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The Trellis Project

trellisprj
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…

Peace
jeff

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Thank you for sharing my friend!! The idea is interesting, I will have to see how that works for me I think it could work well, it’s close to a few styles of training with side lighting I have used . always happy to try new things!! Tks so much for sharing your precious time with us :wink: you are a special person to care.

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Cheers; frankly I already know it will work, or am at least 95% certain it will. Each individual trellis rig grow in the past has turned out exactly as expected or better. This is simply the next step in the evolution of the grow room to accommodate this method. I already know it will look cool because it did last time:

That was one plant. This time around that will be on three of four walls of each tent. Yet for all it looks big, each plant is actually quite flat…

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Not sure if this is the proper way to “grow” the journal here but figured if anything changed about it, I should post so…ok.

I am always experimenting, testing this and that, etc. Last grow I did one plant per pot with the trellis and you can see it went bat-shit crazy. So me being me this time I gave them 2-3 plants per pot (something I know works with these strains and this pot/hempy bucket from normal growing, a NONO I know I will do penance when I die I am certain) and BIGGER trellis rigs to see what would happen…and based on last time, I figured 1800 watts of the best light I can get would be enough because it was enough last time…well these are taking off now and I realized I had a ton more plant area to cover this time than last and so added in some more light, Philcon (something like that) 600w switchable LED Bloom/Veg (300w veg, 300 bloom). These I wired up near the ceiling of the tent to get as much spread as I could (LED has that one stinking flaw) but also to try and capitalize on the reflective nature of the tents and the new Mars lights themselves which are basically one big reflector on all sides.

This is how they came out:

Now one thing I feel the need to add to this. I am self-taught, I am crazy (dementia) so take all this with a pitchers mound of salt: The purple light in the pictures are the LEAST purple lights I have outside the new Mars units which are golden yellow. I switched over to this color band when I had a bad taco leaf problem that defied typical explanation. Lost much of a few crops to it, never knew why and then much later I had a new crop going, started to see a little taco leafing start and going SHIT…but as luck would have it, that was also the same week I got the first Mars unit with the yellow light and I hung it. Few days later, the taco-leafing under the Mars light was GONE and the leaves looked freaking vibrant! So to prove things I took my best plant many weeks into veg so 2-3 foot at least and bushy as hell. This plant I hung a normal LED grow light (purple) on one side and the Mars yellow on the other side. Week later, the evidence was undeniable: the half with the Mars light looked fantastic, deep green fan leaves, everything just looked picture perfect and the purple side looked like I needed to loan it bail money or something, just ass-kicked to hell.

That was that, haven’t had a purple light in my tents since and only pulled these out because my 80 buck Mars lights are now 125 from the same source due to the f-cking pandemic…

I wrote up a page for my single reader on the subject and I think I did a short video on YouTube to try to show the problem…I know I made it for my mentor as a “report” so its kinda informal so.l…

Thus, even this is too much purple for me but we all have to make do in the pandemic, am I right?

So the plants are settling into the trellis rigs, shoots are starting to weave in and out of the chicken-wire, self-adhering to the trellis and as-expected, future “tops” from all over the plants are starting to grow/aim at the center of the room, the intended target withe the Mars lights blasting directly in that direction…

Time for meds. Until next time

KTFB

Hey one last thing from the stupid human tricks dept: this is a slightly odd grow setup so I tried to take one of those photospheres of the grow room. It was hard with tremors but you can mostly see in 3D-ish what the two tents look like and the plants inside them…

Dumb photosphere experiment of this grow room today

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Hey one more sort of supporting fact about this. My claims about getting rid of air bud, the crappy lower branch stuff you turn to wax or whatever, if you don’t prune them out entirely. The trellis trick takes those normally crappy lower buds and makes them the most they can genetically be. I have seen this alot and to try an support my claims, I raised two White Widow plants from seed. Yes I know genetic variation can happen here but I figured to best prove my case, better not use my other strains which are freak mutant seeds that grow pretty randomly. WW was purchased from a vendor in Canada.

Anyhow I raised two WW plants, same lights, feed, medium, pots (hempy), the only difference was one was trellised and the other grown normally. Come harvest time I took two buds from the “bottom” of each and the difference is unmistakable: dense, rounder, bigger, just plain better. Best of all, you NEVER see something like on the right, growing on a trellis rig.

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Awesome detailed post @lbdwarrior. Love your proven concept and I believe in it. Hoping to trellis more of my outdoor plants next season to give them weight. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to doing this myself.

