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The Basics of Growing Good Healthy Cannabis Plants

There are literally hundreds of free how to grow fantastic cannabis ebooks out there. These books are readily available online and are are there for the taking, therefore this website will only touch briefly on the subject of having a healthy medicinal garden.

Topics

  • Introduction
  • Selecting Seeds
  • Seed Germination
  • Cloning
  • Soil
  • Containers
  • Fertilizer
  • Light
  • Temperature and Humidity
  • Ventilation
  • Dehumidifying Your Growing Room
  • Watering
  • Bugs
  • Harvesting and Curing

Anyone Can Do It

source: 420Magazine

Even if you haven't had any prior experience with growing plants in you home, you can have a successful crop of medical grade cannabis by following these simple directions. If you have had problems in the past with marijuana cultivation, you may find the solutions in the following paragraphs.

10 Things That Can Destroy Your Cannabis Crop

  1. Disrupting or changing the light cycle at any time, whether in grow or bloom.
  2. Not sterilizing rooms between crops will allow pests and other problems to occur
  3. Aggressive thinning can quickly shock your plants and have negative effects
  4. Not using preventatives before signs of pests or powder mildew
  5. Mixing sulphur based product with oil based products
  6. Allowing any sort of light into your room during the plants sleep cycle
  7. Not testing the acidity in your water before deciding to cultivate
  8. Allowing the temperature in your growing room to drop more then 5-8 degrees during the night.
  9. Allowing the water in your reservoir to go stagnant will starve plants of oxygen
  10. Having grow lamps too close to plants will lead to a loss in potency
Free Marijuana Grow Bible

Introduction

Growing cannabis indoors is fast becoming a global pastime. The reasons are varied. With the increased interest and experimentation in house plant cultivation, it was inevitable that people would apply their knowledge of plant care to growing marijuana.


Many of those who occasionally like to light up a joint may find it difficult to locate a source, or are hesitant to deal with a perhaps unsavoury element of society that may be producing their cannabis (medicine).


There is, of course, the criminal aspect of buying or selling grass; Growing cannabis is just as illegal as buying, selling, or smoking it, but growing is something you can do in the privacy of your own home without having to deal with someone you don't know or trust. The best reason for growing your own is the enjoyment you will get out of watching those tiny little seeds you picked out of you stash sprout and become some of the most lovely and lush of all house plants.


For individuals that have limited space, there are lockable grow closets (plug & play) available that are great for confined places.

Selecting Seeds

Entire books have been written on choosing the type of cannabis strain to grow, but here are some general guidelines for determining the viability of a cannabis seed.

It is not always easy to tell if a cannabis seed will germinate simply by looking at it, but it is not hard to weed out the weak ones. Healthy, viable cannabis seeds should be slightly oblong and shaped like a tear-drop with a point at one end. Size varies, but marijuana seeds are usually about 1/8th of an inch wide and 3/16th of an inch long. Their colour is usually brown, often with darker stripes like a brindle dog. Cannabis seeds that are tiny, soft (immature), greenish, yellow, white, or chipped are not likely to germinate. In the end, there is really only one way to find out: try it and see.

Seed Germination

Germinating cannabis seeds and caring for the seedlings is one of the easiest steps in growing cannabis. That said, if you do not know what you are doing, it is also an easy step to get wrong. High quality marijuana seeds are not cheap, and ordering them can be risky, therefore you want your germination rates as high as possible. Here are some of the sure-fire ways cannabis growers limit environmental stresses and help cannabis seeds grow into healthy, vigorous and hopefully female cannabis plants.

Germinating cannabis seeds requires only the correct amount of water, heat, and air. Nothing more is needed; nor is it even beneficial.


