If you want to get the best quality and quantity, then you’ve got to step up your game in every part of your grow. This was stated on a recent DudeGrows show. Sorry, I can’t remember who said it. But the person who said it… is 100% correct. Seriously, WHO DOESN’T want a bushel of top shelf smoke? IN order to get there, you must give each stage of growth, equal attention.
If you want to be a great grower, grow a lot. This was stated by Scotty Real on a previous show. These words stuck with me, because this is how we learn. And he’s not talking about “grow a lot of weed”, he’s talking about growing everything. Plant an herb garden, grow some coleus, whatever… the more you grow, the better grower you will become.
With these thoughts in mind, part 3 will be all about focusing on vegetative growth.
Some of you growers out there are are neglecting your plants in vegetative growth. I see it over and over. You’re not topping enough, you’re not taking off suckers, and you don’t have enough light. To make matters worse, some of you are mutilating your plants, because you saw some some stoner post on a forum where you see a guy tying down his plants or stripping them of their fan leaves, “Because it makes them grow back stronger”. If I catch you doing this, you’re going to have to WALK THE PLANK, right off the Capn’s Ship. You don’t want to know what happened to this guy:
Let’s keep our plants in RAPID vegetative growth, instead of putting them into “heal” mode. There IS such a thing as stalling a plant. And when it stalls (due to neglect, or abuse) it can take a good two weeks to get it again again. Scotty talked about this in a previous episode too. Keep your plants moving, from start to finish.
A few Grow methods explained, and why I use rockwool grow cubes. Under optimal light, plants grow fastest, with grow methods where the roots are given high amounts of oxygen, but also frequent nutrient baths. So let’s start with the fastest and move to the slowest,
1. Aeroponic. This is where we SPRAY the roots with a fine mist of nutrient solution. This method, in my opinion, as one application only, and that is for cloning.
Because the roots are surrounded by oxygen and constantly sprayed, this provides the fastest growth rate.
CONS: Too many to list!
*Most Aero systems will not support large, 1lb plants.
*Giant root balls, quickly form dead spots and it becomes difficult to saturate them all.
*Prone to pythium, due to dead spots in root zone.
*Due to a lack of grow medium, PH drift is prevalent.
2. DWC (deep water culture). In DWC, most of the root zone is under water. The water is oxygenated by air stones or venturi.
*DWC provides rapid growth capabilities in vegetative stage.
*Extremely prone to pythium (root rot). The question is not “IF” you will get root rot, it’s “WHEN”.
*Chiller is needed to keep water temperatures under 70F, so the water can hold enough oxygen. No chiller? Meet Mr Root Rot.
*High margin of error. Due to equipment needed, such as air pumps, chillers, etc, there are more things that can go wrong, and ruin your entire grow.
*Due to a lack of grow medium, PH drift is prevalent. Expect to adjust PH a few times a week; sometimes more.
3. Rockwool grow cubes. Rockwool provides a place for roots to sink in. It supports the plant, while providing high oxygen, and nutrients, at the same time. Just 8 hours after irrigating, pots will be significantly lighter, allowing you to again, drench the roots with nutrient solution. This is because rockwool doesn’t hold a lot of water.
PROS: (too many to list)
*Since roots have access to fresh nutrients and oxygen, it provides a faster growth rate than coco, peat, or dirt (or other mediums that hold more water).
*Impossible to over-water. Notice above I use the word “Irrigate”. This is because we don’t “water” our plants (growing in rockwool) we “irrigate” the rockwool with copious amounts of nutrient solution.
*By irrigating generously (recirculating run off) we can be 100% sure that the PH and PPM inside the root zone, is the same as the PH and PPM of our reservoir water. This provides less nutrient deficiencies, and healthier, faster growing plants.
*Flushing at the end of flower is easy. You can literally take the PPM in the root zone from 900, to 100, in 15 minutes. Within just 5 days, you’ll see leaves start to yellow, as the plant begins to use up it’s reserve energy.
*Not the best choice for 100% organic growing.
*Plants need to be irrigated, at a minimum, once a day. Auto irrigating system must be set up, or hand water, 1-2 x per day.
4. Dirt, coco, etc. Dirt, coco, and other similar mixes are more suitable for organic growing. However, the medium holds a lot of water, so the wet / dry cycle that plants enjoy so much, is usually 3 days, instead of one day, with rockwool.
*Lower maintenance. Many dirt growers water every few days, and allow just a bit of run off, and they do well.
