By: Mel The Bumbling Gardener
For readers who missed out on last monthâ€™s issueâ€¦Now that we grow â€œtomatoes,â€ the need for 12 perfect clones come up every 70 days or so, and Iâ€™ve had problems finding enough healthy, root mature young ladies to fill my needs all at one time. I wanted all of my plants to start out even in life. In the past, because I couldnâ€™t find what I needed in one trip, my grows were filled with newbies of different ages from different places with different growing techniques that made each group act and grow differently in my Spinner. I have never been able to bring all 12 young ones to fruit. Something either fails or wasnâ€™t right from the very beginning. Rather than searching all over town for my next group of young friends, I decided to learn how to grow and clone my own.
Just like I suggested to you, I went to my local hydro shop to ask the questions that would help me make the right decisions on what to do and when. The guys at Neighborhood Hydro in Escondido had all the right answers about cloning. Ryan was very easy to talk with and he made it seem like what I wanted to do was a good next step in my new hobby of hydroponic gardening.Â As it turns out, I didnâ€™t need much at all to get started now that I had my new Phototron up and running. A few bottles of â€œMotherâ€ food, cloning gel, little starting plugs, a 15 hole tray, and I was on my way to becoming a more complete provider for my future families. The only question my hydro buddy couldnâ€™t answer for me was â€œhow do I get the right mother plants?â€
My need for 3 mother plants took me back to the same collectives that provided me with clones in the pastâ€¦â€œMother plants, we got no stinking mother plantsâ€¦We never sell our mothers, they are special to our shop. But we do have clones that you can grow and clones that will turn into mothers, and in a few months, they will be big enough to take all the cuttings you will need.â€Â NOâ€¦I want mother plants. I donâ€™t want to wait 3 or 4 months for the clones to grow up. I need to be able to cut at least 5 clones per plant in a month and a half or my next grow will have the same problem.Â My next stop was North Countyâ€™s SoCal Wellness. As a patient and member, my buddies Dale and Junior hooked me up. They told me about this guy who supplies many San Diego collectives that donâ€™t grow their own. They told me I might be able to get the 3 plants I was looking for from him. Junior told me he would call and see if he could score me 3 different strains that I could use to fill my new â€œMothership.â€
A week goes by, no call.Â I call Junior and he gives me the â€œIâ€™m close; give me a bit more time, Saturday will be the day.â€ On Thursday I get the call, â€œcome on over and get your plants.â€ As I walked in, I was greeted with all smiles. As I turned the corner, I could see my new ladies sittinâ€™ pretty under the T5 lights. Wow, better than what I had in mind. These soon to be mothers were even in tomato cages. The large fan leaves were as big as my hand; someone really knew what they were doing with these hydro beauties. Itâ€™s funny how a guy thinks; for a minute, just a minute, I thought about pulling the trigger and putting these new plants under the old 12 on 12 off light program. Oh well.
By the time I got back to the Phototron, I was refocused with the task at hand. I had to get my new plants inside a warm and cozy place they could call home. I believe the transition from a very healthy, all hydro way of life to soil in a pot and water when it dries out kind of a life could have gone really wrong. I kept close watch for the next couple of days, but not much happened; the plants looked great. It must have been because of all the gentle bright cool light the Phototron has everywhere in its chamber â€“ you just canâ€™t find a dim corner. After reading the â€œGrowing Plants Pyraponimetricallyâ€ handbook that came with my new mothership, I had plenty of work to do to each of my new girls.Â Even with the new plants looking as good as they did, trimming was necessary. You could tell they were grown under lots of very bright light, but just a bit out of reach for the light they needed.Â Most of the internodal lengths were a bit wider than I would have liked for the perfect distance between leaf sets, but great looking plants none the less.Â â€œRemoving any leaves bigger than 3 inchesâ€ was my first taskâ€¦you got to be kidding, one manâ€™s treasure is another manâ€™s trash, and I had tons of trash. Phototron Industries has been selling chambers and growing herbs this way for over 20 years. When they developed the Phototron, they had to develop the technology needed to grow plants, so I removed all the bigger fan leaves from the main stem and trimmed the leaves from the lateral shoots, just like the book said to do to get the best results out of the Phototron. The lights are now on 24/7, the internal fans are set at 80Â°F, and the extra light socket that came with the unit that hangs in the center of the chamber is now filled with a SL-18 Earth Lamp, just to give a bit more blue spectra light to help encourage the plant to grow short intermodal lengths. See how easy this isâ€¦it really is.
I hope you will follow along in the next 2 issues of NUG. We will figure out how to grow, trim, and wind-up getting our very own healthy, well rooted home grown clones.