at the end of the vegetative growth stage. Once flowering is induced, your marijuana plants will be ready to harvest in about two months. Read on and fill your mind with images to learn all the details!
Cannabis (aka marijuana or marihuana) seeds like these California Orange are easy to purchase via mail order. You can buy them from seed companies that advertise in Soft Secrets.
Clones are branch tips cut from female marijuana plants and rooted. Clones are desirable because they are female and will flower sooner than seeds. A crop of clones can be harvested in about three months. Clones are not available by mail order. You must get them from a grower, friend of a grower, or medical marijuana cooperative.
A grow space is easy to find in any home or structure. The grow space should be enclosed so that you can control the environment inside where the plants will grow. You can close off a corner of the basement, the attic, or a room on the main floor to make a grow room. Use plastic, wood or brick to enclose the room. You can also convert a closet into a grow room, or you can purchase a prefabricated grow cabinet or closet.
The temperature and humidity in grow space will need to be controlled. The ideal temperature for cannabis growth is about 24°C. The ideal humidity for cannabis growth is 50-70 percent for pre-flowering and 50 percent for flowering plants. Chances are the environment will need to be heated or cooled a little to maintain the ideal temperature and humidity. Often a ventilation fan (see below) is all you need to keep the temperature and humidity perfect.
Marijuana uses carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. The CO2 is used up quickly around foliage, and the air must be circulated so that new CO2 comes in contact with leaves. You will need an oscillating circulation fan to keep the air stirred up and CO2 readily available for plant intake. A circulation fan will also mix the hot air on top and cool air below so the temperature is even throughout the room.
Marijuana uses all the available CO2 in a room pretty fast. A ventilation fan expels used CO2-poor air. The vent fan also removes hot, humid air from the grow space. Fresh, cool, dry air rich in CO2 is drawn into the room via a fresh-air intake vent.
Provide light with fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), metal halide lamps, or high pressure (HP) sodium lamps. Each lamp has positive points and limiting points. Fluorescent lamps are best suited to growing seedlings and clones. Inexpensive CFLs can grow small crops from start to finish. The best CFLs for growing are available in wattages from 65-125. More expensive and versatile metal halide and HP sodium high intensity discharge (HID) lamps are available in many wattages (from 150-1500) and color spectrums. Both can be used to grow crops from beginning to end.
Water and Drainage
Ordinary tap water is usually adequate to grow cannabis. If it is okay to drink, it is usually okay for your plants. If your water tastes bad and is full of sodium and other minerals, you may need to treat it with a reverse osmosis filter. Such control is usually not necessary when growing with soil.
"Hydroponics" means growing in a soilless mix that serves to anchor plant roots. Hydroponics allows the grower to control fertilizer (nutrient) levels and uptake by plants. Hydroponic grow mediums provide more air space around roots, and nutrient uptake is faster than in soil gardens. Hydroponic gardens require more control of water, pH, nutrients, and the root-zone environment. Hydroponic gardens can be very simple and inexpensive or complex and expensive.
Growing in soil is simple and easy. Always purchase good soil that drains well. If you cannot find good soil, mix your own from quality components. Organic soil gardens boast the best flavor and fragrance.
Cannabis cultivated indoors needs light (1), air (2), a growing medium (3), warmth (4), nutrients (5), and water (6). As explained earlier in this chapter, you can control all these needs in your indoor garden and achieve optimum results.
Cannabis is a short-day plant. In nature, it flowers when autumn days are short and nights are long. Outdoors, cannabis normally grows as an annual plant, completing its life cycle within one year. A seed that is planted in the spring will grow through the summer and flower in the fall, producing more seeds.
Cannabis goes through three distinct stages of growth: seedling, vegetative, and flowering. Most varieties or strains will stay in the vegetative growth stage as long as they receive 18-24 hours of light and 6-0 hours of darkness. Most strains of cannabis will flower when they receive 12 hours of light and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness.
Indoors you can use this knowledge to control the life cycle and harvest up to six crops a year.
