All about growing good cannabis fast
The Home Cannabis Creator
A Northwestern Guide to Pretty Good Pot
by the Cannabis Creator
- Forget what you know
- Cannabis is a plant
- General info about cannabis
- Commentary on cannabis
- Risk factors
- Rips, tips and your own big mouth
- Number of plants
- Odor control
- Where to start
- Choosing a space
- AC primer
- Lighting requirements
- Soil and containers
- Growth cycle
- Cloning and sprouting
- Sex and sexing
- Limiting factors
- Carbon dioxide
- Potency, maturity, harvesting and drying
- When to harvest
- Harvesting, manicuring and drying
Welcome to The Home Cannabis creator. Congratulations on your excellent taste in
This is a straightforward compilation of the collective experience of a
successful co-op of Seattle-area growers known as the Snohomish County CannabisCreators (S.C.C.C.). Founded with the planting of a seed in 1991, the S.C.C.C.'s
mission is to make information and high quality clones available to anyone
interested, so that they can have the know how and the genetics to produce
world-class sensimillia. Membership is then gained by selling this product well
dried for a reasonable price, so that it will always remain widely available for
the sick, the stressed and the silent lovers of the cherished cannabis.
This guide is intended specifically for people who wish to create cannabisindoors, using lights, for personal use or on a small commercial to large
commercial scale. It is geared for the novice or unsuccessful, because if you
are experienced and successful you have established what works for you, and that
is the system that I recommend most highly. I have known too many happy growers
that made the mistake of buying one of those 300-plus page grow textbooks after
growing successfully for a period of time. Usually they are horrified when they
discover that the "official" book tells them that they are doing
something, or everything, completely wrong.
The methods described here are certainly not the only way to create large
amounts of high quality cannabis; in fact, it seems to me that there are as many
ways as there are growers. What it all boils down to in this school is how to
have the greatest success, productivity and satisfaction, while spending the
least amount of time, energy, and money in the process. It boils down to
Also included is my personal favorite part, the dispelling of a persistent list
of local tall tales that cause many current cannabis creators unnecessary stress
or confusion and cause some people not to grow at all.
If you do grow, but are not producing the quality or quantity of cannabis that
you desire, or if you have been unsuccessful in the past, I suggest that you
read on with an open mind, as if you hadn't ever attempted to grow before.
Without change, things will only remain the same- so the first rule still
applies to you- forget what you know. Start fresh. Don't try to improvise with
your old supplies, methods, equipment, or anything else if it's a compromise
from what is described. Be aware that large gardens are a full time job. A large
garden won't necessarily produce more buds than a small garden unless you spend
proportionately more time tending it.
Vast amounts of information have been left out for simplicity's sake. Cannabisis certainly one of the most complex subjects that one could hope to ponder, and
you will find your career as a cannabis creator to be a continuous learning
experience, for however long you pursue it.
A. Forget what you know
The very first and most damning mistake a novice cannabis creator can make is
stubbornly sticking to anything that you think that you already know about
creating cannabis. Many people who decide to grow do so after years of being
what I call "cannabis enthusiasts". That is to say, that you have
already had much experience with cannabis, seeing, smelling, distributing and of
course tasting, and thus of course, it probably has been the subject of many
animated conversations in your life. But talk is cheap. Ask yourself this-
"Have any of my friends confided in me that they were producing large
amounts of high quality cannabis, and did they actually let me assist in the
process from start to finish?" If the answer is yes, then you don't need
this book. If your friend grows and trusts you that much, have them set you up.
If the answer is no, I implore you to forget everything that you have ever heard
about it, because 99.9% of all stories circulating about successful cannabiscreators are completely false. The reason for this is simple: successful
cannabis creators don't talk about their operations. I cannot count the number
of ridiculous stories that I have heard from people (usually at a party or bar,
after a few drinks) concerning this mysterious grower-friend and their even more
Common tall tales include the guy that has 500 (or more!) 8 foot tall Christmas
trees in his basement (hopefully nobody with 500 plants would tell this
blabbermouth, and by my calculations, this basement would have to be about 50 x
100 feet). Or the guy who hung his plants or buds upside down so that "the
resins would 'drain' into the buds" (resins don't 'drain', period). Or
their friend who sprayed the buds with (pick one) water, fruit juice of any
kind, sugar water, or anything else to give them crystals or make them look,
taste or smell better.
The next time that someone tells you "this is 39th generation bud!"
ask them what a generation is.
I still hear about Mylar on the floor and/or ceiling, or multiple layers of
Mylar to avoid infra-red detection (this story was spread by a narc who happened
to have a business selling Mylar).
