Introduction, (In)experience, Tools of the Trade, Tricks and Trouble to Come

Hello Everyone, I’m Mike. Quick situation summary; retired in 2017 (33yrs military), so I’m relatively young. Bought a house in SW FL and moved here last Dec (2020). My terrier, Wellington is my housemate and as far as gardening goes, he’s a digger. Unfortunately, my gardening skills would likely be internationally classified as ‘assistant digger’.

This particular hobby was suggested by my son. He seemed to think it was going to pair well with leatherworking, woodworking, chainmail weaving and making in general. So, after 33+ years of living under a zero-tolerance policy (didn’t say I didn’t inhale here and there… didn’t say I did), I readily jumped at his suggestion.

After all, it’s Florida and I had intended to screw around with greenhouse growing or whatever it turned out to be. Apparently, THIS is where I’m beginning. Not to appear completely one dimensional – I’m also growing a fig tree and a desert rose. Although neither requires the level of effort I’m putting into the girls in the spare bedroom.

I bought a starter pack of seeds from ILGM and began planting in January of this year. Right now, I currently have 8 plants comprised of 5 different seed strains. In particular I’m going to describe where I’m at with my Jan 16th Girl Scout Cookie (GSC) sprout and my Feb 10th Gorilla Glue (GOA) sprout followed by the best-guess work, foibles, possibly and probably mis-steps and likely more questions than answers.

Disclaimer: I intended to keep copious daily growing notes. I even started that way. Intended…

Currently the GSC is 120 days old and the GOA is 95 days old.

Environment: Both plants are potted in 5 gal. Vivosun planters using Fox Farms Happy Frog potting soil and are being grown indoors. Temp is always between 68-78 but steadier in the 72-74 range. Humidity is normal house humidity and never ranges to extremes in either direction. Despite their age difference both plants have been subjected to the same feeding and routine. I’ll talk about lighting later in the post.

Water/Feeding: I thought since I was using Fox Farms all I’d have to do was water the plants. I suppose I’ll never know because while reading forum posts and trying to learn as much as I can through the interlie, something got put in my head “Fox Farms is only good nutritionally for 6 weeks!!” Don’t know if that’s true or not because I panicked. Seriously, my plants were doing great and I didn’t wanna F things up by starving them! I ended up going with a product called MYCO+ It’s marketed as Super-Premium Root Inoculant with a 3-0-3 concentrate and some other super good shit supposed to make things all good. Man, that just sounds… good. Whatever. Marketing. I bought into it and crossed my fingers. I used the product as directed and both plants continued to flourish.

Things were good at the GSC 90 day and GOA 65 day marks and the mad geniuses at AMAZON matrixes, predictabilities, algorithms and thisguylbuyanthing department – those F’s have an awesome handle on suggesting what I may or may not need but will probably buy anyway for my new hobby. So, I got me some “Grow Big”, some “Big Bloom” and why not… some “Tiger Bloom.” The only one I’ve used is the Big Bloom. It’s a lame, beginner reason, but it’s because it’s labeled as good for all stages of growth and I water my other 6 plants the same way I water these two. *Note: I discontinued using the MYCO+ when I began using the Big Bloom. Not a botanist and don’t know anything about adding different types of food at the same time except a lot of people think it’s a bad thing to do.

These 8 plants are my first go at this and honestly, I didn’t think I’d get as excited as I am about this. Regardless, I was expecting mistakes (still am) and can live with mistakes I’m sure I’ll learn from. But here they are at the current 120- and 95-day marks and they seem to be thriving and doing their thing.


The GSC (on the left) is 36” and the GOA is 39” tall. I topped each of them once and don’t even know why. Probably because so many people say it’s a good idea. I still don’t know enough about why. I don’t have height restrictions for growth so was it necessary?


GSC 05/15 (120 days)


GOA 05/15 (95 days)

Lighting:

As shown in the pictures, those are “Grow Light with Stand, Slaouwo LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants, Smart Red and Blue Spectrum Grow Lamp Stand with Timer for Seedling, Auto ON/Off, Adjustable Tripod Stand & Gooseneck” as sold through Amazon.

LED Grow Light

Model: SP316

Red:Blue:White 96:48:48

96W

Red and blue spectrum with spectral wavelengths 380-800nm.

