First time grow medium question

Hey everyone,

I’m starting my first grow soon so I’m trying to do a bunch of homework and research before it starts around the end of december/first of january. I have decided on a 5x5x80in tent, x2 MARS SP-250 LED grow lights, and an Auto-pot 4 pot gravity fed hydro system. Which grow mediums would you recommend for beginner level experience and that would work well with the Auto-pot design? I’ve looked into coco coir blends with nutrient feeds and also doing super soils so far.

Any help is much appreciated! Thanks!

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Welcome! Sounds like you’re well on your way to a great grow. You’ve put in a lot of work and thought up front, and that pays off big time in the end.

Do you have seed starting supplies, and a plan to look after your plants for the beginning of their life? Autopots work great with developed plants, but you’ll need a plan for starting your seeds or taking care of your clones. You’ll need heat mat and a humidity dome at the minimum.

Do you have controls for your tent to automate your environmental temperature and humidity? If the temp and humidity of the room your tent is in is lower than the temperature and humidity of your tent you can just run an exhaust fan or two. There are some cheap controllers available that do a good job. Just set and forget and know that your plants will never be too hot, cold, wet or dry. You should be able to leave your garden alone for a week with a few controllers.

Now on to your actual questions: a light coco mix works well if mixed with some more aeration and drainage. You can use perlite or hydroton clay balls mixed 50/50 with the coco. You can do the same with rockwool chunks (my preference since there is almost no chance of introducing bugs or mould into the garden with rockwool).

Keep a few inches of clay balls or gravel at the bottom of the pots to allow for proper drainage.

Make sure you’re using an appropriate nutrient. If you’re using coco make sure you’ve got an appropriate coco nutrient - coco requires a bit more calcium than other nutrients and can go deficient if you’re not using the right nutes, or supplementing with a bit of extra calcium.

Do you have a tool to measure pH and ppm/EC?

I don’t know much about super soils or true organics, do hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in with that info.

If you hit the reply arrow on my post it @ me I’ll get a notification to check this thread and can answer any other questions you’ve got.

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@devjyarn

For propagation I was looking at the super sprouter premium germination and propagation kit. It comes with everything I would need. But I’m wondering if I could create my own setup for much cheaper. I watched a YouTube video in which a guy just used peat pellets and water to germinate, then placed the sprouts in a solo cup with soil and some water, put a plastic sandwich bag over top, and just used his light in his tent. Maybe that would work just as good?

As far as automation goes, I will have a light timer and a 4 inch inline fan running on a top to bottom loop constantly. The room the tent will be in is on the first floor and stays around 70-72 degrees. The only thing I won’t have upfront is humidity control. As long as RH is 60 or above inside the tent, I shouldn’t need a humidifier during vegetation stages, correct?

Thank you for your input about Rockwool and paying attention to medium specific nutrients. I will look into those further.

By the time the grow starts I plan on getting pH and ppm/EC measuring devices. There are SO many. Are there any that you recommend?

Currently I’m reading up on making compost teas and doing super soils with mycorrhizae and other beneficials. It seems like more work upfront but once all the kinks are worked out in the initial mix or “formula” it should be a “set it and forget it” type of grow. I’m torn right now because it being my first grow, I don’t know how well I would do with inert mediums and giving all of the nutrients through feeds. Which brings up other questions like if I did go with a Rockwool/CC medium, how often do I need to do nutrient feeds? Is once a day enough? Too much? These types of questions are why I’m currently leaning towards super soils and compost tea feeds. The only problem with the tea feeds is I’m worried how they’ll fare with the auto pot system. I’ve read that organic feeds don’t do well with the auto pots.

Thanks again for your response! Very insightful and hope to bounce some more ideas off of you!

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Welcome to this magical place! I’m not much of a grower yet, but I’m sure you will be able to start your seeds the way you described. @devjyarn just gave you the most efficient and worry free way to do it. I start mine relatively like you described and I do relatively well. If I had all the right stuff, I would do better. But it’s always a work in progress, that’s what’s fun about it to me.
And for living soil, I strongly suggest @Ladithief threads. Like this one :

Enjoy yourself here, there’s plenty of nice and helpful people!

