New member, first grow, need help with timing issue switching to flower

Hey there all. This is my first grow, in this century anyway, and it is quite a bit more of a task than I realized. My wife brought home 2 clones from the medical dispensary which sent me on a self directed crash course using ILGM, the internet and YouTube. After I figured out a timeline, I’ve known if the plant was an autoflower I was going to be in trouble because of a week long vacation I had planned would put me away during flower and I didn’t think I could depend on anyone to care for them while I was gone.
I am not certain of the age of them but they had at least 2 nodes when I transplanted them into what seemed to be 3 gal plastic pots. I used some inexpensive soil from a local home supply store (big mistake maybe) and all was going well. They started growing like crazy, the leaves turned really dark green and I figured that was because the soil was overloaded with Nitrogen. Scrambling to get what I needed and going off of a recomendation, I picked up the FF 3 Part Cultivation Nation nutrients without even knowing about any other of FF products or that a nice little feeding schedule was available until later. I also scrambled and bought a couple gadgets, like a pH meter, a TDS meter and a soil 3 way tester (moisture, pH, light). I started on what was intending to be a feeding schedule of nutrients, water, nutrients, water - at half the recommended amount on the bottles as per the information I had aquired by that time. The knowledge I wish I had aquired at that point was that no nutrients would be needed for the first few weeks if I was using loaded soil. Anyway, first watering was nutrients (I may not have had the TDS tester yet because I have no PPM readings in my records, pH balanced (after nutrients added = 5.84). I hadn’t noticed after transplanting but now I found the soil took longer to dry than what I had learned it would and figured it was too heavy but let it dry to the point my meter was below the low mark in the moist range at 2" and right on the separating line between dry and moist at 3". I watered with pH balanced water, drying time was the same as before, like 6 days. Then I watered the third time with nutrient. 5 days later when the soil was dry enough and figuring it was going to be starving for nutrients because the feedings were spread out further than what is normally and it was supposed to be fed nutrients once a week, I fed them nutrient water again. I will note that it was the same mix I had fed them the last feeding - which I had aerated (by recomendation) for about 30 mins. WELL, about 20 mins later, they both wilted like crazy - omg, I almost cried. After researching, I figured I had either not let the soil dry out enough and had overwatered them OR I had caused nutrient lockout.
A week later when the soil was dry enough, they still hadn’t started looking any better like I thought they might after drying out a little and it was either flush or feed - I chose flush. I flushed both with 5 gals of water with a flush agent by FF, and then 4 gal of water. Right after the last of the flush drips ended, I added 200mL of nutrient mix of Micro and Grow at 330 PPM and 6.0 pH. (Although I used SledgeHammer, I didn’t know about Boomerang at the time) Now one plant’s soil is lighter and dries faster than the other and the measurements of the run-off was a bit different for each, the heavier being the same PPM coming out at the beginning of the flush but at the end, the heavier one was about 120 PPMs more that the light soiled pot. With that being said (I know, I’m long winded), I don’t think I took my initial PPM reading correctly by grabbing it right away instead of grabbing from water after the soil was initially first fully saturated because the reading was only 657, pH out was 6.5. I would think if it had nutrient lock-out the PPMs would have been higher (this is mentioned again later) but I may not have taken the reading correctly. The final run-off after adding the 200 mL of nutrient mix mentioned before, measured 299 on the light soil and 423 on the heavy soil (pH 6.5 on both). I know that was low but now I was gun shy and didn’t want to chance locking them up or drowning them.
The next day, they seemed to perk up, but started looking sad in the evening (which I understand they can do a little before lights out. The next few days went the same but then they really started turning lime green, leaves started looking like they were wilting worse. On day 6 after flush with both soils showing dry, I fed them with a mix of Micro/Grow/CalMag (1/2 doses) measured to 640 PPM / 6.0 pH going in, run-off on the heavy soil was 1040 PPM / 6.5 pH (forgot to measure or record the light soil pot - geez!).
I should mention my watering skills are improving, all of these waterings was with less than 1/2 gal each, unless I got no run-off, then I’d add a little more just to get enough run-off to measure. I should also mention I had a small case of …what is that called…white fuzzy mold like growth on one of the leaves which I quickly pruned off and shut off my humidifier. I also developed fungus gnats on the lighter soil pot (odd), spread some diatomaceaous earth, that seemed to work for the most part. Hopefully knocked the rest out of the picture during the second transplant (mentioned later), haven’t seen anymore lately but I’m still concerned there may have been some larvae still in the root ball.
