First Time Grow - Advice & Setup

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by spawnsmash, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Hello, this is my first post to the forums, so if I've posted in the wrong place or broken any rules - my apologies!

    I'm 4 weeks into my first ever grow, and I'm quickly approaching what I've come to understand will be the most difficult part of the growing process - switching to flowering and prepping for harvest. I've been doing my research and reading as much as I can, but it's pretty hard to find straightforward answers most of the time. Any and all help/tips/suggestions, are greatly appreciated! I will include photos as well!

    Here's my setup:

    I chose to grow indoors, using a hydroponic system. I already had most of the stuff from growing peppers indoors. I built my own enclosure, which is lined with metallic insulation to help reflect light and regulate a consistent temperature and humidity. The enclosure is 2'x2'x4' - just big enough for one fully mature plant. I'm using a clay substrate to hold the plant in place and to block light from entering the nutrient reservoir. The actual plant is still in the peat pellet it was started in. For water circulation I am using a small pond pump which cycles 60L/hr in a 5 gallon bucket. The pump pulls the nutrients to the top of the bucket through aquarium hose, where it cascades and splashes lightly over the porous clay substrate to promote oxygenation. For nutrients I am using the Flora-Gro series - I know it's been around for forever and there's tons of new stuff on the market that might be better, but I have lots of experience using it and I'm comfortable with it. I have an intake fan, an exhaust fan, and a smaller circulation fan that creates a current of air across the top of the plant. For lighting I am using a 1000W LED, which has settings for veg/bloom. Currently still on the 18/6 veg cycle.

    I'm currently growing feminized "Island Sweet Skunk," which is a sativa dominant hybrid. Around three days ago, I made the decision to defoliate - before the flowering stage. Defoliation was where I ran into the most conflicting information, regarding when to do it, how much to remove, etc. My plant had huge fan leaves that were blocking new growth, and I was noticing that growth had slowed way down. I ended up cutting off ALL of the large fan leaves on my plant, which was a pretty risky move - but my plant was really bushing out underneath the fan leaves and the new branches were drooping due to poor light exposure. In the end it turned out to be the perfect move, as the next day, I was delighted to see that those previously drooping branches were now reaching up towards the light and looking strong and healthy! It looks like growth speed is really ramping up again! The only other modification that I have done was topping the plant to encourage two main kolas, which was done around a week before defoliation.

    My main concern right now, is when I should start the flowering process. My plant is about 12" right now, maybe a little more. Due to it being a sativa dominant hybrid, I know its height could very well double, and the way my setup is right now, positioning the light at a proper distance from the buds may become a problem if I wait too long. Comparing my plant to others I've seen online, the branches aren't quite as thick, and although my plant is at the right height, I worry about its ability to support its flowers once they arrive. From what I've seen, I'm really lucky to have a plant as bushy as this one has turned out - it should hopefully have many large flowers on it! I do have a lattice support system ready to put in place, but I'm wondering if I should wait another few weeks or kick it into flowering now? Will the branches thicken out in the flowering process? When I defoliated, I made sure to leave around a 1" stump from the fan leaves to add extra support to the new branches.

    Here are some pictures - one before the defoliation process, and one from this morning:
    (I know the date stamps of the pictures make it look as though the "pre-defoliation" photo was one day ago, but that is because I edited the picture with the caption and it was saved as a new photo with an updated time stamp - it really was around 3 days ago)

    Attached Files:

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  2. First off, your plant is looking very nice. As far as when to flower goes, that's entirely up to you. How much yield do you want or is there a potential number of bud sites/colas you're aiming for? Are you planning on giving her some serious LST? I hope so, especially when growing a sativa-dominant hybrid and your height limit is 4'. BTW is 4' really your height limit in your grow enclosure? I'm just asking because if you take into account the height of the plant (12"), the height of the bucket, the thickness of the LED light fixture and the distance you'll need between the LED and the top of the plant it sort of seems like you won't have much room left for the plant to grow vertically in.
  3. #3 spawnsmash, Jun 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
    Thanks man!

    Yeah, I am definitely going to super-crop. I don't think it is visible in the photos, but I have two sets of keyhole screws positioned at different heights on the frame for rigging lattice using cotton garden string. The first set is around the height the plant is at now, and the second set is about 1' higher. When I designed and built the enclosure I completely overlooked the spacing requirements for lights. I'm really hoping that since I am using LED's I will have some leniency in regards to potentially frying the flowers - especially once I switch to bloom settings and the temperature produced from the lights is significantly reduced.

    But, yeah, I am really torn on if I should switch to bloom now or to wait. I'm leaning towards giving it another week or so, since the growth has picked up again I feel like I could potentially miss out on a significantly larger yield if I switch now. I'm just totally lost on how much my plant will produce based on its current size. I wish I could look at my plant now and have some kind of an estimate as to how much it will produce. I'm really just worried that if I switch now I'd be stuck with a couple grams, but I could be totally wrong, and it could produce a few ounces which for my first grow I'd be totally happy with! I just don't want weeks of hard work and patience to amount to nothing more than what 5 minute trip to the dispensary would produce :p.

    Looking at the plant now and having an idea of it's dimensions, could you give me a rough idea of what the yield would be? Breeder says average yield is 600g/m^2 - if that's any help!

    Thanks again!

    EDIT: I've attached a photo that isn't angled from above to give a better view. The LED's do weird things to my phone camera, so the shadows casted/dark areas aren't actually like that irl.

    Attached Files:

  4. Best time to start any type of supercropping or LST is early on in veg before the stalks become too thick to bend. From the looks of the 2nd pic above I don't see much training yet.

    Yea LED lights can be more intense than people give them credit for, especially the higher wattage ones. You need a good distance between the plant's canopy and the lights so the plant's don't end up slowly frying to death lol. I can't really say at this time what your yield may end up being. Ask me again late in flower lol. The breeders give an estimate, but the final yield will depend on the growers talent, proper training techniques and good lights.
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  5. Yeah, I definitely should have started earlier. I've seen some people will pinch branches later on in bloom when they are getting too tall/close to the light, to even out their canopy. I have no idea how this will really affect the yield of those flowers.

    I ended up switching to flowering 1 day ago, and switched out the nutrients today to "transition bloom" (1.5tsp/gal micro, 1.5tsp/gal veg, 1.5tsp/gal bloom). I also put the lattice in place in preparation of flowers forming. I've attached a photo - I think my lens might have had some dust on it - the plant looks a little washed out - but the leaves are still a solid strong green, with no signs of disease or stress! So far, so good!

    Attached Files:

  6. So it's been a few days since I switched into the flowering light cycle (12/12). I've definitely noticed a surge of growth - but I'm a little concerned that I haven't seen any distinct buds beginning to form... I've noticed a change in the way it is growing - there is a lot of new growth between joints, and it is really bushing out - but I don't see any thrichomes forming on what I assume are pistols? I've attached a photo, does anyone have any suggestions/help? Thanks! 20190623_092715.jpg

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