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Q? Clones And Hydro


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an aerocloner is always good. or:



i typed this up for the grow journal, but i figure i might as well post it here and link to it in the table of contents so i can find it in the future :)




well, since we have the whole budget theme going already, let's take some clones without the use of a fancy machine.


i use rockwool cubes. the last time i went to the hydro store to buy some they were out of stock so i purchased one of the big 6" x 6" x 6" cubes and cut it up myself. i think i ended up getting 48 cubes out of that $4 block so thats like 8 cents a clone or something. thats budget. i am using r.o. water just because i have it, but tapwater would work just fine here as long as you set it set out overnight in an open container to let chlorine evaporate.



some cubes:




many people say to soak them for 24 hours or whatever, but this isnt necessary IMO. i do soak them for about an hour though. no need to do anything crazy with the ph. 7.0 is fine. if using tapwater, assuming its not nuclear waste, your ph will probably be in the mid 7's. this will work as well. remember, this is budget cloning and will take an extra couple days compared to an expensive aerocloner. we are cutting corners, and saving tons of money, but at the expensive of a little time. this strain will show roots in 9-11 days using this method.


1/2 hour soak:





obviously, the bowl has been cleaned and so have your scissors right?


ok, our journal plant. im taking the bottom set of branches off again:





i make the cut with scissors right at the main stem and put the cutting into a cup of water (r.o., or day-old tapwater again).

once we have both the bottom branches we are ready to get to work:





both of these branches are pretty good sized with thick strong stems so i am going to take 2 clones off of each one. i could take more probably, but they would have thin stems and would take longer to catch up to the others in growth. as far as prepping the rockwool, just take it out of the bowl and let it drip/drain. if you have pre-packaged cubes they will have a hole already in them. i find this hole is usually too small so i widen it a little. since i cut my own cubes off of one huge one, i dont have any holes. this isnt rocket science. i just take the scissors and stab them about 3/4 of the way through the cube. a hole that is a little too big is better than too small. ok, lets cut up the branch.


you can see where i cut this one:





cut off/strip any fan leaves or extra branches that are not needed. then we are ready to take the actual clone. make those cuts (above) at a 45 degree angle with the sharpest, cleanest scissors or razor knife you can find. after making the cut, i take the edge of the scissors and scrape at the flesh over the entire bottom 1/2 inch or so of the stem. this can be a little scary, but once again, it isnt rocket science, and less is better. i just scrape the very top layer of flesh off. scraping too much will do too much damage and cause the stem to become limp and unusable.


very difficult to get a picture but just a light scraping is all you need:






ok, we are just about there now. insert into the rockwool cube.




repeat, and with less than a dollar you have a little family of clones ready to root.







i have an empty corner in my veg room where this little tray will go. no need for special lighting. they will grow roots under the same light that mom(journal plant) is growing under....... just way further away.


watering............... here is where an expensive aerocloner is nice. plug it in and check back later.

not in our case. for our 8 cent clones we must be very avid about keeping an eye on them until they root. letting the rockwool dry out completely will kill the cuttings very quickly. keeping it sopping wet will not allow the necessary air in for forming roots. moist is what you are looking for. there is no "rule of thumb" as to when to water because every room runs at a different temp/humidity and therefore mine may dry out twice as fast as yours. just make sure they stay moist :)


in my room, i usually need to water them once a day. same type of water we have been using all along. r.o. or day old tapwater at 7.0 or whatever is fine.


in 9-11 days we will see roots coming out the sides of the rockwool. at this time they are ready for planting. if you are planting into bubblebuckets you will need to start them off on half strength nutes right away for a couple days. if you grow in soil, your dirt should have enough nutrients in it already to sustain them for a period of time. once they are planted, you can then move them closer to the light and once they grow the first set of new leaves the veg period is on!!



your success rate is going to depend on your ability to keep the rockwool moist and clean. in an open bowl like this, the cubes are prone to "catching" things out of the air that can be harmful. with a little practice you will be cloning on the cheap without any problem. if you are afraid you will forget to water them, you may want to try this:







a bubblebucket is a cloner as well. it's that simple. it is an all-in-one machine ;)

here is a very crude and undesirable sketch of our bubblebucket. we see the plant, rooted in a yellow rockwool cube, surrounded by hydroton clay pebbles. the cube and hydroton are sitting in the net pot, and you can see the air stone/bubbles (in red) and the proper level at which to keep your nutrient/water solution.



ok, stop laughing. :D



so we have our cutting planted in the rockwool cube. drop it in the netpot and cover with clay pebbles and get the whole setup into your bubblebucket. at this point the bucket should have clean water only in it.


if you keep the water level about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch below the bottom of the net pot, you have reached the sweet spot. the air stone in the bottom of the bubblebucket will shoot air bubbles upwards through the water. when these bubbles reach the surface they pop. the goal is to find the perfect level to where the net pot is not sitting in the water, but actually the bubbles are popping on the surface and just getting the bottom of the net pot wet. once the bottom of the net pot gets wet, it will transfer that moisture to the bottom layer of hydroton pebbles. the pebbles then transfer the perfect amount of water/air between themselves and eventually to the rockwool cube. the cube will stay damp, but not "soaked". depending on strain, humidity, and temp, the roots will begin to form in 4 days to 2 weeks.


once the roots form and grow through the rockwool cube, they will continue growing through the clay pebbles, and then through the sides of the net pot, and ultimately down to thrive in the nute/air filled goodness of the solution. once they get through the sides of the net pot and become visible for the first time, i change from clean water to veg nutes at 1/2 strength for a couple days, and then bump to regular strength.






hope this helps a little. just trying to show that there is no need for a cloning machine or anything else to take up space or money. if you use the bubblebucket, it is the only thing you need from the day you cut the clone to the day you cut the whole thing down.

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