I wanted to give a quick rundown on my experience using pH Perfect nutrients system. Like a lot of beginner growers, I started using Fox Farms trio nutrients. Anybody who has used Fox Farms knows you have three bottles of nutrients…which include Grow Big (largely used during vegetative growth), Tiger Bloom (large legally used during flowering stage), and a third bottle called Big Bloom which is essentially earthworm casings and bat guano (which I ended up using throughout the duration of my entire grow in order to add back the missing micronutrients in my nutrient void grow medium). In the beginning I would spend about a dollar per gallon of distilled water which got old really quick (and expensive too). I quickly decided that paying all that money for distilled water simply wasn’t worth it. However I live in an area with heavily calcified water (limestone). If you’re not sure if your water is super calcified look at your shower door and if it’s all covered in scum you fall into this category! What makes working with heavily calcified water difficult is that controlling pH and PPM is almost impossible without adding a ton of pH down (and yes… You will be using a lot of pH down).
After I finally got a couple of grows under my belt and mastered the basics of growing weed at home (and yes… I still consider myself a beginner)…I wanted to find a way that I didn’t need to spend so much money on distilled water and didn’t need to (tinker) so much with the nutrient solution in order to get the pH to be in the optimal range. I also wanted a nutrient solution that was a little less complicated and require far fewer steps to be effective.
I got an urge to set up a hydro system and read that using a nutrient solution that is chemical based versus plant-based would be far easier to clean and keep clean. After doing my due diligence I decided to use the pH perfect system.
After I went about setting up the entire hydro system… I started thinking that maybe I’m getting a bit ahead of myself? I just had two relatively successful grows and why fix it if it ain’t broke right? I decided that it might be better for me to just simply continue learning more about growing in nutrient void soils (btw… I have a really Kick-Ass homemade super soil recipe to share as well)!
It turns out that the pH perfect system works just as well in soil as it does in your hydro system. Another great advantage to the pH perfect system is that you mix all three nutrients solutions together in the same batch of water for the entire grow. No more figuring out when to switch from one nutrient bottle to the next. No more figuring out if you have a calcium deficiency a magnesium deficiency or any other kind of nutrient base deficiency. IF you are using heavily calcified water (like I do…right from the tap)…after you mix all three of your nutrients together in your water you can be assured your pH will be really close to 7 right off the bat. I tend to mix my water in 5 gallon buckets and hand scoop the water over my girls. Because I’m using heavily calcified water I can forget about getting that PH down to the 6.0 - 6.75 range…but I do find it really easy to get it just above that range which is perfect for weed! I typically achieve a pH of around 6.8 - 6.95 with adding minimal amounts of pH down (and I’m totally cool with that number)! I can’t tell you how much money I have saved by just using my tap water vs. distilled water.
About soil… I’ll provide a picture of my recipe below…but what I can say is that the soil I use is very light and airy. I grow in 5 gallon cloth pots. I typically water my girl’s about every 4 days. The amount I water is stepped up incrementally week-by-week. By the time week 7 rolls around I’m using about one gallon per plant. Because I use a really light and airy soil I find that my 5-gallon cloth pots tend to dry out around the fourth day. Another great reason to use a very light and airy soil is that it’s extremely difficult to overwater your girls. I generally just keep watering until I run out of water in my bucket (again…about one gallon per plant starting around week 7). I collect the runoff and discard after I’m done.
Here is what I don’t do. I don’t check the pH of my run off and I don’t check the pH of my soil. The pH perfect nutrient system continues buffer my soil pH (I guess…because I can’t see any signs of my plants showing pH and\or nutrient lock). Plus that’s what the product says it does in the description (imagine that)?
OK… That was a lot of verbal diarrhea… Let me simplify.
…I’m assuming you have your grow tent and everything you need to grow your plants already!
- Prepare your amended super soil as noted below in my soil recipe. I typically mix it all up on a big tarp in my driveway.
NOTE…if you are mixing this soil up in advance of your grow you can let it sit and compost on its own. However, if you want to use this soil in the next few days you’re going to have to wash it with about a gallon or two of water per each container.
- Sterilize your soil in your oven. I sterilize mine in 5 gallon galvanized planter pots I got at Menards. Sterilized at 225 degrees for about 2 or 3 hours. This kills all the bacteria, fungus and creepy crawlies in your soil that you have no idea are there (but they are)!
- Divide your sterilized soil into the number of cloth pots you will need for all your plants. Then go ahead and stick those in your grow tent. This is when I generally flush them if I’m using the soil without composting it first. In fact… I never compost my soil. I just mix it up, sterilize it, wash it, and put it back in my grow tent.
- Germinate your seeds (everybody seems to do it different so do what works for you). I find germination to probably be the hardest part of the entire grow for me. I think it’s because I’m just too impatient.
- Assuming your germination was successful…transplant your seedlimgs into their permanent home. Be careful if you use a humidity dome because your plants can succumb to damping off if you keep your grow environment too moist! (I know from experience as I’m sure you probably do too). Resist the urge to water your plant for the next 5 days. However…I do use the top of a 2 liter soda bottle to shield my seedlings every morning when I run a light mist as close to the stem as I can get while using my two liter humidity dome as a barrier to prevent water from getting onto the ceiling. do not put the humidity down back on if you have a few sets of leaves showing on your ceiling.
- Continue like this for the next two weeks…each morning checking your plant, lightly misting it and making sure not to get water directly on your seedlimg. Essentially just enough water to make the topsoil appear damp.
- Starting week 3…I begin pH perfect nutrients mixing 3ml of EACH solution (there are three bottles in this system) in to 1 gallon of water. Again… 3 ml of each solution into 1 gallon of water. Week 3 is also when I begin LST (low stress training). Around week 3 I find that I’m using just under a half a gallon of h20 per plant (probably).
- Continue like this (watering around every 4 to 5 days… again this is what works for me). Each week…continue to incrementally increase the amount of nutrient you are incorporating in your watering nutrient solution. (Ex: week 3 = 3ml per gal, week 4 = 4ml per gal…and so on). I NEVER mix my nutrients greater than 50% of what the directions recommend.
(What the hell does that mean)? Right now I’m in week 7 of my grow cycle and showing signs of increased flowering in my plants. I’m mixing my nutrient solution at 40% strength or about 6 ml per gallon. I doubt I’ll go much higher than that and will probably continue to just use the nutrient solution at 40% strength throughout the entire grow.
- When you’re about 2 weeks out from harvest (everybody decides this differently based on whatever they use to make that decision…I use an electron microscope and check the trichomes to ensure they are cloudy). This is when you want to switch to all water and just flush the shit out of your girls. I’m using about a gallon and a half per plant to flush… While maintaining the same watering schedule (which as I stated above is about every 4 to 5 days).
- You can use whatever lightcycle you want to (I like growing autoflower plants and enjoy keeping the lights on for a 24-hour light cycle through VEG until week 7… Then I switch it to a 20-hour on 4-Hour off cycle.
That’s about it!!