Marijuana seeds will usually be good for about 2 years after they are produced by a female plant. Under ideal conditions, some seeds will last for up to about 5 years. Keep them in a cool dark place away from moisture.
When you decide a seed is ready to be used to grow a plant, you will have to initiate plant growth by germinating the seed. Germinating a marijuana seed is comprised of supplying the seed with moisture and keeping it in a dark place that has a fairly constant warm temperature.
When the appropriate conditions are given to the seed for a long enough time, the plant will sprout a root. After the root is about a quarter of an inch long the seed can be placed in an environment where it can grow.
Seeds can be germinated in different ways, depending on the intended growing environment. If you are growing marijuana hydroponically, you can germinate the seed directly on a small piece of the media that will be used in your hydroponic garden, by following the method described below.
If you are going to be growing marijuana in soil, you can germinate the seed directly on the spot where it will grow. Simply place the seed where you want the plant to grow and cover it with about a half inch of loose soil.
Keep the soil around the plant moist (not wet) by spraying it with water (aged for at least 3 days) in a hand sprayer. Keeping the seed moist but not wet by spraying it may not be possible, especially if you are growing outdoors. So you may wish to germinate your marijuana seed indoors using the method described below.
Just about any seed can be germinated in this manner, from tomatoes to marijuana. Instructions are given here for using paper towels. It is recommended that you start germinating the seed on paper towel, but you can use the same media used in your garden (if you are hydroponic marijuana grower).
You can start seeds that will be grown in soil on hydroponic media like rockwool, but this is not recommended. After the seed has sprouted, place the seed (with rockwool or other media) directly in the soil it will be growing in.
Substitute your media for the paper towels described if you are using rockwool or some other media and keep in mind rockwool and other media might have to be soaked in pH adjusted water prior to use, especially when seeds are involved. Follow the manufacturers instructions.
What You Will Need
paper towels (or hydroponic media)
The plate you use will have to have a flat center area and the bowl will have to fit in the center area of the plate.
Take your plate and bowl and run boiling hot water all over them to kill any germs, you should do this to the paper towels also making sure they don't fall apart. Then squeeze the paper towel until it does not drip water unless you squeeze it a little.
Take the 1 or 2 sheets of paper towel and carefully fold them till they fit into the bottom of the plate. Turn the bowl upside down and place it over the plate, the paper towel should not stick out around the outside of the bowl.
When the paper towels reach room temperature, remove the bowl and place the seeds on top of the damp towel then cover them with the bowl again. The plate and bowl should be dark enough to block sunlight or kept in a dark area or covered to block sunlight and stored in an area that is clean and warm.
step 1 - step 2 - step 3 - step 4
Check daily and add small quantities of water when needed to keep moist. This is true also if you germinate seeds on a small piece of rockwool, oasis cubes, or medium other than paper towels.
When the seeds sprout, and the white shoot emerges about a quarter inch, transplant (root down) into your soil. Treat very gently, don't touch or break the root tip.
If you started on hydroponic media you can place the media containing the seed directly into the garden without touching the seed itself. This is a good idea because a minimum of stress is caused to the plant.
Some seeds take up to 12 days to start germination, but most will germinate within 24 to 72 hours. Be patient, give your valuable seeds a chance to sprout before tossing them out.
I've never tried but if you require more room to germinate your seeds, you could try a suitably sized pot or pan with a lid to preform the same function as a plate with a bowl placed over it.
Do NOT use bleach or mix bleach with the water!!
Never, never let the seeds dry out!!
Soil growers who plan on growing marijuana either indoors or outdoors can use a mini-greenhouse with a heating element. These are used to germinate the seed and let it start to grow and establish a root system without being transplanted.
Seeds are germinated by placing soil in the tray of the mini-greenhouse and moistening it with water. The seed is then put on the soil and the top is placed on the greenhouse. The greenhouse is moved to a dark area and the heater is plugged in.
After the seed has germinated, the heat is stopped and the plants are allowed to grow a bit before being transplanted into the soil that they will be grown in.
Temperature And Marijuana Seed Germination
Regular room temperature (about 65-80 degrees F) will be fine for germinating a seeds strain that originated in a colder climate. But higher temperatures are necessary to ensure optimal speed and health when germinating and growing some seed strains that originated in areas where it is very warm all year long.
If you don't know where your seed strain originated, try germinating a single seed at room temperature. If your seed doesn't sprout, try germinating another seed at a temperature 10 degrees F higher until you find what temperature works best. Of the 20+ marijuana strains I've grown, only 3 had problems germinating at room temperature.
I was having problems germinating some seeds that I have. I took 5 seeds and tried to germinate them using the methods described above. The temp was about 70 degrees on average. Then I took another 5 of the same seeds and tried to germinate them using the methods described above. The temp there was 85 degrees on average.
In the first group (70 degrees), only 1 seed germinated, and it took over 5 days to sprout. In the second hotter group (85 degrees), all 5 of the seeds sprouted within 5 days. I had never thought of this before. All the strains are equatorial in origin, so they need hot weather conditions (like in nature where they come from).
When germinating marijuana seeds:
Most seeds will germinate at 70-75 degrees F.
Nearly all seeds do best at about 78-80 degrees F.
Some seeds require up to 85 degrees F.
