By this stage you have made it past the cloning stage and have a bunch of little new plants as well as the donor plants they came from. You can now decide to flower the donor plants out knowing they are backed up in cuttings, or you may decide to flower all the cuttings at once in a sea of green style. For the interests of the 101 series we are sticking to basics here so let’s decide to flower all the clones in an 8’x4’ area. You can purchase many brands of professional collapsible growing tents off the internet or at stores. You can buy some 4ml black and white poly wrap from ANY hydroponics store and find a backroom of your house or living space and construct your own.
Once lights are hung and filter and exhaust is installed you will want to hang a thermometer or hygrometer in the room to find out the high temperature when lights are running at peak, as well as the low temperature when lights have been off for a long period of time. This will give you a basic knowledge of what to tweak with, perhaps you’ll need a bigger exhaust or intake fan. Now is the time to figure that all out.
For the purpose of educating the newer growers out there, we are sticking to the most basic knowledge that can be used on a wide variety of applications and methods. For the 101 series we will flower all our clones. This lets the mothers recoup and produce many more cuttings, while the clones are flowering. (Hint topping or pinching the growing nodes on the top terminal branches will force your mother plant to grow into a bush).
A 3’ compressed bail of soilless mix will generally do 12 plants in 5 gallon pots, For the Sea of Green, or S.O.G, method we will use 3 gallon black plastic pots available at any hydroponics or gardening store. This amount of medium will do 16 -18 plants in 3 gallon plastic pots and that will fill your tent when they are almost finished. The Omuerta method should give you a 3 foot terminal bud if done correctly under the S.O.G method. You will plant your clones into their final homes in a moistened soil in each pot. I usually fill a pot 2/3 with wet loose soilless mix and then drop in the rooted clone and fill in the rest with more soil.
Now you will line up your clones under the lights, I suggest about 2 feet away and progressively lower the lights if using High Intensity Discharge lighting to 18” inches over the canopy after about 10 days at 20 hrs of light a day. Over this time you will be feeding it the maximum grow food dose to benefit from the nitrogen content (or the first number on the NPK ratio of whatever food you plan to use*).
*Note on foods, from chemicals to organics, there are many competitors out there putting fancy names and pictures on chelated chemical mixes... beware of what you’re buying and knowledgeable about the products. Do you have to use the whole line? Can you substitute certain products and use other additives? We will be getting into these products as well as pushing you towards Organics in the 201 series, however for now we just want you growing and if Ted Sheckler’s Hydroponics Emporium has a 2 part A & B formula you choose to use for this first crop; that fine by me! Let’s get you walking before we run.
During pre flower we will line our pots up by strain and number in uniform lines. This is so when we find our selected phenotypes, we can go back and flower out the rest of the donor plants and dedicate the space the one chosen plant for future generations, we can now repot her into a 5-7 gallon pot and keep her healthy and growing with no problems with space consideration. Keep pinching her branches as they grow out every few nodes and you will have a happy healthy mother that will produce more clones then you can use within weeks.
Your garden of clones by day 10 should be growing quick and uniform and reaching out to fill the spaces in between the pots with fan leaves to claim the space and gather more light energy for themselves. We have outfitted an 8’x4’x6’ Fusionhut grow tent with 2x 600 watt HPS, 2x 300 watt LED panels and a 6” exhaust and carbon can filter, complete overkill in lighting but I am a big full spectrum fan. The exhaust keeps the heat down and I open the doors of the tent during the hours the lights are on to add fresh airflow on top of a 6” intake fan. At this stage your plants should look like this. (beside, left)
At day 10 we will turn the light timers back to 12/12 photoperiod and the games will begin. Next Blog entry, Flowering 101.