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ScrOG blOG™ — hydroponics

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Changing nutrients under a DWC ScrOG

Changing nutrients under a DWC ScrOG 1

ScrOGging with Deep Water Culture (DWC) presents unique challenges compared to other methods of growing under a ScrOG. The biggest issue DWC growers struggle with is topping off and changing out nutrients (nutes). However, DWC growers can enjoy all the benefits of ScrOG without ever removing the net pot, disturbing the plant, ScrOG or root zone with this simple method. 

2 x 5 gal DWC individual ScrOG
2 x 5 gal individual portable DWC ScrOG using P SCROG Primary Kits

2 x 5 gal DWC framed and fixed 2x4 ScrOG
2 x 5 gal DWC under framed and fixed P SCROG 2x4 Kit

Like anything else, there may be many solutions to this issue. One solution you may find quite useful involves exchanging nutes with a pump and topping off between changes with a watering can.

Nutes can be changed using a common small utility pump found at most hardware stores.

UTILITY PUMP 

AmazonHome Depot, Lowes

It is best to prepare your buckets at the beginning of the grow. Drill a hole in your net pots big enough to receive the end of a garden hose and buy rubber stoppers to plug holes when not in use.

Netpots with rubber stoppers

Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes

The pump utilizes common garden hoses to transfer liquids. In the case of DWC, the nutes are sucked into the pump and pushed out the other end. The flow is unidirectional so the gardener uses the pump's input to suck old nutes out. Then the pump's output hose is used to push old nutes into an empty "old nutes" bucket. Old nutes can be used on outdoor plants, don't throw them away!

The pump's hoses are reversed to add new nutrients to your grow's DWC buckets. Then the pump's input hose is used to push fresh nutes into your grow's buckets.

Pumping nutes

IMPORTANT!

DWC reservoirs of healthy cannabis plants are full of robust and abundant root systems that will burn out your pump if sucked into the intake side. This is easily addressed with "hose filters" found at hardware stores. Some pumps come with filters.

The filter should be placed in the end of the hose that goes into the reservoir, not the end that screws onto the pump. This placement makes it easier to clear any accumulated debris during pumping.

 Hose filters

Hose Filters
Amazon. Home Depot, Lowes

Root debris will accumulate in filters during the process and should be kept clean to avoid blockage and burning out the pump.

In between exchanges, nutes can easily be topped off using a common watering can through the same holes.

Watering can

 

Note

Reservoirs and root zones can be kept clean through use of H2O2 after each nute exchange and/or through the use of Hydroguard.

 

If you have another solution you would like to share, please reply to this ScrOG blOG.

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Maximum Yield - SCROGGER Profile 0

 

SCROGGER Staff

Margo and Gary Mermelstein hadn’t planned to get into the hydroponics industry, but they also didn’t hesitate to jump right in when their opportunity arose.

It all started when Gary offered to help solve the issues a friend was having with a DIY screen of green (ScrOG) set-up. Not only was this friend having trouble reaching all of his plants to do the low-stress training necessary for ScrOG, but his friend had “virtually destroyed” the whole set-up trying to solve a problem with one plant.

So, Gary scrapped the bamboo and trellis netting his friend was using and designed an accessible and versatile alternative out of clear polycarbonate. It didn’t take him long after that to recognize that this new design had the potential to fill a niche in the hydroponics market.

“Many want to ScrOG in a more-convenient, less-time-consuming and more effective way,” Gary says. “All of our products provide tremendous convenience to the grower who desires to use plant training techniques.”

Gary’s design, which is now sold as the P SCROG Primary and the P SCROG Pro, consists of one or two growing screens attached to a base by four supporting rods. The system’s base can accommodate 250 pounds and is wide enough for any container measuring between 10 and 22 inches. The whole thing sits on casters, which is a major selling feature. “Customers are enthusiastic about the benefit of being able to rotate the plant on the casters to trim, spray and care for their plants,” Gary says. “Some of our customers are disbled and can’t reach or lift as well as they used to, so being able to turn the plant is a huge advantage.”

Cannabis P ScrOGs

The screens on both P SCROG set-ups are also easily adjusted. Growers can raise or lower each by 12 inches, helping to force horizontal growth and to provide support for swelling buds. As mentioned above, the screens are made from polycarbonate—a tough, flexible material used in bullet-proof glass. “The flexural strength of this plastic is 13,500 PSI,” Margo says. “You should see the look on people’s faces when we flex the screen, they wince, expecting a snap; then they say ‘Wow!’”

 

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In addition to the screens being strong, they are reusable, have a UV inhibitor, are non-porous and are food-grade. They provide a clean, almost clinical look in the growroom and are washable. They can also withstand temperatures far greater than you’d ever experience in the growroom. When they finally do wear out, the screens are 100 per cent recyclable.

