Marijuana Grower’s Guide 2017

HOW TO GROW MARIJUANA

Cannabis plants are weeds with simple needs. Your cannabis plants will grow as long as you give them the right amount of the following resources..

In order to thrive and grow, your weed needs…

  • Light (brightness has a huge effect on yields)
  • Air (fresh air with a slight breeze is best)
  • a Grow Medium (place to grow, soil isn’t your only choice)
  • the right Temperature (room temperature or a little warmer is perfect during the day, cannot stand freezing at night)
  • Nutrients (start at half as much as what’s recommended on the package)
  • Water (maintain pH for best results, soil likes 6 – 7 pH & hydro likes 5.5 – 6.5 pH)

Growing with Soil Using Germination Process

Growing cannabis in soil is similar to growing plants like tomatoes or corn – soil growing may be the most intuitive option for you, especially if you already have gardening experience.

Growing plants in soil seems to be what many people try first when it comes to growing in cannabis. If you’ve grown other plants in soil and/or have maintained a soil garden, this may be the best choice for you because you will already be familiar with a lot of what you need to understand to grow cannabis in soil.

Note: Do not use “Miracle-Gro” soil or any soil that has “extended release” nutrients for growing cannabis. These types of soil will continue to release nitrogen to your plant roots for up to 6 months. This can burn your cannabis plants in the flowering/budding stage and reduce your overall yields.

Growing with composted “super soil” gives the grower the ability to grow outside without needing to add synthetic bottled nutrients or manage the pH of the soil.

Option 1: Store-Bought Soil + Nutrients – Growers can buy soil online or at a store, and simply add nutrients throughout their grow while watering for thriving, happy cannabis plants.

Option 2: Compost or Purchase “Super Soil” – For those who don’t want to worry about soil pH or adding nutrients throughout the grow, there is the option of amending and composting your own super soil (or buying it already composted) specifically made for cannabis plants. While this option takes more time before you start growing, it can be somewhat simpler especially for those who have composted soil in the past. Note: Some growers believe growing in organic composted super soil with a rich microbial life actually improves the taste and smell of cannabis by causing plant to produce higher levels of terpenes and terpenoids.

Growing in Containers

Which growing container works best for cannabis? What is it that makes some containers better than others?

The answers are contained in the roots of your cannabis plants. The idea behind choosing the right container is to pick one that is going to provide the best possible environment for your cannabis roots. Your roots are like the “heart” of your of your cannabis plant. They need to be healthy for your plant to get nutrients and grow. Happy cannabis roots want…

Moist at all times – roots die when they dry out! Good watering practices combined with a great growing medium will make sure your roots never dry out

Oxygen – your roots “breathe” oxygen, so one of the best things you can do for them is make sure they always have access to plenty of oxygen – more oxygen to the roots = faster growth

Nutrients – your roots “find” nutrients at the roots, and then deliver them to the rest of the plant, so making sure your plant has easy access to nutrients will help your plants thrive and make buds

pH Management – Some nutrients are sensitive to the pH of their environment. When exposed to the wrong pH, the molecular form of these nutrients actually changes. Nutrients in the wrong chemical form become unavailable to your plant roots. Exposing nutrients to the correct pH reverts them back to a form your roots can take in.

  • Standard plant container with saucer
  • Smart pots
  • Air pots
  • Hempy Buckets
  • Hydro

Make Your Own Container

The first step when making the right soil mix for growing cannabis is looking for high quality organic soil, which will act as the base. The base soil can be defined as the regular soil that will be used in the pots without any other additives. Selecting the right base soil is very critical when it comes to growing cannabis. Most beginners will fall into the trap of cutting corners when choosing the base soil. However, this is detrimental to their venture considering that cannabis grows well in aerated and permeable soil. You should look for good organic soils that tend to be more expensive because they have the right ingredients. A balanced organic soil will usually contain several ingredients, such as peat moss, bat guano, soybean, earthworm castings, soybean meal, pumice, compost, lignite, greensand, glacial rock dust, oyster shell flour, k-mag, coco fiber, perlite and leornardite. If you find a local mix with most of these ingredients, then you should use them as your base.  Never use the pre mixed soils for house plants, they contain nutrients that will harm you cannabis plant! If you can’t find the soil with the correct nutrients it’s better to start with a clean soil with no nutrients at all zo you can add them later.

It is very important to mix all the ingredients well for effective results. You can place a tarp on the patio or garage or sweep the floor and use it directly. This is usually a strenuous activity, so be careful not to pull a muscle. Some people may rent out a cement mixer to avoid the hard labour, which is fine. The method used to mix all the ingredients properly does not matter, as long as the end results are perfect. You should start by pouring a few bags of the base soil on the tarp or floor and then making a mound. Add the powdered nutrients in the centre of the mound. Cover these with more base soil and continue alternating the two until everything is added. After this, turn the soil thoroughly using a shovel until it is thoroughly mixed. The end result is the perfect soil mix for growing the cannabis.

