Insert Obligatory First Grow Title Here (big write up and lots of pics)

SamuelSterns

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Hey all -

Started my first crop grow somewhere near the beginning of December 2014. I decided that I was tired of paying someone else for the green and I should just grow it myself. What helped with this decision was the 3 seeds I'd found in the last bag I bought. If I'm paying FL premium prices, I expect no seeds. BUT... it gave me my first few to try out my green-thumb at.

There are 3 plants currently. From eldest to youngest, they're tentatively named Barbara, Glenda, and Spec. I have no idea what strain they are, since it's just bag seed, but the mom was pretty good, so here's hoping. Here's also hoping they end up being females, too. If not, at least it's experience for the next grow...

Initially I had the lights WAY too far away, and they stretched out pretty bad early on, before I started reading and researching more and managed a couple replants and made the lights considerably closer.

Progression shots:
'Barbara' grew quick and fast.
12/11


12/12


12/13


12/17


12/19


1/1

Updates on 'Barbara' below, in the group shots.


'Glenda' was kinda slow to sprout and I planted it initially upside down, so it's been kinda special needs for a while now.

12/17

The shell hung on for so long that it yellowed her little round leaves (whatever the Hel those are called).

12/19 - 'Glenda' & 'Barbara'


'Glenda' had a little nute-burn going on for a few days, but we flushed with PH'd water and got things back on track.


While packing a pipe one night (same batch) I found another seed, and decided, "why not?" and germinated that one too. This one came out quick and mighty from the get-go.

'Spec' (named after the cookie butter jar I began to grow it in)
12/19


12/22


Then I got kinda lazy with the pics for w bit... Yule time and whatnot. So here are some random pics of what the set-up was to how it is currently. Supports have been removed from the plants now that their stems have strengthened up. They have been on an 18/6 light schedule, but I read that that's more of an old school tactic so I've turned off the timer and I'm gonna let these babies soak up 24 hours of light a day.
They each started in frigg'n MiracleGrow, but have been replanted in Fox Farms Potting Soil .3 / .05 / .9 and get the occasional DynaGrow GROW nutes (quartered from the suggested ratio).

12/23


12/26






'Barbara' 1/12 (approx 9" tall)


'Glenda' 1/12 (still a runt at about 7.5" tall)


'Spec' 1/12 (almost 9" tall)


I overwatered everyone a little bit a few days ago, so we're still recovering from that. 'Barbara' is recovering well and 'Spec' is still a little droopy, but we'll keep truckin' on.

I'll probably need to repot them into bigger containers soon, I think.
 
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Welcome to MP...Green Mojo on your grow and congrats on deciding to become self sufficient. Just be aware that bag seed is not the best seed to use as the chances of you getting a hermaphrodite are way higher than normal seed. Check out our growing resources sticky. I will post a link for you in a minute.
 

Lesso

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Im all for growing bagseed for a first grow. Get your feet wet, see if you have the knack. Just dont expect anything from them...that is, get your hopes up. Dont expect pounds of killer buds. Like hamster said its probably hermy seeds. Take them through the process from veg to harvest. Kill any males and keep the females happy. Lose the foil. THG is going to tell you the same thing. It doesnt reflect light like you think it does and just causes problems. Flat white paint is what you want.
 

SamuelSterns

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Awww! My fancy foil! haha

I'll lose that stuff pretty soon. Are there any better (inexpensive) reflective surfaces that do any good, or should I just make their current housing white?
 
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Awww! My fancy foil! haha

I'll lose that stuff pretty soon. Are there any better (inexpensive) reflective surfaces that do any good, or should I just make their current housing white?
Flat white is the cheapest and easiest.
 

SamuelSterns

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Excellent. I'll rework that business tomorrow after work. Thanks for the advice, guys!

It'll be a shame to grow Hermies, but the experience will be worth it for when I get some reputable seeds. I know there are plenty of places to order from, but do you have a personal preference? One that ships to the US with few problems?
 

Hackerman

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There are a couple seed banks in the USA now. By the time you needs seeds, they will have been around long enough to get a reputation, good or bad, So far, it's mostly good so things are looking up for buying seeds in the USA and not worrying about 3 week wait times and customs interference.

