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  • Choosing the Right Bucker for Your Harvest

    A bucking machine, also known as a destemmer or a debudder,  is a harvesting machine that efficiently removes the buds from the stems prior to trimming. When harvest comes, there is always a lot of talk about trimming, hand trimming, motor-powered trimming, and friction trimming. Bucking can sometimes be an afterthought, when really if your destemming process is not on point, the efficiency of your whole harvest will greatly suffer! Whether you are trimming by hand or with a commercial trimmer, a bucker is an investment that will certainly pay for itself after one harvest.

    Anyone who wants to maximize their production during harvest should consider the art of bucking! Choosing the right bucker for your grow will depend on the size of your operation and budget. We are going to go over the key points of each machine and hope to narrow down your decision. The number of feed holes, as well as their largest available diameter, food grade safe materials and design and overall usability will be a few aspects we will be covering. 

    Trimworkz Ultimate Bud Bucker Machine  

    Designed and built in the beautiful state of Oregon, the TrimWorkz Ultimate Bud Bucker. Not only does this machine look like an industrial piece of art, it’s proprietary multi-hole feed plate has an extended tube design for quicker, more gentle, flower removal. Quiet operation with low power draw keeps your grow under wraps. This machine also has variable speed control from 0-140 RPM for wet or dry usage.

    The Bud Bucker drives both the top and bottom rollers, which makes the machine less likely to jam up and also prolongs the life of the rollers. The rollers are much larger in diameter than most designs, which increases the gripping surface for better performance.

    The standard machine is great on its own with 15 feed holes, but Trimworkz also has their XL version, which is the largest bucker on the market with 30 feed holes! These holes have various sizes to fit your stalk (a presort is always recommended for the most efficient workflow). It's easy to clean, with no tools required to remove working surfaces, but it's unfortunately not food grade safe. 

    The Bud Bucker is designed for all-day use for large commercial grows and comes with a one year warranty. Shop the standard  Bud Bucker here and the XL here

     

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  • Grow Tent Ventilation

    I remember the first time I was setting up a grow tent and took one look at a ventilation diagram. My heart sunk, my head hurt, and I felt incapable of setting up a ventilation system.

    Guess what? It’s super easy —  it just looks way more complex than it is. Honestly, I felt a bit dumb after it took me less than 5 minutes to set it all up.

    Great ventilation does five vital things that are crucial to growing healthy plants.

     

    1. Lowers temperature — Removes the build up heat from your lights.
    2. Lowers humidity — Removes the moisture your plants and grow media produce.
    3. Provides fresh air (CO2) — Plants use CO2 for energy during photosynthesis.
    4. Creates air circulation — Prevents pests, mold, etc. from resting on the plants.
    5. Moves air through the plants — This creates stronger stems for bearing the weight of heavy fruits and flowers.

     

    Passive or Active Air Flow

    There are two main types of ventilation systems you can set up in your grow tent: Passive Intake vs. Active Intake.

    For the majority of indoor gardeners, a passive intake system works perfectly. Passive intake works by placing an inline fan at the top of your tent. The inline or exhaust fan will suck the air out of your tent creating a vacuum that pulls in fresh air from the intake ports at the bottom of your tent. It’s the same principle as sucking air through a straw. As long as you have negative pressure inside the tent you will have a passive system — negative pressure means your grow tent has less air pressure in it than the environment it’s sitting in. Continue reading


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  • Grow Tent Heat Information

    Not too hot and not too cold; many of the plants we grow are just like us and prefer similar temperatures  — between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, like us, they hate extreme temperatures changes and will temporarily stress out when adjusting to them.

    Controlling temperatures is one of the single most important aspects of growing, and if you fail to do so, you will wreck your plants nutrient uptake and weaken them to diseases before they eventually die. How about I show you how to avoid this?   

    Never Grow Without A Thermometer / Hygrometer

    A thermometer and hygrometer are essential to every indoor garden. Locking your plants into their preferred temperature and humidity ranges is crucial for nutrient uptake. If your vapor pressure deficit (VPD) is off (air temp + leaf temp + relative humidity) then your plants will either drink and uptake too much or not enough nutrients. It’s common to see calcium deficiencies because transpiration is largely affected.