3 days after the last feeding they were still looking really sad, leaves at the bottom turning yellow or brown, like it was nutrient deficient. So I took the plunge with one of them, the light soil pot, and transplanted it into a 5 gal fabric pot using FF Ocean Forest soil. I knocked off all of the loose dirt I felt I safely could, inspected the roots which looked pretty good (no rot), sprinkled thm with Mycos and placed it in the new soil, and watered with straight pH balanced water. The next day it was looking pretty good, fed the other with 32oz Mix, 635 ppm / 6.0 pH, run-off was 8oz, 844 ppm / 6.54 pH. 2 days after that, the transplanted one was looking real good, starting to get color back, new growth was starting again and all was good - until you looked at the other one which was really really sad. It’s transplant time - all went the same, roots good - all went well with the transplant until it came time to water. Since I was going to use the same pure water I used 2 days earlier on the other plant, I aerated it while I was transplanting and decided to just double check the pH. It was showing 7.43. What? My tap water comes out of my well at 100 (+, - a couple) and around 5.15 pH which I have to adjust up to my desired 6.0 (which I may change after all this). So I got a fresh gallon of tap water, tested at 5.14 pH, put the aerator stones in it for 10 mins., tested again and it read 6.24. I put the stones in again for another 5 mins. and it read 6.88 pH. Another 5 mins and it was still at 6.81. I researched this and found that the reason has something to do with the air molecules driving out CO2 molucules which (for whatever) natural reason raises the pH. So that back to the watering where 20 mins later the plants FREAKED. That was the first time I aerated what was 6.0 pH water, that must have brought it up to around 7.5 or more. I wonder now if it had more to do with the nutrient lock-out and not nutrient overload - probably both.
It has been 4 days since I transplanted that last one and both are doing so much better, the first one doing a bit better with a few days head start on mending. I watered them today with aerated tap water at 106 ppm / 6.07 pH; first transplant took 1/2 gal in, run-off was 12 oz at 801 PPM / 5.89 pH & the second transplant took 3/4 gal in, run-off was 11.5 oz at 1036 PPM / 5.71 pH. Which brings up a question for another day - why is the run-off a higher pH when un-aerated water is used and the pH is lower in the run-off when aerated water is added? I’m going to have to research that.
I’m sorry for the long story but I’m now at the first of my questions (I say it that way cause I have so many rolling around in my head, but rest assured, I’m not going to ask all of them now - I’m a forum member for the distant future.
So now here I am starting into the 8th week of veg (since I first transplanted the clone) and it’s apparent I have photo period plants here. I am leaving on vacation out of state in 8 days which, if this grow had gone according to normal schedule, I would have still been out town during flower, would have put me away when it was close to harvest time. But since all of this trauma happened to them, I’m thinking it may be a blessing? Question 1: In the event this kind of trauma or worse happens in the future and the plant becomes weak and looses a week or two of growth (photo period plant of course), is it wise to keep them on veg for a week or two to let them recover some before putting them to flower? My thoughts are - Yes. Please correct me if I’m wrong here.
Question 2. I have read a few posts here on this forum and heard it elsewhere that if I am using a fortified soil like FFOF or some other loaded soil, I won’t need to give my plants any nutrients for 3 to 4 wks (which is almost the whole Veg time in the feeding chart). Now I know this is talking about a seedling and on into young growth but I’m figuring the same applies to my plants today since I just put them in fresh Ocean Forest soil. They are in soil surrounding a root ball of different soil and feeding an established plant so maybe the nutrients in the new soil won’t last the full 3 to 4 weeks? Maybe 2 or 3 weeks before nutrients? Maybe hold off on the Cultivation Nation parts for 2 to 3 weeks but use some CalMag now and onward to avoid possible calcium deficiency in the later stages of Flower? Please advise.
Question 3. The Fox Farm feeding schedule chart (I would put in a pic and I would have put in some pics of my plants in earlier if I ever get around to figuring out how to transfer my phone pics to my pc - wow!) I will mention I have obtained a feeding schedule from my local Garden Center and have purchased Big Bloom, Bembe and Boomerang (the last one I’m returning tomorrow, mfg date is Jan 6, 2020 - it’s only good for less than 3 months) but they wanted too much for their Open Sesame, Beastie Bloomz and Cha Ching - I’ll order it online tomorrow (although I’m not sure how to prevent getting an almost expired or fully expired bottle online) back to the feeding chart. There’s a few questions here. First, it says EXTEND VEAGETATIVE CYCLE: Repeat Week 4 - probably a dumb question but it won’t hurt the plant to give it the flowering boost Open Sesame once a week for say a 4 or 5 week extended Veg cycle? Second, via my crash course, I’ve found where some recommend for PPM 500-600 for clone/seedling, 800-900 Veg & 1000-1100 Flower. I know those numbers are general and the numbers in the feeding schedule look to be more specific and vary slightly and increase week to week so I guess the PPM given in the chart is just like the amts they recommend - twice what we need, right? In other words, if I’m supposed to use about half the tsp amount in the chart, then after mixing all I’m going to use, I’m wanting my PPMs to fall into a range of about half what is given for that week, correct? Third, the chart shows a flush after the 4th wk of Veg, then after 3 wks of Flower, & then again after another 3 wks of Flower. 2 scenarios = if a person is going to keep their plants in Veg for (don’t know if anyone does this but) say for an extra 3 months, would said person need to flush every 3 or 4 weeks AND/OR if trichomes are not clouding by the end of week 13 (extended flowering cycle = Repeat Week 12), would you want to flush again at that point? (on the first scenario, I say yes; on the second one, I wouldn’t think so since the final flush is to wash away the stored up nutrients and by the chart, the only nutrients given in weeks 11 & 12 are things to help enhance bud quality so it can only help, right?)
Like I said before, I have a lot of questions but I’ll break off for now. Sorry I am so long winded but I wanted to give you a little background on my first grow and get your advise. I welcome anything y’all can help me with. Thanks.

