Just add water - LED and Compost

Discussion in 'Organic Grow Journals' started by Mount Safurious, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. I am currently about 3 weeks into flower on this grow, however I do have some pictures from veg so that you can all see the progress of this plant.

    I am growing feminized Grapefruit Krush from seed. I started with 5 seeds and selected the most vigorous plant of those 5. Seeds were started in jiffy seed start mix in solo cups. After about 2 weeks in the solo cups I transplanted her directly into a 15 gallon fabric container which I had filled halfway up with homemade finished compost which I had sifted through a 1/4" mesh screen. The compost was largely created from fallen apples from our two apple trees, as well as some old unused super soil I had made about a year ago, as well as some kitchen scraps.

    On top of the compost, I added about 4 inches of G&B raised bed mix which I gently mixed with the compost below it to give a sort of nutritional gradient. On top of this now about 60% full pot, I added regular promix as a buffer for the young plant. The idea here is that the plant will grow into the rich mixture but will have plenty of room to spread its roots if it is not ready yet for the compost.

    A note about the compost and critters: Being homemade compost and all, there were a number of critters that transferred over with the compost. The ones I have noticed are: red wiggler worms, millipedes, a single centipede (which i saw once and never saw again), 2 kinds of soil mites, and a flightless black beetle.

    Allow me to give you my thoughts on each of the above.

    1. The red wiggler worms; beneficial to have. Basically they can transport nutrients and aerate the medium, and wont attack the plant.

    2. The millipedes; mostly not a problem. They are detritivores, meaning they eat decaying matter (which is good). They will however attack the roots for moisture if the medium gets too dry, so that's something to look out for.

    3. The centipede; Not a problem. They are carnivores, meaning that it will not attack my plant at all. Kinda creepy knowing he's in there though.

    4. The soil mites; Beneficial. Okay I know what you're thinking here, OH GOD MITES! But don't worry, these are NOT spider mites. There are 2 kinds of mites that I typically see in my compost. One is a fast moving tan-ish colored mite which I believe to be Hypoaspis Miles or a similar species. These are a predatory mite which have no interest in my plant or roots (I did a test where I buried some roots from another plant in the top 2 inches of this pot and 1 week later there was no evidence of heightened mite activity around them). I've also seen them attacking/eating other dead insects, so I feel good to have them around. The literature indicates that they control fungus gnat populations as well. As a bonus, they deposit chitin (which is a primary component of their exoskeleton) when they die.

    The other mite is a slower moving deeply red colored mite. It is often present in my compost and seems very attracted to decaying matter, especially things like watermelon rinds. This guy I'm not so sure about, however I haven't seen them go after my plants at all, and I have seen them go after dead beetles, so I feel like I can rest easy.

    5. The black beetles; Not a problem. I don't know what they are, or where they came from. They only were around for 2-3 weeks and never did much of anything. They couldn't dig, they couldn't fly, they had very hard exoskeletons and they were completely black and about the size of pin head. I did see them getting eaten by the mites.

    Back to the plant.

    She was vegged under a platinum p300 led light, and rotated regularly to keep an even canopy. I topped her at the 6th node, just folding the very tip of new growth over so that it snapped off (I like this technique because it allows the plant to keep the developing fan leaves which become huge after topping). At around 2 months, I moved her to the flower tent (2'x4'x7') under a p600 led light. I dropped a scrog net on her and spread her out, while still keeping the light cycle at 18x6.

    Each day I would shorten the light cycle by half an hour such that she reached 12x12 over a 12 day period (so I'm not totally sure what day of flower this counts as). I was really concerned with the p600 bleaching/burning the leaves as it did in the past on my vanilla kush, but I am pleased to say that there has been no burning/bleaching at all. I believe starting under the p300 helped this tremendously as the plant was already used to the kind of light and intensity the p600 produces.

    At about 2 weeks (1 week ago), I noticed the plant was nearing the end of the stretch, so I dropped a second scrog net on her to help get a little distance from the light and also improve canopy density. I also pseudo-lollipopped her, meaning I removed all of the lower branches that didn't reach high enough, but I left the leaves. My reasoning here is that the plant has taken nutrients and stored them within the leaves, and as she gets further into flower, she can utilize the mobile nutrients (like nitrogen) in her leaves. Remember, the idea here is to just add water, so I don't want to remove potential nutrient stores for her.

    Temp: 75-80 daytime, 66-70 nighttime
    Lights: platinum p300 for veg, p600 for flower
    Medium: homemade compost + G&B raised bed mix + promix
    Watering: 1-2 gallons when the top 1-2 inches are completely dry, water is always left to sit in a 5 gallon black bucket with insulation and a powerful air pump and large airstone. This allows for chlorine to be driven off prior to watering as well as supplying a lot of DO to the roots at watering time.

