Indoor Grow in Northern California

In warmer climates, some marijuana growers prefer to grow indoors. Indoor marijuana cultivation allows a grower to control different factors for plant growth: light, water, heat, humidity, nutrients, and even airflow. It may be tricky but once all these factors are managed, you end up with more potent crops in a shorter amount of time.

Indoor Grow in Northern California

The amount of control provided by an indoor grow gives growers the opportunity to decide when to bring about flowering, and to manipulate the crop’s grow speed and size.

Growing indoors provide growers the flexibility to work with multiple plants even at different stages of growth. This set-up allows a “rolling” or perpetual harvest wherein a certain number of plants are placed into and removed from the flowering area every now and then.

Finally, the biggest advantage of having an indoor grow with multiple set-ups for rolling plants is the ability to keep a mother plant and make clones from that.

This grow journal features an indoor grow done by a person who used to grow outdoors in Northern California.

Grower: Budlite
Location: Northern California, USA
Yield: 8 ounces (total)

January 17th

The start of this grow journal is marked by the fabrication of an indoor grow tent framed with PVC pipe and walls made from cardboard. The tent width is larger than 4-feet long fluorescent fixtures, and about 3 feet deep, 7 feet tall.

To help reflect light, the walls are painted white and a tarp with reflective color serves as the front “door.” The roof is plywood with a couple of lumber cross beams for support. The inner roof is installed with hooks and chains to support lights.

The plants will grow in 5-gallon buckets with soil mixture of Summerwinds organic potting soil, worm castings, lime, perlite, sand, and peat moss.

For lighting, this grow will use the Sun Systems 315W LEC (Philips bulb) and some fluorescent fixtures with grow spectrum bulbs. When the grow tent is closed, the 315W light keeps the temperature around 75 degrees F. For now, this setup will have to make do with an interior fan which isn’t ducting air outside or filtering.

The current run aims to grow two each of Blue Dream, Northern Lights, and Jack Herer with the additional goal of cloning each strain.

To start, the seeds were germinated for 24 hours then moved to damp soil in 4-inch pots, under fluorescent lights at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

So far, 2 Blue Dream seedlings and 1 Northern lights sprouted. No Jack Herer so far.

A 3-way oil probe monitors moisture, pH, and light. The pH currently reads between 6.0 and 7.0.

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    February 8th

    The girls were transplanted to 5-gallon buckets. Only 3 plants sprouted.

    February 22nd

    The three plants were topped at 5 weeks old.

    February 23rd

    The SCROG screen was installed. The screen is a concrete reinforcement screen with 6-inch openings. This is what is traditionally used for a tomato trellis, which allows plenty of space to manipulate the plants through the screen.

    These ladies will undergo training to spread and fill the screen.

    After using a digital pH pen, the Northern Lights’ pot produced pH readings of 5.4. Here’s a photo of the problematic Northern Lights.

    March 8th

    At 6 weeks, the 2 Blue Dream and 1 Northern Lights are at SCROG screen height.

    The girls are being trained to wire screen.

    Now that the plants are wiring into SCROG, the plants can no longer be removed so they were taken out earlier for a heavy watering to clean the buckets. From now on, all the runoff will be removed from the saucers with a turkey baster and big sponge.

    These ladies still aren’t getting any nutrients, except the yellow Northern Lights got some Ironite minerals and a little organic fertilizer. Runoff pH is in the low 6’s. The lights are still on 18/6 cycle.

    March 12th

    The plants are undergoing training by being pushed under the screen, using some wire for support. The three plants are growing fast and they should spread the screen in a week or two. They’d start flowering around the 1st of April and harvest should take place in 10 weeks around the middle of June.

    March 25th

    8 clones were taken from the plants

    April 1st

    After vegging for 9 weeks, the lights were flipped to the 12/12 light cycle. These are 3 plants over a SCROG in a 3 x 4 tent. The sprouts will be tucked under the screen and the lowers leaves were trimmed off. They’re growing in organic soil and will be fed from now on with flowering nutrients.

    April 23rd

    The ladies were growing too fast and after only a couple of days, they grew 8 inches into the light. The result? Burnt buds! A total of 3 top buds were lost but the lower buds are good.

    They’re still in early flowering. The main light had to be raised about 16 inches and the taller stalks had to be tied away from the main light. 2 fluorescent side lights were added and fan leaves were trimmed to allow light to penetrate through the lower growth.

    May 20th

    Some mistakes were made over the past month. After NOT checking the pH consistently, the top flowers seem to be drying out. Despite watering, they didn’t improve for a couple of days. The pH in the runoff continues to be low (around 4.3 to 5.3) for all three plants.

    The next mistake was adding too much pH Up: 1/2 liter with water and half cup pH Up for each plant in 5 gallon buckets. The pH did go up but now the upper leaves are turning brown from pH burn.

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      Different pH experiments yielded the following results:

      • Bucket with 1 gallon of tap water = pH 7.8
      • Added one cap-full of CalMag = pH 6.3
      • Added on cap-full of General Organics Blom Nutrients = pH 5.7
      • Added 2 caps-full of pH Up = pH 7.0
      • The bottled General Hydroponics pH Up = pH 12.0

      July 12th

      The plant was finally harvested to produce 4 ounces of Northern Lights and 4 ounces of Blue Dream plus another couple ounces of shake. The clones are doing well in a separate outdoor grow and are currently in veg.

      The milestones achieved and the timeline for this grow are as follows:

      • January 13th – Received seeds
      • January 15th – Started germination
      • February 8th – Transplanted to 5-gallon buckets
      • February 22nd – Topped plants
      • February 23rd – Installed SCROG screen
      • March 25th – Cut 8 clones
      • March 31st – Started flowering cycle
      • July 28th – Harvested the plants at 15 weeks old with pH nutrient lockout

      Grower: Budlite
      Location: Northern California, USA
      Yield: 8 ounces (total)

      The biggest lessons in this grow are to watch your pH and to adjust pH in a watering bucket and add nutrients carefully.

      How do you handle your pH problems?

      Happy growing!

      Avatar for Bob ILGM

      Bob ILGM

      Writer, Grower at I Love Growing Marijuana

      Bob knows a thing or two about growing at home. He's not as experienced as Robert, but he has a knack for keeping his gardens incognito. Bob also loves writing about how other people grow their crops and has extensive knowledge on anything you might need to have a successful grow in your own home.... [Read full bio]


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