Growing in the Ground

It is inexpensive and no special equipment is needed. Outdoor plants can become large and yield huge harvests. Here are tips on how to successfully grow Marijuana outdoors.

By the way: While growing Marijuana outdoors is easier in a warm and sunny climate, such surroundings are not absolutely necessary.

I have had great results in cold northern Germany, in my parents garden. That’s where most of the pictures in this site have been taken.

But of course, if you live in Australia or other sunny parts of this world, growing marijuana outdoors becomes a bit easier.

So, how to set up an outdoor grow?

There are strains available that have been breeded especially for outdoor cultivation.

These strains finish earlier. They do not need that much time to get to the flowering stage. Also they might be more resistant to humidity and mould. The plant has a lifecycle. It will grow tall in spring and the first half of summer.

Once the summer solstice has passed, the female plants will grow less but put its energy into flowers (smokeable buds).

In Australia and South Africa for example, Spring is in October. In Germany and The USA it is late March. Your Plants need at least 4 – 6 hours direct Sunlight per day. The more light, the more weight you’ll get at the end.

The grow spot should be well hidden. And keep in mind that you might need to bring water in case its a dry summer.

A garden can be a great place for growing Marijuana outdoors.

Transplanting of Plants

When it’s time to transplant into larger containers, your choice of container size, container setup, and your transplant method are all important factors. Each can impact the success of your transplant. Since I have have quite a bit of experience with this, I thought I’d share a few tips to help you successfully transplant your young marijuana plants. Some of these tips are common sense while others may be new even for experienced growers.

 

  1. Pot size selection

powered by MANTISCLOSE

A great rule of thumb is to choose a new pot that is at least double the size of the old one. Avoid potting up into a huge pot, If you place a 6-pack sized root ball into a 5 gallon pot you’ll have to keep 5 gallons of soil moist which at first the roots won’t reach. This is a waste of water and plant food. Larger pots will also require greater spacing which for indoor growing means more lights and wasted electricity.

  1. Assess root ball condition

If your plant has become overly root bound in its old pot, consider breaking up the root ball a little. Gently pull it apart just enough to break the shape of the old pot. Some roots will be damaged but in the long run it will help the roots break out of the old pot shape and aid in root expansion.

  1. Avoid Stress

Be sure not to transplant in direct sunlight. Roots don’t like direct light or exposure to dry conditions. Transplant in the early morning or better yet the evening. If possible, allow freshly transplanted plants to remain in their old environment for a day or two before moving them into new conditions.

  1. Stake plants

If the plants are tall and delicate, or have a hard time standing on their own, stake them with bamboo and secure with at least 2 plant ties. This helps prevent them from being overturned if jostled. As the plant develops, be sure to remove these ties or they will become tight and even girdle the plant.

  1. Rapid potting trick

If you have a lot of plants to transplant consider pre-filling the new containers with fresh planting mix. Use an empty pot, that is the same size as your old pots as a spacer to create a perfectly sized socket for the root ball to fit into. Simply stage the filled, new pots off to one side and remove the ‘spacer’ just prior to the actual transplanting action. This trick can save a lot of time and minimizes air and light exposure which reduces plant stress (see tip 3). Pots can even be filled and staged days before the actual transplant.

  1. Do not overly pack the soil

The first time you water the plants the soil settles and natural compacts. this is the ideal amount of compaction for most soils. If you under pack the pots, they might settle to be only half full. If pots are over compacted, the new roots will have to work harder to branch out. Compacting the soil just right takes a little practice and varies with soil moisture content and texture.

  1. Always water immediately following transplant

The first watering helps settle the soil around the root ball and collapses any voids that may have formed inside the container, it also helps the young plant cope with transplant stress. Use a watering wand with a gentle diffuser to avoid upsetting the soil and root ball.

  1. Post-transplant shock reduction

The only thing plants need after transplant is water. That being said, there are many products that claim to reduce transplant shock. To list a few; Superthrive, Liquinox b1, and Dyna Gro KLN. They all contain a plant growth regulator (PGR) called naphthylacetic acid (NAA). This PGR is also found in many cloning solutions. NAA is very powerful and actually forces the plant to abandon vegetative growth and focus only on root development. If any of these items are used, be sure to follow the labels instructions. Don’t use too much.

  1. Post transplant Fertilizer

I don’t recommend use of liquid fertilizer for the first 2 watering. Fresh soil typically contains everything the plant needs for at least 3 weeks. There are of course exceptions to this. Some lower end soils may be nutritionally void, while other mixes are intentionally made this way, i.e. Promix HP, Sunshine #2, and other Peat/perlite blends. These mixes can be amended with dry organic additives, or supplemented with ¼-½ strength liquid fertilizer. Other growers recommend ¼-½ strength bloom food at this time because the additional phosphorus and potassium can aid in root development.