    My thoughts so far: I am extremely impressed by this method. Not only is it far easier than growing in coco or other hydro methods, it has so far produced the strongest, healthiest looking plant I have grown.

    I will need to keep a close eye on plants and medium when growing with compost as there is a higher potential for pests.

    I have uploaded some pictures as well, the names of the picture includes the date it was taken. The first picture shows a vanilla kush clone in the center back, and the 5 seeds I planted of grapefruit krush in the surrounding cups.

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  2. Looking good!
  3. Amazing setup @Mount Safurious! Thanks for all the details and sharing! I look forward to seeing how those ladies start to fill out.
  4. I'm just going to be updating every few days with a new picture. Today I noticed an incredibly feint discouloring of some top leaves between the veins. It's so subtle that it won't show up on photo and it could even be my eyes playing tricks on me. Even so, I switched the p600 back to the "veg" mode to reduce light stress. I think it makes sense to give the plant the "veg" mode for a day once in a while to let the leaves recover a bit. In nature you would see some overcast days anyways.

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  5. Watered her today with 1 gallon. I also removed some of the lower leaves which had yellowed significantly. That is of course to be expected and my desired outcome because it means the plant has used the nitrogen from those leaves. Again, this is a just add water grow, so I am trying to minimize removal of nutrients from the system.

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  6. Today I transplanted my clone of the graprefruit krush into a 25 gallon fabric pot. I followed the same set up recipe as the 15 gallon (current grow). Bottom 3rd is home made compost sifted through a 1/4" screen. The 2nd 3rd is G&B raised bed soil (I mixed in a few handfuls of G&B harvest supreme as well). The top 3rd is regular pro mix. The transplant was perfectly timed as the roots had circled about 1 time around the bottom and held the soil together nicely. I noticed a LOT of those tiny little black beetles in the compost mix before I buried them with the rest of the ingredients. The critter profile is roughly the same, which makes sense since it is from the same pile.

    Back in the flower tent, everything is looking very healthy. I've taken a close up picture of some of the developing buds so you can see for yourself.

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  7. Nothing too much to report on, everything is growing nicely. The clone has taken to the 25 gallon and is starting to really pick up the pace; I expect it will explode with growth when it hits the compost. The Flowering Grapefruit Krush is looking beautiful. I took a good whiff of some of the flowers just now, and it smells distinctly of bananas. I wasn't expecting that, but it's pleasant. I'll try and take my pictures with the lights off from here on out so you can see more of the plant's natural colors.

    The yellowing you can see in the bottom right of the picture is because those leaves are pressed up against the tent wall when the door is closed, so they get very little light. They've been slowly yellowing away for about a week now.
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  8. We're starting to get into mid flower now. Still smells distinctly of sweet bananas.

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  9. I took a look at her today and noticed that the yellowing is spreading just a bit too quickly to make it all the way through with just adding water, so I started up a batch of compost tea. Just a 5 gallon bucket with a powerful airpump and large airstone, 2 cups of compost, and a good "glug" of unsulfured molasses. I'll water that in tomorrow or in two days (if the soil isn't sufficiently dry tomorrow).
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  10. I've just watered in the compost tea. I know it wasn't a full 24 hour brew, but it seemed close enough. Besides, this was more about the nutrients than the bacteria. I measured the TDS of the compost tea to be around 480 ppm so I felt comfortable using it at full strength. I used 1 gallon of it on the grapefruit krush, and the rest of it went back into the compost piles.

    So this is now a "just add water, and sometimes AACT" grow.

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  11. So I think the middle of the canopy is getting light burnt/bleached. You can see how it is a lighter color on the top of the canopy in the middle than on the sides. What's more, the side flowers are noticeably more frosty than the middle flowers. The light is as high as it can go, so now I know I need to scrog even more aggressively next time. As such, I've decided to go with the "veg mode" only on the platinum p600 for the rest of the grow. Still getting used to LED lights.

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  12. Hey brother .... this may sound like a dumb self answered question, but just in case ill throw it out there.....are ya able to raise the light up a little or somehow lower those bleached branches as to not affect the final yield by reducing the light output?
    Also ya may have already mentioned this, but are you NOT top dressing at all and not adding any other ingredients than compost when brewing the tea?? Im asking because I feel adding an ingredient like kelp as top dress or even to the tea when brewin it can help tremendously and more than the compost tea alone... or even some guano (since its a quickly available N) or any other organic amendment ... I figured from the title of the run that you only want to water and no fertilizers (but is that bottled AND organic amendments you mean or just bottle)? Good luck bro ... i really like what youre doing in this groom

    Check out my current Organic Fruit Garden:
    DrCannaP's Organic Fruit Garden
    and my previous Organic Run:
    The Doc's 2Strain Trial Organic Run: Tangerine Dream & Pineapple Chunk.
    and my previous QuadStrain grow :
    Thr Doc's 4 strain MMJ garden: CBD Critical Cure and more ;-)
    and my previous TriStain grow :
    The Docs TriStrain adventure: (White Widow, Bubblelicious and Amnesia) Waterfarmed and SCROGed
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  13. Thanks man!

