HOW TO GROW FOR BEGINNERS:
PICK RELIABLE CANNABIS SEED BANKS
When purchasing cannabis seeds, you might often choose the cheapest ones to save some bucks. However, the quality may be compromised, and you’ll end up spending more than you have to. That’s why you should pick cannabis seeds with the best genetics. Conduct your research so that you can buy from trusted cannabis seed banks. Cloning can be a good start too — just make sure to get the clones from reputable sources.
PROVIDE ENOUGH LIGHTING
One essential element for growing cannabis is proper lighting. It’s not only the quality that will be affected but also the speed and size. While marijuana grown outdoors gets natural light, indoor cannabis needs extra care. This means that your usual lightbulbs are not enough to make up for the absence of lights.
Invest in more premium lights, hoods, and reflectors. Get high-intensity (HID) lights, like high-pressure sodium (HPS) or T5 fluorescent lights. You can also use LEDs to save on energy costs. Just make sure to choose full-spectrum LED lights that allow you to modify the wavelength based on the marijuana plant’s needs as it grows.
ENHANCE WATER QUALITY
Dissolved solids from water can cause adverse effects on your marijuana plant. For instance, domestic water contains chlorine and fluoride. While they will not kill the plant, maximum yield can’t be expected. So, consider using a reverse osmosis system or filtration. Make sure to change the filters regularly. It’s also best to test the water from time to time to check whether the parts per million (PPM) of dissolved solids remain the same.
SECURE ENOUGH SPACING AND VENTILATION
Wondering how to grow high-quality marijuana? Allow enough spacing between the cannabis buds. Make sure no leaves or branches block the airflow. You can apply low stress training (LST) where you tie the plants down while they’re still young to ensure that the light is well-dispersed, improving the plant’s overall health. Using other tools like filters and fans will also help you maintain the airflow.
PROVIDE SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF NUTRIENTS
One of the 10 steps to growing weed is providing just the right amount of nutrients per growth stage.
Tribus Original is the perfect seedling to harvest cannabis growing products on the market today and it’s very versatile. Usage rates are 1 ml per gallon and with a price tag under $60 for a 250 ml bottle, and a little goes a long way. Because it consists of beneficial bacteria you really can’t overfeed your cannabis plants with it, and it creates stronger plants from the inside out. For best results apply it to your grow media at least once a week. Tribus is compatible with all grow media, including hydroponics and even field application.
In addition to Tribus, these nutrients are necessary when feeding cannabis plants.
- Nitrogen: In the vegetative stage, marijuana plants will need an abundant amount of nitrogen. However, in the flowering stage, it has to be reduced. Otherwise, it can affect the production of buds and lead to lower yields. Biostimulants and different types of soil amendments can help plants absorb more nutrients. The best soil amendments that enhance nitrogen include Guano, worm castings, and crustacean meal.
- Potassium: A sufficient amount of potassium in the flowering stage helps promote the plant’s health and growth. If it’s lacking, the growth rate will decline, causing problems for the leaves. Natural soil amendments for potassium include wood ash, compost, and seaweed meal.
- Phosphorus: When there’s a phosphorus deficiency, smaller leaves dry fast and turn purplish with seared edges. That is why the plants should be rich in phosphorus during the flowering stage. Dry soil amendments for phosphorus are glacial rock dust, chicken manure, and bone meal. Pick trusted soil amendment suppliers to achieve the best results.
Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus may be the three main nutrients that your cannabis plants need. However, they also need other nutrients like:
- Magnesium: This nutrient is crucial in photosynthesis. It helps stabilize plant cell walls too.
- Calcium: This micronutrient helps strengthen the stems, form the roots, and facilitate the growth of the tips. If calcium is lacking, tips become weak, and leaves get distorted.
- Sulfur: Your plant should have the right amount of sulfur to form chlorophyll and help produce amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes. Inadequacy can make the marijuana leaves stiff and small, hampering their growth. Then, they will die off.
- Manganese: If your cannabis plant lacks manganese, the leaves will turn yellow with white, gray, or brown spots. These will soon spread, causing the leaves to die.
