might try coco

Discussion in 'Coco Coir' started by clint torres, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. I have always been a soil grower but have heard about coco.

    I am a NEWB who has read a few bubbles but they got a bit informed.
    For a first timer, what is the most basic yet effective start up?

    Do i really need an EC meter? Epsom salts?

    Do I just basically follow the guide lines on the hydroponic nutes?

    I mean as long as it's not over fed and the pH is right it should be good right?

    I just don't know.

    Beginner tips PLEASE.
    Thank you:wave:
  2. #2 SCMC, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    Coco is as versatile a media as you could imagine. It seems that nearly everyone has their own way, or at least some subtle nuance from room to room, that makes nearly every coco grower their own expert. There is no one way to grow in this media but it is wonderful to have someone new who wants to experiment for themselves. Trust your instincts and rely on a dependable nutrient program to do the heavy lifting.


    Follow the custom feed schedule and get 10-20% of the solution to run through the planters regularly. For beginners I suggest a greater amount of runoff than a lesser amount until they feel comfortable with the media.
    Alternate full suggested strength solution and half-strength solution until you are certain the plants need the regular full-strength feedings. Focus on root development early on (don't drown them when they are young).
    I suggest using either expanded Botanicare Coco or Botanicare ReadyGro Aeration Mix.
    You can use whatever sized containers you desire, or cut the coco with up to 50% perlite, but it is best to start in a smaller container of pure coco (like a party cup 16oz size) and move progressively up as the root system increases in size. I suggest 2 gallon fabric planters as your finishing containers for faster watering schedules, or 5 gallon plastic containers for more leisurely watering schedules. Perlite will also reduce the moisture retention and increase the aeration, resulting in the need for more frequent feedings.
    Coco does a good job of buffering the pH naturally although it is not forgiving to heavy handed growers. It does not require the feed levels of water culture hydroponics as it depends on retaining some elements to establish it's cation exchange capacity with the plant. Follow this nutrient program with the half-strength alternating feedings and you won't need to worry about burning. As you get more familiar with how your strain grows in coco and what she needs and when she needs it you can dial things in later on.
    There are a dozen quality nutrient programs for coco, probably more, and ultimately you will have to decide what you want. I suggest CNS17 because of the experiences I have had with it and the results it has given other people when following the base directions. It is as simple as they come, a 1-part bottle for each stage of growth, and not any more expensive than some of the cheapest [commercial] alternatives.
    Epsom Salt is not necessary for everyone but having some around isn't going to hurt. A quart of the stuff is like $2 and could come in handy depending on what your strain is particular to.
  3. #3 cheecha, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    Couldn't agree more...CNS17 has worked for me and my girls just fine..Soon enough you'll no doubt get suggestions from peeps that use other systems/lines with success as well...It's not the brand dude.It's the fisherman, not the pole..Environment, genetics, balanced diet, are key to a successful yield..at least that has been IMHE..
    BTW, yes you will need an EC and pH meter..Coco is NOT soil bro..
    Good luck!..
  4. I love coco, best move I ever made. It's almost impossible to over water and you don't need to let it dry out like soil. Like stated earlier most nutrients programs work great in it. I personally use advanced nutrient because its noob proof and I got tired of adjusting my PH all the time. It's a few extra bucks but it turns out quality. I feed at 3/4 strength every feeding, and flush around week 4 to avoid an build up. Whatever nutrient you go with start at 1/2 strength and work up till your comfortable, also add a cal/mg booster.
  5. It's a really forgiving medium that I can't recommend enough.
  6. I would recommend trying it bro, for real. I tried it after reading Ed's coco guide and I ain't looking back. All you need to do is buy Dutchman's Coco brand, you can buy about 40 lb bags for $20. I do not check my ph, EVER. and my bitches love all the nutes I give um, I just follow the feeding charts on whatever brand nutes I use. Your plants will grow faster than in soil bruh because the coco is a very aerated medium and your plants roots love the extra Oxygen. They breath better:smoke:... know what i mean?

