate in the buds. Not something you'd want to inhale.).

During veg I sometimes bump the N up to 1.5 to 2. It doesn't usually need N. I just do it to get some fish emulsion (or bat guano) into the soil for the microbes. I did that it this feeding.

I targeted ratio 2-1-1.75. But, you can't control the PPMs that closely. The resulting PPM increases (for each product) produce ratio 1.84-1-1.74:

Fed: GrowMore Sea Grow All Purpose (16-16-16)​
AlphaChem Potassium Sulfate (0-0-50)​
Pennington Alaska Fish (5-1-1)​
Starting water = 121ppm (RO & tap)​
Added 0.248g/gal potassium sulfate for 48ppm increase. Total ppm: 169.​
Added 0.5118g/gal GrowMore Sea Grow All Purpose for 110ppm increase. Total ppm: 279.​
Added enough fish emulsion for 73ppm increase. Total ppm: 352.​
Added 1/8 to 1/4 tsp/gal unsulfured molasses. Just to treat the soil microbes.​
Runoff: 803ppm (into tray with a little dried residue from last time. More volume this time is probably why it's lower.).​

Sep 26 (DAY 30)
Final transplanting.

I took these photos about 18 hours after feeding. This is shortly before transplanting:
day 29 - side.JPG

day 29 - top.JPG

Under natural light:
day 29 - nat. lite - rear.JPG

day 29 - nat. lite - center.JPG

day 29 - nat. lite - front.JPG

They're definitely doing better the last 3 feedings (using Sea Grow instead of MiracleGro). They're looking/smelling more like I'm accustomed to (growing with Sea Grow as my base nutrient). I'm not seeing the ebb/flow of chlorophyll. They smell better (more green and pungent/skunk/stink. I wasn't smelling hardly anything with the MG Perf. Organics.).

Aborting MiracleGro fertilizer:
I'm going to continue feeding Sea Grow. I don't see any point switching back to MiracleGro Perf. Org. I did this experiment thinking it would turn out better than the last experiment (a year ago, using straight cactus mix. I thought the problem was the soil). I've seen enough to know that it's not [much] better.

The real problem is the way the chlorophyll ebbs/flows in/out of the plant. When I was reading about nitrogen, I read about urease inhibitors. Maybe MG's fertilizers lack that. I felt like I was seeing the urea vaporizing out of the soil, and the plant giving nitrogen back to the soil. I don't know if that's possible. But, that's what it looked like. I think urease inhibitors have something to do with that kind of activity (stabilizing the urea.). It could be my climate too. I read that urea vaporizes (converts, is lost?) faster in high temperatures. It's been 84-86F (28-30C). It was warm like that during last year's experiment too. The one time I had good results (using MG Tomato) was later in winter. It was cooler in the house.

Advice to anyone wanting to continue this grow with MiracleGro Perf. Org
If I finished this grow using MiarcleGro Perf. Org, I'd mix All Purpose (11-3-8) & Alaska Fish (5-1-1) to get an NPK ratio 4.25-1-1.94. That would be 133ppm MG Perf. Org. All Purpose. And, 87ppm Alaska Fish. Total 220ppm. (I might raise fish a little -- and lower the AP to see if it does better with more or less N.).
It might help to feed stronger (240-250ppm). But, from what I've seen: you get cupped/heavy older leaves. If you want the "saluting" (erect/praying) leaves, it's hard to do while maintaining the green in the plant. Perhaps an NPK ratio of 4.5-1-1.62 would work better. (That would be 89ppm AP + 126ppm fish. Total 215ppm). But, at some point you're not feeding MG anymore. It's turning into an Alaska Fish grow.
That's what I would do in veg. In mid flower I would start using the Perf. Org. Edibles (11-3-8). Mix AP 211ppms with Edibles 120 ppm (tot 331ppm) to get an NPK ratio 3.1-1-2.8. (That still sounds high N. But, I bet that would be more towards a "bloom" ratio in this case, the way it needs so much N.). Maybe finish the last 2-3 weeks with Edibles by itself. That would be an NPK ratio 2.25-1-3. Still sounds high-N. But, that would definitely be in "bloom" category considering how much N is needed. That high K might be beneficial as a "booster" proportion.
I'm sure it would grow ok & I'd get a decent harvest. That last experiment did pretty good (a year ago, in straight cactus mix, and I might have messed up one plant with too much dolomite). The plants were small. I switched to 12/12 lighting just 8 days after mainlining them. I didn't let them veg/recover much. Plus, when I mainlined, they were in bad shape from overfeeding. I basically stripped them & switched to flower in just 8 days. I got 25 grams from each. So, I think this grow would have turned out much better if I continued.
But, something still doesn't seem right (having to feed so much N, and seeing the N in the plant be so volatile).
My goal has been to demonstrate a simple "everything from the hardware store" type of grow. It would be interesting to do this again using Alaska Fish & Morbloom. I don't think the soil was the problem. I think it's the MiracleGro fertilizer products. For example, 5 parts AK Fish mixed with 1 part AK Morbloom is a 1.54-1-1 NPK ratio. That sounds reasonable. 1 to 2 (fish to morbloom) is a 1-1.33-1.33 ratio. That would be good in mid flower. 1 to 1 is 1-2.45-2.45 ratio. That's in the mild "booster" territory for late flower.). If you needed to hit it harder with N, 1 part morbloom to 8 parts fish is 2.08-1-1 NPK ratio. I would target total 180-240ppm.
The only possible downside is that the fish product can stink up the house if you use a lot. But, if you don't overfeed (not too strong), it shouldn't be bad.

Next steps:
I'm going to transplant in an hour or two. I'll continue this day in the next post.

Future feedings will be like I normally grow (using Sea Grow, and varying the NPK ratio with other things). I always use 5ml/gal Liquid Karma. I'll probably start doing that (since this is no longer a "hardware store" grow.).
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