New grower determined to make every possible mistake on the first grow...

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GreySeer

GreySeer

14
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Morning!

This is going to be a long one, so I appreciate anyone willing to go through it... I probably should have posted long ago but I was determined to figure out the fix on my own.

I finished up my first grow in the fall, one outdoor Wedding Cake plant I grew from a random bag seed. I ignored it a lot, overwatered it constantly, never gave it enough sun, it had both gnats and mites at different points! It's whole outdoor life it was subjected to gale force wind blasts and once indoors it got only partial sun from a window in my office... It went through hell but still managed to yield a little more than an ounce of good tasting if not terribly potent flower and a bunch of sparkly trim I put directly in the trash due to the mites...

I felt like the plants must be indestructible if they can survive my "care" and still yield something enjoyable! Surely I could get amazing results if I put time into an indoor grow, do the research, get the right equipment and execute?

Right?? 😕

So I bought a tent, exhaust ventilation, a LED light, a single bucket DWC setup, GH trio, hydroguard, calmag and some interesting sounding seeds from seedsman.

I'm on week 7 since the sprout popped out of the rapid rooter and it has been nothing but problems... I really want to see this plant make it to harvest but I'm starting to suspect I'm a victim of the sunk cost fallacy and if I'd just pop a new bean and start over I could be up and running with a healthy plant sooner. Looking for both advice on if I should start over or not... How I can grow the next one better... As well as some pointers on what I can do to save the current plant if it's worth it.

Stats on the grow:

Strain - Ripper Seeds - OldSchool (afghani + cheese)
Number of Plants - 1
Grow Type - DWC
Grow Stage - Vegetative?
Setup - UC Solo DWC single bucket (7gal)
Light - Spider Farmer sf1000
Nutrients - General Hydroponics Trio + calmag + hydroguard
Medium - Hydro clay pebbles
PPM - currently 200
PH - 5.9
Humidity- 45% to 55%
Room Temperature - 65 (lights off) to ~79
Solution Temperature - ~70f
Room Square Footage - 27x27x60 Mars Hydro tent in an under stairs storage space
Pests - None I can see...

On to the Problem:

A couple things I know I screwed up early on
  • I rinsed my clay pebbles but I did it in plain tap water which in my case is ~8ph and has very low ppm ~40... I read I should be soaking it in 5.5ph water after rinsing it until no dust or sand comes out. I suspect my super long wait for the roots to hit the water is related to my pebbles being high PH and keeping the roots from absorbing nutrients from the water I was top watering with. It wasn't rinsed well enough though, I cleaned some and PH'd it the other day and it took a lot more soaking and rinsing than I did before it stopped throwing off sand and dust.

  • I popped the seed in a paper towel, then when the taproot was ~1" long I cut a rapid rooter down the side (following the growweedeasy germinate in DWC guide here: hydro seedlings @ growweedeasy...) and put it in the rooter with the root pointing down. Seemed like a valid method but I think sprouting it outside the rooter and then cutting the rooter was a mistake, the sprout decided to grow sideways out of the rooter. From what I can tell looking at it the roots never really went into the rooter, they just took the path of least resistance out the side of the rooter that was cut, then spent WEEKS lost in the clay pebbles finding their way out of the netpot and into the water.

  • Baffled by the slow root growth towards the beginning I picked up the rooter after clearing away some of the pebbles and put it deeper in the net pot hoping it being closer to the water would encourage root growth. The UC netpots have a bumped up bottom kinda like you see in a wine bottle where the bottom is concave. The bump has mesh holes in it so I guessed maybe the roots would grow out of the bottom of the rooter and have a shorter path to the water. It was at this point I noticed I had some roots coming out of the rooter side, not the bottom. I feel like this disturbed the roots, maybe damaged them.

  • After moving the rooter down I noticed growth slow to a crawl... I tried a few things trying to get it moving. I top watered the pebbles twice daily trying not to get the rooter wet for over a week.... little to no results. So I top watered the rooter directly too, enough to get it a little damp but not soaked and only did so when it was dry... again, minimal results... Later in desperation around a week or two ago I raised the water level to 1" above the bottom of the netpot so it was directly in the water... shortly after I did this the roots finally started pouring out the side of the netpot where the cut in the rapid rooter was. I lowered the water level to below the netpot 1" like it should be once roots hit the water. I have no idea if the raised water level helped or if it was just time. I know my PH and PPM was swinging up dramatically so I think the dust in the pebbles is screwing with the PH.

  • Looking at the top of the rooter I see some brownish spots on top... I'm not sure if that's mold or bacteria or something else. I find myself wondering if this came from watering from the top for so long.

  • For a brief week there when the plant had only two nodes I turned my light up too high and had it too close and scorched the first node and damaged the second. Both leaves are brown and crispy on the sides and tips.

