PFFs Indoor RDWC grow journal

Hello all, long time reader first time poster.

This is my first grow diary online and first experience with autoflowers, 2nd RDWC grow and 3rd grow overall. My first two grows were both in DIY space buckets. I started the first in soil using a photo, then took a clone and grew a second plant side by side using RDWC. These plants didn’t yield much, and what they did yield was disappointing.

These grows were a few years ago and I kept an offline grow journal and was struggling with temperature, humidity and probably harvested it too early.

This time around I built myself a bigger cabinet and simplified water reservoir changes. It’s still essentially a DIY space bucket, but in a cabinet and bigger.

I’m currently growing in an Ikea PAX wardrobe lined with reflective mylar. In it is a cheapo “330W” blurple LED. Air is exhausted through the top of the cabinet pushed through a 4" filter and an intake fan sucks air in the bottom of the cabinet. Both fans are 4" muffin fans. Water is aerated in a nutrient dosed reservoir through 2 bar aquarium aerators and water is run over the seedlings root systems until they reach the reservoir, at which point the pumps are disconnected and removed.

Seeds are planted in rockwool cubes nestled gently in hydroton inside net pots. The net pots are put in 3" holes cut in the top of a simple black tote.

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First up is a Mephisto Double Grape, currently on day 22. I did a little LST today, tucking some leaves and pruned 3 or 4 leaves that were never going to get much light. I used some garden ties to move 2 lower branches so they get more light.

And my other plant, a Sweet Seeds Dark Devil currently on day 10. This plant replaces one I accidentally drowned that was planted at the same time as the DG.

Both plants are feeding from the same DWC reservoir and that might cause problems later, but we’ll see.

Today was reservoir change day, right now I’m feeding GH aggressive veg schedule at 100% in 6 gallons of tap water. Today PH was around 5.8 and PPM was 1342.

Run off PH was 5.4 and PPM was 2492, which is way higher than it was fed at.

Ambient temperature during the day is usually low 80s, humidity at around 45 - 50%. I know the temperature and humidity are not ideal however right now I’m stuck with the set up I have for a while.

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Nice looking setup. How often do you change res ?

I’ve got a Double Grape on the go too, looks like a winner so far.

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Welcome to Overgrow, pufferfishfiend!

Setup looks good, pretty healthy plants!

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A big howdy, and welcome to OG @pufferfishfiend !

Keep us posted, please.

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Welcome aboard puffer : )

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I change my reservoir out every week, full water cycle and re-dose with nutrients. That’s usually when I’ll make changes to the plants themselves - the rest of the week it’s just poking my head in and making sure everything is still alive :stuck_out_tongue:

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Well, the DG clearly didn’t appreciate me taking away her top feed pump yesterday, so I reinstalled it and will see if she bounces back.

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Reservoir change update time!

Dark Devil (DD), day 17 - she’s super stunted, and I’m not really sure why. I think my ‘running a seedling and a flowering plant on the same reservoir’ cows have come home to roost, and either PH is locking out the nutes or there’s a nute toxicity issue:

It’s especially striking when you compare the Double Grape (DG) at day 22 and the DD at 17, she’s miles behind. I’m basically going to abandon her to her fate, and leave her to do what she wills with the next nute schedule.

Double Grape (DG), day 29 - different story all together with this girl. She’s stretched a bit and started throwing pistils. During the res change I did some light defoliation, removing 6 leaves that didn’t get direct light, and that I couldn’t reposition to get direct light. I lightly bent and moved some branches and tucked bigger fan leaves behind bud sites. Here she is before her haircut:

and after:

She’s got some nice bud sites coming along, and a lot of them are getting good light:

I inspected the leaves I removed and noticed signs of nute burn. I think feeding her at 100% last res change was a bit aggressive:

I suspect what’s going on here is that the plant is using water faster than she’s using nutrients, so as the water % drops, her nute concentration rises and possibly PH changes. I think that’s leading to the res being too hot in the latter half of the week.

This week I’m running bloom transition nutes at 75% strength in 8G of water, and I’ll see if the extra water will buffer the concentration changes a little better. PH was 5.65 and PPM was 1082.

Run off PH was 5.5 and PPM was 2374, which is real hot.

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Now for something a little different.

I’ve been designing and working on various ideas for stealth grows for a few years. I started with the classic 5G bucket space bucket, but hated how confined everything felt and how hard it was to do basic maintenance to the plant, not to mention the constant fight against high temperatures, low humidities, and noise volume. My “stealth” space bucket wasn’t very stealth.