During the flowering stage, various supplements can be beneficial too. These include:
- Phosphorus and Potassium boosters: These supplements contain Phosphorus and Potassium, but they may also include a little bit of sulfur. Trace minerals, amino acids, and sugar may also be present. As they are potent enough, use a small amount only.
- Carbohydrates or sugar: These help enhance the plant’s smell and taste. Other supplements also come with specific terpenes that contribute to buds’ flavors, such as berry and citrus. If you prefer a more affordable choice, you can use blackstrap molasses to add sugar and amino acids. They can enhance your plant’s taste and smell when you give them several weeks before harvest time.
- Bloom enhancers: These help increase plant growth rate by supplying amino acids and humic acids. This way, the marijuana plant won’t have to produce everything on its own.
PRUNE CANNABIS PROPERLY
While low stress training does not involve cutting, you have to perform pruning to promote yield increase in plants. It also helps you get rid of buds that are not in their best condition. This way, buds become fewer but larger and healthier. Consider removing the lowest branches to ward off pests. To ensure that the plants recover and grow faster, prune during the vegetation stage.
KEEP THE RIGHT ROOM TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY
Cannabis can grow well under several conditions, but you need to ensure that the room’s temperature and humidity satisfy the weed’s needs. Even small changes can affect its growth, so focus on the temperature and humidity in each stage.
For seedlings and clones, the preferred humidity levels range from 65% to 80%. This way, they can take up enough water and have stronger roots. In terms of temperature, keep it at 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.
In the vegetative stage, moderate humidity levels are necessary. Every week, you can decrease it by 5%. Around 40% to 70% will work. Given that the roots are stronger during this period, they can absorb more water, so lowered humidity levels are preferred. For the temperature, you can raise it a bit — around 71 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Reducing the humidity levels to 40% to 50% is needed during the flowering stage. You can make it 55% but never 60%. Also, the temperature can decrease to 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, in the latter part of the flowering period or one to two weeks prior to harvest, reduce humidity levels from 30% to 40%.
Meanwhile, the temperature can fall between 64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 to 24 degrees Celsius with lights on and 16 to 20 degrees Celsius for several nights before harvest. To monitor the humidity and temperature, use a hygrometer and thermometer.
If you aim to lower the temperature, you can do the following:
- During the day, keep the lights off; during the night, on.
- Add an air conditioning unit. This can also help reduce humidity.
- Use a cool tube if you are growing marijuana with HPS lights.
To raise the temperature, you can:
- Utilize a quality space heater with a thermostat.
- Use grow lights with higher watts.
- At the bottom of your grow room or tent, place a heating mat.
If you want to drop the humidity levels, perform these steps:
- Water your marijuana plants immediately after switching on the lights. Given the quick absorption, humidity levels will decrease.
- Get a humidifier.
- Have an airflow fan upgrade to increase the supply of cool air.
Enhancing humidity levels can be possible through the following:
- Use a humidifier that has enough water reservoir to avoid frequent refills.
- Using a spray bottle, mist your marijuana plants. However, this shouldn’t be done to flowering plants as it can result in bud rot.
- Bring larger plants inside the room. Compared to seedlings, they perspire more, raising the humidity levels in the grow room.
- Consider hanging wet towels inside your grow room.
MAINTAIN ENOUGH CO2
DID YOU KNOW THAT PROVIDING YOUR MARIJUANA PLANTS WITH SUFFICIENT CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) HELPS IMPROVE THEIR GROWTH BY 20%? CO2 IS CRUCIAL IN PHOTOSYNTHESIS, WHERE CANNABIS ABSORBS LIGHT AND TURNS IT INTO ENERGY. EXCESSIVE CO2 OR A LACK OF IT CAN BE DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR CANNABIS PLANTS. SO, YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW TO PROVIDE THEM WITH THE RIGHT CO2 LEVELS. IDEALLY, IT SHOULD BE ABOVE 250 PPM.
To supplement your plants with extra CO2, you can use the following:
- CO2 generator: To produce carbon dioxide, the CO2 generator burns natural gas or propane. It automatically turns on or off if a certain CO2 level is reached. However, burning the gasses can create heat. So, it’s advisable to use one in a larger grow room.
