Hi, I’m Danny and have been cultivating cannabis for over 15 years. I’ve now switched to producing high CBD and legal THC level weed (under 0.20%) for various reasons, which I’ll explain in future blog posts. Below is my “grow weed at home” guide, for when you’re ready to try your hand at growing your own cannabis plant crop. This is an easy to follow step by step guide on how a successful crop with a good yield can be produced at home. It’s also a good idea to use other online resources, for example weed growers forums and other cannabis friendly websites, to get answers to your more specific questions.
Basic equipment for growing weed
Before you can jump in feet first, you need to understand all the equipment needed to lay a good foundation for your cannabis plant production. There are several variations to an ideal weed growing set up, particularly with regard to the products you use, but you can adapt as and when you gain growing experience. The following are my “must have” advice for completely new to the scene growers.
You need your growing material first, of course. This isn’t a complicated thing–only soil pots. You can nevertheless choose a wide range of soil varieties. Select your soil carefully. It is best to stay away from cheaper earth soil mixture bags, since they often do not have adequate nutrients and are not well aerated. Aerated soil is important because it allows the plant roots to dig, grow and fully develop. Try adding perlite to your mix when you need to aerate your soil more.
Certainly, special soil varieties specifically designed to grow cannabis are available. These are more costly, but they come with all the nutrients that you have to consider during the growing cycle. Cutting compost is the best choice if you can’t afford to fork out extra, and is comparable to quality soil on the cheap. Make sure you keep away from special floral compost, because it can be a little too acidic to the cultivation of cannabis.
A good thought process to consider, is reduce costs on anything but your soil when deciding where to save and skimp. Your cannabis plant soil will best provide you with a great foundation for improving and forcing your plants growth and will ultimately yield you more buds when harvesting.
The type of lamp and power of light determines your eventual harvest: more light equates to more weight. So more simulated sunlight means a bigger harvest and more lovely weed. Cannabis will not grow without sunlight, so we must have a lamp that provides a full spectrum at all stages of the growing process.
Although you can cultivate cannabis with a simple light bulb, you can grow it much better with what is called TL lamps in the trade–you probably know them as fluorescent lamps. A 400w-600w HPS lamp is necessary to obtain a reasonable yield of high quality. These fluorescent TL lamps mostly have an standard strength but you can also get stronger 1000W, 2000W and 150W and 250W types.
400w-600w lamps are ideal for you as it uses relatively small amounts of energy to produce cannabis. But don’t underestimate that total electricity consumption will rise and expect energy bill increases. It is definitely different from just switching on a regular everyday light bulb.
There are many types of light but don’t let anything but an HPS lamp convince you of higher yields. To begin with, take the cheapest design. If your budget allows, air cooled or water cooled varieties may be a better option for faster weed growth.
400w bulbs can supply up to 200 g of juicy cannabis buds and up to 300 g for a 600w bulb. This is only an estimated return, but maybe difficult to achieve as a beginner. Do a happy dance, and consider yourself lucky if you get a bigger weed harvest. You can hope for 300 grams from 400w bulbs and 400 grams out of a standard 600W light when you get good at growing, usually after a few crops. These two power lamps can easily illuminate one square meter and provide reasonable heat.
With our light knowledge sorted, we come to our next essential piece of equipment: an active carbon filter suction pump. Plants and cannabis need CO2 to grow that they remove from the air around them. They need CO2, and if you don’t permit fresh air to the room in which they grow, they will consume it all sooner or later. The crop will become ruined and less healthy once that happens.
In order to avoid that, we ensure that fresh air enters the room through an air extraction unit. This extracts the CO2 depleted air, leading to the automatic flow into space of refreshing, CO2 laden air. In other words, you don’t need a pump to blow fresh air into your room.
Another added benefit of the air extractor is that we can also remove the typical pungent smell of mature weed plants, especially when in bloom. We use a carbon filter on the extractor to remove their smell to avoid this. Each individual extractor has an accurate fitting carbon filter.
A carbon filter is a large carbon tube. The quality of so-called active carbon is the absorption and neutralization of the odour creating chemicals. It should be evident that a carbon filter does not last an age. So beware, once they are fully filled, the smells can roam throughout your property again. A carbon filter usually survives around five good harvests, so it takes about one year until replacement is required.
A good extractor is absolutely needed if you want to grow cannabis, plus decent carbon filters are a must to stay stealthy. When you’re just starting it will be more expensive, but try to grow without it and see what problems you get. Your plant yield will remain low due to low CO2 in the air, but your neighbours could get wind (smell) your indoor gardening efforts, and alert the authorities.
You will need to have one or more ventilators (fans) to ensure that the cool air you suck in is distributed equally across your growing space.
The ventilator ensures that air and temperature as well as humidity plus CO2 are spread uniformly throughout, by keeping the air circulating and mixing constantly with themselves. Without fans, your grow room could have 25 degrees on one side of the space, and 20 degrees on the other… Not good!
Thanks to the fan, the heat from the lamps is spread across the space and the temperature is uniform. Having a fan that blows over your plants also provides benefit to stem development being thicker and stronger, which later helps produce a better crop.
Plants need nutrition, that’s no secret. Usually, you should only worry about additional nutrition in the last few weeks of the growth cycle when growing weed. You should have sufficient nutrients to last until then if you start with a good soil. It is important to invest in bloom feed at this stage, particularly indoor plants.
Although there are a stupid amount different plant foods, they have the same foundation: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These are the minerals and vitamins on which the plant grows. Substances such as nitrogen and potassium are the most important during the vegetative growth cycle.
Bloom feed will thus have a generous phosphorous and potassium concentration and lower nitrogen concentration. The good news is that specialized plant foods for cannabis are available to aid your plants growth. Invest in one (no need for multiple supplements to complicate things) and you’ll get a huge growing boost.
It’s now time for seed shopping. In most countries, cannabis seeds are available to buy and can be ordered from the internet, if none can be purchased in your area. Make sure to use discretion when ordering online, because not all traders are reliable, with many scammers. Just make sure to do your research. This is a good time to turn to online forums to find what experienced cannabis farmers buy and which stores they frequent. Two online stores you can start with are Nirvana Shop or Sensi Seeds, both offer reliable services and quality seeds.
Be aware that a higher price tag often doesn’t necessarily mean a better seed, as in these instances your often paying for a brand name. Make sure you know how long the dealer has been in operation and try to find out as much information as possible about their varieties and development process. This helps you decide whether it’s worth spending more on seeds; don’t worry about the higher price if the company has good online reviews and sells a high quality seed variety.
As a newbie, I’d suggest starting with a tried and tested Indica variety, as these are usually a simpler plant to handle during the growth cycle. Indica strains have a shorter period of blooming, developing into smaller plants with strong stems and broad leaves. In comparison, Sativa strains turn into large plants with thin leaves and during the growth process can be unpredictable.
During flowering, their size can double or triple, which can be quite shocking for a beginner unless you know how to prepare. You won’t get much from your sativa strains if you have too little space for growth. They also flower in a minimum of 12 weeks, and if you grow under 600W HPS can make a noticeable difference to your electric bill.
Indica plants are generally more predictable and stronger and are ideal for beginners who still make errors and are learning on the job, so to speak.
Top 10 High THC strains
- Gorilla Glue (Super strong strain with a massive 28% THC)
- Girl Scout Cookies (Awesome Ocean Grown cross, very powerful kick)
- Bruce Banner (Classic in the making, Hulk stregnth THC)
- Cookies Kush (GSC hybrid crossed with Rolex OG kush, Very smooth and potent)
- Rollex OG Kush (Devil’s harvest Cup winner, very strong O.G., with up to 30% THC)
- Blue Dream (Blueberry x Haze, need I say more?)
- Kosher Kush (DNA genetics engineered, huge THC levels of 28%)
- Liberty haze (Powerful sativa, heavy punch of up lifting energy, a great choice!)
- Skywalker OG (Gassy, jet fuel smooth taste with a stuck to the couch effect!)
- Skunk #1 (Classical, the first to produce crazy levels of THC of over 25%)
Top 10 High CBD Strains
- CBD kush (High CBD levels up to 18%, effective for those suffering from anxiety/pain)
- CBD star (The perfect blend of THC/CBD up to 12%)
- Cannatonic (Resin Seeds specifically designed for its low THC at only 6% and CBD of 17%)
- CBD Mango Haze (CBD crew special, this is a tasty bud with around 7% CBD)
- Shark Shock (Balanced CBD classic by Dinafem, 6% CBD plus 6% THC)
- Harlequin (CBD up to 17% , a go to medical strength strain ideal for CBD extracts)
- ACDC (CBD POWERHOUSE, with huge CBD content of 24%)
- Pennywise (High CBD indica mixed with Harlequin and Jack the ripper. 1:1 THC/CBD balance of 15% each)
- Sour Tsunami (Produced by Humboldt Seed Collective; Sour Tsunami CBD levels tested up to 11%, while THC is quite low at under 10%.)
Best Sativa strains
- Green Crack (Wonderful pure sativa, with energizing effects)
- Sour Diesel (Famous crosses have been bred from this iconic sativa with a fantastic taste!)
- Lemon Haze (Dutch Classic, great introduction to the smooth famous taste of a sticky haze)
- Jack Herer ( Combination of Haze hybrid + Northern Lights + Shiva Skunk, by Sensi Seeds)
- Mexican Sativa (One of the tastiest sativa’s on the market, an iconic bud)
- Amnesia Haze (An incredibly hard to grow plant; but absolutely worth the effort! by Soma)
- Tangie (Unmistakable tangy terpene profile, that’s been crossed with Kosher Kush creates 24k gold)
- Mango Haze (Tropical sunshine fruity vibe, this sativa is great for a lazy summer day!)
- Casey Jones (This cross between East Coast Sour Diesel and Oriental Express provides an sweet tasting earthy flavour, with subtle hints of citrus.)
- Durban Poison (The perfect strain keeps you alert and productive through a hectic day.)**
Best Indica strains
- Blue Cheese (One of my favourite flavours out there, Blueberry by DJ shorts x UK Cheese)
- Bubba Kush (The classic, a Kush hybrid from Cali.)
- Blueberry (You have to taste this one at least once!)
- Northern Lights (Afghani and Thai landrace strains combined to create this classic from Sensi seeds.)
- Blackberry Kush (Strong indica with hashy, jet fuel and berry flavour profile.)
- LA Confidential (Earthy and Kushy goodness.)
- White Rhino (High THC cross from the infamous white widow)
- G 13 (G13 is a very strong Indica, perfect for pain relief.)
- MK Ultra (the strain that makes you sleep, MK ultra has a CBN content and is perfect for insomnia.)
- Kosher Kush (classic Kush taste for this one)
10 Strains for indoor growing
- Girl Scout Cookies (High THC levels if you can assure enough light.)
- Blueberry (Short flowering time, short bushes and big buds!)
- Rollex OG Kush (For the ultra-potent Indica dominant strain.)
- Gorilla Glue #4 (High THC producer, indorrs is perfect to grow to its full potential.)
- Enemy of the State (Tasty treat, Indica for medical use.)
- L.A. Confidential
- Skywalker OG
- Bruce Banner (High Thc producer.)
- Kosher Kush
- Skywalker OG
10 Strains for outdoor growing
- Northern Lights (sturdy Indica, that’s a great fit for colder climates, bred to perfection, this plant can handle a lot!)
- Jack Herer (strong sativa cross that can handle decent climates and produces well.)
- AK-47 (Indica Dominant, Outdoor Classic.)
- Blue Cheese (If the climate is good, she will be perfect girl for medical and recreational use.)
- Afghani (Classic outdoor strain. Big producer of resin.)
- Skunk #1(don’t grow this outdoors if you have neighbours, this is some real stank.)
- Casey Jones (This sativa loves long summers and an ocean climate.)
- White Widow (Dutch classic, thrives in a mild climate.)
- Sour Diesel (Sativa’s loves the sun and a long flowering period, if you have long summers, this is the strain for your garden!)
- OG Kush (Ocean grown classic, if the climate is right, she’ll be a very happy plant.)
