Grow: Introduction to Aptus
By SD OG Grower
I have written many articles on nutrients and additives for growing and often highly recommend organic additives and the use of beneficial microbes and teas to really enhance the flowers, immune system, and overall health of the plant, and to get sweeter, tastier buds! Many of you also know I have been a big fan of Canna nutrients, especially Canna Coco with coco as my favorite growing medium of course. But several months ago, my friend Scott from IGS told me about a product line that is NOT nutrients, but rather a series of bottles that was based off of plant science and not just loading the plant with N-P-K. No big phosphorous and potassium bloom boosters like most companies push. No! This is a product line that is 100% organic and you still use your base nutrients like Canna Coco A & B. But donâ€™t be tempted to use anything else or you will destroy the program and the plant!
So I did my research and it was almost impossible to get my hands on it, but my good buddy Scott had a friend in Holland get me some and he sent it over! I had a lot going on at the time when it arrived, so I decided to run it at a good friendâ€™s grow room, a very experienced grower I have worked with for years. Heâ€™s the kind of person who always tries to find a reason to complain or say that something didnâ€™t work that well! He runs his own custom recipe and thinks itâ€™s the best! So when he ran it and wrote this article as a feedback report on what he did and the nutrient, I knew I had found something magical! He messed up many different things by being lazy and busy with other things, but it still came out as probably the best looking and best tasting buds I have ever tasted! Iâ€™m told this nutrient will be in the USA by early 2012; but till then, this is the report on the product line Aptus!
A NEW PLANT TECHNOLOGY FROM HOLLAND, PSHAW! BY: LANCELOT
Finally! The silver bullet for massive harvests! Grow rock hard buds the size of footballs! Break two pounds per light every harvest!
Iâ€™ve heard every marketing pitch trying to push some new nutrient into my precious garden and every audacious claim of huge yields and snow white buds. Iâ€™ve been growing for awhile and have developed my own special recipe that is reliable, productive, and cost effective. So, when approached about a new nutrient technology from Holland, I was skeptical. But there was something different about the way they talked about their philosophy and products. There was no hype, no sensational claims, and frankly, no bullshit. All I heard from them was true plant science backed up by a decade of university research and success with commercial agriculture in Europe. They were more concerned with educating me than with selling me.
Iâ€™m a bit of a plant geek. Nerdy science talk turns me on almost as much as a smokinâ€™ hot blondeâ€¦almost. I asked a lot of questions and grilled the Dutchmen into the ground, but nothing rattled them. They just responded with sensible answers and simple explanations. They claim the Aptus Specialty Boosters are founded on very basic plant science, like proper soil microlife, nutrient movement through plant tissue, high concentrations of organic active ingredients, antagonistic action between nutrients (some â€œpushâ€ away others), and preventative care (keep plants healthy to avoid problems) versus curative (try to fix problems).
In spite of my skepticism, I decided to make an educated decision and see if what they were saying was the truth. I was just wrapping up a cycle and decided to do a test in one of my rooms â€“ mostly to prove that my custom recipe would trump any shiny new nutrient line.
The Aptus guys told me to try just a couple of products on some of my baby cuttings for a week and then report back. I started with FaSilitor (silicic acid for nutrition management) and Start-Boost (organic nitrogen, bacteria, amino acids, humic and fulvic acid). I had some clones that were just rooting and would be used for my next cycle â€“ a nice Master Kush (not known for yield, but definitely a stanky herb and great medicine!).
I transplanted my clones into Fox Farm Light Warrior and fed them once every two days when the soil was dry. The first thing I noticed was how little of the product I had to use. I was nervous giving only 3ml of FaSilitor and 5ml of Start-Boost for an entire 5 gallons of water. Iâ€™m used to adding 5-10ml per 1 gallon of each nutrient! This was all I put in my water for the first 7 days.
Words canâ€™t explain what the picture here shows! Not only was the vertical growth nearly twice that of the Roots Excelurator control, but there were also three full branching tops versus the one top on the control. Iâ€™ve never seen this kind of veg response!
I went back to my local shop where I got the Aptus and demanded the rest of the product line. And thereâ€™s another thing that made me happy; not only are the bottles ultra-small because of the concentrations, but there are only 7 products for the entire cycle (plus a base NPK)! This means no more lugging 40-pound jugs into my room. I can literally fit an entire cycle of nutrients in my backpack!
Iâ€™m used to vegging for 3-4 weeks, especially with a full indica, but the Aptus guys convinced me to cut my veg time in half. Hereâ€™s what happenedâ€¦
VEG â€“ DAY 7
I transplanted into 5-gallon grow bags with Ready Gro coco mix and kept the same feed.
VEG â€“ DAY 10
I flipped my light cycle. Plants were about 8-10 inches tall and most had 4-5 tops at this point (no topping!). I placed 6 plants per 600W HPS light â€“ this is my usual configuration with 4 weeks of veg. The tables looked pretty sparse. Iâ€™m thinkingâ€¦Okay, trust the Aptus guys.
If they screw up my harvest, I may break some legs. Trust, trust, trust. Breatheâ€¦
MY FLOWER ROOM SETUP
This particular room is not my ideal setup (someone else built it), so I broke a few rulesâ€¦Okay, a lot. I also battled with heat (not enough AC), tight working spaces (got lazy on the undertrim), and a helper who has never seen the inside of a grow room.