- Compressed CO2: With this option, the manufacturer produces the gas and compresses it into a tank. No heat is produced once gasses are released, so you won’t have issues with the temperature and humidity levels. It can also be set to automatic using a controller. Note, however, that both CO2 generators and compressed CO2 can be relatively costly.
- CO2 bags: To produce carbon dioxide, these utilize fungi from organic matter. However, even if you have a small grow room, you need four or more CO2 bags. This way, you can get the desired PPM.
- Dry ice: Cold and solid carbon dioxide comprises dry ice. Once it warms up, it releases carbon dioxide into the air. It’s an effective short-term solution, but given its price, if used in the long term, it’s not practical. Also, you need to constantly add dry ice daily. It’s hard to control the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, too.
- Fermentation: This process produces carbon dioxide naturally. However, it should be noted that significantly less CO2 is produced. Also, fermentation comes with an unwanted odor.
- Compost: This produces a relatively small CO2 amount. Aside from it being unhygienic, you don’t know whether you’re adding an adequate amount of carbon dioxide.
KNOW WHEN TO HARVEST THE CANNABIS PLANTS
Harvest time keeps growers excited, especially given all the efforts exerted to produce healthy and quality buds. However, cutting them too soon will defeat the purpose and waste all your hard work as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content will be low. So, harvest them at the right time based on the following indications:
- Trichome color: Trichomes refer to the appendages on the cannabis flower’s surface. They’re the ones that hold the plant’s natural compounds, like THC and terpenes. If half of them appear milky white, and the other half become amber, it’s a good sign to harvest. However, if most of them are clear, that means the plants are not yet ready for harvest. As it’s a bit challenging to see the color of the trichomes, you might want to use a magnifying glass.
- Brown pistils: Another way to tell the right time to harvest is through the pistils. When they mature, they turn brown. Using a magnifying glass to check the color is also recommended here.
- Bud shape: Unlike the trichome color test, this one’s not a definite way to tell whether your plant should be harvested. However, it helps you determine whether the plant has matured. Aside from the shape, check whether the buds are firm and tight.
- Curling leaves: One common sign to harvest is when the leaves curl and dry. This is expected because when it’s almost harvest time, the plants will absorb less water.
- Leaf color: While the leaves turn green during the flowering phase, they become yellow when it’s about time to harvest them. Given that nitrogen is reduced, the leaves also start falling off.
DRY AND CURE CANNABIS PROPERLY
You may think you’re done once you harvest your cannabis. However, drying and curing are important steps to producing quality and tasty buds. First, drying helps reduce the bud’s moisture content to 15%. It also enables you to maintain its taste and the natural compounds in it, including THC. To dry cannabis properly, follow these steps:
- Cut down your cannabis plants. While most growers prefer to cut off the branches, some want to cut until the base and hang them upside down. Others will also cut off each bud and then place them on a drying rack.
- Trim to remove larger fan leaves. Doing so will contribute to your buds’ improved look. If you’re residing in a place with less than 30% humidity levels, trim fewer leaves.
- Begin the slow drying process. A temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity is preferred. If it exceeds 80 degrees, the terpene content will go away. While hanging the buds upside down is the most common method, you can use a drying rack or cardboard to lay them out. Generally, you need three to seven days to dry the buds well.
After the drying process, you can now proceed to curing to preserve the plant’s cannabinoids or compounds and terpenes. Simply perform the following:
- Put the cannabis buds into mason jars with a wide opening. Other alternatives include plastic or wooden vessels.
- Secure the container in a dark and dry area. Humidity levels should range from 60% to 65%.
- Check the containers regularly. Open them at least once a day for two weeks. Doing so will remove extra moisture and accommodate fresh air.
While your cannabis should be ready for use in two to three weeks, keeping it for around two months is recommended for maximum results. Commercial grow operations may prefer to use chemicals to hasten production. However, the whole experience of users may be compromised.
There are multiple factors to consider when growing cannabis on your own. However, growing cannabis indoors step by step with our guide above will help you produce quality buds that you’re proud of.