    The light is up as high as it can go. Bending the buds over at this point would be a difficult procedure as the stems have become somewhat woody, it might also mess with the bud structure (not positive on this though).

    I was trying to see how far the compost would take it this grow. I have tried a "just add water" grow once before with the sub cool super soil mix when I was new to growing, and it grew great weed but it definitely ran out of juice half way through. That was in a 7 gallon container so I figured maybe if I upped the container size, it would have enough juice to get through the grow. Ideally, I'd like to keep it as simple as possible, and using materials I already have. If nothing else, this will give me a baseline for my compost. I may do one more compost tea before harvest.

    I'd definitely like to try other ingredients in my teas, but I'd like to add each ingredient one at a time to see the different effects. I'm not apposed to top dressing future grows either.

    As a side note, reducing the light intensity will also stretch remaining food since the plant wont be photosynthesizing as rapidly.
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  14. Check out this article from leafly on the white tips. Pretty interesting stuff. We definitely recommend running the VEG and BLOOM during flowering.


  15. PlatinumLED, I think you've misunderstood the problem here. I'm not experiencing white tips (although I'm skeptical of that article's claims and would prefer to read a published scientific paper on it). I am experiencing leaf damage from too intense light, which causes the leaf to be overworked and premature cell death. If I left the p600 on bloom+veg mode, I'm sure this would exacerbate the problem leading to a reduction in overall quality.

    As it is now, with only VEG mode on, the light still produces plenty of light and I expect I'll have an excellent harvest. My intentions are to maximize yield, but to never compromise quality. I'm sure I'll be able to get the p600 to work for me on future grows, but this one doesn't have enough time left to correct the problem (which is that the plant is too close to the light).
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  16. Hey everyone! Sorry for not posting for a while, I've been super busy with work (I know that's not a good excuse). Anyways, the grapefruit krush has been killing it, and has about 2.5 weeks left to go. I have, against my better judgment, been running the p600 at full power. I am giving her a gallon of water every other day at this point. She smells fantastic. The banana smell is still there but it's a richer/fuller smell now, a little less sweet and a little more sour, but still very pleasant (and still on the sweet side). I've been taking pictures even though I haven't posted them, so I've included those here, labeled with their date.

    The clone that I took started to get a mite problem. I noticed many mites scurrying around on the plant, and thousands of mite nymphs (juvenile mites) in the soil. I believe they were oribatid mites, not spider mites, but still, I thought I would nip it in the bud. BTW, these were not the same mites that are in my flowering pot. I first tried a 2 inch sand layer over the soil to prevent the mites from crawling up the stem of the plant, but this proved futile. So I cut off the top of the plant, dipped it in some h202 solution, and started a new clone from that. I took the rest of the plant, pot and all, and put it outside to get it out of the grow area (and removed the infested plant and threw it in my hot composter ~ 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

    The cutting is doing fine, but I still see a couple of mites. I may give it a second dip in some stronger h202 solution later. After a couple days, I started digging around under the sand and into the soil on the container I put outside. Fortunately, I am not seeing any mite action. I would like to try and salvage the soil because I did put in about 10 gallons of homemade compost. I'm thinking I may scrape off the sand and inoculate it with some predatory mites and nematodes.

    I believe that the reason I had a mite explosion is because I transferred directly into the 25 gallon container, and then proceeded to water the entire container. This caused the soil to be overly damp for a prolonged period of time, making for ideal conditions for the mite to reproduce. I like the idea of transplanting once so as to minimize shock and allow the roots to really spread early, but I just need to keep watering to a minimum (using less and only around the plant base) until the plant is better established.

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  17. Okay gang, we're rapidly approaching harvest day, which will be tomorrow or on Sunday. The smell has advanced into a more sour stage, with sweet undertones. I can see where it got the name grapefruit krush.

    As for the lights and leaves, the leaves in the middle of the canopy are totally shot and white and ugly (the pictures make them look better than they are). They have been this way for a couple weeks and I believe it has greatly negatively impacted the yield. I'm pretty certain that this is due to the intensity of the p600, but I'll keep running it for a few more grows. I really want to make it work.

    The trichomes are something like 5% amber. It could go longer but this weekend is a good time to harvest, and it is within the ripeness zone.

    The cutting I took off of the mite infested clone has rooted and is mite free, so I will attempt to grow it out again, this time keeping an eye on soil moisture so as not to cause a might explosion. I'll update with pictures and final weight after harvest and drying.

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  18. Finished the harvest and trimming, the nugs are now hanging to dry!

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