*Inexpensive. No fancy equipment or water pumps are needed.
*Low margin for error.
Slower growth than other grow methods.
That said, to achieve the very best quality, you find the best growers in the world grow in dirt, or coco mixes.
Ok, let’s get started with Vegetative growth!
I’m not going to cover cloning or starting seeds in this series. I’ll save those topics for other articles. We will start with our freshly rooted clones, and I’ll go over the process step by step. Along the way, we will see the rapid growth of CapnStyle Growing.
Environment: I try to keep my vegetative closet between 70-80 degrees and 50-70% humidity. COLD, DRY air WILL slow growth considerably.
After clones are rooted well, I put them under direct, close T5 lighting, or 3′ under metal halide light. At this stage, T5 will do fine. Once a day, I drench the rockwool blocks I cloned them in with 400PPM nutrient solution. When I first see new growth from the clones (about two weeks after cutting) I top them. I top early and often to create dozens of tops.
12 days later, significant growth has happened! The plants were put down into a pot full of rockwool cubes, watered generously daily and topped in two more places (the two tallest branches). Taking dated pictures like this, will be a real “eye opener” for you, to see how fast you can grow plants.
Now our plants enter the RAPID GROWTH stage. Look at the growth we’ve seen in just 7 days. I’m not doing anything magical here. I simply water once a day with 500ppm nutrient, and use recharge or other beneficial bacteria, 2-3 times a week.
So lets talk about how we get this rapid growth. Every thing you do (or don’t do), matters. You might not think it’s a big deal to skip this or that, but when you do all the right things, consistently, your plant will grow exponentially (taller, wider).
What are, “All the right things”?
1. Keep your environment temperature and humidity stable. A 10-15 degree difference between night and day helps.
2. Air circulation is a must. Don’t blow your fan directly on your plants. If your plants are blowing in the wind, that’s too much air. However, the air should be moving in the veg room, in order to keep CO2 refreshed at the leaf surface.
3. Top the tallest branches whenever possible. See how I’m shaping these plants into a ice ice baby FLAT TOP, by doing nothing but topping? More on topping later.
4. Pot size is key for rapid growth. This is one of the most common mistakes I see. I even see the pros, putting a little tiny plant, into a giant pot, and then they water it a LITTLE bit. This is so WRONG! This is how salt builds up, PH swings, and roots can drown. If your’re growing in rockwool, and your pot still weighs a ton after 24 hours, YOUR POT IS TOO BIG. NO, you’re not watering too much!
I don’t care if you’re in dirt, coco, rockwool, whatever: You will get the maximum growth rate when you flood the roots with nutrients (with generous run off), then let the plant go until the medium is slightly dry (pot is noticeably lighter). The more often you can do this, the better. That’s why Capn Style growing, or rock wool in general, works so well. We can flood them often and generously. By flooding them, we wash out any salt build ups, and PH and ppm stays more stable inside the root zone.
5. Irrigate generously, once or twice a day. Water your plants, (by hand or auto pump) and let the run off go into a reservoir. Re-use that water for a week, then start with new water again. I pour at least a gallon of water into a #2 pot and let it all run through.
Another week later, we have moved up to the next biggest pot size (#2). The previous pot size only lasted 10 days. I was watering an entire pitcher into the #1 pot, (with tons of run off) and by the next day the pots were VERY light in weight. When that happens, you know it’s time to move up. More media, holds more water. Don’t cram your roots, or your plant will slow down. However, your pot SHOULD feel noticeably lighter after 24 hours.
Before, I said, “Top early and often”. Depending on your strain, you should have plenty of tributaries (branching) at this point, and topping too much may slow it down and produce too BUSHY of a plant. Compare your plant with the pictures I’ve posted here; your plant should look the same. If it’s too tall with too few branches, go ahead and top in a couple places. If it is nice and bushy, let it go. I haven’t topped this in over a week. Get that branching started early to lay down the foundation, then let it go for awhile.
Time to upgrade our Lighting: T5 lighting is fine for awhile, but as you can see, my little 2ft, 4 bulb fixture is not enough any more. If you’re going big, go big. Get more light. These were now moved under a 600W Metal halide. If you don’t have enough light, your plant will be lanky (skinny with few branches and a long distance between them) and grow much slower.
NOTE: Without doing side by side tests (I’ve done them), you’ll never know how much faster your plants will grow under MH, instead of T5. They will use more water, and grow MUCH faster.
