Slabs Sphagnum Wicking grow - fall 2022

Slab

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Hello friends, just a quick update (I know I know, I'm lame for not doing a grow log). I'm currently a couple weeks into flower of my 3rd grow in my 3x3 tent: two Forbidden Fruitz from TasteBudz and two Strawberry Banana from FastBudz (both auto fems). This time I'm using only sphagnum wicking as I wanted to test the reusability of sphagnum moss and cut down the work a little (my last grow had half supersoil). This will be the third grow in the same moss for 2 of the containers and it appears to not have degraded at all.

The Forbidden Fruitz is going to be a supercharged zkittlez style that is already pretty huge. Both seeds did great and I have 3 more.
The Strawberry Banana: one plant is doing great, but one is stunted so I planted a second that is doing well but about 10 days behind. The Strawberry Banana from FastBudz seeds were not up to standard. Out of 5, two are growing very well, one didn't pop, and two grew about half an inch and then runted out and died before they could get to seedling. 4 of the 5 seeds themselves looked small, with one very small (the one that didn't pop). I did wait about 6 months before popping these after purchase, leaving them in a dark room temperature drawer in original FastBudz packaging. Not sure if age had much to do with it but I consider that a minor mark against FastBuds (through NorthAtlanticSeed.com) for now.

I plan to push this sphagnum moss for a few more grows just to see if it starts degrading eventually. I really like how reusable it is so far. The only downside to sphagnum wicking is you have to make nutrient formula all the time like any hydro, but I have zero runoff to worry about and overwatering is not an issue with this method. Oh also, after each grow usage it takes some time picking out the old roots and rinsing it off, but it's easier than making new soil every time and at this point it is just saving me money.

2022-11_all_Sphagnum_Auto_Fem_01.jpg

The two on the right are the Forbidden Fruitz, the left are the Strawberry Banana. The close left is actually two SB plants. The smaller rightmost in the center being the same generation as the other main three plants but was runted taking a couple weeks to get going. The left plant in that container is the newer one that is 10 days behind and growing well.


2022-11_all_Sphagnum_ForbiddenFruitz_01.jpg

This Forbidden Fruitz auto is in week 6 and is showing nice structure.
 

Slab

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Never seen a grow like that .
Well, remember the old Phototron closet device? They used sphagnum wicking.
Phototron.jpg


I started out growing again recently by wanting to research and discover how to do sphagnum wicking again with common hydro nutrients, mostly because I grew that way several decades ago and I just wanted to tie my experience back to my previous grows. And it's been fun! And it's even working for me lol. I'm sure I'll eventually get tired of mixing nutrients and will fall back to super soil grows.
 

Slab

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Previous grow in my noob intro thread:
 

Slab

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I'm getting greedy. I've got two Chemdawg photo fem seeds from North Atlantic Seed Company germinating in addition to my 4 autos flowering in the tent. I want to try early vegging them while the autos are finishing to see if I can cut a few weeks out before my next harvest. Not sure how well this will work but seems fun to try it. Being photos, I should be able to get good structural coverage before going into flower.
 

boo

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yo momma...
Can you go into detail on how often you feed your plants and what type of drainage are you using? What you’re doing looks very interesting. I use the spagnum that you’re using on my staghorns and I find it hard to obtain an expensive when I do find it.
 

RosterMan

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Can you go into detail on how often you feed your plants and what type of drainage are you using? What you’re doing looks very interesting. I use the spagnum that you’re using on my staghorns and I find it hard to obtain an expensive when I do find it.
Did you ever grow in Spanish moss?
 

Slab

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Can you go into detail on how often you feed your plants and what type of drainage are you using? What you’re doing looks very interesting. I use the spagnum that you’re using on my staghorns and I find it hard to obtain an expensive when I do find it.

Sure. Yea, sphagnum is expensive now unfortunately. I'm not sure if it is still reasonable to use. My only saving grace is I will reuse this for quite a number of grows. Not sure how long it will last, it might just last as long as I continue to clean it between grows. This is my third grow reusing it and it seems to not have degraded at all. I did purchase some extra sphagnum recently though as I wanted some more for solo cups and was shocked at the prices. I got some decent quality for around $35 for a brick that expanded to half fill five-gallon bucket about after hydrated (easily enough for one plant the way I'm doing it). You can search amazon for "Premium New Zealand Sphagnum Moss for All Types of Flowers 150 Grams (12 Liters)" by brand: besgrow if you want to see it. If I can really reuse that half a dozen or more times, then maybe it's not so bad a deal. I suspect a need to purchase more moss every few grows because sometime you just have to toss some of it away when picking out the old roots between grows. Also, I probably could use smaller containers and less moss, just feed more often.

Anyway, I'm basically feeding dechlorinated tap water (sitting open in 5gal bucket overnight) with a pH of about 7.4 and ppm around 70 from the tap. I make a gallon at a time of nutrient mix in gallon distilled water jugs, and I follow a customized General Hydroponics 10-part (kindof) schedule, but less potent than they recommend. I will provide the schedule, but I have some refining to do with it. I am currently using multiple bloom nutrients in small dosages that I would prefer to simplify and I'm sure there are many optimizations to be made. In fact, I may eventually try using FloraFlex instead, but as long as I'm willing to mix all these nutes I'll just finish using them.