My personal favorite is the amazingly common story that someone is actually
growing their plants upside-down- buckets in the air, lights on the ground.
For our purposes; for the normal Joe or Jill who just dreams of smoking the kind
freely, (as in for free), or maybe slightly bigger dreams of quarters and pounds
available, these kinds of stories represent total ignorance, whether or not they
are based on truth. Furthermore, anyone who alleges to be growing "the
UW" is probably misinformed at least. The University of Washington did have
a medical research program, but only for two years, 1978 and 1979. Then came the
war on drugs, and research was banned by any independent non-government
laboratories. (Hmmm). I am highly suspicious of "U.W." stories because
I have seen every different kind of bud referred to as "the U.W.", no
two ever alike.
As far as the person who got busted when the power company or the police
helicopter "detected" their grow lights, most of these tales are ones
that the fascists would be happy to have you believe. As for power consumption,
many residences use lots of electricity for many different reasons including
cannabis creation. There is no way that anyone can detect anything through the
power lines. As far as the Infra-red thermal imaging (heat sensing) technology
that a minority of law enforcement have available, this device can only measure
the temperature of an outside surface like the roof or a wall. High powered
lights get quite hot so they tend to make warm spots, but if your lights are in
any well insulated space like a basement, they may not even show up at all. Also
if there is attic space above the grow room, the outside roof temperature would
not be affected because the air in the attic acts as an insulator. One notable
exception to this rule would be any warm exhaust air flowing out of the room
directly to the outside. On a heat-sensing device this would appear as a large
fountain. This can be avoided by exhausting into another room (attic, garage,
etc.) or up a chimney, instead of directly to the outside.
But listen carefully, students, this is the twist that they want you to miss- In
either case, it is a moot point because if they are using these techniques on
you, then you are already under investigation. If you are already under
investigation, it probably wasn't anyone who you don't know that
"detected" you, get it?
I think that this concept is the underlying point and theme of this whole book.
It cannot be stressed or understood enough that your main problem as a smart
grower will definitely not be law enforcement figuring it out by themselves.
Jails are chock full of people who would give up their own mothers to get out.
Police forfeitures generate lots of money that they can use to encourage
criminals on the outside to be narcs. Tip lines ring off the hooks, deluged with
calls from people brainwashed with drug-war hysteria, who think they heard a
rumor or smelled something just slightly out of the ordinary. Cops bust naive
kids with a pipe or a bowl, and then threaten them with anything that will get
them to squeal. These are just a few of the ways that modern law enforcement
tries to deal with the responsibility of having to find and imprison otherwise
normal Americans for something as common and benign as eating donuts. The
fastest ways. The least expensive ways. The easy ways.
Another good tip is that anyone who claims to have the best cannabis definitely
doesn't. So don't believe what you've heard.
B. Cannabis is a plant
The concept of cannabis creation can be understood most easily by keeping one
simple fact in mind- cannabis is a plant. A very highly evolved plant for that
matter. Plants were not designed to grow indoors. So in order to have a happy
thriving garden indoors, you must fool the plants into believing that they are
in fact outdoors. It is your job to re-create or simulate to the last detail,
The sun, the wind, the rainfall, climate and soil conditions of the perfect
outdoor plot in say, northern California, Thailand, or Hawaii. In this
environment cannabis is the fastest growing plant on the planet. It processes
the suns light (photosynthesizes) more efficiently than any other fast growing
plants such as bamboo, corn or kenaf.
C. General information about cannabis
Cannabis is a dioecious woody herbaceous annual. Dioecious means that each plant
will have distinct male or female characteristics, woody refers to the
consistency of the stem, herbacious means, yes, cannabis is an cannabis, and annual means
that outdoors, if left wild, it will complete its entire growth cycle, from seed
to maturity (seed) in a single season and then die. This is perfectly normal.
The main active ingredient in cannabis is THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol.
The THC is concentrated in the resins of the mature female flowers and to a much
lesser degree in the leaves and male flowers. These parts of the plant are
simply dried and then smoked or eaten to obtain the desired effect.
