Growing with Gas Part 2: The Planting Begins
By: Mel the Bumbling Gardener
If you read last monthâ€™s story, then you know I just received a new greenhouse from QuickGrow Hydroponics. The assembly and setup was a breeze. The Q9 only needed a single 110 volt, 15 amp plug for its power source. And with a draw of only 4.5 amps, it was easy to find enough counter space with a standard wall plug to power up my new toy.
Before I could put my clones into the â€œVegâ€ side of the Q9, I had to do a couple of things to finish setting up the unit. First, the onboard timer had to be set with the correct time and date. â€“Note: everything the timer does is factory preset. Both light cycles (12/12 & 18/6), air pump operation, both water pumps, the CO2 gas enrichment system, and the exhaust fans are factory preset for maximum performance and production. The second and last thing I had to figure out was the correct mixtures of nutrients for both reservoirs. Remember, this greenhouse has a â€œVegâ€ and â€œFlowerâ€ side that works 24/7.Â About four months ago, I was at the grand opening of Neighborhood Hydro in Escondido, where Ryan introduced me to Brice Patterson from Heavy 16. Ryan told me to talk with Brice about his new line of nutrients just for our industry. This guy was a real pleasure to talk with. He seemed to know way more than your old Bumbling Gardener. Iâ€™m so happy to know that there are really smart people working on the science it takes to help us all with what we do. If it was up to me, we would all still be smoking that seedy stuff from years gone by.Â Brice gave me a generous sample of his two part, Heavy 16 nutrients for this grow.
If you remember, my goal with this new greenhouse was to be able to pull a harvest every 30 days or so. I have grown tired of that â€œall or nothingâ€ kind of harvest. As a patient, what I have been looking for is a system of growing that gives me what I want, month after month, all year long.Â I really donâ€™t need to have a large stash; I just donâ€™t want to run out and have to go out looking for some. Part of this â€œgrow your ownâ€ hobby is price control with quality; plus, itâ€™s real nice to know that the gravy train stops at your station each and every month with more than what you need.
My clones are ready to grow. You can tell by the roots and new growth; they are ready to explode. My only problem is making sure that the way I want to plant equals the way I will harvest. Willpower is what I need. It would be so easy to just plant up both sides and see what happens, but what I want is a harvest every 30 days.
Picking the first 3 clones to plant was easy. Size matters â€“ the bigger the better.Â At this point, I want to let you know that the clones on this grow will see a light change (18/6 to 12/12) when they are between 6 and 8 inches tall, no matter how old they are. The instructions that came with the QuickGrow clearly stated that any plant moved to the flowering stage will triple or quadruple in size. For example, a 6-inch plant will finish out at 24 inches in height, which is just right for the 30-inch interior of the chamber.
Boy, that didnâ€™t take much time. Planting only 3 clones at a time seemed too easy.Â Every other grow has been about getting all 12 in the ground at the same time, so you could start counting the days until you pulled the trigger and changed the light cycle.Â This grow is much more relaxed. Plant 3, wait a week, plant 3 more, wait, plant, waitâ€¦and at some point, when your first planted are at that magic 7-inch mark, you can make room for the next round of clones that are ready, just off to the side under the dome.Â This looks like it just might work; and if it does, it will change the way I grow herb. I think I might like this.
Gas is the air of kings. You canâ€™t smell it, you canâ€™t see it, and how do I even know it works? The unitâ€™s instructions came with a page that said, â€œWARNING: CO2 is a dangerous gas that can kill.â€ I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™m ready to turn it on. I want to see the little silver ball float its way to bigger and better buds. Yea, I want to grow with gas.
It was slow starting at first, and there didnâ€™t seem to be much going on; but after 4 weeks, I finally had all 12 clones in and growing at a good rate. The Heavy 16 seemed to be doing its job. Iâ€™m very happy so far. While watching the clones grow, you get a chance to be up close and personal with each one of your new ladies. â€“Oh, how they love to be trimmed and fussed over; after all, they are just weeds. Remember the old saying, clip 1, grow 2.
It didnâ€™t take long for the new clones to cross that magic 7-inch mark. Like the Jeffersons, they would be moving on up, and move they did â€“ right next door into the â€œFloweringâ€ side of the greenhouse. I was very happy with the amount of root that came out with each pot I changed. The roots were long and full of whiskers, and it looked like the watering timers were set just right.
I have got to tell you, I have never tried to flower a clone at 7 inches. I have always thought that the plant should be at least 12 inches before that miracle happens.
Next month: Now I know why they call it â€œQuickGrowâ€