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I’m not even going to try to dissect all of that into parts but a good place to start is what is your ph meter 5.4 ph for straight tap water is suspiciously low , if its a cheap one it’s most likely not calibrated well or just bad

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Yeah, I tend to run on sometimes, I’ll refrain from doing that in the future. Yes, my pH tester pen is a cheap one off Amazon for $12 made by Roulan, part # ILEE, same color & specs as Vivosun’s they sell with a TDS tester for $18. It came with 3 packets of pH buffer powder (4.00, 6.86, 9.18) for calibrating but so far I have not done that, I figured it came factory calibrated and I would use the packets down the road when the pen was a little older. I wish I had another I could compare it to. Why do you think my tap water pH is suspiciously low? Maybe I should go ahead and calibrate it or just spring for a high dollar one?

This definitely this. I tried to dissect the wall… no luck. My brain cant process that much this early lol.

Apera 20 or Blue Labs… highly recommended pH pens. Cost a tad more upfront. But the piece of mind they provide is unmatched

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Glad it wasn’t just me, but welcome and awsome job on being through👍

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Yeah, sorry about the novel. Ok, I’m going to spring for a different pH tester. I put the Aspera Instruments model A1209. It’s still at the low end of their testers at 49.75, I’m still trying to stay cheap and hoping that’ll work. Your thoughts?

I read something along the way that said by the time you spent the money to piece part a grow tent together, you’d wind up spending as much or more than springing for a tent. I’m hoping my make-shift tent does ok. I’m thinking if this works well, I spring for a real tent for my second grow.

A question from my novel above I could use some help with - If I’m extending the Veg cycle to a total of 9 or 10 weeks, should I follow the FF Feeding Schedule’s average flush times, about 3 to 4 weeks average (like in the Flower columns)? It doesn’t mention it - only shows one flush after Veg week 4 prior to flipping to Flower.

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And also, in my own defense, I was just so excited when I finally figured out how to enter a new topic here and finally was going to talk to someone(s) about my new project that once I got started I couldn’t stop. :grinning:

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Yeah Evelyn Wood turned out to be a fraud. Short & sweet

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No problem my friend. It happens. Ive been guilty of making a wall of text as a simple answer before. No big.

Anymore big questions?

Definitely keep those scheduled flushes close to schedule as possible

Welcome to the community !

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That’s so acidic drinking that water would actually have a noticeable taste and I don’t think it’s too good to be drinking lol. Pretty sure his meter isn’t calibrated correctly or his water supply is suspect as hell.

And it’s not like you can run outside and yell…"come one,come all, ck out my grow :thinking: doesn’t work well.

Welcome.

Thanks for the welcome, kellydans. First forum to go along with my first grow.

My water tastes fine, or rather no taste to me, been drinking it for 10+ yrs. I’ve never had it professionally tested though. I have a new tester coming tomorrow, the APERA INSTRUMENTS AI316 Premium Series PC60 5-in-1, I’ll verify the numbers.

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Thanks NYDon, glad to be aboard.

Well, here’s my little babies, still mending from the trauma. (Please keep all the laughter to a mild roar. :laughing:) So I’m thinking they could use a little stategic pruning. I’m still working on the strategic part. Any and all tutoring is welcome.


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Welcome to the forum. Yea i do the same thing. When you enjoy writing and thinking, its hard to shut your brain off :joy:

Hope your girls turn out ok

You on well or city water? I don’t remember reading that and I tried scanning back through.

Big older fans that wont tuck outta the way get the snip.

Big fans blocking potential new bud sites? Snip!

Lowers that are stuffing up airflow? Snip!

Anything within inches of dirt? Snip.

There’s a million ways to do it. Just dont go edward scissorhands just yet. I like to pull a few big fans, spin the plant, go down a node, pull another, spin, go down, pull.

Just strategically try to visualize ones that can go and get to plucking.

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I am on well water. I don’t think I mentioned that. It’s pretty good water too.

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Thanks. I’m a bit apprehensive but I will work on that.

A little follow up on that well water low pH - turns out y’all were right, my cheap tester was out of cal. After calibration (took 3 times for the thing to cal!) my pH was coming in at 5.67, tonight it came in at 5.81. My pricey tester arrived today so that dilemna should be resolved.

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