I then designed a new space, the one I’m currently growing in. It solves a lot of the problems I had with the space bucket, but some problems remain - temperature control and noise. It’s loud as shit, and the temperatures are just high enough that I’m not satisfied. It also introduced a new problem - it’s really space inefficient. I have a lot of vertical space that I’m not using.

Light leaks are also a concern, which is why I’m currently growing autos. I prefer the control I have over photos though, but light proofing the current cabinet is going to take some work.

The end goal was a fairly simple, effective and easy to work with space efficient system that will let me run a perpetual grow.

Considering the above issues, and my goals, I’m seriously thinking about chucking the “stealth” aspect and just moving to my closet and setting up some tents. The whole motivation behind the stealth aspect has gone due to life changes, so there’s no reason for me to be fighting to build an inferior system than I can just put together using tents.

So I’m planning a new growing space.

I want to keep this as cheap as possible, so I want to use as much existing equipment that I have as I can. A few months back while tripping sack, I bought an ultrasonic mist maker with the goal of building a home made fog machine. That didn’t work out due to the water vapor being too heavy, but now I have an essential piece for a fogponics system. I also have a 100W LED that I built for a previous revision on the space bucket concept in an attempt to keep temperatures down. So I also have a spare light.

I’m currently waiting for an interval timer so I can turn the mist maker + fan on and off on a fine grained interval, then I’ll start rigging up a small test system and try and run a few photos in anticipation of getting a tent if the fogponics test works.

I have a small bubble germinator I built that I’m going to pop a Gorilla Glue (don’t know the breeder) fem photo and a Girl Scout Cookies (again, unknown breeder) fem photo into later today. The seeds should pop right as I get the fogponics test rigged up, at which point I’ll transfer them and run them under the spare light to see what happens.

Bubble germinator:

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Dark Devil (DD), day 24 - she’s still stunted but is surviving. Looks like whatever PH/nute issue that stunted her is resolved and she’s growing and even starting some preflowers:

She’s still on her own, but she seems to be holding her own.

Double Grape (DG), day 36 - The DG has finally stopped stretching and is starting to put weight on her flowers. I did a fairly extensive defoliation, removing any fan leaves that never got any direct light and any fan leaves that were covering flowers. I forgot to take a picture of her before her haircut but I removed 16 leaves throughout the entire plant of various ages. Here she is after her haircut:

Shes starting to get a little frost on her leaves, and rubbing her stems gives a really nice scent. Here are some flower sites picked at random:

Leaf inspection showed some nute burn on some older leaves, I’m not too concerned about this. I know the runoff last week came out real hot so I’m confident that’s old damage. Newer leaves I pulled off seem much healthier:

Based on the leaves, and the fact the DG has stopped stretching and is focusing on her flowers, I’m running a GH flowering schedule at 75%. PH is 5.4 and PPM is 1242. The PH being lower is not intentional, and I misjudged how much PH down to put in my reservoir. I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue, though I do know my runoff PH is very close to my input PH, if not a little lower, so I may have to raise the PH a little. I should probably be targeting 5.8 or 5.9 so that if it drifts down a few points during the week, it’s still in an ideal window.

Last weeks runoff PH was 5.65 and the PPM was 1401. That follows the trend of my PH being ~1.2 pts lower on run off. I have no idea why I was running the PH so high before, but now I might be running it too low. I’ll make sure to monitor the girls extra carefully over the next few days.

Gorilla Glue (GG) and Girl Scout Cookies (GSC), day 3 - these girls popped in my bubble cloner on the 15th, and through some not-so-polite urging from my partner (more on her later), I put them into the fogponics test rig today.

I’m running a 3 disc ultrasonic mist maker on a 5s on / 55s off schedule (roughly, these analogue interval timers can be janky for the real cheap ones) in ~3G of tap water. I ran the rig for a few days empty to monitor mist and moisture levels. I had a net pot in the chamber as the mister ran, and noticed condensation on the pot. I’m hoping this, combined with the splashing that the mist maker makes, and the hydroton/rockwool media I’m using will be enough to coax the roots into the root chamber, and which point we’ll see what they do.

This may end up being a partial Kratky DWC/fogponics build, depending on what the roots want to do. I’m not a hydro purist so I don’t care, I just enjoy growing flowers in water.