Water – Cannabis seeds require moisture to trigger the hormonal changes that make the germination process possible. Planting your seeds in high quality soil or pH balanced Rock-wool and watering regularly to maintain constant moisture will be sufficient for most marijuana seeds to germinate. As water passes through the seed’s shell, dormant hormones stored within the seed are activated. As the water continues to penetrate the shell, the seed will begin to grow and produce a tap-root. Constant available moisture is required to continue the seed’s growth into a healthy plant.


Ideally, you should use bottled drinking water for germination. Tap water from a municipal water supply usually works fine, but contains chlorine. Well water can contain high levels of dissolved solids that can hamper early root growth. The chlorine in municipal water is not a major problem, and will dissipate if left exposed to the air.


Here is some further information to answer any questions about water quality and growing marijuana.

Heat – Cannabis seeds can germinate in many temperature conditions, but grow best between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (23-26 C). Cooler temperatures slow seed germination and promote fungal growth such as fusarium and pythium which can rot the seed and root. Temperatures above 90 degrees can also inhibit germination.


Oxygen – Cannabis seeds require air–specifically oxygen–to germinate. After germination the roots will require air, and the leaves will require CO2. Marijuana is native to primarily arid climates, not jungles and swamps. So if the growing medium is too moist or the seed is soaked for too long, the seed will not receive enough oxygen and will drown. Covering the growing medium with plastic wrap or a seedling dome will trap moisture and limit air exchange; so do not use them. Humidity above 50% promotes the growth of fungus that can damage and kill a marijuana plant while germinating or sprouting.

To promote the highest rates of germination and optimal health you want a warm, moist but not soggy growing medium, and warm circulating air that is under 50% humidity.


Steps 1 – 4 are Entirely Optional


You can use all of these steps, some of them, or none of them at all. Older seeds or seeds that have been allowed to dry out a bit too much are likely to benefit from steps 1 to 4. Cannabis seeds stored correctly that are less than three years old should germinate just fine without these extra steps.  Using these extra steps on newer seeds generally does not create problems and can increase your germination rates, though some advise against them as they increase the potential for human error.  If you skip earlier steps and your seeds do not germinate, you can always go back to earlier steps and try again.


Step 1: Scuffing Cannabis Seeds

By lightly scuffing marijuana seeds with sand, sandpaper, or an emery board you can create tiny scratches in the hull of the seed making it easier for water to penetrate the hull and reach the embryo inside.


Step 2: Soaking Cannabis Seeds

Soaking cannabis seeds in a glass of water can speed up the germination process. Simply place your cannabis seeds in a glass of room temperature bottled drinking water. If the seeds float you can dunk them under a few times with your finger. The seeds should be soaked for 2 to 24 hours, but certainly no longer.


Step 3: Paper Towel Germination

Place a paper towel on a flat but mobile surface like a dinner plate and then place your cannabis seeds on the paper towel. Cover the seeds with a second paper towel and pour bottled water over the top, until the entire paper towel is soaked with water. Tilt the plate to an angle of about 45 degrees so that any extra water will run down and drip off the plate. Place the plate on a heating mat if possible and set the thermostat to 75 F (24 C). Insert the thermostat probe under the paper towels.


As soon as the cannabis seed’s shell has opened and the tap root has begun to show, the seed needs to be planted immediately. This may mean that not all of your seeds get planted at the same time. Do not let the root grow to be several millimeters long before planting, or you drastically increase the likelihood of damaging the root and killing the plant.


Note: In nature, seeds germinate under soil where it is dark; so you do not need lights for germinating. Light can be used to heat a small area if you do not have a heat mat. Take care to  monitor the germination process closely, however, as the light will dry out the paper towels more quickly and damage the root once the seeds open. Also remember heating mats can overheat, and either boil your poor little seeds or cause the paper towels to dry out more quickly. So be sure you use a thermostat for your heating mat.