Best strains for medical use
- MK Ultra ( Get to sleep in 15 minutes.)
- AK-47 (Great for pain and stress.)
- Cannatonic (lots of CBD)
- Enemy of the State
- Northern Lights
- Sour Diesel
- Blue Cheese
- Shark Shock
- Girl Scout Cookies
Best strains for recreational use
- Green Crack (You won’t need any coffee with this one.)
- Girl Scout Cookies
- Bubblegum (tasty and sweet classic)
- Blue Cheese
- Sour Diesel
- Lemon Haze (This sativa makes your day fun and creative.)
- OG Kush
- Cinderella 99 (Old-school and distinct, great strain for socializing.)
- Tangerine Dream (Tangerine tastiness)
- Strawberry Sour Diesel (A devil’s Harvest Sativa domiant ice-breaker, fruitiness with a pungent sour taste)
A Good Setup equals a better harvest
If you invest your time, research, and money right away into these five essential factors for growing cannabis, you will more than likely have success. Though it can be expensive to set up your initial growing space and supplies, it’s worth it when you consider what you’ll get out of it. Keep in mind that much of what you purchase now will last you more than one crop. Once you’ve got your foundation set up, you’re well on your way to seeing the fruits of your labor.
Getting familiar with the process
Now that you have the right tools to get going with your cannabis crop, you need the right information. It’s important to understand how cannabis plants grow and bloom and what to look for while monitoring these cycles. You’ll also learn about the anatomy of a cannabis plant. The more you know before you even put a seed into soil, the more you’ll be prepared for any twists and turns you encounter along the way.
Growth and flowering
To grow a strong crop of plants, you must set up the right atmosphere for growth. The first step is making sure you have all the proper ingredients from the previous chapter. The second step is understanding how much light your plants need. Light may be the most important factor of how your plant will grow. In short, more light leads to stronger plants. The most commonly used light period for the grow phase is 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. However, you can give them more light up to 24 hours per day. Just be sure not to fall under 18 hours of light per day or the plants might be fooled into blooming.
The optimal time period for blooming is 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. More dark hours encourage a quicker bloom, but you will have a less successful yield because you have fooled your plant into thinking winter is coming. Thus, 12 hours is ideal. Light encourages your plants to develop their buds and produce THC, but you want to balance it with darkness in order to get a decent yield. Be careful not to give too much light and sacrifice potency of your yield. Most varieties of cannabis will bloom anytime between 8-10 weeks.
Anatomy of a Cannabis Plant
The female cannabis plant is the easiest to recognize. Only female plants produce white hairs as they grow. These hairs first grow from the pistils, or areas where a leaf is attached to the main stem and a side branch grows. Some people call this the “armpit” of the plant.
Once you know a female plant, you can easily distinguish it from a male plant by the male’s lack of hairs. Male plants also produce tiny round sacks that grow in groups and hang from the plant. After blooming, the sacks split open and release pollen that can fertilize female plants.
When your plants begin to bloom, males and females look similar because their unique parts are extremely small. However, you can still tell them apart by checking to see where the parts are growing; the male parts grow away from the main stem and multiply to form groups of tiny sacks, while female pistils grow close to the main stem until the white hairs show.
Hermaphrodite plants are those that have both male and female characteristics. Some are 90% male and 10% female, some are 50% each, and some 90% female and 10% male. It varies from case to case. In plants that are mostly female, you can remove the male flowers and still develop unfertilized buds. The pollen from hermaphrodite plants generally produces female seeds.
It’s important to understand the differences between the plant sexes. Female plants are the only ones that will produce seedless (unfertilized) buds, and thus are the ones that yield smokable marijuana.
Female buds are the parts of cannabis plants that make up your final product. Developing the bud is a special process and one that can be hard to understand until you see it in progress. Buds grow from the white hairs of a female plant and grow larger during the blooming process until they their full potential at the end of the cycle.
The white hairs among the buds will change color to signify the end of the blooming process. You can harvest the plant when about 80% of the buds have changed color. After harvest, the buds must be dried. Drying buds then begin a process, known as conversion, to fully develop the substances that provide the “high.” When the buds are allowed enough time to fully mature they will have produced their maximum effects.
Weed vs Hash
You have likely heard various terms for cannabis. Weed is the most common, referring to the dried buds from a female plant. Hash is lesser known but it refers to a product formed from crystals collected from buds, leaves, and stems. There are countless crystals on each plant. When your plant is ready to harvest they usually take on an amber or gold color. To easily collect the crystals you must wait until the harvested buds (and leaves and stems) have dried. Then the crystals are easily shaken loose, especially if you choose to use a mechanical device to do so.
These potent crystals are easily collected from cannabis leaves and stem with the use of a pollinator. A pollinator is essentially a spinning drum with a sieve that filters the small crystals from the bulkier vegetation. The collected crystals are referred to as skuff or unpressed hashish.
Skuff is then usually pressed into a brick, which is generally how hash is sold. When consumed (either through dabs, vaporized, or smoked), it gives the user a pure, energetic high. The high is more intense because it is THC in its most concentrated form.
Indoor vs Outdoor Growing
There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of growing cannabis. Beginners usually start out by growing indoors but if you continue to experiment with the process you may find that you prefer one over the other for various reasons.
Indoor Growing Pros
Indoor growing can be great for beginners because the atmosphere can be controlled. You have complete control over temperature, moisture, air flow, and fertilization. Your plants are that much safer because they are protected from the elements and unpredictable weather. And since you are not dependent on the seasons to grow your crops, you can maximize your yields by growing up to six harvests each year.
You are safer as well because your crop is hidden indoors (which can be crucial depending on the cannabis laws in your area).
Indoor Growing Cons
Starting your cannabis crop indoors can be an expensive investment. Considering the equipment necessary just to maintain proper light and airflow, you spend a considerable amount of money just to get your plants up and running. It is also a hefty time commitment. Because you are solely responsible for monitoring your plants and controlling their environment, you cannot afford to leave them alone for much time. Daily, even hourly, monitoring is necessary.
Outdoor Growing Pros
Perhaps the most obvious pro to growing your cannabis plants outdoors is the low cost. If you have good soil, you can let nature do the rest. Whether you plant a seed or a clone, if you make a mistake down the line you can easily germinate a second one.
Outdoor growing also provides the best learning experience for beginners. With all the surprises and obstacles that come from growing outdoors in unpredictable conditions, you learn quickly what cannabis plants love and hate and you can then apply this valuable knowledge to future grows, whether you stay outside or move your operation indoors.
Growing outdoors has by far the best yield possible if you have to right climate for it. For example, “OG” or “Ocean Grown” strains thrived in California, because the climate is perfect for growing and creating high end, high THC strains such the infamous “Girl Scout Cookies” and “DJ Short’s Blueberry”.
Outdoor Growing Cons
The weather is not only a pro to outdoor growing but a big con as well. Because the elements are out of your control, you may plant your seeds and hope for the best, only to get horrible results because the weather didn’t provide what your plants needed. Lots of hard work maintaining your crop can give you a small yield in the end, feeling like a waste of time.
While indoor growing allows you to grow up to four harvests each year, outdoor growing will usually allow only one. The growing period begins in early April and continues almost through August.
Your dedication to growing a healthy lot of cannabis plants will help you succeed and choose where you decide to grow. Take note of any and all mistakes that you make along the way and learn from those in order to be more successful with each new harvest. We will cover everything you need to know about growing outdoor in our upcoming outdoor guide.
Organic or hydro?
As you might have guessed; ‘bio’ or organic growing is growing in soil using only natural fertilisers. Everyone knows that organically-grown produce is of high quality, but it is also healthier too. By using high quality organic fertilisers and soil mixes, you get the purest end-product possible. Everything that you will feed the plant finds its way into the buds
By growing organically, you have a positive influence on the taste of the bud, as well as the effect, which feels just a little bit more natural. It is also the simplest and cheapest way of growing.
Soil works as a great buffer in which your mistakes in feeding are more easily forgiven. You really have to try hard to mess things up to go wrong growing in earth through overfeeding. Even beginners can achieve top harvests growing in nature’s own medium.
Coconut fibre (or ‘coco’) is an outstanding medium that is not very user-friendly. You will need to use more nutrients because coco is nutrient-poor. You have to watch your feeding and watering closely with a pH meter as coco does not offer the buffer soil has. So it is easier to make mistakes with coco and ruin your harvest.
With a good organic soil mix; you need to add during two weeks of growing and eight months blossoming is a bit of water. This is because this kind of soil is packed with nutrients. This makes it a lot easier for the beginner-level grower to get to the point that he does not even have to add extra nutrients and doesn’t risk over fertilising. If you’re lucky, the buds blossom so well that it is worth giving them bloom feed so that the buds can become even bigger and denser.
Hydro or hydroponic growing is growing in a water medium with nutrients added to it, or with an automatic irrigation system. Thanks to the greater quantities of oxygen that are brought to the roots as a result, the plant grows at a very fast rate. Much quicker than in soil.
But you do have to invest more in your kit if you want to grow hydroponically: special pipes, connectors and more materials need to be bought. Also you have to fully control the pH and EC yourself, so there is less room for mistakes than there is growing in soil. You can rapidly fix things that have gone wrong with your plants, but things can go wrong quickly enough to lose them all too.
An experienced hydro grower can achieve huge harvests. An automatic irrigation system ensures that at pre-set times the plants receive feed water and everything is pumped through the system. Plants love regularity and given it via an automatic irrigation system, they will reward you with a high yield. Such a system can also be used when growing in soil. A perfect combination of bio and hydro is also possible.
Thanks to the greater chances of success growing in soil, I advise you to start there. Once you’ve got some experience under your belt, by all means give hydro a whirl. There are currently so many systems on the market that you should take an efficient medium such as soil to start with and then maybe at the same time try out, on a small scale, other systems. Anyone who runs into problems during a crop can always fall back on growing in soil. I knew a hydro grower who after several power outages decided to go back to growing in soil so as to be less dependent on electrical apparatus. Think before you start!
Clones or seeds?
If you consider starting your grow, this is one of the choices that you will have to make. Clones are the genetically-identical copies of the plant from which the clone was taken. It is important when growing cannabis that you only have females in your garden, so I would mostly cut female clones. The clone will possess all the attributes of the plant from which it was taken. This is commonly called the ‘mother’ plant. A mother plant is a female plant that is kept in its ‘growth’ stage and from which clones are taken in order to stock your garden with identical copies of a known, good quality plant. Being identical, the clones should all be ready to harvest at the same time, grow and bloom just as strongly as each other and have very similar growing patterns and quality of bud.
A frequently asked question is whether you should start out with clones or seeds. Both choices have their advantages and disadvantages. Growing from seed takes a bit longer than if you grow with clones. The seeds must be germinated, which takes from a few days to a week, and some seeds will fail to germinate or only sprout once they have been planted. Thanks to this there is a chance that you will lose significant numbers of plants over the course of a growing career unless you master the art of seed germination well.
After this we have to let the seedlings grow for up to two weeks, but mostly plants from seeds are given up to a month or even more of ‘pre-growing’. This long growing period makes for a significantly more expensive electricity bill because the growing stage needs more energy than the blooming period. In the blooming period we can let the lamps burn for a good part of their 12-hours a day during the hours of night, which is a much cheaper source of power than the peak daytime rate.
Seed plants are young plants compared to clones, since if you take a clone from a six-month old plant then the clone is still six months old, and a seed plant of six weeks’ old remains six weeks old. It is important to note here that a cannabis plant is only fully developed and able to give her maximum yield once she has reached six months in age.
The advantage of growing from seeds is that you have a fantastic range on offer from which you can choose thousands of varieties of cannabis in fact. So you are not limited to using the same clones time and again or the same varieties. Seeds can be stored for a long time while clones require quite a bit of effort just to be kept alive. In fact, clones need to be kept in growth under a grow lamp.
Every seed is different and so each plant that is grown from seed is too, with the result that you get a range of plants if you grow from seed, even if they are of the same variety. Thus you will grow more strongly, or produce bigger buds, bloom for longer or stay short and compact. The result is you get a garden full of various quality plants. One plant might deliver really tasty buds while the other produces a huge amount of THC but does not taste as good when smoked. If your choice is for diversity, then seeds are outstanding, but if you crave that uniformity in your growing, then clones will fit your liking.