Currently Herbie's Head Shop and The Attitude (both in the UK) seem to be the top choice of most posters.
 

SamuelSterns

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Thanks, Hackerman.

I've covered the foil with flat white paper from a big ol' sketchbook. Took about 5 min.

Everyone but Spec is looking a little droopy today for some reason.

You guys think I should place them into larger pots? Is there a tell-tale sign/time for that sort of thing? (If this is referenced in a turorial, just let me know and I'll do the browsing).
 

Lesso

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They typically get droopy from over\underwatering or high temps.
 

Rosebud

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Welcome to MP Sam, no i don't think they need bigger pots. Get some T5's to veg with and you will see them perk up a lot. Glad you found us. We are glad you are here.
 
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Welcome to MP! Hope you are happy here. We have a number of very experienced growers here to help you on your journey.

I know a lot of people start with bagseed, but I believe that it is a mistake for a number of reasons. The biggest though is that you have such a big chance of getting hermies. And new growers are more at risk than experienced growers as it is stress that usually brings out the hermy side....but not always. Sometimes they hermy even when they have had the best of care. I have grown long enough to know that no matter how dynamite you believe the weed you were smoking was, there are seeds out there as good or better. This is a process that takes about 4 months start to finish. It is heartbreaking to get in 3-1/2 months and have your plants hermy because you did not want to spend $50 (or less) on good known genetics. You can loose up to 75% of your bud weight in (useless) seeds. Also you only know 1/2 of the genetics. While it is most likely that the plant selfed, it could also have picked up some stray pollen from something growing wild outdoors--i.e. ditch weed. There is a big advantage to knowing the genetics and the growing characteristics of a plant. I encourage ALL new growers to buy good genetics.

I have purchased from a lot of seed banks over the years. I have ordered from The Attitude a lot, located in Europe and the Hemp Depot located in Canada. These are probably my 2 favorite places to order seeds from. I am not familiar with any US seed banks. Not all seed banks are good. It is a good idea to ask the members here if they have had experience with a certain seed bank before buying.

LOL--Lesso called in on the foil. You really want flat white paint. You have no idea at all of the reflectability of the paper--it could be worse than the foil. Is there a reason that you cannot painty your space flat white? Growing cannabis is not like growing tomatoes or house plants and is quite finicky about its environment.

They do not need bigger pots, but do not plant things in clear containers or with a tapered neck like the jar has. Roots do not like or want light and you want containers without tapered necks so you do not damage the plant roots taking it out of the container.

I am not trying to discourage you from growing, but there really is a lot to this (there really is a reason that cannabis is expensive). You are going to need a lot lot more light, really soon. You are still getting a lot of stretch, which is a sign that the plants are not getting enough light. I suggest that you read up on lighting needs (3000 lumens per sq ft for vegging, 5000 for flowering), ventilation (need an exhaust fan that will exchange the air in your space every 2 minutes or more and an oscillating fan to move the air around in your space), feeding (get on a feeding schedule and follow it) and how to set up a space. You are going to have to have a dedicated space that you can control the environment and keep totally dark for 12 hours a day when flowering.

So, I will ask the question that I ask most new growers...what is your budget for this? There are some things you can scrimp on and some you cannot. Lighting, ventilation, and nutrients are things you really cannot scrimp on. You also need a proper space sized to the lights you have. You can buy a grow tent or you can build something or convert an existing space, but you are going to need a space dedicated to your grow. Your lighting and your yield are directly related.
 

Lesso

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Lol... I told you she would get you on the foil...
Take a look at amazon for equipment. With three smallish plants you can use a 400 watt light. They have full packages for cheap...hood, switchable ballast, and two bulbs.
 

SamuelSterns

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Yeah, Lesso, you called that pretty early on. I just got schooled by the Goddess.

For THG - Thanks for all the info, and the time you spent adding your knowledge. That alone shows a lot of love and dedication to this whole practice. I intend to purchase a good, reputable stash of seeds, and probably will after I get paid this week. The bag seed was kind of an experiment, since I had them already in hand. Didn't know about the potential for hermies being so high with them though. Still learning, clearly.