Never exceed 90 degrees F when germinating.
Outdoor growing is the best. Outdoor pot by far is the strongest, since it gets more light, it's naturally more robust. No light leak problems. No dark periods that keep you out of your grow room. No electricity bills. Sunlight tends to reach more of the plant, if you are growing marijuana in the direct sun. Unlike growing indoors, the bottom of the plant will be almost as developed as the top.
Outdoors, outside of a greenhouse, there are many factors that can kill your crop. Deer will try to eat them. Chipmunks and rodents too. Bugs will inhabit them, and the wind and rain can whip your little buds to pieces if they are exposed to strong storms. For this reason, indoor pot can be better than outdoor, but the best smoke I ever tasted was outdoor pot, so that tells you something; nothing beats the sun.
Buy an outdoor marijuana seeds strain, those cannabis seeds are breed especially for difficult outside weather conditions, optimum natural sunlight absorbtion, increased pest resistance, more bushy plants.
Put up a fence and make sure it stays up. Visit your plot at least once every two weeks, and preferably more often if water needs demand.
It's a good idea to use soil if you don't have a green house, since hydroponics will be less reliable outside in the open air, due mostly to evaporation.
Skunk Red Hair Marijuana Seeds
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Price for 10 seeds at recommended seedbank
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Early flowering fast growing plant with excellent yield. The characteristic red hair make this plant unmistakable. The typical skunk taste and smell are kept along with the tight bud formation.
High: Wow, this is really some sugary and sweet gear! It makes my mouth water as I write about it now. It almost seems like you are eating a fruit with orange, lemon, a little berry and lots of natural sugar. High sets in within 15 minutes rather lightly and unnoticeable at first. There is a lively buzz felt and then it eases into a nice cerebral high that lasts for at least 2 hours! What a pleasant surprise. I expected it to be a mediocre taste and high but I was totally wrong. This was a Bud Blessing in disguise! I'd like some more please...
Type: indica-sativa mix
Yield: 500 gr/m²
Flowering period: 8-9 weeks
Grow Difficulty: easy
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Skunk Red Hair Cannabis Seeds
Light exposure is all important when locating a site for a greenhouse or outdoor plot. A backyard grower will need to know where the sun shines for the longest period; privacy and other factors will enter in as well. Try to find an innocuous spot that gets full winter sun from mid morning to mid afternoon, at least from 10-4, preferably 8-5. This will be really asking for a lot if you live north of 30 degrees latitude since days are short in winter. Since most gardeners will not want to use the greenhouse in the middle of the winter, you can still use winter sun as an indicator of good spring and fall lighting exposures. Usually the south side of a hill gets the most sun. Also, large areas open to the sun on the north side of the property will get good southern exposures. East and West exposures can be good if they get the full morning/afternoon sun and mid-day sun as well. Some books say the plants respond better to morning-only sun, verses afternoon-only sun, so if you have to choose between the two, morning sun may be better.
Disguise your greenhouse as a tool shed, or similar structure, by using only one wall and a roof of white opaqued plastic, PVC, Filon, or glass, and using a similar colored material for the rest of the shed, or painting it white or silvery, to look like metal. Try to make it appear as if it has always been there, with plants and trees that grow around it and mask it from view while allowing sun to reach it.
For higher marijuana seeds germination rate, do not plant the cannabis seeds directly in soil. Germinate your seeds at home using the paper towel germination method. After the white roots can be seen comming out the marijuana seeds move them to small pots and grow the seedling indoors until they have 2 adult leaves. Replant outdoors, avoid indoor / outdoor temperature shock.
Filon (corrugated fiberglass)or PVC plastic sheets can be used outside to cover young plants grown together in a garden. Buy the clear greenhouse sheets, and opaque them with white wash (made from lime) or epoxy resin tinted white or gray and painted on in a thin layer. This will pass more sun than white PVC or Filon, and still hide the plants. Epoxy resin coats will preserve the Filon for many more seasons than it would otherwise last. It will also allow you to disguise the shed as metal, if you paint the clear filon sheets with a thin layer of resin tinted light gray. Paint will work as well, but may not protect as much. Be careful to use only as much as needed, to reduce sun blockage to a minimum.
Dig a big hole, don't depend on the plant to be able to penetrate the clay and rubble unless your sure of the quality of topsoil in the area. Grassy fields would have good top soil, but your back yard may not. This alone can make the difference between an average 5' tall plant, and a 10' monster by harvest time. Growing in the ground will always beat a pot, since the plant will never become root bound in the ground. Plants grown in the ground should grow much larger, but will need more space for each plant, so plan accordingly, you can't move them once they're in!
You may want to keep outdoor plants in pots so they can be easily moved. A big hole will allow the pot to be place in it, thus reducing the height of the plant, if fence level is an issue. Many growers find pots have saved a crop that had to be moved for some unexpected reason (repairman, appraiser, fire, etc.).
It's always best to put a roof over your plants outdoors. When I was a lad, we had plants growing over the fence line in the back yard. We started to build a greenhouse roof for them, and a cop saw us hauling wood, thought we were stealing it (which we were not) and looked over the fence at us and our lovely plants. We were busted, because he saw them. If he had seen a shed roof instead, there would never have been a problem. Moral of the Story: build the roof BEFORE the plants are sticking over the fence! Or train them to stay well below it. Live and learn...