In over 5000 years of documented medical history, from aincient Chinese and
Babylonian cultures right up to today in the United States, there has never been
a reported overdose or death from ingesting this substance. It has been
estimated that one would have to consume at least seven pounds of medium quality
cannabis in a short period of time just to produce a "toxic effect" in
the human body. Every modern governmental study in the world convened to examine
the issue, including studies by the U.S. Army, the Jamacian coptic study,
Nixon's 1968 LaGuardia Commission and more recently the Republican governor of
California, George Dukemajens' Shaffer Commission, have all recommended
decriminalization. In 1988, the drug enforcement agency's (D.E.A.'s) own
administrative law judge, Francis L. Young wrote, in an over 60 page long ruling
that "it has been clearly shown [in this court] that cannabis is far less
toxic than many foods that we commonly consume" (like potatoes) and that
"it is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious" that this substance is
placed in "schedule one", the United States federal governments'
category of drugs that includes PCP and heroin, not even available for
prescription by doctors.
There are three important varities of cannabis that you should know about.
Cannabis indica is generally a short (two to six feet) bushy plant well suited
to indoor growing with chunky ripened flowers that can range in potency from
okay to mind-blowing.
Cannabis sativa is generally a wild unruly vine indoors, and outdoors has been
known to reach heights of 16 feet or more, yeilding pounds of slender, flavorful
buds that can range in potency from okay to messing with the space-time
The majority of good seed stock and clones available to todays indoor grower are
pure indicas and lots of indica\sativa hybrids (crosses, or blends) usually
leaning towards the indica side.
Cannabis hemp is by far the most important variety of cannabis. Its flowers
would not interest you, in fact they have earned this plant the nickname
"ditch weed". The impressive part of the hemp plant is its stems,
which can provide a stunning array of important and biodegradable products, such
as a natural fiber for papermaking, textiles and to replace timber products and
therefore clear cutting, and cellulose, an industrial feedstock used to make
plastics, chemicals, fibers, non toxic fuels for heating and generating
electricity, and clean burning ethanol to run cars. Its edible seeds are also
impressive, a highly nutritious food containing critical unsaturated fatty acids
as well as more edible protien than soybeans, and can be used for producing high
grade biodegradable oils that can form the base for paints or lacquers or be
used for lubrication. For endless information on this subject and enlightenment
on the meaning of life on earth, I highly recommend reading "The Emperor
Wears No Clothes" by Jack Herer.
For today we will concern ourselves with only the first two varities of
cannabis; hemp is deserving of its own book.
Although there are technically only these two classifications of high THC
varieties, indica and sativa, cannabis must be thought of on a much broader
scale. An easy way to think of the countless different pure and hybridized
strains of cannabis is to compare them to dogs.
When talking about dogs, hybrids are called mutts, but everyone knows that mutts
can have more character and charm. Like dogs, pure lines can only come from pure
parents. Also, a dog may be a german shepard or a chiuaua, but just because a
dog fits into a category like that dosen't mean that every shepard or chiuaua is
the same as the next. In fact, it's just the opposite.
All living things have DNA which help determine all of their physical
characteristics. DNA is what insures that no two people, dogs or cannabisseedlings will ever be alike. Even identical twins are different. For our
purposes, DNA is the code that contains every bit of information as to how a
plant will grow, how it will look, it's potency and every possible trait that it
could ever have. To further the dog analogy, the DNA and thus all physical
features come 1\2 from the female parent and 1/2 from the male parent, resulting
in offspring (seeds or seedlings) that should somewhat resemble their parents.
Unlike dogs, cannabis can be "cloned". It is very important to
understand the simple basic difference between a seedling and a clone. A
seedling is a plant that was sprouted from a seed that was the product of sexual
reproduction between a male and a female. Approximately one-half of these seeds
or seedlings will be female, and approximately one half male. Each and every
one, regardless of its sex, will be different.
A clone was never a seed. A clone starts out as a growing tip of a larger
established plant (a seedling or a clone) which was cut off, treated with a
rooting hormone, put into its own small container, sprouted roots, and is now a
separate plant, although potentially identical in every way to the plant that it
was taken from. As its name implies, it is an exact genetic duplicate. As far as
the plant is concerned, it is the same plant. It never died, the DNA stayed
intact, so that clone will always be the same sex, and have the same growth
traits as well as the same potential potency, flavor and high.
This is very handy for the cannabis creator, because all you have to do is
obtain one good clone and every bit of cannabis you create can be exactly the
same, technically never increasing or decreasing in potency. Any potency
variations in a mono-clonal (one clone) sinsemillia (seedless-no boys=no
pollen=no seeds) garden are related to environmental factors and conditions,
maturity, drying techniques, and the presence of a perceptive, consistent,
hard-working grower. (Or the lack thereof).
