My Grow Journal (aka "you're doing it wrong")

Discussion in 'Hydroponic Grow Journals' started by MoreTreesLessIdiots, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Hi everybody,

    I'm a disabled veteran dealing with a lot of issues, I've found that our plant friend helps me more than the pills and surgeries they want me to go through. I started growing in 2014 because I wanted to find specific strains to help with specific problems. Also, I can't afford to keep buying the stuff. :)

    I'm not new to growing, but I'm definitely new to doing things correctly. I'm on my fifth or sixth grow now and have not had great results....still learning along the way. I started with one grow setup two years ago but now have four going at the moment. This is partially due to a desire to have a perpetual harvest, partially because I'm not expert enough to rely on getting everything I need out of one harvest three times a year (as you'll see I have poor efficiency in my yield).

    I started in soil and moved to hydro after the first grow. Ironically I moved to hydro because I thought it would be less maintenance, and because sometimes I have to travel for a few days at a time. With my soil grow I was watering every other day, with the hydro I can leave it alone for 3-4 days (5 days in extreme cases for travel) and the plants survive. In my case it was a move to hydro out of necessity. So far hydro has made the overall grow process quicker, but yields lower. My quest is to solve this. (Side note: If you know how to grow in soil or coco and there's a way to leave plants unattended for 5 days at a time, let me know! Not something I have to do often, but sometimes travel needs come up. Unfortunately I have no friends or family that can water my girls in my absence.)

    If it matters, I'm not a cash-cropper, this is all for myself. Feel free to ask questions, point out my mistakes, etc. I won't take offense, I'm actually hoping someone points out when I'm doing something wrong so I can fix it. Sometimes there's a method to my madness, other times I'm just lost.

    For the sake of organization I'll make separate follow-up posts with each grow setup rather than include it here. Thanks to any and all who follow, and please please don't be afraid to tell me I'm doing something wrong. I'm a sponge, just want to absorb all your knowledge. :)
     

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  2. The Stealth IKEA cabinet

    I don't personally need stealth but I appreciate the idea of it. I got this idea from those supercloset sites. I thought I'd make my own from an $150 IKEA cabinet. Here are the steps I took to build it (note: this isn't a "how to", just a "how I did it"). Photos attached below

    Step 1: Put cabinet together, except for doors

    Step 2: seal all edges, corners, and gaps with silicon.

    Step 3: spray a couple of very light coats of primer

    Step 4: paint inside with flat white, several coats.

    Step 5: admire your work :)

    (to be continued...)
     

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  3. Stealth IKEA cabinet (continued):

    Step 6: test-fit your equipment (hopefully you measured before you started to make sure everything fits, lol)

    Step 7: I kept the box my intake filter came in, then used it as an insulating chamber for fresh air so as to not have the filter protruding from the outside (remember, stealth). I cut the box as shown in the picture, opening only the side exposed to the inlet hole I drilled in the back of the cabinet. That inlet hole is for a black-mesh speaker grille cover.

    Step 8: Install intake filter, tubing, and clamps in the intake box.

    Step 9: Then flip it around, attach inline fan, and seal it against the back corner. I added a little piece of wood for extra stability. You don't want to attach inline fans to the side of a wardrobe without support. Bad idea jeans.

    Step 10: For exhaust, I used a Phresh carbon filter. I stacked it vertically for space reasons (I'm already limited in height, didn't want to hang it across the top). I cut another hole in the top of the IKEA cabinet and installed a metal pipe collar from home depot to attach the 6" ducting.

    Step 11: On the top I installed the second speaker grille cover. In the photo you can see it installed without the speaker grille installed.

    Step 12: attach the inline fan to the filter, ducting to the fan, and ducting to the pipe collar. Install another piece of wood support if you plan on mounting the inline fan to the side of the cabinet.

    Step 13: Admire your work, then curse the fact you used too much ducting so it falls over on itself, lol.
     

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  4. Is that a phresh filter I see?
     
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  5. Stealth IKEA Cabinet (continued):

    Step 14: Try test-fitting equipment again, make sure everything fits. Get that light installed too...

    Step 15: Test that everything works. (lower left chamber was supposed to be the veg chamber).

    Step 16: Ventilation. Make sure the two lower cubbies can get their own airflow. Because of space limitations I ran computer fans - one blow in the other blows out. I have a big fan in the corner which also blows down on the plants while they are vegging. On the left chamber is the veg, the chamber on the right is for drying.

