Monthly Archives: February 2013

Trim your pot plantTrimming your pot plants can mean manicuring the buds or it can mean actually maintaining the plants while they are still growing. Manicuring or trimming buds is one of those things that separates amateurs from pros.

Trimming your bud does a whole lot more for the quality of your weed than just the visual bag appeal. A properly trimmed bud will have smoother smoke and be less harsh. The more leaf you leave on a bud the harsher it will be.

Some growers choose to trim vegging plants to remove lower branches that do not get much light anyways. Why spend plant resources on lower shaded branches. Or they may trim some of the large sucker leaves off. Other growers would see this as an atrocity and believe that you should not trim a growing plant at all, leave it all natural.

Manicuring Your Pot Plants

Trimming marijuana is done by hand with very sharp shears. Some larger growers use trimming machines that remove the extra leaf very quickly. The effectiveness and the efficiency of these machines is highly debated and many growers argue that they only work when the buds are fresh and wet.

For most growers trimming is done by hand with sharp shears. This process can turn into a very monotonous activity but it is a necessity to harvesting marijuana. The best method is to place the shears against the bud and cut all the leaves without cutting off any of the bud itself. You will get the hang of it. Put your extra leaf in bag for making cana butter or hash later.

You will notice pretty fast that your fingers get gummed up from the resin. You may choose to wear latex gloves to keep your hands cleaner but gloves will have to be changed often since they will get gummed up as well. Once you have your buds trimmed and manicured perfectly they will then be dried or cured.

Conclusion

Trimming pot plants in the manicuring sense of the term, is an important step that can be the difference between so-so bud or high quality medical marijuana. Take your time, you have put in a lot of effort so far so be patient to finish the process.

Best time to harvest weedHarvesting weed is a delicate matter. Often times people ask the general question on the internet ‘what is the best time to harvest marijuana.’ This is a very broad question that requires more information to answer. The answer to this question could be ‘on an empty stomach’ or ‘right after your workout’. All kidding aside it is too broad and depends on many things. Are you growing outdoors? Are you growing indoors? Are you referring to the maturity of the bud or just a time of day to harvest?

Growing Weed Outdoors

For outdoor growers there is a harvest season for cannabis. A few strains can be harvested in late August and early September in most regions but most strains will be harvested in late September and into October. As far as the time of day goes some experts suggest that it is best to harvest buds in the morning. If you are concerned about stealth you could attempt to harvest at night time but that brings up all kinds of obvious issues.

Growing Weed Indoors

If you are growing weed indoors than every strain has a different amount of flowering time that is required to fully mature but most will be ready 6-12 weeks after the photoperiod has been changed to 12 hours on 12 hours off. Knowing when the buds are perfectly mature is an art form that takes experience to master. You should use a magnifying glass to make sure trichomes are perfect. Harvesting too soon or too late will lead to less than optimal results.

Harvesting marijuana too soon will result in less THC and you will also have very light fluffy buds as opposed to the full dense nugs that you really want. If you harvest too late it could lead to bud rot when growing outdoors.

When it comes to the perfect harvest it takes time and experience to master. The real key to knowing when to harvest your cannabis is the maturity of the trichomes. Get used to examining them regularly so you can tell when they are mature and when they are past do.

Best soil mix for cannabis
Here is another loaded question you often see asked on the internet; what is the best soil mixture for cannabis? Like so many other things in marijuana growing the answer is, that depends. With so many variables you will have to buy my grow guide to get all the details but here we will be taking a look at a simple outdoor soil mixture that will work very well for most beginners.

Start with Garden Soil

A nice backyard loam is a perfect start for growing cannabis. It already has some of the nutrient and draining attributes that you look for which is the reason it is so widely used in gardening. If you do not have any loam on your property you can pick some up at your local gardening center.

Compost

Garden compost is an excellent soil amendment. Decaying leaves produce leaf mold which is rich in nutrients and organic organisms. Leaf mold will help speed up nutrient intake and give your plants a boost. Be sure to use garden compost on outdoor plants only.

Organic Manures

You can use farm manure for growing outdoors but it is preferred to get commercial organic manure so there is no chance of pests and diseases. Chicken and rabbit manure make great vegging fertilizers while bat manure or guano is great for flowering.

Coco Peat or Peat Moss

Coco peat is partially decomposed coconut pith. Peat moss is partially decomposed moss that has slowed its decomposition from being in a boggy area. Peat is good as a soil amendment because it will hold water well and contains some nutrients.