It’s important that you don’t go cloning just any old plant. First you’ve got to find a good mother plant candidate. A plant with the special combination of characteristics you personally want to see, such as taste, potency, growth pattern or blooming period. The best plant in your garden, in other words. The great advantage of clones is the uniformity with which they grow. The plants will reach about the same height, which in turn ensures that they can all make the best use of the light from the lamps you’re using.
Also, they will produce buds with the same taste and high. This means you have more certainty with clones because you know in advance what you can expect. What’s more, clones only need a few days to a couple of weeks’ growth, so the growing period can be reduced by a considerable amount, which in turn allows you to fit in more harvests a year or simply get on more quickly with the blooming and harvest.
The most important thing of all is that you only get females! With seed plants you will have to identify and remove all males during the growth phase if you don’t particularly buy feminized seeds. With bad luck you can end up losing a significant number of plants in this way. This lost space could easily have been filled with productive females, and that’s why I give preference to clones as the best starting point.
Seed plants on the other hand do make the best mother plants, thanks to the greater range of variation among the plants giving you a better chance of coming up with at least one that matches your wishes. So you can perhaps best start off with growing as many seed plants as you can and then choosing the best from among them to proceed to bloom with. From these plants you can then choose a mother from which to clone a whole garden’s worth of plants. The clone from a seed plant will also generate a bigger yield until she is six months old and reaches her limit.
How to Build your Own Grow Space?
Once the required knowledge and materials have been gathered together, we’re ready to get down to the business of sorting out our growing space as optimally as possible for maintaining a favourable climate. A grow space can come in many shapes and sizes, but there are a number of essential points that must be adhered to whatever the eventual format of your space.
For a start, you will need to ensure that the space is made completely light-proof. In order to bloom; the cannabis plant needs 12 hours of undisturbed night and 12 hours light. Disrupting this 12-hour night period leads to lower yields or even completely failed harvests. That’s why you should go stand in your space if this is possible and take a look to make sure that no light is creeping in.
If there is, then you can get a special light-proof tape that will blot out the holes and cracks. A grow space that is not lightproof can easily mess up your harvest because the plants will become confused and stressed. One of the most easily preventable things that can happen is the creation of male flowers on the female plants due to the stress they have been exposed to.
In no time at all just a few male flowers can fertilise the whole female planting, with the result that you end up with buds full of seeds. A good grower always checks his plants so that he can remove any male flowers in good time.
So this will take a few weeks before a male flower can disperse active pollen. It happens frequently that the plants find it difficult to come into bloom when beams of light are allowed to get in and they will as a result produce a very disappointing crop. Above all watch out that any electrical appliances left in the grow space or destined to be left in there, because these usually have tiny lamps that give off a lot of light that can disturb the night’s sleep of your plants. Stick a piece of light-proof tape over any lamps and lights.
Once our plants are well and truly in bloom and are producing gorgeous buds, the development of their smell also begins to at a pace. Our plants will begin to spread a fragrant and somewhat powerful odour, which makes it vitally important that our grow space is also made fully airtight. The grow space must have no cracks or holes in it from which the smell from your cannabis can escape. Once your plants begin to smell then you will probably be visiting your plants regularly so you will get quite used to it.
This way you can become convinced that your plants are making little to no smell, when in fact neighbours or roommates will suffer from the stench. One other important factor to the safety aspects of having an airtight space is the control of the climate.
Creating a good climate is one of the most important parts if you want to get the very best product. So make sure when you are setting up your space that unwanted smell can neither get out nor find a way in. A third important point is that any pests, insects and vermin cannot find their way in to your space. A good grow space is a kind of quarantine where nothing just gets in or out.
Once we have these most important points sorted out; we have come to the main goal of setting up the grow space, creating the perfect climate for your plants to grow into big healthy crops. Because the climate has to be constant and even throughout your grow space we need a ventilator (or more than one) to make sure there is a good movement of air. The plants will also grow thicker and stronger in the stem and will at the end yield more than plants raised without a ventilator. If you have a good budget for your setup; you might want to invest in a thermostat, hygrostat or a thermo-hygrostat.
You can connect up the thermostat to the exhaust ventilator, which will allow you to set your desired maximum temperature; around 26 degrees Celsius – for your grow space. If the temperature gets any higher, the exhaust ventilator will turn on to bring it back to 28 degrees. The hygrostat can also be attached to the exhaust ventilator to make sure that the required humidity is maintained. If your space becomes too moist; the air is sucked out until the right level is reached. With a dimmer switch you can regulate the speed at which the ventilator operates, so you can run it at a slow speed to keep fresh air pumping into your space.
In order to regulate the air moisture content you need an air humidifier. Those are not that expensive and worth your investment. The good thing about is is that a humidifier usually comes with a built-in hygrostat. You will only have to set the required air moisture.
Especially during the growth period this works wonders. A plant can double the rate of growth in humid air. This will reduce time in the growing phase. Warming a large room or a small growing space will be a huge difference. Controlling the humidity rise during the first weeks is easy in a small space, but try this in a whole room. It’s just as easy in a large space with a whole load of expensive equipment but as a beginner you’re better off keeping your setup low budget. I would recommend insulation for your grow space to keep a tight grip on your climate at all times.
You need to make sure that on one side of the space, down at the bottom, you have holes for air to enter. These holes let new CO2-rich air get in. On the other side of the space, right at the top, is where we place a suction pump. This will suck up and remove the warm air. Warm air rises, that’s why we place the pump above the space, or at least the highest possible place.
By fitting a carbon filter to the suction pump we can remove that pungent smell at the same time. A carbon filter and vacuum pump are absolutely essential in a garden setup that we’re building. A good filter can be used for about four harvests. The pump must have enough capacity for the size of the grow space, so first you have to calculate the volume of that space. Back to math class, we know that multiplying length x width x height will give you the volume of your space.
Always take a pump with a slightly larger capacity than the actual volume of your space. During the hot summer months this can make a big difference in keeping your grow space at a reasonable temperature. Consequently, choose a larger capacity – for example, for a 500 m3 space we might choose a ventilator suitable for a 750 -1000 m3 space. The great advantage is that during the cooler winter months we can let it run and using less energy. During the hot summer months, we can comfortably keep the temperature below 30 degrees. A large ventilator running at half speed makes a lot less noise than a smaller ventilator running full speed. Also, should you wish to increase the size of your grow space in the future, you won’t need to buy a new ventilator.
By placing the air input holes at the bottom of the space and the exhaust at the top we create an air stream that will carry the new, enriched air from below, right up to the top on the other side of the space, carrying fresh CO2 for healthy and strong crops.
To keep pests outside you can use a Nylon stocking or special socks placed over the air input holes so nothing can fly or creep in, which will help you avoid an infestation later. Certainly do not forget either that no light must be allowed to get in through these holes to reach the space. PVC tubes with a bend in them work well to let air in but keep light out.
So there are two main rules to bear in mind: air in at the bottom, and keep it light-proof. In a situation where you simply cannot make a hole for the pump anywhere then the best solution is to buy a cheap door and make a hole in that for air extraction.
Building your grow space
So now we get to building your grow space. You do not need much for it: just a single square meter, and everyone has that somewhere, whether in the attic, cellar or a spare room.
What we need is:
- a staple gun for use on wood (if you choose to use aluminium foil, the foil used for reflection instead of cooking!)
- a saw
- a brush and white paint (if you choose to paint them white)
- a drill, screws
- a few wooden planks
- and a square metre
What we are going to build is a wall around the growing space. Let’s suppose you do use a single meter of a large room; you will need to put up the walls of your grow space around that square meter. If you don’t do it; the whole room will stink when the plants bloom. The big advantage of building a screen like that; the light from your lamp will be fully utilised. Light converts to weight, the amount of light a plant gets will determine your yield.
By building a plywood wall around the square meter. You will need to cover this in white heat resistant and reflective paint or reflective metal foil sheets. So you keep the light inside the growing space and on your plants. If you don’t do this; the light will scatter itself all over the room and you will lose a lot of light.
Making sure the sides around your plants are reflective or white is the cheapest way of increasing your yield. This doesn’t get any cheaper or easier. It’s very important for the setup of your growing space to make sure it has reflective walls, whether these are white walls or aluminium sheets is up to you, as aluminium can make that difference.
The construction of a screen is not much work once you’ve got the necessary materials. I would cut eight pieces of wood about 1.2 m long, and six pieces of about 1.70 meters. This length (1.70 m) is used as a result of my cellar ceiling being so high. The length you choose is should be little shorter than the ceiling in that room.
Step 1 is simple: we make a wooden frame by attaching two pieces of 1.2 m wide to two pieces of
1.70 m in height. This is done quickly with a good drill machine on which we place the two bits that need fixing together, drilling a hole and screwing them together. Once we have our wooden frame; we can paint the sides in reflective white, or staple aluminium sheets to the sides, creating the reflective walls so the plants will bathe in light once the growing starts.
So now we have our first reflecting screen. Onto this we need to attach one more screen in the same way as we just did the previous two, only using one piece of the 1.70 m wooden struts less. You will need to use the 1.70 m plank on the screen we’ve just made and attach to that two pieces of 1.20 m and one of 1.70 m. Stretch and staple sheets over it and again, cut off the excess edges.
Now we have two pieces of screen attached to each other. In this way we don’t make separate loose hanging screens. On the other side we do the same and make a screen there too, attaching it to the already existing wooden strut of the first screen. The result is that we now have three screens firmly attached to each other and with reflecting surfaces. This construction you now place in the chosen square meter that’s your grow space.
As you have already noticed, the screens are a little bigger than the growing space. This is because we still need room for the ventilator and other equipment to fit in. To complete your project, we make a single independent screen with two pieces of the 1.20 m wood and two of the 1.70 m planks. The individual, loose screen is the entrance door to the growing space.
We put this against the open side of the three screen box, and our grow space is fully sealed off. Now all you have to do is move the screen door to inspect and care for your plants.
Now the light from the lamp stays in this way in the growing space and you will notice the difference this makes later when you come to harvest your plants. The smell of the plants is also kept inside and can be easily removed by filtered pump.
A grow space should be kept tidy, and that’s why I stack plastic collection plates, side by side where the plant pots will be placed. To do this; I would use round or preferably square plates that comes with the pots used for the plants. These should be considerably larger than the pots, to be able to collect fallen leaves and such. You can’t always buy them as a pair with pots but you should definitely pick up some collection plates. The advantage of such a plate is cleaner growing and less diseases. All rubbish such as soil, dead leaves and splashed water end up on those plates. This will make it easy to keep your grow space clean and tidy.
Also, if you have to flush your crop these plates will prove their worth. ‘Flushing’ is the removal of excess nutrient or fertilizer from out of the medium (plant pot). By giving the plants way too much pure water the nutrient residues are washed out and the salts that accumulate from over-fertilizing (salts are found in fertilizer).
Some growers choose simply to flush as a matter of course every two weeks in order to keep their medium as healthy as possible. With collection plates you can flush the plants without any problem and without leaving a wet mess behind in your space.
So to recap: our aim is to make a light-proof, airtight grow space in which the fresh, CO2rich air comes in at the bottom of one side of the space, circulates up and gets sucked out on the other side. A large suction pump ensures that the air circulates and ventilators mix the fresh, incoming air with the air warmed by the lamp so that the temperature is the same throughout the space. Just add reflecting walls to maximise the effect of the light and collection plates for keeping everything tidy. The grow space is now ready for use!
As soon as we got our growing space, we’re ready for the real work. Last time we went through the most important issues. After much research into the various varieties of cannabis, you have finally settled on one that suits you. Your space is made safe against fire hazard and light-proof The only thing left now is growing your green plants.