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@treycer11 all you need to do is make sure your young plants are able to stay warm and moist. A seedling heat mat is great because it’ll only ever get hot enough to keep the plants healthy and never any hotter. Beyond that, all you need is some way to keep the humidity high and protect the young leaves from working too hard. I like using 10x20 trays and humidity domes as they’re standard and stackable and will last for years if you’re just doing a few plants at a time, but using a sandwich bag or even the top of a Coke bottle placed over a Solo Cup will work just fine.

I have used a set of controllers I’ve used on several projects (everything from grow tents to charcuterie and cheese curing) and they work well. The only thing they don’t allow is for you to set daytime and nighttime differentials. Each controller allows you to plug in 2 devices. I plug in a humidifier and dehumidifier, along with a small space heater and an exhaust fan, then I know that my environment will always stay right where I need it.

There are lots of different ways to grow and finding your preference is all part of the fun. I stick with hydro and rockwool because I am a bit of control freak and I like to know that I am not bringing bugs or other problems into my grow. I’d suggest finding a nutrient or soil recipe that makes the most sense to you. All hydro nutes use the same basic 12 ingredients. Use the one that has the easiest to follow feed charts or one that a friend or mentor is familiar with.

If you’re going to be growing hydro, get a good set of meters. There are lots of great manufacturers like Blue Lab, Milwaukee, Hannah, and Apera. Having accurate data is important as you start to dial in your grow and maximize performance and yield in your space.

The good thing with super soils is that they can provide enough nutrition for the first half or longer of your cycle, and can be supplemented with hydroponic nutrients if you run into any issues down the road. Is the AutoPot system likely to get clogged if you run soil? I am not very familiar with the system.

Rockwool or Coco will need to be fed once or twice per day depending on how your plants are growing. The nice thing with the inert mediums is that you do have more control and can “steer” the plants to grow more vegetative or flowering as you get more proficient in your grow. A living soil needs to maintain a constant level of moisture so the biology can stay active and break down the soil to make nutrients available to the plants.

Thanks for the great soil info @kapouic and @Ladithief . I’ll hopefully be growing a few outdoor monsters in the yards of my friends and family and I’ll use that recipe.

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My other post got flagged as inappropriate for some reason, so I’ll copy and paste it again. Hopefully it’ll stick this time?

@treycer11 all you need to do is make sure your young plants are able to stay warm and moist. A seedling heat mat is great because it’ll only ever get hot enough to keep the plants healthy and never any hotter. Beyond that, all you need is some way to keep the humidity high and protect the young leaves from working too hard. I like using 10x20 trays and humidity domes as they’re standard and stackable and will last for years if you’re just doing a few plants at a time, but using a sandwich bag or even the top of a Coke bottle placed over a Solo Cup will work just fine.

https://www.amazon.ca/Inkbird-100-240VAC-Temperature-Controller-Smoke-Drying/dp/B07BKP2F7V/ref=sr_1_14?keywords=inkbird+heat+humidity+controller&qid=1576425991&sr=8-14 this is the set of controllers I’ve used on several projects (everything from grow tents to charcuterie and cheese curing) and they work well. The only thing they don’t allow is for you to set daytime and nighttime differentials. Each controller allows you to plug in 2 devices. I plug in a humidifier and dehumidifier, along with a small space heater and an exhaust fan, then I know that my environment will always stay right where I need it.

There are lots of different ways to grow and finding your preference is all part of the fun. I stick with hydro and rockwool because I am a bit of control freak and I like to know that I am not bringing bugs or other problems into my grow. I’d suggest finding a nutrient or soil recipe that makes the most sense to you. All hydro nutes use the same basic 12 ingredients. Use the one that has the easiest to follow feed charts or one that a friend or mentor is familiar with.

If you’re going to be growing hydro, get a good set of meters. There are lots of great manufacturers like Blue Lab, Milwaukee, Hannah, and Apera. Having accurate data is important as you start to dial in your grow and maximize performance and yield in your space.

The good thing with super soils is that they can provide enough nutrition for the first half or longer of your cycle, and can be supplemented with hydroponic nutrients if you run into any issues down the road. Is the AutoPot system likely to get clogged if you run soil? I am not very familiar with the system.