  1. Listen to Music

This might seem like an odd one but transplanting can be both stressful and monotonous. Some good tunes will get you in a rhythm, help you relax and make the time go by a lot quicker.

Nutrients

The most important thing is to make sure you give your plants the right amounts of nutrients at the right time. There are two main life stages for cannabis plants, and each stage has different nutrient requirements.

o Nitrogen:

High in vegetative stage and low in flowering stage

o Phosphorus:

Medium in vegetative stage and medium-high in flowing stage

o Potassium:

High in vegetative and flowering stages.

o Watering of the plant

If you’re growing marijuana in soil or another growing medium like coco coir, you will have to hand-water your plants. Watering is an important part of growing cannabis, and knowing how to water your plants will save you a lot of frustration!

But how often do you give your cannabis water?

Well, you will want to water your marijuana whenever the top of the soil or growing medium starts to feel dry. I like to water when the medium feel dry up to my first knuckle, or about an inch.

Water plants when soil feels dry up to your first knuckle

How to water cannabis properly (when using a well-draining mixture with liquid nutrients)…

Wait until the top of the growing medium is dry about an inch deep (up to your first knuckle – just use your finger to poke a hole in the soil and see if it feels dry).

Add water until you see 10-20% extra runoff water drain out the bottom of your pot. Go back to step 1. Note: If water takes a long time to come out the bottom, or if pots take longer than 5 days to dry out before the next watering, you may actually have a problem with drainage (more info below)

o pH level

The plant itself has a pH identity, with some plants being more acidic and others more alkaline, the water of different regions has a pH identity that is determined by a variety of environmental factors, and the soil of various regions also has a pH identity.

So, how does the gardener master this dance of acid/alkaline polarity to bring forth a bountiful crop? The first step is gaining a basic understanding of pH, the needs of the particular crop, and the tools at hand to provide the optimum environment for that plant to prosper.

The cannabis plant prefers a pH environment of 5.5 to 6.5. When the pH environment rises in alkalinity above 7.5, the roots are not able to consume the available iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and boron ions in their vicinity, and when the pH lowers into acidity to less than 6 the roots are not able to access phosphoric acid, calcium, and magnesium because they lose their solubility. If the pH drops to between 5 to 3 with temperatures above 26 degrees Celsius fungal diseases become a threat to the plant.

Why “K” for Potassium? The atomic symbol of Potassium is “K” from Neo-Latin kalium.

In other words, you want to use a “Vegetative” (high Nitrogen) or “general purpose” nutrient formula for the first stage of life known as the vegetative stage. If using high-quality soil, you can skip vegetative nutrients for the first 3-4 weeks while your plant uses up the nutrients in the soil, otherwise you should start with vegetative nutrients around the time your plant opens its first leaves.

Whether growing marijuana plants indoors or outdoors, you will need to ensure that it gets the proper amount of these six resources. You will be rewarded with big colas!

How do I know if my seeds are good?

Assume all dark seeds are viable, even if seeds can be crushed

Generally, pale-green or white seeds will not germinate, but most dark seeds will germinate when given good conditions.

I used to believe that marijuana seeds were only “good” if they were extremely hard and very dark. One of the first tests I heard to check new cannabis seeds for viability was to try to crush them between my fingers. If the seeds could be crushed, they weren’t good, or so I was told. This has proven to be absolutely terrible advice!

Some of the best plants I have ever grown have emerged from seeds which were flimsy and could be crushed between my fingers. As long as you provide great marijuana germination conditions (as explained above), I’ve found that a lot of seemingly “weak” seeds germinate and produce amazingly hardy plants and great buds.

I do not believe the health of the plant is directly tied to the apparent “health” of the seed. If the seed germinates, it’s a good seed!

What are the types of marijuana seeds based on their growing environment?

There are two types of seeds based on their growing environment – indoor and outdoor. Indoor marijuana seeds are those which grow best in indoor environments using various lighting systems as well as hydroponics. Basically, these seeds are the perfect choice if you don’t have enough outdoor space to accommodate your plants. Outdoor seeds on the other hand are those which thrive perfectly outdoors. They are usually the potent ones, and are also expected to produce larger yields as compared to indoor seeds.

Which seeds are available based on their strain?

Based on the strain, marijuana seeds could be classified as Indica and Sativa. Indica seeds are those which strains are consumed and used for medical purposes. They have low THC content but high CBD which is beneficial for treating depression and anxiety issues. Sativa seeds on the other hand contain high THC but low CBD, thus making the strains ideal for treating chronic pains.

Which seeds are available depending on the growth type?

Generally, there are three – regular, feminized and autoflowering. Regular seeds are those which produce both male and female plants, with a 50/50 ratio of producing both of them. Such seeds are basically far more stable than the other types. Feminized seeds are those which have a 100% guarantee of producing female plants upon maturity. Lastly, autoflowering seeds are those which produce plants which can completely flower even without the need of reducing daylight hours.