Time to get our seeds and work. What do seeds need to germinate successfully? The three keywords are warmth, moisture and darkness. When we give moisture to the seed then the tiny root that is curled up inside the seed start growing and sets off in search of more moisture. Because this root rapidly increases in size, the case or hull of the seed soon breaks open. The first to appear is the fragile little root. This may be small but has a strong ambition to grow as fast as possible into a cannabis tree. The growing power of a cannabis seed cannot be underestimated. Seeds have the ability to develop very rapidly; within just 12-36 hours of moisture given to the seed; the root will have popped out.
Kitchen paper method
One of the most common methods of germinating seeds is the wet kitchen paper method and its variations. In this, we lay the seeds on a damp, absorbent piece of paper or cotton wool.
Thanks to the moisture absorbency of the kitchen paper it is pretty easy to make sure that the seeds receive a continuous supply of moisture. If the kitchen paper is too dry you just have to add a drop more to make it moist once again almost immediately. It is important to keep the seeds moist but not wet. When you keep the seeds wet, then the rootlet will not go off in search of more water, and so grow more slowly, since it has all the water it needs right where it is, thanks. By keeping it too dry you run the risk of killing the root. Getting it just right is difficult to achieve with this method since the kitchen paper is always either too wet or too dry. But it does work outstandingly well, though some beginners do manage to kill a few seeds in the process.
Direct in medium
A second method of germinating is to get the seed straight into growing in its intended medium, having first soaked it in water laced with root stimulator for a few hours. After this soaking, pop the seed straight into its soil, coco or whatever. We plant the seed 5-10 millimeters deep in the medium. By not planting the seed too deep it can quickly emerge into the light, and so begin to grow.
Another good reason why we don’t plant the seed deeper is that any deeper and it risks remaining wet for too long and the seed may start to rot. The upper surface of the medium dries out the quickest and so we need to take care to keep it moist. ‘Moist’ here means that we wait until the upper layer is drying out, and once this is happening, give it more water (and if using it, root stimulator). In other words, don’t give the medium more water if it is still wet.
If you do, you will keep the medium wet rather than moist and give your seeds a good chance of rotting. Some people choose this method because it causes a minimum of stress to the seeds and the rootlet can dive straight into the medium and begin developing. Fairly clumsy growers can damage the rootlet during its planting when they are using the kitchen paper method. The best way of planting the germinated seed
is to poke a small hole with your finger. Make this wet. Quickly lay your seed into the hole. Because the soil is nice and wet it is safe to press the seed gently into the soil without any problem. Cover with a fine layer of soil and add again a very small amount of water (10 ml). So that the seed can anchor itself, don’t give too much water. If you do that; you risk washing the seed too deep and again exposing it to the risk of rotting.
Stone wool blocks
Don’t forget that with the methods used above the temperature plays a very important role in the germination success. An ideal temperature is for it to remain constantly between 2025 degrees. Try to find a way to keep your seeds constantly above 20 degrees Celsuis then. You can do this by using a warming mat, which is a small mat that you plug into the mains and which keeps itself at a constant 20-22 degrees.
This is a cheap and effective way of keeping your seeds at the right temperature. I prefer to use a warmer such as the Bionair placed in a small cupboard. This warmer can be programmed for example to stay at 25 degrees, and because we have placed it inside a cupboard it has to do a lot less work to keep your seeds at that temperature. Inside your cupboard you will create a minitropical climate.
Another method I still use because it so effective and easy, is the stone wool block method. We put the seeds in to stone wool blocks and soak them once with water laced with root stimulator added. We now stick the wet stone wool blocks with seeds in them in a plastic tray with a lid, one that’s also called a dome. Such a tray or dome makes sure that the air moisture content remains high – so there’s no ventilation.
Of course plants need darkness while they are germinating in a cabinet in the very beginning. But at this point in time, it is vital the plants receive an ample amount of sunlight. After the seedlings become 4-5 centimeters tall, plant them into a medium sized pot of your choice. If you chose to sew the seedlings into stone wool blocks, then transplanting will be easier, and the root will not be destroyed in this process. The sprouted seedlings and the stone wool blocks can now be implanted into the start-up growing kit.
When we are growing clones, the lamps do not need to be placed so high above the plants. Seed grown plants are able to handle much more light intensity opposed to a fresh cut clone derived from a female cannabis plant. A seed grown plant is used to receiving light from the harsh sun, and has adapted perfectly to this condition. Of course you’ve heard to hang the lamps 60 centimetres above the plants in the beginning, but this just pertains to clones, seed grown plants should not follow this step.
So the question is, when do you start feeding your precious plants? First off, it all depends on how you are actually growing them. But keep this in mind, however you choose to grow your plants, you need to make sure that in the beginning stages you grow your plants with soil. Growing them in soil will make sure they have enough nutrients for two weeks minimum. Your plants will start asking to be fed. Usually the green leaves will start to turn light green if they are asking for food. Since you are a novice, it might be hard to recognize. Once the plants turn yellow, it is positive that you’ve ‘accidentally neglected them’ and didn’t feed them at the appropriate time.
Don’t get yourself worked up because the plant turned yellow. The plant simply just needs nutrients. One main nutrient the plant might be lacking at this point, is nitrogen. Nitrogen is a vital staple and building block for a flourishing and developing plant. After you nourish your plants by feeding them, their yellow leaves will now turn green again and you have now replenished the plant. Although, it depends upon how deficient the plants were, it may take a few hours to a whole day to see a change.
Don’t make it harder for yourself, grow the plants in soil, this way you can get acquainted with them. Growing the plants in soil means that you do not have to feed the plants for the first few weeks, and you have less of a chance to mess up if you follow this step. When your plants are in the middle of the growing stages; it is wise to feed them with 18 hours of lamp light and 6 hours of darkness. Doing so, correlates to the longest and sunniest day of the year, June 21st. We trick the plant into thinking every single day is the longest and sunniest day.
Enjoy the process!
When the plants are developing in the first few weeks in the earth soil mix and in their pots, there is not much to do; for now, just enjoy the view. During the first week, it will appear as if no progress is being made, but the second week will come and you will be surprised at how quickly they are actually beginning to grow.
Practice the art of growing and spend quality time with your plants for ultimate success. Participate in all development stages with care, and soon you will witness a tiny seed turn into a sprout, which then will lead to a flourishing cannabis bush, providing the best quality of cannabis your lungs have ever experienced!
*Note* You need to make sure your seeds have enough moisture, do not drown them. If your seed is drowned in water and wet, the root with not seek outside sources for water, (it will not grow).
Monitoring pH and EC for Successful Growing
As your growth cycle gets underway, it is important to understand your soil. Learning about pH and EC will help you monitor your crop and adjust things when necessary to keep going strong.
The pH of your soil is its acidity level. The pH-scale runs from 1-14, with levels between 1-7 deemed acidic and levels between 7-14 deemed alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. For cannabis plants, the ideal pH level of the soil lies somewhere between 5.6 and 6.6. At this ideal pH, your plants are able to get the most nutrients out of the soil. When soil is out of this range, it means that essential nutrients in the soil are essentially unavailable to your plants, leading to sickness from deficiency. Soil life is also reliant on pH. All healthy soil has an active bacterial presence which determines how fertile it is. Of course, fertile soil helps grow stronger, healthier plants.
To ensure that your soil is at the correct level, measure your feed water with a pH meter. Depending on the read you get you can alter it to the correct pH range. Most tap water is neutral (having a pH of 7), so adding pH-acid will lower the level down to the correct range.
In the end it is entirely up to you to choose whether to monitor the pH of your soil. You can get a great yield from your plants without regulating pH, but going the extra mile to do so will boost your results. However, if you do decide to regulate it you must continue to do so in order to keep a balance.
In addition to regulating the pH of your crop soil, you can also measure the EC of your water. EC refers to the electrical conductivity of a solution. The conductivity increases when more salts are present in a solution. Because plant fertilizers are essentially salts, the EC of your water increases with their presence. Thus, the EC read measures the concentration of fertilizers that your plants receive.
During your crop’s entire cycle, the EC will vary between a reading of 1.2 and 2.8. You must start with the low concentration, 1.2, of fertilizers and then gradually raise it to a higher concentration of no more than 2.8 as your plants grow. Too high of a concentration will destroy the roots of your plant, so continue to monitor it carefully by using an EC meter in your water.
PH refers to the amount of acidity in the soil. The PH level needs to be between the levels of 1-14. A PH level between 1-7 is considered acidic, while 7 is known to be neutral, and PH levels 7-14 is considered alkaline. A PH level that is low, is often acidic. Be mindful of PH levels, as if it’s too high or too low, this can affect the plant, and the ability to intake essential nutrients.
If the plants nutrients are deficient, the plant will become sick. A PH level that is between 5.6-6.6 is usually the best range for the plant to receive proper nutrition and remain healthy. A healthy PH level controls the health of the soil. Healthy soil creates flourishing plants. Measure the water feed with a PH meter that allows you to adjust the PH to the proper level, this step is ideal. Tap water usually has a PH level near 7.0. Add PH-acid to the water and adjust the PH level to around 6.3.
Once you start regulating PH levels, it is important to keep up with this method. When controlling PH levels this is bound to produce better results than if the PH level is not regulated. Having a controlled PH level is more important than EC levels, if you have to choose one or the other, choosing a PH meter should be the choice. The soils PH level is usually around 6.3, keep in mind the PH level of a coconut fiber is near 6.0.
EC measures the conductivity of the material. The higher salt concentration present, the more conducive the solution will be. Fertilizers contain salts. When you add more fertilizer (more salts), EC levels become higher. The EC level measures the fertilizer concentration that is in the water, which is fed to the plant.
During the growing operation, EC levels need to be in the range of 1.2-2.8. 1.2 is the lowest concentration, while the highest is 2.8. Allowing EC levels to exceed 2.8, will cause burning roots. Having an EC meter and placing it into the water, will allow you to add the appropriate nutrients to control proper EC levels.
The importance of the growth phase
After successfully raising the small seedlings, we can now move on to new steps. Keep in mind, not all seedlings will germinate, some will turn out to be duds. Germinate a good amount of seeds because not all of them will survive. Soon after the female seeds will start to develop. Place the seeds under an HPS lamp, the lamp will provide energy and growth, speeding up the process.
In the first week, it will seem as if nothing is occurring, the plants will have few leaves and will be underdeveloped at this stage. In time, the plants will flourish, it is only a matter of time. Think of an old diesel train, it starts slow then it hits maximum speed; it simply takes time. The leaves on the plant can be compared to solar panels, they will absorb energy and light at high rates, which will promote fast growth. The solar panel-like leaves create complete efficiency, you will then see changes each day and the growth will be visible by now.
Not only is light an important factor in the beginning stages of growth, but so is moisture and warmth. Keep the moisture level high in order for the leaves to easily develop. To raise the moisture within the air, leave the air extractor pump off in the beginning weeks, an air humidifier can be used to add extra moisture. The plants will start to get bigger and bigger, this in turn will cause the plants to desire more and more water. As the water evaporates into the plants leaves, this too will create higher moisture and humidity levels.
Vegetation and Growth Stage
Seeds that are germinated will soon start to peak above the soil, they will spring into green bushes of cannabis perfection. At this point, the plant looks and is very fragile. During this stage it is possible to determine the eventual size your plants will grow to. Quality growth is more important than when the plant blooms.
During the pre-growth stages, also known as the vegetation stage, which lasts several weeks, we need to set the lamp timer to 18 hours on, 6 hours off. The plant will have 18 hours of daylight and 6 hours of sleep in other words. The plant will yearn for the light and will be able to develop in width and in length.
More leaves will develop when you allow a plant to grow with pure nourishment, the branches will be stronger too. During the plants growth and acceleration, a plant that had 10 leaves a week before, will most likely have 25 during the next week! The growth is caused by copious amounts of light the plant absorbs. The plant will always grow slow in the beginning, but once a plant has a certain amount of leaves, the growing speed increases. At this point, you will realize that a plant can yield enormous results in a matter of one day!
As the plant gets bigger, this means that it will need more nutrients (food), the plants will also need more oxygen to breathe. Always add the right amount of nutrients, moisture, and oxygen on a consistent basis. If the oxygen level is too low, the plants will not grow to their full potential.