120-degree beam angle

Don’t know whether I need them or not. I also use one of those Milwaukee brand shop floodlights that really throws the white light and a secondary small floodlight also providing white light.

All of the seeds I bought from ILGM are autos, so I went with a 24 hr full light schedule for all my plants. It was just one less thing I had to think about. Yeah ‘timers’, blah blah blah… and then I’m not home for a power outage and Darkness Falls. Haha. Seriously, one less thing for me to think about.

My questions:

Particular to these plants:

  1. Based on the photos and the ages (120 and 95 days) are these ready for harvesting? My gut tells me ‘so close, so close…’. I have a jeweler’s loupe being delivered on Monday. Today is Saturday. Not sure I’d personally notice any thc level adjustments between a cut now or in a few days, if in fact it’s ready to be cut now… or yesterday? Yeah… all of that translates to a question. :wink:

  2. GSC leaves are green in real life but shade dark purple when photographed with my phone. Is that my phone or a chemical imbalance being exposed by the photography?

  3. Some GCS leaves have recently died (3 days? I have a guest right now, things are getting jumbled, ffs!) Is that saying “cut me, Mick?”

General:

  1. I have a $20 soil tester, probably one of those Rated #1 (for our wallets) that Amazon figured I’d need. It’s a three in one with an analog scale that’s difficult to read with much accuracy on the pH scale. I’m wondering if a digital tester would be a good thing or overkill. I suppose if I altered the products I use and really got into making pH adjustments based on media, maybe I’d need it then, but now? Not sure.

  2. Light and lighting. Big BIG difference between full sun and trying to make light indoors. That’s a scale on my three-in-one meter that really shows the difference between outdoor and indoor lumens. When YOU grow indoors how much light do you use and how do you quantify it? How much white vs. red and blue? What does it all mean, Basil?

Rick Sanchez says to his grandson, “Because I’m a scientist, Morty, not a magician. One invents things the other wears bad eye-liner." Right now, my botany science level is resembling creepy eye-liner level. But, I’ll keep reading and learning. I’m really looking forward to learning from everyone here.

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Wow I can’t read all that now but I read far enough to say welcome, thank you for you’re service, and also welcome to sunny Florida!!!

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Welcome!

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Welcome your definitely going to need to up grade your light

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Well, first off: Welcome to the forum!

You’ve put a lot out there to digest. Here are a few high spots that popped out:

Hard to tell how far along plants are with those pictures: white light is best.

This is nowhere near enough light to flower off plants. Here’s the deal: light is the engine that drives all processes within the plant. Without adequate light the plant will suffer with long node spacing and loose, airy, low potency flower. It also makes it harder to supplement when nutrient demand is lower than is expected with these products.

This device should be bent into a horseshoe and deposited in the nearest circular file lol. They are completely worthless. Good digital PH and TDS meters are readily available and one brand gets a lot of use here: Apera.

Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation and hype regarding lights. LED’s are the state of the art and good lights blow away anything other than sunlight. The operative is good: almost anything on Amazon is junk. Other than a couple of lights buried behind all of the ‘China’ lights, it’s a waste of money.

Brands I’d recommend: HLG is top of the list, CHILled Logic, California Lightworks, I think Gavita is making LED’s but start with HLG (Horticulture Lighting Group).

Download The Free Marijuana Grow Bible - The Utimate Guide to Growing! ilovegrowingmarijuana.com

Some material is dated but will give you a better idea of growing.

I’ll put up my current journal: read it over if you like and ask me questions: that’s what I’m here for.

If this is something you wish to continue with, it would be good to look at what your budget is for both space and $$: this will be helpful when it comes time to point you down the path as it were.

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Welcome. Before any thing else you need to bring some of that FL inside. If you want to grow inside you will need to put some $$ into quality lights that reward you for the effort you put into your plants.
This is a jack herer auto I harvested in Dec. It produced well and could have been better if I had better lights. It was under a couple of blurples and a Kind Flower bar. Right around 300 watts covering 4 sq ft.


Your girls are not quite ready to harvest. The pistils need to turn orange / brown and the buds will fill out some more. To produce good dense buds you need lights geared toward cannabis.

