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TheCapn's Simple Hydroponics

Jun 02, 2018




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    TheCapns Simple HydroponicsEditors Note: This is my summary and reference of TheCapns simple hydroponics thread. For more detailand grow journals, please see the original thread. I tried to preserve all of TheCapns original words andadded none of my own commentary. All of TheCapns threads are must-read. You should go and readthrough all of them first before using this reference guide.

    Chapter One - Vegetative Growth (also known as veg)

    First, I'm going to give you a quick tour of how I take a plantfrom seed (or clone) and grow it through the vegetative stage.Again, this article will show you one of the simplest ways ofhydroponic growing, top fed rockwool cubes (not blocks).

    Grow your seed or clone in a rockwool block; Iprefer to get clones started in a 3" block, seedsin the smaller blocks. Once roots start to pokeout, fill up an ordinary $1 nursery pot withgrow-cubes. Soak the pot with the gro-cubes inplain water (for a few minutes) at ph of 5.5-5.8.It is not necessary to soak them longer. Now,stick your rockwool block in it, as if you wereplanting in dirt.

    Here you can see I planted the seedling in thetiny square pot, and now I'm transplanting to the6" net pot. Sometimes I use the netpots becausewhen the roots grow out the sides, they air prunethemselves, causing new roots to grow. Youshould transplant up a size a few times. This getsa nice root system growing. If you go with agiant pot right away, roots tend to grow to sidesand then circle.

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    Then I move up to a one gallon pot 10 days later:

    Once the plant is about the size of this one, you will notice rapid growth. One nice thing aboutrock wool, is that it is hard to over water it. Over watering is a common mistake, especiallywith new growers, and rock wool takes the guess work out of it. The disadvantage: You needto water every day. At this stage of growth, I water once a day, with two cups of water, by


    I use General Hydroponics nutrients. I'll show you my recipe for veg which is all I use up untilthe last week of veg

    To make up your water, Fill a 5 gallon bucket with water, then add: 20ml of botanicare cal mag plus or cali magic 20ml flora blend 15ml flora grow 10ml flora micro 5ml flora bloom

    This is about 25% of the suggested dose on the chart, and should put your mix around600ppm @.5 conversion. After mixing, check the PH. Mine lands right at 5.8, but you mayhave to "adjust" your PH slightly.

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    Chapter Two - Flowering

    If we want BIG piles of smoke, we want to "VEG" for 8-10 weeks.

    Our plants are huge and it's time to flower them. First,we need to transplant our plant to the final, 5.8 galsuperoots airpot.

    We can see some circling of roots, but not too bad.Look at those PEARLY WHITE ROOTS!

    Soak some rockwool cubes for 20 minutes, in yournutrient solution at about 500PPM, with a PH of 5.8,and then add some to the bottom of the airpot. Youcan do this with absolutely no shock to the plant.

    Ive been asked about fungus gnats in rockwool. Ihave never had them, but rockwool is a less invitingmedium than dirt for pests. gnats lay their eggs nearthe surface of the growing medium, so it is best toadd a layer of hydroton on top of the rockwool cubes.This prevents algae from growing on the rockwool,which could become a house for fungus gnats to layeggs.

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    Add rockwool cubes all around the plant, and then tap the sides of the container, to make surethe cubes are packed all around the root ball.

    Now the fun part!Building our floweringsystem. Before puttingyour plant into flower,check out Bend and Topyour way to a 1 poundmonster . Is your plantREALLY ready to flower?Many times I haveflowered a plant tooearly, and thendisappointed with the

    yield. It takes 2 monthsto flower a plant, why notveg for the same amountof time? A difference oftwo weeks could literallybe a difference of 4-5ounces of bud in the end.

    We've been "top feed to waste" in vegetative growth for about two months. When usingRockwool during flowering, I have found it is TOO wasteful to "top feed drain to waste". Theplants are so thirsty, we need to water them frequently, so I will show you how to set up a

    recirculating system "recirculating top feed". You will have some type of reservoir with an airstone in it, a small water pump on a timer, and you'll need to build a little drip ring like this:

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    You only need a 185gph water pump, some pvc pipe, some 1/2 hose (don't use clear hose),and a couple 10 gallon totes. The concept is easy, and the picture explains it all. The 10galtote that the plant sits in, just collects the water and funnels it back to the 10gal tote sittingon the floor.