Growing on different mediums
The way you choose to grow your plant will offer various speeds upon how fast your plant grows. The most common way to grow a cannabis plant or any plant for that matter is by using soil, coco and hydro methods are second on the list; meaning they are grown with coco soil or in water. Each different method has pros and cons.
Growing plants in soil allows for a fast growth session as it creates a good atmosphere. The roots will flourish in airy soil with a good amount of light. The faster the plants root grows, the faster the plant will grow above ground. Roots need oxygen. Soil that is compacted will not contain a lot of oxygen.
Make sure the ground is not tightly compacted as it will have a great impact on your roots growth phase. Soil contains nutrients, which is one major pro. Liquid feed will not have to be added early on if this method is used. When beginning an entire growth phase, it is wise not to start off using poor methods, as this will affect the entire harvest and bloom. Soil or the earth itself is a perfect place for beginners to start learning how to grow. During this whole experience, you will increase your growth knowledge. If you start learning to grow the plants in soil, you will always hone this valuable skill.
Using coco to grow your plants allows for a more aerated environment. For some, this is a favorited method. This method enables a tremendous start, due to the fact that coco fibers are rich in oxygen. Plants that grow in an oxygen rich environment develop stronger than others. The con for using coco is that coco includes zero nutrients. With this method you will need to add liquid feed early on. Since coco is hard to over fertilize, it is often hard to over feed your soil.
An accumulation of salts causes overfeeding. In the beginning stages, if you are overfeeding your plant than it will affect the plants ability to quickly absorb a high dose of nutrients in the future. If this is the case, the plants leaves will show stripes that are not aesthetic to the eyes. The stripes will become noticeable at the ends of the leaf and will eventually expand throughout the leaf, thereafter the entire leaf will dry up. In order to prevent this, you need to make sure that you flush out your soil.
Flushing it out will ensure that an accumulation of salts are not piled up. If your plants leaves are dark green, this is a sign the plant has all nutrients needed. If you give the plant more nutrients at this time, this could lead to overfeeding the plant. If you are questioning this factor, then it is best to wait to see if the plant leaves turn light yellow in a couple days, once they do, you can feed it again, but if you wait too long the plant leaves will turn yellow.
When it comes to growing your plants via the hydro method, the growth speed is much faster, due to the high presence of oxygen. This method is much more challenging then soil or coco methods. Hydro grown plants will grow faster than other methods and need less effort than the other methods above. Once you’ve started off correctly, the process will usually run smooth. When using this method, you must rely on electrical power. There is a con, if there were an unexpected outage, your plants would suffer. A generator would be wise if you choose to grow with this particular method.
Strong roots equals success!
Most growers use root stimulating compounds. This creates strong growth. Remember that all of the real action takes place under the soil in the beginning of the growth process. In the beginning, the small seeds have few roots. When using compounds, the idea is to stimulate the roots so they grow fast. A common compound is a liquid root stimulator, large companies that specialize in compound nutrients will have this. A root stimulator enables the roots to grow with impulse, this process usually works well when the soil method is used. Not only will this stimulator aide your cannabis plant, it will also aide other plants; if other plants are growing nearby.
It is important to dilute the root stimulator, dilute it with water. Do not use the root stimulator with liquid fertilizer, this will cause the root stimulator to lose effectiveness. During the plants first few days, make sure to add the root stimulator, but do not mix it with nutrients. You will get an optimum head start if you follow this step.
Sometimes fungi can also aide with root development in the early stages. Spores and beneficial molds usually come in a bag full of powder, you can mix this powder with water. A good brand to use is Nova Star-T from BioNova. Soak the cutting blocks that your seeds or your clones have been planted in. This mold works in consonance with the plant and needs the plant to survive. The cannabis plant uses the mold within its roots. The plant is able to take nutrients from the mold. Adding beneficial mold to the mix aides your cannabis plant. The plant will be much stronger and healthier in the long-run. Your purpose is to make sure that you create strong roots, this way the plant has a solid foundation to grow off of.
Growth Phase Importance
During the growth phase you will be able to determine the measurements of your plants. Of course, as you can see, there are myriads of ways to grow your cannabis plants. You can place many seeds into a square meter. If this is the case, do not allow for too much growing time, otherwise if the plants are too large they will crush each other. In other words, the fewer seedlings you plant, the more you can allow them to grow for longer periods of time.
Seeds and clones have different growing desires. Seed plants are younger than clones. Clones are already adults; therefore, they need less growth time before being lured to bloom. A seed plant travels through multiple stages and takes about a month to become mature. Throughout the process you will become a good grower and with each crop you will get faster when it comes to bringing a seed from infancy to adulthood.
During the growth phase, time is not dependent, but seeing bulk is. Once you notice your clone’s branches run sideways, this means your plant has entered adulthood. If the branches run straight, at this point, it means that your plant is still immature.
Providing your plants with more or less grow time determines how big your plant will be. But remember, just because your plant is larger, this does not mean there will be more cannabis on the plant. As a beginning grower, you need to learn to appreciate the fact that after a plant is staged to bloom it develops at an astounding rate. After your plant starts to bloom it not only gets bigger, but in a 3 weeks span it should reach its full potential.
When a plant reaches a perfect growth, this means that the size is optimal. Growth perfection occurs when other plants do not get in the way of the others that are growing nearby. Make sure that each square meter has no gaps and is filled with plants yet not too crammed; this way the plants don’t fight over resources (food). Don’t give the plants too much room or too little room, otherwise this will affect the plants ability to develop to its full potential. Plants need space too, width and length wise. Weak branches and heavy cannabis buds are never a good combination.
If you want a perfect harvest, the buds need to evenly develop around the plant. The buds need to develop on the lower and top branches. Anyone can grow huge buds, but what all growers should aspire to do, is to evenly grow buds around the entire plant. Doing so ends in more cannabis.
Having a perfect harvest is possible with only a few plants
An example, 8 seeds that are given 3 weeks of pre growth, should fill 1 square meter; use a 600w lamp and your plant will have an outcome of 500 grams. This is a strong bloom of 63 grams per plant. Of course, this isn’t a lot, but it’s a start. Keep an eye on your plants once they hit 25-50 cm high, as this height classifies them as young adults. They should have strong branches by now and are ready to be lured into blooming. Clones can be lured into blooming earlier than seed plants (don’t let them get larger than 25 cm), being that they are more mature.
Clones will have more branches, and get less light on the bottom branches. A plant that is too large often gets less light on the bottom branches, this means no buds will grow on the bottom branches. Letting your plant grow too large is a waste of energy. Keep in mind, you are at the mercy of your lamp, a lot of buds will most likely grow on 20 cm of the plant. The lower branches will most likely always have the smallest buds. Make sure light reaches the bottom of the plant too, to optimize lower branch bud development.
When it comes to pots, the number of plants and the growth period will determine what size pots we need. The more plants we have, the smaller pots we need to use, and the less time we need to allot for growth. Say for instance, we have around 16 plants in a one square meter area, we need to provide the plants with a growth session of 5-9 days; in this scenario a 5-liter pot would be sufficient. If we have 10 plants to grow, then we would need to use a 7-11 liter pot. The less plants we aim to grow, the larger the pot needs to be and the longer the growth session will be.
Whichever method you choose; the bud results could turn out to be more or less. The difference between both of these scenarios is the amount of time needed for each grow session. A grower who chooses to grow 16 plants is looking at around 8 weeks of blooming, totaling 2 months and 5 days from beginning until end. If the grower chooses 10 plants to grow, it will take 2 months and 2 weeks; taking longer for the same amount of results.
Growers in the commercial cannabis sales industry try to harvest their plants in the least amount of time possible. They normally use 20 plants in a one square meter area and provide around 1-3 days of growth, depending upon which growing method they decided to use. They are able to harvest plants every two months. Take note that plants that have more sativa content take longer to bloom than plants that are controlled by indica genes.
Depending on your preferences, you might prefer an ‘upper’ type of high that also affects the body. If this is the case, it is advised that you seek a sativa cross strand, this will take longer to bloom, usually 8-10 weeks. Every plant is different, some plants bloom earlier or later than others, some are right on time. Around 80% of cannabis plants grow around the same time when they are planted at the same time.
Potassium and nitrogen are the most needed nutrients during the entire growth period of the cannabis plant. Remember, a plant that is yellow means that it is lacking proper nutrients. You can obtain a good nutritional soil mix at a plant store, the key nutrients in the mix will be supplied for a few weeks to a month. Once the mix is purchased,
liquid nutrients do not need to be added until the bloom process begins. When it comes to the soil mix, the more you spend, the higher quality you will get. Cheap soil is never an advantage. Purchasing cheap soil and then adding liquid nutrients will cause an array of issues down the road. It is best to wait a good amount of time before beginning to fertilize the plant.
When it comes to making mistakes, it is inevitable. The more mistakes you make, the more you will learn. Follow all instructions accordingly. Use a millimeter syringe to measure the exact quantities that you will be adding to your water feed. Having just the right amount of nutrients will lead to healthy growing plants.
You will need to provide your plant with more fertilizer as it gets larger. If you do not increase the fertilizer content, then you will notice that the leaves will start to turn yellow. Again, the plant is telling you that she needs more nutrients. During the growth of your plant your water feed strength needs to be increased. More nutrients need to be given more often at this point.
Growth Period – First Two Weeks
The seeds that we use are planted in Plagron’s Royalty Mix. This soil is pre fertilized soil, the nutrient supply lasts for around three weeks. During the first two weeks, we supplied the seeds with a root stimulator. Soon after the plants began to grow faster and faster. We also gave the plants Alga Groei to increase their growth, this is a liquid nutrient from Plagron. This step is not that important as the pre fertilized soil has all of the nutrients necessary, but it does help the pre fertilizer maintain its nutritional value. If we did not feed the plant within 3 weeks at this stage, the soil would be depleted of nutrients. By giving the plant extra nutrients we do not have to use a more powerful fertilizer. Giving just the right amount of food is very important.
Using a root stimulator and a liquid grow feed in the growth stage is pretty much all there is to it. Although, we need to make sure the lamp is 30-40 cm above the plant. Test it out, by checking with your hand how hot the lamp is, by placing your hand above a leaf and under the light. If it feels burning hot, then the lamp is too low. The lamps height will vary depending on the size of the plant, how many lights you have, how powerful they are, and many other factors. Make sure to have proper air circulation. Removing hot air aides, the plant from being too stressed and prevents the plants from becoming too dry. If you do have proper air circulation, you can hang your lamps lower.
During the first few weeks’ air moisture levels are utmost important.
This helps the plants grow quicker and helps the leaves develop with ease. Large amounts of air moisture content provide glorious results. We can create high levels of air moisture by disabling the air extraction feature, or by running it on a low setting. This way the moist air isn’t pumped out of the plants growing space. A humidifier can also help with air moisture levels. The temperature should be around 22-28 degrees Celsius during the day, and 18-22 degrees Celsius at night. Make sure the temperature doesn’t fall below 16 degrees, otherwise you might see significant growth losses.
Now let the lamps do most of the work. Throughout this course, we will teach you how to save your precious cash. When the plant is sleeping at night, you will save on your electricity bill.
Now that you have raised green plants, you just have to wait a few more months to enjoy your hard-work and perfectly aesthetic cannabis plant.
Knowing SOG Vs. SCROG
Before you move your mind from the flowering stage and into the blooming phase, you need to make sure your plant is large enough and has passed the vegetation stage. The size and health (green color) of the plant will usually be a good indication.
Next, we need to make sure that we raised our plants during the vegetation period into sturdy and vivacious bushes. Having a fan running in the grow space helps the plant become stronger. Having a fan will ensure that cool and hot air get mixed around and creates an easy breeze for your plants. The flow of the air strengthens your plants stems, which in turn holds heavier and larger buds. Once you integrate a fan, you will see the results fairly quickly. The plant will adapt to the new environment in no time. Direct the fan at your plants. They will sway a bit.
After a couple of days, the plants will no longer sway and will be stuck in place, growing. Here is another sign that the plants stem has become more stiff. At this point, you can increase the level of the fan, but don’t increase it too high. Once the plants progress through the fans stress, the outcome is, strong and muscle-like stems opposed to thin and fragile stems. Having a good fan and slight breeze will ensure you receive greater buds on your plants, this too can help you save money in the long-run. Higher yields equal more cannabis.
