RicinBeans's first-time indoor grow - "Cement Shoes"

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ComfortablyNumb

ComfortablyNumb

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The earth sheltered greenhouse can allow you to grow year long if you have it setup correctly.
And if you have one in your yard, even a small one, you can have fresh food all year long. Forget the grocery store.
 
RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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Big day for modification. What passes for one with me at least.

9/28: Today is the 8th straight day without water. I didn't feel around #1 with my hands, as the surface of the soil is still pretty thick with DE, but a feel around #2 felt slightly cold towards the center, so probably a tiny bit damp still (more on the lower soil later in this post).

The gnat situation seems vastly improved since yesterday. I think the dry spell combined with the DE is doing wonders. I spent a good minute or so closely looking at both plants, and couldn't notice almost any gnats in either of them. I also noticed, when I moved the plants to do the mods to the pots (described in this post shortly), that there were dead gnats on the caddy surfaces, both around and under the pots, as well as in the drainage trays under the caddies (that haven't seen a drop of water in over 8 days). #1 had more dead gnats in it than #2, but the difference wasn't as big as I expected.

Growth/constitution-wise, #1 looked perky again, even perkier than two days ago (before it drooped again yesterday). I wonder if it was only droopy yesterday because I observed it right after its dark cycle ended, or if the condition has improved. I want to say the center growth looked a tiny bit more substantial but it's hard to say.

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So I got to my little mods. I drew lines with a marker along the bottom of the pots, showing me where each pair of drainage holes is located. I then drilled a hole on the side and above each line, a few inches from the bottom of the pots.

Then I went and assembled my little makeshift legs. I bought this pack of furniture pads, and made 4 legs for each pot, each leg consisting of 3 pads. The product description says each pad is .3" thick, but each leg appeared to be closer to .7" when I measured one of the stacks after I assembled it. I figured it should be sufficient, and didn't want to add a 4th pad and risk the height of the soft legs making them unstable. I applied each leg to a rough center point along the outside of the pot bottom between where the drainage holes are. Being that they're off of where the holes are located, they're on where the pots already stood (the drainage holes underneath are, of course, a little bit recessed), I'd estimate that there's about a full inch between the drainage holes and the caddy surface now. I can easily fit my finger underneath the pots now.

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When everything was done, I replaced the pots and stuck my new moisture meters inside of the them. After a minute or so, #1 was hovering just under 6 on the meter and #2 was just barely below it, about on or just above 5. That reading, along with the leaves on both plants looking in good health, sealed the deal on the question of whether I'm going too long since the last watering - it seems like at least another day without the water will be fine.

On a side note, I goofed with my previous hybrid meters I was using when I had my outdoor plant. I was under the mistaken impression that it was ok to leave these things in the soil perpetually. I noticed on the back of this one that it said you're not supposed to do that though, and realized that I had probably damaged my last one. I also recalled that I have another unopened hybrid meter that I never used, and so I'll probably use that with future grows, as well as another hybrid I snagged over the weekend just because it's so cheap. They may even come into play in this grow for PH measurement purposes.

I was sure to take these out and clean them when I was done today though.

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ComfortablyNumb

ComfortablyNumb

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Yep, let them dry. Don't leave the probes in there, they corrode over time in the ground.
After use, wipe the probe with a lightly damp cloth.
 
RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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9/29: Day 9 without water. The meters, depending on where in the soil I stuck them (both in terms of depth and in terms of surface location), read sort of all over the place, with both shallow and deep pokes reading between 3 and 6. I figure I'll wait until I'm getting at least some parts that are at 1 or 2 before I water again though, or until the plants themselves are showing signs of dehydration.

I happened to get up very early this morning, and checked the tent out right before the plants' dark cycle was about to begin. To my disappointment, I saw gnats crawling around both plants. Not huge numbers or anything but enough that I didn't have to look hard at all to see them. I decided to add a layer of DE to #2 as well when I saw that. There were less of them visible when I opened the tent this afternoon, at least. Another positive sign is that there were A LOT of dead gnats, all pushed over to the right side of the tent and somewhat towards the rear half - presumably due to my intake being on the front/left side of the bottom of the tent. I'd estimate it was maybe 100 of them but it's hard to say, tiny as they are. That can't possibly be a bad sign though, so I'm trying to be hopeful.

I think both plants experienced some growth. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but #1 may be on the road to recovery here. #2 is still growing steadily, though not quite as rapidly as it was when I first initiated this dry period. Still, any growth is something I'm grateful for at this point.

