Still Growing – Part 4

By: Mel the Bumbling Gardener

If you missed last month’s issue, then you missed how “my need to find healthy, root mature clones when I needed them” has taken me to a new level in the world of hydroponic growing. I decided to learn how to clone my own from what I have, just like the big guys. With help from my new friends at Pyraponic Industries and their Phototron growing chamber, I am well on my way to controlling the last part of the puzzle. As you remember, I am using the Phototron 8 as a very stable place to grow my mother plants. When I left you last month, my goal was to be able to take four or more cuttings from all three plants, which will turn into 12 healthy well-rooted clones every five to six weeks.

My need for clones was not too far off.  In the past, my habit took me to every collective in my area. If I was lucky, I found two or three different plants per stop. And after three or four stops, I had enough young ladies to get started again. This time my grow was going to be different. The children would be mine, all mine. Planning ahead, I decided it was time to take the first of many new cuttings from my Phototron mother plants. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, just look at the pictures of the first clones cut from the mothership.  Look at how green and how close the leaf set is compared to the clones you usually see at the collectives. I think my mother plants look better than most I have seen. They still have that fresh look and all they ever had to do was grow, and grow they did.  The changes over the last couple of months have been amazing. These plants just don’t look anything like they did when I first put them in the Phototron. Yes, they were very healthy, very strong “older” plants when I started, but all three have changed and for the better.  No more large spaces between leaf sets and no more stretched out anything looking for more light.

Okay, I’m ready to take my first cutting. I thought I might check out YouTube to see how all the experts did it. Just as I thought, everybody does it the same way in a different way all together.  After looking at several different videos, I decided to use a bit of everything I had just seen. Everyone had great ideas for cloning our favorite plant.

Because I had already talked with my friends at the hydro shop, I had just what I needed to get started. With sharp clippers in hand, I took my first real stem cut. I looked for and found “new wood” with at least three leaf sets above and two sets below where the stem would fit into the grow block.  After cutting the end of the stem at a 45 degree angle with a sharp razor blade, I quickly dipped the newly cut end into rooting gel and placed it into the hole of the rooting block – one down, 14 to go. As I continued cutting and dipping my new family, I started thinking about how cool this really was. Soon I would be smoking off the land or at least from my own hand. I can’t really tell you why I have this big smile on my face. Was it the fun I was now having or the bowl I just smoked from my last harvest?

With the cutting, dipping and trimming finished, it was time to get my new family of clones warm and cozy under the T5 lights and dome. I mixed up a special batch of feed for the new family (rich in rooting and growing nutrients), gave each plant a fast spray, and closed the lid.   Now comes the hard part – waiting for the first root to show. Everything else in this growing adventure happened very fast.  After the first week under the light, the cuttings didn’t look as good as they did on day one.  My friends at the hydro shop told me not to worry and to give it more time. They told me things would be just fine.

Okay, week two and I still can’t see any roots. What’s up with this? Was I giving them too much water and rotting the roots or was I just not giving them enough time to “root out”?  I guess time heals all things and it really healed my clones. In the next couple of days and weeks, roots started to appear. Very slowly at first, then more and more would show up. As each day passed, the roots got longer and the clones looked better. Color and new leaf growth started. I guess this is when your cuttings officially turn into a clone. She starts to grow up and look just like her mom.  Five weeks later, I had roots everywhere. I have never seen a clone with roots like this on the $12 table at any collective. The collectives that sell clones with roots like this call them “Junior Plants“ and charge about $20 a pop. Look at the picture and see how the roots come out of the grow plug in every direction. Healthy roots = healthy clones.

The last part of this adventure is to see if my clones would really grow. When the new ladies looked ready, I carefully moved them into their new home. I set the adjustable ballast to 50% for the first week, then up to 75% for the second week, then up to 100%. The growth was almost immediate. I could just tell this was going to be a great “home” grow.

This has been a very interesting grow. The Phototron worked much better than I thought it would. It just goes to show that you can’t really judge a book by its cover. The growth in the chamber was just amazing to watch. Thick, lush, beautiful leaf and bud growth is what the Phototron is all about. “The Growing Plants Pyraponimetrically” book says that you can “re-bloom” your plant up to three times with the right light management. I just can’t wait to set the timer to 12 on and 12 off if you know what I mean. I’ll bet this Phototron is more than just a mothership. As they say, “Still the Original, Still the Best.” – Pyraponic Industries

bringing you that fire! stay tune for more posts.

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