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question regarding water and nutes prep...

Ganesa_9

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Relatively new guy here, looking for free advice (the expensive kind) as regards prepping water and nutrients for a soil grown in a grow tent.

I was hoping I could find an existing thread on 'how to mix water and nutes in 5 easy steps' on the board, so I wouldn't have to drive the other Mouseketeers crazy with endless questions about things they probably view as being so very basic, but I had no luck. So here is what I'm trying to figure out: is there an order of operations for 'water - nutes - PPM OR EC - and PH' that makes watering soil based indoor grows easier. I've spent a little over a week googling the subject, and found a confusing array of possible answers.

I found a couple sites that say you should get the water at a 'good' PH and PPM/EC FIRST, before adding nutes, and that it is then easier to reach a target PPM for the particular growth cycle AND a good PH level for the mix. Other 'experts' said to mix it all together first and then adjust.

Anybody care to share their wisdom? Thanx in advance!
 

Chad.Westport

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I think whether you use synthetic or organics is an important part of the answer. With synthetics / salts you will want to add them before adjusting the Ph. These nutrients will create swings in the Ph. Add them, use an airstone to help them mix and oxygenate the water, wait 10-15 minutes and then come back and Ph your feed. If you can leave your water out for at least 24 hours before adding nutes and using it, it can help chlorine dissipate but also allows the water to come to room temperature, which produces a lower change of Ph variances in the overall solution after you get it to the desired Ph level.

With organics, I've read that the organics are more so feeding the soil food web and it is that soil food web that helps buffer Ph within the medium. Now, I've never tried that although I have run organic before, but most people are using synthetic nutrients and they seem to have a different answer to your question than organics.
 

Ganesa_9

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Then here's a bit more info about what I tried... I am trying to go the organic route as much as possible. Currently, my plants are in the first week of flowering.

This pretty much all started with my attempts to try to figure out why my plants are not doing as well as they should. I was using my well water, via the kitchen faucet which means it was 'softened' for human use, and I think the EXTREMELY OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH PPM readings I get from my well water probably caused nute poisoning. I thought maybe if I bi-passed the softener and drew water directly from the well it might not be so bad, but no... PPM of direct well water was even higher. That's when I decided to go with the water station water.

I'm using water from a water dispensing station at my local Walmart (carbon filtered, RO filtered, UV light treated) and it is somewhat alkaline (7.3) but had a PPM reading of 30. I don't know if the RO and other filtration processes in the water station have any effect on the chlorine content or not, so I let the water sit out usually just overnight.

I started out by getting the PH down to 5.8 using distilled white vinegar... it only takes a couple drops to accomplish this which always amazes me (I'm easily amazed or amused). Then I start to add the nutes I'm using.

I'm using Dr. Earth Organic Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer liquid for general fertilization, and FoxFarm organic Big Bloom for the flowering nutrition. I've read that fertilizer companies all tell you to add too much nutes to the water, so I started out with half of what both recommend (two 'pumps' of Dr Earth and two TBS of Big Bloom. I also added a rounded teaspoon of Epson Salts (dissolved in a half cup of hot water). I then checked the PPM and PH. PH went up to 6.6 and PPM got up to 450. I wanted (based on charts I found for PPM readings for first week of flowering) to get to around 800, so I added (slowly) more nutes until I got a PPM of 850, then corrected the PH back to 5.8 (I'm having alkalinity issues with my soil mix and want to take it down a bit). Correcting the PH lowered the PPM (?) to 800, but I'm OK with that I think.

Does this all sound like it's a reasonable approach? Thanks to both the members who initially replied to my post. Gotta remember to include more details in my posts...
 

Ganesa_9

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I tried watering one of my small 'test' plants this morning with the nute solution I made yesterday, then collected and tested the run-off.

water-nutes going in: PH was 6.2 after sitting all night, PPM was still 800
run-off from watering: PH was 6.5, PPM was 1150

Any interpretations out there? Seems like there might be considerable build-up of nutes in the soil??
 

Chad.Westport

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That seems like good readings to me. If it comes out with more ppm than you put in, next feeding, use a lower dose. Even so 1150 ppm is not out of range for a plant in flower or when you are really pushing the nutes. Ph is in a great range for the roots to absorb all of the available nutrients.
 

Ganesa_9

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i didn't see where you added cal mag to replenish the ro water...did I miss something, can't sleep and I'm shatter blazed
I used Epsom Salts for calcium magnesium. Only a heaping teaspoon per gallon, dissolved in a little hot water. It's the first thing I add to the water usually. Sometimes I add a TBS of molasses too for other trace elements.
 

Ganesa_9

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That seems like good readings to me. If it comes out with more ppm than you put in, next feeding, use a lower dose. Even so 1150 ppm is not out of range for a plant in flower or when you are really pushing the nutes. Ph is in a great range for the roots to absorb all of the available nutrients.
Good to know. I hope this takes care of my issues with these plants, tired of yellowing spotty leaves. It's gotta be the well water and incomplete 'science' on the water nute mix. I had two inside that started to look so bad that, figuring they were going to die, I planted in a secluded spot outdoor (illegal where I am). In one week they perked up so much I couldn't believe it. Pretty sure last night's hard frost killed them or close to it, but the only difference between them was the water source and sun instead of grow light. I planted them in their grow bags in the dirt... so the soil mix was the same. Our yard dirt is not that great and highly alkaline.
 