GERMINATING THE CANNABIS SEEDS

Cannabis germination is the process of getting your seeds to sprout, and you know sprouting has occurred when a little white tendril pops out of the seed.

The little white tendril that emerges from a cannabis seed during germination is your plant’s first root, known as a “taproot.” All other roots made by your cannabis plant in its lifetime will sprout from the taproot.

The taproot – and maybe a few tiny early offshoots of the taproot – will get longer and longer, pushing the seed up, and after the shell breaks through the surface of your growing medium, the first leaves (these first round leaves are known as “cotyledons”) will emerge from inside the cannabis seed.

5 Common Germination Methods

– Soaking: Basically, pre-soaking means that you soak your seed in warm (not too hot!) water until they sink to the bottom of your glass or container. The idea is that soaking your seeds speeds up the germination process by making sure that your seed is completely moist before planting.

Some people soak their seeds for up to seven days, or until a root appears. Though, the major concern here is that pre-soaking increases the risk of rot and mold before you’ve even fully started your plant.

– Germination in soil: You can plop your seed directly into soil whether or not you’ve pre-moisten it in any way. Have a small container of prepared soil ready. Make a tiny, half-inch well in the soil. If you’ve pre-soaked your seeds, place the seed root-end down. If you’re starting with dry seed, place it pointed end down. Flick a tiny amount of soil back over the seed. Then moisten the soil with a sprayer or small amount of water.

If you started from a dry seed, cover the container with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect. Store your newly planted seed in a warm, dark place. After about 4 to 5 days, your seeds will sprout. At this point, move your seeds to a brighter, well-ventilated location and wait for them to get large enough to transplant.

– Propagation Kits: One other way to germinate your seeds is by using a propagation kit. These kits are usually available in the market. You can even purchase them online. The propagation kit generally works like a mini greenhouse. The cannabis seeds are carefully dropped inside the little holes of the Rockwool cubes. Next, the grower will apply the germination hormone. This is included in the kit. Afterwards, the cover is put on the unit. The germination kit almost guarantees a 100% success rate so it is a good investment. Another plus is that the kit can be used to easily root your clones.

– Paper towel method: The paper towel method is one of the most popular germination methods out there. It takes a little longer than the pre-soak method, but there’s less of a risk of rot if you’re observant. You simply moisten a paper towel, fold it, place the seeds inside the fold, and then place the damp towel into a plastic baggie.

Keep the plastic baggie in a dark, warm place, but keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t mold. After a couple of days, a root will appear. You can then transfer the germinating seed into soil.

– Germinating in Peat Briquette: Germinating using peat briquette is definitely a great method for germinating your seeds. This has to be the easiest yet. It is very easy to handle and the risk of damage is really low. Controlling the moisture is also simple. The general procedure will involve taking a peat briquette and soaking it in water. Leave it there up until it starts to swell. After the briquette is all swelled up, you can now drop a seed inside its middle hole. From here on you will need to be patient. Allow the seeds to grow and develop. As you go along the waiting process, remember to maintain the briquette’s moisture. If it looks dry you can add water. The briquette setup should be placed in a room with a temperature of about 95oF or 35oC. It will be better if you keep the setup in a box. Every so often lift the lid of the box to allow new oxygen to come in. Once the roots of the seedling starts to stick out then you can replant it. Don’t throw out the peat briquette because you can use it again. Just place it in a pot and cover with soil.

SEEDLING

Keeping your marijuana happy and healthy comes down to how carefully you care for them through each stage of a marijuana plant’s life. This is especially important in the younger stages of your plant’s life when they are at their most fragile condition.

A marijuana seed that sprouts will split along the seam that joins the halves of its husk. Driven by gravity , the tail grows longer rapidly, screwing its way down into the soil until the root can supply sufficient leverage to raise the husk containing the two seed halves upright.

From that position, the two halves fold out to act as biological solar panels that gather energy and begin a marijuana plant’s first chlorophyll production even as the tiny taproot sprouts hairlike feeder roots that stretch outward to strengthen its grip in the soil.

In this article, we take a look at the ways to protect your seedlings through their most delicate stage of life.

What are seedlings?

The key thing to do during this stage is simply to pay attention and keep tabs on every development or change that occurs in your marijuana seeds. When they sprout, the seeds’ seams will split and allow a white tendril to poke through within several hours of this split. This tendril will grow very quickly, moving downward until it’s deep enough for it to hold up the rest of the plant (namely the stalk and the seed husk). The husk, now split into two, emerges from the ground and functions as a sort of makeshift leaf – in other words, it absorbs energy that can be used to produce chlorophyll within the plant. While you see the stalk growing upwards, you can also be sure that more roots are sprouting and growing downwards at the same time.

The first two leaves, completely unique from any future leaves that will grow, pop out of the middle of the seed’s split. These leaves are called sucker leaves and mark the beginning of more leaf growth.