  7. What's up with the EC meter (electrical conductivity?)? What does EC have to do with the plant health? How to adjust it?
  8. Thanks everyone
  9. Hey CT,
    EC is a measure of the total dissolved solids in your water/solution..It helps us gardeners maintain the proper amount of nutrients in our solution..plants produce best at certain optimum EC range and so it is a valuable tool in hydroponics (IMV)..
    Best tip/help I can offer is read, read,read..And then,;) read some more..
    Good luck!..
  10. Coco, a pot, a one part nutrient and a ph pen and a ph down. I like citric acid crystals personally because they don't alter the nute balance.

    No.If you use a 1 part nute you judge your feeds by the mil and then by eye. If you know what a hungry or an overfed plant looks like in soil, it looks the same in coco. Epsoms/cal mag are usually not needed. Coco nutes have extra in and a deficiency is rare if you feed your plant right.

    No. But you never really do that no matter what you grow in. Get a basic guide from someone who uses the same nute as you or simply work your way up by the mil. It's as simple as soil feeding when you use a one parter.


    You do now ;)

    Get on it. Coco is as easy as soil with the only real difference being that you need to check the ph.
  11. #11 clint torres, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012

    Thank you,

    as far as the one part nutes, do i just slowly ease the dosage up till it looks healthy?? I know to start seed in like 1/4th strength right? In cups first right?

    If I start in cups, should I transplant right to the 3 gallon or go to a one gallon then the three gallon?

    Is it ok to add stuff like "botanicare sweet' products or are they unnecessary?

    what about micro nutes? are they in the one parters?

    any suggestions on the one part nute brand?

    one last question please sir. Should i use perlite or vermiculite in the coco?

    This has been the easiest advise to follow so far, straight forward for the beginner.

  12. Thanks everyone for the input!!! It means and helps a lot!!!!
  13. #13 SCMC, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    If you follow the feed guidelines for CNS17 that I provided you don't need to use arbitrary estimations like "1/4 strength." You do slowly up the dosage as the plant grows, and you definitely don't want to over feed, so you can go at this as you see fit.

    If you do decide to get an EC meter I suggest starting at 0.6ec for seedlings in fresh coco and increasing steadily up to the point of 1.6ec after 5-6 weeks of veg. Then dropping back to a 1.2ec to start flowering and increasing by 0.1ec every week up to 1.8ec. These are a general guideline that would allow you to use really any nutrient brand/product with a proper ratio for cannabis in coco.

    But if you decide against a meter then you can follow the CNS17 Coco/Soil Custom Feed Guide, alternating the suggested full strength solution with half strength solution until you get a feel for things and you're certain they need the Botanicare recommended dosage at every feeding.

    Seedlings in coco are actually pretty easy as long as you don't over think it. 5ml per gallon of CNS17 grow is a good starting point for a seedling. 10ml per gallon is probably a little hot for the first feeding but fine once she has a couple of leaf sets, maybe a week after hatching on the second or third actual feeding.

    My opinion on this matter is to go from about a 1/2L container to a 1 gallon container and then up to a 3 gallon container, but there is a lot of wiggle room. Do what feels right to you. Having the 1 gallon containers allows me to pre-sex my plants before transplanting to their final containers because I grow from seed. If I were working with clones I'd probably just go straight to the 3 gallon containers.

    Sweet is totally unnecessary. Many people use their Cal-Mag Plus with filtered water in coco because it can be hard to find the chelated iron the plants need in some nutrient programs (like Canna) which are designed to be used with tap water. CNS 17 is completely fortified with everything the plant requires even in filtered water, so you don't need their Micro supplement if you choose this nutrient program. I like Botanicare's Liquid Karma product well enough but the cost is kind of up there and you don't necessarily need the product. Of all their supplements Liquid Karma is the one I like the most, as a humic acid/yucca extract/kelp extract supplement. It is your choice.

    With all honesty all you need is the Grow, the Bloom, and the Ripe. Actually, you could probably get by on just the Grow and the Ripe if you really knew what you were doing. For your first time around coco I suggest sticking to the suggested program pretty close and not adding too much extra junk to the system. I find pH balancing a quality nutrient program to be a pretty big waste of time and money in coco.
  14. #14 clint torres, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    COOL!! CNS17 is what I had planned on using. I have that chart an djust readit. Pretty straight forward. Is there a huge difference between the BLOOM and RIPE products on the chart?

    No, what I mean by easy to understand is that it wasn't a novel of chemistry. My only issue now is the tap water. I don't have R/O unit. triple R/O water at the store around the corner is $2/ 5 gallons, but I do not yet know how much this will consume.

