New grower. Looking for a consultant. Lol

In Illinois and attempting my first grow. Been reading a ton and would like any advice anyone might give.

Have a Maui Wowie in the right that I took from a friend who germinated from seed on April 30. He got frustrated and gave up, as the plant looked stunted. I replanted in fox farm ocean forest June 30. It looks better, but still looks like it has nitrogen deficiency. Both plants have leaf minors. I hit them with neem oil on Saturday. Will neem oil kill the leaf minors?

The plant on the left is Zkittles. I germinated it on May 29. started it in used potting soil with no nutrients. I replanted in FFOF on Jan 24. To me it looks N deficient as well. I read with FFOF, I should not need to add nutes this early, but what do you think? I did top dress both plants today with Dr Earth 4-6-3.

Last question. I topped both plants for the second time, but it doesn’t look like they are developing second main shutes. Did I not take enough when I topped?

In addition, I am ultimately going to move them indoors in a week or so and keep them as mothers to try and pull clones for a SOG grow in a 3x3. If I get them greened up, do you think I can start taking clones this early?

my wife suggested they may be getting too hot sitting directly on the concrete. I propped them up on top of a soda crate to allow airflow underneath.

First of all welcome to the forum. In my opinion they could be locked out. No expert on that soil but I do know it’s very rich combine that with the top dress and I think your in danger of over doing it. If you’re going to grow these and others you’re going to need to be able to measure what the various levels are within your soil. Do you have any way of measuring your runoff

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Yes and no. Have a pH meter and tds meter but my tds meter only reads 0-999 ppm. Just ordered a new one today. It was from my old salt water aquarium.

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Just checked runoff with my tds and it registered 830ppm.

For the record:

  • What strain: Zkittles from WeedSeedz
  • Method: soil is fox farm ocean forest plus ~50% perlite
  • Vessels: plastic Pots
  • PH of Water, Solution, runoff (if Applicable): use tap water pH’d to 6.5. tds of tap water is 125ppm. Just took runoff with Milwaukee cd97 tds meter and it registered 830ppm
  • PPM/TDS or EC of nutrient solution: n/a
  • Indoor or Outdoor: outdoor for now. Will be moving indoor
  • Light system:. Will have 350w led diy with lm301b & lm301h Samsung diodes
  • Temps; Day, Night: outdoors right now 90ish/low 70s at night
  • Humidity; Day 60s - 80s
  • Ventilation syostem; n/a
  • AC, Humidifier, De-humidifier: n/a
  • Co2; n/a
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Values look near enough. I would monitor, I know that if they’re low on Nitrogen they will use the N in the lower leafs first

Appreciate the feedback. I’ll post updated pH and tds when meters come in.

Welcome to the forum. :+1:

I have never cut soil with that much perlite, wondering if maybe you wouldn’t be a little better off dropping ph to something closer to 6.0 and feeding a little more regularly like a soilless grow. 800ppm not that high for ocean forest. Did you also check your ph of runoff?


:point_up:t5::point_up:t5: Dude is on it. Thats alot of perlite even by my standards.

The pH would be insanely helpful.

When u say topdressed… by how much? It maybe throwing your soil’s pH for a loop and locking out other nutrients. Get you a good pH pen… itll help a ton. Dolomite lime may help, but im not comfortable recommending it without a current pH reading… may make stuff worse

Welcome to ILGM btw


Exactly. I’ve had ffof still read 2500ppm after a month.

Be sure the pots are full of drainage holes and only water when they’re thirsty. Sitting outside can put a lot of rain water into the soil.


I put a tablespoon of 4-6-3 Dr earth on top and watered. I’ve got a tds meter coming in today. Will check pre and post water/runoff.

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Checked pH this morning. Zkittles slurry was 6.5ph. I checked the runoff and it was 6.5ph as well. The Maui was 6.2 runoff. Water pH going in both was 6.9.

Tds meter comes in tomorrow. I’ll check that and post then.

I hadn’t touched them for a two days. They look better. Kinda think I’ve been overthinking just a bit.


Maui Wowie


New parents always overcompensate a bit. Just relax and enjoy the grow. They’ll pull right on thru

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Haven’t touched the plants in a couple days. What is going on here? I’ll water tomorrow and post tds numbers.

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pH in both waterings 6.5. pH of runoff 6.0

190 ppm water going in.
1995 ppm of runoff coming out of orange pot
980 ppm of running coming out of black pot.

I must say, I’m stumped. Does the orange pot have nutrient lockout? That one looks the worst.

Been reading to try and understand what I have going on. Have read that FFOF is notoriously low enough on pH due to the heavy use of peat. Thinking maybe I need to add a lil dolomite to buffer the soil a bit.