To be sure they were bringing a viable product to the masses, the Mermelsteins knew they had to research the market. They had prototypes made in September 2014 and toured hydroponics shops in Phoenix and Denver to gather input from potential customers. As they hoped, the response was incredibly positive. At that point, they were ready to go for it. After incorporating the company in June 2015, they produced CAD drawings, filed a patent for their design and invested in the tooling needed to make plastic injection molded parts. It took nine months of engineering, but it was worth the effort when the first SCROGGER products were sold in January 2016.

“Since we launched the P SCROG, the most common comments we hear were things like, ‘Brilliant,’ or ‘I see how it works, no need to explain,’ or ‘I could really use something like that that,’” shares Gary. Similarly, Margo says they have not had a single customer complaint about the quality or assembly of their products. “Our main components to the P SCROG—the screens, base and junction caps—are molded right here in the USA,” she says. “The system is very well constructed with high-quality materials.”

 

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Recently, the company expanded their lineup to include the P SCROG 4×4. This set-up is designed for growers with large, multiple plants using 4×4 or 4×8 trays and tables. These frames can be daisy chained together for large commercial applications.

In addition to their solid product line, great customer service has been one of the company’s strengths, with seven days a week support just a phone call or email away. “We are always happy to talk to shop owners and growers about the P SCROG,” says Gary.

Today, SCROGGER sells both on the web and in about a dozen hydroponic stores across the US, but they expect that number to grow rapidly. The company also works with a distributor in Canada and has its products in Australia. “We are adding more hydroponic stores every month,” says Margo.

While the Mermelsteins believe the hydroponic market is very different from their prior business experience, they feel the opportunities the industry presents are excellent, and they believe SCROGGER will play an important role in providing convenience and simplicity to growers everywhere.

*Original article published in Maximum Yield

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Tale of Two Widows

Tale of Two Widows 1

Long before SCROGGER ever sold its first P SCROG, a friend out west by the name of J. Washington was diligently doing trial grows with some prototypes we sent him. "J" catalogued a landmark grow in a 420Magazine grow journal called "Tale of Two Widows".

J is a long time lover of the White Widow strain and has had significant experience growing it hydroponically. However, in his 2015 grow he saw dramatic differences from what he had seen in the past.

Although the two White Widows came from the same batch of seeds, they grew and looked very different. 

The final product looked totally different and yielded different as can be seen below.

Click to enlarge

Read more about the "Tale of Two Widows" at 420Magazine... 

Click to enlarge

This is how WW 1 progressed through veg and flower. See the grow detailed side by side at "Tale of Two Widows" at 420Magazine...
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Best

Best "How to ScrOG" Guides 4

Sea of Green (SOG) vs Screen of Green (ScrOG)

A great deal of confusion exists regarding the difference between Sea of Green (SOG) vs Screen of Green (ScrOG) methods of growing cannabis. Before I present what I consider to be some of the better "How to ScrOG" Guides, allow me to briefly define the difference between SOG and ScrOG.

SOG - SOG is used to create "perpetual harvests". The method involves high plant counts per cu ft and short grow cycles. Clones are introduced to 12/12 flowering with little to no veg cycle. Trellis or other screen material may be used to support heavy colas but no plant training techniques are used. Many growers cannot use SOG due to local plant count limitations. 

Sea of Green (SOG), multiple plants


ScrOG - The ScrOG method involves lower plant counts, typically 1 plant per 2'x2' area. Veg periods vary, with longer veg periods resulting in canopies larger than 2'x2'. Screens are used to facilitate plant training which results in short bushy plants with virtually all target bud sites in the best lighting zone. ScrOG method is touted to produce 2 to 3 times the yield of traditional growing methods.

Screen of Green (ScrOG), single plant


There are a number of variations of the ScrOG method. We have scoured the internet and selected what we consider to be some of the better "How to Guides" below.


How to ScrOG like a pro
ScrOG Diagram
ScrOG in veg stage
BudsonBuds
Best ScrOG video ever
Argument for single plant ScrOG

The original Screen of Green (ScrOG) was invented and popularized by Wolf Segal of Portland, Oregon. Previously, underground growers (including Wolf) would use SOG (Sea of Green) to ensure perpetual harvests. SOG puts several plants under one screen. Wolf was arrested and jailed during operation "Green Merchant" in the 90s and gained the distinction of having the highest plant count in history. Wolf then came up with the concept of ScrOG to dramatically reduce plant counts and at the same time maintain high yields.
Growers who have embraced the concept of ScrOG have found far more benefits than just reducing plant counts.