2. Risk factors
A. Rip-offs, tip-offs and your own big mouth
Reading a chapter entitled "risk factors" of cannabis cultivation in
the United States, one might automatically assume that the subject of that
chapter would be law enforcement. After all, hundreds of millions of dollars are
spent every year by various anti-plant life agencies around the country on the
ferocious war to exterminate this harmless and helpful species. However, despite
the normal paranoia that is a byproduct of the current system, law enforcement
actually only represents about 2% of the problems that face modern American
freedom fighters. Law enforcement techniques like reducing mandatory sentences
for squealers and placing anti-cannabis ads with 1-800-GROW police hot lines are
vivid proof of exactly how clueless these people are when it comes to where to
start looking for the cunning grower.
Any estimate given by the authorities relating to the percentage of cannabisseized in a particular time period or area is fabricated. The truth is that they
have no idea how much of the crop was uncovered, because the remainder went
By far, the number one risk facing the modern cannabis creator is thieves. This
point cannot be emphasized enough. Rip-offs don't answer to anybody. They don't
care about your civil rights. They dont follow any rules at all.
In my opinion, people who steal are really at the bottom of the food chain,
period. But people who steal cannabis, especially from the growers, endangering
their freedom, have got to be the saddest, lowest, most pathetic and most
thoughtless (deviod of thought) individuals on this earth. And they are
The number one way to get busted is when the ripoffs come to steal your crop and
somehow the cops get called. This may be simply the concerned neighbor who calls
when they see prowlers, or a concerned passer-by who only witnessed you
violently pummeling a would-be intruder with a bat, or someone who heard
gunshots when you shot the scumbag, (not recomended) or the shots of the scumbag
shooting you (less recommended). (It is a serious legal complication to have a
gun at the cannabis growing location).
The second most common way to get busted is through your girl/boyfriend or your
roommate/grow partner, (love and money are both by nature de-stabilizing) or
anyone else who has knowlege. No matter how much you trust someone, they might
end up telling just one other person, who "they trust". This person
has nothing to lose and will undoubtedly tell just one other person who
"they trust" and who you might not even know. The cannabis creators'
creedo should be "for every one person you tell, that's too many." It
can be good to have a partner if you have a large garden, because cannabiscreation can be a lot of work, but this person should have just as much to lose
as you do. This is the best incentive for both of you to keep your mouths shut.
Realistically, a small commercial operation (5KW or less), in a good location,
with a good odor control system that only two trusting people know about is
virtually unbustable. You peek out of your blinds for months, always expecting
to see the cops, but the bust only comes when a Cessna has engine failure and
crashes through your roof. In my experience, I have never seen any cannabiscreator get busted because the police figured it out by themselves. It is true
that the slightest hint may get them on your trail, but it is inversely true
that without that, you should be getting away with your wildest dreams.
B. Number of plants
Under the law, a cannabis creator is judged by one factor and one factor only;
the number of plants in a single residence. A plant is defined as having roots,
so unrooted clones do not count. The cannabis creator must also learn to
distinguish between state and federal law. Washington state has some of the most
leiniant cultivation laws in the country, but this country has some of the
harshest, most evil and draconian penalties on planet earth. According to state
law, the catagories are 1-99, 100-299 and 300 or more. Federal law adds a 50-99
category. It is hard to say exactly what determines whether a given case will go
to state or federal court. Most cases below 100 plants go to the state because
theoretically, the feds only want the big fish, but this simplistic analogy
cannot explain the arbitrary methods of our warped and corrupt federal
government. In fact the whole theory of saying that a large number of plants
equals a large amount of cannabis is fundamentally flawed. 300-plus plants could
potentially fit under a 400 watt lamp and yeild 6 or 8 ounces of dried product,
or 300 plants could fill a vast outdoor plot or greenhouse and yield one or more
pounds per plant, a considerable difference. So, we find that living in this
state of unreasonable and illogical laws, people learn to turn the laws around
and use them against their oppressor. Case in point:
A first time offender (no prior felony convictions) will almost never receive
jail time in Washington state court on a case of 1-99 plants, and certainly no
more than 30 days. The maximum penalty is 90 days. This is very good to know
considering that in an averege sized basement, converted to a 3 to 5KW grow
facility, 99 plants or less can easily yield two to four or more pounds of
dried, manicured cannabis each month. When you have achieved that, and you still
aren't meeting your economic goals, you can easily afford to rent another house
or apartment and install 99 more units to stay within the one-hundred or less
prosecution category. Cake.
