Greetings, LBDWarrior AKA Jeff Cobb here. As my nick might imply, I have LBD or Lewy Body Dementia. You the gentle reader should care about that for a couple of reasons, the first being since it does scramble my marbles, I am apologizing in advance for what may seem like stupid errors. I do my best but its a tough dragon to slay…secondly everyone with any form of dementia has what is called the MCI or Mild Cognitive Impairment period. What this actually is is the period between when you find out you have it and the day you reach potted plant status. In between is a linear progression. And, all things being equal, I know I have only so-much time left to be “me”; I am racing a calendar-shaped clock as it were. Anyhow I feel urgency to get this stuff out where it might do someone some good so here I am.
I have posted everything I have figured out on my blog but it is so obscure the odds of anyone finding it let alone having the grow gene to begin with are pretty astronomical so I decided to post the project here instead. I hope this helps someone and I hope someone gets some ideas from it and takes it further, the rest of the way, and thats kind of the point of all of this:
The technique used here in this project is one that I have been developing over a number of crops and even though as of last crop it has reached its original project goals, I know in my heart that this is not the finish line, that someone could take this, do a crop or so to get the hang of it, and then take it the rest of the way. It works well enough now that I have converted my entire grow/crop to this, thats 8 Hempy buckets split between 2 6x8x4 grow tents. It still feels like its unfinished though which is the last driving reason for posting it here, so it could not only help anyone get more out of an indoor grow but like I said, someone else will see it and where it could go. With that, on with the show.
The Trellis Project
To catch you up: The Trellis Project actually began life many grows ago. As posted elsewhere, growing outside in the desert near Las Vegas is just impossible to do and get much out of it. The sun is just too unrelenting. This bummed me out because after I became disabled but before I discovered that I had an expiration date, we were SO seriously planning on moving to Oregon to spend our years, one key reason being I had shown a knack for growing and we both wanted to see what I could do with a perfect outdoor environment like Oregon. Well once the diagnosis came the moving to Oregon was lost and since growing here was nuts (see: Growing in the Desert or Jeffs Desert Challenge for details) I turned what was left of my brain to figuring out how to get some of the benefits of outdoor grows indoors in a common tent.
So my initial goals were:
- Increase the max yield possible per-plant under indoor conditions.
- The method selected to do this was to find a way to let a plant grow as much and far as it naturally felt like it should, exactly how it would happen outside. Thus more plant == more yield.
- Increase the overall quality of every bud. In every grow I have ever done, there are layers of bud quality on every plant, starting at the top colas, then the good bud, still big but not colas, then good to medium “middies” and as you head down below the canopy, the crap air buds only useful for making wax. Thus this goal was to push ALL buds into the top two tiers of bud quality, leaving as little “waste” as possible.
To sum I was looking for a way to make all buds act like or think they are tops while somehow guiding w/o controlling (aka stressing) the growth pattern so I could let a plant grow as much as it naturally was meant to without ending with a jungle-like affair with plants all in the lights, etc. I had fooled with everything from LST to SCRoG and everything had drawbacks, failed to meet my goals or took too much work and thats always my final arbiter: my dementia is making me dumber by the day and so I have GOT to have simple solutions to things. What I mostly understand today I will barely understand in 3 months and not at all in 6.
Version 1.0: the tomato plant trellis planter. This was essentially a 10 gallon soil planter with a drain area in the bottom and a cheap plastic trellis about 3 foot long on three sides. In this instance I planted my plants as usual, in this case I did two in the planter since it had room. The strain was Black Diesel I had for the occasion. Anyhow I stuck a neutral soilmix of 75/25 coco coir and perlite. Keeping this neutral so I could totally control the pH, nutrients and everything. Then when the plants were vegged and ready for bloom, I carefully tied them down, arranging each limb so every budsite would get the same light and air as everyone else. In short, I mostly flattened the plants. In that version the extra stuff growing out the front got their own mini-trellis. I was figuring this out as I went.
Once tied down and the lights and feed changed to bloom (Advanced Nutrients Grow, Micro and Bloom), I took the whole thing, planter trellis everything and tipped it 45 degrees back and hung the back with light-hangers and stuck soup cans in front to prop it up at the appropriate angle. This had the effect of instantly giving me almost two more feet of space for the plant to grow before it hit lights, etc.
