Coco grown. Hydroponics' poor cousin.

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Hope everyone is well.
Coco farming seems to be a bit enigmatic.
It's accepted that canna grown on coco can have good terps and potency, but the media is a bit awkward to use with regular flushing required and minor nutrient imbalance expected.

I'm just about to start another coco garden.
If anyone else is coco growing, has done or is curious, please feel free to jump in.
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
First things first.

The media.
Coco is quite popular in Western Australia, we have a good selection of media available.
Lately quite cheap unbuffered blocks have become available for about 1/3 price of better coir.
The most expensive stuff is still cheap when you consider the value of the crop.
Blocks are cool for security, so your neighbours don't see you moving the media, but please buy buffered blocks.

I am using canna coco pro+.
This is a pretty good product that should be available most places around the world.
Some people prefer coir blends with different fractions, but whatever you chose please remember to buy a buffered product.
You can also buy perlite blends of 70:30 easy enough

The other basic step is to buy a food designed for coco.
They tend to have higher cal+mag as well as higher N and lower P than regular food.
Personally I think it's best practice to use a good filter ( RO or coco ) to make your water very soft
Then add cal+mag and your coco formula.

Coco media really lends itself to bucket gardening
It's easier to grow with a minimum of 5L root-zone, because of the challenges when using coco as a hydro media.
There are lots of smart pot designs around now that maximise oxygen interface to roots, and gro-bags also.
Using these will bring out the best from coco and minimise some of the risk.

With buckets and the ability to water by hand and coco becomes an attractive starting point for ppl curious to hydro.

signal-2021-01-02-124757.jpg
# notice the fungal bloom coming through the bag.

images (73).jpeg
 
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Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Amending the media.

This is where it gets a bit esoteric and contentious
If you look online you'll see a lot of coco growers recommend using only or mostly coir as a media.
Others will recommend adding at least 30% perlite ( a popular retail blend ) and others recommend more drainage still.

The technique I use is high drainage.
This is to allow frequent irrigation.
Obviously not the only way to use coco.

Perlite is probably easiest media to amend with.
It is lightweight, and doesn't ballast the bucket as well as other media, but offers really good water and oxygen holding ability when blended.
Clay, gravel and pumice will all work as well.

50:50 perlite-coco
60:40 clay-coco
25:25:25:25 perlite-clay-coco-peat are some good starting points to play around with.
These ratio will allow *high frequency (<24 hour) irrigation without running into issues of oversaturation and anaerobic root zone

IMG_20210106_111456.jpg
This bucket was vegged about 28 days, and culled 11 days into flower.
The coco has subsided from the surface.
The white bloom on the stem is also visible left side of pot. It looks like a salt build up.
Fungus gnats won't live in this blend ( 60:40 clay:coco)
 
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Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Bioaction.

Coco isn't truly inert, so coco growing isn't pure hydroponics
But the media is inert enough that you can use hydroponic nutrients.
This is probably coco's best advantage.

A lot of media is seeded with thrichoderma, and it grows easily in coco.
It is a fungus that is benign to canna and works as a biofungacide.
It blocks pathogenic fungus from colonising your root zone.
Bacteria and yeast will grow easily in coco when seeded, and is probably the reason for the high terpene and cannabinoid levels in coco grown plants compared to non activated hydro methods.

Sour dough bread doesn't tend to go mouldy, because it's already activated, and yoghurt continues to sour instead of rot.
You want to be pretty proactive in seeding your root zone.
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Nursery and propogation.

In the nursery coco is really suited to keeping donors
Hand watering and run to waste allow you to play with different strains easily.
Irrigation tweaked simply enough for different strains and modified quickly.
Imbalance treated instantly and it's pretty set and forget

Commercial seed raising mix can be a basic fertiliser buffered coco, so obvious to use it in germination, and cuttings too
You can use pure coco, but oversaturation becomes an issue.
50:50 perlite is really good here, or even crush the clay pebbles down.

When the mix is correct you basically irrigate the seed raising mix with suitable liquor ( 400-800ec kelp, fulvate auxins, calmag and grow formula ) stick in the cuttings, put the lid on the igloo and forget it. An occasional foliar feed will get you through to rooting.

IMG_20210101_094819.jpg

Peat jiffy pots are really good too.
Not as much air interface as smart pots, but good for roots if moved on quickly and very little transplant shock.
The probiotic seems to enjoy it

IMG_20210106_130053.jpg

That's the housekeeping out of the way, so can get on to the garden now.
Cheers. 🌴🔥
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Water management and basic nutrition.

These basics are bread and butter for experienced gardeners.
Probably the key to success in hydroponics is the quality of your solution
Understanding what the plant needs at her stage of growth and providing her requirements.
If you start to add a bit of this and a bit of that, latest hype additive, you are moving away from what the plant needs, or creating inbalanced macros.