C. Odor control
There are many common ways to reduce the fragrance of pungent cannabis flowers,
including ionizers (negative ion generators), charcoal filters, air scrubbers,
and chemical sprays. Unfortunately, reduce is the key word here. None of these
methods will do much to eliminate any smells except from the smallest room or
the least stinky garden. There are some strains of cannabis that are known for
their lack of the trademark cannabis smell, and are perpetuated for that reason. I
realize that you're more likely to find a charcoal filter than any particular
clone, but I am trying to emphasize that basically, you should be prepared to
deal with the beautiful smell of fragrant cannabis flowers.
Here is a brief overview of how these devices work. Ionizers work by generating
negatively charged ions and dispersing them into the air. When these negative
ions come in contact with positively charged particles floating in the air like
dust or pollen, they change the particles' charge to negative, causing the
particle to "precipitate", or to fall to the ground. This results in
cleaner air, and dirtier floors and walls.
Another kind of ionizer is called a "collector ionizer". These
incorporate some disposable filter and either a positively charged surface which
attracts the ionized particles, or a small fan that moves the air through the
filter (which usually also contains activated charcoal) and then injects the
ions into the outgoing airstream. Charcoal filters are similar to these but use
only the fan and activated charcoal, and are usually slightly more heavy duty,
and seem to work about as well, as long as you keep the charcoal fresh by
changing the filter regularly.
Air scrubbers consist of a large barrel of water with your exhaust piped into
it, like a giant bong, and then to the outside. Pine cleaner and/or liquid smoke
are added to the water to taint the smell. I have never personally built one of
these but the theory makes sense, except that it seems awkward and I don't think
it would work with high-powered exhaust blowers.
Chemical sprays are used in hospitals and kennels to deal with very harsh odors.
They work, but I personally find the artificial, chemical odor overwhelming to
the point of nausea. I do not recommend these sprays because they are
impractical to use on a continuous basis, and frankly if its gonna stink, I'd
rather have it stink like greenbud.
If you can't find or afford any of the above, a simple trick is to buy a box of
urinal deodorizers from a janitorial supply store, or maybe car deodorizers, and
put one or two next to your exhaust blowers' intake.
Now aside from the above described odor reduction devices there are two more
things that I will recommend for this task. The first one is called an ozone
generator. This mighty device generates ozone, an unstable oxygen molecule that
actually changes the molecular structure of stinky particles that they come into
contact with. This results in total odor elimination. The proper way to use an
ozone generator is piped into your outgoing exhaust. (The generator has its own
small blower built in.) Of course, like everything, there are trade-offs for
this amazing performance. Ozone can be harmful to plants, animals or people in
too high of a concentration. The only way to use it safely is by using it to
treat the exhaust that is going outside. Also, ozone generators are quite
expensive. The three models that I am familiar with run around $750., $1350.,
and on up to $2600., with this most expensive model being quite adequate to de-stinkify
the 5000 C.F.M. exhaust of a large warehouse (25KW) full of stinkiness. (Yummy!)
It seems to most people like a lot to spend, but in some situations, it can be
your saving grace. I recommend ozone for all commercial growers. If you are
interested in this device, try calling indoor grow supply stores with ads in the
little nickel or yellow pages.
The second, most practical and most effective method of odor control is your
exhaust system itself. You will learn later in this book that a good exhaust
system is just as important to happy plants as light or water, and although this
won't actually make the outgoing air less stinky, it allows you to control where
the stinky air goes. For example, lets say you live in a third floor corner 2
bedroom apartment. One bedroom is your bedroom, the other is your grow room. A
properly installed exhaust system can solve two odor problems at the same time.
One, inside the living space of your apartment. By leaving your exhaust blower
running 24 hours a day, there will always be "negative pressure"
inside the grow room. This simply means that air will constantly be flowing into
the grow room through every possible crack and opening, and when fresh air is
constantly flowing in, no smell gets out. Two, outside your apartment. By
cleverly routing the exhaust pipe into your unused chimney pipe, or out of the
far back corner of your attic, the smelly air will end up where there are no
noses to smell it- either 4 stories off the sidewalk or parking lot (and heading
up) in the chimney pipe example, or on the backside of your building where there
are no stairs and where nobody hangs out. (If a bud reeks in the city, but there
are no noses to smell it, did it ever really smell at all?) Another thing to
consider in apartment cultivation is that even if you can smell the weed out in
the parking lot, there is no way to tell which apartment it is coming from. It
sounds crazy, but 'round these parts it happens all the time. Smells pretty
D. Power consumption
I was reluctant to even include a section about power consumption because I
thought that it would just breed paranoia. Residences all around use large
amounts of power for all kinds of things, including cannabis cultivation, and
there is no way for grow lights to be "detected" by the power company.