Step 4: Planting Your Cannabis Seeds

Soil – Fill your small pots with a light and airy potting soil. Gently press the soil down to compact it slightly. Drench the soil with clean water, making sure that all of the soil is uniformly damp but not soggy or waterlogged. Make sure to test the pH of your water and balance it to 6.3 if needed. Create a hole in the soil about half an inch deep with the end of your finger. Gently pick up the cannabis seed with a pair of tweezers and place it taproot (pointed end) down at the bottom of the hole. Gently fill the hole with loose soil to cover the marijuana seed. If you are not sure about what kinds of soil use, here are some helpful directions on the best soil for germinating cannabis seeds.


Note – If you use pots that are too large you will be taking up unnecessary space which will make it more difficult to fit your pots on a heating pad. You will also be bringing a lot more moisture into the room, which means you are wasting money on nutrients each time you water. Also, remember that as this extra water evaporates it will drive up the ambient humidity of the room, increasing the potential for humidity-related problems such as bugs, mildew and mold.


Rock-wool – Because Rock-wool cubes start with a high pH, you need to adjust the pH down by soaking the Rockwool in lukewarm water with a pH of 5.5.  Let the Rock-wool soak for about half an hour and then remove it from the water, letting the extra water drain off. Next flush the Rock-wool with fresh pH 5.5 water, not the water they already soaked in. After the Rock-wool is flushed, create a small hole about half an inch deep with a pencil or screwdriver. Gently pick up the marijuana seed with tweezers and place the seed –tap root (pointed end) down–in the hole. Cover the seed with some loose Rock-wool that has also been pH-balanced.


Note – Be sure not to pack the Rock-wool around the seed, as it will need to move past or through it. Do not squeeze extra water from the Rock-wool, as this can compress it and change the intended air-to-moisture ratio that Rock-wool is designed to optimize. Also, remember when growing marijuana in Rock-wool it is important to monitor not only the pH of the water you are supplying to the seeds/plants, but also the pH of the run-off water. To keep the Rock-wool cubes from sitting in a pool of run-off water, try setting them on a thin layer of perlite.


Step 5: Watering In and Situating Stuff

If you properly drenched the soil or Rock-wool before planting, watering in is pretty easy. Just take a few spoonfuls of pH-adjusted water and re-soak the area containing the marijuana seed. This may not be necessary, but will ensure moisture to that area. It is of utmost importance to keep the soil or Rock-wool as evenly moist as possible, as dry areas will wick moisture away from the seed. If you allow your growing medium to dry out, it will likely be fatal for your seedlings. Be careful to water very gently. Otherwise, the flow of water can easily uproot a seed before the roots have taken hold. Misting bottles don’t penetrate deeply enough into the soil, so continue to water wit the spoon until the seedling is well-established.


Place the pots or Rock-wool cubes in seedling trays, and place the tray on a heat mat with the thermostat set to 75 degrees F (24 C), and the sensor probe either in the soil or the Rock-wool. The marijuana seedlings are going to need light as soon as they emerge.  So you might as well turn the lights on from the start. This will give you a few days to observe the effects of the lights on temperature and humidity in the room, and make any needed adjustments. There is no need to throw huge amounts of light at tiny marijuana seedlings. I recommend T5 florescent grow lights with both Blue and Red colour spectrum bulbs. T5’s are easy to set up and take down, and much less expensive to buy and operate than the HID grow lights that you will use to grow more mature marijuana plants. They also produce less heat. Make sure the ambient temperature of the room stays in the mid to high 70’s both day and night. Maintain the grow rooms humidity between between 20% and 40% if possible, and certainly no higher then 55%.


Step 6: Caring For Cannabis Seedlings

Within two-five days the seedlings should emerge from the growing medium and, shedding their shells, reveal their ovular embryo leaves (cotyledons). Occasionally, the cotyledons are not strong enough to shed the shell, and may need some very gentle assistance. Try to avoid this if possible, as it requires a jewellers precision and can easily go wrong. If you are using T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights, they should be between six and eight inches from the tops of the marijuana seedlings. Set the timer for 18 hours on and six hours off.