I decided to start taking side-shots of #2 now that it's reaching above the top of the pot.

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ComfortablyNumb

ComfortablyNumb

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Take the probe and put it in the hole in the side of the pot. See what it reads there.
The reading will change as you move thru the pot. What is the middle at?
 
RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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Take the probe and put it in the hole in the side of the pot. See what it reads there.
The reading will change as you move thru the pot. What is the middle at?

I had planned to poke around the bottom and around the periphery of where the plants are growing (on the surface - I can only guess as to what the root structure looks like) at first and wait for that to dry off before going underneath the plant directly, so as to just use that as a watering technique, and avoid potentially pushing the roots around too much. I did pop open the tent just now though, and give each plant 3 pokes through a side-hole - 1 angled upwards, one angled level, and another angled so as to touch the pot floor, directly underneath the plant. The readings were similar-to-slightly higher. The pot-floor angle for #1 did stay at 8 for quite some time, but eventually hovered around 7, while the upwards and level angles hovered around 5-6. For #2, oddly, I was getting a 6 at the level angle, while it was closer to 5 at the lower and upper angles.

It's kind of nuts how long these are taking to dry out, especially considering I didn't give either of them all that much water at any point. I'm concerned at the complications this might cause in the future. I'm thinking next watering might be an extremely light one, like maybe in the realm of half a cup of water or something. At some point though, I'm going to need to cover both surfaces to flush that DE out of there. I noticed it gets rusty-colored sitting on top of the damp soil, and I'm worried that could form some sort of mold as well. I fear that when I do that, it's goin to be another god-knows-how-many days until it dries out again. At this rate, it looks like this current drying-off period may go up to two full weeks before the plants are ready for another watering, which blows my mind.

Honestly, I can't wait for my next, cloth-pot-based grow with different soil haha. It's likely to go so much more smoothly. I'm already shopping for pots and trying to figure out what I'm going to array them on to catch the drained water. I'm still hopeful for these and everything, it's just unfortunate that it's having so many complications early in. It's all a learning experience though, so there's that.
 
Frankster

Frankster

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1. You need more drainage in those pots.
2. You need airflow between the catch pan and the pot.
3. You need to water correctly.
4. New lights would be a bonus and give you a much better harvest.
5. Get a soil meter.

Basic Watering

Watering SOIL
Yea, I notice that one right off. Good call CN I didn't read though everything, cause I know he's given good advice here. Looks like your saturating those pots now, and doing runoff, that's critical. Roots need wet soil to get hold, and old roots die without water, so getting those dry spots in the pot wet again is critical. Then allowing stuff to dry again...

The plants look up and reaching now, things lookin good. That praying is a good sign.
 
RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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Yea, I notice that one right off. Good call CN I didn't read though everything, cause I know he's given good advice here. Looks like your saturating those pots now, and doing runoff, that's critical. Roots need wet soil to get hold, and old roots die without water, so getting those dry spots in the pot wet again is critical. Then allowing stuff to dry again...

The plants look up and reaching now, things lookin good. That praying is a good sign.

My bad, this was a much shorter message when I first saw it. I actually only watered the entire surface of these plants once, in the last watering, in order to start flushing some of the DE through the soil. I'm still debating whether I should do that again next watering, or if I should keep it to a small amount focused on the center, and let the DE sit on each surface a while longer. I have to bear in mind that I'm not going to be able to water these very frequently, as the soil retains water in a way that blows my mind. More on that in the general update post. But yeah, thank you, things are generally looking up for both of them.

As for the general update:

10/2: Day 12 without watering. The soil is STILL wet. I've been sticking with one angle the past couple of days as far as where I'm putting the meters - I'm putting them in the side-holes (2-3" above the pot floor), with the tips centered under the plants. As best as I can estimate, at least. Today's reading gave me a reading of 4/10 on #1 and 3/10 on #2. I'm starting to wonder if this soil is ever going to dry out.

The good news is twofold. First, the gnat population is almost hard to notice at this point. I found some more dead gnats on the tent floor today, and couldn't find almost any crawling on the soil surfaces. I guess it's the positive side of the water-retention properties of this soil - it's giving me an opportunity to dry these gnats out. Hopefully it'll be for good. We'll see.