This is a game of VEG right now. We have a month to go before flower. The bigger we can get this plant in veg, the more we will yield. PERIOD. Any stoner can grow plants by watering them, and giving them light and air movement. But if you want to hang with the heavyweights, take a second look at your veg game. This goes back to what the Dude Listener said, “Amp up your game at every stage of the grow”. Here’s a challenge for you…. pretend TheCapn, Scotty, and Dude were going to visit your grow tomorrow. What would they say? Clean up those dead leaves on the floor, shade that reservoir from light, get your temp and humidity where it needs to be!
And don’t give me this BS about “Oh, I’m just a hobbyist, and it’s only for personal, so I don’t really care if I get the maximum yield.” Put down the giant vapor bag, get in your veg room, and do what you need to do, you stoner! And yes, if you spent $300 on a vaporizer, you MIGHT be a stoner (TheDude). <<<TheDude, are you reading this? ROFL.
Pruning: As you can see in the above picture, it’s time to take off a few tiny suckers near the bottom, that we know will never produce. This is one of the more difficult tasks, and I’ll try to go over this. Don’t take off any fan leaves at this point! It will stunt growth, and prevent lower branches from stretching up to reach the canopy (shaded branches will stretch more). The more tops we have, the more bud we will enjoy. This little stuff underneath soaks up a bit of energy from the tops. I am mostly aiming to take off tiny starting of branches. And I start at the bottom and work my way up, like this:
Take off the small branches that you know will never reach the canopy. These make great clones.
And take off the suckers. These rob the canopy of energy.
After you’ve lifted her skirt, you should be able to see her nooks and crevices. oh yeah! But one thing I would like to point out. Do not mutilate your plant. Don’t take SO MUCH off it, where the plant has to go into “heal” mode (this will stall your plant). I cringe when I hear the words, “lollipop” or “Defoliation”. THIS IS NOT lolli-popping! We are simply removing SOME of the lower branches and suckers that are not getting any light. If you feel you’re taking too much off, stop, wait a few days, then do a little more.
If you look near the bottom of this plant, you will see about 3″ of stem, before the first branch comes out. That is 3″ of wasted space. I should have topped the baby sooner.
Random thought: When making a decision about what nutrients you should buy, my suggestion: Find someone who’s grow you respect. Get in touch with that person and see if they will help you. If so, go with those same nutrients they are using. That way, you can get help when you need it.
On with the show. A couple weeks later, it’s time to transplant into a #5 pot! I soak my rockwool cubes in nutrient water and go! So easy.
If your roots don’t look like this, you’re not using beneficial bacteria. See how TheCapn uses recharge.
Our plant is getting close to our goal size before flower, which is 36″ in diameter, and about 50 tops. Did I mention, top early and often? And I would like to say one more time: If your pot is NOT noticeably lighter 24 hours after irrigating, your pot is too big (you’re not watering too much).
If you want to grow big chongers like this, your veg game skills need to be ON! The bigger, bushy-er and stronger you can get your plant in veg, the bigger harvest you will have in the end. Here are a couple summary thoughts about veg:
1. In veg, water once or twice daily. If you’re not allowing generous run off, then you’re not watering enough. Remember, in rockwool, it is nearly impossible to water too much at one time (it is possible to water too frequently). Recirculate your run off water, or use it for your outdoor garden, grass, house plants, whatever. Don’t make the mistake of having a plant in a pot that is too big for it, and then skimping on the watering because your pot is too heavy. If you want white roots like you see above, this advice should not be overlooked.
Try this experiment. Take a pitcher of your nutrient water and sit it in the corner for a week. Then smell it. It’s funky, especially if you’re using florablend or licious. Then pour out the water and notice of film on the bottom. Now, imagine that water sitting in your roots for days at a time. That’s what happens if your pot size is too big. When we use lots of water and allow lots of run off, we keep flushing out anything funky, we keep the PH and PPM constant in the root zone. This makes big plants!
2. Lighting: 600W MH will grow plants considerably faster than T5 lighting.
3. Use beneficial bacteria. It is a key to my success and the pearly white roots.
4. The number one key to getting a pound of bud, is veg time, and light. No, it’s not bloom booster, it’s not any expensive additive.
In Part 4, we will discuss flowering, from start to finish. If you’re new to the capn’s articles and skeptical about “CapnStyle” growing, I’ll leave you with a few pictures: