Table of contents
This is a beginner's guide to growing cannabis that puts everything in plain and simple English, and doesn't go to deep into advanced gardening. This is one of the best beginner's guide to growing cannabis plants out there.
1. Get the seeds. If you don't already have some, you can ask your friends to save you seeds out of any good grass they may come across. You'll find that lots of people already have a seed collection of some sort and are willing to part with a few prime seeds in exchange for some of the finished product.
2. Germinate the seeds. You can simply drop a seed into moist soil, but by germinating the seeds first you can be sure that the seed will indeed produce a plant. To germinate seeds, place a group of them between about six moist paper towels, or in the pores of a moist sponge. Leave the towels or sponge moist but not soaking wet. Some seeds will germinate in 24 hours while others may take several days or even a week.
3. Plant the sprouts. As soon as a seed cracks open and begins to sprout, place it on some moist soil and sprinkle a little soil over the top of it.
4. Supply the plants with light. Fluorescent lights are the best. Hang the lights with two inches of the soil and after the plants appear above the ground, continue to keep the lights with two inches of the plants. It is as easy as that. If you follow those four steps you will grow a cannabis plant. To ensure prime quality and the highest yield in the shortest time period, however, a few details are necessary.
1. It should drain well. That is, it should have some sand in it and also some sponge rock or pearlite.
2. The ph should be between 6.5 and 7.5 since cannabis does not do well in acidic soil. High acidity in soil encourages the plant to be predominantly male, an undesirable trait.
3. 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.
problem is using a Jiffy-Pot. Jiffy pots are made of compressed peat moss and can be planted right into moist soil where they decompose and allow the passage of the root system through their walls. The second container should have a volume of at least three gallons. Cannabis doesn't like to have its roots bound or cramped for space, so always be sure that the container you use will be deep enough for your plant's root system. It is very difficult to transplant a five-foot cannabis tree, so plan ahead. It is going to get bigger. The small plants should be ready to transplant into their permanent homes in about two weeks. Keep a close watch on them after the first week or so and avoid root binding at all costs since the plants never seem to do as well once they have been stunted by the cramping of their roots.
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. Cannabis 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 cannabis 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 cannabis 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.
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.
Energy Emissions In Arbitrary Color Bands
40 Watt Fluorescent Lamps
In Watts and Percent of Total Emissions
Daylight Cool White Gro-Lux GroLux WS
Light Type Band Watts % Watt % Watt % Watt %
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~
Ultra-Violet -380 0.186 2.15 0.16 1.68 0.10 1.42 0.27 3.16
Violet 380-430 0.832 9.60 0.72 7.57 0.70 9.67 1.07 12.48
Blue 430-490 2.418 27.91 1.98 20.78 1.96 27.07 1.22 14.29
Green 490-560 2.372 27.38 2.35 24.67 1.02 14.02 1.24 14.49
Yellow 560-590 1.259 14.53 1.74 18.27 0.10 1.42 0.83 9.77
Orange 590-630 1.144 13.21 1.69 17.75 0.44 6.05 1.36 15.93
Red 630-700 0.452 6.22 0.81 8.47 2.86 39.55 1.86 21.78
Far Red 700-780 0.130 1.53 0.07 0.81 0.06 0.80 0.69 8.10
=== == === = = ====
Total 8.890 100.0 9.52 100.0 7.24 100.0 8.54 100.0
The ideal temperature for the light hours is 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and for the dark hours there should be about a 15 degree drop in temperature. The growing room should be relatively dry if possible. What you want is a resinous coating on the leaves and to get the plant to do this, you must convince it that it needs the resinous coating on its leaves to protect itself from drying out. In an extremely humid room, the plants develop wide leaves and do not produce as much resin. You must take care not to let the temperature in a dry room become too hot, however, since the plant cannot assimilate water fast enough through its roots and its foliage will begin to brown out.
In a small closet where there are only a few plants you can probably create enough air circulation just by opening the door to look at them. Although it is possible to grow healthy looking plants in poorly ventilated rooms, they would be larger and healthier if they had a fresh supply of air coming in. If you spend a lot of time in your growing room, your plants will grow better because they will be using the carbon dioxide that you are exhaling around them. It is sometimes quite difficult to get a fresh supply of air in to your growing room because your room is usually hidden away in a secret corner of your house, possibly in the attic or basement. In this case, a fan will create some movement of air. It will also stimulate your plants into growing a healthier and sturdier stalk. Often times in an indoor environment, the stems of plants fail to become rigid because they don't have to cope with elements of wind and rain. To a degree, though, this is an advantage because the plant puts most of its energy into producing leaves and resin instead of stems.
Dehumidifying Your Growing Room
Cannabis that grows in a hot, dry climate will have narrower leaves than cannabis grown in a humid atmosphere. The reason is that in a dry atmosphere the plant can respirate easier because the moisture on the leaves evaporates faster. In a humid atmosphere, the moisture cannot evaporate as fast. Consequently, the leaves have to be broader with more surface area in order to expel the wastes that the plant put out. Since the broad leaves produce less resin per leaf than the narrow there will be more resin in an ounce of narrow leaves than in one ounce of broad leaves. There may be more leaf mass in the broader leafed plants, but most people are growing their own for quality rather than quantity.
Since the resin in the cannabis plant serves the purpose of keeping the leaves from drying out, there is more apt to be a lot of resin produced in a dry room than in a humid one. In the Sears catalog, dehumidifiers cost around $100.00 and are therefore a bit impractical for the "hobby grower."
water. The idea is to get the soil evenly moist all the way to the bottom of the cannabis. 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 cannabis has good drainage. There should be some holes in the bottom so that any excess water will run out. If the cannabis 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 cannabis 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.
Ortho also produces several insecticides that will kill mites. The ingredients to look for are Kelthane and Malatheon. Both of these poisons are lethal to humans and pets as well as bugs, but they both detoxify in about ten days so you can safely smoke the grass ten days after spraying. Fruit and Berry will only kill the adult mite, however, and you'll have to spray every four days for about two weeks to be sure that you have killed all the adults before they have had a chance to lay eggs. Keep a close watch on your plants because it only takes one egg laying adult to re- infest your plants and chances are that one or two will escape your barrage of insecticides. If you see little bugs flying around your plants, they are probably white flies. The adults are immune to almost all the commercial insecticides except Fruit and Berry which will not kill the eggs or larva. It is the larval stage of this insect that does the most damage. They suck out enzymes too, and kill your plants if they go unchecked. You will have to get on a spraying program just as was explained in the spider mite section.
An organic method of bug control is using soap suds. Put Ivory flakes in some lukewarm water and work up the suds into a lather. Then put the suds over the plant. The obvious disadvantage is it you don't rinse the soap off the plant you'll taste the soap when you smoke the leaves.
Well, now that you've grown your cannabis, you will want to cur 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 cannabis 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. Dried cannabis smokes so good, The best dried cannabis will crumble but not turn into dust. Dry cannabis is a labor of love. If the leaves are too damp when dry cannabis you put them into the jar, they will mold and since the mold will destroy the resins, mold will ruin your cannabis. 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, dried cannabis mellows out with age. The aging process tends to remove the chlorophyll taste.