The second item of good news is that #2 has been continuing to grow steadily, and #1 finally appears to have cleared the hump and is clearly and unambiguously on the mend. It sprouted and grew a new pair of nodes/leaves in the past week, and today I saw another pair growing out of the center. My estimate is that growth-wise, it's where #2 was about 10 days ago, so there will be a gap between them, but hopefully it won't make a huge difference in the long run, assuming the root system will fill up both pots by the time I flip them to a 12/12/ light cycle to begin flowering.

I'm put together montage pics for today, with dates on each picture, including a set of normal angles for both plants, and then a group of the past 4 days from a side view for plant #2, so as to give a sense of the verticality. The file sizes were too large to upload into this thread, unfortunately, so I had to lower the quality, which is a shame since it's nice to be able to zoom in and see the details.

Plant1-lowres.jpg
Plant2-lowres.jpg
Plant2_side_lowres.jpg
 
ComfortablyNumb

ComfortablyNumb

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Plantin' crops and takin' names. Nicely done. I'm still pushing for an additional 100w bulb in there. Or a pair of 100w LED bulbs.
 
RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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Plantin' crops and takin' names. Nicely done. I'm still pushing for an additional 100w bulb in there. Or a pair of 100w LED bulbs.
I think I got confused at some point. When you mentioned adding a bulb, I had asked if I should flip both switches on to give them the full spectrum since I was only giving them "veg" at the moment, and you replied with "sorry, just went back up to read it again," and then didn't mention the lights anymore, and went on to comment on airflow/drainage. I took this to mean that there was a misunderstanding about how much light I had, and that you decided I was doing ok in that respect. I can definitely flip both switches on today and give them the full spectrum if you think the "veg" switch is inadequate for this stage of growth. As it was, I was only going to flip both on when I went 12/12 to start flowering.

I had been considering a third identical light, not so much for now, but for future grows. I was thinking maybe I should have one by the time I start my springtime, indoor-to-outdoor grow, as I want to put a dozen into the tent, and I figured I could arrange them to take up the width of the tent, rather than the length, if that makes any sense. So right now, my 4x2 tent has two lights, with the longer side of the lights running parallel to the long side of the tent, as pictured at the beginning of this thread. My thinking was that if I want to grow 12 small ones in there, the bulk of which I'd eventually transfer outside, I could have 3 of these lights in there, but running so the long side of the light is parallel to the short side of the tent, with each light covering 4 small plants, not just proportionally, but spatially. I'd then transfer 9 of those outside and leave 3 in the tent, each with their own 600w light above them.

My concern with that though, is that I'm not giving the plants an even amount of space each. The tent being 4x2, each plant would have 2ft of space in one direction, but only 1.3ft in the other. I was wondering if I should try to keep it to 2 plants per indoor grow, so as to ensure that each one has 2x2ft of space to itself. I was going to see how the current plants grew and try to figure it out before my second grow. If I do only keep 2 in the tent though (whether in my second, fall-to-winter grow, or when I move the plants outside during my springtime grow, which would mean I'd transfer 10 of them to outdoors), I wonder if I should just keep two lights, give 12 babies the full spectrum, and then have 1 light per plant again when I keep two inside.

There is just so much to consider. I guess the first thing I need to determine is whether this tent can adequately accommodate 3 plants, which I suppose is partially dependent on how long I plan to grow them at a time. Like, if I wanted to go for the quickest grows possible, it's conceivable that I could do 8 at a time, each with 1x1ft of space, and just repeat that way. If it turns out that the height isn't prohibitive though, I may want to opt for keeping it to 2-3 plants per indoor grow.

What's sort of annoying, and what further complicates things is that I found a cheaper light than the one I'm using, and that is a 1000w unit. I'm concerned about a couple of things though. For one, the lopsided light output in the tent if I have one light that is more powerful than the other two. Another concern is whether a single outlet can handle the 2 600w lights daisy-chained with a 1000w light. I could theoretically return the two lights I have and exchange them for even 3 of the 1000w lights and break even cash-wise, but I'm not sure at which point I'd be running risks power/outlet-wise.

I've clearly got a lot to think about haha. Sorry for the wall of text.

As for a general update:

10/3: Day 13 without water, and the soil is finally approaching dry territory. #1 gave me a reading of 3/10 on the moisture meter today, and #2 gave me a 2/10. I'd like to get them both completely dry before I water again. I'll probably be watering in the next few days though, considering the progress.

