Norcal Outdoor Medical, Organic Forest Grow. First Grow Log

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BudBogart

BudBogart

I am just below 3000 foot elevation, so we have to get used to a few beautiful spring days followed by a few stormy or even snowy days until finally the sun wins out by the beginning of June.
For that reason, I have opted to try starting the seeds under artificial conditions and grow them accordingly until I feel they will be safe to transfer outside.
Outside consists of a fenced orchard that has ample water available supplied by a well. The orchard is fenced against deer. There is a barn with a lean to with a clear corrugated roof that I intend to use to partially cover a few sativa plants once the autumn rain starts.
I am planting directly into the ground. In 2013 I dug some holes and planted some quality seeds from an Internet supplier. It was the first time I grew that wasn't hard scrabble gorilla grow, or small plants under dim lighting. I had what now seems like beginners luck with a bountiful crop that got properly trimmed, cured, and stored.
In 2014 I was too sick to grow. Some nice people gave me some clones, but I didn't treat them right, even letting the watering go at times. I let them go well past the right time to harvest, then left them to dry for many weeks before finally pulling it down and sticking it in big plastic bags.
By 2015 I was feeling better, so I got some more quality seeds. I also re dug holes in the orchard and ordered quality organic ready to use soil home made from a local source. I thought I was buying the last load of last years soil. Instead, what they delivered was a fresh batch of hot, organic composting material designed to be mixed into existing soils. I filled my holes full strength with this hot stuff, then completely blew it by using this stuff to start my seeds in. This horrific mistake combined with a change to freezing morning temperatures on barely protected seedlings gave predictable results. The mushrooms should have given me a hint things were too hot, lol. Again, friends gave me some plants, but as soon as I put them in (fresh) soil, they went into flower so the yield was very small, yet fresh and tasty.
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

Brings me to the current year. I let the hot holes mellow all through our wet winter. I should tell that last year I had added some homemade, charged biochar as well as just a bit of aged forest compost from our property, hoping to spread useful fungus and bacteria native to our land. Really more of a talisman.
Anyway, I re dug the holes, mixing existing orchard soil (nice silt) into the composted organic so from last year. The holes are now 4 feet wide and a minimum 2 feet deep. I have the area weeded, water containment dirt mounds in place, ready for planting.
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

Now to the inside grow part of my adventure. After last years failed attempt at getting a jump on Mother Nature, I knew I needed to make improvements in early season weather and lighting.
I had a garden wagon 2 x 4' that I like to use to pull the plants under the patio at night or when it rains and pull them around to shady or sunny spots on the patio.
I bought a 2' x 4' heating mat, 5" square, 6" deep pots with holding trays that just fit the heating pad and the wagon with just the right number of seedlings. I got a soil thermostat for the heating mat and a cheap indoor/outdoor thermometer and humidity indicator. Oh, yes, I got a 4', 8 light t5 HO light that fits perfectly over the pots and wagon.
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

I wanted to be able to grow the seedlings on the back patio. It has water, sunny spots and partially covered. I can wheel the wagon around on the level floor.
I still needed a way to hang the lamp and protect the wagon from the winds, rain, etc. I found some pvc pipes already of a useable size. I also have quite a bit of Tyvek wall covering and decided to use it to protect it all from the elements. I basically put together a garage that holds my lamp up and protects the wagon from the elements. Tyvek is not light proof. It is not pretty to look at, but you can cut it with scissors, tape it with duct tape, wrap stuff like a Christmas present, then staple, nail or screw it on. Laugh all you will, it was free and it works okay, especially for us "building challenged" folks.
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

Seedling soil consists of Dr. Earths Pot of Gold Organic potting soil. I mixed in maybe 1/3 perlite to 2/3 potting soil.
Seeds: HSO Blue Dream, HSO LSD, DinaFem Original Amnesia, Barneys Chronic Thunder and Pineapple Chunk, Loud Seeds Loud Dream, plus a few freebies. They are all fem.
They were all soaked in bottled water March 14th p.m., we're just cracking when moved to pots on March 16 and popped out on the 19th. Tiny little things coming from tiny little seeds. Not like the big old striped seeds we used to clean out of our bag weed!
Almost all, if not all the seeds have been popped. It's rainy too hard today to pull out the wagon and take a look.
I control the seedling unit from in back, next to my couch where I can monitor the soil temp, surface temp and make adjustments to the fan.
I quickly realized I was going to need a fan in order to keep the t5s as close as possible. Cut a whole in the Tyvek, placed the fan on a bench and it seemed easy to keep the temps in the mid 75 range.
Problem occurs at night when the temps drop into the forties. The fan cools the room down to the 60's at night. I can't turn the fan down any lower, so I am trying to make a flap to slow the air down when it is cool outside.
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

Spent quite a bit of time yesterday tweaking the fans air volume during colder periods at night, rain, etc. got the temp to hold around 75f. But during the 5 hour dark period , only the heating pad was on and even the soil temps dropped to upper 60's.
Would it be better to grow the new seedlings at 24/7 in order to maintain a constant temp or is the dark period worth the temp fluctuation? Thanks for any input.
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

I think messing with the temperature yesterday may have killed a couple of the seedlings. Their were brief times where the temp would exceed 80f . I raised the lights one chink this morning, but the soil and air temp dropped to 65 so I re lowered the light back to original position. Outdoor temps 40f and rainy.
 
