Let’s say it’s the end of summer—and really dry. A classic shortage of supply and increase in demand, leading to upward pressure on prices. However, it may be socially taboo to raise the nominal price. So the increase often occurs as an increase in the moisture content of produce offered for sale.

On the other hand, too dry a condition leads to crumbling and loss of potency. Where to draw the line? Try bending a stem to a 90-degree angle. If it breaks in two pieces it is too dry. If it bends like a rubber band it is too wet. If it snaps without breaking, it’s just right.

High Pressure Sodiums in Bud Rooms:

It is true that favorable temperature, humidity, light intensity, hormone additives, etc., discourage stem elongation. This is especially important if sodiums are used without supple mental halides. Sodiums don’t have as much blue as halides, and blue discourages stem elongation. However (as I have stated earlier), the genetic material available is also important. Some varieties adapt more readily than others to sodium light.

Four hundred-watt sodiums in horizontal reflectors have traditionally been used as a source of supplemental light in greenhouses. In this case, natural sunlight provides blue. Many Dutch use the same horizontal 400-watt sodiums in their enclosed growth rooms. However, the European Philips bulb appears more blue than the American. Also, many Dutch growers don’t know the difference between the full-spectrum Osram (a halide bulb which operates from a sodium ballast) and the high pressure sodium. There are some advantages to the 400-watt sodium, if the ultra high pressure bulbs are used. The Iwasaki UHPS is better for early bud, the C.EC UHPS is better for mid bud. The Iwasaki brand UHPS bulbs have the highest pressure, and therefore more blue than other sodiums and a CRI (Color Rendering Index— sunlight equals 100) of 85. The Iwasaki brand 1,000-watt HPS bulbs aJ$o appear to have better color rendering than American brands.

There is an advantage to the horizontal orientation— less reflective losses because much of the light comes directly off the bulb. The sodiums operate well in the horizontal orientation, and there are a couple of good reflector designs on the market (see photo on page 56).

It is undesirable to use white paint in a reflector because white has a diffuse reflective surface. To diffuse light means to scatter it randomly in every direction. The light pattern will be a semicircle of too much intensity (about 3,500 foot-candles) directly beneath the reflector. Diffusion results in much of the reflected light bouncing around inside the reflector, leading to more reflective losses. No matter how efficient the reflective surface, some losses will occur. If 100 percent reflectance were possible, a perpetual motion machine could be created by turning off the light in a room with perfect reflectance on all surfaces: the light waves would bounce around for all eternity. A specular surface is preferred in a reflector. “Specular” means the light is reflected at exact angles, like billiard balls bouncing off of the table’s bumpers.

An experiment was done with two nine-foot square grow areas in separate rooms. The purpose was to test two different lighting arrangements and methods of growth.

•Lighting: In room “A”, two 1,000-watt HPS bulbs were used in the pictured horizontal fixture, plus four vertically oriented 250-watt UHPS for side-lighting from the comers. In room “B”, three vertically oriented 1,000- watt HPS bulbs in Dansco four- inch white shallow paraboloids were used on a Sun Circle light mover. The two 1,000-watt sodiums and four 250-watt UHPS bulbs in room “A” were Iwasaki brand. The three 1,000-watt sodiums in room “B" were Sylvania brand.

•Environment: In both rooms the temperature was 68 to 75 degrees, 40 to 50 percent humidity, and 2,100 ppm C02 was injected periodically and after venting. Temperature and humidity were controlled by air conditioners and thermostatically controlled venting.

Room “A” used the “Sea of Green” technique with 324 plants in a raised growing bed, Gardena drip irrigation, Liquid Gold organic worm food, and Old Black Gold organic soil (not to be confused with MJR company's "Black Gold”. The nutrients were not reused to prevent chemical imbalance from partial depletion (This occurs because no fertilizer is perfect; some chemicals are depleted faster than others). Room “B” used the medium-size plant method with 60 plants in pots in a growing bed using Living Systems drip irrigation, Hydrolife nutrients, and Hortiwool rockwool. The nutrients were re-used as per “Living Systems” instructions.

•Results: Room “A” yielded about 31 pounds diy bud weight; room “B” yielded about 12 pounds. •Analysis: This is especially impressive considering that room ”B” medium-size plants must first be vegetated for 19 days under a 1,000-watt halide. This requires extra space, more equipment, and extra power consumption. Room “A” requires only two 75-watt blue spectrum fluorescents (color temperature equals 7,500 degrees Kelvin) and days of vegetation. Also, room As bud cycle lasted only six weeks while room “B” took eight weeks to bud. So it is clear that room “A* plantlet methods and equipmem produce the greatest quantity of useful yield, per watt, per squar* foot and per unit of time. The “B* alternative seems to have a lot of bells and whistles designed tc please the naive consumer, ncx the plant.

