For those of you who are interested in autopots, or just getting started with AP’s, this is my little guide.
Compiled with what research, opinions, and experiences from here or there.
This grow will consist of 4 indoor autos and 4 outdoor autos all in autopots.
You will have to source an autopot system from your local authorized distributor or from autopots online. A 4 pot system is great to start and it includes everything you need other than seeds, medium and chems.
I do recommend the smartpot system but if you are unable to get that system then simply buy the XL system and find appropriate pots (diameter) that will fit inside the XL trays.
Personally my hydro shop carries “Pot Pots” and they fit perfectly but most cloth pots don’t as they are slightly to big so keep this in mind.
If anyone else can link cloth plot brands that fit in autopot XL trays that would be ideal so please do.
Once you have your seeds your next thing will be medium, you have alot of options with autopots Infact the list is seemingly endless but I recommend coco(washed) /perlite (50/50 to 70/30) mix next in line would be promix HP with a bit of added perlite. I’ve grown in soil but it’s not ideal for cannabis in autopots because feeding multiple plants that have different needs gets complicated really quickly, also coco will grow much better plants because nutrients is available easier. I have seen people run straight coco but some of them run Into issues so I have stayed away and this medium mix seems to preform amazing.
I strongly suggest mixing In Mykos regardless of your medium.
If your are using cloth pots put your pot socks on before putting the medium into the pot, it’s much easier…i learned from experience lol.
Your going to want a good quality complete nutrient line that is free of Organics. Organics, like added kelp, will gum up your lines and aqua valves unless cleaned on an annoyingly frequent basis.
Personally I prefer dry nutrients as they have an almost unlimited shelf life and are cheaper most of the time, currently I’m using chemgro 4-20-39 which is similar to Jack’s 321 (Jack’s is cheaper so I would suggest that) another common would be General hydroponics dry nutrient line.
Another important factor is knowing your water, you will need to read your local water test that towns provide but if not you can send your water off for a sample to a lab. Don’t skip this step, yes you will need a PH meter and a tds meter but that won’t tell us other important factors that can play with variables like alkalinity, calcium and if your waste source is using chlorine or chloramine there is a significant difference.
Chlorine for example will evaluate when you leave your water out or you can filter it out with a cheap in line carbon filter (hey never buy bottled water again!) while chloramine you will need to treat your water before giving it to pets or plants.
Now it’s time to set up your AP system.
The most important thing is to find something very stable and the right ergonomic location to place your reservoir, as close and as high as you can but minium 6 inches off the lowest part of where your line/trays will sit because its gravity aka hydrostatic pressure that will make the water flow. I have mine on top of a tote with a piece of plywood over it but I’m 6’6 and it works for me, the reason I say as high as possible is this will increase the pressure and you will have less chance of a gummed up line or other issues that could prevent the system from working a couple weeks or months down the road.
YouTube has great AP instructions but basically you pop the grommet in the reservoir, attach the filter, put a little piece of hose then cut it so you can install an on/off valve (included) followed by running your line into your tent/tents and using T’s or 4 ways to split the line but don’t forget to put a extra piece of line and a valve at the end of the line so you can bleed the system once a week to prevent line build up. I have only done maintance every 3 weeks and I have left my plants for two weeks before without an issue but we will get to that later.
Some people buy extra valves and put them at each plant but I have read of multiple people having issues that the little valves are weak points and they tend to plug up easier then the hose or aqua valaves so I have avoided doing this. Once your all setup turn the system on and make sure everything fills, doesn’t over fill or leak.
Remeber to turn the system off though and drain the water from the trays this first time or when you put your pots in the floor will get wet from overflow.
So once all that is figured out soak your seeds in little shot glasses or something else, at this point its very important to mark everything clearly because if you mix seeds up you might never tell which is which.
Once you have little tails starting on your seeds chose your germination method, I recommend jiffy pucks and a propagation dome or rapid roosters, while many here prefer the paper towel method but I think that’s to much touching /hassle personally. Store in room temperature area until first set of leafs show. Ive stored my starters in my grow tent with a 20 on 4 off auto grow going and I’ve stored them in a dark shelf doesn’t seem to matter much in my opinion the temperature (room) and humidity (max) is more important I find. Keep them moist but not soaked all the time.