However, I do have a list of power saving tips for the power conscious.
The number one power sucker in your home is the hot water heater. Most of these
units use between 3500 and 7000 watts. Turning off this unit at the circuit box
will dramatically reduce your power bill (not to mention the length of your
showers, ha ha). Number two would be your baseboard heaters. These are the most
wasteful power suckers. A 4-foot long baseboard unit can draw 1000 watts or
more. A small apartment usually has several of these. Turn them off at the box.
Plug-in electric space heaters usually consume 1000 to 1500 watts. Cold? Hang
out with the ganja. (I have seen electric internal forced air heating systems in
large homes that consume as much power as ten or more 1KW grow lamps. These are
ideal grow houses because by turning off the heat, your bill may not be any
higher than the previous residents). Tied for number three are your dishwasher
and clothes washer. Both of these units use lots of hot water, and the
dishwasher even super-heats the already hot water. The clothes dryer is also a
major culprit. Use paper plates and go to the Laundromat. At number four we have
the refrigerator and freezer. Most people won't want to try and live without
these, but try putting gallon jugs of water in the empty spaces (if any) of
both. Water retains its temperature more efficiently than air, so your fridge
will use less energy. Also, a lot of people seem to have this thing about
leaving all the lights in the house on all the time. Remember to turn off lights
you're not using. Use low wattage bulbs. If no one is living at the grow
facility, all of these appliances should be turned off at the box and you should
be growing a lot of weed.
3. Where to start
A. Choosing a space
Any space is a good space to create cannabis. Ceilings should be a minimum of
about 6 feet. Attics, crawl spaces, alcoves, closets, sheds, barns and extra
bedrooms are good. Basements are the best unless you own property and happen to
have a backhoe and an extra school bus or storage container to bury. Anything
underground is very good. If you need to maximize your square footage in a small
bedroom, take the closet doors off and use that space just like a part of the
room. The space will need a good power supply (for 2KWs or more, the range or
clothes dryer plug will provide 240v power) and access to water (trash barrels
filled with a garden hose are common in spaces that don't have a nearby bathtub
or work sink) and somewhere to vent your exhaust.
I. AC primer If you don't know anything about
household electricity, and don't want to learn by say, checking a book out from
the library on basic household wiring, then I recommend trying to stay under
about 2KW (two thousand watts) of power use to minimize the risk of fire on, or
the electrocution of, your person. Always keep extention cords off the ground
and keep cord runs as short as possible. Wrap cord connections in duct tape. If
you can't plug your 1KW lamps directly into the wall socket, use extra heavy
duty cords, and never ones over 25 feet long. Never use spliters or power strips
on outlets or cords running 1KW lamps. Never run more than one 1KW lamp on a
single household circuit (15 amp breaker). Only run circuits at 70 percent of
their rated amperage for a safety margin. The formula to calculate amperage is
watts divided by volts equals amps. (Example: 1000 watt lamp at 120 volts = 8.33
amps). (120 volts is standard American household wall socket voltage).
If you plan on using more than 2KW, then you should use a "power drop"
or "power board". This is essentially a breaker box that wires
directly into a heavy-duty (240 volt) power source in your residence and is
installed nearby or in the grow room so that you can safley power multiple 1KW
lighting systems. Boxes designed specifically for this purpose are available at
indoor grow supply stores and incorporate a heavy duty timer that will put up to
8 1KW, 240 volt systems on a timed cycle of your choice. They can also provide
stout supplies of 120 volt power if nessecary for high amprege, low voltage
accesories such as exaust blowers, fans or heaters. These outlets can be on the
timer also, or can be wired for continuous power. Good indoor grow supply stores
will custom make the board that you want. These boards should have
"pigtails" (short fat cords with molded 240 volt plugs adaptable to
your dryer or range outlet). Alternatively, the board can be purchased without
the pigtail and "hard wired" to a compatible plug or directly to the
circuit box with heavy gauge Romex cable (10 gauge solid copper wire) by someone
who surely knows what they are doing. It's not too complicated, but it can be
very dangerous. Be smart.
II. H.I.D.'s H.I.D. stands for High Intensity
Discharge. H.I.D. lamps that are commonly used for cannabis creation include
metal halides (M.H.), high pressure sodiums (H.P.S.), sodium conversions,
balanced spectrum sodiums, and florescents.
Metal halides are the most common variety of H.I.D. lamp for indoor
horticulture. They also have the shortest service life. Their light output will
drop to 50% of new in only about 6-9 months of regular use, and your yeilds will
drop accordingly, so only new metal halide lamps are suitable.
