Hi StephM and welcome to the city!
I'm a new grower too. I encourage you to click on my sig. and check out my grow journal. All you have to do in order to subscribe to anybody's thread in Grasscity, is to just come into their thread and say "Hi." We're both new, but I'm about 20 days ahead of you. So, for you, it'll be like getting a sneak peek at the next couple of weeks' episodes and you'll be better prepared to know what to expect and it'll be relatively fresh in your mind. Also, i've made a lot of mistakes and have gone through the trouble of documenting all my boneheaded mistakes so it could potentially save people just like you some heart ache by learning from my mistakes. That's what the city's for! Check out lots of people journals, especially people with ebb/flow systems and people growing the same kind of weed you're growing. It's one of the best ways to learn.
I want to follow your grow because I'm intrigued by the ebb/flow system. One of the things I'm learning really fast is the limitations of my own system (I run a DWC /w drip system) and i've started to learn about other hydroponic systems as a result. I've heard a lot of good things about ebb/flow, so I have high hopes for you, hehe. A couple suggestions from a fellow noob:
- You will
have plant problems sooner or later. And unless you want to be public about what you're doing, you need to have the tools to diagnose the plants yourself. If you don't have the proper diagnostic tools when plant problems happen, then you're just flying blind and unnecessarily risking your girls' health.
- So what tools do you need? You already made a great start by getting a ppm meter. I see you have a thermometer which is good too. You also need a hygrometer (humidity reading thingy). You might as well get a combo digital thermometer/hygrometer that records the minimum AND maximum temperature and humidity readings. Like this one:
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Chaney-Instruments-00613-Acurite-Humidiy/dp/B0013BKDO8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310540357&sr=8-1"]Amazon.com: Acurite Indoor Humidiy Monitor: Home & Garden[/ame]
It's only 13 bucks, and to be honest, you really don't want a little box for reading temps and another
box for reading humidity. The KISS principle really, really applies to growing cannabis. You just don't want all kinds of clutter in there when they start to get big.
You also need (yes, need
) a digital pH meter. And calibration solution for the meter too. I got a cheap 20 dollar one by Hanna Instruments and the solution's pretty cheap too. I have to recalibrate it sorta frequently (like every 2 weeks), but it's not a big deal. I'm going to upgrade to one of those nice-n-fancy all-in-one meters later on (and just chuck all my other meters), but I'm getting by just fine with my cheapie meters.
- In your pictures, I see your plants are equally spread out across your space. I did that too when I started, but I think it was a mistake. What happened to me was that my girls in the far corners were "stretching" to the light too much and started getting too "stemmy" instead of "branchy." Now I know you've been dealing with a feeding problem so you haven't been able to observe the "normal" growth of your plants yet, but you might find that the same thing happens to you. You want all your girls the same height so that they won't block the light from each other too much later on. Also, if plants get too stretchy, then you start to sacrifice how much weed you end up with because too much space is wasted.
All you have to do is move all your babies to the center and lower your light and bathe those girls in that intense light. As long as the heat from the bulb isn't hurting them, they'll love you even more. And when your plants start growing into each other or maybe you're worried about roots getting tangled, then you can gradually spread out your girls and raise your light to cover the larger area. The ability to do this is one of ebb/flow's greatest strengths. I can't do that. I have pre-cut holes where the net pots sit. It took a bit more work for me to simulate what I just describe above. For you, it'll be a breeze.
- Reverse Osmosis sytems are totally, totally, TOTALLY
worth it. Besides my hydro system, it's my single most important growing purchase and has impacted my grow more than anything else. You already know that light is the most important thing for a plant's health. Know what the 2nd most important thing is? Yup you got it. Oh and btw, did i mention RO systems are worth it? I got this one:Portable Reverse Osmosis - Premium Counter-Top, RO Systems & Drinking Water Filters | APEC Water
It's a bit more expensive, but it's small, portable (no need to worry about plumbing, which is good for a renter like me), very sturdy, high quality, easy to use and works really, really well. I get like 5 to 8ppm water now (tap water is 250). That's more pure than Poland Spring or Evian. Water is the one thing I wouldn't cheap out on if I were you. It's better to cheap out on nutes than water IMHO. Go out and make sure you get a "good" one. Something with all their parts NSF and FDA approved and you want a system made in USA, not China. You shouldn't have to spend more than i spent to get a quality system.
- Read the stickies on all the relevant forums here. Soooo much knowledge here. They're a great resource.
Well that's what i can think of for now. It's gotten pretty long and I didn't even get to ask any of my questions, but i'm tired now (also did my own journal update tonight too). I'm going to go put some Sour Kush in my bong and go relax. Till next time. I'll be watching.