When growing away from the house, in the wild, water is the biggest determining factor, after security. Water must be close by, or close to the soil surface, or you will have to pack water in. Water is heavy and this is very hard work. Try to find an area close to a source of water if possible, and keep a bucket nearby to carry water to your plot.
A novel idea in this regard is to find high water in the mountains, at altitude, and then route it down to a lower spot close by. It is possible to create water pressure in a hose this way, and route it to a drip system that feeds water to your plants continuously. Take a 5 gallon gas can, and punch small holes in it. Run a hose out of the main orifice and secure it somehow. Bury the can in a river or stream under rocks, so that it is hidden and submerged. Bury the hose coming out of it, and run it down hill to your garden area. A little engineering can save you a lot of work, and this rig can be used year after year.
Try a few different outdoor marijuana seeds varieties during the first year of your outdoor cultivation, compare growing properties and the yields of your cannabis seeds strains to find the one that suits you, your climate and location as well as security circumstances. If you are growing in your back yard avoid high sativa marijuana seeds varieties that could grow higher than your fence.
Choosing a space to grow
Choosing a space for growing marijuana indoors is just as important as choosing the proper space outdoors. Your growroom should be located in an out of the way place (not the bedroom). Basements, attics, and closets are all great places. Once you have a few possibilities in mind make sure they have access to electrical outlets. Plan ahead for anything that might require a repairman to visit your house. Once the location has been selected it is time to prepare it. Paint the walls flat white. Do not use tin foil because it can actually focus light like little laser beams and burn holes through the leaves. Cover the floor of the room with plastic. This will help stop water damage to the floor if it spill.
The space should be vented. Opening the door of a closet can be enough ventilation if the space is not lit by big lights that generate a lot of heat. Separate exhaust and incoming air vents are best. One at the top of the room to exhaust air into the attic or out the roof, and one to bring in air from an outside wall or under-floor crawl space. Use fans from old computer cabinets, available from electronic liquidators for $5 each. Dimmer switches can be used to regulate the speed/noise of the fans. Use silicon to secure the fans to 4-6" PVC pipe pushed through a round hole cut in the floor and ceilings. Use lots of silicon to damp the fans vibrations, so that the walls do not resonate to the fans' ocsilations.
A shelf above the main grow area can be used to clone cuttings and germinate seedlings. It will allow you to double the area of your grow space and is an invaluable storage area for plant food, spray bottles and other gardening supplies. This area stays very warm, and no germination warming pad will be needed, so this arrangement saves you cash.
Hang a light proof curtain to separate this shelf from the main area when used for flowering. This will allow constant lights on the shelf and dark periods in the main grow area.
Use the best soil you can get. Scrimping on the soil doesn't pay off in the long run. If you use unsterilized soil you will almost certainly find parasites in it, probably after it is too late to transplant your marijuana. You can find excellent soil for sale at your local plant shop or nursery and even some grocery stores. The soil you use should have these properties for the best possible results: It should drain well. That is, it should have some sand in it and also some sponge rock or pearlite. The ph should be between 6.5 and 7.5 since marijuana does not do well in acidic soil. High acidity in soil encourages the plant to be predominantly male, an undesirable trait. The soil should also contain humus for retaining moisture and nutrients.
If you want to make your own soil mixture, you can use this recipe: Mix two parts moss with one part sand and one part pearlite or sponge rock to each four gallons of soil. Test your soil for ph with litmus paper or with a soil testing kit available at most plant stores. To raise the ph of the soil, add 1/2 lb. lime to 1 cubic foot of soil to raise the ph one point. If you absolutely insist on using dirt you dug up from your driveway, you must sterilize it by baking it in your oven for about an hour at 250 degrees. Be sure to moisten it thoroughly first and also prepare yourself for a rapid evacuation of your kitchen because that hot soil is going to stink. Now add to the mixture about one tablespoon of fertilizer (like Rapid-Gro) per gallon gallon of soil and blend it in thoroughly. Better yet, just skip the whole process and spend a couple bucks on some soil.
Most growers report that a hydroponic system will grow plants faster than a soil medium, given the same genetics and environmental conditions. This may be due to closer attention and more control of nutrients, and more access to oxygen. The plants can breath easier, and therefor, take less time to grow. One report has it that plants started in soil matured after hydroponic plants started 2 weeks later!
Fast growth allows for earlier maturation and shorter total growing time per crop. Also, with soil mixtures, plant growth tends to slow when the plants become root-bound. Hydroponics provides even, rapid growth with no pauses for transplant shock and eliminates the labor/materials of repotting if rockwool is used.
By far the easiest hydroponic systems to use are the wick and reservoir systems. These are referred to as Passive Hydroponic methods, because they require no water distribution system on an active scale (pump, drain, flow meter and path). The basis of these systems is that water will wick to where you want it if the medium and conditions are correct.
The wick system is more involved than the reservoir system, since the wicks must be cut and placed in the pots, correct holes must be cut in the pots, and a spacer must be created to place the plants up above the water reservoir below. This can be as simple as two buckets, one fit inside the other, or a kiddie pool with bricks in it that the pots rest on, elevating them out of the nutrient solution.