    Step 17: For my drying chamber (on the bottom right), I installed a small carbon filter with fan on the end of it from foothill filters across the top. It blows out the side where I cut another hole for the speaker-grille cover. This is on the side but toward the back of the cabinet. I also have two computer fans cycling air on the bottom. A computer fan controller runs all the fans and keeps things in check.

    Photo 18: This is the backside of the cabinet, showing the fans installation.

    Photo 19: (out of order, sorry) This shows the drying chamber before I installed the carbon filter and fans. I installed a sliding IKEA tie rack, it pulls out. This makes it easier to hang the dried buds. :)
     

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  6. Yes it is, I went with Phresh for both intake and carbon exhaust. In total I have four of each, one for each tent/cabinet. :)
     
  7. Just my .02....I was a big phresh fan for a couple years, I've since moved to CAN and it's soo much better....thumbs down to phresh from my view
     
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  8. I realize I never addressed what I'm using, lol. (whoops).

    When I built this I was using a Platinum LED P450 and Superponics 16 in the main chamber and a P300 and a Superponics 8 in the veg chamber. Of course after trying a few grows in this thing I've since changed to smaller equipment inside. The Superponics 16 was too big and had too many plants for that small space, so I got another Superponics 8 to run up top. I also moved the P450 to one of the bigger tents and put another P300 up in the main chamber.

    Really? I got Phresh because I thought it was supposed to be the funk. But I've never used anything else so I have nothing to compare to. Why the thumbs down to Phresh? What is CAN? Thanks for the input too, I'm learning something new every day. :gc_rocks:
     
  9. And now the bad: It didn't work so great in the first go. 100% of it was my fault. (Again, this isn't a how-to but a "how I did it wrong" lol).

    First pic shows the first harvest hanging in the dryer cabinet. I later abandoned this as the buds were too small and it was tedious to fit them in there. I also needed a place to clone plants and it was easier for me to move the drying to somewhere else rather than put the cloner out separate.

    Second pic shows this later formation, lower right cabinet is now used for clones instead of drying. Still use the PC fans for air circulation but no longer have the carbon filter running.

    Third pic shows main chamber when I was done setting it up. I also installed a bluelab monitor (this was a gift) and a very terrible makeshift scrog. (hey it was my first one).

    Fourth pic shows the main chamber in the IKEA cabinet and how tall the plants can get if you don't properly manicure/trim/LST them - and use a crappy bunch of string netting that you tried to repurpose as a scrog. Go ahead an laugh, it's cool. I made a complete mess of it. ;-)

    Fifth pic shows the veg chamber.

    Sixth pic shows how hot and dry it gets in the veg chamber. From this I learned either the P300 is too strong in this space or the computer fans aren't moving enough air.

    Seventh pic shows how the first set of clones I moved to veg grew all over the place, and extremely uneven. No, I didn't do any trimming or LST or anything. I've since learned I need to do that. But in full disclosure I'm showing all my mistakes hopefully someone reading learns how not to do something ha.
     

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  10. So all that was over a year ago. Right now I'm no longer using the veg chamber, doing full cycle in the main chamber only. I wouldn't mind using the veg chamber for mini-grows. Once I can figure out how to LST and top properly I will maybe try to do a micro-grow there. For now I realized I don't need a veg chamber as I don't have enough places to flower them. Instead I'm running four separate full-cycle setups.

    This is the third attempt in the main chamber of the IKEA cabinet. IMO: meh. I don't think they look particularly great, I'm trying to figure out the best way to make use of this space (it's about 4 foot wide, two feet deep, and about 4.5 feet tall - granted some of that width is taken up by the filters and fans). I should be able to grow full cycle in here, just need to figure out the best method. If I were to build the cabinet again I don't think I'd break it up into the three sections like I did last time. I dunno.

    Anyway, here's the main chamber now. Sativas under a P300 led, superponics 8. No scrog, but I've been doing training and trimming, keeping the under canopy clean. The plants have very narrow stems though, not busy but very thin and weak. They're still in veg, maybe 2-3 weeks more until the flip to flower. Think I should flip earlier? Suggestions going forward on this one?
     

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  11. Those plants are looking much better than your first run. Whats the distance between your plants and light? 3 more weeks of veg looks like it might outgrow your space but I guess that depends on how much training you do.
     
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