Mick's Coco - K.I.S.S. - Scrog Method

Discussion in 'Coco Coir' started by MickFoster, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. #1 MickFoster, Apr 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
    Hello - My name is Mick and I'd like to share my method of growing with anyone interested. I've been growing for quite a few years but I make no claims of being a professional. I can't diagnose plant problems and there are many grow methods that I admittedly know nothing about. I have grown in soil, DWC, waterfarms, hempy, and coco over the years. It's not my intention to imply that my way is the only way to grow, nor do I dispute any other growers' methods.

    My method is very successful and I simply want to share it with others in hopes that I can help new growers. Daily, I read questions from new growers and old alike experiencing problems with yellowing and slow growth in coco. And receiving bad advice (usually from soil growers) from people that lack understanding of the difference between coco and soil.

    After years of growing I decided to borrow my brother's camera and take pictures of my last grow at different stages. I only grow 4 plants per year for my personal use, and typically yield anywhere from 20 - 28 oz., with never a deficiency or dis-colored leaf. This grow is Nirvana - Ice, and I'll detail everything I do from start to finish. I'll be happy to answer any questions people may have about the way I grow. There's a lot to cover so I won't get this done in one sitting - please bear with me.

    This is the extent of what I use. Details later.
    Nutes.JPG


    Coco -
    Coco can be purchased in either brick or bag form - I have no preference and have used both with success. The most important thing to remember about coco is that "it is not soil" and shouldn't be treated as such. It is hydroponics! Unlike soil, coco is inert, contains no nutrients at all, and therefore needs to be pre-charged before use.

    Like all hydroponics, the roots should never dry out. Daily feeding to run off is required to replenish the nutes and pull in fresh oxygen to the root zone. Keeping the roots moist poses no problem as long as fresh oxygen is added regularly and it's not allowed to stagnate. Think about DWC - the roots are fully immersed in water, yet they produce explosive growth because the water is being oxygenated with an air pump and air stone. That's the same theory behind daily feedings in coco - it pulls in fresh oxygen to the roots.

    Although some growers use straight coco, I prefer to add perlite for more aeration. I use a 50/50 coco/perlite mix in my 1 liter propagation/seedling container so I can feed regularly without the worry of over-watering. Then I use a 70/30 coco/perlite mix for the 9.2 liter final container.

    1 week and 2 weeks from sprout - feeding daily from about the 3rd day.
    1 week.JPG 2 weeks.JPG

    Next I'll explain the procedure I use to pre-charge.
     
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  2. Subbed, but the photos won't load. Anyone else have this problem on here??

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  4. #4 MickFoster, Apr 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
    Pre-charging or buffering

    Pre-charging the coco is necessary because of a scientific term called Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). I don't fully understand it but the bottom line is coco holds on to calcium to where it becomes unavailable to the plant and requires that you load it with calcium and magnesium.

    There are coco products on the market now that are already pre-buffered and ready without having to go through this process, but if you're unsure about that I suggest you do it yourself. It certainly won't hurt anything.

    I put the coco in a five gallon bucket about 1/3 full and pour 2-3 gallons of 1/4 strength nutrient solution pH'd to 6.0 - enough that the coco floats and leaves a gap between the floating coco and the bottom of the bucket. I stir it vigorously multiple times and let it sit a few hours - then stir again. Not only does this ensure the coco is saturated and rinsed but it also separates the powder in the coco. Most coco, especially the brick kind, contains fiber and a fine dust from probably the manufacturing process. This dust prevents good drainage if there is an abundance of it and letting it sit in the bucket makes the good fibrous material float and the powder sink to the bottom. I then scoop the good stuff from the top, squeeze it out and put it in another bucket. When all the fibrous coco is gone I throw out the remaining nute solution and the sludge in the bottom. I then do the same process again and let it sit overnight this time before I scoop out the coco. After that process it's ready to use.


    Nutrients

    The only nutrient I use is General Hydroponics - MaxiBloom for the entire grow. It is an inexpensive ($0.11 per gallon) one part powder nutrient that comes close to the Lucas formula in nutrient percentages, and has everything needed to grow healthy cannabis plants. The only additives I use are Silica Blast for strong branches and cell walls, and SM-90 for good root development. I use no bloom busters or any other type of nutrient supplement.

    For those of you not familiar with it - it's known as the K.I.S.S. method. Keep it Simple Stoner. Full strength is 7 grams of MaxiBloom in tap water and that's it. That equates to approximately one teaspoon per gallon. Not all teaspoons are the same, ie: the teaspoon included in the MaxiBloom package only holds 5 grams and the teaspoon I use to cook with holds 6.8 grams, so you might want to check it first. Tap water usually contains enough calcium and magnesium in it to not require cal/mag. However, if you use R/O water you will definitely have to supplement with cal/mag. When mixing the powder I fill the gallon jug with about an inch of hot water, add the MB and shake for a minute or so to dissolve it in the water.


    Feeding Schedule

    You never water coco with plain water - it's always feeding time. From the minute they sprout I start with 1/4 strength nutes and continue for the first two weeks. For weeks 3 and 4 I feed 1/2 strength nutes, and at the beginning of week 5 I start full strength until the end. I have played around with different pH levels and found that 6.0 works the best - calcium and magnesium are absorbed best at 6.0 or higher. I feed daily to 20% run off starting around day 3 or 4 from sprout, and I continue daily feedings until the 12/12 flip - after that I do two feedings a day. With full grown plants I use a full gallon each feeding. Feeding this way, especially at the beginning produces explosive growth. The slow growth problems that I see on the forums is caused by a few things - Lack of food, the wrong pH for proper nutrient uptake, too small of a plant in too large a container, and lack of fresh oxygen to the root zone. If you want fast growth in coco - start feeding from the beginning - don't wait two weeks to feed like most of the people on the forums advocate.

    Always adjust the pH of your solution to 6.0 and always check your run off. If the run off is within a range of 5.5 to 6.5 you're good. If it is out of that range you might have a potential problem in the root zone. I don't own a ppm or pH meter. The ppm meter isn't necessary because I know 7 grams is max. For pH I use the GH drops. The drops get you close enough to where you want to be - as long as it turns yellow in the vial it's good. I did find the colors on the bottle to be a bit off so I use this color chart for reference.
    pH%20color%20scale.jpg
     
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  5. ?
     
  6. I also am growing in coco using the Lucas formula and so far so good with my coco grow. I need to start watering everyday but I just get lazy and water every other day. The pots are still wet and heavy when I rewater. Good info man. Keep it up
     
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  7. Subscribed. I'm following your thread


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  8. #9 MickFoster, Apr 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
    Germination

    The best germination method is the one that works for you. I prefer to use Rapid Rooters because it requires no unnecessary handling which could potentially harm the root or seed. I soak the rooter in a weak bloom solution, squeeze it a bit to get out excess water, place the seed in the hole, tear off a small piece of rr to cover the hole, and place the rooter in my coco in the propagation container. In about 2-3 days it sprouts. This way the tap root grows directly into the coco without skipping a beat. I can't remember the last time a seed didn't sprout.

    rapid rooters.png




    Containers

    One of the nice things about coco is that you can grow a plant in a 2-3 gallon container and yield 8 ounces or more with just a 5 week veg time. I use air-pots and couldn't be happier with the root growth they produce - it's explosive. If you're not familiar with air-pots they are designed to eliminate root circling by guiding the root to holes in the side so it can be air pruned - allowing you to grow a larger plant in a smaller container. I use 2 sizes - 1 liter for propagation and seedling stage (2 weeks), and 9.2 liter for the rest of the grow. They can be a bit pricey, but well worth it in my opinion. If you go this way make sure you get the original Air-Pots and not one of the knock-offs because there are no holes in the top two rows which allows the water to pool and drain without rushing out the sides. A lot of people use smart pots, which air prune as well but I don't feel you get the same drainage from the bottom like air-pots. Just my opinion.

    Because of all the holes in the sides of the air-pots, fungus gnats can sometimes be a problem. The easy solution is to cover them with pantyhose. I suggest queen size. Haha.
    IMG_1358.JPG

    However, air-pots are not necessary to grow great plants. I used to use solo cups for the first two weeks from sprout, then transplanted to an 80 oz. container for 2 more weeks, then lastly into 2 gallon container - and I had good results. The biggest mistake and one of the main reasons people experience slow growth for the first month or so is because they put a small plant in a large container. Always start in a small container - that way you can feed daily to replenish the nutes and oxygen. Remember - use a 50/50 coco/perlite mix in the small container to provide good aeration and allow you to feed daily with no fear of over-watering.
    Hydro-3-1.jpg


    2 weeks from sprout.
    Transplant 2 wks.JPG
     
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  9. #10 MickFoster, Apr 26, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
    Lighting

    Assuming you maintain a good environment and have healthy plants - light is the single most important factor in producing a high yield with dense nugs. I have used T-12 fluorescents, HPS, T-5 fluorescents, and LED's in the past with varying degrees of success. I still use a T-5 8 bulb fixture for the first two weeks of veg because the spectrum is great, they're not hot, and you can put them very close to the plants to create a plant that doesn't stretch with short internode spacing. I ditched my 600w HPS for a NextLight - Mega - 650w LED and I couldn't be happier. It measures 37"x37" and covers my 4x4 tent much better than my HPS with considerably less heat.

    The primary drawback for most people is the cost of the LED's. Yes you can buy those cheap so-called 300w led's off of amazon for $89 and grow 1 plant that yields a couple of ounces (if your lucky). But if you're serious about growing and want as much yield as you can get - you need to spend money on a good light.

