Soil & water questions

ok, brace yourselves, this is going to be long winded!

all the soil info i have found on this forum has to do with fox farm soils. ive noticed it is really expensive. im looking to do a cost effective grow. i blended 2 different types of scott’s brand topsoils 50/50 with about 25-30% vermiculite blended in. no other fertilizers or nutrients added. the soil has a nice rich scent one would expect for potting soil.

i also bought a soil pH tester- but it seems to have vanished into thin air. we searched for it for the better part of 2 hours and it never reappeared. looks like im gonna have to buy a new one.

i bought ILGM’s auto-flower mix pack (blueberry, northern lights, amnesia haze).

i hand picked the smallest, scrawniest, most pathetic looking seeds from each strain to germinate first. over the course of a few days, all 3 of them germinated with a taproot. all 3 of them went into soil on the same day ( 6/1/2020 ) this was no accident.

now, the soil i put the seeds in was 50% the soil blend mentioned above, and 50% burpee seed starter soil. they say whats good for tomatoes is good for weed, and i have had success with this type of blend before (with tomatoes).

in addition to the weed plants, i also planted a few different types of vegetables, they are using the exact same soil blends as the weed. 2 different types of tomatoes are among the food plants i am also growing. all plants have been started off in solo cups (yes, with drainage holes at the bottoms).

as mentioned above, my soil pH tester grew wings and flew away, so i was unable to test for that. but i have been able to approximate the water pH thanks to lithmus strips i got to tide me over while i wait for my digital tester to arrive on the slow boat from china. (pH at around 6-7)

all plants started off with distilled water until the lithmus strips arrived. after that, i started using the tap water (exactly 13 days into grow).

(i must digress for a moment to explain that our tap water is well water. i know it has minerals in it, not sure what all there is, but calcium for sure. i dont know what the PPM count is on the minerals in the water… is this calcium bad? will boiling the tap water remove the minerals if need be?)

back to the plants- grow journal is like this:

(room where plants were put temps reach up to 85-90. dont have a way to measure humidity yet- but it is humid where i live, averages about 65% RH according to google)

june 1st:
germinated seeds went to soil. added 1/4 cup distilled water to bone dry soil, left in window sill (light and tent not set up yet)

june 3rd:
amnesia haze has first leaves, blueberry and northern lights sprouted out from soil. plants moved under grow light (mars hydro TS1000- set to 75% intensity), 2 feet from plants. soil bone dry again. added 1/4 cup distilled water to all plants. small fan added to room to keep air moving. light on for about 36 hours.

june 4th:
blueberry and northern lights grow first leaves. amnesia haze is about 1 inch tall and looking good. timer added to grow light- 16 hours light, 8 hours darkness. this is the lighting schedule from now on.

june 5th:
northern lights browning and beginning to wilt. blueberry and amnesia haze looking good. soil bone dry again- another 1/4 cup distilled water added to all plants,

june 6th:

northern lights DEAD. blueberry browning and beginning to wilt. amnesia haze still thriving.

june 7th:
blueberry looks like shit. northern lights still dead.
soil bone dry again- another 1/4 cup distilled water added to all plants.

june 8th:
northern lights DEAD. blueberry DEAD. amnesia haze still looking healthy, but no further growth

june 10th-
soil dry- 1/4 cup distilled water added to amnesia haze. no longer bothering with the dead plants.

june 11-15
no changes. amnesia haze still 1 inch tall and with same leaves as when sprouted.
soil dry on the 13th, added 1/4 cup pH balanced tap water added

june 16th
amnesia haze not looking good… turning brown and wilting. not looking good. soil dry- 1/4 cup pH balanced tap water with fox farm nutes* added to amnesia haze.

(vegetation nutes at 50% less than directions call for) (same nutes given to food plants)

i expect the amnesia haze will be dead by end of today (june 17th)… “Way She Goes, Boys…”

as i mentioned, my soil PH tester vanished so i havent been able to measure that. but on the other hand, im also growing veggies in the same soil blends, including watermelons, squash, 2 different types of tomatoes, and bell peppers. all the food plants are thriving and loving the marshydro ts1000 light and scotts topsoil + vermiculite/ burpee starter soil blend. they all have also been getting the same amount of water and care as the weed plants. the food is doing fine, but the weed not so much.

so does anybody got an idea what went wrong? i am pretty sure i did not over water them. it does get hot in texas. the room the plants are in is not airconditioned, but there is a fan. im pretty sure the light is not too strong, i decreased the intensity by 25%, and light is 2 feet away from the plants. food and weed plants are all in a clear bin together, with cheese cloth covering the top to keep bugs out.

food plants are ready for transplant and will take up more space, so i will be setting up my grow tent soon… my tent is 8ft X 8ft X 6.5ft tall.


on a secondary note, i started germinating 3 new seeds june 13th, about 12pm. one of each strain again. this time picked seeds at random. blueberry grew a taproot in about 24 hours. by 30-40 hours- northern lights had its taproot. they both went into soil june 15th about 2am. amesisa haze has not yet germinated, not sure if it will.

So were you giving them nutes from the jump?