    Let’s say you’re feeding 250 ppm or .5 EC of nutrients a day, but your VPD is too low so your plant isn’t drinking much from its grow media and you start seeing deficiencies. So you raise nutrients to 300 ppm to combat this. However, If you had just raised your temperatures, lowering your humidity, your plant would have started drinking more water from it’s media, and could have stayed at 250 ppm saving money on nutrients.   

    Dual thermometer and hygrometer units are very affordable and they will end up saving you money and eliminating a host of potential problems. Temperature directly affects humidity levels and when they are off, you open yourself up to a domino effect of one problem after another problem.

    This brings up an important lesson. Unless, you can always get to your grow tent, any time of day, start automating environmental factors as much as possible. Get a controller that automates your lights schedule, as well as, one that monitors temp/humidity and adjusts your ventilation system so your VPD is always perfect.

    Reality Check: Understanding Your Lights

    Your lighting system is going to be the largest contributor to your grow tent’s temperature, and if you find yourself struggling with temperature issues, you need to look at your lighting system first.

    All lighting systems have unique ways they affect your grow room’s temperature. To successfully control temperatures, you need to know how your lights do this.  

    What you need to know: To spare you a headache, know that for the most part, more watts equals more heat regardless of what light is producing the watt. Remember this rule: Watts in = Watts out.

    A 600 watt LED at the wall, will generate around the same amount of heat as a 600 watt HID. Watts does not mean the amount of light produced. For the most part, LEDs and CMH are considered to produce less heat because you need fewer watts to match the amount of light an HID produces — they’re more efficient.

    You can take a 600W LED, a 600W HID, and a 600W electric heater, place them into individual insulated boxes and get similar temperature readings off each box. The heater watts are converted into thermal energy, while the watts from the lights are converted into thermal and light energy combined. One watt from any light will produce around 4 British Thermal Units (BTUs).  

    Things like heat distribution, spectrum of light, use of a reflector, angle the light is produced in, etc. will create slight discrepancies in the way you grow tent is heated up, and the best growers know how to take advantage of these factors.

    HID (High-Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide)

    They give you some of the best looking, highest yielding, and tastiest plants, but everyone agrees that their one big downfall is the heat they generate. If you’re using HID lighting like high pressure sodium or metal halide bulbs, you need to prepare for ways to decrease temperatures.

    Air-Cooled Reflectors are a godsend for HIDs bulbs — this is one of the ways different lighting system can be taken advantage of.

    CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide)

    CMH can match HPS and MH light output with about 60-70% the amount of watts, and this equals a lot less heat. Most indoor gardeners agree that CHM are the best lights currently out there and will give you the highest quality fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

    LED

    LED has proven they’re here to stay and the best ones are reducing your grow tent's heat by at least 40% compared to an HID of equivalent wattage. Most LED users fight will low temperatures during propagation and early veg, as LEDs have to be hung at least far from the plant's canopy as HIDs.

    You can run lower wattage LEDs in your grow tent for several reasons. The biggest reasons are LEDs produce light in a 120-degree angle directly hitting your canopy unlike the 360-degree angle HIDs and fluorescents which has to be redirected affecting its efficiency. The best LEDs will give you the most lumens/light for the least amount of watts, and this is why they are the “coolest” grow lights currently out there.  

    Fluorescent (T-series and CFL)

    Fluorescents are cheap and just so simple to use. They don’t produce an incredible amount of heat by themselves, but the more you add, the faster you temps can get away from you. A small fan running through them is always a great idea. And while watt in equals watt out, you can reduce temperatures by taking advantage of CFLs by spacing them out since you are working with multiple bulbs instead of one.

     

    Decreasing Temperature

    It seems like the majority of indoor gardeners struggle with high temperature, so let’s look at ways you can decrease your temperature.

    Air Conditioner

    If high temperatures are wrecking your indoor garden, there is no better way to quickly bring the temperature down than an air conditioner. You can easily place them either in the grow tent or some models allow you to have them outside the tent while ducting the cool air in. 

