Hi everyone. I'm about 3 weeks into my first ever hydro grow. I'm still very inexperienced in growing in general, so I'd greatly appreciate any criticism that the gurus here would be kind enough to offer. Please take a look at my photos and descriptions below and let me know if you can see any avenues for improvement or potential problems. Thank you all for your time!
Strains are: 1 x White Rhino feminised, 2 x Super Kush regular. All began germination on 11/10/2013. All popped about 2-3 days after commencing germination. Thus, they're all about 3 weeks old right now.
First: this is the current state of the grow. I've got a 250W MH lamp in a 125mm x 400mm cooltube. There is a 120mm fan at the top of the case sucking hot air out of the lamp. I know it's considered more effective to blow air through the cooltube, but I have one end of the tube open to suck air out of the cabinet in an effort to use it both to cool the lamp and also act as an exhaust vent.
It's a drip-fed run to waste system, being fed twice per day at 1/2 strength nutrients. Medium is pure perlite, seeds sprouted in peat plugs. Buckets are 4 litre, with about a 1 inch reservoir maintained in the bottom of each bucket. Pump is a piddly little 2W thing from ebay.
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Here's a closer shot of the light above the plants. It's about 30cm/12" away from the top of the plants. The plants themselves are about 10cm/4" high. There's a small 80mm computer case fan hanging precariously from the cooltube ducting (yes, this could be better!). It's a 12V fan running on a 9V power supply, and it blows constantly when the light is on. It blows just above the plant tops, causing them to rustle very slightly as if in an outdoor breeze. This alone has done a lot to improve temps at the plant level.
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Exhaust fan on the back of the cabinet. As stated, 120mm sucking air through the cooltube duct and venting into the shed. I admit that this could be better if it vented out of the shed, but it's a big shed and a small wardrobe, so I can't see the venting into the shed itself really causing dramatic temp increases. Also the shed is very well ventilated, and furthermore I am running the light overnight to keep temps down as daytime temps are getting to be between 20C - 30C at this time of year. The temp inside the wardrobe is roughly 15C higher than the external daytime temp, so heat is a big issue, hence running the light overnight from 18:00 - 10:00. Thus, it's on a 16/8 schedule for veg.
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This is how I initially grew the seedlings from sprout for their first couple of weeks: under 4x24W CFL globes with a home made reflector lined with aluminium foil. It was positioned about 5cm from the plant tops, and it worked great! I might try a pure CFL grow in future, because it caused next to no heat increase and the seedlings seemed to love it. I'd really like to see what you could get from a decent SCROG using a few 50W CFLs....!
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Here is the basic dripper attachment. It drips onto the peat plug, and there are taps at each drip line to help regulate flow so it's even across all 3 plants. I tried making a home-made ring dripper but it didn't work very well.
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Nutrients are a 2-part brand called 'House & Garden A & B'. Currently using at 1/2 strength and it seems OK.
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Yellow bucket contains nutrients and rainwater, ph ~ 6-6.5. Testing with paper strips from eBay. Blue bucket at the back is for waste runoff. I'm getting minimal runoff now, which would suggest that I'm watering them just enough - Is that correct?
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So, I'd really appreciate input from you all. I guess some of my key questions are:
- Is watering them 2 x day with 1/2 strength nutrients enough? I was planning to build up to full strength around flowering time. They get watered for 1 minute each time. Dunno how much goes through the pump in that time... maybe 100ml or so...?
- The plants are about 8cm-10cm high now, after just under 3 weeks of veg. Is this too small? I put them in the peat plugs to germinate on 11/10/2013. They look nice and green and seem OK, although the leaves are looking a bit wrinkly around the edges (not burned or anything, just wrinkly). Is that a sign of anything to worry about?
- The drippers are a single outlet pouring directly onto the peat plugs. Is this OK?
- Any further input on anything would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much everyone.