Why do many growers prefer single plant ScrOGs?
  1. Ease of providing individual plant care - When 2 or more plants are placed under a single ScrOG net, those plants are typically treated the same out of necessity.  Growers have trouble getting to plants at the far reaches of the grow. All plants are treated the same despite their strain maturity level or health.
  2. Simple to move around if necessary - If you need to pull a plant from a grow for any reason, you need to cut the net and remove it, leaving remaining plants unsupported. 
  3. Improved light distribution - Growers can rotate, custom adjust heights, plants grow at different rates and mature a different rates.
  4. Easy to remove troubled plant from grow space, lowers risk of damage to remaining crop
  5. Easier to water and flush
  6. Allows gardener to harvest plants individually at precise maturity
  7. Eliminates crawling under nets/wire mesh
  8. Wheel chair / handicap accessibility
  9. Irrigation equipment accessibility
  10. Use over and over for years


P SCROG Techniques
P SCROG Techniques

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Optimizing Light

Optimizing Light 0

Plant training methods have been around for hundreds of years. In the 17th century, the French developed a technique called “espalier” which was used both for decorative and fruit production purposes.

Espalier trees

Espaliered Pear and Apple Trees
Espaliered Pear and Apple Trees (above)

 The most important advantage (of espalier) is that of being able to increase the growth of a branch by training it vertically. Later, one can decrease growth while increasing fruit production by training it horizontally.” 1  

Scrogging builds on the espalier technique to grow short, bushy horizontal plants allowing for maximum bud development. The main stem of the plant is forced to multiply by Topping.  Low Stress Training (LST) is accomplished by bending the branches of stems under the lower training screen resulting in more
bud development per branch.  Lollipopping all leaves of lower branches focuses the energy upward to bud development. A flat horizontal plane of buds, developing all in unison, can be placed in the optimal light intensity band at the same time.  No buds are stunted due to upper growth shading and all plant energy is focused solely on bud development.

                           
                   Optimal Light

Most references to the ScrOG method espouse 2 to 3 times increase in bud yield.2

Scrogged plant
P SCROG Primary System
References
1.        Wikipedia  “espalier”     2. GrowWeedEasy.com
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The Denver Defoliator

The Denver Defoliator 1

 Mike didn't seem like the abusive type when I first met him at Indo Expo in Denver.     ...until he showed me what he does to his plants!!  

Mike (L) & Gary (R)

4 of Mike's defoliated plants in P SCROGs

The reality is Mike is a gentle man and one great indoor gardener! And like most great gardeners, he pushes the limits of experimentation with his plants with such techniques as defoliation. He's really not abusive at all.

When I Googled defoliation what I found was that the technique as it applies to cannabis is quite controversial (see growweedeasy.com). So, I asked Mike if he would demystify the technique for me and for readers of the ScrOG blOG in the following interview.

Gary - So we're talking about Defoliation and to be quite frank with you, I had never even heard of defoliation prior to you bringing it up. ...pruning and trimming yes, defoliation, no. Although I acted like I knew what you were talking about, it wasn't until our second conversation did I ask you, "what the heck are you talking about?" 

Mike - Defoliation is simply removing leaves from parts of the canopy. Everybody has the tendency or urge to do this when they see a yellow leaf or a leaf that's not doing well or a leaf that clearly has a bug on it. They are very quick to pluck that leaf from the plant to discard it in the trash. But defoliation in regards to increasing cannabis yield means being more aggressive at removing leaves from the canopy. Not just removing the growth that's struggling but removing new growth and bushy growth to help get light penetration to the lower canopy. Leaf removal helps when utilizing some of the newer lighting technologies like LEDs. Fewer leaves promotes air circulation, helps plants breathe and helps to prevent issues with powdery mildew where you've got damp leaves touching one another. It gives the plant a little bit more opportunity for growth because you're giving it better conditions. 

Gary - A lot of people lollipop, remove fan leaves and prune here and there but it seems that the defoliation technique is much more aggressive at leaf removal. When you showed me the pictures I was shocked. There were hardly any leaves left!

Mike Absolutely, the way I like to do it is in the first week of flower I cut every leaf that I can get scissors to on the stems. I don't really work to get the tiny tiny leaves but I go in and I thin the plant out and I make it super super bare. A lot of people would freak out when they see the plant minus all its leaves.



It takes about 3 days for the untouched little leaves to sprout out and create a full canopy again. I was told that 
this is merely because of the plant's need for 
photosynthesis and a need for a leaf to be at the site, It understands when you've pruned it. The plant thinks, "man we don't have much capacity to to do our solar photosynthesis so we need to push out a new set of leaves" and in that way it kind of forces a quick new growth and it bounces back healthier when you knock it down a little bit.