Using lights to grow always creates larger buds. You might risk your plant with this method, if you don’t create strong enough branches and stems to hold the heavy new buds. Having strong stems will always result in more bud, in rare cases, there are some exceptions.
Nutrients and feeding
After you have begun providing your plants with nutrient feeds on a regular basis, to aide with their development, they will rapidly grow under the lights. Always buy high quality nutrients as they contain the most nutrients. Always provide a little extra feed here and there. Make sure your soil is never depleted of nutrients. You will constantly be adding new feed throughout the process.
As mentioned, a quality soil mix will usually last around 3 weeks. But if you add in nutrient feeds, the soil mix will last 5-6 weeks before it is depleted of nutrients. Adding more feed will always cause less issues. Don’t neglect this step or you will have to add in large amounts of nutrients in one setting. This is not ideal for beginners as it may be hard to see if you are over feeding or under feeding the plant; yellow leaves will be your indication.
Nutrition takes time, it’s a building process. When the seeds are tiny, you can wait around a 1.5 weeks to give them their first nutrient rich meal. Since the seedlings are small, use a half supply rather than a whole supply. The EC nutrient rich mix level will normally be around 1.4, depending on which one you buy. When the plant gets larger, start providing the plant with more EC nutrient supply, add it into the water feed. Make sure to slowly add more and more nutrient supply as the plant gets larger, otherwise your plants leaves will let you know it is lacking full nutrition. A bigger plant always needs more nutrients and supplies. Each plant is different, use your best judgment, as their size always varies.
Deficiencies in Plants
A deficiency that arises often in cannabis plants is lack of nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium. During the vegetation stage your plants are more prone to deficiencies in potassium and nitrogen. Many people usually experience potassium deficiencies. When a leaf turns yellow closest to the stem, this means that the plant is lacking nitrogen. At this point, the plant begins eating its own nitrogen supply, which ends in dry leaves.
Potassium deficiencies are another common occurrence, although when this nutrient is lacking, the middle of the leaf starts to turn yellow, which makes potassium and nitrogen deficiency easy to distinguish from one another. It is possible to experience both deficiencies at once. If this happens the leaves will be yellow closest to the stem and on the middle of the leaves.
When you enter the blooming stage, having a phosphorus deficiency is common. Potassium deficiencies can also follow along. It is often harder to distinguish phosphorous deficiencies. If this is the case, the entire plant will become dark purple. The bloom will be delayed and the buds will be smaller if this deficiency occurs. If this lasts short-term, this will not damage the plants. Experiencing a nutrient deficiency is easy to fix. Soon yellow leaves will be green once again! As a beginner, it is better to under feed your cannabis plant rather than to over fertilize the plant.
Along the way, you will learn just what levels of nutrients your plant needs. Remember to gradually increase nutrient dosage depending on how your plant is growing. The larger the plant, the more nutrients, you get the picture. If more problems arise, issues we have not covered just yet, then this might mean your plant is in a complicated state.
Knowing how to differentiate and recognize certain deficiencies will help you fix the issue early on. It is always a good idea to experiment by growing one single plant first. Make sure to recognize its deficiencies, don’t feed it for a bit, wait, and observe. Online forums or plant knowledgeable individuals are a good way to help decipher what deficiencies your plant is experiencing. Once you have been equipped with trial and error knowledge your future crops will run smooth.
Knowing Your Colors
As long as you are not color blind, you will be able to recognize the bright green color a healthy plant produces. When a plant is green and healthily shines, you will be rest assured that you have fed your plant all of the nutrients that it needs to flourish.
At this point, if you do not raise your nutrient levels little by little, then issues are bound to peek in. When the leaves turn light green, you need to feed them more nutritious food, if you don’t feed it, the light green color will eventually turn to yellow. Recognizing these colors is simple.
Leaves that are older and get less light, turn yellow. At this point, the plant uses these leaves and their nutrients, then has no use for them, so they dry up. Do not assume your plant is lacking nutrition due to a few leaves turning yellow, as this could simply be the case.
Remember, when you over fertilize and feed your plants too much, an accumulation of salts builds up, this is why it is important to use an enzyme preparation method. An enzyme preparation makes sure that dead roots are removed. This is a good method to use because your cannabis plant will consistently be growing roots, and roots will also be dying in the process. Adding this method to the mix will ensure a healthier bloom.
Feeding Your Plant Too Much?
When your plant turns dark green it is time to ease it on the nutrients. Over fertilizing your plant can have a hazardous effect on the plant. If you are unsure if you overfed the plant, wait it out, and when the leaves turn a lighter color you will know to feed it again. Make sure to notate the amount of days it took your plant to change in color. Feed your plants as needed, and soon a healthy green will appear. Test your plants; usually you need to feed your plant every two days. In the beginning of this book, we mentioned using PH and EC meters as they are entirely effective. Remember, the PH meter measures the acidity that is in your soil.
An EC meter allows you to precisely measure the nutrients that are given to your plant. Gradually increasing doses along the way is key. A PH and EC meter is important if you are looking for on-point levels. It is always advised that beginning growers start growing in soil, to learn the true fundamentals behind growing. These meter tools are not necessary if you plan to grow your plants in soil.
Common Growing Styles Methods
Two common growing styles include: SOG and SCROG. SOG stands for ‘Sea of Green,’ this method calls for having multiple plants per square meter, this style gives the plants a few days, sometimes zero days before producing a bloom. The end result of this method leads to fewer branches and a stunted upward growth potential. This method results in a pole full of buds from the top all the way to the bottom. This method is common when it comes to commercial growing companies.
Providing your plants with a longer growth session allows the branches to develop, Scrogging creates bushy plants, this method is preferred by most people who grow. If you have very few plants per square meter than the Scrogging style might be your method. “Scrogging” means to remove the plants top shoot, also known as ‘topping’. The plants main shoot is found at the plants center stem.
This area creates side branches and new leaves. When we remove the top of the plant, the plants height will no longer increase. At this point, the plant will extend its energy horizontally to its side branches. The side branches in return become extraordinarily strong. With this method the plant will end up short and fat. The buds can be found on the upper part of the plant where the light usually hits.
Make sure that if you do ‘top’ your plant, that you do this early on. Usually the recommendation is to top the plant a week before it is about to bloom. The plant needs time to get used to the scrogging a.k.a the ‘topping’ method. This method is sure to yield large buds.
Effects of Using Nets
Usually an experienced scrogger will add nets above his plants, training them to grow evenly. The goal is to make sure each area of the plant is getting an adequate amount of light. The Sog method creates large buds with few small buds throughout the plant, while the scrog method creates medium sized buds evenly spread across the plant. Using the scrog method minimizes your plants chances of gaining a mold infection. If you live in a humid environment and your grow space area is moist, then the scrogging method limits your plants chances of acquiring moldy bud.
The amount of bud that both methods create is nearly the same, if each method is done correctly. The amount of bud that is produced really depends upon what type of plant you are growing. Certain plants are better for different growing methods. The sog method produces less side branches, while the scrogging method produces various amounts of buds all around the entire plant, mainly around the side branches.
If you choose the scrogging method, then it is recommended that you cut off the lower branches. You need to concentrate on the branches higher, which receive the most amount of light. Since the lower region of the plant receives less light, the outcome will be fluffy buds. Cut the lower regions of the plant off and make sure that the air circulation is good. This way the plants energy gets transferred to branches that are higher on the plant and receiving light. You can also cut the lower branches during the sog method if your plant leaves are becoming too dense.
Of course growers can experiment with different methods. There are some growers who slightly cut the side branches during the entire growth phase (vegetation phase), some growers leave 4-6 branches on the plant, these branches are optimally developed.
Make sure that your plants always feel like they are at home. It is recommended that you feed them with lukewarm water, 23 degree celsius is ideal. This normally feels like a cool temperature. But, if you feed your plants too cold of water, their roots will go into shock, and the blooming process will be affected.
We’d like to emphasize the fact that the growth phase is more important than the bloom stage, as the growth phase sets up a healthy foundation for the blooming stage. You’ll be able to save on time and electricity, if you become a more efficient and effective grower.
Your Very First Buds
The light is almost at the end of the tunnel, after a few more months of blossoming, your plant buds should be ready to cut and trim. Keep in mind, when we make small adjustments, this creates better results. We need to make sure that we get the best results by making sure there are no issues along the way. Now is a good time to check for nutrient deficiencies.
When the plant starts to blossom, tiny white hairs begin to peak out on different areas of the plant. After this occurrence, buds start forming shortly after. Don’t forget to separate the male and female plants. A way to differentiate the two; a male plant produces small balls, while the female plant does not. In three weeks’ time, the male plants balls burst and then begin to fertilize the female plant by spreading pollen.
During the first three weeks of the blossoming and growing period, you need to make sure that you set your lights to 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Once you do this the plant will explode into cannabis perfection! If this is your first time growing, this will be quite a sight. Soon, crystal-like mounds will pile up on your new and thriving buds. The cannabis smell will become stronger each and every single day. The glorious cannabis smell will leave you yearning for your first harvest smoke or vaporize session.
Growing & Blooming Plant Feed
Make sure that when you are in the blooming period that you use bloom feed. It is highly likely you won’t use the full contents of the bloom feed nutrients. Keep the nutrient contents aside for your next harvest. As mentioned, if you used a pre fertilizer, you will buy yourself a few weeks before you have to add a liquid fertilizer. The pre growth stages should not last long. If it does, you will have to use growth nutrients. Plagron nutrients is the brand that we chose to use. Some brands provide one bottle of solution. The contents include: growth and blooming nutrients. There are separate growth and bloom nutrients on the market to buy.
Most growers consistently provide their plants with nutrients during the 1st and 2nd week of the blooming stage, as this period is a transition stage for the plants. During this stage, the plants have an incredible appetite for nitrogen and other nutrients that aide their fast development. In turn, this will create bigger plants. The nutrients stimulate the plants for incredible growth. Experiment on one plant, you can make plants larger by giving them more nutrients than others, but remember to balance it out and not to overfeed your plant.
If your plants are already large, and you need to save more space than it is ideal to immediately add bloom feed. If your plants happen to be small and they do not properly fill the square meter that you planted them in, then you need to feed them grow feed to stimulate a larger growth. Every small step will add centimeters to your plant, resulting in more buds.
The plants will reach their maximum size after 3 weeks of blooming. Once the plants stop growing in height and in width, the buds will begin to form. When the buds start to form it is best to provide them with bloom feed. The plants will need more calcium and phosphorus at this point.
These nutrients are foundational nutrients that create strong buds. A bottle of PK 13-14 (Plagron’s PK Plus), can be supplemented and added to your original bloom feed. This nutrient has extra calcium and phosphorus, which results in buds that are grand in size. Start off with smaller doses during the first week, and slowly build dosages as each week progresses. It is ideal to use 0.25 ml per liter during the 1st week. When the 3rd week approaches, your dose should be 0.75 ml per liter. The directions are provided on the container.
During the 4th week of the bloom process, buds will develop. At this point, the plant needs a dose of 1.5 ml per liter. Continue this process until the bloom session is complete. Using PK 13-14 creates dense buds, which yields more bud results in return.
During this phase of blooming you need to customize the amount of nutrients that you are giving to your plant. The customization should vary per plant and specific nutrient requests. If you were feeding your plant strong dosages in the first 3 weeks of blooming and you keep this up, you run the risk of over fertilizing your plant.
If you were feeding your plant nutrients every single day in the first few weeks of bloom, then you can start feeding your plant every other day now. Pay attention to what your plants ask for, every plant blooms differently. Some buds develop in the first 3 weeks, while others take 5 weeks to develop. Listen to what your plants are trying to tell you about their health and about the nutritional contents they need. Following the same dosage schedule can interrupt your plant, plants change, so do their food habits. Make sure not stick to the same pattern, change things up according to the plant, otherwise you risk having a weak harvest session.
