Monthly Archives: August 2011

Going from Potted Plants to Hydro Grow

There are many resources on the web regarding growing BOTH indoor and outdoor crops.

 

There are few if any articles/ pages on whether indoor or outdoor is preferable in terms of yield.

 

The scope of this piece is to educate informed growers who are making the switch from outdoor/ potted plants or indoor potted grow operations to the wonderful world of hydroponics.

 

Why Hydro Grow Versus Outdoor?

 

It’s true that outdoor crops have the space, light and usually the CO2 depending on your area necessary to grow up to four, five even six feet tall over the course of their lifetimes! Some key troubles with outdoor growing outweigh the potential increase in yield, though. For instance, issues such as the following could seriously limit your harvest or even worse, your time as a free walking citizen:

 

  • Busted – cops, park rangers, concerned citizens, DARE educated little children and more are all potential snitches: unless your outdoor grow is well locked up and invisible to the naked eye, you could be at higher risk.

 

  • Animals – unlike an indoor operation, outdoor ops are subject to animal damage. Whether the deer are eating your plants or trampling them, the ill effects are the same.

 

  • Drought/ Monsoon Rains – factors that you can’t control exist in an outdoor environment. With hydroponic grow operations, you control everything through automated systems and a bit of good, basic chemistry.

 

  • Transportation – if you grow outside, if even in your backyard, it’s possible that you’ll be seen moving your harvest either from flowering into drying or drying into packaging/ storage. When growing using a hydro system, all of your work is done within the security of your own four walls.

 

Why Hydro Grow Versus Indoor Potted Plants?

 

Simply put: control. When growing hydroponically you have control over the nutrient blends that your plants receive, the watering and ventilation system and you can formulate a growing medium that works best for your crop, (rockwool or coco products with a 1″ thick line of Hydroton rocks is a popular favorite).

 

Indoor potted plant grow ops often face the challenges of potting soil density and nutrient imbalance. Frequently, soils will contain nutrients right out of the bag. By giving your plant added nutrient supplements when nutrients are already present, you could be doing more harm than good.

 

Hydroponics to the Rescue!

 

Hydro systems are ideally set up with an automated watering system that includes a reservoir where you can add nutrients and pH balancing agents before they reach the plants. The advantages are clear: hydro operations offer you the means to adjust every variable of the photosynthesis process to ensure maximum yield on your crops! Why pray for rain when you can auto-drip? Why trudge out in the jungle to catch ideal CO2 levels when you can regulate and generate CO2 within your hydro grow room? Save yourself trouble in the end if you’re going to grow: go hydro first and you’ll understand why hydro growers never go back!

 

weGrow Docu Series

wegrow-grandopening

 

The weGrow team is excited to announce that we have received a production deal for a new docu series!  We are excited to be able to shine a light on medical cannabis and the many individuals that are pushing this industry forward.  And we want YOU to be a part of it!

If you think you have what it takes to be a part of the show join us in Phoenix, Sacramento, or Oakland over the next week for your chance at becoming a part of the cast. We are interested in individuals that have a passion for the industry, weather you are involved in growing, edibles, a part of a MMJ movement, or even someone that has had a life changing experience with MMJ.   Stop by and share your story with us for a chance to be the next TV icon!

 

Not interested in the spotlight? Join us behind the scenes one of the days listed below to show weGrow your support!

weGrow Production Schedule:

Phoenix August 12-14th

Oakland August 14-15

Sacramento August 16-17


The Importance of Good Ventilation

When growing any type of plant indoors via hydroponics or not, the importance of good ventilation may escape the “average” grower. If you pay no attention to the airflow of your operation, weGrow highly encourages you to try setting up a ventilation system. If you’re trying to reach above and beyond the “average” grow to get nice, sticky buds out of an extremely healthy all-female crop, you’re going to need to consider air flow for several reasons.

 

Reasons Why Ventilation Helps

Below is a short list of reasons why ventilation is necessary in a good grow operation. A plant’s propensity to grow is dependent on whether it has the three things necessary for photosynthesis: light, CO2 and water. Though ventilation doesn’t provide direct CO2, it keeps fresh nitrogen and oxygen rich air coming into your room.

 

As plants breathe in CO2 and yield oxygen, you have to consider the CO2 to oxygen ratio in natural air. There are about .038% CO2 in the volume of air whereas oxygen accounts for a whopping 20% of ambient air’s volume. This means that even on a rudimentary level of growing without using CO2 regulators, your plants suck through the CO2 in the natural air pretty quickly.

 

If you have a stagnant room without any form of ventilation, your plants will absorb the CO2 present within a matter of days to weeks, then, they’ll get progressively weaker… and sicker… All because your air is stale! weGrow doesn’t want that for you…

 

See below for more reasons why ventilation helps:

 

  • With higher humidity levels and good ventilation, mites are less likely to plague your plants
  • If you’ve got stagnant, humid air, you’re inviting mildew to ruin your plants – keep air moving and the problem will desist
  • Premature bud drop is a phenomena where buds fall off of your plant before harvest – this can be prevented with good ventilation
  • TEMPERATURE REGULATION!!!! As air moves by your plants, it brings the temperature of the air and plants down
  • If you’re breeding plants, fresh moving air helps tremendously with pollination
  • Entire ventilation systems may be used for the purposes of cooling your ballasts in addition to giving your plants fresh air

 

Implementing Good Ventilation

 

The first thing you’re going to want to do when you set up a ventilation system is get a climate-controllable air conditioner – you’ll be able to program the temperature of the air to what you want it at. Use additional pedestal fans if you have a large grow room to increase air flow in all corners of your room. For specific plants that need cooler temperatures, consider using clip-on fans or areas of your room outfitted with smaller, 4″ Axial fans. Get axial fan cords here. Make use of inline duct fans if you aren’t piping your ventilation through the roof via chimney or jerry-rigging – this will reduce the chance that breezes will impede air flow out of the room.

