Table of contents
complete guides in video format:
Cannabis Cultivation Videos
SuppliesTo grow cannabis you will need at least the following items:
A place or a Room/growbox to grow in
Lamp (or sun)
Cannabis Seeds (or clones )
Soil (or other grow medium)
Ph test kit
Some people swear by soil and soil less mediums. If you decide to go this route make sure you get some quality soil. I have been using miracle grow potting soil with pretty good results. EDIT: Now that I got a soil ph meter I am seeing that my miricle grow soil was a bad idea. I got some scotts soil (home depot) and its ph is closer to nutral. EDIT again lol. Now I use fox farms "ocean forest". Its too strong for seedlings or clones so I start with fox farms "light warrior".
Just make sure it drains water well. you can add sand or perlite to make the soil more drain-able and airated. Once you get past the cups you will want to transplant into bigger pots. A good rule of thumb is for every foot of growth you will want 1 gallon of pot space. 5 gollons work pretty good.
I still start out with the rock wool and transplant to dirt later on. But if you cant get rock wool then soil will be fine to start in too. Just make sure you allow your medium to dry out before waterings. You want the roots to stretch and search for that water. The heart of the plant is its root system so roots are what I work on first.
Probably the most common hydroponics medium is rock wool. It works well. It is like fiber glass but its rock instead. It holds water and air very well. There are many different mediums you can use but to start out a new plant I use 1 inch rock wool cubes. The main thing you need to think about is what kind of system you are going to use and go from there. Rock wool holds lots of water and doesn't need watering as often as say volcanic rocks.
Water can be a medium also. I really like airoponics. That is my favorite system. It always has the perfect o2/ h2o ratio. So its never starved or flooded. It always grows.
SeedsIf you want to grow good cannabis you have to start out with good seeds. You will want to do a little research before you pick out the strain you are going to grow. Some strains like outdoors and lots of light and some like indoors under lower light conditions. I like indoors because you can control the plants environment. Plus you don't have to worry about pest and critters eating your plants. Well not totally but your chances are better than the open outdoors.
The seed is where it all begins. You cant just take any old pot seed and expect it to grow bad ass weed. Its all in the genetics. To grow bad ass weed you have to have bad ass seeds.
I hear these are some good places to buy seeds...
GerminatingI use a couple paper towels and a glass. Some people use a plate but I don't. Basically I get my paper towels moist with tap water and throw all my seeds in the towel and wrap them up and place them in the glass in a dark space. You want the towels good and moist but not too wet cause I have rotted seeds from over watering my glass. As long as there is less than a 1/2 ounce of water in the bottom of the glass then you should be ok. Usually after 3 days my seeds crack and are beginning to show a root. Once the majority of the seeds have roots then you are done with this step. Time to find something to grow them in.
Planting the seedOnce you figured out what medium you are going to use make sure your medium is moist before you start. Rock wool needs to be soaked 24 hours in 5.5 ph water before you start because the glue in the rock wool has a high alkaline level. Dirt is usually pretty neutral so just water will work for now. I will get into ph later.
I use rock wool cubes but for dirt I would use a small plastic cup to start my plants. All you have to do is place the sprouted seed in the medium about a half inch (1.2cm) deep. Cover the seed gently with dirt or if your using rock wool just kinda pinch the hole a little with your fingers. Shazzzam your on your way to growing some grade A kill.
just be careful that you dont put the seed in upside down
I strongly suggest using a combination of cool white and warm white florescent bulbs for growing your newly hatched plants. Place the lights about an inch away from the lights. Its ok if the plant grows into and touches the light a little since florescents don't get very hot. You will be fine. Just try to keep an average of one inch away. In less than a week you should see the roots working their way to the bottom of the cup. After this stage you can upgrade pots. I would suggest a gallon pot for your next transplant. You can continue using the florescent bulbs but they really don't put off enough light for fast growth. CXompact florescent bulbs (cfl's) work good too. You will want a bunch of them .
I like to use mh (metal halide) lights for my vegetative cycle. They emit a lot of the blue spectrum which the plant likes for root, stem and leaf growth. Depending on the size of your garden will determine what wattage you should use. I do it big so I use 1000 watt bulbs. They come in 250, 400 and 600 watts and a few others. Your plant will love this light.
high pressure sodium
Hps (high pressure sodium) bulbs are like mh lights but they put out a lot of red light. The plant likes this light when flowering. It also is a little bit brighter than a mh light of the same wattage. A 1000 watt mh puts out around 80,000 lumens and the hps put out about 125,000 lumens. And yes brighter is better. These lights are not cheap and if you can only afford one then just get the hps light.
The mh and hps lights (High intensity discharge) put out lots of heat. You will need a good ventilation system or a good a/c to keep the room from getting too hot. Some light hoods have built in vents you can hook up an a/c duct to exhaust the heat.