H.P.S. lamps are substantually brighter than M.H.'s and last longer, but emit
most of their light in a narrow red-orange color band, as opposed to the M.H.'s
full spectrum (all colors), sun-like light.
Sodium conversions are a retro-fit replacement lamp that run in a M.H. system
but use slightly less power and emit light in a more balanced color spectrum
than regular H.P.S. lamps. They also retain thier intensity about ten times
longer than M.H. lamps, but are quite expensive.
Balanced spectrum sodiums were developed by the Dutch specifically for their
world-renowned greenhouses. They started with a H.P.S. to achieve maximum
efficiency and service life, and then tweaked the ingredients in the lamp to
increase the amount of blue light in the light spectrum. The 430 watt son-agro
lamp by Phillips was the first balanced spectrum sodium to hit the market in the
U.S., and remains the most efficient (most light per watt) 400 watt class lamp
available. Recently, I have seen Dutch 600 watt balanced spectrum sodium systems
available to American growers. Although they are incompatible and unfamiliar,
These systems warrant a very close look. They claim to produce 90,000 to 100,000
lumens, or about 80% of the output of a new 1000 watt M.H., using only 60% of
the electricity. In a large garden, this efficiency increase could increase
Florescents are bulky and relativley inefficient, but do provide a good color
spectrum, generate very little heat and have soft, even light distribution.
These characteristics make them very suitable for rooting clones or for growing
very small plants (under 12 inches). They are also amazingly inexpensive. A
four-foot, two-tube shop-lite fixture is only about ten dollars at your local
hardware store. Many different kinds of tubes are available to put into these
fixtures, some fancy models costing up to 15 dollars or more per tube claiming
better growth, but they aren't any brighter, and that is what the cannabis plant
cares most about. "Cool white" tubes are the smart choice if using
florescents. They are the most common, very inexpensive, usually less than a
dollar each, and have a similar color spectrum to the M.H., good for vegetative
growth. The "watts per square foot" theory applies to flourescents
also. (See "Lighting requirements", below) Florescents use about ten
watts per foot per tube, so a four-foot two-tube unit would consume about 80
watts, and would be suitable to light four square feet at 20 w.p.f.2. (Minimum
vegetative requirement). These lights do not even compare to the light output of
M.H. or H.P.S. lamps. You should not try to grow tall plants with florescents,
because the lower branches will basically be in the dark, due to the lack of
light intensity over about one foot away from the tubes themselves. M.H.'s,
sodium conversions, and balanced spectrum H.P.S.'s are the choice of serious
cannabis creators for their flowering rooms.
All of these H.I.D.'s work on the same principal. They all have
"ballasts" that plug into the wall, and transform the low voltage
household current (120v or 240v if you are using a power board) into high
voltage (480v) to run the lamp. When you turn it on, a capacitor in the ballast
builds up a huge bolt of energy, which is sent to electrodes at either end of a
gas filled tube inside of the lamp itself (the arc tube). This burst of energy
causes an arc of electricity to jump through the gas and the arc is then
maintained by the high voltage, generating very intense light as a reaction,
thus their name, High Intensity Discharge.
M.H. and H.P.S. lamps come in various wattages, but I mostly only recomend 1KW
(1 Kilowatt, or 1000 watt) lamps for flowering rooms, or the occasional 400 watt
for a very small space. Smaller ones such as Flourescents or 150, 250 and 400
watt H.I.D. systems can be utilized in vegetative areas with young plants, but
if you plan on growing them above about 14 inches tall in the vegetative room I
still recommend using 1KWs for best results.
These systems consist of: Power cord. Plugs into wall or power board, supplies
ballast with low voltage 120 or 240VAC (Volts AC). Ballast. Essentially a
transformer. Converts the low voltage to high voltage. Lamp cord. This is a long
non-detachable cord that carries the high voltage from the ballast to the socket
assembly. The socket assembly is where the lamp screws in and also where the
hood attaches. The hood is a large reflective piece that focuses the light
downward. The lamp is a vacuum sealed glass sphere that contains the gas filled
tube which emits the light. All of this usually comes in a package deal for
There are two main types of hoods, vertical and horizontal. Both refer to the
orientation of the lamp. A vertical hood holds the lamp vertically, with the
socket side up and the tip of the lamp pointing downward. A horizontal hood
holds the lamp horizontally, with the socket on one side and the lamp sticking
out sideways. Vertical systems seem to be more practical because they are less
expensive, less complicated to assemble and, as long as all the walls are lined
with Mylar, they distribute more direct light more evenly.
