3 Vancouver grow shows

Photo: Patty MitropoulosPhoto: Patty MitropoulosRomulan Clones
Romulan is one of the new varieties growing here in BC, and I trust you will see it in seed catalogs soon. At first glance, Romulan can be misleading because the buds aren’t that showy. The small, tightly packed buds are not super frosty. But once you get by the lackluster look of the bud and take a few tokes, you will be pleasantly surprised. This plant with Indica Kush heritage will keep you mellow for several hours.

Romulan’s usual appearance is short and stout, with small, firm buds. Resin begins to appear during the last few weeks of flowering. At harvest, resin is oozing, but not frosty.

Sam, who grows Romulan, had an odour problem during the last two weeks before harvest. He found that the less he disturbed his plants during maintenance, the less they smelled. He lives in a windy area by the ocean and smell is blown away immediately. To keep the smell out of the house, Sam keeps a 960 CFM vent fan venting up the chimney 24 hours a day.

Sam starts his clones from a mother plant he keeps under a 400-watt HP sodium lamp in a mother room. Before he takes clones, Sam fills a 10 x 20-inch nursery flat with Sunshine soilless mix and saturates it with half-strength Nutrilife fertilizer.

These `Romulan` plants are in the vegetative growth stage.These `Romulan` plants are in the vegetative growth stage.Sam then makes 50, 1.25 inch holes in the mix in the flat. Next he takes three-inch clones, dipping each in Nutrilife Rooting Jell before placing them in the holes. Once the tray is full with 50 cuttings, he waters with half-strength Nutrilife to pack soil around clones. Clones root much better when the soil is in firm contact with the stem.

He puts a 12-inch-tall humidity tent on the flat before putting it under two 40-watt GroLux fluorescent tubes that are on 24 hours. Sam removes the humidity dome two or three times daily and mists the clones. Removing the humidity dome also allows fresh air circulation.

Sam checks the soil for moisture daily. The soil’s surface should remain moist and not soggy. Drainage holes in the bottom of the flat allow water to drain away readily.

He waters two to four times during the two week rooting period.

These outstanding `Romulan` buds are about a week from harvest.These outstanding `Romulan` buds are about a week from harvest.Sam transplants rooted clones into three-litre pails. Potted clones are given 18 hours of 1000-watt halide light for the next three weeks. By then they are about a foot tall, and Sam transplants the clones into 6 litre pails. The clones spend two more weeks under the 1000-watt halide.

Sam mixes Nutrilife (A B) in a 33-gallon plastic container and dips a 2-gallon watering can in to fill. Sam says that watering by hand is hard work and takes a little time, but it really makes him look closely at each and every plant. He learns every detail about how they are growing.

A small ocean of `Romulan` buds five weeks from harvest.A small ocean of `Romulan` buds five weeks from harvest.Sam fertilizes every other watering. He lets about 15 percent drain through the container on the days he applies plain water. The water runs out on the floor and soon evaporates into the air and is carried outdoors via the vent fan. He continues this schedule during five-weeks of vegetative growth.

Sam changes the fertilizer regimen to Nutrilife (A C) during flowering. Sam continues to fertilize on alternate waterings through flowering. He also continues to let at least 15 percent of the plain water drain out the bottom of the containers and onto the floor. The last two weeks before harvest, Sam stops fertilizing and waters only with plain water. The plain water regimen ensures buds will taste sweet and natural. All fertilizer taste is washed away.

Clones are 15 to 18 inches tall after five weeks of vegetative growth. At this point, Sam moves clones into the flowering room under 12 hours of HP sodium light. Two horizontal 1000-watt HP sodium lamps illuminate a 6 x 12-foot growing area. Clones show signs of flower production within two weeks.

Clones grow roots in about 14 days in Oasis cubes.Clones grow roots in about 14 days in Oasis cubes.Romulan clones are ripe 8 weeks after flowering is induced. Harvesting and cleanup takes a day. Sam normally moves in five-week-old clones the day after harvest. He lets the buds dry for a few days before manicuring. When it’s all said and done, Sam harvests 3 to 4 pounds of mind bending Romulan buds from each crop.

Top Feeders

James is growing with three, 1000-watt horizontal super metal halide lamps that hang over a 4 x 8-foot growing table. The 4 x 8-foot table has 6-inch sides, a corrugated bottom to channel water to a drain at one end and back to a 40-gallon reservoir.

If packed at the rate of four plants per square foot, 120 plants in 5-inch pots can fit on the table. Normally James harvests about 100 plants. Some clones do not grow fast or strong, and James removes them to make room for stronger plants.

Spaghetti tubes deliver nutrient solution all the time the lights are on.Spaghetti tubes deliver nutrient solution all the time the lights are on.“When it dried out, the harvest only weighed 4.5 pounds.” said James. “That’s about a pound and a half less than what I think I should have harvested. With three 1000-watt lights, I should harvest 6 pounds. I think I’ll change a few things next time.

“This time, I started with two different kinds of clones, and they were sickly when we transplanted them. I had to keep the lights on for 24 hours a day the first week, just to get the little clones healthy enough to flower. The clones also had mites when I transplanted them. I’ll never transplant mite-damaged clones again. It takes too long for them to bounce back.”

Clones are about 4 inches tall when transplanted into the Hydroton-filled 5-inch pots.

Clones are rooted under two 40-watt fluorescent tubes, one cool white and one warm, in a “shoplite” fixture purchased at Home de Pot. James dips his clones in Clonex rooting jell before setting stems in a hole James pokes in the Oasis root cubes.