  15. #15 SCMC, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    CNS 17 Bloom is a 2-2-3 with some calcium.
    CNS 17 Ripe is a 1-5-4 with no calcium.

    They are definitely different products designed for different stages of the grow. Coco has a propensity to retain cations, like Calcium, and Coco formulas are designed to assist this with elevated amounts of Calcium. Once the coco is mature and the plant enters flowering there is plenty of Ca available so their nutrient programs are designed with that in mind. The Calcium is reduced in the Bloom formulas as a response to what the plant needs and what the coco should have retained throughout the growth stage thus far. That's what makes having a quality nutrient program so valuable to a new grower in coco, they are dialed in to make your life easier.

    You do not need an RO water system. Tap water of good quality (under a 0.5ec) is going to work fine but the cleaner the water better it will be. If I could make a suggestion on water filtration it would be a Hydrologic Smallboy filter with the KDF carbon filter upgrade to remove chlorine/chloramine. This will be more than enough to remove contaminants and excess hardness from your tap water before using it with any nutrient program. Check your local water report for more detail on the quality. The Smallboy+KDF is going to run you around $80 to $90 and will be good for like 3,0000 to 5,000 gallons of water (depending on how funky the tap is). Replacement filters aren't costly.

    Most grocery stores and water stores have RO water dispensers which can provide you with clean water for around $0.20 to $0.50 per gallon depending on where you are in the country. More in the southwest. Less in the Pac NW.
  16. #16 cheecha, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2012
    I agree with scmc, that with this line all you need is "the Grow, the Bloom, and the Ripe..And yes you could probably just run the grow, with a K boost in flower..I usually add some protekt silica in my sol..I personally add extra Mg when using the CNS17 line ~1/2 gr - 1gr/gal of epsom salts..
    FWIW, I use tap ~0.2EC, and never even considered RO..Used to add calmag+, however I believe the Ca% in the CNS line is enough for most of my girls..As with most wife's, they'll tell you when something is up, yeah!..
    I once ran out of bloom but had some 3-2-4 Hydro, shit I ran that from flip to mid flower with additional K via protekt, and they did just fine..
    It's the ratios stupid(no offense)..And there is no one size fits all, but a proper range that'll work in my/most garden(s)..
  17. Yep. It's just the same as adjusting in soil. If the plant pales a little bit at the bottom leaf, up the feed by a mil. Simple as that.

    Just water will start a seed. A mil per liter once it's popped its shell will be ok too. The plant will show you when it's hungry for more after that, you've just got to know the first signs and it's nice and easy.

    Cups are good. If you're only doing a few you could start them in a 1L.

    I'd transplant to a 1L, not a 1 gallon. Get a good little rootball in that and it is your foundation to move into whatever size pot you want after that. Thing with coco is there's no need for potting up and when you get under big lights in a big pot the plant just motors through veg .

    No need. Additives add very little to a healthy grow. Concentrate on the basics first and you've got a much better chance of having one.

    Everything you need is in there.
    Don't bother. There's no need. Coco is fine as it is.

    No problem mate. That's how it's supposed to be. Coco is so simple that there's no need for complication to it. If I've only used a few words, it's because there's no more to say. In fact going further into depth is not only unnecessary but will take your eye off the very few things you actually need to know to pull off some cracking grows in this stuff.

    If you haven't read it, you should definitely check out the beginners guide on this page. It covers all the questions you're asking and more. I'll be more than happy to guide you through your first grow from start to finish. I'm 100% sure you'll be surprised by how little you have to do.
  18. I love coco/perlite medium. I'm on my third crop, and it is a very forgiving base. I use Cal-Mag+, age old grow/bloom, and liquid kool bloom... Flush for seven days before harvesting let the bud dry & cure... Heaven...
  19. I never balance my ph, and I've never had any sort of problems. Well except when I added way too much PK 13/14 to my already 2.5 tsps of Floranova per gallon.
  20. I do still adjust my Ph. First time, I started with a ph of 6.2 during the veg., and then dropped it to 5.8 during the flowering. Second crop, I kept it @ 6.2 the whole time. I did notice a reduction in the yield though. And with this one I'm going back to the 6.2/5.8 and so far so good...

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