I'm wondering if I should even start a nutrient regiment as things are going, as I'm clearly going to be watering these plants so infrequently that I'm not going to be able to feed them many nutrients. I might just let this grow take its course and save the nutrients I bought for my next grow, where I'll be using less problematic soil.

Gnat-wise, I found some more dead ones on the plant floor, which is encouraging. Not nearly as many as in days past, which is also encouraging. Oddly, where I usually see a few crawling around in the soil after looking carefully enough, the only live gnats I observed today were buzzing around. Maybe 3-4 of them. It seems pretty clear they're being dried out though, which is a relief. Hopefully another day or two of the dry treatment will be enough to push the population to 0.

Growth-wise, it's a super exciting day! #1 is continuing to grow steadily, with the two new leaves that had been threatening to sprout over the last week growing substantially over the past 24 hours, and beginning to take shape. What's even more exciting is that I'm seeing new pistils in every node of plant #2!. If there are no new complications (which may well arise next time I water these), I'm thinking that within a week or two, #2 should look like quite the bush, and I'll be connecting one my nets to the inside of the tent to begin LST.

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RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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10/4: Today is the two-week mark since the last day of watering (9/20). The moisture meters are reading exactly as they did yesterday. #1 is at 3/10 and #2 is at 2/10. As such, I'll be giving them at least another day without feeding them any water.

Gnat presence/activity is similar to yesterday as well. I saw a couple, killed them both. I cleaned up maybe 10-15 dead gnats that were scattered throughout the tent.

Growth-wise, it was an unspectacular last 24 hours. One of the branches of #2 grew a bit, to bring it on an even level with its opposite branch, but overall, the height is more or less the same. The leaves on #1 appear to have grown a little bit, including the two newbies, and the leaves overall seem a little perkier, but that's about it.

Hopefully there will be something more exciting to report tomorrow.
 
ComfortablyNumb

ComfortablyNumb

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My apologies. I'm in the middle of the semester at school and my mind is taxed beyond recognition. 📗📒📕🤪
Yes, turn all the switches on. And get a nice white 100w bulb in there as well. These plants are not like potatoes, they need light. Lots of it.
 
RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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My apologies. I'm in the middle of the semester at school and my mind is taxed beyond recognition. 📗📒📕🤪
Yes, turn all the switches on. And get a nice white 100w bulb in there as well. These plants are not like potatoes, they need light. Lots of it.
Not sure what the apology for but I assure you that it's entirely unnecessary. I very much value all of your input in here, it's been a great help. Thank you very much. While I have a buddy who has read up on this quite a bit, his firsthand experience is limited, so I'm glad I have people (or a person, more accurately haha) who is willing to take a minute out here and there to lend a brother a hand.

As for a general update:

10/7
: Day 17 without watering, and the meters are more or less the way they have been since 10/4/21. #1 is about or JUST below 3/10 on the moisture meter while #2 is JUST below 2/10. I'm starting to wonder if it's even possible for this soil to completely dry out. The concept sounds hard to believe but... I mean, it's been 17 days.

Generally, not a whole lot has changed since the last update, which is why I skipped a couple of days of updates. The gnats are not 100% gone but clearly unable to thrive. Each day, I find 2-3 of the walking around that I kill, and a few dead ones scattered around the tent. Today, I could not spot a single one in the soil but did notice a few crawling around the pot and caddy for #1. There were maybe 5 dead ones laying about that I wiped up.

10/5 was the first day the light cycle went to full spectrum. As a result, when I check on the plants during one of the 1-hour periods where my intake/outtake fans are off, the tent is considerably hotter. You don't even need to look at the thermometers, it's apparent as soon as you open the tent flap and a burst of heat comes out of it. It seems to reach into the lower-mid 80s of degrees during those one-hour blocks. When the vents are on, the temps are only barely higher than usual, around the mid-upper 70s. As a result, I decided that I'm going to have to snag a timer for the vent fans that gives me more control than 8 on/off programs per day. I'd like to have them on something more like: on every 20-30 minutes per hour, so as to keep the temperature more stable, and so as to have shorter gaps where there is no airflow aside from the internal circulation provided by the clip-on fans. It's bizarre how almost all of the timers that allow for that specificity are wall-outlet-mounted, as opposed to the corded ones I'm currently using for my lights and vents. It's really not convenient for the outlet array that I have going near the tent, but I've got some options laid out, and should have some solution worked out that I'll pull the trigger on tonight.