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Cheers and I hope it brings you the good fortune it has and continues to do for us (wife/caregiver and I/lumpybrained patient). Now I will state this for anyone who wants to try it: I know for fact this isn’t in a book or something so basically if you are taking a chance on it, the least I can do is make sure to tech support it best I can. And PLEASE ask questions no matter how small, I have been fooling with this for years really and since growing is such an isolated thing I am just not used to what folks know and don’t know so I may not think to volunteer something…my one student has adopted this method and its already helping him but one data point isn’t proof, I get that. And no matter how cool it is to me, no matter how productive I am with it, at the end of the day this is not for everyone, plus I have only explored these few avenues…and here is the big thing for me. I have only been growing since 2014, first harvest 2015. I tell you that so you and everyone gets it, I don’t have some monopoly of knowledge or info, I have had some lucky breaks combined with some deductive reasoning…but heavy on that first part. Thing is most folks here have more experience than I ever will get and thats great because when I am growing like this, I see things I go damn I wish someone with experience could see this and explain it to me. Not like problems, I am still OK with that; more like seeing a feature in the plant or method but anymore I don’;t have it in me to properly explore it and only one with experience will see these things for what they are and really make something of them. I see lots of interesting things here I wish others could see too, just so the info isn’t lost if nothing else.

So helping folks now with this is like an investment for me and once you know me you will know I am first and foremost the puzzle solver, really OCD that way. Hay, made me weird, didn’t get to go the the right parties but it paid the F out of the bills at the right time and the “education” cost me nothing. Whoa got off track, sorry, dementia sucks. Just saying if I seem to be really pushing the help, it is because I know this works so I know if ppl try it, the odds go up they will see what I have seen and the first time someone posts and says wow I saw X happen, I will be a very happy nut job.

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That was alot of reading to do LoL… I like you alot man you kick ass… Keep sharing bro… Have you thought about starting a current grow journal on GN?

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Err…this is current right now, see above parts are date stamped today I think. I just updated the lights and stuff today so each tent has ~ 2400w (LED). This is current though, you see it as I see it. I just had to include the older grows to kinda explain the evolution of this one, otherwise there would be a lot of Huh?, I mean when I had finally worked out the details and laid out the theory for my grow mentor, he blurted out that I/it was insane and he doesn’t use words like that lightly…so even though I have little experience with other grows (he is very stone-age dirt-in- bucket kinda guy) I had the sense this might be really weird to some folks. Thus if they understood the thinking that lead to this, not only do they “get” why we are here but where they can take it next, the point of it all for me.

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I’m soil dirt whatever you want to call it but the hydro kills it too for sure… So many different ways and styles… That’s the beauty of all of it… Never stop learning never stop improving

LED is killing it In the game right now… Good stuff on upgrades :+1:

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FWIW, little background video but here is a video I made part way thru Version 2.0, just for fun. Yes I am a bluesman…

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Quick update to show how things are shaping up. The plants are fully trellised, in middle of stretch so in about 2-3 weeks of bloom and they are growing into their new trellis homes…

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That’s what I’m talking about brother!!!.. Keep that stuff coming… I said it once I’ll say it again… Genius!!!.. Never stop growing brother! Never stop

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So tell me: am I doing the journal thing right (as in right for this place)? Not sure and always had logistical issues on my own site when doing the grow journal thing…OK your words are kind but just so you and everyone knows I don’t take life too seriously…

wooffingwoof

This is Hiro the Magic Dog who helps me keep my shit together…

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Absolutely bro… I’m definitely following your journal… Life is too short to take seriously but since we are here let’s live the best we can in the moments we can

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This is as of this morning. The Wall O Bud is beginning to take shape. Having seen this before, this just might be the best show in Las Vegas…well right now anyways…no idea how this will turn out, its a pano shot that I am not sure how will look outside of the Google Photo environment

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Looks great! :star_struck:

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Hello @lbdwarrior I have been following your method and I love it! I will do a home grow inside this fall and plan on using your project as a guide. You are a gifted grower keep doing what you are doing! I am a fan and not afraid to try something new! Love ya for your work!

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Cheers Fifth, I hope it works out for you like it has for us. Thing is, I know the idea isn’t finished yet, not by a long shot, so its up to folks like you who try it, see things, fix things and most importantly, pass on what you learn to the next generation (read: crazy joker that tries it)…this to me is how stuff gets better, its at the heart of the Open Source Software movement as well…as for me, I have no more years in that than most I just did alot in this direction in those years. I used my house as a cannabis growing and processing laboratory. Great fun when the Mrs. is on-board with it…

At the end of the day I want to pass on what I have figured out and learn what I can from you (collectively). And like Karate (for example), you might think you are good but the truth is there is always someone out there that is better, so life has forced a certain humility on my grow efforts…

As for you trying, please let me know if you have ANY questions, want to answer them while I can…

peace
jeff

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Thanks Jeff people like me,just learning, are so grateful for your knowledge and willingness to share and teach. That goes for everyone on GH!
Jeff if you can you take a picture or 2 from the side so I can see the back of plants and trellis. Tks
Just keep this updated as much as you can. I have videos to catch up on. What name are you on YouTube? I will also look again from the beginning of this thread.
On another note I took care of my mom and mother in law and both had Dementia. They both lived with us at the same time. Lol talk about a circus at times! The thing is the circus was funny not mean or cruel. They had great attitudes and anything they did or said was funny. Not what most expect. My advice to you is to find someone with a great personality to take care of you when the time comes. I wish you the best!

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