Really puts the closet back into closet grow.

My janky homemade light:

And the girls themselves:

Here’s a pic of my assistant, verifying water quality. She decided it was time to move the seedlings out of the bubble cloner by jumping up onto the reservoir and knocking everything over, draining the bubble cloner. I took her advice for obvious reasons:

And finally a vanity shot of the DG as she’s growing, top down:

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I would love to try running some DG some time!

Running a DWC/RDWC in a tent is a dream… Started my 2nd grow that way, Sweet & Sour and Ghost Toof from Mephisto, and pulled 115 and 200+ grams dried off of them… Good stuff.

I FIM’d the S&S and topped the GT. Some traing and LOTS of defoliation.

But your DG looks nice, and sounds like it smells good too!
Goodluck with your grow amigo.

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I like your solution for top feeding those plants.
It’s interesting that you just pipe and dump instead of using drip heads or rings. Simple. I like simple.

Best of luck establishing a new, more efficient grow space!

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@2K19Starter Thanks for the kind thoughts. I didn’t really do anything to the DG aside from defoliation - I’m definitely regretting not FIM-ing or topping her, shes going to have some nice secondary colas but also lots of larf and fluffy inner buds. I have a bunch of Mephisto seeds and the next one I will HST her.

@Blowingupjake Thanks for the input! I’ve been running top feeding like this since I started doing DWC a while back. I’ve never tried using drip heads or rings, so I can’t say the way I do things is better, but like you said it’s simple and I like simple. I’ve been eyeing how @JoeCrowe set up their DWC using the 5G buckets and even simpler air plumbing and reading a lot about different hydro set ups. I might set up a few new buckets this weekend.

As far as general updates, my home made light is intermittently failing. It’s either shorting out or overheating, and it’s turned itself off twice now over the last 18 hours. I also cooked it a few weeks ago by running it without a good heatsink connection and the cooling fan unplugged by accident. I ordered a new blurple light from the Amazons and a few plumbing bits for a few new DWC buckets. Right now I just need light, not the best light. That can come later.

Once my new light arrives, I’m probably going to put together a few Kratky DWC buckets with aeration through an air pump. Details in the next res change post.

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Today I moved my entire grow from my not-so-stealth cabinet into my closet for an actual stealth grow. The new set up gives me more room, lower temps and better humidity and it’s way quieter and more discrete. I can finally have service people in my house again.


I’m now running a big boy fan and running my filter sucking cooler air from the bottom of the room and recirculating it to the middle of the room (above the lights at least). It’s functioning as a dual air scrubber/re-circulator. There’s also an AC vent directly into the closet so it stays pretty close to ambient.

Upgrades planned in the near future:

  • Another light (on the way)
  • Light proofing the buckets and the yellow tops of the totes. They let quite a bit of light in
  • Whipping up some plywood paneling I can cover in reflective mylar and use as a false wall all the way around, which will also cover a lot of my dodgy extension cable taping.
  • Some kind of white plastic floor covering to protect my carpet somewhat

The old cabinet will be repurposed as a flowering chamber for photo plants. Not 100% sure how I want to flower them in there, I was thinking of taking clones that I might try to run in a SOG setup. I have lots of time to figure this out though so there’s no rush.

The Dark Devil (DD) runt is still flowering and she stretched quite a bit. She got burnt a little because the last reservoir ran so hot. She’s still going though.

The Double Grape is a greedy bitch who keeps putting on weight:



She’s getting a little nute burned thought. Looking at the run off this week before I mix the new batch of nutrients shows that my PPMs are constantly coming out higher than going in, which tells me I’m overfeeding her. I’m also noticing the PH is coming out consistently 0.2 - 0.4 lower than on reservoir change, which means I actually have a pretty stable res and can target the high end of ideal and should result in the reservoir staying in the ideal range for longer.

During the week I did some pretty heavy training, bending some stems to get more light and opening her structure up a little. I didn’t need to do much defoliation this week because she’s not really growing new leaves, but I did remove 3 leaves and a little bud that was all the way on the bottom of the plant.

I fed her a bloom schedule at 50% nutes, targeted a PH of 5.8 but ended up at 5.5 due to a boo boo with misreading the PH on my tap water. That’s about as good as I could get it, I was getting to the point the PH wasn’t moving up much.

The 2 photos I planted last week are still tiny. I should have started them on nutes way earlier this week, but got lazy. I’m not to worried about the slow start because they’re photos and I can veg them as long as I need to. I started them on a 10% veg schedule in 2G of water. Remember they’re fog powered so don’t need as much water.