  • I let it get to 6 nodes, while it was looking.... ok-ish... a little too lime green with some hints of yellow I think... I topped the plant to the 4th node which was the first node with totally healthy leaves. The plan was a mainline but the plant seriously hated this and immediately after topping the leaves are all curling down and in on themselves and looking sort of like light burn again... I did have the light turned up pretty high so I set it back to 60% on the ballast but not before more damage was done. Not sure if that was the light, the topping or the next thing I found...

  • last night I decided there had to be something else amiss... I had been judging the state of the DWC based on root color and hadn't done a full bucket clean, just swapped out the water with a transfer pump without taking the lid off... So I did that last night and found a nasty brown fluffy clump near the bucket drain and a 2mm layer of tan and brown speckled sludge stuck to everything but the roots! I'm not sure how long it's been like this but it's been at least a few weeks. So I transferred the plant to a christmas tree stand while I cleaned the bucket, my water jugs, the pump and my air stones with dish soap and rinsed it until no soap bubbles came out and all the plastic squeaks! I trashed all the air pump hoses and ran new ones. Before I cleaned it out it had a faint dirty fish tank smell in the res, even the slimy stuff barely smelled of it, but it was there.

  • I had the nutrients at 700-800ppm with added calmag because I was following the # of weeks on the GH feeding schedule for trio and assuming I should be feeding for at least early veg. I'm now sure this was a mistake and have gone back to half seedling strength nutrients (200ppm) without the calmag just to get to a baseline.

  • I had a hydrofarm bubble bar bendable thing in the res bent around the edges in a square, it was absolutely disgusting with slime so I trashed it and went back to just the two airstones that came with the DWC. I feel the bubble bar was taking pressure from the stones meaning I had bubbles over a larger area but they were smaller or I was getting less agitation? I'm not sure but it felt like going back to the stones that came with the kit would get me to a known good config so to speak if the bubble bar was having a negative effect.
Right now she looks like the two nodes on top from after the topping are growing out nice and green and seem to be growing quickly. The water is clean though a little warmer than I'd like to see. The light is at 60%. PH and PPM should be good.

The only things I know of that I can't do anything about without starting over is that poorly rinsed media, the roots growing sideways in the netpot, and just the overall stunted start the plant has had.

Here's the state of the plant this morning, you can see the brown specks on the rapid rooter as well as the light burn, probably nute burn too on the tips. Just a lot of suffering overall. Though the new leaves from the nodes look ok.
poorPlant1.jpg

poorPlant2.jpg

Then here's a shot of the brown slime... Pretty disgusting.
poorPlant4.jpg

You can also see the bubble bar I trashed. Instead of running the two outputs of my airpump going to a T on the air stones and the bubble bar in series I have one line from each air pump port going to one air stone. Keeping it simple stupid! 🤔
poorPlant3.jpg


If you're still reading and scrolling thanks for reading. Let me know if you have thoughts on my issues or if you think I'm on/off track solving the issue. Also if you personally would have thrown in the towel on this plant long ago let me know. I'm curious when other growers decide a plant is too far gone and start over.
 
Kampbe1l

Kampbe1l

674
93
If you correct conditions, then plants can recover to their full health quickly.

You don't need to burn bought seeds. what seed is it, auto or photo, this OldSchool (afghani + cheese)?

Persist! There is plenty of life, though sickly now. once this plant recovers, you could take cuttings (assuming photo).

i think you had made some necessary adjustments as you went - raising the reservoir level closer to the bottom of the net pots was a good move. in the early seedling/juvenile stage, i did pour some nutrient solution over the net pots twice daily for a couple of week. finally, that sludge might be due to the dusty clayballs - if so, you're going to wash it out by rinsing those clayballs.

I don't follow guides down to its exact figures - i use all guides as indicative.
correction to 200 PPM is on the right path. rather than guides, allow yourself more to judge by the plant's response - check its new growth, state of its leaves, the state of its roots, etc.

i'm running a single bucket 5-gal DWC (along with other plants) under my SF-1000. i'm into 4th week of flowering and my nutrient solution is not even 700 PPM yet. i have stumbled along with my DWC, not following any guide now. what i'm saying is that the charts recommends much stronger, yet the plant is doing well at their current readings.

i'm using Cal-Mag in with my mix - my strain is particularly magnesium heavy feeder. i gradually increase this cal-mag as the plant gets bigger.

I think its always good to dump reservoir used contents. - even give the reservoir a wash/clean/scrub.

check your air stones and tubing (its a single bucket DWC, right?) - for circulation/aeration of your reservoir.

everything looks okay, so i reckon its several minor tweaks, to get you back on path.
 
