Cannabis #legalization if finally sweeping the globe, quickly becoming legal in many states of the U.S. and most of Europe, and if it's not legal its use is certainly tolerated.
Now, you've decided to to create your own #cannabisgarden. Nice! Soon you will be part of a huge culture, cannabis has had an underground following for years. It's finally time to bring it to light.
#Growing cannabis can be fun and inexpensive, a great way to create a potent product of your own. One amazing thing about #marijuana, it's a hardy plant that can grow in a range of indoor and outdoor environments all year round.
Being buddies with bud
Much like any other skill, gardening with cannabis can be a fun easy way to spend some of your time but one can spend a happily #high life time trying to master this craft. Though there's no reason to be intimidated, it's a pretty simple process and can be just as expensive as you want it to be.
Learning all the fundamentals of #cannabisgrowing is going to give you a great head start on the beginning of your journey. You're going to want to make informed decisions early to maximize yield and growth potential. Here's a few crucial elements that will set you on the right path.
Picking out your cannabis seeds!
One of my personal favorite steps choosing your #seeds and strain, #Sativa, #Indica, Autoflower, so many different #hybrid variations all available with the click of a mouse. Think about what you have enjoyed in the past, what has helped medically? These are good places to start when deciding on a strain.
Now with your personal #strain preference in mind, think about your space requirements. A small closet or cupboard where smaller quicker flowering plants like the #ruderalis (autoflower) strains or indicas might be the most effective for your space. Or if you have a giant backyard you may want to grow some giant trees, if that's the route are you going to plant directly in the soil or into large pots?
The variables of cannabis growing
In order to get the dankest juiciest #buds you can, there's 7 basic variables that you need to keep track of or maintain.
For the #vegetative cycle of marijuana twelve hours of light per twenty four hour period is required. Indoors you control this cycle with a timer. Outdoors you must delay germination until the plants can be exposed to twelve hours of daylight and at least 8 of those hours in direct sunlight.
2. Growing Medium. #Organic growers will use soil nearly every time. However, that's not your only choice. Mediums that are nutrient dependent give you a quicker responses. Some of those include #coconutcoir, #perlite, #vermiculite or #rockwool. Then there's #aeroponics, #hydroponics and deep water culture which don't have a medium at all. The suspended roots matrix gets its nutrients directly from the nutrient mix.
For resistance purposes and exchange of gasses, marijuana requires proper airflow. Which means fresh air breezing by. Outdoor environments you need not to worry as mother earth usually has your back. If you decide to grow indoors your plants will need a fresh air intake, exhaust for the stale air and a fan to push the air around. If your environment is to still you could become a victim of pests, molds or malnutrition. A buildup of gasses can stunt a plants growth.
Like every living organism, cannabis needs water to survive, a dehydrated plant can turn yellow and die rather quickly. Monitoring PH levels is necessary for cannabis plants.
If you live somewhere that has a good amount of rain and are growing outdoors, you may get all you need from nature alone. Keep in mind large cannabis #plants are extremely thirsty, if you want to grow some beasts you will need to supplement the water supply between rains.
Now indoors is typically a little different, water is the carrier for the nutrients the plant needs to survive. Regular water with no additives is used to flush some cannabis systems when the nutrients are at a whack, or during its final stages. The pH of your water is very important, every grower will need a pH meter as a tool for this journey.
Cannabis is a very hardy plant which does well in cold and heat. (There's a reason they call it #weed). Similar to anything else, in can get stressed and malfunction when exposed to extreme conditions. Marijuana can both freeze and burn to death. It can slow or stop growth, it will go into survival mode if the temperatures are too extreme for too long. Twenty seven degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for vigorous growth. Inside this is easy to achieve with fans, a/c units and heating/cooling pads. The heat generated from your lights will certainly need to be vented.
Outside is all about timing. You need to know your local climate pretty well. I suggest having a climate app or some kind of sun chart to perfect your timing. If you plant to early in the season your plants will go into #flower immediately, then going back into vegetative when they daylight increases. This is bad, it will cause your flowers to not form properly when the correct blooming season begins. If you plant them too late, you will have smaller plants with fewer flowering sites.
6. Nutrients The fuel for cannabis growth, the NUTES. A good soil mix that is rich with compost, living organisms, minerals and vitamins will supply enough food to last your plant its whole life cycle.
Watering with some organic mixes such as compost tea, molasses or feather meals can improve soil quality and encourage healthy growth.