I also planted another 4 Dark Devil in some dedicated DWC buckets, and germinated the seeds using Kratky DWC. They’ve all popped but none of them have poked their heads out of the rockwool cubes. Once they do I’ll start checking for roots, and as I see them I’ll start them on the same 10% feed.

You can see both the photos and the DDs in the first two photos of the post.

Because this is a text heavy post, here are some close ups of the tiny buds on the stunted DD:


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I know nothing about rdwc growing but wondering if 1400 ppm is the norm when feeding this style of growing ? I know in dirt I’ve seen high numbers in the run off of 2500 or higher feeding in 8/900 range . I’m sure the auto flower would of had a nutrient lock up to stall as my daughter in-law did just that last year stunting them.

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It’s way too hot, I’m seeing all sorts of nutrient toxicity issues. I cut back another 25% this week, though I am going to be adding another light so I might end up having to up the feed again :smiley:

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The Dark Devils I planted earlier last week have finally reached the seedling stage, so I PH’d and fed all 4 buckets. All buckets are at 5.8 PH (with one at 5.7 because I was stoned and misread the 3ml marker as a 2.5ml marker), and all of them are in the ballpark of 246 - 255 ppm.

One of the seedlings germinated upside down and was sending her taproot skyward. I flipped her and hopefully she’ll figure out where the water is.

New light is in, replacing the old one in my closet. The old one will go back into my old cabinet when I convert it to a flowering chamber/seed run chamber.

I also dicked around a little with a set up to try to look at trichomes as the Double Grape is 45 days old as of today, and Mephisto lists this as taking 65 - 70 days from sprout to finish, so in about 3 weeks I’m gonna need to start checking.

This seems to be the best clarity I can get. My scope is so stupid, and the image comes out upside down and mirror imaged. :roll_eyes:

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My schedule is all kinds of messed up right now. I rejigged the grow closet again and moved the Double Grape (DG) and Dark Devil (DD0, because it was the first DD I grew, and I have another 4 going now) to their own individual reservoirs. As a result, I did the DG and DD nutes last night, did the 4 DD a few days before that along with my 2 photo mother plants. I’ll sync back up next weekend.

So far I’ve been liking the buckets better than the totes. I discovered last night that the air stones I was running in the tote are basically not putting out any air. I suspect the stone pores are getting clogged with salts. The buckets are running just a straight tube with no airstone and I’m finding the PH is more stable and it’s easier to dose the water. Also as a result, theres a fair bit of root unhealthiness going on with the DG. I’m hoping putting her roots in deeper, better oxygenated water will help, but she’s only got 3-4 weeks left to go. The damage might be done at this point.

New setup:


Notice how the DD has stretched taller than the DG. I think that’s kind of funny.

The runoff PH from the old tote was too high, but it was also high going in. The PPM was about the same as what went in, which means I’ve dialed the nutrient demands on both plants in. Of course all that goes out the window now that I’ve moved them both into their own buckets, but I started with the same nute schedule and will re-evaluate next week.

The DG is fattening up still and some of her pistils have started turning orange. I’m hoping that’s because I’ve been fucking around with the plant and moving things and have been brushing them with my hands.




The DD is getting some beautiful color to her buds and leaves. I’m kind of bummed this one was stunted, but also excited that I have 4 more going. Hopefully I won’t stunt those:


The fog experiments so far as going ok. The Gorilla Glue photo (GG) seems to be flourishing, and the Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) is lagging behind. I’m also wondering if the tap root of the GG has reached the reservoir water and that’s why it’s taking off. I don’t even want these girls in the fog buckets long term. So I’m thinking of moving them into dedicated DWC totes, and rejigging the fog experiment to use a remote reservoir and starting a few autos.

GG:

GSC:

The 4 DD’s I started are starting their first true leaves. None have roots out of the netpot yet, but once they do I expect them to really take off:



I can’t upload the last photo for some reason, but it’s just another seedling, nothing really awesome. One of the DDs grew in upside down shooting her taproot skyward. I flipped her and it looks like she’s figured things out but I’ll reserve judgement once I see definitive growth.

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The upside down Dark Devil didn’t make it, so I pulled her, popped her netpot into my bubble cloner and put a Mephisto Jewok OG seed I got as a freebie in their May 4 sale into the rockwool.