I find the wick setup to be more work than the reservoir system. Initial setup is a pain with wicks, and the plants sit higher in the room, taking up precious vertical space. The base the pot sits on may not be very stable compared to a reservoir system, and a knocked over plant will never be the same as an untouched plant, due to stress and shock in recovery.
The reservoir system needs only a good medium suited to the task, and a pan to sit a pot in. If rockwool slabs are used, a half slab of 12" rockwool fits perfectly into a kitty litter pan. The roots spread out in very desirable horizontal fashion and have a lot of room to grow. Plants grown in this manner are very robust because they get a great deal of oxygen at the roots. Plants grown with reservoir hydroponics grow at about the same rate as wicks or other active hydroponic methods, with much less effort required, since it is by far the simplest of hydroponic methods. Plants can be watered and feed by merely pouring solution into the reservoir every few days. The pans take up very little vertical space and are easy to handle and move around.
In a traditional hydroponic method, pots are filled with lava/ vermiculite mix of 4 to 1. Dolite Lime is added, one Tblspn. per gallon of growing medium. This medium will wick and store water, but has excellent drainage and air storage capacity as well. It is however, not very reusable, as it is difficult to recapture and sterilize after harvest. Use small size lava, 3/8" pea size, and rinse the dust off it, over and over, until most of it is gone. Wet the vermiculite (dangerous dry, wear a mask) and mix into pots. Square pots hold more than round. Vermiculite will settle to bottom after repeated watering from the top, so only water from the top occasionally to leach any mineral deposits, and put more vermiculite on the top than the bottom. Punch holes in the bottom of the pots, and add water to the pan. It will be wicked up to the roots and the plants will have all they need to flourish.
The reservoir is filled with 1 1/2 - 3 inches of water and allowed to recede between waterings. When possible, use less solution and water more often, to pull more oxygen to the roots faster over time. If you go away on vacation, simply fill the reservoirs full to the top, and the plants will be watered for 2 weeks at least.
One really great hydroponic medium is Oasis floral foam. Stick lots of holes into it to open it up a little, and start plants/clones in it, moving the cube of foam to rockwool later for larger growth stages. Many prefer floral foam, as it is inert, and adds no PH factors. It's expensive though, and tends to crumble easily. I'm also not sure it's very reusable, but it seems to be a popular item at the indoor gardening centers.
Planting can be made easier with hydroponic mediums that require little setup such as rockwool. Rockwool cubes can be reused several times, and are premade to use for hydroponics. Some advantages of rockwool are that it is impossible to over water and there is no transplanting. Just place the plant's cube on top of a larger rockwool cube and enjoy your extra leisure time.
Some find it best to save money by not buying rockwool and spending time planting in soil or hydroponic mediums such as vermiculite/lava mix. Pearlite is nice, since it is so light. Pearlite can be used instead of or in addition to lava, which must be rinsed and is much heavier.
But rockwool has many advantages that are not appreciated until you spend hours repotting; take a second look. It is not very expensive, and it is reusable. It's more stable than floral foam, which crunches and powders easily. Rockwool holds 10 times more water than soil, yet is impossible to over-water, because it always retains a high percentage of air. Best of all, there is no transplanting; just place a starter cube into a rockwool grow cube, and when the plant gets very large, place that cube on a rockwool slab. Since rockwool is easily reused over and over, the cost is divided by 3 or 4 crops, and ends up costing no more than vermiculite and lava, which is much more difficult to reclaim, sterilize and reuse (repot) when compared to rockwool. Vermiculite is also very dangerous when dry, and ends up getting in the carpet and into the air when you touch it (even wet), since it drys on the fingers and becomes airborne. For this reason, I do not recommend vermiculite indoors.
Rockwool's disadvantages are relatively few. It is alkaline PH, so you must use something in the nutrient solution to make it acidic (5.5) so that it brings the rockwool down from 7.7, to 6.5 (vinagar works great.) And it is irritating to the skin when dry, but is not a problem when wet.
To pre-treat rockwool for planting, soak it in a solution of fish emulsion, trace mineral solution and phosphoresic acid (PH Down) for 24 hours, then rinse. This will decrease the need for PH worries later on, as it buffers the rockwool PH to be fairly neutral.
Hydroponics should be used indoors or in greenhouses to speed the growth of plants, so you have more bud in less time. Hydroponics allows you to water the plants daily, and this will speed growth. The main difference between hydroponics and soil growing is that the hydroponic soil or "medium"is made to hold moisture, but drain well, so that there are no over-watering problems associated with continuous watering. Also, hydroponically grown plants do not derive nutrients from soil, but from the solution used to water the plants. Hydroponics reduces worries about mineral buildup in soil, and lack of oxygen to suffocating roots, so leaching is usually not necessary with hydroponics.
Hydroponics allows you to use smaller containers for the same given size plant, when compared to growing in soil. A 3/4 gallon pot can easily take a small hydroponically grown plant to maturity. This would be difficult to do in soil, since nutrients are soon used up and roots become cut-off from oxygen as they become root-bound in soil. This problem does not seem to occur nearly as quickly for hydroponic plants, since the roots can still take up nutrients from the constant solution feedings, and the medium passes on oxygen much more readily when the roots become bound in the small container.