For Soil – Once the seedlings have emerged, I recommend waiting a week before adding a 20% strength nutrient to the water.

For Rock-wool – You can begin feeding with diluted (20% maximum strength) nutrients as soon as you like. Remember the marijuana seedlings are very fragile at this point. Even a slight miscalculation in nutrient strength can easily kill the seedlings. If you like, you may wait up to a week to begin feeding.


What Not To Do
  • Do not use humidity domes or anything else to cover the pots
  • Do not use heating mats without a thermostat (80 degrees max)
  • Do not use jiffy or peat pellets because the create pH problems
  • Do not use soil that is high in N-P-K, “Hot” or otherwise unsuitable for seedlings
  • Do not fertilize your seedlings in soil for the first week, or use more than 20% strength for seedlings in Rock-wool
  • Do not water-log your seeds or seedlings, or allow them to dry out
  • Do not germinate seeds where they will get too cold
  • Do not deprive seedlings of adequate light
  • Do not use water with incorrect pH or other problems
  • Do not foliar feed or spray anything, including water and pesticides, on seedlings
  • Do not handle seeds with bare hands if possible. The oil from your hands can prevent water from soaking in.


How to Clone a Cannabis Plant

source: 420Magazine

 

Ok guys lets do some cloning. There is tons of info about this subject already but people will always ask for more info. I think the reason for this is because most people are afraid to cut their plant. They are not fragile. Pruning and cutting usually will increase bud production. It doesn't really hurt the mother plant, the only real stressful part is on the cutting itself. Cloning is the most traumatic experience a clipping via clone will endure. You are forcing a clipping to transform into a growing plant. We are making a stem that was growing leaves to all of the sudden grow roots and undergo severe changes to survive. Because of this you should take more cuttings than you need. Don't worry, it gets easier.

Cloning. Cannabis plants can reproduce sexually or asexually. Seeds are from reproducing sexually while clones are propagated asexually. To be technical cloning is taking cells from the plant (for growers that means cuttings) and promoting its growth to become a plant all its own.
Before we start Lets talk a little about the good points and the bad points to cloning.

Good points are as followed. It reduces the the time to having a mature plant. You don't need high power lights to start clones, fluorescents work very well for cloning.Since clones are genetic copies of their mothers all clones will be the same sex. Taking a clone and flowering it will tell you what sex your soon to be mother is. Since clones are genetic copies, they grow at the same rate so other techniques like SOG (Sea of green) or SGROG (screen of green). The older the mother is the easier it is to induce flowering.

Here are the bad points. Clones grow slower than a F1 hybrid will because of the lost of its hybrid vigour. This also means a F1 can grow about 25% bigger than a clone. You have to start with a good mother because all the characteristics of the mother, the clones will have the same. Clones are less disease and pest resistant because of the trauma a clone has to undergo to become a plant. You need at least two different growing areas, one for veg and clones, the other for flowering. Some plants are very difficult to clone or its just not possible. Like certain unstable hybrids, Sativa with early flowering properties, or the Ruderalis with auto-flowering properties like the Lowrider.

Preparations for cloning. Clones develop a stronger and faster root system when they have a high carbohydrate and and low nitrogen concentration. Flush your plants one week prior to taking cuttings and feed only water for that week. Just don't drown your plants. Since I do hydro it makes it a lot easier, just change the water in the res every other day for a week. Reverse folier feeding will also help leech nitrogen from the leaves. Just fill spray bottle with water and mist your mother heavily everyday once for three to five days. Hormone content is different in different parts of the plants. The bottom of the plant has more hormones in it so the lower branches tend to root better and faster than towards the top of the plant. There are many cloning compounds out there but I prefer the gel. It coats evenly and sticks to the plant well. Which ever you use just read the instructions and make sure its for use with edible plants.

Now its time to get ready. Clean and disinfect your work areas and tools. Always use sharp scissors or a razor and clean with alcohol. Have everything ready and within easy reach like rock-wool, scissors humidity dome ect.