You will want to keep it at least 14-24 inches away from the tops of your plants. With a track you can lower the lights to 12 inches or less. With the hood we use we can touch the tops of the plants with the light hood without burning the plant. These cool tube hoods are not cheap but they seem superior to everything else I have used. See pic. But a good rule of thumb is to place your hand under the light and if it burns your hand it will burn your plant.
This is going to be your biggest expense after your light investment. It takes a lot of electricity to run a grow room. You have lights, vents, air conditioners and a few other things like pumps and fans. the cost of electricity can easily add up to a couple hundred dollars for a bigger setup. Smaller single lamp setup shouldnt make much of a difference on your bill.
(My bill has raised about ~$350 with my system. Its fairly large so yours probably wont get this high. I have 4 1000 lights, a big 240 a/c and a few fans)
Don't steal electricity. Whatever the bill is just pay it. If the elec. company reads their grid meter and things don't add up they will start investigating. That will probably get you busted. Some power companies can see what your meter is doing every day. They can see the power jump up at 8pm and drop back down at 8am every day. But don't worry because everything is pretty much automated. A real person doesn't get involved unless there is a problem. The cops can use this to bust you, but they wont check unless they have reason to believe you are doing something wrong. If thats the case you are already busted. They just use that to help get a warrant.
One major important thing is not to overload your circuits. 1000watt Hps and mh lights pull 9 amps. So if you are going to have a multi light system you may need to run some more cables to your breaker box. I always build a 240v power/timer box. I already know I will blow all the breakers in the room with ease. They sell these boxes for $200-300. I make mine for about $60-$80. I put about 8 120v plugs and around 4-6 240v plugs in it. I also use a 240v hot water heater timer. Works great up to 50 amps.
WaterTheres two main things you have to pay attention to in the water: the PH level and the PPM (parts-per-million).
plain tap water is usually fine, just be sure to check/correct the PH-level before using it. Some countrys will have less suitable tap water perhaps containing chlorine or with a high PPM. The chlorine in it will burn the tips of the leaves. You can let the water sit out for a couple days to allow the chlorine to dissipate. You can also use those drops for the fish tank.
PhOk so we need to control our ph in our nutrient solution/ medium for healthy plant growth and good nutrient absorption. Weed likes a slightly acidic medium. For soil plants I keep my ph around 6.2-6.8. For hydroponics I keep a lower ph of 5.5- 6.5.
So how do I figure what my ph is? Its simple, buy a ph meter. Duh. Mine is a cheap digital meter that cost me $75. Mine is for water but they sell them for soil too. They can get expensive into the $300 range. If your tight on cash you can also buy ph drops. Its been a while but I think they are less than $10. So now you got your meter and need to change your ph. I go to the local hydroponic store and buy a bottle of ph up and ph down. Makes things real easy to adjust. You can also use baking soda to go up and vinegar to go down.
for more detailed information about PH levels, read this page: PH
PPMParts per million is how we measure the amount of fertilizer (salts) thats in the water solution. You will need a ppm meter to read this. I have a $50 one and also a $300 one that reads ph and ec. Basically start out cheap and when a few crops start rolling in then buy the big baller stuff.
I try to keep my seedlings and clones at about 100-250 ppms. After about 10 days I bump up the ppm to around 500-600 ppm for the next 2-3 weeks. After about a month I raise it to 800-1000 ppm. When I start to bud I am at around 1000 and start taking it up slowly to no more than 1500 ppm. I don't suggest going past 1300 till you have a couple crops down.
If you over fertilize your leaves will start to burn. If you see this you will need to flush immediately. Just use pure water and basically drown the plant. Four times the amount of grow medium should be fine. One other thing. If I use tap water it usually has a ppm of 250 in my area. I pretty much add 250 to whatever I'm shooting for. So for a 1000 ppm my meter will read 1250.
Towards the end of the flowering phase I stop feeding the plant nutrients and just give them pure water. This will allow the plant to use up the nutrients it already has and makes the smoke taste a lot smoother with out all the chemical taste.
FertilizersI use a hydroponics solution even for my soil plants. Basically it has everything a plant needs to live in it since water alone doesn't have these. There are 14 nutrients that a plant needs to survive. But all we are going to talk about are the main nutrients. N-P-k. Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Ever wondered what those 3 numbers on the front of the bottle meant? Well there you go.
During our grow cycle the plant likes a fertilizer high in nitrogen. Something like 20-5-5. It uses the nitrogen for strong stem and leaf growth. After you change over to your flowering cycle you will want a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous and potassium. Something like 5-15-15 should work well.
I use a two part solution that I feed the plant all year round. I use enhancement solutions for root, grow or bloom for what ever cycle I am in. It is a bit more costly this way but I have had good results so I am staying with it.