Plant food is administered with most waterings, and allows the gardener to strictly control what nutrients are available to the plants at the different stages of plant growth. Watering can be automated to some degree with simple and cheap drip system apparatus, so take advantage of this when possible.
Hydroponics will hasten growing time, so it takes less time to harvest after planting. It makes sense to use simple passive hydroponic techniques when possible. Hydroponics may not be desirable if your growing outdoors, unless you have a greenhouse.
CAUTION!: It is necessary to keep close watch of plants to be sure they are never allowed to dry too much when growing hydroponically, or roots will be damaged. If you will not be able to tend to the garden every day, be sure the pans are filled enough to last until next time you return, or you can easily lose your crop.
More traditional hydroponic methods (active) are not discussed here. I don't see any point in making it more difficult than it needs to be. It is necessary to change the solution every month if your circulating it with a pump, but the reservoir system does away with this problem. Just rinse the medium once a month or so to prevent salts build up by watering from the top of the pot or rockwool cube with pure water. Change plant foods often to avoid deficiencies in the plants. I recommend using 2 different plant foods for each phase of growth, or 4 foods total, to lessen chances of any type of deficiency.
Change the solution more often if you notice the PH is going down quickly (too acid). Due to cationic exchange, solution will tend to get too acid over time, and this will cause nutrients to become unavailable to the plants. Check PH of the medium every time you water to be sure no PH issues are occurring.
Algae will tend to grow on the medium with higher humidities in hydroponics. It will turn a slab of rockwool dark green. To prevent this, use the plastic cover the rockwool came in to cover rockwool slab tops, with holes cut for the plants to stick out of it. It's easy to cut a packaged slab of rockwool into two pieces, then cut the end of the plastic off each piece. You now have two pieces of slab, each covered with plastic except on the very ends. Now cut 2 or 3 4" square holes in the top to place cubes on it, and place each piece in a clean litter pan. Now your ready to treat the rockwool as described above in anticipation of planting.
If growing in pots, a layer of gravel at the top of a pot may help reduce algae growth, since it will dry very quickly. Algae is merely messy and unsightly; it will not actually cause any complications with the plants.
Without light, the plants cannot grow. In the countries in which marijuana grows best, the sun is the source of light. The amount of light and the length of the growing season in these countries results in huge tree-like plants. In most parts of North America, however, the sun is not generally intense enough for long enough periods of time to produce the same size and quality of plants that grow with ease in Latin America and other tropical countries. The answer to the problem of lack of sun, especially in the winter months, shortness of the growing season, and other problems is growing marijuana indoors under simulated conditions. The rule of thumb seems to be the more light, the better. There are many types of artificial light and all of them do different things to your plants. The common incandescent light bulb emits some of the frequencies of light the plant can use, but it also emits a high percentage of far red and infra-red light which cause the plant to concentrate its growth on the stem. This results in the plant stretching toward the light bulb until it becomes so tall and spindly that it just weakly topples over. There are several brands of bulb type. One is the incandescent plant spot light which emits higher amounts of red and blue light than the common light bulb. It is an improvement, but has it drawbacks. It is hot, for example, and cannot be placed close to the plants. Consequently, the plant has to stretch upwards again and is in danger of becoming elongated and falling over. The red bands of light seem to encourage stem growth which is not desirable in growing marijuana. the idea is to encourage foliage growth for obvious reasons. Gro-Lux lights are probably the most common fluorescent plant lights. In our experience with them, they have proven themselves to be extremely effective. They range in size from one to eight feet in length so you can set up a growing room in a closet or a warehouse. There are two types of Gro-Lux lights: The standard and the wide spectrum. They can be used in conjunction with on another, but the wide spectrum lights are not sufficient on their own. The wide spectrum lights were designed as a supplementary light source and are cheaper than the standard lights. Wide spectrum lights emit the same bands of light as the standard but the standard emit higher concentrations of red and blue bands that the plants need to grow. The wide spectrum lights also emit infra-red, the effect of which on stem growth we have already discussed. If you are planning to grow on a large scale, you might be interested to know that the regular fluorescent lamps and fixtures, the type that are used in commercial lighting, work well when used along with standard Gro- Lux lights. These commercial lights are called cool whites, and are the cheapest of the fluorescent lights we have mentioned. They emit as much blue light as the Gro-Lux standards and the blue light is what the plants use in foliage growth.