Plant growth has been slow and steady. The new leaves on #1 that I mentioned in the last update are matured, and today, yet another new pair of leaves growing from the main stem became apparent. #2 hasn't had especial growth spurt spatially, but the leaves on top have matured, a new pair is growing out of the main stem, and the aforementioned pistils growing out of all the nodes have finally showed some progress today (they hadn't progressed much in the past few days). I get the impression that those will become new branches fairly soon, barring any complications that should arise when/if I have to finally water these plants again.

I decided to attach a video today, detailing the entire layout and getting close to each plant.

 
RicinBeans

RicinBeans

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So I decided to keep the updates less frequent, as things were more or less progressing steadily last time I posted, and there wasn't anything special to report. I planned to post my next update today, as today makes four full weeks since the last time I watered the plants.

10/18: Moisture meters still reading at 2/10 or just under for both plants, and up to 3/10 if I stick the meter in at different angles. I will say though, that the leaves seemed like they might be a little dry today, for the first time ever. I contemplated watering, and I sill might later tonight if I get some feedback in here that says I should give it a go. As it stands, I'm leaning towards giving them another day to see what the leaves look like and get another meter reading.

There is another major development though, and I'm hoping I can get some feedback on it, generally, but particularly in regards to whether I should water them today: I topped plant #2. I've searched several sites to see if any of them had any advice on whether plants are ideally topped right before, right after, or somewhere in-between watering, and I couldn't find any kind of firm answer on the topic. It sounds logical that it might be a good time to make sure that a plant has water to draw on for its recovery process from the snip, but that's all I can say - that it sounds logical. I don't really know if it makes any sense. Further complicating the question is the matter of this soil seeming to stay moist like forever, and having been feeding these plants for a month straight now on its own. If anyone can offer an information or opinion in this regard, I'd be most appreciative.

The gnat situation appears to be over, though I hesitate to say that until the next time I water. I want to say the last time I've seen a live one was maybe 5-7 days ago, when I opened the tent and one flew out of it. I haven't seen any flying inside or crawling on the plants, soil, pots or tent floor. I may have seen some dead ones in the past five days, but they're so few and far between that I can't say for certain that they're gnats, and not little bits of soil blown about by the fans. The sense I'm getting is that they're gone though.

At @ComfortablyNumb advised, and as I mentioned in the last post in here, I gave the plants the full spectrum of light from my fixtures 13 days ago, and they've been receiving them since. There is some evidence to suggest that it was definitely the correct course of action. Namely, that pistil growth accelerated in both plants at the same time. In other words, while #1 was stunted for a good 7-12 days longer than #2 was, and while its vertical and horizontal growth reflect that (it's growing at relatively the same pace as #2 was at that point), it's growing substantial pistils at this point, whereas #2 was not when it was at that height/width. It's not conclusive, of course, and there could be other factors that contributed to the phenomenon, such as the condition/moisture of the soil, but the timing of it suggests that the increased light output is likely a contributing factor if not the primary factor.

Speaking of different conditions, I did get a timer that allows for cycling in smaller spaces, so the plants aren't going through 1-hour periods of steadily increasing heat every two hours. At the moment, the vent fans go on for 5 minutes, then off for 10 minutes, and cycle that way continuously. It seems to be keeping the temperature more steady in there, though it has dropped overall in there since the outside temperature dropped yesterday, and the indoor temperatures in my house along with it. I also turned on the heat today though, so hopefully it'll get things back into the 75-82 degree range again (today it dipped into the lower 70s).

I also turned off the dehumidifier in the tent for the first time in weeks today, as the hygrometers (built into the thermometers) were reading around 40%. I'll see what they read tomorrow, but I'm guessing that whenever the next time is that I water, that I'll want to turn it on again so as to assist the long, long process of drying the soil out.

And that's about it. I'm attaching some pics below of side-by-sides of 10/7-10/18 for each plant, so as to display the growth progress since I last posted.

Num1_Reg.jpg
Num2_Reg.jpg
Num2_Side.jpg
 
ComfortablyNumb

ComfortablyNumb

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Increasing your light will do that. I would still add a nice 150w flood light. Marijuana is a very high light plant. What you are giving it is enough to grow, but not really cut loose.
Watch this, it is based on a hydro grow, but the plants still use far more than you realize. Learn to calculate your DLI. It's important as it affects everything in all grows but living soil, and even there it changes the water uptake.

Dr. Bruce, Hydroponics 101,Max Yields, DLI
 
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