The Leaves Need Food
Your plant will bloom with fiery if you feed your plant Algal Bloom. Spray your plant every week with Plagron’s Repro Forte; Phytamin Leaf feed, this is a bloom stimulator. This bloom feed makes sure that enough sugars are transferred from the leaves and to the buds. Keep in mind, you will also be giving your plant enzymes too, every two weeks. The enzymes help clean out the soil and remove dead roots, and also aide with minimizing the salt accumulation, caused by nutrients that have been fed to the plant.
Seed plants grow with a larger height than clones. If you do not have a large space to grow in, it is recommended that you slightly bend or ‘top’ your plant as we discussed earlier. You can bend your plant by using a string and gently pulling down on the crown of a bud with light pressure. This method is similar to ‘topping’ also known as
removing the plants top. The advantage with this method is that the crown bud will not be removed. Branches that are lower on the plant will begin to develop more buds, ending in a larger girth size. Keep in mind that grow spaces that are shorter than 1.5 meters will need topping or slight bending with a string. Another way around this issue is by providing a shorter growth session for your plant.
Less food is better than too much food when it comes to feeding your plant. If your plant experiences a harsh nutrient deficiency that cannot be fixed with bloom feed, a quick fix solution would be leaf feed. You can make the solution by using the same nutrients you use to feed the plants, except with this solution, make sure to spray the plant leaves with the solution. Plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves. This method proves to be advantageous because it does not affect PH levels in your soul. Spray your plants before you turn off the lamp or before you switch your lamps on.
When your plants experience a huge deficiency you need to feed them with a good amount of nutritional solutions. The problem with this method is that you’ll have to wait until your plants are hungry again, otherwise you risk overfeeding them. Feeding plants every single day is not ideal especially if they cannot absorb all of the nutrients at once. Make sure to provide water and leaf feed to keep your plants nutritionally balanced. Once you start the leaf solution you should notice results within one day after the application. The yellow spots on the leaves will appear green again. Continue to feed your plant water and the leaf feed and the perfect green color will thrive and jive once again.
An advantage of leaf feed is that growers can experiment to see what nutritional deficiencies their plants are dealing with. Growers are often confused when it comes to determining whether or not their plant is overfed or under fertilized. Spraying the leaves with leaf feed can enable the grower to see a good or bad reaction almost immediately.
Always make sure to keep extra sets of bottles filled with nutrients nearby. Fill the bottles separately with nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. This will make it easy for you when you want to experiment with nutritional deficiency issues and your plants. For instance, say your plant is lacking nitrogen, do not use a general solution, instead use the bottle specifically for nitrogen.
Pin-pointing the nutrient and deficiency will not affect other nutrients in the process. Having separate bottles will be useful for outdoor growing, especially for large crops. Spray ample amounts of nitrogen if your plants are lacking this main nutrient needed for optimal growth. When you are experiencing a heat wave, make sure to feed your plant enough nitrogen with a leaf spray or add the nitrogen solution to the water feed. Use the same method if your plant is lacking calcium or phosphorus.
To experience an amazing bloom, your plant needs a sufficient amount of carbon dioxide. Co2 (carbon dioxide) is needed for growth and bloom. The higher concentration of Co2 within the air, the quicker your plants will grow. This will also increase the plants heat tolerance. You need to make sure your grow space is properly set-up, this is vital.
A perfect grow space includes a space for ventilation holes at the bottom, and a vacuum air extractor on the opposite end of the grow space, (needs to be placed high above the grow space). This allows a proper air ventilation system. Fresh Co2 air flows through to the plants, is then absorbed, and then sucked out of the grow system with the vacuum extractor. The process repeats as fresh air enters through the holes at the bottom of the grow space.
If you are growing your plants in a larger area, than make sure to use a fan, which can be positioned at the top of your grow space, on a ceiling. An air blower blows air in, while a vacuum extractor blows air out. An air blower is not necessary when your growing space is small. Smaller growing spaces are easier to renew the air, via a specialized pump.
A long sock usually ranging from 3-5 meters and made from textile is considered an air sock. When using an air blower, you will receive cool air pumped on one side of your growing space. This generally means the climate temperature is not optimal. It also means that the Co2 levels are not equally and evenly being distributed throughout the plants. The air sock works by adding it on top of the air blower, which is fastened tightly to the ceiling overhead.
As soon as the blower is turned on the air sock provides fresh air, entering 3-5 meters of your grow space. Once Co2 is equally distributed throughout your grow space, your plants can now relish in fresh new air. Using an air sock allows for the temperature coming from outside to warm up before the air hits the plants, providing an optimal climate for your plants. Simply put, a weak ventilation system will produce frail yellow plants, while a well-developed ventilation strategy provides strong growth and bloom.
Using a fan that rotates is another vital piece of equipment that will be needed. A fan enables terrific air circulation, and perfectly mixes cool and warm air. Let your plants enjoy a slight breeze of air, it is what they are used to. As we’ve learned, providing a perfect breeze for your plants will result the air sock provides fresh air, entering 3-5 meters of your grow space.
Once Co2 is equally distributed throughout your grow space, your plants can now relish in fresh new air. Using an air sock allows for the temperature coming from outside to warm up before the air hits the plants, providing an optimal climate for your plants. Simply put, a weak ventilation system will produce frail yellow plants, while a well-developed ventilation strategy provides strong growth and bloom.
Using a fan that rotates is another vital piece of equipment that will be needed. A fan enables terrific air circulation, and perfectly mixes cool and warm air. Let your plants enjoy a slight breeze of air, it is what they are used to. As we’ve learned, providing a perfect breeze for your plants will result in thicker stems and more buds.
The Formation of Buds
As mentioned, during the blooming stage, the most important weeks are the 3rd week all the way to the 5th week for most plants. At this stage the plants use their energy to provide nutrient supplies to their buds. During these weeks, your plants will expand in size quickly. You must make sure that the entire process is running as smooth as it possibly can.
In the beginning of the 3rd week during the blooming stage, make sure to spray your plants with an organic pesticide to prevent critters from trying to feed on your plant. At this point, the buds are not fully compacted and dense quite yet. Don’t spray your plants with an organic pesticide during the 5th week, spray it beforehand.
During the blooming stage, you need to simply feed your plants the proper nutrients and simply watch the glorious buds appear. White hairs will grow on the plant, and will begin to separate each bud that is grown on the plant, which will then become one large bud.
Blooming Buds and Ending Weeks
After long weeks, your harvest will soon come to an end. Your plants will have grown an enormous amount during the 3rd week in bloom. By now, they have experienced a huge transition, resulting in a slow formation of buds. White hairs increase by the numbers, and eventually create beautiful buds, which should now be compacted and dense. Your buds will be full of THC and are developing even larger in this ending stage.
Your plants should have a healthy green appearance and a large amount of THC on their buds. The leaves that surround the buds will also become much stickier, as THC glands make-up these areas on the plant. Your final harvest is very close now. The larger the leaves are that surround the buds, the more THC they have. After we dry the leaves appropriately, we need to decipher whether or not we will create water hash or ‘skuff’, we will elaborate on this topic below.
As long as you don’t overfeed your plants, then the sight of your cannabis garden shall be completely appeasing. Under an HPS illumination light you will be able to take a long glimpse at the THC glands that have developed throughout the entire growing process. As we already learned, plants that are in bloom, need extra calcium and phosphorus, which is why it is important to use Plagron PK 13-14 to increase the bloom session and stimulate growth.
Of course these nutrients are found in general nutrient solutions, but PK 13-14 provides extra and pin-pointed nutrients in larger volumes. PK 13-14 creates harder and denser buds. If you happen to be a beginning grower than it is wise to stick with a general fertilizer, which contains all of the necessary nutrients; nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Remember, PK 13-14 also stimulates the plants roots. Use these general nutrients and soon your harvest will reach its peak.
If your gut feeling lets you know that your harvest is going to be issue free, then you can use additional nutrients to support your harvest. Using a bloom stimulant, along with enzymes and boosters is ideal. Don’t proceed to use these additional nutrients immediately, as they only aide with growth if the whole process of growing went smoothly. Being that you are a beginning grower it is inevitable that you may have made plenty of mistakes along the way, if so, these additional products are not necessary.
Once you have fixed the mistakes that have been made during the growth process, these additional nutrients may be useful. After using the same solution bottle for quite some time, you will notice that the bottles top has white and crystalized matter on top of it, this is known as mineral deposits; in other words, salt deposits. When you use organic nutrients, Plagron products to be exact, mineral deposits left behind will be at lower levels.
Plants Need to Breathe; Ventilation
The water and nutrients that you feed your plant end up somewhere. Water is evaporated by cannabis leaves and spread into the air space of your grow room. In the early stages of blooming, your plant was small and hadn’t fully passed the vegetation stage, hence the moisture that was let out into the air from the plant was very minimal. Cannabis grows faster when it has a moist environment. HPS lamps create a dry environment for cannabis plants, slowing down the growth process.
Allow moisture in the air to gain momentum. You can avoid buying an air humidifier if you choose to buy a dimmer, which you will connect to your ventilator. A dimmer allows you to change air speed extraction. When you attach the dimmer to your ventilator you can control temperature and climate in your grow space area. A ventilator that is not equipped with a dimmer is harder to control air speed extraction, as a ventilator usually operates at full speed. When a ventilator operates at full speed it creates loud noise and certainly wastes electricity.
The ventilator is not actually creating the loud noise, it is the air stream that enters and exits the ventilator. Using a dimmer during the first few weeks enables the ventilator to work more smoothly. It will extract less moisture out of the air, resulting in a higher moisture concentration, which allows your seedlings to develop at a faster rate.
After your cannabis plants grow larger and you can afford an actual pump, you can let the ventilator pump do most of the work. You must make sure that you don’t let extreme amounts of moisture into your grow space area, especially when your buds are close to blooming; usually around the 4th week. Having too much moisture build-up will cause your buds to become too hard and can cause your buds to experience mold. Do not allow mold to affect your precious buds, especially in the last weeks of your harvest.
When you find mold on your bud then the bud is basically destroyed. If your bud is well developed and has odd yellow leaves sticking out of the middle, that can be pulled off easily, then you know your bud is infected with mold. Having a good ventilation system, especially during the last few weeks of your harvest limits your mold risk. Damp warm air can be removed with a ventilator. The ventilator also allows fresh Co2 air into your grow space, aiding your cannabis plant each second of the day.
Your plant needs fresh air daily in order to grow to its full potential. The moisture levels during the last weeks of bloom need to kept below 50 percent.
You can always choose to grow your cannabis in an enclosed cupboard, but your results won’t be as good. If you decide to grow cannabis, you’d better start by doing it the correct way in the first place. Having a ventilator and a dimmer helps you conquer the environment needed for ultimate ending results.
Watch the noise!
For beginning growers who set-up a growing space in your bedroom, there are bound to be complaints about the noise the ventilator is creating via the air stream it is producing. You can minimize the noise when you purchase a dimmer as stated in the paragraphs above. Try running your ventilator at 75-80 percent. Having a large ventilator and setting it to half speed will reduce the noise. If this doesn’t work, make sure that you buy a ventilator that is insulated in a box.
Also, by attaching a hose to your ventilator system you can minimize the noise, as the noise will run throughout the hose first, filtering the noise. If these techniques do not aide with noise reduction, then it is wise to buy a sound muffler that can be fitted to your ventilator. A sound muffler looks similar to a carbon filter. A sound muffler will look like a metal tube that needs to be attached to the ventilator. The sound that is created is then passed through the tube first, which sufficiently minimizes and filters ventilator noise.
The End of your Blooming Phase
After the 6th week, most of the buds should be fully developed by now. During the last two weeks, the cannabis buds will become ripe and will usually not grow any larger. The once white hairs that covered the buds will now turn brown, very slowly. The ripening process may take some time, depending upon the strain you chose to use, your growing method choice, and the climate of the environment you created. After 80 percent of the white hairs turn brown, it will be wise to break out your scissors and prep for your first harvest yet!