Two lobed leaves will then grow from the middle of the sucker leaves. These two-lobed leaves usually resemble chicken feet, since they have three lobes. After the three-lobed leaves come two leaves with five lobes, and then two more with seven. Seven-lobed leaves are the ones everyone recognizes as the marijuana leaves. If you were able to keep your marijuana plants healthy throughout its entire sprouting stage, they would most likely go through a very productive vegetative stage. Protecting your young plants is about more than just survival: it’s about investment in your future harvest. Read the article How to germinate marijuana seeds for more about germinating tips

This article covers the various elements you will need to keep a constant eye on to ensure the well being of your seedlings. These elements are protection, water, nutrients, heat, and sunlight.

TRANSPLANTING

Transplanting your cannabis plants can be one of the trickiest parts of growing your marijuana plants. It may seem overwhelming, but when properly researched it can be done with ease by just about anyone.

Once your plants have established a stable root system, they are ready for a period of major foliage growth.

So what makes transplanting cannabis so important? What would even happen if you didn’t do it? In this article, we will answer those questions, and will dive into the following topics:

Why Transplant?

If you don’t transplant your plants in time they might get rootbound. Rootbound means that the roots have grown all the way around the edges and bottom of the container because it is nog big enough. Your plant will not grow any more until you transplant it to a larger container.

The following symptoms are signs that your plant is rootbound:

  1. Stunted Growth
  2. Stretching
  3. Smaller and slower bud production
  4. Needs watering too often
  5. Easy to burn with low % nutrient solution mixtures
  6. Wilting
  7. Red stems

The right time to transplant your cannabis plants is when they have an established, sturdy root system in place. This is the case when the roots grow out of the bottom of the pot. The plant is ready to focus its energy on vegetative growth now, so it needs to be moved to a larger container.

MARIJUANA CLONING METHODS

Let’s quickly talk about the major methods used to clone marijuana

First of all, you must understand what is meant by cloning before going deep into the cloning methods. Cloning simply means cutting a part of a fully grown marijuana plant to grow another plant. It’s really as simple as that.

If you’ve decided to make your own clones, you should probably consider the two methods of cloning which are:

  • The Momma Method
  • The No Momma Method

These methods both require at least two separate rooms solely set aside for your grow. One room dedicated to growing the marijuana and the other room for cloning.

Using the Momma method requires a mother plant for vegetative growth in one room where all the clones will be taken from. The No Momma Method does not require a mother plant. The clones are simply taken from the plants in the main room and transferred to the second room for cloning until they are ready for use. This simply means that the clones are taken from different plants carefully selected for cloning. If you’re interested in using the No Momma Cloning Method, you should follow the instruction to make sure your clones grown successfully. Take your clones from about 2 to 3 weeks into the flowering stage to guarantee their growth. The chances of your clone’s growth will be relatively low if they’re taken late in the flowering cycle.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloning

Benefits

The major reason why cloning is the most practiced method by marijuana growers around the globe is because of the numerous benefits if offers. Some of the benefits include:

  1. It’s cheaper since seed growth procedures and period is skipped.
  2. Cloning preserves the characteristics of the future plant which includes the potency, yield and genetic contents as long as the health and environmental conditions are maintained. This simply means that you’re guaranteed a continuous bumper harvest since your clones are made from the carefully selected plants with the best yields.
  3. Faster harvest compared to growing with seeds. This simply means that the time between planting and harvesting is shorter with the cloning method.

Drawbacks

Cloning marijuana also has some setbacks which include:

  1. Each successive generation loses some of their parent’s characteristics which may of course; affect your plant’s qualities along the line.
  2. It requires technical know-how to practice this method especially in the aspect off cloning periods. For example, you must know how many times you should clone a particular marijuana plant to keep its high qualities, otherwise, your plants may turn out different from the cloned plant if cloning is done more than the recommended times. It’s advisable to only clone your plants up to the third generation to retain their best characteristics.
  3. Cloning may expose our plants to pests and disease attack if your clones are taken from a low quality plant.
  4. Lastly, cloning doesn’t give you the chance to produce other strains of marijuana but only one particular property is maintained which is from the parent plant.

Step-by-Step Guide to Marijuana Cloning

Marijuana cloning could be easier and successful if you follow the step by step guide. You must know the needed equipment and the steps to follow in the cloning process.

Equipment:

  • Natural pH water
  • New razor blade
  • Small pruning shears or a scissors
  • Rooting compound, powder or gel
  • Fertilized rich water/diluted nutrient on a spray bottle
  • Fluorescent light space for the clones
  • Plastic tray with a transparent plastic dome/saucer
  • 2” peat pot with premium grade potting soil.

