Trying to understand feeding, nutrients, ppm, ph...

llamaman

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These are probably basic questions that I haven't quite figured out yet, but I'd appreciate you seasoned growers input. I haven't begun my first indoor grow yet, so no worries, I haven't poisoned anything yet! Here's my situation: Will be growing indoors in a cabinet in soil, with appropriate lights, fans, ventilation etc. All that I understand fine. I'm going to start with seeds and have some Northern Lights and Super Skunk that I've decided to begin with. I've been reading posts here for a while and studying many grow guides on the net, but just don't feel I have a grasp on nutes yet. If all these questions can be answered more easily by directing me to a previous post that's fine. I probably just haven't taken the time to dig deep enough in the archives yet.
Here's my questions:
--I see conflicting info on whether or not to have a totally sterile (no nutes) mix for seedlings, or to buy a good commercial mix with some nutes already in it. I understand that I shouldn't add any additional nutes the first couple weeks. I'm using soil because of potential power outages in my rural home and because it seems to be a bit moreforgiving for a newbie like me.
--When I test for pH do I test the soil, or water, or both? Is a pH meter the best way to go? Do I add pH Up or pH down to the soil or to the water?
--When I water with added nutes should I do it every time? I understand to start with 1/4 strength, but should my watering solution have nutes in it every time I water? Say I water every three days, should every other watering be just water?
--What exactly does a ppm meter tell me? Does it actually tell me a break down of N-P-K amounts? I've read that as my plants grow larger the ppm should increase.
--I'll be using a two stage nute solution, one for grow, one for bloom. Should trace minerals and other additives be added every time? Just in the veg, or just in flower, or both?
--What about foliar feeding? I've heard this can be done daily? Does it help?
That should be enough to get me either more confused or begin to sink in to my little brain. I'm actually a very good person with details, so I want to do this right. And, I love the herb, so want only the best for my girls.
You know what they say, "treat your ladies right and they will treat you right back!"
Thanks a bunch, you folks are great!
the Llama
 

joegrow22

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Hey llamaman,
i know how you feel getting started, there is just so much info you gotta know. First off with the seedlings, just put them in your normal soil. They need nutes to grow, but you don't want to add any nutes because soil already contains enough at the beginning. You can germinate your seeds in a mild nute solution, but its better off to just do it in water (i always use a paper towel and have gotten 100 % germ ratio).
Your soil will last 2 to 3 weeks with regard to nutrients before you have to start adding. It can vary, you just have to listen to your plant. Make sure you have a good soil mixture, or buy fox farm, which is an already mixed soil that contains a lot of good stuff for your grow. When you start adding nutes, you want to start at 1/4 strength, and depending on if the nutes are synthetic or organic, you want to use every water or every couple of waterings. With orgranic nutes, you want to use every water because they break down fast. Synthetic nutes you don't want to add very often b/c it can cause nute burn pretty fast.
You can foilar feed, but i wouldn't recommend it if you don't know what your doing. Foilar feeding is mainly used when 1. roots are getting old and can't absord nutes too well or 2. have a nute def. or lockout and need to give nutes directly to plant. i wouldn't worry about this until the time comes. trace minerals usually come in the nutes you buy, but if they don't, add every time you give the plant your main nutes.
ppm is parts per million of all the stuff in your water. It doesnt give you a breakdown of n-p-k. It just gives the total amount of dissolved solids that you have in your water. Don't worry about this too much, unless your tap water is "hard", which means it has a high ppm, past 400 to 500. you really don't have to know ppm unless your doing hydro, so if your doing soil don't even think about ppm.
depending on the type of ph meter you have, you can either test the water that has drained out of your soil or you soil. Both will give you pretty good readings, but just depends on your ph meter. A digital ph meter is the best way to go, but expensive. Ph is usually adjusted in soils to the right amount, like in fox farm, so unless your having trouble with your plant, its not that important. I hope i answered all your questions, thats my .o2 :)
 

jaz1873

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Hi mate

Im growing in a HFT hydro system. Do i check my PPM of my water before i add nutes or is this the PH?
first timer.
cheers
 

naturalhi

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First time growers often feel this way, so I'll say it again, " Don't worry be happy"! MJ grows wild without any human assistance darn near anywhere on earth!

follow the directions on the nute bottles, easy!

If fox Farm is available where you are good if not ask nursery for a blended mix so you don't have to worry about that.

Keep It Simple while learning, there's plenty of time later to get technical later!
 

llamaman

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Thanks for the advice and clarifications Joegrow and naturalhi.
I saw on a site where it said the ppm levels should be as follows:
plants at 0-2" no nutes
plants at 3-6" 300-500 ppm
plants at 7-15" 600-1000 ppm
plants at 16"+ 1200-1500 ppm
It does make sense to have higher concentrations as plants grow larger since they will be eating more.

Best wishes, the Llama
 

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