You may be able to control the type of high that you receive from your cannabis, this can be achieved by harvesting your buds earlier or later, depending on your strain. If you wait a longer period of time to harvest, you’ll achieve more of a body high from your cannabis. If you harvest your cannabis a wee bit earlier, you are likely to achieve more of a head high from your buds. It is your choice, depending on your preference. White hairs can sometimes turn brown due to environment temperature and or too much humidity. If this is the case, this does not mean that your buds are ripe and ready to be clipped. Moldy bud will also contain brown hairs.
When harvesting, there are many variations that can occur, but as long as you follow the 80% brown hair method, and buds that are lower on the plant contain white hairs, it is safe to start cutting. When determining if the plant has 80% brown hairs, you need to assess and take the full plant into consideration. If you want variations to your cannabis high, then you can harvest your plant in intervals; once you dry your bud, you can experiment and sample it along the way.
Flushing and why this is absolutely important!
The end is near in sight, and you will eventually notice that some strains hold nutrients better than others. An example, K2 holds nutrients for a longer period of time, meaning, you must not feed this strain in the last 1.5 weeks of bloom. Don’t worry, the buds will stay crispy green, the hairs will get darker, and the buds will soon ripen with an entire THC appearance that glistens with wonder.
The leaves still contain nutrition from within, this is why we can stop feeding our plants during the last 1.5-2 weeks of the blooming stage. This process where we only feed the plant water in the last week of flowering is called flushing. Flushing is absolutely necessary for a smooth smoke and healthy medicinal bud!
If you chose to grow you plants hydroponically, then you should not stop feeding your plants until you reach the last 5 days. If you do, your plant will become yellow, as you are growing your plant purely in water and it will be lacking nutrients. When it comes to pots full of soil and coco, nutrients are usually left in these compounds and need to be used.
When you stop feeding your plants in the ending stages, your plants will obtain the remaining nutrients left in the fertilizer provided, the buds will also extract nutrients from the leaves. After you stop feeding your plants during this stage, they will still have enough nutrients to derive their energy from. At this point, you may add a bloom stimulator, but do not add a nutrient substance.
Your leaves will begin to turn yellow, meaning there is a small amount of nutrients left for your buds. During this stage, you can begin to save on nutrition expenses. When the plant turns yellow in the end stages, this can be a good sign. Your plant is close to harvesting. Cut off larger leaves and begin to prepare yourself for the actual harvest!
Cannabis cutting, trimming, drying and curing
Finally, we have arrived to the harvest stage! You’ve sure learned a lot by now and should be able to cultivate high quality cannabis. Of course, we know, you are a beginner, so mistakes are inevitable, but as you know, any mistake will take a toll on the ending results. If you made too many mistakes and the outcome is not what you expected, it is time to learn from your trials and errors and fix them with your next grow session.
Keep in mind, knowledge is power, the more you know, the better master you will become. During 8-10 weeks of blooming, if everything went smoothly, then you can now start the actual harvest. If your plant does not exemplify an overdose of nutrients, then you can start cutting off some nice buds. As mentioned before, it is ideal to give less than more when it comes to feeding your plants.
During the harvest stage you can start minimizing food and water. The plant will start to turn yellow at this point, but it means that the plant is sucking out all of the nutrients needed, therefore your buds will not end up with nutrient residue. The ending result is a perfect smoke or vape session.
There are several methods that can be used when you reach the harvest stage. Whichever method you use will depend on the size of your plants and the amount of plants you have. A common harvest method is known as ‘wet’ trimming your buds. When you choose this method, you need to trim the plants the second they finish ripening on the plant.
Begin to cut off the branches from the ripened plant and remove all of the leaves that surround the bud. Remember, the plant leaves also contain THC, so you can set these aside once you trim them to make water hash or skuff at a later time. If you want to increase the quality of your hash, than it is recommended that you mix large leaves along with THC crystals that are visible on the plant. The large leaves on the plant can be cut off 2-3 days before you begin your harvest trimming session. You’ll make trimming your plant a lot easier if you trim proactively.
An advantage of removing the large leaves on top 2-3 days before an actual trim, is that you will allow your buds on lower branches the ability to gain more light, which will increase bud size and growth during the last week.
Trimming your plants with the ‘wet’ trimming method allows you to cut them much shorter and it is cleaner. It takes time to get used to trimming cannabis plants. In time you will have found your own unique technique. Trimming is rather simple. Women’s delicate hands are always better when it comes to trimming, due to the fact that women’s hands provide a more delicate and refined touch.
You need to have extra scissors nearby at all times. There are myriads of sheers on the market, although you have to find some that suit your preference. Be careful not to choose cheap sheers, as they are not sharp enough and will cause the trimming process to last a lot longer than it should.
After you begin trimming, you will soon notice the wonderful THC will start sticking to your sheers. It may be difficult to clean your sheers. Cheap sheers will be destroyed with this process.
Cannabis & Dry Trimming
Another technique you can choose when it comes to trimming is dry trimming. You must make sure your plants dry out first before you begin. Snip off your branches and hang them in a drying room. Drying the plants will take longer opposed to wet trimming. This technique is usually used when there are a lot of plants and not much time to work with. Dry buds are actually easier to trim, but very messy. Dry trimming is usually used when you grow your bud outdoors. You can also choose to hang a plant upside down in order to dry it out. There is no right or wrong method when it comes to trimming.
Cannabis Trimming and Space
It is best to work in a room that has adequate amount of space and ventilation. If you are doing the trimming in your grow space area, make sure that the ventilation is turned on. The plants will give off a strong odor, keeping the door closed may help, but in some cases it won’t. Make sure that your neighbors aren’t going to get bothered and keep the cannabis and trimming to yourself.
Remember, cannabis is a very controversial subject depending on who you speak to. During the trimming process it is recommended that you use a vacuum pump that is attached and fit to a carbon filter, this will minimize the cannabis smell. If the smell is a huge problem, make sure you trim and grow in a location that will not cause any problems. After you start trimming you will get used to the wonderful smell and forget that there is a strong stench present.
Cannabis Drying Room
It is always devastating to see your cannabis turn to mold. A good place to dry your buds is in a dry, cool, and dark room at a temperature of 15-22 degrees celsius. Dry your buds over a two-week period, thereafter you can place them in a warmer climate. Don’t ever dry your buds in a microwave or in an oven to expedite the drying process, this is simply not smart. If you try drying buds in an artificial setting, this will result in bad tasting and weak cannabis.
Lay your buds in a dry room and assure they have good air circulation, above and below. Laying your buds on a newspaper is not advised, as air circulation will be limited. You can buy specialized drying racks to dry your cannabis on. These racks will ensure your buds are receiving the right amount of air circulation. Also, do not dry your buds on cardboard either, not having good air circulation during the drying process can lead to mold infection.
Once the mold infects one bud, it can spread to other buds, and the situation just gets worse. Around 75% of bud that is harvested is made up with water, which needs to be removed. When the moisture does not get removed, mold will occur. If you have 500 grams in the beginning of your harvest, then you will most likely end with 125 grams of dry cannabis that is ready to be consumed.
Mold spores consistently circulate throughout the air. When you create a damp and perfect environment for mold to take hold, mold will grow on your precious buds. Your buds need to be in an aerated area. Drying your buds in a small space with little ventilation will eventually lead to mold corrupted cannabis.
Curing your Cannabis
Curing and drying cannabis are completely different from one another. After a week, small cannabis buds will dry. Larger buds need around two weeks to fully dry. If you have critters in your garden, then it is best if you give your cannabis buds a few more days to dry, after the two-week period. Smaller buds on the plant will dry out quicker, it comes down to science.
When you are trying to determine whether your bud is cured and dry, try breaking off a twig, if it easily snaps, then the bud is perfectly dry. Buds need to be completely dry before you begin the curing process. After two weeks of drying your bud, you can finally smoke the homegrown high quality flower. Now it is time to test out your home grown bud.
After your cannabis buds are completely dry, we need to learn about proper storage. When it comes to maintaining the quality of your cannabis you need to store it in a cool and dark environment. Make sure to store cannabis in a glass container or a light-proof container in a dark area.
Take note that light can destroy THC at this point. Do not store damp bud with already dry bud, this can create another moldy situation.
If you have to wait another two weeks for your cannabis buds to fully cure, then so be it, this will total a full month of harvesting. The curing process aides the cannabis buds to taste better and also creates a better high for the user. Cannabis simply needs time to progress into the wonderful bud that it is. After an entire month, the buds will be completely ready to ravish, although the buds can still get better.
In the end, we are left with leaf trim that drips with amazing THC, which will come in handy. At this point, we have wonderful buds to consume and other THC material that can be utilized for cannabis recipes and edibles.
One Grow & Two Harvests
After two months of pre growth and blooming, you now have cannabis buds that you created from seeds to buds. You also have leaves and THC to make other goodies. Harvesting is not quite finished just yet.
Your cannabis buds should be properly stored by now, and it is time to test your product.
The leaves and extra waste that derived from your cannabis plant should be dried out by now. 500 grams of cannabis leaves will leave you with 500 grams of dried cannabis leaves, meaning you will have a lot of leaves to work with. Make sure to only utilize cannabis leaves that actually contain THC by using the largest leaves on the plant. You need to create at least 2 separate piles of leaves, one pile should be full of leaves that contain THC, the other pile should contain leaves that do not. Make sure not to mix the two separate piles of leaves, otherwise you risk the quality of the hash you are about to make.
As we learned above, it is important to dry our buds, so it is just as important to dry our leaves. The leaves need to be so dry that when you rub the leaf back and forth, it crumbles into pieces. Your leaves need to be extremely dry at this point. Using leaves that are not fully dried results in less THC crystals.
The goal with this technique is to compile as many THC crystals as we possibly can, this way we can make the strongest hash possible. The THC crystals are the gold looking dust that falls off of the cannabis leaves. The great result here is that not only did you yield amazing buds, but you now have a separate THC crystal harvest to work with, which is reasonably large in quantity, derived from your very 1st harvest! In mathematical terms, say for instance you have 500 grams of buds, 600 grams of dry leaves, you will end with around 60 grams of hash. The dried plant matter provides a 10% return on your investment.
If your dried plant leaves are high quality, the result will be high THC crystal return. Growing a high breed strand with strong amounts of THC will leave you with a stronger and higher concentration of THC crystals.
It is normal for growers to gain a 10% return on THC crystals for indoor plant leaves. Some growers have yielded 16% when terrific leaves are used. When you grow your plants outdoors, the leaf quality and the concentration of THC is reduced, due to climatic changes, which ends in a 10% return via THC crystals. This is another reason why it is not a good idea to add leaves that have no THC crystals to the mix of leaves that do, it brings down the quality.
It is always pleasant when we finally obtain a nice bud stash, but it is even better if we can obtain hash too. Well, the good news here, is that if you ever have a poor bud bloom session, you can always make hash with the THC leftover on the cannabis plant leaves.
Making hash is easy, you must obtain the loose THC crystals first and foremost. There are many ways to achieve this task. You can use a very fine sieve (fine metal wire) and let your crystals accumulate while you hold the leaf back, you can shake your leaves, vibrate them, etc., your preference. You can also buy a specialized hash making device, which allows you to shake off excess THC crystals, you can also use a simple grinder. Many grinders already contain sieves that catch excess THC crystals that fall off when a leaf or bud is placed into the grinder; the sieve collects the crystals in a separate compartment located within the grinder. You are going to be amazed at how much THC crystals you will gain from your harvest.
If you want to develop a large amount of cannabis leaf matter, than it is advised that you obtain a pollinator. A pollinator is a machine that has a rotator and a sieve. The sieve catches the small THC crystals that fall off during the rotation process. The machine shakes off an incredible amount of THC crystals. After about 30-40 minutes you can stop the pollinator from rotating and now retrieve your incredibly large pile of THC crystal dust. Now press the powder by storing it correctly for a year. Pressing the THC powder improves the quality of the taste and smell. The pressed powder is often referred to as ‘skuff’.
Pressing the powder is a lot easier than sticky loose powder, when you start sharing this lovely THC powder. If the hash quality is very strong, then you won’t need to press it as hard. If your hash quality is low, it will not stick together as easily as high quality hash. Before you