After many months of struggling, I finally began having some cloning success. What I learned is, the temperature you keep your clones at has a lot more to do with your success than what kind of cloning gel you use. This is the easiest way I have found to clone successfully...
First step for cloning success is always to soak rockwool plugs in pH adjusted tap water for 24 hours or more before using. Some rockwool has a pH that is not ideal for freshly cut clones. Soaking your rockwool thoroughly in plain water adjusted to a pH of about 6.0 will normally take care of this problem.
I have found two other good solutions to this problem. The first is to put the clones directly into a container of water without any "plug" to hold them (in the top of a half-gallon milk jug for example). The second is to use rubber dirt plugs instead of rockwool plugs. No matter what method you choose, you should add Thrive Alive B1 to the water you use for your cloning process.
Also, the water you use for your clones should be set out overnight so it is room temp when you use it. The shock of using cold water on top of the shock from the cloning procedure itself just might kill your fresh cuttings. 24 hours sitting out, without a lid on the container, will also allow the water to de-Chlorinate (if you are using "city" water). Finally, a little B1 should be added to any water used on Rapid Rooter plugs or rockwool plugs. The usual application rate is 20ml per gallon, but half of this will do just fine. Always read your containers to find out the recommended application rate!
Before you cut anything, choose and prepare your clones. Clones should be 4 to 6 inches long. I have found that slightly thicker branches have slightly better success rates. Something smaller than a pencil but larger than a toothpick would be ideal. For cloning success, clones should have a circle of green vegetation at the top no bigger than the top of a pop can.
Any excess vegetation on top should be trimmed, and any other vegetation along the stem should be removed. Excess vegetation means excess water loss. If the plants loose more moisture than they can pull up through their tiny rootless stem, then they will die. That is why it is so important to mist the clones once or twice a day until the clones begin growing roots.
The cut at the very bottom of the clone should always be made with a clean razor blade.
Next step, gather up some used plastic containers. I prefer plastic half gallon milk jugs. Mix 10 ml of Thrive Alive B1 into one gallon of tap water and fill your containers to the top. B1 is a must have for cloning success in my opinion....I use it in every drop of water, start to finish. B1 constantly drives cell division in the plants, which means faster growth. In the cloning process it also acts as a rooting hormone, helping stem cells at the site of the cut change into root cells and begin growing faster.
The next part is like surgery on your plant. It is important that you use a sharp razor, and it is important that you clean it well! Your cloning success depends on it. Do not use scissors. Scissors tend to crush and damage plant cells, and you will have a much better success rate using a sharp razor to make your cuts.
Wash your hands with soap and water. Pour a little alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
on the razor blade, and then rinse it with a little tap water. Make
sure your cloning gel is open...it's time to take some clones. Keeping in mind the perfect 4 to 6 inch length, hold the branch just above where you will make your cut. You will want the cut to be at an angle a little bit.
With the razor, cut the clone from the branch and immediately dip it into the cloning gel. Swish it around two or three times, then put it into your container of tap water and Thrive Alive B1. Alternately, you could place the clones directly into your Rapid Rooter plugs now. Each container should hold 3 or 4 clones. I usually begin pre-soaking my rockwool plugs now, so I have them for later.
Place full containers so the plant tops are 2
to 5 inches from your fluorescent light. Do not have a fan on them,
they prefer still air at this point. Mist them 2 or 3 times a day with plain water or water and B1. Misting them will help greatly with your cloning success rate. If placing clones directly into plugs, you should have them in some kind of clone tray with a humidity dome.
The most important thing to your cloning success is to keep them at 72 degrees, and to keep the humidity high. Keep them this way no less than 48 hours. The clones will most likely begin to grow their own roots by the time they have had 7 or 10 days of this treatment. I highly recommend a good thermometer for this step. I use a Sunleaves indoor/outdoor thermometer that I picked up for about 20 dollars.
By the time the clones are finished soaking, you should already have your pre-soaked rockwool
plugs or rubber dirt plugs ready. If you do not already have your clones in plugs, pull each clone out and place it in a plug. You
want the stem to be about a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the cloning
plug. I always put a piece of tape around the rockwool plug to keep it closed nicely around the clone. I find this is not necessary with the Rapid Rooter plugs....I simply push the clones down into the tiny little hole in the top of the plug after receiving a little cloning gel.
Keep misting the clones 2 or 3 times a day until the clones begin growing roots. I usually keep them on the wet side for two or three days, then I start letting them dry out just a bit in between watering. The clones get only water and Thrive Alive B1 until they show roots. Often, the cloning plugs get enough moisture from the frequent misting. Whenever they look like they need it, give the plugs a little squirt of water with a turkey baster.
Don't ever let the clones go bone dry, and keep an
eye on that temperature. You should see roots in about 7 to 10 days,
and you should have nearly a 100% cloning success rate. Happy cloning!
I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT
having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow
your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality
nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with
and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as
possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!
As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...
And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.
Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only
just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only
because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique
and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more
high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole
year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to
increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the
same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your
own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...
The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system--->
This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.
Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!
The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!