Hydro-ganics: A Helping Hans

H/G AfBerry BlueRider at 7 weeks budding

This article appears in Volume 4 – Issue 4 of SKUNK Magazine.

BACK IN MAY OF 2007 when I attended the Vancouver Indoor Hydroponics Show, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman named Steve with a neat, new, money-saving product called Cube Caps. In fact, I met his whole family and they gave me a whole box of Cube Caps to try out. Soon after the show, I read an interesting article by Hans in SKUNK Magazine volume 3 issue 4.

In the article, Hans split containers into two halves, with plain perlite on one side and regular soilless mix on the other. He claimed that by feeding the perlite side with plain water, he was able to heavily fertilize the other side with up to twice the strength of organic nutrient solution, without burning or over fertilizing the plant, because of the availability of plain water on the perlite side. The thought intrigued me; I mulled it over for a few days.

I (mostly) use common sense in everything I do and when I discover an interesting theory that seems logical, I like to try it for myself and share my experiences for others to enjoy. I also like to try to combine theories and new products. So, in this experiment, I tried out Hans’ theory and a brand-new patent-pending hydroponics device. It just makes sense to save a few cents, while making some sweet scents—I like to double down. On with the sense…

I vegged a clone of my Afghani Bullrider Sweet 16 in a standard, 1.5” rockwool cube for a few weeks, then transplanted it into a 4” rockwool cube covered with a Cube Cap. The baby plant was fully rooted when it was transplanted into a separated, two-gallon container filled with perlite on one side and ProMix on the other (I made a simple template from plain paper, then cut that shape out from a piece of plastic that I then fitted and hot-glued into the center of a regular, plastic two-gallon bucket, effectively separating the bucket into two halves).

After two more weeks of vegging time to establish roots down into the two substrates and when the plant was about 2’ tall, it went into the bud room for eight solid weeks. I watered the perlite side with plain R.O. (reverse osmosis) water daily and heavily. I heavily fertilized the ProMix side every time it was dry (5.5 pH @ 2000 ppm).

The plant was very healthy the whole time and never showed any signs of over-fertilization, or stress of any kind. She grew wonderfully uniform green leaves, with tight buds and tight internodes. It was just dripping with trichomes! Harvesting and drying was usual, but the taste was noticeably cleaner and more complex, with no flushing whatsoever. I did stop fertilizing in Week Six, like usual, but to me the real surprise was that the roots weren’t even close to being root-bound. Post-harvest dissection showed healthy, thick, white water roots formed in the perlite side, with a fluffy network of thin soil roots formed on the ProMix side. Literally 90% of the mediums were recycled. The roots would have filled the relatively small bucket had the container been filled with ProMix only. This means that I could use a smaller container to get the same results, or grow bigger plants in two-gallon buckets, which means lower overhead and less waste.

I was very impressed with my results and would like to thank Hans for the Hydro-Ganic inspiration and Steve for the Cube Caps. This experiment was a complete success! We’re all in this together; when we share a technique or product that works, we all win. Thanks again, Hans & Steve. I love it when a pot plant comes together…

And my special thanks goes out to Cube Caps for a perfect new hydroponics invention that completely inhibits green algae, brown mildew, grey mold and fruit flies, without chemicals. Cube Caps simply cover the top of any rockwool cube, blocking direct light, providing ventilation and preventing mold/gnats, all at the same time.

Exciting news; they are now available in all sizes and a brand-new optional watering tab makes them even more efficient and convenient to use. Cube Caps are breathable and totally reusable; they’re unmatched in conserving precious water/ nutrients, thus reducing overhead costs. This project lasted a full 14 weeks, with no mold whatsoever. No mold, no fruit flies, no problems! Molds that grow on rockwool will compete for resources with the plant’s roots. This will diminish the nutritional balance of the plant and diminish harvest. Eliminating the competition produces exponentially healthier plants; healthy plants produce healthy buds, period. Cube Caps rock. Definitely Jef Tek Approved and a must-have for any serious hydroponics setup.


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