Three different seed companies... Three distinctly different tastes... Humboldt's Green Crack, Serious Seeds AK-47 and Barney's Tangerine Dream. This will be my fall, winter, spring grow this year. I have decided to start a bit early this year and gain an extra month on the cool side of things, as I see an early and rapid onset of winter beginning here in the midwestern USA. Traditionally I have begun my grows by planting the first seeds in late October, usually on the last full moon of that month, but this year for several reasons, it is time to start already. One of my big considerations this year is the cost of electricity. As everyone knows, thanks to Obama, electricity rates are rapidly rising all over the nation. My rates just went up 11% last week. That is very significant, and a quick calculation says that this is going to cost me about $80 more every month. Yow!!! As a response to this outrageous rate hike (while oil prices are going down) I have to adjust the way I do things, not just for myself, but because with my experiments, I may be able to teach others to use less energy and reduce their expenses too. So, everything I do regarding lighting this round is going to be new and innovative, at least for me. I will not be running 18/6 and I will not be running 12/12. I will be using a trick in veg and a more natural light timing in flower. All reports are that the plants love this modified lighting, and actually dislike the 12/12 and 18/6 that I have used faithfully all these years, while making my local power company rich. I plan on using 50% of the energy that I have previously used. How you say? It turns out that you can fool plants in veg into thinking it is still veg, just by turning the light on for an extra hour. The method is called 12-1, and it works like this. 12 hours on, 5.5 hours off. 1 hour on, 5.5 hours off. Our vegging plants like the dark period and gets lots of things done during that time, and it turns out, according to all reports, that plants actually grow faster using this time period. In flower we have all been led to believe that 12/12 is the optimum, and I was one of those who did experiments with other systems, 10/14 and various others, determining that 12/12 was indeed superior. Well, it turns out that in nature, the plants see 12/12 for about a week. From then on and before that, it is something else. According to reports, the plants like the something else, and I will like what it means on my power bill. This time I will be running a varying schedule starting off the first 2 weeks at 11 on, 13 off. Week 3-4 I will change to 10.5 on, 13.5 off, losing 1/2 hour each 2 week period. 5-6 : 10/14, 7-8 : 9.5/14.5, and finally 9 weeks and beyond, 9/15. It is the theory that the plants love this, and that I will do just fine using 50-60% less electricity during the grow. This system will make it impossible to do like I did last year, and have a staggered rotating perpetual grow, but that was too much work anyway, and it really didn't result in any better production for me once we got into the mess of keeping so many plants going at a time. This time I plan on working with 9 plants in flower, in 5 gallon containers. This will also be my first organic grow, and I am assembling the needed components now, as I get ready to start my first mother plants. I will be using Subsonics Super Soil system and will not be using nutrients of any kind throughout the grow, relying on my good locally produced compost and super soil in the bottoms of each of my containers, to provide the needed nutrients and stability. I will be using less light in veg, not needing the plants to grow as rapidly while I wait for the flower tent to do its thing, and I will be using a combination of big lights in the flower room to give maximum light during the shortened light periods. It is going to be a good experiment, to see if one can get away from all of these commercial companies with their numerous and expensive nutrient and soil mixes, and just rely on good common sense gardening and good soil. I plan on spending my money at the onset, spending what I need to assemble the soil, all while reducing costs of energy. I believe that this can be done to produce a vastly superior product than I have been producing previously, having bought into all the claims made by the commercial guys. More will come soon as I start assembling the soil and actually plant some seeds. It will start off slow, but I hope to turn this into a very amazing grow by the end, and hopefully one that we will all enjoy watching as it develops. As always, I will document my ideas, my successes and my failures, and we will all learn together. Time will tell, and I am glad to have you along for the journey. Be well everyone, and I hope that your garden is always as happy of a place as mine.