1/4 cup of water a day in a solo cup was likely the demise of them. Should be giving them water in mL at that young of age and most of that is sprayed into a dome so they can pull the moisture from the air since they don’t have a root system yet to suck up the water that way.

Calcium= good

Unfortunately they are a completely different animal than your food plants and house plants. They are weeds after all.

Sorry if I missed anything

Edit: saw this

So they’re out of solo cups? You have pics of your set up?

no, i watered them with plain distilled water every other day or two, once the soil dried up. no plants got nutrients until the last journal entry. setup is nothing special, just plants in solo cups, in a clear tote with cheese cloth covering the top, acting as a screen to make sure bugs dont get to the plants and eat them… cheese cloth help in place with a few bungee cords. this is a temporary setup. my tent is not set up yet. hoping to be able to get that done by the end of the week

i havent taken any pix, im gonna be busy today. i got appointments to go to… fixing to be heading out in about an hour or so. the food plants are ready for transplanting to larger vessels, gonna do that once the tent is set up. gotta move a hoard out of this room for the tent to be set up. also still waiting on sciency equipment to come in, gotta buy more stuff next month… i did kinda jump the gun on planting seeds, but im trying to dovetail operations to save a little time

Ohh, I understand now. I only give solo cups 1/4 cup of water 3 days before I drop seeds in them. That’s all they get until just before transplant. I place a clear solo cup over them and mist that with water daily so I can get the humidity up to 90%. That’s where they’re going to get their water from until their root system is developed. Definitely won’t want to add nutrients until the cotyledons yellow and die off. Those are holding the nutrients for the seedling stage. You may not need to feed until well after that depending how nutrient rich the soil you used is. You can find that out by performing a slurry test and test it with a TDS meter to see how many PPM’s your soil is holding.

i dont have a TDS meter yet, i recently found out i needed one. i will send off for one next month along with the other things i have in mind to buy… also, an update, i checked the plants just a few minutes ago, about the amnesia haze i was expecting to die- not only did it bounce back but it looks like it has grown more leaves

also, an update, i checked the plants just a few minutes ago, about the amnesia haze i was expecting to die- not only did it bounce back but it looks like it has grown more leaves… seems maybe it needed that feeding? … from what i can tell, the 1/4 cup just moistens the top half of the soil. after reading on the forum i see lots of people use the dome method. but its so hot where i live im not sure how well the plants will handle it

Just FYI fox farms can be pricey, I was paying 50 a bag until I went on the fox farms website and looked at the local dealers map. Although it’s not legal where I live , I actually found a local horticulture shop. I am in there every week now bought lights , soil for 20 instead of 50 , and other miscellaneous items. Plus it’s so great having a local shop for questions and to see in person what can be done.

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my plants seem to be doing fine in this regular topsoil blend. ive spent nearly $1,500 on tent and lights, so i am gonna have to cut corners everywhere else. i just cant bring myself to pay a premium for dirt, the stuff i bought was about $2.50 a bag. and if you think i am cheap, my wife would throw a fit if i even thought about spending $20 on a bag of dirt… she is already not too happy about what ive spent on tent and lights, let alone what im going to be using it for… and shes mad that i need more sciencey stuff to go inside the tent… so yeah- i gotta keep the cost down as low as possible… besides that, this is the most money ive spent on something that aint got an engine and wheels

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Trust me I get the wife issue, mine told me the next time I used the comment " I just need one more thing for my tent and then I’m done" I would be sleeping in the tent. Only issue with cheaper soil is balance of nutrition.

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i was hoping the plant food i bought would keep that in check. i got fox farms trio (one bottle of veg, 2 different bloom bottles) do you know much about fox farms soil trio?

That’s what I use but I use happy frog soil which allows me four weeks before I use it, with a less hot soil you will need to start earlier. Always start with 1/4 dose for a few weeks then go up to half. Monitor your ppm readings and adjust accordingly.

i dont have a ppm meter yet- it wasnt until a couple days ago i knew it even existed. all the research i did never mentioned this tool. i wont be able to order one until next month, no telling how long it will take to arrive on the slow boat from china. my digital pH meter arrived today. are there any other sciencey tools i will need? please make a list for me, anything i will need for sure… maybe a separate list for stuff thats nice to have. thanks in advance

Ph and tds meter is really all you need. The tds will tell you the nutrient levels.

i got a digital ph meter (lithmus strips to use while waiting on meter to arrive) pH up & down kit, soil tester (tests moisture levels, soil pH) (that seems to have disappeared)… next month i plan to get a humidity meter, thermometers, TDS meter, and most likely some sort of fan and ducting system for the tent… i already have 3 lights, at some point i will want to add a 4th and then maybe 5th light to the tent. my tent is 8ft X 8ft and 6.5ft tall

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I was gonna say that’s a lot of lights, what size is your space but I see. I don’t do one large space I got three setups so I can have all three phases going at the same time and an extra light just in case.

i am going autoflowering plants so i think one tent will do… and when i try my hand at photos, im only going to do one grow at a time. … but for this tent, i think maybe 4 lights will do the job. how many autoflowering plants can comfortably fit in a tent this size? same question for photos… and using only 4 lights. i will be using mars hydro TS1000 lights