HerbWatcher

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Ganesha 9.
I believe the issues you are having are do to the epson salt.
I could be incorrect.
I've always used salts to kill and keep tree roots out of septic systems. And it works great.
So I could never understand why someone would add epson salt to the soil. I know what the theory is for magnesium. But there is a hundred other items that one can use instead of a salt. Plus most of those items have calcium in them also.
But I have to admit, for years I've been reading growers using epson salt. And for some stupid reason ( like a f%$#king idiot) I tried it on my last grow.
I had 6 beautiful 10 foot plants that I had vegged for 5 months.
Like a idiot a week before I put them to 12/12 I thought I would try epson salt. I thought shit these girls are so big and strong it can't hurt. So I gave them a quarter of what was recommended. A week and a half later I started seeing orange rust spots on some leaves. A week after that almost every leaf had the spots and the first leaves that got the spots were dead.
Within 3 weeks 5 plants were dead.
I've been growing 40 plus years and NEVER have had any problems let alone losing a plant.
So as you can see why I said it might be the epson causing the issues you are having.
I grow in 20 gal. containers , and I threw all that shit out.
F%$#K that epson salt..
Anyway good luck...
 

Ganesa_9

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Ganesha 9.
I believe the issues you are having are do to the epson salt.
I could be incorrect.
I've always used salts to kill and keep tree roots out of septic systems. And it works great.
So I could never understand why someone would add epson salt to the soil. I know what the theory is for magnesium. But there is a hundred other items that one can use instead of a salt. Plus most of those items have calcium in them also.
But I have to admit, for years I've been reading growers using epson salt. And for some stupid reason ( like a f%$#king idiot) I tried it on my last grow.
I had 6 beautiful 10 foot plants that I had vegged for 5 months.
Like a idiot a week before I put them to 12/12 I thought I would try epson salt. I thought **** these girls are so big and strong it can't hurt. So I gave them a quarter of what was recommended. A week and a half later I started seeing orange rust spots on some leaves. A week after that almost every leaf had the spots and the first leaves that got the spots were dead.
Within 3 weeks 5 plants were dead.
I've been growing 40 plus years and NEVER have had any problems let alone losing a plant.
So as you can see why I said it might be the epson causing the issues you are having.
I grow in 20 gal. containers , and I threw all that **** out.
F%$#K that epson salt..
Anyway good luck...
Huh... always used epsom salts in the garden for nightshade family plants, and it always helps a lot, and I know of people who are into roses who swear by adding epsom salts as a feed. It's a salt, but not the same as table salt (sodium chloride), and table salt will kill plants.
 

Ganesa_9

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Then here's my last question for this particular thread...

I notice that if I add nutes to my gallon of water, and that 'mix' sits for any length of time (couple hours to overnight) the mix settles and I end up with sediment at the bottom of the Carlo Rossi gallon size jug. So far I always mix it up again before watering my plants... but should I do that, or just leave the sediment at the bottom of the jug. By mixing it up again just before I use it, am I adding 'glop' to soil that can cause the soil to harden up and not be soft and fluffy anymore, or that might in some way unknown to me actually interfere with nutrient absorption?
 

Chad.Westport

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You can buy a little airstone and pump for fishtanks, should cost less than $10. I use those in my water buckets to keep the nutrients mixed. I try and not have nutrients sitting for more than 24 hours. I'll leave the water out infinitely, but nutrients I mix right before I need them.

If you have a layer of nutrients at the bottom, do mix it up, otherwise the plants that get the bottom of the bucket will be getting a highly concentrated watering with nutrients.
 

Ganesa_9

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You can buy a little airstone and pump for fishtanks, should cost less than $10. I use those in my water buckets to keep the nutrients mixed. I try and not have nutrients sitting for more than 24 hours. I'll leave the water out infinitely, but nutrients I mix right before I need them.

If you have a layer of nutrients at the bottom, do mix it up, otherwise the plants that get the bottom of the bucket will be getting a highly concentrated watering with nutrients.
That's what I thought... just being overcautious. Thanks.
 

RonnieB

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Thats a crappy well, I hate to say that but my water is well and 22ppm with 5.5-6.0 ph. When are you checking the ph? Your ph can fluctuate a bit through the day
 

Ganesa_9

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Thats a crappy well, I hate to say that but my water is well and 22ppm with 5.5-6.0 ph. When are you checking the ph? Your ph can fluctuate a bit through the day
Yeah it's been like that forever... I took a couple more readings this morning:
IF I pull directly from the well (bypassing the softener), I get a PPM of 1356 and a pH of 7.7
If I get from the kitchen tap (softened water) the PPM is 961 and the pH is 6.8 (that pH today is lower than usual, but it's pouring rain and that might have an effect on the water).

I've had it tested several times over the years, and it's always been like this. I envy your well water...
 
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Ganesha 9.
I believe the issues you are having are do to the epson salt.
I could be incorrect.
I've always used salts to kill and keep tree roots out of septic systems. And it works great.
So I could never understand why someone would add epson salt to the soil. I know what the theory is for magnesium. But there is a hundred other items that one can use instead of a salt. Plus most of those items have calcium in them also.
But I have to admit, for years I've been reading growers using epson salt. And for some stupid reason ( like a f%$#king idiot) I tried it on my last grow.
I had 6 beautiful 10 foot plants that I had vegged for 5 months.
Like a idiot a week before I put them to 12/12 I thought I would try epson salt. I thought **** these girls are so big and strong it can't hurt. So I gave them a quarter of what was recommended. A week and a half later I started seeing orange rust spots on some leaves. A week after that almost every leaf had the spots and the first leaves that got the spots were dead.
Within 3 weeks 5 plants were dead.
I've been growing 40 plus years and NEVER have had any problems let alone losing a plant.
So as you can see why I said it might be the epson causing the issues you are having.
I grow in 20 gal. containers , and I threw all that **** out.
F%$#K that epson salt..
Anyway good luck...
Potty mouth!! LOL
 

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