    Consider the light as an investment, and like all investments you have to spend money to make money. I grow for personal use only - but if I did grow for profit - that $1200 light would pay for itself 3 times over on the first harvest. HPS lights are the best choice if you are on a budget and they grow beautiful plants. But the drawback is heat which you have to exhaust - additional electricity to run the exhaust fan and ballast - and bulb replacement every 2-3 grows at $100 a pop. My Nextlight is guaranteed for 5 years with a 10 year average life - less heat, less electricity, no bulb replacement, and excellent results.

    Nextlight Mega.JPG




    Scrog Net

    I made my net out of pvc and mason line from Home Depot for about $20. It's not necessary to glue the joints on the pvc because the mason line is pulled very tight and holds everything together. Besides it will allow you to disassemble if needed or modify the size. I built mine to fit exactly in my 4x4 tent and I'll attach a pic to show how I attach it. I just drilled pilot holes every 3" around the perimeter for the screws and strung the line as tight as I could.

    Doing a scrog in a tent with the net only 8" above the pots makes watering a challenge. I use hydro halos to feed and it couldn't be easier or faster. I leave a 3' - 1/2 hose attached to the hydro halos and let them hang out of the tent. When I want to feed I simply attach a funnel to the other end and pour - using gravity - I can feed a gallon to a plant about as fast as I can pour it - and the hydro halo dispenses the water evenly around the plant. The plants sit in a plastic tub that catches the run off and drains into a bucket underneath. I built an incline board for the tub to sit on so the water drains.

    scrog net.JPG IMG_1335.JPG 93666_51b5efee7e35e_original.jpg black4x4IDtray.jpg
     
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  10. Subbed bro this is gunna be a good one I can tell


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  11. Good info subbed

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  12. I like the way you made the pic with the different ph colours. I use the same thing...works great.
    Good job!


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  13. Im new to coco and I feel i could learn a lot from you man. Im following this thread for sure
     
  14. Happy to help if I can.
     
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  15. awesome.. really looking forward to watch this thread develope
     
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  16. Subscribed. How big are your plants now?
     
  17. #18 MickFoster, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
    The Scrog (screen of green)

    I don't take credit for my scrog method - I attribute that to LBH's Famous ScrOG Tuitorial on Growweedeasy.com, I followed it to the letter. I'll hit the important highlights but if you want an in depth look at scrogging, I suggest you read this informative tuitorial.

    There are several reasons to scrog - one reason is because of restricted height and the other is to increase yield - my reason is the latter. The concept of doing a scrog is to force the branches to grow horizontally instead of vertically. This spreads the plant out and allows the lower grow tips to grow and form colas whereas in a regular grow they wouldn't produce much because of lack of light. I have already explained how I built my net and the materials used. Most people that do a so-called scrog are not doing a scrog at all, it's just a support trellis net at best. A true scrog is a net that is placed above the pots, and pulled very tight to hold the branches down.

    The plants are topped twice - the first top is at the 4th node, which creates two tops, and the second is at the 2nd node of the two tops, which creates four main tops. Scrogging starts with doing LST (low stress training) when the branches are long enough to bend down horizontally - usually between the 2nd and 3rd week of growth. The pic shows a 3 week old plant - notice that the branches have been tied down to start the horizontal growing.
    3 weeks.JPG


    As the branches grow - continue to tie down. The pic is at 4 weeks from sprout. Notice how many grow tips have appeared in just a week.
    4 weeks.JPG


    At five weeks old I place the net 8" above the pots. This is when I flip to 12/12.
    5 weeks.JPG


    All of the growth beneath the net needs to be removed - leaves and grow tips that won't grow above the net. This prevents possible mold by increasing air flow and lets the plant concentrate it's energy above the net where the important growth is. I remove leaves regularly throughout the grow - not defoliation but large leaves that block anything. I have never noticed a negative result. Lollipopping is a must. This pic is shortly after I placed the net - I removed a lot of growth and as the plant grows all the growth will be removed. This shows a good view of the branching.
    lollipop.JPG

    As the grow tips continue to grow - when they are 3" - pull it back down and move it to the next opening - that's called tucking. Tucking should be done through the 3rd week of flower - this will give you colas that are about 8" - 12" above the net. The pic is at 6 weeks - 1 week of12/12. Flower 1 week.JPG


    2 weeks of flower.
    Flower 2 weeks.JPG


    3 weeks of flower. Check out the amount of colas.
    Flower 3 weeks.JPG
     
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  18. #19 MickFoster, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
    I usually use feminized seeds because the scrog net is placed before sex is determined. I used regular seeds this grow - started with 4 and ended up with 2 females. I yielded 8oz.of dried bud per plant (typical yield for me) with only 5 weeks of veg. 14 weeks from sprout. Each plant had between 25 and 30 main colas.
    4 weeks of flower.

    Flower 4 weeks.JPG

    5 weeks of flower
    Flower 5 weeks.JPG

    7 weeks of flower
    Flower 7 weeks.JPG

    8 weeks of flower
    IMG_1336.JPG

    End product. Of course I took a picture of one of the biggest ones. Lol.
    IMG_1342.JPG
     
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  19. Look at my thread again - I was in the process of updating when you made this post.
     
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