Using #hydroponics or soil less mediums, you will be feeding your plants with a pre-formulated nutrient blend. Typically made for cannabis specifically. There's specialized mixtures depending on which medium you have decided to use.
Inside, controlling your #humidity is very important for the entire life cycle of cannabis starting at the seed. Leaves aspirate atmospheric moisture or "sweat" as part of their daily routines. Balanced humidity makes for a healthy pest and mold-free environment.
Outdoors you don't really get to turn that dial you are at the mercy of your climate. What makes that beneficial is the variations in humidity and the robust biological functions needed to adapt to a changing grow environment makes your plants extremely resilient.
No matter where you grow, directly in the soil or in pots outdoors. Even in a companion planted garden your cannabis will need to satisfy all these variables to grow well and supply you with high-quality #trichome covered #nugs.
INDOOR GROWING: The Lights
Now that cannabis has been legalized there has been a huge explosion in the choices of lights and grow boxes for cannabis indoors. Typically here, the deciding factor is how much you want to spend.
Grow Cupboards or Boxes: These small chambers are fully customized for cannabis. Ready to go sophisticated #growcupboards made by people with decades of experience are available. If you have the money to spare you can literally get a pug n' play grow room, from lights to fans and even nutrient delivery systems.
Lights: Now if you're not trying to spend your whole wallet on a grow room, you can have a basic yet very efficient #CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) or small #LED panel (Light Emitting Diode) setup for less than a couple hundred dollars. Growing great buds in small places. Some other compact fluorescent lights like T5 come in a range of spectrum's for vegging and flowering while still maintaining the ability to fit in a small space well.
Some traditional styles of grow lights areHPS (High-Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide). A #1000W #HPS with a hood can efficiently light a 1.5 x 1.5-meter space and provide excellent growth. Similarly, a #600W #MH lamp will light the same sized space and still give world class flower at the end of its cycle. Heat generated by the lights must be considered. If not vented correctly your grow space will quickly become too hot for healthy cannabis growth.
Germination and cannabis seedlings
To start off your cannabis adventure, the #germination of your #seeds. Each seed contains the genetic data needed to grow the strain of your choosing. Give the seed all the right conditions and its evolution will begin. Three specific needs are required for germination. Water, warmth and a good location. (I like to use the hood of my grow lights)
There's no strict set of rules or guidelines for growing cannabis, some people even think of it as a form of art. There are quite a few ways to correctly germinate marijuana. We'll go over a few and after experimenting for a while, you'll find the one that best suites you.
Directly into the medium: Place seeds straight into your medium, this way you can avoid any type of transplant shock. Most of the time its easier to germinate in a small pot of with your medium then transfer to the garden or bigger pots.
Paper Towels: Seeds are placed on moistened paper towel on a plate and placed in a warm dark place. Usually covered with plastic or an upturned plate to retain moisture and humidity. After a few days to a week, your seeds have sprouted.
Rock wool and other similar starters: These guys are extremely easy to maintain, as you can have fifty seeds germinating in a very small space. Once a root network is established they can be put in their final position without damage.
Water: Simply soak seeds in #enzyme enriched water until you see the tap root appear then put in your medium. The seedling will break through the surface about a week later.
Germination Station: Giving you increased control over the environment, germination stations provide humidity/temperature control and can increase germination speed.
When the plant breaks through the surface of the seed and the cotyledons have shed the seed husk, opening it to reveal the first set of leaves, this means photosynthesis has begun. You now have a seedling on its way to becoming a beautiful grown cannabis plant producing trichome rich flowers.
Inside grow The #lightcycle is eighteen hours a day of light, six hours of darkness. Now this doesn't have to correlate with the time of day, you can set a schedule that bests suits your needs. Running your operation during off-peak hours could be a huge money saver.
Your plants will be happy if you gave them their organic soil or they are being fed nutrients designed for the vegetative phase. Your going to want to have a nice breeze running through your room and venting out, this will maintain low temperatures and strengthen younger plants. LST or low stress training and scrounging can be utilized methods to increase the rate of growth and yield of your cannabis.
How long should I keep my plants in their vegetative cycle?
The vegetative cycle can last as long as you would like, depending on how large you want your plans to be. Lots of small plants via the sea of green method. Or growing a few larger plants topped to produce larger flower clusters.