The main reason to top a plant is to produce multiple colas and have a wide level canopy. A level canopy allows an equal amount of light to benefit all parts of the plant. With a tall plant only the upper part receives light while the bottom does not receive enough to produce much of anything.
This plant has been trained to have a level canopy. It is just starting to flower


Hard to see across the top but you get the idea

Good luck and good job on your plants.

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Thanks so much for the links to useful products. I realize everything (almost everything) was a starter and would need replacement. For me though, it was important at the time to ‘just get started’. I didn’t want waiting for a perfect plan keeping me from executing a good enough for now plan. My current plan is to complete the grow cycle on these current plants while replacing/upgrading, and even finding I may need something I don’t already have. I’m converting a 5’x5’ walk-in closet for the next round. Lighting design is on my front burner. Good stuff.

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Wow, those are awesome pictures! On my list… figuring out how to use my awesome phone that’s better at taking pictures than I am! haha. I like the way you show the benefit of the SCROG there. Did I get that right? In your picture, the plant looks so evenly, perfectly spaced. As the grower do you have to manipulate the plant physically from time to time to get the branches to space out so evenly? I can see how there would be a big benefit for me using that method as I’m converting a 5’x5’ closet for my next growing attempt. (Still on round 1 for a few more months.)

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I use a good ole Cannon EOS. The frame has two nets. I really don’t use them as a traditional scrog. I use the first to help spread the growth tips out. I am still tying them as need be too. The second net will hopefully be needed to support the buds. This plant was trained using Nubucket’s Mainline.
This her foundation from a few weeks ago. She has gotten bigger


First defoliation when she was flipped on 4/27


This is better shot of the two tiered frame on 5/4. It is 24x24

I move / relocate the buds as often as needed and as much as I can.
I need to do a good clean up soon to see where she is at. She has a lot of secondary bud sites. I need to figure out what stays for the duration and what gets thinned out.

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This is awesome. What I’m seeing is a setup that I can easily mimic/improvise in the closet I’m converting. That’s a great use of pvc for framing. Of course my setup will be different, I have different materials I can use to achieve the same concept. The detail in your picture showing how you secured the foundation is something I haven’t seen. I don’t think I could have visualized it without the picture. That pic is a win. Thanks!

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I had a boss say “a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week”. I thought it was brilliant. A few years later I found out that Patton said it first. :joy:

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What ever you do don’t give up this is a great hobby with great benifits.

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Welcome to the forum, and thank you for your service!

I’m a little late, but happy to help if the others missed anything.

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Welcome aboard @MasterChief
Veteran myself.
Very detailed in your introduction :+1:

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This is the previous plant’s sister and roommate. She is trained slightly differently. Trained as a Nebula’s Manifold and I got carried away and topped the mains again. Thus a hybrid Mainlined Manifold.
Showing this to show you can spread and secure the branches lots of different ways.


This is the same plant 20 some days later on 5/14. Your eyes are not playing tricks. She is is a claw foot bathtub.

You can check them out from the beginning at Let’s Grow Some Purple Kush

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Any updates? Chief?

Okay, quite a bit to update but I’ll try to be brief. So far, I’ve harvested and cured a Girl Scout Cookies plant and a Gorilla Glue plant. Yields were low; 10g and 16g respectively. I’m currently curing a second Gorilla Glue and am going to harvest a OG Kush tonight. I don’t have yields on either of them yet. I’ll have two more indoor plants to harvest and then the space I’m using will be ready for it’s “grow room” upgrade.

It’s a 5’x5’ closet with ventilation and electrical. I’ve purchased better lighting. I’m also building a custom table/stand to accommodate four plants. I intend to line the walls and ceiling with light reflective material but haven’t looked into the best material for that job yet.

Bottom line is for my first attempt at growing (multiple strains, even!) I’m not feeling too bad about how things went. I learned a lot and the weed ain’t bad. Not gonna win any awards, but it gets the job done. Lol. Seriously though, both the GSC and the GOA are aromatic and smoke really smooth. I’m pleased. I know what I can do better at in the next go round - and primarily that would include more detailed recording keeping.

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You would be surprised at amount of people that try but never get plants to a proper harvest. So take the win and pride that comes along with.

Don’t bother with reflective material either. Get yourself some flat white that will stand up to cleanings and paint the walls. It will do a great job at reflecting light.

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