Been back a while, time to intro myself. I've been back more than a year, time to stop lurking. First, I am as paranoid as they come, that's why it has taken me more than a year to do this. I recently found files that indicate I was here by 11-21-2001 and gone after 6-10-2003.
I learned how to grow from Weezil (correct spelling this time) and how to get better yields from BOG.
I had some damn good grows in the 2x3' closet. I was using 6 vertical fluoros for lighting when my 1st seeds went into soil. Four months later, I bought a 420W hps with a wide dispersal reflector. It was my only grow area, so I kept vegging and flowering plants in there. To flower, I moved 2 plants at a time into a barrel with a lid. Two shifts of flowering, round the clock vegging.
I was a good plant dad, checking on them all the time. Hell, for my first couple of grows, I spent hours at a time just watching them grow. Tax return season 2003, I changed to 2 separate areas, got a 400W metal halide to replace the flouros in the veg area. Got a CO2 setup, an environment controller, pH tester, a new 1000W HPS and reflector.
In June 2003, I quit my job with good reason. Life got really crazy after that. I quit smoking weed myself, so I had some to sell. I never wanted to deal, but I had to feed my teenage son and make the mortgage payments.
I did find workin December '03. I started at low wages to make I got the job. It took the next dozen years, working all the hours I could. Didn't leave much time for raising my boy (as a single parent) and plants both. My kid turned out awesome, my grow suffered. I just basically trusted my grow to care for itself.
In early winter, 2007, I stopped using the metal halide lamp due to the heat it generated and went back to fluoros. I was using T12 grow tubes in 3 standard shop lights. My plants didn't suffer as much as I expected they might. I continued using these until early 2012 when I went to a single T5 4 lamp fixture. I used standard bright white lamps. In early 2016 I purchased 5K (temperature) grow tubes, which had a huge impact on veg growth. I also built a separate clone box instead of cloning is the veg cabinet. It uses a 45W, 5K, CFL photographic bulb for light source. I have a thread about the clone box here if you are interested:
On October 10, 2014, I had a shoulder replaced (with a total reverse shoulder in case anyone else is looking at getting it and wants to talk to someone that's been there). By now, my plants were less than impressive, much less. I had 3 full months off and spent much more time with my garden, starting a real diagnosis. Problem was, my grow only really sucked from early August until about Thanksgiving (late November for non-Americans:) ).
From then on (when I could avoid excessive OT) I spent time online searching for some kind of answer. I had been to OG, not sure when, and saw the FBI sign, so I didn't expect to find OG when I accidentally clicked on the old OG link in my favorites in late 2016. I was thrilled to find the GrowFAQ had grown since my last visit. I wasn't planning on doing anything but trolling the GrowFAQ, but I finally decided to get a VPN. Now I am back.
Oh, and I found my answer, in case you were interested:
I finally realized I had thrips in the 2nd quarter of 2017. All this meant to me was I knew what I was actually dealing with, but that was enough. I now knew the white crud at the drains holes of my plants sign of a thrip colony. I knew they are incredibly small and very easy to overlook and normally haunt the drains holes at the bottom of a pot. I learned they I learned they LOVE it if you drill a couple of hundred holes in your pots to try to keep the (now) coco from being soggy. High rise heaven for these insects. And I learned that sf nematodes (my predator of choice) also destroy thrip larvae. The problem is, in soil they normally don't go more that 2" deep because of how soil gets and that because of this, nematodes are ineffective for thrips IN SOIL, not so in coco. Nematodes can go anywhere in coco substrate, no problem.
Sorry about the rambling, I tried to make this the Readers Digest version. You wouldn't believe how much I cut from this post to avoid making a book out of it.
Edit: I almost forgot to say that I am in SE Wisconsin. Yeah, probably the ole paranoia rearing it ugly head.
2nd edit: I had forgotten to mention that I got a 1000W HPS at the same time I got the 400W metal halide.