Gary - So to me it's kind of counterintuitive. You need the leaves to absorb the light to produce flowers, yet you're removing those leaves.

Mike - That was a concept that I had difficulty grasping also and I have got to tell you I don't currently know the science behind the technique. I just know that it works.

The best answer, and this is just a total guess, is that while you've removed all its leaves and the little baby ones are there, the plants are like maybe twenty four to forty eight hours behind. You have stunted it and you have taken its leaves but its stalk, its roots and its processes are already determined. It has already told those little leaves to grow. They are already on their way to fruition and it's kind of like nothing you do stops that from happening. And a few days later, you have got a full canopy.

Full canopy
Gary - When you first told me about this I went online and I started doing some research. I found there are some hardcore advocates, but there are also adamant opponents of the method.

Mike - Yeah you can mess it up. I mean clearly anybody who has worked with their plants more than just putting them in a pot and letting them grow; anybody who has gone in there and tried to bend the branches out or remove growth or low stress train their plant in any way, knows they always have the potential  break the plant. You may breakstem, or even worse break the main stalk while manipulating it.

A lot of people who are clumsy you know and don't trust themselves worry about breaking their plant and that istrue concern. Some people worry about over stressing their plants. For new growers or people who bring a plant into the space that's unhealthy, that is a serious concern as well because their plants might not be able to tolerate the stress, the training and the removal of leaves and branches likefully healthy plant with great root mass and in prime condition. So you definitely want to bring a plant to the table that has no diseases or other problems and is a very healthy grower. You can also defoliate too often and mess up the internodal spacing causing the plant to stack.

Gary - How often do you defoliate during a plants life cycle?

Mike -I try to defoliate three times at most. Once during vegetative cycle, usually somewhere in the 8 to 12 week range, around the time I am topping the plant. The second time is in the first week of flower and the third at around 18 to 21 days of flower. I find that it really helps with the bugs because there's nowhere for them to live. It helps with light penetration and helps stimulate auxin production, the hormonal response forcing the plant to grow.

Gary - Just about everything we do to a plant we do to increase the yield. I would assume that is the same goal with defoliation. Since the end goal is to increase yield you must really believe in the technique.

Mike - I don't necessarily do it for the increase in yield. I believe it  improves the uniformity of buds. So by defoliating hardcore and lollypopping the lower branches that we're going to be a little shaggy and larfy anyways, we are telling the plant where to focus its energy. We're kind of bonsai instructing the plant. That puts more growth into the bud sites that were selected so they will be larger and more uniform in their appearance. We don't end up dealing with the smaller popcorn that would have grown there. I can get to my weight a lot easier and it's going to be a lot more attractive. For me it is more about quality of final product and usable bud weight...dense uniform buds.

Uniform buds


Gary
- Is everything below the screen kept clean? I know you use the P SCROG. How does defoliation work with the P SCROG?

Mike - Everything below the screen is clean for sure. 


Clean below screens
The P SCROG makes execution of all the techniques simpler. I put the plant in the P SCROG without the screen in early veg, then top it 2 to 3 times to create 4 to 6 main branches. When the plant reaches 10 to 12 inches tall I apply the lower training screen and flatten the canopy using low stress training with the main branches spreading under the screen symmetrically. I defoliate the plants while in the P SCROG 3 times according to the schedule I mentioned earlier. Lollipopping occurs as soon as the screen is applied and I continue to remove any new growth below the screen as soon as I see it for the rest of the plant's life.  Anytime plant tips try to grow through the screen they are tucked and weaved back under the scree with the objective of creating a flat canopy. The flat screen ensures that all selected bud sites fall within the most effective lighting zone.

Since each plant is in its own P SCROG and is on casters, accessibility to perform all techniques effectively is a dream come true compared to how I used to struggle with all plants under the same fixed ScrOG.

At harvest, I cut the main stalk and remove the screens, leaving the canopy in tact. I prefer to dry trim, so I hang the screens with canopies on hooks to dry and immediately put the unit back into production with a second set of primary screens.

Hanging screens
P SCROG screens hung for drying
 
With this method I get 5 grows a year per P SCROG bringing  down  my investment expense to just a few bucks per grow and at the same time giving me more usable and esthetically appealing bud.

Gary - Last time we visited Mike in Denver he turned me on to some of his "Green Crack" he grew with love and using all the techniques he shared in this blog. That bud was one of the prettiest I have ever seen and the quality of the taste, smell and high would rival some of the best Leafly reviews.

So as odd as defoliation may seem to some people, it's one more discipline one might want to consider in the quest to grow better and better weed.  

Mike, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge in this ScrOG blOG.

Mike - Thank you also.
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