Rockwool or Coco will need to be fed once or twice per day depending on how your plants are growing. The nice thing with the inert mediums is that you do have more control and can “steer” the plants to grow more vegetative or flowering as you get more proficient in your grow. A living soil needs to maintain a constant level of moisture so the biology can stay active and break down the soil to make nutrients available to the plants.

Thanks for the great soil info @kapouic and @Ladithief . I’ll hopefully be growing a few outdoor monsters in the yards of my friends and family and I’ll use that recipe.

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Not sure why, but my replies keep getting flagged as inappropriate or abusive. I’ll try again later.

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Weird i have seen that happen to someone yd

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It’s weird, and it’s all information that is readily available in a lot a place on this very network!!!

Did you asked @chrisD, @Kareenabis420, or any of the other administrator to look into it?

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I don’t have a clue what’s going on. There might be a word or manufacturer I mentioned that auto flags my post. Hopefully people can still click the “view ignored content” link and view the info. I copied it and can try pasting it later.

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I read… it and the only think I might have seen was the mention of Ink Bird controllers…

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But my post isn’t flagged so not it…

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Someone is probably just bored fucking around… No way those post should be flagged

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It happened within a few seconds of being posted. It has to be a bot or something that didn’t like a keyword I used. I don’t think it’s anyone trying to make things difficult.

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Because of me you can’t even post the strain L S D or a Pey ot e cookie strain with out it flagging… I promised to behave so I don’t see a need to continue it…

Never seen so many post flagged since I joined… Picky bot lol

Test. Coke…

@devjyarn , I found out why you were flagged.
It’s the word c. O. K. E.

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Big brother strikes again. Thanks @kapouic for figuring that out.

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@treycer11 all you need to do is make sure your young plants are able to stay warm and moist. A seedling heat mat is great because it’ll only ever get hot enough to keep the plants healthy and never any hotter. Beyond that, all you need is some way to keep the humidity high and protect the young leaves from working too hard. I like using 10x20 trays and humidity domes as they’re standard and stackable and will last for years if you’re just doing a few plants at a time, but using a sandwich bag or even the top of a plastic bottle placed over a Solo Cup will work just fine.

https://www.amazon.ca/Inkbird-100-240VAC-Temperature-Controller-Smoke-Drying/dp/B07BKP2F7V/ref=sr_1_14?keywords=inkbird+heat+humidity+controller&qid=1576425991&sr=8-14 this is the set of controllers I’ve used on several projects (everything from grow tents to charcuterie and cheese curing) and they work well. The only thing they don’t allow is for you to set daytime and nighttime differentials. Each controller allows you to plug in 2 devices. I plug in a humidifier and dehumidifier, along with a small space heater and an exhaust fan, then I know that my environment will always stay right where I need it.

There are lots of different ways to grow and finding your preference is all part of the fun. I stick with hydro and rockwool because I am a bit of control freak and I like to know that I am not bringing bugs or other problems into my grow. I’d suggest finding a nutrient or soil recipe that makes the most sense to you. All hydro nutes use the same basic 12 ingredients. Use the one that has the easiest to follow feed charts or one that a friend or mentor is familiar with.

If you’re going to be growing hydro, get a good set of meters. There are lots of great manufacturers like Blue Lab, Milwaukee, Hannah, and Apera. Having accurate data is important as you start to dial in your grow and maximize performance and yield in your space.

The good thing with super soils is that they can provide enough nutrition for the first half or longer of your cycle, and can be supplemented with hydroponic nutrients if you run into any issues down the road. Is the AutoPot system likely to get clogged if you run soil? I am not very familiar with the system.

Rockwool or Coco will need to be fed once or twice per day depending on how your plants are growing. The nice thing with the inert mediums is that you do have more control and can “steer” the plants to grow more vegetative or flowering as you get more proficient in your grow. A living soil needs to maintain a constant level of moisture so the biology can stay active and break down the soil to make nutrients available to the plants.

Thanks for the great soil info @kapouic and @Ladithief . I’ll hopefully be growing a few outdoor monsters in the yards of my friends and family and I’ll use that recipe.

1 Like