After you filter the water, you can age it a bit if you want, or use it straight up, depending on quality of your filter
I like to mix about three full days solution in advance
What I use in one day, I replace.
So I'm putting 1/3 fresh back into the resovour every day.
One reason is to allow time for the fulvate to chelate, and to fully oxygenise the solution.
Another reason to blend more than one day's food is to tweak formulas.
When you try something new it cuts In more gently.
I add probiotic to my resovour everyday also, up until late flower, so it's good to have the leftover to allow the colony to develop.

A basic solution for veg isn't very complex.
CalMag
Two part coco gro formula.
NK+ ( maybe )
Silica.
Kelp.
Fulvic acid.
Probiotic.


That's about it
Fulvic acid is a humic acid fraction
Humic acid is too large to be able to access the plant in solution.
The active fraction of humate is fulvate
So you probably only really need to supplament a standard amount of fulvic acid in solution ( </=125ppm)
Humic acid will feed your root-zone environment though.
One molecule of fulvic acid can chelate more than 60 molecule of mineral, and allow it to pass into the plant in colloidal solution.
It's the good stuff.

So you've got your resovour bubbling away, food going in and out regularly.
Another thing to consider is temperature.

PH reads differently at varied temperatures, so at least be aware of that, even if you don't control the temps.
Oxygen saturation is reduced above 23°/70, and drops of quite significantly by 27°/80.
Cold temps will shock a plant.
Extremes at each end can create intersex issues also.

Small water heating and refrigeration units for irrigation resovours are available cheaply.
20-23° is goldilocks.

images (30).jpeg

A really good gardener that used to post here called professorJJ reckoned to fill milk bottles with water and leave them in his freezer, then cool his resovour with them.
Sweet tip.
 
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Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Just putting the buckets together.
Using 5:3 mix of clay to coco.

IMG_20210110_113522.jpg

Running one bucket of skunk/Santa Marta gold.

IMG_20210110_144811.jpg

And a few buckets of a 10 year old cut of AK.
Both of these keiki are on same food @1400EC

IMG_20210110_144946.jpg

Roots are just starting to come through, I'll plant them in tomorrow.

IMG_20210110_144932.jpg

#300mm/15L 12"/4gal pro-pot buckets

IMG_20210110_163659.jpg


 
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Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
The buckets of AK I'll run as small plants.
She has pretty good stock and doesn't need support until she goes taller than a metre

signal-2021-01-11-161137.jpg

The skunk/SMG I'll try in a cage.


Got a stack of mango/nordle ( angel heart ) and mango/SSH F1 that I might go looking for a baseball bat type soon
For sea of green style with only a 4 day veg
 

Hooni

Member
Intresting stuff, i use coco, but mostly used buffered brick coco with A+B and PK13/14 nutrients, i have used cana loose coco with perlite as well tho but for the cost difference was not worth it, so use the bricks and add perlite if i feel like it :ROFLMAO:

i like to keep it simple and so far has always done me fine, would be intresting to do a side by side of the extra stuff added in and without.

😎
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Intresting stuff, i use coco, but mostly used buffered brick coco with A+B and PK13/14 nutrients, i have used cana loose coco with perlite as well tho but for the cost difference was not worth it, so use the bricks and add perlite if i feel like it :ROFLMAO:

i like to keep it simple and so far has always done me fine, would be intresting to do a side by side of the extra stuff added in and without.

😎
Hey man, thanks for the input.
Yeah, coco is really versatile, heaps of ways to use it.
No one is buying bags of sawdust to grow on, even though it's commercial media. Shows the value of coco.

The reason I'm using the clay is so I can run continuous high EC without flushing.
The bloom in pic was planted up with 1400EC solution.
Raised to 2200 and then brought back down.
All alteration was only 100EC up or down per day.
It wasn't flushed once in 77 days.

Because people all use coco a bit differently, I used to get confused with the advice.

Water frequently,/don't wet it fully.
Keep it moist/let it dry out
Feed heavy, feed heavy, flush etc.

My brother used to kill most of the cuts or seeds I gave him from overwatering. We were using pure coir in peat pots. ( ROLS gardening )
He then started to kill shit from too little water.
When I tried 50/50 with lava pumice he was like Goldilocks.
Saturating to run off wasnt too wet or too dry.
 
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Hooni

Member
Only time i really had trouble with coco is when i was being to lazy when feeding and not allowing sufficient run off to many times and watering a little with the pots on there saucer's. I mostly watered my plants to a decent amount of run off over a large bucket, but i mostly grew plants smaller, in a kind of SOG fashion, and pretty much had to water/feed every day.

i did mentor a friend who suffered with overwatering/retention when using coco with massive pots.

i do believe you dont need as big pots when using coco and feeding/watering daily "run to waste" kind of set up almost. i have some air-pots to try but i am scared i will get annoyed trying to water them like trying to fill a bucket up that has been used as target practice 😁

I also am i firm believer that everyone just kind of finds what works for there set up, there is no real right or wrong with most methods , unless doing something really wrong of course and screwing it up, then it could be argued it is the wrong way to do it i guess :LOL:
 