Long story short, Operation: Black Diesel resulted in some fantastic surprises, like having “tops” everywhere on the plant, having lower branches actually making larger colas than the top-most branches, branches that would do air bud at most. And it taught me some lessons to evolve the idea more for…
Version 2.0: The updated trellis rig that required no tipping (so less space is used) and this can be used with any style growing. In this case I made individual trellis rigs for each plant from PVC for frames and chicken wire stretched across them. In this test I grew pairs of plant strains like two CB Diesels, two Tahoe Cures, two White Widows, etc. One of each was grown in a standard Christmas tree fashion and the companion was strapped into a trellis as bloom time. All got same nutrients, lights etc. End result of this one was in every case the trellised version of each plant out-yielded to the normal version by at at least 50% and sometimes 100% and in one case, one trellised plant grew to be 7 feet tall or long from base of plant coming out of the soilmix to the end of the longest branch with a cola. This one plant yielded more dried usable bud than every other normally grown plant combined. Some cool things I noticed on this one were that I actually had branches with buds that started at the bottom of the plant, like just above the dirt and the branches were actually the longest branches on the plant, taller than the top of the plant itself! Other interesting side note was that this trick utilized tiny thin branches that would normally hold nothing more than air bud if we don’t prune them entirely. In this case, these spidery thin branches yielded really big solid dense buds, too big for them to normally support, yet when allowed to grow as much and where it wanted to, each of these blasted out great buds. Things like this added to hitting the goal of doubling the yield. Anyhow see Operation: Black Diesel for details of all this.
<= this is a video update I made for my mentor who is also following the status of this project…
Version 3.0: The final evolution of my grow room. After the last harvest and converting it all to RSO, we had a house/growers meeting. OK my wife and I sat down and compared notes. She is working hard to learn the whole grow thing so she can keep it up once I have become a houseplant. Anyhow after doing the harvest, trimming the buds and finally weighing up results, she said there is no comparison and we should never grow the old traditional way again. So since the two stuyles coexisting in the same tent can be awkward, after last harvest and reset I redesigned my whole tent layout to utilize the trellis rigs. To do so I created trellis rigs for each tent “end” (so about 3x4 foot) and either one larger or two medium rigs for one of the long walls. End result is I have these rigs on three of four walls inside. I have relocated the usual tray of tools, nutrients etc from one end of the tend to the spare, unused long wall. Finally I tied light offsets to the backs of the trellis rigs, holding them off the wall of the tent at about…a 45% angle. I have started 8 3.5 gallon Hempy buckets with my soilmix of coco coir and Perlite, though I ran out of Perlite at one point and used spare hydroton in its place. Anyhow with this setup I knew the plants will all basically grow flat and so this new design will (and does) yield more and better airflow in the room plus it keeps every part of every plant easily accessible.
Editors Note: I apologize for the porn music in the videos here and there; blame it on the corona virus pandemic. No really I usually use better more appropriate music for my vids (read: commerical) and YouTube lets me post because I don’t monetize it and I get a rap on the digital knuckles. However since the pandemic stared they are on skeleton staff and anything I add to my channel with even 10 seconds of something it is gets not just a warning but autmatically black listed so I have to go to YouTube Court to appeal my conviction. So I quickly soted out some royalty free stuff to use and thats how we got to the porn music…some of it was actually not bad and really worked when/where I used them. And then there was the rest like this stuff…sigh…
We are now about a week away from flipping these from veg to bloom and thats when we also bring the trellis rigs into play. We first anchor the bottom of the trellis to the pot (top is hinged), then we anchor all of the major limbs to the chicken wire, essentially flattening the plant. Finally we shine Mars Hydro 600w LED grow lights directly onto the trellis for maximum bud development. To show how this all works we started a new crop of Citrus Sap (mutants) and as of this grow, all plants will be trellised. I figured to take one video per week to show how the plants take to the trellis rigs and how the plants develop this way. Right now we are still more or less normal for this point in the veg cycle; nothing special yet. Here is a video for week one…
Update: 26 APR 2020: At long last I have the plants “trellised” or tied down, mostly how they will remain until harvest. Oh sure little adjustments here and there but for the most part, its done. Now its just feed them and watch the blinking lights. Here is a video I did just to show this intermediate stage right after trellising. The plants ALWAYS look like they lost a fist-fight right afterwards; now the thing is they will grow into this new arrangement, resulting in the so-excellent “Wall O Bud” this technique tends to produce over the next four weeks. For now, enjoy the video and remember to refer back to it in a month when things get so amazing…
This pretty much catches you up to about three days ago (today is 28 APR 2020). The plants are tied down as they will remain for life. They are about 2+ weeks into flower but given the stress they all took I have seen things stagnate as long as two weeks before flowering kicks up again. From now thru end of stretch they will basically grow to make the most of the new shape they have been forced into. Laid out like this my 3 Mars Hydro 600w LED lights can be aimed very precisely at each trellis rig, using a standard light hanger for height adjustment and I use pairs of those plant yoyo hangers to precisely aim them at each trellised plant:
This is where things stand as of today. Shall add to this as time permits and events unfold…