For more information about Cannabis fertilizer products and brands go to this page: Cannabis Fertilizers
VentilationYour whole room will need good ventilation. The lights get very warm and will need some exhaust ducting to help cool them. You will have to ventilate your grow space so the warm air can leave the room and be replaced by new fresh air.
I have oscillating fans that blow on my plants. It keeps them breathing fresh air and makes the stems strong. You will need strong stems to hold up those huge buds you are going to grow. Basically the wind rips the plant cells just like building a muscle.
TemperaturePot plants like the temperature around 75*-85*F (24-29 celcius). So basically that means 75* at night when the lights are off and 85* when they are on. Growth will start to slow at 90+ (>30 celcius), and I believe you don't want to go below 60* either, But that probably wont be a problem since these rooms make a lot of heat.
OdorsIf your going to grow pot then expect to stink up the place. Specially when you are budding. We have to prevent the neighbors from smelling skunk all the time.
The best way to do this is to buy a charcoal canister. These things work very well. I was doubtful myself but ended up buying one for about $600. They have smaller ones that are cheaper. You will just need to know how many cubic feet is in your grow room and select the right size for your garden. You will have to change the charcoal every year. I have heard that if you put the charcoal in an oven on warm setting for 1-1.5 hours then it will reactivate the charcoal.
There are many air fresheners you can buy to mask the smell too.
You will want to make sure your room is sealed or odors may get out.
Growing the PlantsOk so our new plants/clones are rooting good and it been about 10-14 days. Now its time to take the plants and put them under our mh light for fast strong growth. We have our grow system figured out and the medium we are going to use. Lets just say we are using pots and soil. At first I use solo cups so I can get a lot in a small area. I transplant mine into about two gallon pots once my roots are hitting the bottom of the cup. A 5 gallon pot would be better but I don't have the room. I grow lots of little plants instead of a few big plants. The reason why is because my lights can only penetrate about 18 inches of leaf. So why go bigger is my thought. If I was outdoors then yeah I would want about a 15 foot tree.
So after about a month I take my plants and put them in my flowering room. You can just change the lights to 12/12 if your working out of one room. But my place is a machine. I try to keep a steady supply of new plants coming in and ready when my plants have budded. Saves me some time and its nice to bud back to back. Prolly saves me about 2 months of cloning/ growing using separate rooms.
Grow seasonsBasically a Cannabis plant grows during the summer and buds in the fall once it senses winter is getting close. The female plant wants to produce seeds so when it freezes and dies it will have life next year. Different strands flower at different times during the fall. So you will have to research your strand to see when it harvest.
Indoors we manipulate the seasons by keeping long hours of light for growth. 18-24 hours of light will keep the plant in grow mode. I usually leave my clones on 24 hours. And then when I put them under my mh light I keep it on 18 hours to save some money on my electric bill.
Once you are ready to bud the plants you will change the lights to 12 on 12 off. Mimicking fall/winter. We do not want any light getting into our room while the lights are off. Ever!
One thing to think about when you purchase a timer for the lights is the amps your lights will use. You don't want to melt your timer or even worse burn your factory down. A 1000 watt light uses about 9 amps. So make sure you buy the right stuff.
The Life Cycle of Cannabis
Training:By cutting, bending or tying your plants the right way you can increase your yield and change the way it grows.
here are some different techniques:
How to LST
How to Fim
How to Top
How to Supercrop
How to Scrog (screen of green)
How to Sog (sea of green)
How to Vscrog
ClonesClones are easy to make. And they are the exact genetics as their mother. I keep 8 mother plants and grow them about 3-4 feet. Large enough so I can take 50 or so clones from each mother. Moms wont ever bud cause we keep them in the grow (18 hours of light) room. Sorry I had to throw that in real quick.
To make a clone you will need some sort of cloning solution or powder. These have hormones that help the clone root.
I take a clean razor and cut the shoots off the plant at a 45* angle in between the nodes. I try to make them around 4-5 inches tall. Usually about 4 nodes will do it. I have had good success with larger clones too. The node is where the plant branches out from the main shoots. We need to cut the clone and put it in our root solution pretty quick. We don't want to get an air bubble in the stem of our new clone. That slows things down if the clone even takes. So I just dipped the clone in the root solution and now I'm going to place them in my 1 inch rock wool cube. I push it in the cube till I feel the stem kinda rip through the wool some. This assures me that its held in tight and isn't just sitting in the open air. Don't go all the way through the wool cause that would be pointless.
I mist my clones with pure water daily. Some people use a clear top for their clone tray to help keep moisture in but I don't practice this. If you do use a cover make sure you open the top a few times a day or you can mold the new clones pretty quick. That is why I don't practice this style. I just mist them a couple times a day for about 10 day to 2 weeks. You will start seeing roots. I keep the clones under florescent tubes at 24 hours of light. For the first 3-4 days I keep them about 4-5 inches from the bulb. After that I place them about 1 inch from the light till I see roots. Once we have roots then I transplant into dirt cups or slap them in baskets for my airoponics system. We can now put the clones under our hid light and grow them like no tomorrow.