Last edited:
GreySeer

GreySeer

14
3
If you correct conditions, then plants can recover to their full health quickly.

You don't need to burn bought seeds. what seed is it, auto or photo, this OldSchool (afghani + cheese)?

Persist! There is plenty of life, though sickly now. once this plant recovers, you could take cuttings (assuming photo).

i think you had made some necessary adjustments as you went - raising the reservoir level closer to the bottom of the net pots was a good move. in the early seedling/juvenile stage, i did pour some nutrient solution over the net pots twice daily for a couple of week. finally, that sludge might be due to the dusty clayballs - if so, you're going to wash it out by rinsing those clayballs.

I don't follow guides down to its exact figures - i use all guides as indicative.
correction to 200 PPM is on the right path. rather than guides, allow yourself more to judge by the plant's response - check its new growth, state of its leaves, the state of its roots, etc.

i'm running a single bucket 5-gal DWC (along with other plants) under my SF-1000. i'm into 4th week of flowering and my nutrient solution is not even 700 PPM yet. i have stumbled along with my DWC, not following any guide now. what i'm saying is that the charts recommends much stronger, yet the plant is doing well at their current readings.

i'm using Cal-Mag in with my mix - my strain is particularly magnesium heavy feeder. i gradually increase this cal-mag as the plant gets bigger.

I think its always good to dump reservoir used contents. - even give the reservoir a wash/clean/scrub.

check your air stones and tubing (its a single bucket DWC, right?) - for circulation/aeration of your reservoir.

everything looks okay, so i reckon its several minor tweaks, to get you back on path.

Thanks for the reply Kampbe1l

The seed is a photoperiod seed, feminized. Here's a link to the ones I bought on seedsman:

OldSchool

I have some extras of this strain, I don't have a cloning setup or anywhere to grow clones or veg separate from flower due to space. The plan is to grow one plant from seed every time.

From cleaning out the res I'm pretty sure this sludge was biological. It had a slimy texture and the fluff clump in the bucket was all tied together around the drain and stuck to hoses and surfaces near the waterline. Very Algae/Bacteria looking like something you'd see in a pond. Even so, I am going to try to avoid running water through the clay pebbles going forward. Avoiding the dust getting into the water as well as the wet causing bacteria to grow on the rapid rooter which gets transferred into the water, I want to make sure that gets dried out if I can now that I have roots in the water.

I'm starting to suspect the brown spots on the rooter are the same thing as I found growing in the res.

On the nutrient ppm I will go with your less concentration and follow what the plant does advice. I ended up messing with PH and nutrients when my real problem was yellowing caused by the light being turned up too high too early. I'll stick with half seedling nutrients until I see more healthy leaves and watch for it to need more nutrients.

I'm learning it's easy to be misled about what the plant needs by issues that look similar at first glance! For example, light burn causes some yellowing, and if you don't have many leaves it's hard to tell if it's only the top of the plant = light burn or starting at the bottom of the plant for nitrogen (i think that's right?). I spent a lot of time messing with PH thinking that was the issue when I just had the LED too close and turned up too high...

On your Sf1000 how high do you run the ballast for seedlings/early veg? I have had challenges figuring out how high it needs to be and how close to have it for young plants. I'm tempted to buy either a few CFLs or a 2'x2' T5 fixture for my tent for starting plants and early veg after I burned the heck out of this plant.

On the res cleans, I swear I have read so many different opinions on cleaning the res, from do it on every water change to do it once per grow! I will be more vigilant about checking the inside of the res for crud and cleaning the whole thing if I find anything. I was hoping I could get away with less cleaning by using hydroguard, but it seems not.

Thanks for the discussion. I'm happy to hear it sounds like I'm getting back on track and the plant will probably pull through.

Have a happy new year too!
 
DreamwalkerJ

DreamwalkerJ

423
93
First of all it looks like a simple magnesium deficiency. Definitely
Add 1 gram of epsom salt per gallon of water to start (ive added 2g per gal for some strain) and it should help. The yellowing at the tips and perimeter is mag deficiency. Magnesium is also the central atom in the chlorophyll molecule so if theres no Mg, they will stop photosynthesising properly. Most feed charts do recommend a high ppm because..........they are a business. They want you to feed the strongest possible dose to your plants so that you buy more sooner. Dont waste the seeds man, give these girls an en epsom salt shower and put some in your res. Existing damage wont heal but it should stop progressing. Everything else looks good, your pH and temps are right where they should be. Just remember too, as they get bigger they will need more food so you might want to go up to 300ppm soon.
 
Jaydubbz2108

Jaydubbz2108

44
8
I'd say next round go for soil or cocoa much much more forgiving and the medium will buffer out any mistakes you might make where is dwc doesn't and is notoriously difficult to grow in.
 
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