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    You probably have pumps and totes laying around the house, and you can get creative, anduse any combination you like, as long as you follow the same basic principle. The advantagesof these systems:

    1. Allow you to leave them for up to a week at a time.

    2. Immune to power outages. Power can be out for several hours at a time and rootswont dry up.

    3. DWC comparable results, with less chance for root rot.

    4. When compared to dirt, there is less chance with rockwool attracting pests. Rockwool isCLEAN. Price is same as high quality dirt.

    5. Simple to set up, almost impossible to over water, easy to flush... need I go on???

    If you choose to set up a system like this, here are a few rules of thumb.

    1. Light proof your reservoir. If the reservoir water gets light, it could grow algae oranaerobic bacteria, causing root rot.

    2. Put an air stone in the reservoir. The water should be aerated (pronounced "air-ated",not "air-eee-ated"). If you are using beneficial bacteria, it will die if the water is notaerated. We don't need a TON of air, just a basic flow of air will do, to prevent thewater from growing any anaerobic bacteria.

    3. It is important all of the rockwool gets saturated during irrigation. Adjust your pipeproperly to ensure good penetration. oh yeah! TheCapn likes good penetration!

    4. Irrigation times. Get a cheap 15min on, 15 min off timer. If you are using straightgrow-cubes, I would start with 3-4 x a day, 15 minutes each time. If you are using amix of hydroton and grow cubes, I would start with 6 times a day. After irrigating, wait30 minutes and then lift your pot slightly to see how heavy it is. Then, come back in afew hours later. If you notice a difference, up the frequency. The beauty aboutrockwool cubes, is that it is difficult to over water. But we do want to let the roots getplenty of oxygen.

    5. As with any system, keep your timers and plugs up off the floor. We don't want yougetting electrocuted.

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    Chapter Three: Water Quality, PPM, and pH

    I could write a book on this, but I'm no chemist, so it would be all wrong. My point is I'll needto keep it basic here and tell you what you need to know to grow.

    Let's start with equipment. Hear me nowand believe me later. If you want results likeyou see in the pictures here, you need a PHand a PPM / EC meter. I use a meter thatstays plugged in all the time. The differencebetween a good meter and a poor meter is...a good meter stays calibrated and givesconsistent readings. I bought a $20 ph penfrom china and threw it away after the firstfew times I used it. You don't need to spend$500, but don't buy crap either. This one

    goes for $150.

    PPM: A ppm / EC meter, measures the electrical conductivity in the water. You can't measurehow much nitrogen or potassium, calcium, etc is in the water easily, but we can measure theconductivity, and "estimate" the parts per million of nutrients. When you read the nutrientcalculator from the nutrient website, the ppm could be at a .5 conversion or a .7, or differentyet. So pay attention. For example, my meter is based on the 500 scale. So when My meterreads 750ppm, the EC is 750 / 500 = 1.5EC. As plants get bigger, and thru different stages ofgrowth, your nutrient recipe will change, and you will use a higher PPM in flower, than you willduring vegetative growth.

    PH: ph is the measure of acidity, or alkalinity in the water. Nutrients are able to be drawn upby the plant in hydroponics, in a PH of 5.5 to 6.5 (some better than others). Typically, inhydroponics, most people agree 5.8 is the optimal. I shoot for 5.9, so if I drift one way oranother, I'm still in range. In hydro, you will keep that range of 5.5 to 6.5 for the entire grow.YOU WILL NEED to buy both PH UP and PH DOWN. These are chemicals we use to adjust PH.Stoners say, " need to PH your water". "PH" is not a verb.

    It is nearly impossible to "guess" at ppm and PH. Don't try it in hydroponics. You can get a PHmeter for around $50 and a ppm meter for around $20 on ebay. If you can't afford that, this isnot a g

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