Now we come to the question of intensity. Both the standard and wide spectrum lamps come in three intensities: regular output, high output, and very high output. You can grow a nice crop of plants under the regular output lamps and probably be quite satisfied with our results. The difference in using the HO or VHO lamps is the time it takes to grow a crop. Under a VHO lamp, the plants grow at a rate that is about three times the rate at which they grow under the standard lamps. People have been known to get a plant that is four feet tall in two months under one of these lights. Under the VHO lights, one may have to raise the lights every day which means a growth rate of ate least two inches a day. The only drawback is the expense of the VHO lamps and fixtures. The VHO lamps and fixtures are almost twice the price of the standard. If you are interested in our opinion, they are well worth it. Now that you have your lights up, you might be curious about the amount of light to give you plants per day. The maturation date of your plants is dependent on how much light they receive per day. The longer the dark period per day, the sooner the plant will bloom. Generally speaking, the less dark per day the better during the first six months of the plant's life. The older the plant is before it blooms and goes to seed, the better the grass will be. After the plant is allowed to bloom, its metabolic rate is slowed so that the plant's quality does not increase with the age at the same rate it did before it bloomed. The idea, then, is to let the plant get as old as possible before allowing it to mature so that the potency will be a high as possible at the time of harvest. One relatively sure way to keep your plants from blooming until you are ready for them is to leave the lights on all the time. Occasionally a plant will go ahead and bloom anyway, but it is the exception rather than the rule. If your plants receive 12 hours of light per day they will probably mature in 2 to 2.5 months. If they get 16 hours of light per day they will probably be blooming in 3.5 to 4 months. With 18 hours of light per day, they will flower in 4.5 to 5 months. Its a good idea to put your lights on a timer to ensure that the amount of light received each day remains constant. A "vacation" timer, normally used to make it look like you are home while you are away, works nicely and can be found at most hardware or discount stores.
Since there is no sun in your closet you will have to provide a sun loving plant like marijuana with a lot of artificial light. There are three options available to the grower: fluorescent lights are cheap, efficient, and don't put out much heat. Metal halide, or MH bulbs, are more expensive but put out much more light than fluorescents. They also put out more heat so ventilation is needed. MH bulbs also require a separate ballast in order to work. High Pressure Sodium lamps, or HPS, put out as much light as MH lamps but with a little less heat. Ventilation and a separate ballast are also required.
fluorescent lights are the cheapest light to use. They run at about $2 a tube. They produce little heat so ventilation may not be needed unless the space is very small. The light spectrum put out by these lights is suitable for all stages of growing. Because fluorescents disperse light over a large area, they need to be kept within three inches of the tops for the plants to receive enough light. This means you will have to mount the lights in a way that the can be raised everyday.
Metal Halide Lights
Metal halide lamps put out the most light. They also produce a lot of heat. A strong fan is needed to keep room temperatures down. MH lamps put out light mostly in the blue spectrum. Blue light is used best by the plant during vegetative growth. MH lights can also be used for flowering with no adverse effects. A separate ballast is required for these lights to work. They come in sizes from 40 to 1000W. One 1000W lamp will provide enough light in a closet to grow four plants.
High Pressure Sodium Lights
High pressure sodium lamps put out almost as much light as MH and with less heat. Good ventilation is still required though. HPS lamps produce light in mostly the red and orange end of the spectrum. The plants uses this light best when flowering. HPS lamps can also be used for vegetative growth with little slow down in foliage production. HPS lamps require a separate ballast for operation.
Some growers switch between MH and HPS depending on what stage the plants are in. MH is used in vegetative growth and then the light is switched over to HPS once flowering begins. Most growers use fluorescents to start seedlings and root clones. The fluorescents are weaker than the MH and HPS lamps and therefore do not stress them too much. Choose whatever light is best suited for your situation. If your are growing in your attic go with MH or HPS. If your growing in the closet like us, then use flourecents.
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400 watt 120 volt HPS System
with Eye Hortilux Lamp
and 24'' Cone Reflector
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Marijuana likes lots of food, but you can do damage to the plants if you are too zealous. Some fertilizers can burn a plant and damage its roots if used in to high a concentration. Most commercial soil will have enough nutrients in it to sustain the plant for about three weeks of growth so you don't need to worry about feeding your plant until the end of the third week. The most important thing to remember is to introduce the fertilizer concentration to the plant gradually. Start with a fairly diluted fertilizer solution and gradually increase the dosage. There are several good marijuana fertilizers on the commercial market, two of which are Rapid-Gro and Eco-Grow. Rapid-Gro has had widespread use in marijuana cultivation and is available in most parts of the United States. Eco-Grow is also especially good for marijuana since it contains an ingredient that keeps the soil from becoming acid. Most fertilizers cause a ph change in the soil. Adding fertilizer to the soil almost always results in a more acidic ph.
As time goes on, the amount of salts produced by the breakdown of fertilizers in the soil causes the soil to become increasingly acidic and eventually the concentration of these salts in the soil will stunt the plant and cause browning out of the foliage. Also, as the plant gets older its roots become less effective in bringing food to the leaves. To avoid the accumulation of these salts in your soil and to ensure that your plant is getting all of the food it needs you can begin leaf feeding your plant at the age of about 1.5 months. Dissolve the fertilizer in worm water and spray the mixture directly onto the foliage. The leaves absorb the fertilizer into their veins. If you want to continue to put fertilizer into the soil as well as leaf feeding, be sure not to overdose your plants.
Remember to increase the amount of food your plant receives gradually. Marijuana seems to be able to take as much fertilizer as you want to give it as long as it is introduced over a period of time. During the first three months or so, fertilize your plants every few days. As the rate of foliage growth slows down in the plant's preparation for blooming and seed production, the fertilizer intake of the plant should be slowed down as well. Never fertilize the plant just before you are going to harvest it since the fertilizer will encourage foliage production and slow down resin production. A word here about the most organic of fertilizers: worm castings. As you may know, worms are raised commercially for sale to gardeners. The breeders put the worms in organic compost mixtures and while the worms are reproducing they eat the organic matter and expel some of the best marijuana food around. After the worms have eaten all the organic matter in the compost, they are removed and sold and the remains are then sold as worm castings. These castings are so rich that you can grow marijuana in straight worm castings. This isn't really necessary however, and it is somewhat impractical since the castings are very expensive. If you can afford them you can, however, blend them in with your soil and they will make a very good organic fertilizer.