Cannabis grows pretty quick once the #daylight hours start to increase. Following the seasons this stars in the spring and on into the #summer. With infinite root room and good genetics, you can see a plant grow to up to 12 ft during the vegetative phase. A lovely tree!
Most plants are topped and trimmed during the growth phase this encourages a nice even canopy.
Blooming cycles for Cannabis
Flowering, #budding and #blooming all refer to the same cycle of the marijuana plant. The few months during this process will be extremely exciting as aromas start to develop. Different flower shapes and sizes all start to emerge particular to your type of strain. The #flowering cycle has very distinctive characteristics that are common to all cannabis plants which begin when vegetation finishes.
Indoor growing you get to control when the flowering begins by changing the light timers to be on for a twelve hour day, then off for twelve hours.
For outdoor growing, flowering can be seen when Summer's heat has passed and autumn approaches.
The stages of cannabis flowering
At the very beginning of the flowering phase a noticeable change in growth pattern happens. Instead of stretching like it does in vegetation, the growth begins to compact with less distance between nodes. Extremely noticeable.
Soon after the initial change, proper buds will start to form. Calyxes will emerge at branch inter nodes quickly forming pistil covered balls of fluff. #Resins begin taking form in young trichomes on the pistils, #calyxes and leaf surfaces.
The calyxes begin stretching along their own spike. This makes room for fresh clusters and strain-specific leaves. Unlike fan leafs, these new leaves are thick and small, typically crinkled and covered in trichomes. Eventually they are somewhat submerged by the swelling flower cluster.
The next few weeks these flower clusters multiply and form large #colas covered in resin swollen trichomes. Smelling wonderful with their potent gassy flavor. Then you leave it to mature just a little further and the calyxes and the trichomes swell with quite a bit of resins. Full maturity is right around the corner.
Harvesting your crop, Drying and Curing
The last few weeks of the #growingprocess you want to take out the nutrients your feeding your plants. This allows you to flush it and guarantees a pure flavor free of nutrient aftertastes.
How will I know my Cannabis is mature?
Now blanketed in trichomes, #pistils are shrinking back and changing color. Deep orange, a light purple, brown or red may emerge depending on your strain. Trichomes begin changing color all over the plant. Going from clear to milky then to amber. The flower clusters may have the appearance of being inside out.
When it's ready for harvest there's two signs you should look for;
If you're looking for higher #THC content you're going to want to harvest when they're 20-30% Amber.
If you're trying for a wider ranged #cannabinoidprofile, great for #medicinal uses. Harvest when trichomes are 60-80% amber. Be careful to keep a close eye at this stage, the difference could only be one day.
Harvesting The Marijuana Plant
#Harvesting is pretty much up to you, there's no set way in doing so.
Some people give it a wet trim, leaving just the buds and cutting branches to hang individually. Others remove the larger sugar leaves, then harvest and hang the whole plant. Make sure to have nice airflow.
Be careful when handling, you don't want to knock off any un-touched trichomes.
Drying And Curing Cannabis
Dry your buds in a dark cool place with light humidity. This a very slow process, should take a minimum of two weeks.
Check things often for over drying or molds, once or twice a day.
When your buds are finally dry, the thin branches will snap and the thicker ones will bend and flex slightly.
The green #chlorophyll has degraded and is being replaced with strain dependent colors. Lime green, tan, a pale green or even blue and purple can come out as the buds dry and colors develop.
Storing Cured Buds
Now you want to #cure your buds preserving their dankness and aromas. Loosely pack a nice jar (I recommend a #masonjar) that has a well sealed lid with your product. Open the top or burp the jar once a day for the first two weeks. Leaving it open a little while for the buds to air out. Watch for mold, and make sure that its not to wet you don't want all your hard work going down the drain just for lack of attention.
How long should I cure for?
You can #cure for as long as you like. The longer preserved the better usually if its monitored correctly. Remember that the #psychotropic compounds drop a water molecule when properly cured thus becoming more #psychoactive. Producing a stronger #high. This takes at least six weeks when cured under ideal conditions. Keep the jars in a cool dark place. THC breaks down when exposed to light.
If you aren't sure how dry your #bud is, sample your wares as they dry so you have a reference point. Dry cannabis doesn't really feel completely dry because of the waxiness of the resins. You will learn the feel and eye for it rather quickly.
Having your own cannabis plant isn't hard. Just a little bit of attention and patience can reap huge benefits even from even the tightest spots.
Good Luck on your marijuana adventure!