Steps

  • Identify and select the healthiest matured plants your clones will be taken from. This plant should be matured enough to have many nodes or branches and leaves.
  • Place all your equipment on a clean table close to the mother plant.
  • Carefully choose a branch with at least one node and a few leaves for the clone.
  • Cut the chosen clone about 2” below the node with your small pruning shears or scissors.
  • Poke a small hole at least ½” deep into the potting soil in your small peat pot.
  • Dip the cut end of the clone into your glass of water immediately after cutting.
  • Remove the clone from the water and use the razor blade to trim the stem immediately below the node at an angle of 45-degree.
  • Dip the cut end of the clone into gel, liquid or rooting powder immediately after trimming.
  • Dip the coated cut end into the poked hole in the potting soil with the top shooting out from the peat pot.
  • Position the peat pot into the saucer and moist it lightly.
  • Do this for all your desired clones, place the dome cover on all the clones and put the saucer or plastic tray under the fluorescent light for 24hours daily until they develop multiple roots which you can see through the peat pot.
  • Endeavor to keep the recommended temperature (70-80) degrees Fahrenheit and humidity (50-60)% all the times.
  • Investigate the clones at least ones a day to make sure they’re moist all the time but don’t over moist them. Slight moisture is recommended
  • You can transfer the clones to the vegetative grow room in about 1-2 weeks when their roots fully develop.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics growth simply involves growing marijuana without soil. This process doesn’t only involve growing plants with roots directly suspended in the water but also include growing your plant in a coco coir or perlite followed by daily watering. This method, of course, has many advantages and also a few disadvantages.

Advantages of Hydroponics Growth

Growing your marijuana plants hydroponically ensures:

  • High yields
  • High-quality control
  • Fast growth and shorter maturity period
  • Less pest and diseases
  • Reduced stress
  • No pest control with pesticides
  • More efficiency

Disadvantages of Hydroponics Growth

The disadvantages of growing your marijuana plants hydroponically include:

  • High skills and great knowledge required to practice
  • It requires a great sense of sanity to avoid disease infestation since hydroponics disease control is difficult.
  • It’s expensive.

Step-by-Step Guide to Hydroponics Growth

Hydroponics system actually guarantees a bumper harvest and could be a lot easier to practice than you may think when you follow the steps below:

Part 1

The first thing you must do using this method is to build your hydroponics system. The materials needed to build hydroponics system are:

  • 8 net pots placed 4” across
  • Aquarium air-stones
  • 18-gallon plastic tote
  • 6 zip ties (optional)
  • Drill with a small drill bit (optional)
  • Aquarium air-pump
  • Marker or another sharpie
  • Box cutter or drill with 4” holes saw connected.

Steps

  1. Carefully arrange your net pots on the tote’s lid and use your marker to trace their bottom on the lid. Ensure they’re equally spaced and carefully cut out the holes with your drill or box cutter. This should leave you with eight holes on the lid.
  2. Cut a hole very close to the top of the tote to get your air pump hose through. Position your aquarium air stone in the tote’s bottom and hook it to the air pump. Your air pump transports nutrients and oxygen to your plant’s roots through the water.
  3. Fill up your tote with water and ensure to prevent it from bowing out as you fill.
  4. Cover your tote with the lid and your system should be ready for hydroponic growth.

The Lighting Systems

Before you decide what type of light you should use, it’s very important to know the size of your grow space.

It’s recommended to:

-Use an LED 250w light for an area below 5 square feet. This light helps your cuttings to root well and you can use an HPS light when your plant advances.

-Use a metal halide light for your plant when they are in the growth stage and an HPS light when your plants are in the flowering stage to guarantee your high yields.

-Be smart with whatever lighting system you choose to use to ensure proper growth and production. If you use a very high voltage irrespective of the lighting source, your plants may not do well.

The Role of Light

You should probably know by now why lighting is very important to any type of plant. Especially to your marijuana plant, the role of light can’t be undermined. Light plays a very significant role in photosynthesis and thus, helps your plants to produce a suitable glucose (energy) for proper growth. This simply indicates that the more lighting you give your marijuana plants, the more yields they’ll produce.

It’s recommended to give at least 30,000 Im to a 10 square feet in your grow space. You can produce more lighting than this or up to 80,000 Im to 10 square feet if the resources are available.

Sources of Light (LED Recommended)

Depending on the type of grow you’re embarking on either indoor or outdoor, the lighting system will vary in intensity, technology, and the spectrum color, the size of your grow room, your electrical choice and whatever else. Don’t be confused with whatever you’ve heard about the different types of lights or which one is said to be better than the other. All you have to know is- the type of light specified for a particular growth stage.