Since you control the light cycle in an indoor operation it is easy to sex the plants early and eliminate all the males. Just turn the lights down to 12/12 when the plants are eight inches high. Use a magnifying glass to examine the flowers and eliminate all the males.
The only way to tell the sex of a cannabis plant is after it has been flowering for at least two weeks. Examine the internodes, or the place where two stems meet. Two little white hairs in a "V" are a female flower, while strange-looking bunches of grape like flowers indicate a male. Make sure to cut the males as soon as they show their sex unless you want a batch of seeds with your female buds, in which case cut all the males except for the best one (you judge) and then cut it as soon as the little grapes (pollen sacks) start to pop open. The branches of these males can be placed in water and put in a sunny window. The pollen sacks will continue to pop open for several days and you can carefully collect an apply the pollen to just the females you want to seed. Remember that there is enough pollen in a single male flower to pollinate thousands of female flowers. If you grow only females the results will be sinsemilla (Spanish word for seedless or without seed).
If you live near a clear mountain stream, you can skip this bit on the quality of water. Most of us are supplied water by the city and some cities add more chemicals to the water than others. They all add chlorine, however, in varying quantities. Humans over the years have learned to either get rid of it somehow or to live with it, but your marijuana plants won't have time to acquire a taste for it so you had better see that they don't have to. Chlorine will evaporate if you let the water stand for 24 hours in an open container. Letting the water stand for a day or two will serve a dual purpose: The water will come to room temperature during that period of time and you can avoid the nasty shock your plants suffer when you drench them with cold water. Always water with room temperature to lukewarm water. If your water has an excessive amount of chlorine in it, you may want to get some anti- chlorine drops at the local fish or pet store. The most important thing about watering is to do it thoroughly. You can water a plant in a three gallon container with as much as three quarts of water. The idea is to get the soil evenly moist all the way to the bottom of the pot. If you use a little water, even if you do it often, it seeps just a short way down into the soil and any roots below the moist soil will start to turn upwards toward the water. The second most important thing about watering is to see to it that the pot has good drainage. There should be some holes in the bottom so that any excess water will run out. If the pot won't drain, the excess water will accumulate in a pocket and rot the roots of the plant or simply make the soil sour or mildew. The soil, as we said earlier, must allow the water to drain evenly through it and must not become hard or packed. If you have made sure that the soil contains sand and pearlite, you shouldn't have drainage problems. To discover when to water, feel the soil with your finger. if you feel moisture in the soil, you can wait a day or two to water. The soil near the top of the pot is always drier than the soil further down. You can drown your plant just as easily as you can let it get too dry and it is more likely to survive a dry spell than it is to survive a torrential flood. Water the plants well when you water and don't water them at all when they don't need it.
Plants need water. All residential water supplies are treated with chlorine which is not good for plants. Evaporate the chlorine out of the water by leaving it in open containers such as milk jugs or barrels for 24 to 48 hours before using.
The proper way to water an established plant is to saturate the soil, then do not water again until the soil feels dry at the tip of your finger poked into the soil, and the container feels light. You can tell just by watching the plants. Experienced growers who are intimate with their plants can tell that they will need to be watered 2 or even 3 days before they do simply by looking at them. Lower leaves may lose their turgidity, and the whole plant, though seemingly unaffected, may actually seem to shrink. The moment they start to droop you have waited too long. Overwatering is a most common mistake. Usually, the plant is not growing satisfactorily due to another limiting factor, and the hapless cultivator tries to give it more and more water and/or fertilizer, essentially drowning the roots and killing the plant.
I have found that pruning is not always necessary. The reason one does it in the first place is to encourage secondary growth and to allow light to reach the immature leaves. Some strands of grass just naturally grow thick and bushy and if they are not clipped the sap moves in an uninterrupted flow right to the top of the plant where it produces flowers that are thick with resin. On the other hand, if your plants appear tall and spindly for their age at three weeks, they probably require a little trimming to ensure a nice full leafy plant. At three weeks of age your plant should have at least two sets of branches or four leaf clusters and a top. To prune the plant, simply slice the top off just about the place where two branches oppose each other. Use a razor blade in a straight cut. If you want to, you can root the top in some water and when the roots appear, plant the top in moist soil and it should grow into another plant. If you are going to root the top you should cut the end again, this time with a diagonal cut so as to expose more surface to the water or rooting solution. The advantage to taking cuttings from your plant is that it produces more tops. The tops have the resin, and that's the name of the game. Every time you cut off a top, the plant seeds out two more top branches at the base of the existing branches. Pruning also encourages the branches underneath to grow faster than they normally would without the top having been cut.
Plants that are regenerated, cloned and even grown from seed will need to be pruned at some point to encourage the plant to produce as much as possible and remain healthy. Pruning the lower limbs creates more air-flow under the plants in an indoor situation and creates cuttings for cloning. It also forces the plant's effort to the top limbs that get the most light, maximizing yields.