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Only time i really had trouble with coco is when i was being to lazy when feeding and not allowing sufficient run off to many times and watering a little with the pots on there saucer's. I mostly watered my plants to a decent amount of run off over a large bucket, but i mostly grew plants smaller, in a kind of SOG fashion, and pretty much had to water/feed every day.

i did mentor a friend who suffered with overwatering/retention when using coco with massive pots.

i do believe you dont need as big pots when using coco and feeding/watering daily "run to waste" kind of set up almost. i have some air-pots to try but i am scared i will get annoyed trying to water them like trying to fill a bucket up that has been used as target practice 😁

I also am i firm believer that everyone just kind of finds what works for there set up, there is no real right or wrong with most methods , unless doing something really wrong of course and screwing it up, then it could be argued it is the wrong way to do it i guess :LOL:
Yeah, that's the amazing thing about canna.
With such a varied genepool and different phenotype combined with the creativity brought about by necessity ( I've seen a fair few plants grown inside windmill water tanks 20' above the ground 🤩 back before drones ) it's a real custom job how ppl grow their own.

With coco being so forgiving, there is heaps of ways to use it.
When I was researching it originally, that was one of the issues though.
So many ppl giving tips and techniques they'd swear by, but they contradicted each other.
This how-to is for those curious gardeners who might be putting off giving coco a go.
Good to have others adding their experience.

When you get those aeropots worked out..
With the bags the water that comes out the side tends to drip down and just absorb in a bit lower down.
Anti spiral pots look the goods, but I have to water them really slowly to stop the liquor just pissing out.
 
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Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
Intresting stuff, i use coco, but mostly used buffered brick coco with A+B and PK13/14 nutrients, i have used cana loose coco with perlite as well tho but for the cost difference was not worth it, so use the bricks and add perlite if i feel like it :ROFLMAO:

i like to keep it simple and so far has always done me fine, would be intresting to do a side by side of the extra stuff added in and without.

😎
Just on the inputs a bit.
Obviously the two part grow or bloom is the backbone of the feed.
The NK+ and PK+ to balance the feed.
I've got a 4-17-38 I use in stretch also.

The cal mag is higher in coco formula, but is a good supplament to filtered water.
I've got one with 3.7% n+K 2%ca
2%n 2%ca
2.5%n 4%ca
And really miss general hydroponics calimagic @1%n 5%ca.
These are all really good to tweak your liquor at different stages.

The silica is really helpful, in adaptagenic ability and also immune boosting in the plant, let alone the weight increase to yield

Fulvate is incredible product and potentiates all your other nutrition, as well as improving health and adaptability ( ability to respond to stress )

Kelp/auxin not only for root growth and growth hormone for the plant, but also for trace elements. Everything ends up in the sea, seaweed has an excellent nutrient profile, and is a prefered feed for bacteria.

The beneficial bacteria/yeast/fungus is really helpful too.
If you seed your preferred yeast into a homebrew, it's pretty hard to get an infection form random yeast, same with sourdough bread.
It doesn't really go mouldy even when weeks old.
Yoghurt too, just tends to go more sour and doesn't readily take volunteer moulds.
So it works as an anti-detrimental-fungul agent also
The beneficial bacteria solubalises nutrients and also work in symbiosis with the plant, provided her with sugars.

Magnesium is another sup that's good to keep on hand
I find my plants need extra just after planting out, in strech and late bloom
Using more calmag would create issues with K-CA balance.

A lot of ppl swear by molasses, and also free form amino.

Free form amino acid are not really stable in water, and many just trensforn to ammonia, so not sure that's a go, especially in recirculating systems
Probably pea protein isolate or milk protein isolate could work, but plants are quite able to use pure forms of N, so not sure amino acid is really necessary.

It cost a bit more to throw all the goods at your plant, but the improvement to qualify and yield should be able pay for themselves.

I dont think the sups are all necessary though.
 
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Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
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musashi

Site Moderator
Staff member
From Indoor forum--->>"runoff problem?" thread back in July:
Aloha fellow Firewalkers!

Consider the following:
For better water dispersal throughout soil, use a surfactant that contains saponins. These wetting agents break water polarity which causes the surface tension. Besides increasing water retention, the many benefits of using yucca extracts include the reduction of salt buildup. Have a look.

https://www.maximumyield.com/yucca-extracts-a-gardening-secret-from-the-desert/2/1236

From my readings, I understand that yucca extracts have demonstrated “increased membrane permeability to facilitate increased internal transfer of nutrients and stronger plant metabolism.”

Another trick that can help avoid micro-channel formation and increase absorption is to use slightly larger trays under your plants and water them from the bottom. This saves time and using a predetermined amount of water per plant aids in water conservation and minimizes nutrient depletion. This technique can lower the humidity problems associated with surface watering in a closed environment, i.e. indoor grows. Additionally, it will reduce your typical surface gnat problems. Hope this is helpful.

Good hunting brah!

Mu
🤙Mu
 
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