    Reservoir Chillers

    Many hydroponic setups keep the reservoir outside of the tent as dangerous algae can grow in the water when the temperature rises above 70 degrees. However, If you’re using a Deep Water Culture (DWC) system then this means your plants' roots are directly sitting in the reservoir so it will be in the tent. Reservoir chillers are crucial in DWC and other hydro setups.

    Heating Life Hacks

    Sometimes, all we need to do is lower our temperatures only a little bit, so here are my favorite life hacks for lowering temperatures without having to spend any money.

     

    • Run your lights at night — This one can also save you money as well, as some power companies have lower nighttime electricity rates. Remember to watch for light leaking into your grow tent as this can cause serious damage to plants in flowering. Most flowering plants need a minimum of 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness.  
    • Change light schedule — Many growers are seeing great results running their plants under 18, 20, and even 24 hours of light a day when in the vegetative growth stage. However, the 16/8 light schedule is a classic for a reason. While running your lights longer may increase yields, you may end up hurting yields if your temperatures get too high from the extra hours of light.  
    • Plan your grows according to season — Most plants can tolerate at least 10-15 degrees more heat when they are in veg compared to when they are flowering, but flowering plants want more light causing a catch-22. If you’re fighting heat in flowering, try germinating in mid-late summer so the plant is flowering in the winter.
    • Fans lying around the house — Sometimes all you need to do is get stagnant air moving around in your tent. Most people have a small fan or two lying around in their house.
    • Changing Where You Grow — Heat rises, and if you live in a two-story home and/or have a basement, then you’ll notice a large difference in temperatures when moving through the house. I can reduce my grow tent’s temperature by over 10 degrees simply by moving it from the upstairs to the basement.

     

    Ducting In Cool Air & Other Ducting Tips

    Ducting in cool air from your AC unit is a great way to keep your tent cool without cluttering it up by placing an AC unit in the tent— that’s just taking away plant space. When purchasing ducting, you can either buy insulated or uninsulated ducting.

    Insulated ducting will prevent both cool and hot air from escaping while uninsulated ducting acts more like a radiator. This means hot air can escape and move back into the grow tent when exhausting it, as well, it means cool air may escape the ducting before it can reach the tent.

    The one negative of insulated ducting is it's much stiffer, but this isn’t necessarily a negative in this gardener's eyes. The more you bend your ducting, the more resistance you create and this weakens air flow. This translates into you using bigger and louder fans to compensate. The rigid nature of insulated ducting helps prevent this.

    Potassium Silicate

    If I could only use one supplement other than my base nutrients, it would be silica. Silica translates into hardier plants that can fight diseases, pests, and handle extreme temperatures better. I wouldn't grow without it too be honest. 

     

    Increasing Temperature

    Set up An Automated Fan Speed Controller System

    We often get caught up in only monitoring our daytime temps and completely forget about our temps at night, but this can spell smaller plants, reduced yields, and even dead plants. With high intensity lights, we get a lot of heat so we set up strong ventilation systems, but if we don’t turn them off at night we might create cold temperatures and extreme temperature spikes.

    Plugging your intake or exhaust fan into a fan speed controller that will automatically increase or decrease the fan’s speed based your custom settings is fantastic to have. The more you can automate your grow room, the better. I cannot stress this point enough.  

    Seedling Heat Mats

    There is no other time when a plant is more vulnerable to cold temperatures than when they are germinating and in the seedling phase. Plants can take an incredible amount of damage and live, but start touching the roots and you’re in for trouble.

    Seedling heat mats are used mostly for germinating as many plants need a soil temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the seeds to sprout. But don’t remove them just yet! Since seedlings have such a small root system, they can really benefit from their root system in their preferred temperature range until they develop.

    Electric Room Heaters

    Electric heaters are a popular option for many indoor gardeners, and you can find horticultural specific heaters that are designed for the growing environment.

    Add More light

    Instead of adding an electric heater or turning your house’s thermostat up think about adding more lights. That is if you can. With HID, CHM, and top of the line LEDs, it easy to provide too much light to plants which can damage plants and reduce yields. Yes, your plants can be sunburnt.

    Nailing down your waterings & feeding, grow media, introducing CO2, temperature & humidity will lead to stronger plants that can tolerate more light.