To answer your budget question... (how do you say you don't have a lot of money to spend without sounding like you're poor? - **** it, I don't have a lot of money to spend, but I'm willing to invest where needed, within reason).

I live in a duplex with not many options for housing the grow. The room they're currently in is a spare storage closet off of my upstairs office. The measurements are 4.5' x 4.8' x 7.9'. The walls inside that closet are matte white already. I have cleared out the majority of what was stored in there (what's left is in rubbermaid totes).

The cfl lights on them currently don't kick off much heat at all, even to the touch after they've been on all day, but I don't want to risk overheating the plants. Supposedly these bulbs are 900 lumen each, and at 5 bulbs, that puts the output at 4500 lumen - though I know not all of that is being used or even reached by the 3 plants - and with the help/suggestions/advice of you all, I'll get this set-up as ideal as I can for growth. I'm looking into new options for lighting via the suggestions above (a nice small T5 would be ideal for the space - see the pic below).

...but now I'm concerned about airflow too...

I've had a really small fan on them 24/7, but that was mostly in an attempt to force their stretched stalks to strengthen (there's a tongue twister for ya). Heat isn't an issue yet - but being FL I've got to use this cool period to my advantage while it lasts. A local hydroponics store has a small grow tent (probably about 6' tall x 3' wide squared) that could probably fit well within the space, but that alone is $160-ish. I think it had exhaust fans included, but I'd have to check on that. Something to think about, I guess.

Here's a pic of where the plants are seated currently. So that's all for now. Busy day at work and I'm fugg'n spent.


Thanks everyone. I truly appreciate all your time and advice.
 
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We never quit learning. I have been growing for decades, but still learn new things all the time! That is also a part of the reason i am here--to continue to learn new things as we learn more and more about this amazing plant. I am now looking to grow some higher CBD strains, a new experience for me.

I do understand being poor and there is no shame it it. I live on a small amount of money, too as I am mostly retired. It just means that we have to be bit cleverer (is that a real word?) than those with money and look a little harder for bargains. The unfortunate part of this is that it will require a certain investment of money and if you cannot invest a certain amount, you are not going to get a good harvest. And after 4 months of love and care, you are certainly going to want to see something!

If you KNOW that you can budget some every month to spend on your grow, you can do some of it a bit at a time. You may be able to find some kind of cabinet that is cheap that you could put into the closet. It doesn't have to be pretty and if you can make repairs, you can get something in less than good condition. You will want something that you can make light tight. And it is important enough for it to be FLAT WHITE that it is worth painting it or lining it with Panda film. Or a tent, but you can find a better price than $160 for a tent that size. You may find that a 2 x 4 tent will fit better. I have a 32" x 32" tent that I like. I encourage you to look online for bargains. I love Amazon and since I have Prime, I get tons of things shipped free 2 day shipping. E-Bay can also be a good resource. Wherever you decide to shop, make sure you know what you are buying. It is a good idea for new growers to run proposed purchases by the people here to make sure it will fit your needs and not lie unused on a shelf somewhere.

No, the lights aren't hot, but you are not running very many lumens. When you get as many lumens as are required and an enclosed space (you are loosing a lot of light as it is being disbursed throughout the room), they will run a lot hotter. Your lighting is your most critical thing and is directly tied to your yield. But you do have a bit more options. My favorite is vegging with T5s and flowering with HPS, but this entails buying 2 different lights. Some people have had very good luck going all the way through with T5 HO fluorescent tubes. Or you can get a digital ballast that will fire both MH and HPS bulbs. You could get away with a 400W in an 8-9 sq ft space, but if you can possibly swing a 600W, it is well worth the difference in price. An aircoolable hood is a must.

Check thrift stores and places like the habitat for Humanity Restore place for things like cabinets and other building supplies. I have seen T5s at the one I go to, but you have to make sure they are not the low wattage ones. Your CFLs will work for a while yet and you could pick up some more of them and then swap out the bulbs you use for domestic lighting if you use incandescent now (saves power, too). I find I can keep my small 5 sq ft vegging space cool with a bathroom type exhaust fan. But if you have a bigger space or a filter attached to your fan, you will need a centrifuge type fan. Sometimes you can find a decent small squirrel cage type fan that will be adequate, but you most likely will have to buy the fan new. Duct booster fans are not adequate.