The Super Sativa Seed Clut has a terrific catalogue, with valuable info on temperature and other growth factors. An attempt is made to present the plantlet or “Sea of Green” method. They would have you start your mother plants from seed, and pu: some of the cuttings at 12 hours to determine sex. Using this method, sex is identified three weeks after cuttings were taken The female cuttings are then grown for an additional two weeks. This means that if it takes a week to root, most of the plants have a full month to grow at 18 hours before they are put under the 12 hour bloom cycle. (If mother plants are already established, they recommend two to three weeks of vegetative growth.) However, after a month of growth the plants should be near maximum height. S.S.S.C. recommends a maximum of 15 "plantlets” per 10 square feet, or 1.5 per square foot. The Sea of Green technique has about four plantlets per square foot. What S.S.S.C. presents is really merely a crowded big plant method, not a true plantlet method. Of course, if growth conditions are less than optimum, growth will be much slower and some extra time may be required.

Fertilizer and Water in Organic Soils:

If the bio-dynamic (organic) approach is used, organic fertilizers should be used. It is impossible for bagged soil to have a sufficient quantity of organic fertilizer to last the normal two to three month crop cycle. Since soil breaks down and releases organic fertilizer continuously, but none is used until planting, by the time planting occurs the soil will be too “hot” with dissolved fertilizer. On the other hand, it is possible for bagged soil to dry out in storage and deplete the quantity of required micro-organisms. Organic soil should be sterilized and re-inoculated before sale, and inoculated again at planting with more beneficial micro-organisms. At the first sign of new growth, organic fertilizer should be mixed with water to form a weak tea, and added to the soil. The organic soluble fertilizer should contain earthworms, i fish, kelp extract, microbes, and liquid carbon. The bulk of the . potassium should be from sources other than seaweed, to avoid a trace element overdose.

The amount of fertilizer needed is determined by the rate of growth, which is determined largely by the stage of growth and environmental factors. The amount of organic food needed can be measured by a refrac- tometer. Pick out a few test plants. Measure the sugar content of the leaves 20 minutes after foliar application of Liquid Gold, and record the results. If the sugar level does not rise, the organic food is not being absorbed and hence is not needed. The goal is to keep the sugar content rising by adding more fertilizer. When additional fertilizer ceases to increase the sugar content, stop increasing the amount of fertilizer.

Foliar application of fertilizer is more productive because less root mass is produced. With good genetics and growing conditions (such as: humidity at 40, good internal air circulation, and the use of soluble seaweed), foliar spraying does not usually cause bud mold. Some strains are more susceptible than others to bud mold, and may require organic food be applied to the soil only. In this case, measure sugar content daily. Raw tap water does not have the purity of essence to be used with the organic method. Most tap water has chemicals which tend to sterilize the microbes, and minerals which can upset the fertilizer balance. Time and aeration can remove chlorine, and the water can be filtered or distilled. Rainwater may be contaminated with military/ industrial pollutants.

A Handy Tip for Indoor Foggers:

Electric foggers are excellent for quick and efficient application of chemicals to 100 percent of the leaf surface. However, the fine chemical mist produced is undesirable to breathe. Self-contained breathing apparati for this application start at just about $2,000. Scuba-gear would probably work, but is still spendy and cumbersome. Those on a budget needing to fog indoors might try attaching one end of a hose to a snorkel, the other outside the room. Be sure to use a face mask as well, and cover all exposed body parts. Take a shower and wash the clothes right afterwards.

Some Handy Tips for Smell Masking:

Vick's Vaporub is an excellent smell mask, especially when dispersed through a vaporizer. (Be sure to avoid excess humidity in the grow room.) Cigar smoke is also a good mask for the public areas of the house (smoke is harmful to the plants).

If you are afraid of narc-dogs sniffing your vehicle, use it to transport some female dogs in heat. The sniffer-dogs will go crazy, and you can innocently explain why.

Voltage, Temperature and Capacitance Ratings for Halide Ballasts:

Not all halide distributors are knowledgeable and ethical. Your halide capacitor should have a voltage rating of 480 volts, temperature rating of 105 degrees C, and capacitance rating of 24 micro-farads.

By the way, temperature ratings refer to the maximum permissible, and not the best or optimum temperature. For every 10 degrees the ballast transformer is lowered in temperature, its life is doubled.

Electrical Conductivity and Rockwool Nutrients:

Meters to measure the amount of fertilizer in the water are an invaluable tool for the serious grower. Too much can bum the plant, not enough the and yield will be reduced. The amount to use depends on the rate of growth, which is determined by the stage of growth, light quality and quantity, C02 level, type of
fertilizer, etc. The factors of growth work synergistically like staves on a barrel; it doesn’t do much good to increase some factors if others are neglected. If all conditions are optimized and growth is rapid, 2,100 parts per million (ppm) is not an excessive nutrient level. However, be sure to check the ppm in the medium because fertilizer may accumulate there if not enough fertilized water is flushed through.

Actually, ppm meters measure electrical conductivity (EC). This is converted by electronic rithms into an approximE: e fc It is approximate because ent chemicals have differ* rr els of EC. Electrical cond is converted to ppm by ing EC by approximately prefer the Kelway EC meter cheaper ppm meters.

—The Farmer—

 

 



Wolf Segal - Farmer in the Sky

35 Years of Innovation in Large Scale Cannabis Cultivation & Inventor of the Sea of Green method.



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