Rock Powders

Use rock powders like vermiculite or perlite to help the plant get oxygen and also help the plant with water drainage. This is an important part of your mixture, without proper drainage your plants could drown. It may seem strange but too much water is the most common way to kill a weed plant.

Conclusion

This is a very simple outdoor soil mixture that people have used to grow some of the best plants in the world. Play with the mixture and tweak the recipe until you are satisfied with your results.

Stages of cannabis growthThere are several stages of cannabis growth you should familiarize yourself with if you are going to grow weed. A cannabis plant starts out as a seed, becomes a seedling, grows vegetation and then flowers. During flowering, if it gets fertilized the plant will produce seeds. Unless you are trying to grow for seeds like those who are cannabis breeders, you will want to keep all male pollen away from your plants.

Seed and Germinating

Moisture heat and air all act on a seed to release hormones that induce germination. Germination is also known as sprouting, or seed sprouting. This process takes 3-4 days for most seeds depending on how old the hormones are inside the seed. Whether or not the hormones are activated properly is sort of uncontrollable. For more on how to actually germinate your seeds go here.

Seedling Stage of Cannabis

A cannabis plant is considered to be a seedling from the time it sprouts to about 4 weeks after. During this time it will establish its main roots and begin growing its first leaves. The roots will serve to anchor the plant in the grow medium as well as draw in chemicals needed for life.

Vegetative Stage of Growth

The vegetative stage of growth occurs after the seedling stage and is when the plant will strengthen its stalk and grow its leaves and branches. This is when the water and nutrient delivery system is established within the cannabis plant. Water and nutrients are absorbed from the soil and transported through the stalk and into the vegetation.

The duration of the vegetation phase will greatly depend on the strain you are growing. The vegetation phase is also referred to as simply the vegging stage. During the vegging stage you will need to give plants 18-24 hours of light.

Flowering Stage of Cannabis

The flowering or budding stage of cannabis is the final stage of cannabis growth. This is when the usable part of the marijuana plant finally begins to grow. Flowering stages last for as little as 6 weeks or as long as 13 weeks. Knowing when to harvest is dependent on your ability to notice mature trichomes on cannabis flowers. The job of the cannabis flower is to create and dispense seeds for the next generation. If no pollen from males is around then no seeds will form but be aware, an all female crop can spring up some hermaphrodites and carry pollen to the other plants.

Sprouting weedSo you have decided to grow marijuana and furthermore you have opted to grow from seeds. Congratulations, you have taken the first step on a journey that will lead to many benefits and not just from the great bud you are going to harvest. Before you can get there however you will need to take the first step. The first step in growing from seed is to sprout those seeds. Sprouting seeds is also known as germinating. By sprouting the seeds before you plant them you give marijuana seeds the best shot at maturing into killer plants.

If you do not germinate your seeds, there is a greater chance that they will jump out of the soil when the tap root sprouts. This will most likely ruin the seed. Also, by sprouting your marijuana seeds you will be able to weed out any seeds that may not be optimal. If they are taking too long to germinate or are not germinating at all, you know you should not waste your time and resources on them.

The easiest way to sprout marijuana seeds without equipment specifically designed to germinate seeds is to use a damp paper towel.

The Method of Sprouting Marijuana Seeds

The first thing you will want to do is take a paper towel and dampen it so that it is wet throughout. Ring out excess water so that you can be sure the paper towel is not going to rip and tear apart.

Place several seeds in the moistened paper towel but not too many, make sure each seed has room to sprout. Then fold the paper towel over the seeds ensuring that there is NO light that can get to your sprouting marijuana seeds.

Now place the paper towel with your seeds in it on a dinner plate. Cover that plate with another plate creating a lock so that no moisture can escape and no light can enter.

After 24 hours check back and see if your seeds have sprouted. Marijuana seeds usually sprout within 1-4 days. However some seeds may take a week or more, older seeds can take a longer time to germinate.

Once your seeds have sprouted take them out of the paper towel and plant them! To plant your sprouted marijuana seed simply make a small hole in your soil about one inch deep. Place the sprouted seed in the hole root down. Loosely cover the seed with soil and gently pat it down. All done!

LED lights growing weedA lot of people debate about the effectiveness of LED grow lights for cannabis. LED grow lights have several pros and several cons. In the past LED lights were not suitable for growing cannabis because they were not powerful enough. Now they have come a long way and some growers really believe in them. In this article I will give you a quick overview of both sides of the LED grow light coin.