  1. Fluorescent Lights: To save you enough energy and maximize their efficiency, it’s recommended to use fluorescent lights with reflectors and ensure they’re close to the plants (about 5cm) away. Although these lights are expensive.
  2. High-Intensity Discharge Lights (HID): These lights are very powerful and work very well or marijuana growth. Please, the mercury HID lights aren’t recommended for marijuana growth as their watt capacity to the lumen is too low. Other types of HID lights like the metal halide and sodium vapor lights should be used instead.
  3. Metal Halide Lights: for the growing phase of marijuana, these lights are highly recommended because the light they produce falls in the range of the normal color spectrum for marijuana growth. You can use 1000 watt metal halide lights to initiate the flowing period of marijuana plants. They can perform well for all the stages of marijuana growth.
  4. High-Pressure Sodium Vapor Lights (HPS): these lights have the best color range for your marijuana plant at the flowering phase and only recommended for indoor grow (plants undergoing the flowering stage). For a perfect result, purchase and use just two 600w HPS lights which are capable of circulating light to your entire grow room. You can also use Agro lights with blue spectrum and change them once in a year.
  5. Light Emitting Diodes (LED): LED lights are now the most recommended lights with benefits which includes: 1. little concern about over heating your plants as they produce low heat 2. A little money spent on electricity since they have low voltage. 3. Little concern about ventilation. (Most Recommended)

Placement of Light

Follow below recommendations for your light placement in the grow room.

Note: Don’t exceed a temperature of 80-degrees for whichever lighting you choose and always keep the major reason for lighting in your mind (for the plant to produce energy for growth).

Metal Halide Light 250w                       8” to 12” (20-30)cm

Fluorescent Lights                                   2” to 4” (5-10)cm

Low-energy Light                                     6” to 6” (10-15)cm

Metal Halide Lights 400w                     12” to 16” (30-49)cm

HPS Agro light 600w                              20” to 24” (50-60)cm

HPS Agro light 400w                              12” to 16” (30-40)cm

HPS 600w                                                   20” to 24” (50-60)cm

HPS 400w                                                   12” to 16” (30-40)cm

HPS normal 250w                                   8” to 12” (20-30)cm

The major reason why you must be careful with your light placement is to make sure that all the plants have an equal amount of benefits from the lighting. Don’t forget to bring the shortest plants closer to the lighting source.

Lighting Schedule for Different Stages of Marijuana

Cannabis or marijuana plants rely on light as the basis for energy production or photosynthesis. At different stages, they require a certain amount of lighting per day. For example, in the vegetative stage, they require more lighting than darkness but in the flowering stage, they may require an equal amount of light and darkness daily. This is the reason why marijuana seeds usually germinate during the spring when the hours of daylight exceeds the hours of darkness in a natural setting. But during the winter when the daylight hours begin to reduce, marijuana plants set in the flowering stage. However, today’s growing techniques have made humans take a great advantage over this natural growth process. Artificial lighting has made it possible that winter or spring is just seasonal observations but no longer have a significant effect on marijuana growth. One of these artificial techniques is called “FORCING”.

FORCING is a process whereby a plant which has been exposed to very long days (lighting between 18-24) is taken to a lighting source or reducing the lighting to only about 12 hours to initiate flowering.

The normal lighting schedule for marijuana plants is:

Vegetative phase= 6hours of darkness + 18hours of light

Flowering phase= 12hours of darkness + 12hours of light

Harvesting of Marijuana

The Timing and Harvesting marijuana is something every grower must know to get a more potent and stronger product.

For example, the longer you wait, the more potent or stronger your yield. However, if the maximum harvesting period is exceeded, this may also increase the potency and strength of your marijuana yields exponentially leaving you with products of high narcotic effects.

This is why it’s very important to know when exactly to harvest your marijuana plants judging with the pistil colors, resin colors and the flowering time.

WHEN TO HARVEST

After the flowering stage, you’ll notice a decline in your marijuana plant’s health and pistil turning to red colors. There are different ways to know the exact time to harvest your marijuana plants.

  1. Have a knowledge of the harvesting time
  2. Carefully inspect your plants for pistil color changes and overall health.
  3. Use a magnifying tool to view the trichomes on your buds. There are different magnifying tools which include: Handheld Magnifier, Jeweler’s Loupe, Digital Microscope and more.
  4. Examine when the stem begins to broaden, leaves start turning yellow and resin on buds start turning darker.

These symptoms simply signify that your harvesting time is now. However, every grower may determine their harvesting time by their own taste just as applicable to other plants or fruits.

You should follow these specifications also if these symptoms aren’t easy for you to observe.

Using the flowering time

Harvest Sativa after 10 weeks of the flowering phase

Harvest Indica after 8 weeks of the flowering phase

Harvest Auto-flower 10 weeks from the seedling stage to bud

Using the pistil

Young light marijuana= (50-70)% brown

Ripe heavy marijuana= (70-90)% brown

Sharp heavy marijuana= (90-100)% brown

Using trichomes

Wait a bit before harvesting= clear trichomes

Ready for harvesting= amber/milky white trichomes

Overripe marijuana= entirely amber trichomes

HOW TO HARVEST

When ready for harvest, you’ll first need to remove lighting from your grow room to reduce the temperature to about 64-degrees Fahrenheit and hand some wires from the roof. Cut your matured plants from the base and hand them upside-down with the wires. Keep the room humidity around 45% and turn on the extractor fan.