HarvestDepending on the strain it will take 45-70+ days of budding. I like to cut my plants down when 2/3rds of the hairs turn red. If you look at the crystals (trichromes) under a microscope they should look like tiny little mushrooms. If the trichromes turn grey or brown you have waited too long. Half cloudy white and half purple is perfect. When the hairs are 2/3rds red is usually just about perfect for those without a microscope. The swell is another thing I look for. I want the bud (catalist SP?) to swell like it could have a seed in it. If not then its probably not ready and will be air bud if you cut now.
ManicureOnce I have cut my plants I try to single out the branches. It makes it easier to handle when I cut the branches down to workable sizes. I start with the plant upside down. I try to cut all the big fan leaves off at the stem. Then I cut all the smaller leaves even with the bud itself. The leaves you are cutting off are not trash. They are full of thc crystals. You can use these leaves for making hash. I cant tell you how many pounds of leaves I threw away not knowing any better. Till my buddy turned me on to bubble bags. Hash oil is easier to make but thats an article on its own. I'm sure I will post that one up at a later time.
CuringThis is one of the most important steps. Usually what I do is tie up some string in a closet. 50% humidity or less. I hang the buds on the strings and let them dry for 3 days. They shrink a lot, its pretty sad. But after my 3 days the outside of the buds are a little crisp but the center of the bud is still real wet. I take either a paper bag or you can use plastic or I sometimes take my special buds and put them in my 1 gallon jar. Rubbermaid containers work good too. If you use a bag wrap the buds up in it, seal it or whatever. This draws the moisture out of the center of the bud and allows the bud to dry evenly. You will have to open the bag a few times daily. This is very important. If you don't you will probably get moldy weed. So open it up a couple times a day. It doesn't have to be for very long but you just need to get rid of the excess moisture. After about a week of this it will be cured. I like my stems to snap when I break them. It lets me know its dry in the center. You want to keep a close eye on things cause you don't want the buds to get too dry where it crumbles to dust when you break it up. That makes it a harsh smoke. Not good. You can spray some water on them and repeat the process if you dried them out too much. The slower you dry the buds the better the smoke usually is. You want to give the sugars time to break down. Honestly my way is probably too fast but it smokes good and taste great. More than likely if you dry it out faster than this your bud will taste like a fresh cut lawn. Not good.
We breath o2 and breath out co2. Plant are the opposite. They grow faster under a higher concentration of co2. You can get a co2 tank and regulator and put it on a timer. I have never used co2 this way so I'm a little ignorant of how much to use.
What I use runs off a propane bottle and is basically a pilot light that burns when my lights are on. I bought it at the local hydroponic shop. It raises the temperature in my room about 10 degrees. Its kinda bad but when you are in a co2 enriched environment the plant actually does better at higher temps. 85*+.
How can I tell if my plant is male or female?
Why do I not want males?
What type of light should I use?
Where can I get seeds?
What is a grow medium?
What is a clone? and how do i make one?
What is hydroponics?
What are some different types of grow rooms?
What is ph? And how do I adjust it?
What ph do I need my medium at?
What should I watch out for so I dont stress my plant?
How much water do I give my plant?
Can I use water out of the tap?
What is ppm? How much nutrients should I use?
What kind of nutrient should I use?
What soil should I use?
Can I use back yard soil?
How do I germinate my seeds?
How much will i yield?
over or under watering
Quick Nutrient Deficiency Guide:
- Nitrogen: Entire plant is light green in color; lower leaves are yellow; growth is stunted....
- Phosphorous: Entire plant is bluish-green, often developing a red or purpleish cast; lower leaves may be yellow, drying to a greenish-brown to black color; growth may be stunted...
- Potassium: Leaves have a papery appearance; dead areas along the edges of leaves; growth is stunted...
- Magnesium: Lower leaves turn yellow along the tips and margin and between the veins; the lower leaves wilt...
- Calcium: Young stems and new leaves die...
- Zinc: Leaf tissue between the veins is lighter in color; yellowed; papery in appearance...
- Iron: Leaf tissue appears yellow, while the veins remain green...
- Copper: Leaf edges appear dark green or blue; leaf edges curl upward; young leaves permanently wilt...
- Sulfur: Young leaves turn pale green, while the older leaves remain green; plant is stunted and spindly...
- Mananese: Growth is stunted; lower leaves have a checkered pattern of yellow and green...
- Molybdenum: Leaves are stunted, pale green, and malformed...
- Boron: Young leaves are scorched at tips and margins...
Complete GuidesBeginning Marijuana Cultivation (by MellowGold)
Beginners Guide to Growing Marijuana (by Widow Maker)