First of all if you are talking to an LED grow enthusiast you are going hear a lot of pros in their favor. A few of the most popular pros of LED grow lights for cannabis are that they have little to no heat problems, they use less electricity and save on space.

LED grow lights do cause less heating problems than other lights such as HID or High Intensity Discharge lights. HID lights can get very hot and they need a lot of ventilation in order to cool them. This not only seems safer but also would save the grower money from not having to run so many ventilation fans.

The LED grow lights themselves also use less electricity to run compared to HID lights. This means they save money by not having fans to vent them and they draw less electricity to run. On top of that many LED growers say you can use an LED light for vegetative growth as well as for flowering cannabis plants. This really makes it seem like a more organized solution to growing cannabis.

With so many reasons to use LED lights, what is the other side of the story? Well the bottom line is that there seems to be more professional grow rooms that use HID lights compared to LED lights. If you ask the best medical cannabis growers they agree that although LED lights save money, they do not produce the top quality cannabis required for medicinal use. Some growers also say that LED lights are still not dependable enough and ‘break down’.

So really the bottom line is that cannabis growers have always been known for living by the ‘quality over quantity’ mantra. It may cost them more money but HID lights still remain the favorite choice of top quality cannabis growers.

The question of ‘is weed hard to grow’ has a short answer, No, it is not hard to grow but it is extremely difficult to master. If you are interested in growing weed you must have wondered how difficult it is. That is really a loaded question and one that cannot be answered in one article. However what I will do is explain why this is such a tough question so you can make a better decision about which path you might want to take to grow weed.

First of all are you growing weed indoors or outdoors? That will play a big role in it. Also are you growing one plant or one hundred plants? From these two questions many others can be raised but let’s keep it simple.

If you are growing outdoors there are several strains that you can choose which will make growing much easier. Some strains are very resilient to disease and tough when it comes to environmental conditions such as temperature. These strains make growing weed fairly easy. The downfall is that you will only be able to grow these certain strains and when you try to branch out to other strains you will be hit with a wakeup call that not all strains are created equal.

Growing weed indoors brings on many trials and tribulations of its own. Along with getting the details of light, nutrients, CO2 etc. correct, you have to deal with cleanliness and pests. Countless times there have been stories of newbie growers bragging about their plants only to be weeping in their beer mug two weeks later because they had a mite infestation and lost everything.

There are so many variables that go into growing weed that it cannot be explained in this short article. If you are interested in growing weed because you think you can get rich quick or get a ton of bud quickly then think again. The marijuana plant is a very rugged plant which makes it easy to grow. However growing top quality bud takes years and years of trial and error based on experience. You can read all you want, but eventually you are going to have to put in the time. Marijuana rewards you based on the effort you put in.

Flowering weed plants

Flowering weed is the process of inducing a photo period that mimics an autumn solar phase. Marijuana plants automatically start producing flowers when they sense the season is changing from summer to fall. When growing indoors you have to control this light period manually by using timers and your grow lights. During the vegetative phase plants usually receive 18-24 hours of light while in the flowering phase plants only receive 12 hours of light.

This is the marijuana plants cue to begin producing flowers. In a natural habitat the flowers the weed plants produce would be fertilized by male pollen and produce seeds. When growing marijuana you obviously don’t want seeds in your buds so you grow a garden of female only plants, commonly referred to as sensimillia.

Different strains will require different amounts of time in the vegetative stage. 6-12 weeks in the amount of time most strains require to be ready for flowering. Once they reach this point the grower will induce flowering by giving the plants 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. It is important that the grow room is completely dark and no light leaks into the room. Even if half of a plant sees a bit of light when it is supposed to be the 12 hours of dark, it could halt the flowering process.

When flowering, your plants will need a different set of nutrients than when they were in the vegetative stage. A good organic blooming fertilizer is bat guano since it has more phosphorus than nutrients that help with vegging. Bat guano is great but there are many other commercial blooming fertilizers out there that will work well.

The flowering phase duration will also depend on the strain of marijuana that you are growing. Knowing when cannabis buds are mature is a process that is only perfected with experience. You should use a magnifying glass to look at the trichomes on buds in different stages of the flowering process. By watching the trichomes grow and mature you can start to learn when the perfect time is to harvest your flowered marijuana plants.