First thing I recommend is finding a cabinet or buying a tent, but shop around. I think you can get a tent for under $100. How handy are you? If you have tools and know how to use them a cabinet would probably be cheaper, but if not, a tent would probably be best. An exhaust fan is going to be a must when you have an enclosed space. You can get away with a small fan in the doorway of the tent or space for a while, as their fresh air needs are way less when they are small, but a light and fan will be next on the shopping list.
 

SamuelSterns

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Quick update:

This morning when I woke up two of the 3 were looking really droopy and ...sad. So I grabbed my other lamp, removed the hoods, and added 5 more lights to the set-up. I started to worry about so many lights but luckily about midday my gf swung home to check on them and they'd sprung back to life. She said she had to move some of the lights a bit because the leaves were touching the bulbs ('Spec' got a couple singed leaf ends from it).

By the time I got home from work they were all reaching for the sky and dancing in the breeze. Made me really happy. You were right about them needing more light. It's pretty impressive how much they'd improved. Now to find a permanent solution. It's a tangle of lights right now. Beautiful in some strange way, though.

Here's a quick snap of how it's sitting for now.
 
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Reaching for the sky is not necessarily a good thing. If you are getting more new nodes, it is good, if it is just stretching it is bad. For instance, 9" and only 4 nodes is a lot of stretch.

They did not droop because of lack of light, it was something else. And you almost cannot get enough CFLs into a space to be overlit, especially when so much light is being lost. Are you running your lights 24/7?
 

SamuelSterns

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I should've worded that more carefully. The leaves themselves had gone from super-droopy to lifted and perky - that's what I meant by reaching for the sky. I think they were underwatered - I watered them real good yesterday before I left for work - might explain the drastic change in their ...uhm... mood? when I came home.

There seems to be far less stretch than before. The nodes have significantly less space between them as the stalk ascends. There's a lot of new growth at the tops - I count roughly 5 - 6 nodes on Barbara and Spec with the top-most nodes only being about an inch away from the next, vertically. Glenda is still the shortest of the three, but it actually looks the healthiest for being such a slow-grower.

I wasn't keeping the lights on 24/7, initially, but for the last week they've been lit 24/7. I used to have them 18/6. Right now there are 9 cfl bulbs in the set-up, with each plant having at least 2 'dedicated' to it in various positions. I know a lot is being lost, but I've tried to angle the bulbs to maximize coverage as best as I can.

Spec and Barbara have drooped a little bit since yesterday. Perhaps they were overwatered yesterday. I'll post some yesterday vs today pics below so you can see.

Jumping back to your previous response, THG - I can be pretty handy. I'm gonna scour CraigsList to see what kind of cabinets, etc., might be gathered from there, and I'm planning to hit the Home Depot or the like this weekend to look at some better lighting solutions too. I'll run my ideas by you good folks before I commit to anything though. I can't express enough how glad I am that I joined here and for your feedback on my rants and ghetto-rigged set-up.

And no post is complete without new pics... so here we go: (I had to move some of the bulbs to take the pics)

Glenda (yesterday on Left, today on Right)


Barbara (again, yesterday Left, today Right)


Spec (you know the routine)


You can see the first set of leaves on both Barb and Spec are yellowed, and where Spec was burned by the lights, I've clipped the burned ends off a couple spots (with sterilized little clippers) - probably more for aesthetics than function.

I still intend to invest in some good seeds, too. Maybe by then I'll have a handle on my grow space. I shouldn't have named these bag seedlings, since there seems to be a good chance for hermies with them and I'll have to dump them. Or... can you neuter hermies to prevent pollination? I know the yield would suffer considerably from hermied plants, yes? Still better than nothing for the effort, I guess.
 
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You just need to watch them once in flower. You can still grow them out and get good bud off them, You just have to keep a close eye in flower for any funny business. Oh and throw any beans you might wind up with when you harvest in the bin. It's not unusual to get a couple beans in a few buds here and there when dealing with plants that are prone to hermie.
 

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