The bounty from the last harvest.The bounty from the last harvest.James takes small clones and covers the nursery flat with a two-inch humidity dome when clones are taken and watered in. The flat has no drainage holes so James is careful to remove any excess water with a turkey baster after he waters with 1/4 strength

General Hydroponics

James soaks the Oasis cubes before taking clones with Vitamin B1 and ThriveAlive, adding three milliliters of each per gallon of water. Female clones flower for a full 8 weeks in this basement garden.

Roots are growing out the sides of the Oasis cubes in about 10 days. He transplants rooted clones into 5-inch containers filled with Hydroton, an expanded clay hydroponic growing medium.

The leaves turn yellow during the last week before harvest.The leaves turn yellow during the last week before harvest.To transplant, James simply sets a rooted clone in an Oasis cube into the Hydroton clay. Once the containers and clones are in place, he runs spaghetti irrigation tubes to each container. A short soft black tube attached to the inside lip along the 8-foot sides of the table serves as a manifold for the spaghetti irrigation tubes. Running a new spaghetti tube is as easy as punching a hole in the manifold and inserting a new tube.

James keeps the nutrient solution pH at 6.5 and the concentration of the nutrient solution held between 1200 and 1500 ppm. The reservoir has no chiller and stays near room temperature. He changes the nutrient solution every Saturday and tops it off with full strength solution as needed.

Mites and aphids are the only pest problems he has had. The aphids came in from outdoors last summer, but SM-90 made short work of them. James loves SM-90, which is an organic spray made with orange oils. He uses it as a foliar spray against `Yellow` is the name of this resin-soaked variety.`Yellow` is the name of this resin-soaked variety.spider mites and as an additive to the nutrient solution in the reservoir to combat wilts and fungus. He applies SM-90 as a foliar spray every five days for 20 days to combat mites. He is careful to spray under leaves where mites and eggs are located. Mite-infested leaves are always removed from the grow room.

James grew two strains. One, called Yellow, is a good producer and the buds are packed with crystallized resin. James is not as fond of the other variety, an unknown sativa/indica cross. “It did OK,” says James, “but it wasn’t the easiest plant to grow indoors. It’s easy to overfertilize and is susceptible to mite damage. I’m going to grow something heavier next time, like Shishkaberry.”

Both varieties produce a lot more bud than leaf. Excessive leafy growth slows harvesting time to a crawl. All the leaves must be removed to expose the primo buds.

Big buds abound in James` garden.Big buds abound in James` garden.James keeps the room temperature at 26oC (82oF) during the day and 20 ? 22oC at night. Humidity has never been a problem and he does not monitor it. Both the 750 CFM vent fan and the 550 CFM intake fan are on whenever the lights are on. Two oscillating fans blow on either side of the 4 x 8-foot garden to circulate air around plants.

James uses the “Ferrari Flowering Formula”, a mixture of “Powder B” and “Micro” manufactured by General Hydroponics. James also adds three milliliters of 35% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) per gallon when he changes the nutrient solution and cleans out the reservoir every week.

James had a difficult time getting this variety to produce heavy bud indoors.James had a difficult time getting this variety to produce heavy bud indoors.James has two roommates and somebody is usually home. Short of a home invasion, there is little risk of being robbed. The Vancouver police cannot keep up with the many, many marijuana gardens in the city, so James does not worry about them.

James sells his crop to a few friends at by the ounce or the pound. There is always a demand and the crop is sold as soon as it’s dry.

A Big Mother

Scott needed to have a strong mother plant that grows fast and strong so he could take many clones every week. He didn’t have the two or three months it would take to grow more mother plants. He already had one good strong mother, but the problem was that she was growing too slowly in soil to keep up with the demand for clones.

This mother is planted in soilless mix on top of a hydroponic reservoir.This mother is planted in soilless mix on top of a hydroponic reservoir.Scott tried everything he could think of: foliar feeding, transplanting to a bigger container and adding more light. Nothing seemed to make the mother to grow fast enough to keep up with demand.

One of Scott’s friends suggested that he move the mother to a more productive hydroponic system. But the mother was much to big to suffer removing all the soil from her roots to be placed in a hydroponic system. Such a move would mean certain death.

That’s when the idea struck Scott. Combining a soil garden with hydroponic principles would solve his problem.

Scott cut a 55-gallon barrel in half and installed a plastic partition one foot from the bottom to form a hydroponic reservoir. He drilled about fifty half-inch holes in the partition, then ran a one-inch PVC pipe from the top of the barrel, down the side, and into the one-foot chamber below. He cut a hole near the bottom of the barrel and inserted a throughull.

Air pump oxygenates the nutrient solution in reservoir at bottom half of barrel.Air pump oxygenates the nutrient solution in reservoir at bottom half of barrel.Scott fed an air pump bubbler hose through the throughull and sealed it from leaking. The hose serves both as a drain for the reservoir and as an intake to oxygenate the nutrient solution. Scott then filled the one foot compartment on the bottom of the barrel with Nutrilife nutrient solution. Then he filled the top portion of the barrel with Sunshine #4 mix.

Scott cut the bottom out of the 5-gallon container the mother was growing in, and planted the bottomless 5-gallon container in the soilless mix. He then watered the transplanted mother in.

Roots soon grew down and out the holes, into the nutrient solution below. The air pump keeps new oxygen injected in the nutrient solution so the roots are well aerated.

The mother grew very well and Scott soon took several hundred clones. He’s now decided to grow smaller mothers, and is inducing this mother to flower.Air pump oxygenates the nutrient solution in reservoir at bottom half of barrel.