You may need a scissors or shears for cutting and isopropyl alcohol for removing sticky resin off your shear or scissors and hands. You don’t need gloves on the process. This, of course, must be a slow and gradual process which may take up to (10-14) days to avoid you plants drying too fast and leaving some traces of chlorophyll on them which could change their taste. Watch them carefully and investigate daily during the drying process to mold from developing.

THE RIGHT TIME OF THE DAY TO HARVEST MARIJUANA

Well, the right time of the day is still in a debate with many marijuana growers claiming their own best and right time for harvest. However, the recommended time of the day to harvest your marijuana by experts is before sunrise and in the night. Harvesting at the dark hours when your plant sleeps ensures that they taste better and reduce their narcotic effects.

Drying and Curing Your Marijuana Products

One of the major reasons why you must take proper curing and dry for your marijuana products is to ensure you get the best flavor. Improper curing and drying can damage the terpenes which may result in bland weed with an awful hay-like smell.

Here are some tricks to help you with proper drying and curing of your marijuana to preserve the terpenes.

  • Ensure to dry them slowly to preserve smell, weight, and flavor.
  • Ensure to provide adequate air to avoid mold and fungus growth.
  • Carefully cure for 2-4weeks to make them tastier.

How to Dry

Hang the freshly harvested plants upside-down in your dark and well-ventilated drying space. You can use a fan to provide ventilation but don’t open it directly on the plants. You don’t need heat but just air to dry them. Regularly inspect your plants to check for fungus or mold growth and turn them for even drying. Provide proper spacing between individual hanging plants for enough ventilation and proper drying. This also helps to prevent heat in the drying room.

Note: you can make your own drying box for drying your weed or simply buy a commercial drying box which can hold at least 24 plants. Your drying should take some days or weeks until they’re fully dried and ready for smoking. Once the stems and branches crack between your fingers, it indicates that your plants are dried.

How to Cure Your Marijuana

To keep the flavor and potency of your marijuana, curing is essential.

First, you have to trim your marijuana before they are finally cured. Trim to your desired taste using your pair of scissors to remove any leaves covering the buds. You may need to keep your trimmings because they often contain high trichomes which can either be smoked or chewed.

Now, remove the buds from the stems and store them in a clean glass jar. Ensure you open them up twice daily for the first two weeks they’re in the jar and allow them to take in the air and remove any remaining moisture for about 15 minutes. Your buds should be ready in about 2-3 weeks of curing but different strains of marijuana may vary with the curing time.

MARIJUANA OVERVIEW

The marijuana or cannabis or weed plants have been in existence for thousands of years. These plants can grow naturally outdoors as long as the nutrients, temperature, and sunlight is adequate for its survival. Their natural outdoor cycle begins in the springtime and end in winter.

The marijuana plant can be classified into 6 different sections which include:

  • Stem
  • Branches
  • Leaves
  • Nodes
  • Buds or flowers
  • roots

Believed to have originated from the Himalayas, they can be seen covering the entire hillsides in Asia without human’s intervention, care or control. Except for Antarctica, marijuana plants grow on every other continent of the world with great medicinal and fiber values. Marijuana plant’s medicinal uses can be traced back to the Chinese Traditional medicine in 2737 B.C.

This plant can solely be grown for seeds production or for fiber. It has numerous uses including, fuel, paper, oil, medicines, food, livestock feeds and other amazing useful benefits. However, in so many parts of the world, the cultivation of marijuana plant is still termed illegal for some ignorant or unfortunate reasons. Marijuana plants can be female, male or hermaphrodite. The male marijuana plant produces pollen and pollinates the females while the females produce flowers and buds. Naturally, once the male plant produces the pollen and pollinates the female plants their life cycle has been completed and they die off.

The THC content of the male plants is very low and such are not often smoked since the essential ingredient isn’t present. The grower doesn’t necessarily need to leave the male flowers once they are detected except they want to make their own breeds. In an outdoor grow, both the male and female plants leave seeds on the ground as they die off and new plants regenerate to continue another growing process. It’s recommended for a grower who wishes to produce high THC content buds to use the non-pollinated female plants (Sinsemilla plant).

It’s mainly grown for three reasons including:

  • Fiber
  • Seeds
  • Flowers

The fibers: are mainly used for rope, paper, clothes and many other productions.

The seeds: are very high in protein and oil and such used for animal feeds, skincare products, and fuel.

The flowers: are mainly used for recreational, spiritual and medicinal purposes.

The numerous varieties of marijuana plants can be determined based on:

  • Height
  • High effects
  • Flowering period
  • Smell
  • Potency
  • Taste
  • Width
  • Leaf sizes

A grower can choose from and grow anyone of the numerous available species that meet their desires.

 

 

*Legal Disclaimer:

Although some states have legalized the use of marijuana, most have not. Each state has their own laws about growing and possessing cannabis. Check what the rules are in your area by visiting the website of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws at http://norml.org/

Comments are closed.