Cloning, step by step.grab a firm branch and cut at a 45 degree angle and take a cutting about two to four inches in length. To not damage the bottom of the cutting. Trim off the lower leaves and node points. Then place cuttings in water. A embolism is a air bubble that can get trapped in the stem and kill the clone, this is the reason to soak cuttings in water until your ready to put in grow medium. Make sure the ph is between five and six. Do not fertilize the clones.

Soil

Your prime concern, after choosing high quality seeds, is the soil. 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, K-Mart, Wal Mart, 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 of soil and blend it in thoroughly. Better yet, just skip the whole process and spend a couple bucks on some soil.

Containers

After you have prepared your soil, you will have to come up with some kind of container to plant in. The container should be sterilized as well, especially if they have been used previously for growing other plants. The size of the container has a great deal to do with the rate of growth and overall size of the plant. You should plan on transplanting your plant not more than one time, since the process of transplanting can be a shock to the plant and it will have to undergo a recovery period in which growth is slowed or even stopped for a short while.


The first container you use should be no larger than six inches in diameter and can be made of clay or plastic. To transplant, simply prepare the larger pot by filling it with soil and scooping out a little hole about the size of the smaller pot that the plant is in. Turn the plant upside down, pot and all, and tap the rim of the pot sharply on a counter or the edge of the sink. The soil and root ball should come out of the pot cleanly with the soil retaining the shape of the pot and with no disturbances to the root ball.


Another method that can bypass the transplanting 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. Marijuana 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 marijuana 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.

Fertilizer

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 warm 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.

Light

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 to grow indoor under simulated conditions. The rule of thumb seems to be the more light, the better. In one experiment we know of, eight eight-foot VHO Gro-Lux fixtures were used over eight plants.


The plants grew at an astonishing rate. The lights had to be raised every day. 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 flourescent 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 flourescent 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 flourescent 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.

Temperature and Humidity

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.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation in your growing room is fairly important. The more plants you have in one room, the more important good ventilation becomes. Plants breathe through their leaves. The also rid themselves of poisons through their leaves. If proper ventilation is not maintained, the pores of the leaves will become clogged and the leaves will die. If there is a free movement of air, the poisons can evaporate off the leaves and the plant can breathe and remain healthy.


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

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.

Watering

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.

Bugs

If you can avoid getting bugs in the first place you will be much better off. Once your plants become infested you will probably be fighting bugs for the rest of your plants' lives. To avoid bugs be sure to use sterilized soil and containers and don't bring other plants from outside into your growing room.

If you have pets, ensure that they stay out of your growing room, since they can bring in pests on their fur. Examine your plants regularly for signs of insects, spots, holes in the leaves, browning of the tips of the leaves, and droopy branches.


If you find that somehow in spite of all your precautions you have a plant room full of bugs, you'll have to spray your plants with some kind of insecticide. You'll want to use something that will kill the bugs and not you. Spider mites are probably the bug that will do the most damage to the marijuana plants. One of the reasons is that they are almost microscopic and very hard to spot. They are called spider mites because they leave a web-like substance clinging to the leaves. They also cause tiny little spots to appear on the leaves. Probably the first thing you'll notice, however, is that your plants look sick and depressed.


The mites suck enzymes from the leaves and as a result the leaves lose some of their green color and glossiness. Sometimes the leaves look like they have some kid of fungus on them. The eggs are very tiny black dots. You might be wise to get a magnifying glass so that you can really scrutinize your plants closely. Be sure to examine the underside of the leaves too.


The mites will often be found clinging to the underside as well as the top of the leaves. The sooner you start fighting the bugs, the easier it will be to get rid of them. For killing spider mites on cannabis plants.


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. Insecticides 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. 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.


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.

Pruning

We 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.

Harvesting and Curing

Well, now that you've grown your marijuana, 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 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 chlorophyll taste.