The Solo Cup Challenge



Well here we are, finally fully into seedling vegging with the NG crops, this time turned out to be 6 Tahoe Cures and 2 Gorilla Glue #4s. I know the GG is the famous big dog but you know what? I will take that Tahoe Cure over a whole lotta stuff and as a grower, its just a real solid performer. Thing is, main thing I liked about the GG was the taste and since these mutant seeds have bits of each others phenos in them, most of the TC plants taste great too, with just a tinge of fruit.

ANYHOW.

After last crop, it was the official hand-over of the grow reins and as of now, Beth is the CMFIC (Chief Mother Farmer in Charge). She has been the Padawan Learner long enough. She needs some seasoning and a little hands-on experience but she knows enough and has her shit together...and....I am sliding to the point I just cannot be counted on to grow reliably anymore. I help still, supply advice on occasion but she is driving this bus and part of that is that this grow MUST be very simple and text-book-normal. So for me that means no mad-scientist experiments or tricky crap going on while she is trying to get a normal grow to harvest. In truth, something I learned the hard way, when you are gradually losing your faculties and abilities makes doing these things so fucking hard and frankly humiliating that when you can finally stop, you are damned glad to do so. I felt I had to struggle far longer at this than I was able to or should have. 

Regardless sometimes the stars line up, things just happen and next thing you know, you are doing an experiment again. I was not bullshitting above, I am and was done with this but had some things come together this week that got me curious, I already had everything needed to pull it off and I think I can do it concurrently with the main grow.

On the face of it, there is something my grow mentor read about on Facebook I guess called the Solo Cup Challenge, the goal of which is to see who can grow the best pot plant in a single Solo cup such as what you would find at a kegger.

Now the normal challenge part of this I guess is growing a good plant while fighting lack of root space which in turn leads to plant instability, all adding up to a tricky grow.  And if that was all there was to it, I would not waste my time on such a thing, I don't really have time or energy for things that just sorta work.

But then I remembered a key thing about the trellis technique not normally discussed:
* Because the plant is tied down to the trellis from the get-go, the normal weight of the plant is removed from the base of the plant and so the root system needs to be neither big nor strong. 
* This results in lots of really thin branches with huge buds on them, far larger than would normally grow. My theory is that since the plant never has to put energy into making big strong limbs, that energy goes into bud production. 
* This theory also explains why I can grow really huge (once 7 foot) plants in relatively small pots (3 gallons) and even then only use about half or less of the root space.

So add all this up and its like its fated to happen. The Solo Cup challenge is only a challenge if you grow normally. If you grow using this trellis method, it might actually be a pretty standard and boring grow....but a sucessful one.

I was already 99% there...

So once we finally got this current crop into hempy buckets, positioned in front of trellis rigs, I checked things out and discovered I had everything I needed to pull this off:

1. 1 spare Tahoe Cure (known strong grower) already nicely rooted in one of my Solo cups that I turned into mini-hempy buckets for another project.  It already had an inch or so of hydroton on the bottom and a 3:1 mix of coco coir and coir "croutons", something new to me bought by accident. The seedling started a little weak so I did what I always do (because it always works) and tucked it into one of those foam collars that you use with hydroponics. They make perfect plant-props and I just leave them on for life.
2. Spare 32 oz plastic To Go Cup, unaltered. Punched a hole near the top with a hole punch and zip-tied it to a spare trellis rig about 1 foot off of floor.
3. Space mini-trellis rig. This actually was the branch-hanging rig I made for last times harvest. Still must clean off the rest of the green wire we used to hold the branches to the chicken wire. This is just leaned against the wall between plants 3 & 4 in tent 2. 

So I wedged the mini-rig in between two other rigs in tent 2, zip tied the To Go Cup to the chicken wire about a foot off the floor, about the same height as the other potted plants, the idea being this made it easier to share light, air, etc. Finally added the Solo cup to the To Go Cup, adding veg nutrients to about half-way. 

So there we go. Not our own project but what the hell. I will let this grow like this until it dies or harvests. Will throw nutrients at it when low and I notice. When it gets taller/bigger/something-er I will start tying it down to take weight and stress off the base as soon as is practical so the root ball is kept smaller. Aside from that and pinning down any future branches, this will take little effort and in the event it does, I have no problem letting it die.  Just being plain. However I also think there is an even chance this could blow any Solo Cup Challenge norms and thats based on science, not gut-instinct or magic or astrology. 

At worst it will be a diversion, though at this point the number of hours per day I spend in the outer limits with little contact with Terra Firma is like 20 or so and with the crazy shit I have to contend with springing from my own mind, I have little use for a distraction...


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