Seamaiden

Seamaiden

Living dead girl
If going over 80*F killed them, they were no good to start with. I'm at about 2,500' elevation, I say start and keep your seeds outside. Don't worry about babying them.
 
Orcaman

Orcaman

I like your ingenuity, As far as advice I want to start with your soil mix that looks very dry for sprouts that were started in just water. The fan in conjunction with the heating pad is drying out the soil too quickly. I recommend spraying the pots with water every morning to rehydrate the soil on top. Next is temp based on your pots being suspended in that wagon. I would seal her up to maintain a warmer temp at this time day and night. The warmer the better right now and no air flow. You want it hot and humid at first. A good 85 degees. Then after they get there first full leaves is the time for the fan and fresh air. I would run the light on a 24 hour cycle at first. Then once all are going go to 18 hour cycle and a little real sun here and there to adjust to being outside all the time. My opinions of course.:)
Best wishes, Orca
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

Thank you for the advice. What I am doing now isn't working very well and I am considering changing to your suggested method. However, as I sit here and look at them, many of the have sprouted small first leaves. Still cover and raise the heat to spur the others along, or too late now? Without a fan, I will need to raise the lights to keep the temp at 85. Is that the right approach? Should I tightly cover the wagon with plastic ( under the hanging lights) or just keep the ( garage) closed up? Really appreciate you input at this important stage. Photo to follow
 
Orcaman

Orcaman

Gosh those are some happy looking young ones. I love baby's of any kind. They look fine and are loving your attention. I was misled by your panic post and would keep doing what your doing. You have it under control from my eyes. Here is my little veg setup that works great for me to maintain proper growing conditions here at 5500 feet altitude and a dry desert environment here in Colorado. I grow perpetually and have to always keep light height for the tallest plants in veg and have no problems with developing a nice plant to suite our needs.
veg.jpg
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

Gosh those are some happy looking young ones. I love baby's of any kind. They look fine and are loving your attention. I was misled by your panic post and would keep doing what your doing. You have it under control from my eyes. Here is my little veg setup that works great for me to maintain proper growing conditions here at 5500 feet altitude and a dry desert environment here in Colorado. I grow perpetually and have to always keep light height for the tallest plants in veg and have no problems with developing a nice plant to suite our needs.
View attachment 584231
Very nice grow. I didn't send pic of the dead sprouts, we couldn't see them in my pics. However, I am thinking you hit nail on head with fan dried, light dried pots drying out on the surface. I hope that's all it was, easy to fix. Thanks!
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

6:30 a.m., 32f outside this morning.
The soil temp is 70f, the air temp at 72f.
Fan is running but air exits are minimal.
Heat mat is set at 75f, plants have plastic cover in place.
Too cold to take out plants for examination, but peeked though fan port, didn't see any new problems.
Put pan of water under wagon in hopes of increasing humidity, which runs in the 40-50 percent.
Sleeping bag over the Tyvek and plastic tarp over the sleeping bag probably helps but doesn't cover the whole enclosure.

I am thinking I should have let the seeds soak until they showed tails, and not just cracked. Then hold off on hitting the lights and fan until ALL seeds had a chance to pop. Doing so might have prevented some seeds from dying before the cotyledons had a chance to fully open. So sorry little seedlings, I feel your pain.
 
Orcaman

Orcaman

Nice job dialing in your enclosure. I like the pan of water under the plants. I think will best increase the humidity level when the tent is closed up. When the tent is opened you should put a pan of water in front of the fan so it will blow across the water then over the plants. I do this sometimes in my nursery and can get a 5 plus percent increase. Very nice temps with the departure that you are dealing with inside to outside. Here's to learning everyday and correcting our mistakes!:)
 
BudBogart

BudBogart

Lost 5 possibly too hot, too dry too soon.
HSO blue dream, Dina fem purple afghan kush, HSO pineapple skunk, and two Barneys Pineapple chunk.
A few more seem very small but may be okay.
Got the individual name stakes in, thank you kind wife, light watered and replaced the dead seedlings.
Found closing it tight but leave the fan (baffled) on between 30-50 f. Remove baffle and prop open fron door to let air out at 60f. Figure when temps get too hot, I will wheel the wagon into the shade of the patio.
 
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