Seed germination is induced with moisture, heat, and air which activate hormones within the seed. Within 24— 72 hours the seed's coating splits and a white rootlet emerges and continues to grow. The Nebula seeds (right) have been germinating for 24 hours. After three to seven days of germination, the rootlet grows downward and a sprout with seed leaves pushes upwards in search of light. Plants like the Jamaican Pearls (right) continue the seedling growth stage about a month. During this stage the seed establishes a mot system and grows a stem and a few leaves. Seedlings need 16-18 hours of light to grow strong and healthy.
Vegetative growth is maintained in this AK-47 and other strains by giving plants 18-24 hours of light every day. As the plant matures, the roots take on specialized functions of transporting and storing food. The root tips push farther and farther into the soil in search of more water and food. The delicate root hairs actually absorb water and nutrients. Delicate root hairs will dry up and die without water. They are very frail and are easily damaged by light, air, and bumbling hands if moved or exposed.
The stem also grows upward producing new buds along the stem. The central or terminal bud of this Thaitanic carries growth upward; side or lateral buds turn into branches or leaves. The stem carries water and nutrients from the roots to the growing buds, leaves, and flowers. If the stem is bound too tightly by string or other tie-downs, it will cut the flow of life-giving fluids, thereby strangling the plant. The stem also supports the plant.
Often indoor plants develop weak stems and may need to be staked up, especially during flowering. Bending and training plants also makes best use of light indoors.
Chlorophyll (the substance that gives plants their green color) converts carbon dioxide (CO2) from air, water, and light energy into carbohydrates and oxygen. This process is called photosynthesis. Tiny breathing pores called stomata are located on the underside of the leaf and funnel CO2 into contact with the water. The stomata open and close to regulate the flow of moisture, preventing dehydration. The stomata also permit the outflow of water vapor and waste oxygen.
Intersex (aka hermaphrodite) flowers normally show up late in flowering and not at the pre-flowering stage.
Cannabis grown from seed grows pre-flowers after the fourth week of vegetative growth. You can see a male pre-flower nub in the photo above. They generally appear between the fourth and sixth node from the bottom of the plant. Cannabis plants are normally either all male or all female. However, occasionally an intersex plant with both male and female flowers will appear. Each sex has its own distinct flowers. Pre-flowers will be either male or female. Growers remove and destroy the males (or use them for breeding stock) because they have low levels of cannabinoids (chemical components of marijuana: THC, CBD, CBN, etc.). The most desirable female plants are cultivated for their high THC content.
Flowering is triggered in most strains of cannabis like the Chronic bud (below) by 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light every 24 hours. Once flowering is induced with the 12/12 light/ dark schedule, they are at peak ripeness in 7-12 weeks. Plants that developed in tropical regions often start flowering under more light and less darkness.
Flowering Male Plants
Male seedlings that were not removed during pre-flowering are removed as soon as male flowers are visible so that
Flowering Female "Sinsemilla" Plants
Unpollinated female flower buds develop without seeds, known as "sinsemilla." Sinsemilla flower buds continue to swell and produce more resin while waiting
for male pollen to successfully complete their life cycle. After weeks of heavy flower and cannabinoid-laden resin production, THC production peaks out and buds are ready to harvest.
When both male and female flowers are in bloom, pollen from the male flower lands on the female flower, thus fertilizing it. The male dies after producing and shedding all his pollen. Seeds form and grow within the female flowers such as the seeds of the Sweet Diesel (left). You can collect the seeds roughly six to eight weeks after pollination.
Select strong, healthy, potent mother plants. Give mothers 18-24 hours of light daily so they stay in the vegetative growth stage. Cut branch tips from mother plants and root them. The rooted cuttings are called "clones." Cultivating several strong, healthy mother plants is the key to having a consistent supply of all-female clones.
Cut branch tips and root them to form clones. Clones take 10-20 days to grow a strong healthy root system. Give clones 18-24 hours of light so they stay in the vegetative growth stage. Once the root system is established, transplant clones into larger containers. Now they are ready to grow for one to four weeks in the vegetative growth stage before being induced to flower.