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  • Why Grow In A Grow Tent

    When todays hobby grower decides to embark on their growing journey there are numerous choices they are faced with. From equipment to set up and placement of the garden the possibilities may seem endless. Once the choice has been made to grow indoors, whether that be a desire for a year round garden or discretion, one must decide between purchasing a predesigned grow tent or performing an overhaul on a room to fit their needs.

    For most hobby growers the overhaul of an entire room in their house is not practical and would be a daunting, expensive, and sometimes unnecessary project. Here are the top 5 reasons our customers choose a grow tent for their indoor grow.

    Grow Tents Give You Total Control of the Growing Environment

    Grow tents are enclosed spaces that are designed specifically for growing. With the correct combination of lighting, ventilation, air circulation, temperature, humidity and watering you can have total control over your growing area. With a little bit of fine tuning, you can set yourself up for a bountiful and successful grow. Continue reading


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  • How to Prepare Growstones Before Use!

    Growstones, manufactured in the USA from 100% recycled glass, are not only environmentally friendly, but have many benefits for your plants! They can be used in any hydroponic setup and will grow well with fruits, veggies, herbs and flowering plants.

    Before getting started, you will want to take the proper steps to prep your Growstones. Making sure they are free of dust and making them pH balanced is extremely important, especially when using them solely in a hydroponic system. Continue reading


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  • Different Types of Grow Light Bulbs

    There are many different types of grow lights and grow light bulbs on the market. There will be different factors that you need to know about depending on the lighting option you choose. The two main factors you will look at is wattage and spectrum.

    Wattage - Figuring out the wattage you need will depend on tent size, plant coverage, and light type. The last one is important to remember and not all light wattage is created equally. A 200W HID delivers lights much more efficiently than a 200W CFL.

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  • Garden Meters & Testing Supplies Overview

    Lets take a look at hydroponics meters & grow room testing supplies. The advantage for the novice hydroponics grower today is that the science and methodology is already determined and standardized.  This wasn’t the case for the brave pioneers with their primitive ebb & flow systems years ago.

    They had to learn everything the hard way and only had a vague, theoretical idea of what works and what doesn’t.  During the early days these growers had to learn exactly how to formulate the nutrient solution precisely to create the ideal growing conditions that would assure hydroponic gardens would thrive. Continue reading


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  • Garden Soil Amendments

    Garden soil amendments are essential for those reusing soil or coco husk to grow in. The good health of all garden plants doesn’t come down to fertilizer or watering. Plant health is only as good as the soil they are planted in.

    A good soil is the very foundation of a healthy garden.

    Often, however, the soil that is present in a yard isn’t healthy enough on its own to meet the nutrition requirements of garden plant.  This is especially true of new construction sites where all or most of the top soil has been stripped away as the home is being built.

    Although, the general contractor replaces the topsoil as they regrade the entire yard it is inevitable that some of the nutrient deficient clay or sand subsoil has gotten mixed in during this process. Continue reading


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  • Common Indoor Gardening Pests

    Lets take a look at the top pests indoor growers face. About the only good news about soil & hydroponic garden pests is that these are all pests that have already been experienced in floral shops and greenhouse. By the time hydroponics came along we had identified the pests and their treatment some time ago.

    The best method of pest control, however, is early detection and treatment before the pest gets completely out of control.  A little conscientious attention by regular careful monitoring and inspection of the plants goes a long way in preventing serious infestations.

    Taking the time to educate yourself on common pests will only better help you in identifying them early on.   Very often, pests can be avoided altogether through impeccable greenhouse management and regular washing of the plants. Continue reading


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  • Grow Room Air Conditioning

    Whether or not to install air conditioning in your hydroponic grow room is a decision many new growers struggle with. After all, you’ve got movers, fan ventilation and besides, you’ve invested so much into this endeavor already, so do you really need to fork out even more on this?

    If you’re in the deep south this matter is already settled because without a question you’re going to need air conditioning. When you don’t, both your plants and you will be stifled by excess heat and high humidity.

    Conditions that are also perfect, incidentally, for a fungal pathogen to infect your plants.  This is something you need to avoid at all cost or risk losing the entire grow. Continue reading


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