A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE APTUS GUYS AND HOW I BROKE THEM
- Never let your nutrients stay in a res for more than 3 daysâ€¦I left for a full week.
- Best to mix and feed with no run-off to keep nutrients in the mediumâ€¦I ran a re-circulating system with full run-off back to the res.
- Let your medium dry out in between feedingsâ€¦I fed for 15 minutes every day with my manual timers, leaving the medium constantly saturated.
All I really did right was mix my nutrients according to the feed schedule and resist the urge to add other stuff to my reservoir.
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 1
In the first week, the nutrient mix is the same as veg, except I started adding a base NPK, Canna Coco A/B at about 900 PPM. At the end of the week, my girls are healthy, strong, and about 18 inches tall! Most have 6-9 full tops. Now I was getting excited, and nervous. This Master Kush has never needed a trellis, just a few stakes usually worked. But these girls were growing fast. Solid budsites started showing at about Day 5.
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 2
I mixed off with FaSilitor, Bloom-Boost (amino acids, sugars, microelements, natural vitamins and hormones), and Peak-Boost (amino acids, phosphorous).Â For the next 5 days they continued to grow quickly and bush out. Now my little babies have completely filled the trays and have a thick, full canopy. I realize I can easily cut my veg time down and save a lot of work and costs.
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 3
Early in Week 3, buds are forming nicely (they look about 4-5 days further along than usual). Iâ€™m even getting some distinct aromas and trichomes, signs that terpenes and oils are already forming. Other growers Iâ€™ve talked to who are running this test have reported that their plants developed faster, and some even cut off days from their harvest.
I added Mass-Boost (amino acids, calcium, magnesium). My usual feed schedule calls for CaMg every feeding, but as it turns out, excess calcium can â€œpushâ€ phosphorous away, starving a flowering plant. So, Aptus balances the levels so that all the nutrients are available. The rest of the feed schedule stays the same (only increasing PPM to about 1400 by Week 4). The plants are monsters and I can see that I should have installed trellises. Oops!
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 4
My girls have grown to almost 4 feet tall and have incredibly dense top canopies. Thereâ€™s not a drop of powdery mildew, spider mites, or even fungus gnats, which I nearly always have. My temps have been 85-90Â°F with humidity at about 65-75%. The plants are strong and healthy with no signs of heat stress. This is apparently from the effects of FaSilitor and the special form of silicic acid it provides.
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 5
I mix in the horrific smelling Finale-Boost (amino acids, potassium, and sulfur). My only thought is that if dead and rotting organic material is a great fertilizer, THIS is a gourmet Vegas buffet! Donâ€™t ever splash Finale-Boost on your clothes if you ever want a girl to date you. At least I only need 1-3ml per gallon. Also, thereâ€™s another dose of Mass-Boost needed here.
Two days after adding Finale-Boost, I walked into my room and immediately saw a massive surge in growth. Iâ€™ve never seen a growth response like this, so I asked the Aptus guys. As it turns, my â€œcustomâ€ recipe includes too much potassium (K) during early flower when the plant doesnâ€™t really need it. With Aptus, I can essentially starve the plant until it needs (K). Suddenly the plant gets a readily available dose of potassium and responds like grandpa on the blue pill.
Three other growers Iâ€™ve talked to saw the exact same surge. Visible change in just two days like this is very exciting! Towards the end of the week, the beautiful white hairs are already starting to turn reddish brown. Master Kush is a spot on 8-week finisher, but this is a bit early, even for her.
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 6
The recipe is basically the same as Week 5 (no Mass-Boost). I see some early signs of spider mites on a couple of plants; probably brought in by my inexperienced helper. And with the heat, they are starting to breed. A couple of neem oil treatments slowed them down considerably.Â At this stage, I hate treating with anything because of the risk of bud damage.
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 7
Now here was the tricky part. I had to leave town during the entire week. I was frigginâ€™ nervous leaving my doofus helper in charge, especially with mites on about 5 plants. I treated them right before I left, then crossed my fingers and clenched my butt cheeks. My room will probably be destroyed.
BLOOM â€“ WEEK 8
When I came back, those 5 plants were draped like a bloody circus. Colonies of mites were building their towers of destruction everywhere. BUT, that was it. The strength of the remaining plants kept the mites isolated to those five plants despite being crammed together on the tables and even touching across the aisles. Based on my past experience with those temperatures, the plant density, and no treatments for an entire week, the entire room would be infested. Iâ€™m really starting to believe the Aptus guys!
I came back just in time to mix off the final flushing res; just water and Ecozym (enzymes, sugars, microelements). I sprayed some Doktor Doom, pulled off the webs where the mites were worst, and decided to just wait it out. They mostly went away and the buds were still in great shape.
We finished three days earlier than usual with this strain. All in all, the total dry weight was 14% greater than the previous cut in the same room, with the same strain, same everything, except nutrients. And it was the highest quality: appearance, aroma, and effectiveness of any medicine Iâ€™ve grown â€“ at least thatâ€™s what my patients report. Plus, I dig that itâ€™s organic and cost less overall.
I did just about everything wrong in this room, partly because I had a lot of other things going on and because I wanted to see if the Dutchmen could back up what they say. Iâ€™ve realized why they donâ€™t need to hype their product or make outrageous claims. True plant science doesnâ€™t lie. I was a skeptic. Now, Iâ€™m a believer.