Still Growing – The “Mothership” has landed

By Mel the Bumbling Gardner

If you took my advice, you got off the fence and started growing your own. If you read my last story “Grow or not to Grow”, then you know that I found an easy to understand, easy to set up, and, most importantly, easy to operate indoor growing system. With two successful grows under my belt, I found there was a lot more to learn than just keeping the pH level in check.  Have you ever gone into one of the newer hydro shops? And I’m not talking about the plant section at Wal-Mart; I’m talking about a full-blown hydro shop.  My advice to you is: find a shop near your home, walk in, introduce yourself, and tell the shop owner that you’re a new “tomato” grower who needs as much help as he can offer. Your new hydro buddy will have the keys to your success on one of his many well stocked shelves.  –Take my word for it, you can buy stuff that will make your grow look like you’ve been doing it for years. Ask him to help you figure out a feeding and care program that you can afford in time and money.  No matter how big or small your grow may be, knowing how to take care of your plants and what they’ll need as they enter the next stage of their life will make your experience much more rewarding, especially at harvest time, which should come around every 70 days or so.

Now, our new adventure begins. I keep thinking how interesting and helpful it would be if I learned how to supply myself with one of the most important parts of every grow: the clone. After my first grow, I knew I had a lot more to learn. If I wanted to get the most bang for my buck, I had to figure out how the “Big Boys” do it. Now that I’m on my 3rd growing cycle, my Spinner has been running 24/7 with no real problems, and I’ve been real happy with the results. As I thought about my first two growing attempts, I realized that I had more problems finding enough healthy clones to fill the holes in my growing chamber than any other single part of either grow.  The clones I most often found just weren’t ready to feel the full power of my light. I’m not trying to say that the people who grow clones are doing it wrong, but they are definitely in too much of a hurry to bring their product to market.  Most of the clones I found were small, pale, and not very root developed, which makes it difficult to get good results.  So, with higher med prices and lower quality “name brand” buds, I can see why so many of us are now starting to grow our own. Nevertheless, getting 12 clones to grow all at once is still something I want to see.  For whatever reason, I have not been able to get all 12 of my plants to go full cycle. 10 out of 12 planted is the best I’ve been able to do so far.

A “Mother Plant” is a gardening term that describes a plant that you are going to take cuttings from. Plant cuttings are small pieces of a larger plant that are cut off and rooted. These small cuttings produce new plants or clones that will have the same traits as the mother plant. Any female can become a mother plant, regardless of how old. She can be grown from seed or be a clone of a clone. The important thing to remember when taking clones from a mother is to NEVER let the mother plant bloom and then revert her back to vegetative growth. Clones taken from a rejuvenated female tend to be less potent and much weaker.  Strong mothers produce strong healthy clones. So, with this in mind, I wanted to find a way to add another growing device that would run 24 hours a day and not eat me out of house and home. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look very long or far because in the back of my barn, covered in dust, but in great shape, I found my 20+ year old Phototron 2 growing chamber.

Back in the day, Phototron was the “Big Dog” of home growing systems. Everybody that thought about growing anything “herbal” had a Phototron.  When you think about it, you can count on one hand the number of “growing chamber” companies that have made it in any market for over 20 years. Just for the fun of it, I thought I would give them a call just to see if they still had any parts for my old chamber, or if they could give me any information as to whether or not my old model 2 was capable of doing the job I had in mind.  After only a couple of rings, a real person answered the phone and offered more help than I ever dreamed of getting from a random phone call to a company that I haven’t talked to for over 20 years. “Hello, this is Brian at Pyraponic Industries, home of the Phototron, can I help you?” –Is how it all started.  By the end of call, Brian was sending me a brand new Phototron model 8 complete with cooling fans via overnight delivery. After I explained who I was and what I was trying to do, the Phototron “Red Carpet” rolled out and I had just what I needed to complete my growing chamber/barn. My new model 8 has 30% more growing space, and sports a much higher output of light at 30K lumens instead of the 18K that my older model 2 offered.  The packaging on the model 8 was very impressive, not a single scratch or missing part.  With a 3 bowl assembly time, my new chamber took shape very quickly. The Phototron’s quality has really improved over the years, and with the new built-in cooling fans, this “mothership” is the perfect addition to my turn-key growing barn.

I hope you will follow along with me in the next 3 issues of NUG, where we’ll figure out how to set up, fill up, grow, trim, and windup getting our very own healthy, well rooted, well grown clones.

bringing you that fire! stay tune for more posts.

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