Ask Stoney

22 Mar 2021

Hello Stoney,

Due to the cold wind outside, I am having trouble keeping my humidity low during the flower stage, and am worried I will lose the crop. What should I do?

Bjorn - Oslo, Norway

There is no need to be worried about losing the crop, as there are ways to maintain a consistent environment in your grow room. If you don’t treat the problem you may be subject to a powdery mildew infection or worse Botrytis. I would strongly advise buying a heater and connecting it to a temperature fan controller that will kick in when the sensor in the room hits below the comfort zone. You should aim to keep the temperatures as close to 24 degrees as possible, making sure that you have a strong current of air being circulated from multiple oscillating fans at once.

Dear Stoney,

I have used chemical nutrients and the leaves have become dry, and curled downwards like a claw. All of the plants in the tent are doing the same thing. Is it the nutrient I am using?

Barry - South London, U.K

This sounds like Nitrogen toxicity and can easily be resolved by feeding only plain, pH corrected water. The fingers of the bigger and oldest fan leaves will have curled inwards and taken on an unhealthy downwards claw formation. These leaves cannot be saved and it may be beneficial to remove these for the sake of letting more light into the lower parts of the plants. After a week or so the plants will grow back healthy and then you can begin to feed a nutrient solution. I would recommend using a slow-release form of Nitrogen that the roots can buffer easily such as fresh worm castings applied as a top layer.

Dear Stoney Tark…

Is it better to have lots of smaller plants or one big girl? Much Love.

Natalie – Marseille, France

There are many variables that can affect the decision making when it comes to a floor plan. Growing multiple small plants together like a Sea of Green means the growing period is cut short to 10 days maximum, there is no need for training such as L.S.T, pruning or topping. You are also able to rotate your crop every 7-9 weeks depending on cultivar and the final plant height when harvesting will be medium height.

Growing one large plant on the other hand requires a longer growing phase, to allow the roots to really establish themselves and produce a top-heavy canopy that will produce the same amount of dried flower, as if growing in a Sea of Green. Growing large sized plants demands much more hands-on training and gives the grower the opportunity to manipulate the canopy as they wish, or even using a screen. The downsides to growing one large plant is the growing phase must be at least 6 weeks, more nutrients and space are required. If you are conscious of high electricity bills, then Sea of Green growing is the best in my opinion with the quickest return on investment possible. 

Hello Mr. Tark,

I read that some people flush their plants for 21 days. Which is better to flush for 14 or 21 days before harvest.

Marco – Amsterdam, Holland

There is no right or wrong answer here, but more down to how the plant is being grown. The main goal of a successful flush is to wash away any dissolved salts that have built up over the plant’s life cycle, then to allow the remaining internal nutrients to be fully utilised. Depending on your feeding regime, this process can take from 10 to 21 days before the plants reveal a full fade and begin to reveal multicoloured pigments in the leaf tissue. Oftentimes the most enjoyable part of the flowering period for many growers. 

A few ways to tell if your plants are ready for harvest is to inspect the trichomes, and see how mature the trichomes have become. A milkier silver trichome will indicate the plants are ready for harvest, unless you prefer to leave them until the trichomes have an amber hue to them. Another is to see how stacked and swollen the calyx have become and try not to pay too much attention to the ratio of brown to white pistils, as this can often be misleading. 

[caption id="attachment_40524" align="alignnone" width="1920"]ask-stoney A healthy fan leaf without any signs of toxicity or deficiency[/caption]

Dear Stoney,

I decided to start growing from home since reading Soft Secrets, and want to ask which are better…regular or feminized seeds?

Mauro – Naples, Italy

Congratulations on beginning your career as a grower, and to answer your question the best way to look at this is down to practicality. Regular seeds will often times be cheaper than the feminized version, and will offer 10 regular seeds for the price of 5 female. You will be required to sex the plants and separate the male and females once flowering begins. If you want to try making your own seeds, then you can find a good use for the male. Feminized seeds on the other hand will guarantee all the plants produce buds and the concern of removing male plants is eliminated. Female seeds mean you can maximise your grow space without the risk of wasted pots, soil, nutrients and space. My personal tip would be growing with feminized seeds and later when you are more experienced and conscious of phenotypes, mother plants or breeding, then pursue regular seeds.

Dear Stoney Tark,

I need your help please with how tall my plants grow when flowering. My last grow they stretched so much I had to cut the tops off because they became burnt. I am growing Amnesia Haze in 10L pots. Thanks

Josh – Nottingham, U.K

There are a number of factors that will play a role in the final plant height and how aggressively they stretch when flowered. Amnesia Haze will grow tall and display a sativa dominance, meaning she can grow very tall if left untrained. Other factors such as the pots are too small and as a result a stretching far more than they need or the distance and intensity of the grow lights is not where it should be. My recommendation is to apply low stress training and gently tie the tops of the plant down week prior to changing your timers to 12/12. This should dramatically reduce the final stretch and allow you to have a 60cm deep top canopy of dense nugs. Hot or cold temperatures can also cause internodal spacing to become excessive, so be vigilant with your daytime and night time temperatures.

Dear Stoney,

how can I grow the biggest organic buds possible?

Mikael – Prague, Czech Republic

I love to use beneficial microorganisms when growing organically, as these little helpers can really help increase yields. Combined with humic acids and molasses, it is possible to really pack on the pounds during the final stages of flowering. Avoid using high powered chemical boosters as these will only cause the final taste to become harsh and unpleasant. If you are able to supplement your indoor garden with CO2, this can also increase yields by up to 25%. My tip would be don’t focus on yield so much and focus on terpenes and harvesting your buds at the right times based on trichome maturity and also how swollen the calyx are.

Hi Stoney,

what strain would you recommend for growing outdoors this year in England? My last few outdoor grows were very disappointing and yielded almost nothing.

Nigel – Bristol, UK

It is best to find a strain that will adapt to the colder and harsher climate you experience in the U.K. Indica dominant cultivars with a fast-flowering time of 7-8 weeks, will usually stand up to the colder conditions thanks to their high resilience to the outdoors. Alternately you could try growing feminized auto flowering strains. The beauty about autos is they are extremely versatile and I have personally witnessed very impressive yields and bud quality from autos grown in England during Summer. My tip would be to avoid anything that demands more than 8 weeks to flower, as you may end up with plants that are not compact and produce very little when it comes to ripening up and stacking. You could always plant a greenhouse full of autos and have a normal flowering variety alongside, ensuring you will harvest twice in the year in close proximity.

Dear Stoney,

is there a correct way to install aluminium ducting? Cheers

Alistair – Stirling, Scotland

On the basis that your ducting is tightly fit over the end of the R.V.K fan, or carbon filter, and that the fitting is totally air tight and firm enough to be snag proof, then you are fine. Using metal clips, or plastic cable ties work just as well as heavy duty tape. I would recommend making sure that your ducting hangs in a straight horizonal line and does not droop between the outtake fan and carbon filter. I would also suggest to have a look at acoustic ducting, which is basically aluminium ducting with a sound absorbent inline, as a result causing a reduction in noise from the passing air being created by the outtake fan. Acoustic ducting can be 3-4 times more expensive, however is well worth the investment if noise is a concern and is it your first time setting up your indoor garden.

Do you have a grow related question for Stoney? Email readers@softsecrets.nl