Check on them daily as you may ned to moisten them, if you want you can PH your water from the soak until harvest or you can do it post germination transplant I think I have slightly better germination results with ph’d water but sometimes I forget and unless I have ph’d water sitting around I don’t think it’s worth the hassle but keep in mind that my whole goal is to get the best results with the least amount of effort so it’s the most economical to my lifestyle
Once we get our seeds to germinate if they are still small give them a bit longer until they reach near the roof of the dome.
It’s time to transplant!
By now your medium should be in your pots and your pot socks (for fabric) or root disk (for plastic pots) should be on/in the pot.
You will want to pre charge your medium with light nutrients water mix, follow your feed chart for me it’s 400-500ppm at 5.8 - 6 ph.
If you grew in jiffy pucks often a root will grow out the bottom, you will need to cut the rest of the mesh off but leaving an area around that root or simply just plant it as is this is definitely the most delicate part of the entire grow.
Dog a little starter hole for your little monster and pour some Mykos right there.
Plant the little one and then pack the medium down around it before giving it a bit of a drink to help kick of blending of the two mediums.
It’s ideal to plant into the autopot as soon as possible to allow the tap root to go down to the base of the pot as fast as possible so the system can be turned on, as it’s currently off until then and we will be top watering for at least 10 days but more like 14 days.
Personally I water right at the base of the plant ever so slowly and avoid the normal method of watering in a circle away from the base, this is due to the theory the roots will grow Down faster as the water/mosture will stay closer to the center but this is personal theory only.
It is however important to keep the top of the coco holding mosture for these first little bit to help the humidity stay high in the dome.
Yes dome, you will want to make or buy plant domes unless you are able to keep high levels of humidity in your grow tent.
If you are able to keep high levels of humidity in your grow space then don’t dome and instead have a light breeze on the plants, just enough to shake their leafs a little. This low stress method strengthens your plant at a younger age and helps build bigger stronger stems & roots which lead to a healthier more productive plant.
There are a couple other key variables to be considered about in your grow environment like fans/wind/air flow, which will also prevent mould and mildue issues, one of which is light.
I recommend knowing exactly what type of light you have and it’s K or Kalvins, getting a LUX app on your phone phone, googling a LUX to PPFD app flowed by learning how to calculate your DLI (daily light interval), you want 40-60 DLI.
It will depend if you have autos or photos for your light scedule but the DLI doesn’t change as of now there is no research suggesting so at least.
Ultimately you can keep an eye on your node spacing, under 1" and ideally 1/2".
At this point we are just playing a waiting game, our nutrient mix will stay the same for the first one to three weeks so what I have done is mixed up a nutrient solution in my reservoir and Ph’d it, this allows it to stay more stable as its a larger body of water/nutrients. Every day we re check the PH and the TDS before feeding and we top feed until the plants have their leafs reaching the edge of the pot as this is a clear sign roots are at the bottom of the container and can now bottom feed with the system on.
One thing I have noticed is that when mixing a reservoir full of dry nutrients you want to double check it after 24hr because the TDS will rise as the final salts dissolve, one down side to dry nutrients.
Don’t use an air stone in your reservoir but you can put a little submersible pump in the bottom on a timer that kicks in once or twice a day for a little bit to keep things mixed. @Not2SureYet made a good point as the pump is great to empty the reservoir fast, this can come in handy when needing to start over or pump some mix out in order to make room for water to dilute your reservoir from the time to time mistake of tds being to high, it happens and is noticeable after the 12 to 24hr mark and thus on mix days my plants go 1 day without the system on.
I will be re organizing my tents and setting up my outdoor autopots tomorrow or soon after so stay tuned. I had some germination issues so I’m waiting for finalized success of a first week before postings what strains I will be growing.
So here we go, follow along at the bottom with the watch setting ifyl your j.
My lady haul is still drying two of the plants but the two dry weights that are in are 8.5oz and 6.8oz from lemon Ak’s from fast buds, to which I have heard they have good but small plant genetics.
We will be growing leftover auto freebies inside and choice outdoor autos outside for my Canadian prairies 2-3 month summer.