I’m building a growroom in my attic. I have $1,500 to $2,000 to spend on this project. I would like to try hydro/aeroponics because of the fast grow times. What do you recommend? What lights should I get—high-pressure sodium [HPS], metal halide [MH], both or a conversion bulb, and what wattage can I afford? Could you recommend a seed strain that has a balance of high yield, high payout and a relatively short grow time, and where would I securely purchase such seeds? Will a 5.5-foot ceiling be high enough for plants, lights and system?
You need to gain a little growing experience before making such big plans for so many plants. You’re asking the wrong questions for a beginner. My advice is to plant seeds in small containers, transplant seedlings into 2- or 3-gallon pots full of soilless mix or a premium store-bought potting soil, and grow them under a 400-watt MH light. Concentrate on air ventilation and circulation, temperature, humidity and plant health. Take clones when plants are two to three months old. Learn how to clone. Once you have your first crop harvested and you have mother plants and clones, consider investing in a larger setup.
Northern Lights #5 and Big Bud crosses are good varieties for new growers. Seeds are easy to order from foreign suppliers. Call several suppliers on the telephone and ask them how they securely ship seeds.
I’m a first-time indoor grower. I’m using an aeroponic system that measures 32'' x 20'' x 17''. It has eight grow sites with baskets. All eight grow sites are 4.5 inches apart and served by a 20-gallon reservoir. Will eight grow sites suffice to grow eight fully mature plants side by side? Should I spread out the grow sites? Will transplanting be necessary? Is a 20-gallon reservoir big enough? Would one 1,000-watt HPS lamp be enough for this system in a 10' x 10' square room?
A single aeroponic system sounds a little small for such a large room. A 20-gallon reservoir allows 2.5 gallons for each root system. All root systems will be in the same 20-gallon reservoir. This leaves little space for mist to penetrate between the roots. Furthermore, the reservoir would have to be topped off with water daily, and the nutrient solution could easily go out of balance since there’s only a 20-gallon bank of liquid. The system will also require that all plants are bent and trellised, which is very time-consuming. You’ll be best off planting half as many plants in this system and keeping a very close eye on them.
Take cuttings and root them in the aeroponic system. You can grow seedlings in the system, too. They can also be grown somewhere else and transplanted into the system.
A 1,000-watt HPS light will efficiently illuminate up to a 6' x 6' square area (36 square feet). Plants will grow beyond the 6' x 6' area, but they’ll grow slowly, flower later, and the buds won’t be as dense.
There’s been talk around our town about a “THC worm.” Is there such a thing?
They might be talking about corn earworms. They’re usually green with stripes. They’ve taken a real liking to cannabis. Corn earworms and other caterpillars burrow into buds, usually near the top. They consume plant juices by chewing the main stem and also eat foliage. Identify damage from caterpillars by the abundance of droppings they leave at and near wounds. The droppings accumulate in between buds. Droppings fall out when the buds are hung to dry. Look below and you’ll see lots of little poops.
From 1/2-inch to 4 inches long, caterpillars and loopers are cylindrical, with feet; they’re often green but can be virtually any color from white to black. While caterpillars have sets of feet the entire length of their bodies, loopers have two sets of feet at either end of their bodies.
This is generally a concern for outdoor crops, though it’s becoming more of a problem indoors. Check for caterpillars by spraying a plant with pyrethrum aerosol and shaking the leaves a couple of minutes later. The quick knockout effect of the spray causes caterpillars to fall from the shaken plant.