DON’T BLOW AIR DIRECTLY ON YOUR PLANTS.  As this will cause windburn and dries them out. – Blow air at lower levels on your plants that just makes the leaves flutter. This makes the main branches stronger so they can support large buds.

 

Too much air can dehydrate them quickly. Have the air passing by the plants but not in immediate range of your plants. Remember – when you adjust the temperature of the room, you adjust the temperature of the plant.

 

If you follow these basic recommendations for setting up a ventilation system, you’ll find your plants growing bigger buds come flowering time consistently due to the regular  replacement of air containing much needed CO2. For growers who’ve been using ventilation since they started growing, consider using a more advanced technique of integrating CO2 dispersion for your plants. Increased CO2 levels will dramatically increase harvests every time!

 

Grow Mediums Versus Potting Mix

Many novice and intermediate growers across the States have grown accustomed to inefficient growing habits. Surprisingly enough, the fertilizer and nutrient-rich potting soils that are available commercially through most nurseries and garden stores aren’t the epitome of substrates to use when growing marijuana. Though there are some benefits to planting crops in potting soil, the cyclical nature of vegetation then flowering of the cannabis plant is best complimented through adjusting nutrient levels between the two stages of growth. By using potting soil to grow your bud with, you could be missing out on harvest weight that could have been attained if you had used a grow medium that is specifically designed to maximize drainage and water retention.

The Disadvantages of Potting Soil

Though potting soil contains pre-imbued nutrients along with organic material, fertilizer and perlite, there are distinct disadvantages that make it a sub-par option when compared to other growing mediums. First, potting soil is expensive. Depending on the brand you opt for, soil can get as expensive as $22 for just twelve quarts of soil. When compared to other substrates such as rockwool or grow rocks, this cost is unwarranted as you’ll get better results using cheaper growing mediums. In addition, potting soil is notoriously bad for drainage. If water doesn’t leak out of your potting mix, you run the risk of your plants developing root rot or fungus. Always ensure that the bottoms of your pots have drainage holes and that there is a tray below them to catch draining water. If you’ve encountered this issue in the past, try loosening the soil by turning it over a few times. Ultimately your best bet if you’re using potting soil is to switch to a more effective grow medium like one of those listed below.

Grow Mediums for Healthier Plants

There are a few great grow mediums that are readily available that require little, if any change to the way you grow your plants. Implementing any of the following grow mediums will yield obviously healthier plants than those you may have seen come out of potting soil. Try using growing mediums together: grow rocks, for instance, are great when laid out roughly 1” thick at the bottom of your pots with either coco or rockwool above.

Rockwool

Rockwool is an ideal substrate especially for drip hydro systems. If you aren’t growing hydroponically, the material is still preferable over potted soil, but you’ll have to put in extra effort to control pH, as rockwool tends to have a high pH level of its own. Also, be sure to wear a mask when dealing with this substrate: the fibers and particles that kick back when working with it can be damaging to the lungs. Also, if you’re an eco-friendly farmer, rockwool won’t be your first choice. Similarly to Styrofoam, rockwool does not biodegrade over time. Distinct advantages of rockwool include the fact that it holds water well: literally 18% is the minimum water retention to expect out of this substrate ensuring that your plants consistently have the water they need. This substrate is also versatile as it comes in varying sized blocks that are ideal for a single seed. Get twenty blocks or get two: the choice is up to you. Despite the fibers being bad to breathe in, the substrate of rockwool is very durable and clean. It doesn’t break apart easily, but still, wear a mask when working with it for safety.

Hydroton Rocks aka: “Grow” Rocks

The only complaint about hydroton rocks is that their exceptional drainage quality means that you need to increase the amount of water delivered to your plants to ensure that the rocks and your plant roots will stay moist. Aside from that, these are an all-purpose substrate great for ebb and flow, drip and aeroponic systems. Quick drainage means its exceptionally easy to flush your system in the event of nutrient build up and when used below a layer of coco or rockwool, hydroton rocks work wonderfully!

Coco Substrate

When dealing in coco substrate, it’s important that you don’t cheap out when purchasing. Low priced coco usually means low quality. Low quality coco has been known to contain high levels of sea salt and even beach sand, (coco is short for coconut – the husks are used to make a substrate). If you invest wisely in high quality coco you’ll be joining the ranks of most hydro growers these days. Coco substrate has become widely popular among professional growers lately as it comes in a variety of forms including:

• Compressed Bricks
• Bulk Bags
• Growing Bags
• Roll-Out Mats

The way to tell that the coco substrate you’re interested in is high quality is by checking for two things. Make sure that the coconut husks have been disinfected and/or treated with trichoderma (prevents against root rot).

Check weGrowStore.com out for locations or products!