Plants that are regenerated need to have minor growth clipped so that the main regenerated growth will get all the plant's energy. This means that once the plant has started to regenerate lots of growth, the lower limbs that will be shaded or are not robust should go. The growth must be thinned on top branches such that only the most robust growth is allowed to remain.
Once nice aspect of regenerating plants is that some small buds left on the plant in anticipation of regeneration will not sprout new growth and may be collected for smoke. The plant may provide much smokable material if it is caught before all the old flowers dry up and die with the new vegetative growth occurring.
Try to trim a regenerated plant twice. Once as it is starting to regenerate, collect any bud that is not sprouting with new growth and smoke it. Then later, prune again to take lower clippings to clone and thin the upper growth so that larger buds will be produced.
If a regenerated plant is not pruned at all, the resulting plant is very stemmy, does not create large buds and the total yield will be significantly reduced.
Well, now that you've grown your marijuana, you will want to cut it right so that it smokes clean and won't bite. You can avoid that "homegrown" taste of chlorophyll that sometimes makes one's fillings taste like they might be dissolving. We know of several methods of curing the marijuana so that it will have a mild flavor and a mellow rather than harsh smoke.
First, pull the plant up roots and all and hang it upside down for 24 hours. Then put each plant in a paper grocery bag with the top open for three or four days or until the leaves feel dry to the touch. Now strip the leaves off the stem and put them in a glass jar with a lid. Don't pack the leaves in tightly, you want air to reach all the leaves. The main danger in the curing process is mold. If the leaves are too damp when you put them into the jar, they will mold and since the mold will destroy the resins, mold will ruin your marijuana. you should check the jars every day by smelling them and if you smell an acrid aroma, take the weed out of the jar and spread it out on newspaper so that it can dry quickly. Another method is to uproot the plants and hang them upside down. You get some burlap bags damp and slip them up over the plants. Keep the bags damp and leave them in the sun for at least a week. Now put the plants in a paper bag for a few days until the weed is dry enough to smoke. Like many fine things in life, marijuana mellows out with age. The aging process tends to remove the bad taste.My Indica strain seems to chant "clone us... clone us" every time I enter my veg room. Well OK, it could be the buzzing of Metal Halide ballasts, the humming of fans, or maybe that big bong hit I just had. But marijuana is one of the easiest plants to clone, which is my topic this month.
The Mother Plant
If your mother plant is from seed, it should be at least 1 foot tall. But if you need lots of clones, let it get big. It pays to have patience sometimes. I can always find the room for a bigger plant.
Mist plants heavily each morning two weeks prior to cloning. Remember, if plants are in halide area, turn off your fans and raise bulbs. If one drop of water lands on a hot bulb, then BOOM! no more bulb.
The misting will wash nitrogen out of plants. This will slow growth, and carbohydrates will build up in the stems. The lowest branches of your plant will root faster due to the low nitrogen and high carbohydrate levels.
You can root in rockwool, perlite, sand, vermiculite, sunshine mixes, dirt, and even water. I prefer to use rockwool because it is easy to handle, easy to transport, and it keeps your clone area clean.
24 hours before cloning you should prepare your rooting medium by watering it with a mix of one liter of water and some horticultural fungicide (see the package for proper ratio of water to fungicide). Put the medium into a nursery tray. Put the tray in the clone room, 12" from the light source, which should be left on constantly.
Taking the Clone
Get a clean coffee cup, baby food jar, or other such container, and fill with water. Do not use hot water, cool tap water or distilled bottled water are recommended. Let tap water sit overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate.
Start your first cutting on the bottom branch. The cutting should be 2"-6" in length. You will leave the growing tip, a small leaf, and one or two larger leaves. Below the last leaf you will cut off more leaves 1/8" from the main stem (see diagram).
Below the bottom leaf cut you should make a straight cut perpendicular to the stem. Immediately place the cutting into the container of water. This will prevent an air bubble from blocking the transpiration stream.
After all clones are taken, put in clone closet, (but not in direct light) for 24 hours. Mist clones gently once or twice during this period.
The next day, take your tray with the medium and use a small nail to make a 1/4" deep hole in each clone site. Take one clone, dip in rooting hormone, generously coating 1/4" to 1/2" of the stem before inserting it into the hole in the medium.
Push the clone in gently until it is 1/2" to 3/4" into the medium. Trickle a few drops of rooting hormone down the stem to ensure that it is set properly.
Mist the clone again and put a foot away from the fluorescent light. Leave the light on constantly until the clones have rooted, which should take from one to four weeks. You can use a humidity cover or tent if you want to, but I don't use one.
I mist my clones 6 times or so a day, and they root in 7 to 12 days. Keep the medium moist but not saturated. When necessary, water lightly with a mixture of water and No-damp. Let the rockwool get a bit on the dry side rather than letting it become too wet.
After roots start to appear, transplant the clone gently into whatever medium you have chosen to grow it in. Water gently with 1/2" strength flowering food. If you are planting clones rooted in rockwool into a pro mix, make sure to bury cube with 1/2" of soil.
It will help keep cube from drying out, as rockwool generously gives up its moisture to anything. That's it. Expect a minimum 50% survival rate. Good luck!