I got carried away getting GH stuff like their humic, their sweetener, their ripen formula, silicon etc. If I were to simplify this FloraTrio schedule, I'd get only the trio (micro, grow, bloom) plus CaliMagic (GH version of calmag). Even more fundamental would be dropping the Grow, because there is a lot of grow in the micro. Or if maybe if a little more, then one of their bud sweeteners (GH FloraNectar "Sugarcane" the unflavored version) and the silicon would be next on my list. GH Armor Si: I have not needed to support buds since using the GH Armor SI silicon seems to work great.)

The feeding is kind of unique being purely hydroponic wicking. There is no drainage at all. I feed with nutrients every time, except for flushing. My current pots are actually car washing buckets without any drainage. Each one has pre-soaked and cleaned sphagnum moss in it, with a big hole down to the bottom so you can always check for standing nutrients at the bottom, and where to pour the nutrients. This amount of moss will hold lots of nutrients without any standing water, easily a whole days' worth for when autos. I generally feed more a couple times a day but don't really need to.

The technique basically is to give it as much as you think it will use each day, feeding nutrients every feed -- the only rule being to make sure no standing water exists in the tray for at least several hours each day. If that isn't going to happen, then remove some from the hole with a turkey baster. In this grow's case, the pots have so much moss that it has never failed to soak up all the nutrients I've fed it after a few minutes. But if I had less moss or needed a larger feed, I could fill the moss planter up to around 3/4 from the top of the moss with the nutrients, then watch how the plant sucks it down over the next hours, while never leaving any standing in there longer than about half a day. That is all you need to do to prevent overwatering issues, and as you do it you will get a feel for how much it is using. I also depend heavily on lifting the buckets to see how much they may need as the moss goes from quite heavy to very light weight as the plant drinks. I germinate in rapid rooter, humidity dome, warming tray, and plant those directly in the moss with GH RapidStart and 20% seedling nutrient solution pH aiming for 5.8 - 6.2.

During early seedling planting I just water the seedling at the surface, giving enough to soak down to the bottom so the roots will follow it down. After a week I'll only bottom water directly in the hole from then on so it leaves the top moss dry, preventing insects. I have seen a few fungus gnats but mostly they were only when I had the soil in the tent also. They don't bother much with sphagnum it seems although I have had a few that I used diatomaceous earth on but were never a big problem. I have none this time.

I'll make my "work in progress" noob sphagnum wicking schedule available here once I touch it up a bit.

So.... typically I'll get up in the morning and check their container weight and look at their leaves. I like to water them in the morning and will give them about what I think they can use for most of the day. I'll check again in the late afternoon or evening and see if they are dry, then I'll water a bit again if they need it, but usually will just wait until the morning for their main watering.

I kind of love the transparency and immediate responsiveness of growing hydroponically, and the brute force simplicity of sphagnum wicking. I wonder how it compares $ to coco over time? It's been fun tying my past back to my old Phototron stealth closet grows from over 30 years ago, which used the same moss idea but with their proprietary nutrients.

Sorry to write a book :)... Hope this is useful.
 

RosterMan

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I leave it in the trees, red bugs bite…I don’t think it would retain moisture like the sphagnum moss would, have you tried it with any success…interesting thought, it’s everywhere and free
No but it is one of those air plants that suck moisture from the air
May work , If I had some I would try it /
 

Slab

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What's this? Spanish moss? I've never seen this before. Looks pretty interesting
I'm using sphagnum moss, the same stuff growing in bogs that makes the peat moss over time, except it's still alive and can be harvested more sustainably. Whether or not they actually harvest that way I guess you'd have to research it. I didn't look too closely when I bought this because I was in a hurry, but it was from New Zealand and seems to be fine.

Spanish moss looks almost like lichen hanging in tree branches. I have no idea if it can be used but I very much doubt it can hold water like sphagnum, which is almost like a miracle plant how much it can hold.
 

Slab

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6. The surface of the Spanish moss plant is covered with tiny gray scales, which trap water until the plant can absorb it. The plant’s tissues can hold more water than the plant needs, to keep it going through dry periods. When the tissues plump up after a rain, Spanish moss appears more green. As the water is used, it returns to a gray hue.

maybe it would work
 

Slab

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I've been comparing my schedule with the general hydroponics "medium feed" version of the 10-part flora series schedule and it's pretty close to what I'm doing with the moss.

A couple changes from the GH medium schedule though:
1. I'd lower the trio nutrients slightly from their schedule. 25% closer to the "light feed" schedule, at least as a default starting point. Some plants can probably handle it fine.
2. I'd raise the CaliMagic (or CalMag) up to 4 ml once in veg.
3. Consider adding a humic such as GH Diamond Nectar. I've been using FulPlex Gold. I don't know how necessary it is, GH left it off their schedule after all. It is supposed to help absorption of nutrients so I'm mentioning here because I've been using it and it may affect the nutrient requirements. Maybe if dropped, the medium schedule would be less likely to burn the leaves?
4. When seedlings are rooting in sphagnum, I also think a low 20% level of CaliMagic is needed. GH schedule doesn't include it until veg.
 

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Quick update in week 8. The two Strawberry Banana on the left are very frosty and smell amazing. The two Forbidden Fruitz on the right are showing different characteristics. The back FF is showing indica traits and is frosting up some, but the front right seems to be moving a little slower and just starting to frost up those thick buds. I notice it is also faster to show fade. The solo cup ChemDawg photo fem seedlings seem happy so far.

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