III. Mylar After you have gone to considerable
trouble and expense to achieve proper lighting in your space, it only makes
sense to be aware that to get the maximum light levels (i.e. fat buds) out of
your system, the plants need to be surrounded (four sides) with a highly
reflective surface. Other things have traditionally been used such as tin foil
or space blankets, but these are totally ineffective, even compared to flat
white paint, which is a better alternative.
Mylar is a highly reflective plastic sheeting used to bounce light back on to
the plants. Using mylar is the most effective and economical way to increase the
critical light levels in any indoor garden. It is by far, the most reflective
material available to line your grow area, so that your precious light is
directed onto and absorbed by your plants, and not the surfaces of the area
surrounding them. It comes in rolls that are generally about 4 feet wide, in
thicknesses of 1 or 2 mil. (Thousandths of an inch). 2 mil. is about 40% more
expensive, and both thicknesses reflect equally, but the 1 mil. tends to be hard
to work with and wrinkles easily, whereas the 2 mil. goes up more like a mirror
and is easier to re-use. It should be hung on all walls that face the plants,
and lightweight, moveable barriers can be made for the sides that open to the
room using foam insulating board, cardboard, or frames built from 1x2's, and
covered using duct tape and staples. To prevent staples from tearing the mylar
it is a good idea to put a piece of duct tape over the spot where you are going
to staple it, then staple through the tape several times. Adhesive caulk can be
used to hang it on concrete or brick surfaces.
IV. Lighting requirements As far as lighting
requirements for a given space, try to think on a watts-per-square-foot basis.
If you learn to do this from the beginning, you will find that it is an easy and
consistent way to relate the relative brightness of any grow area. (Also,
yield-per-square-foot is a good way to track production). You will also find a
direct link between this brightness and the growth habits, bud density and
overall yield of your plants. To calculate the square footage of your area,
multiply (L)ength times (W)idth. Then divide the square feet into the total
watts of all the lamps. This figure is your watts per square foot (w.p.f.2). A
minimum of about 20-30 w.p.f.2 will be adequate for the vegetative area and 30
to 40 w.p.f.2 or more is recommended for highest yields and vigorous growth
Outdoors, plants are exposed to constant fresh air, so they are supplied with an
unlimited amount of carbon dioxide. Indoors, the air is mostly stagnate, so the
cannabis creator uses high powered exaust fans to simulate the outdoor fresh air
enviroment. The growers ventilation system actually serves many purposes. By
constantly removing hot, humid air out of the grow space, the exaust serves to
reduce high humidity levels caused by water evaporation [from wet soil or
reserviors] in the room, and to control the substantial heat created by 1KW
H.I.D. systems. As the stale air is removed, fresh air flows into the room to
take the place of the old air, which will be depleted of carbon dioxide by fast
growing cannabis plants. This fresh air contains lots of fresh carbon dioxide
for the plants to breathe. Also, as discussed earlier, your exaust system is
your most obvious and effective means of odor control. These are reasons why for
the serious indoor horticulturist, ventilation is not an option! It is
mandatory. Ventilation is just as important as adequate light or water.
This means that you not only need to exhaust a lot of air out of the room, but
vigorously circulate the air inside the room as well. 16-inch oscillating fans
and 20-inch box fans are good to place inside the room for blowing fresh air
around the plants. Except in the case of very young plants that are not yet
established or not growing quickly, generally more is better, especially in
flowering. Plants that have been exposed to vigorous air circulation grow much
sturdier and more vigorously than plants that have not.
Exhaust blowers, (also called squirrel cage fans) are rated by C.F.M. (cubic
feet per minute). Good ventilation means having a blower that will keep your
average temperatures around 78 degrees and your realitive humidity at about 50%.
If you have no idea what to get, start with about 150 to 250 C.F.M. per 1KW
H.I.D. lamp and ballast. Common sizes include 100, 265, 465,745 and 980 C.F.M..
The fart fan in your bathroom is usually rated at about 55 C.F.M..
Four inch dryer duct is only adequate for up to 100 C.F.M.. Above that you
should use 7, 8 or 10-inch aluminum flex-duct for up to 1000 C.F.M.. Keep the
run as short as possible and avoid sharp turns for maximum airflow.
Connecting exhaust blowers to the ducting used to be a labor intensive task
involving razor blades, several cardboard boxes and an entire roll of duct tape.
Today, your local hardware store carries an amazing new product called spray
insulating foam. Try some. Apply liberally.
D. Soil and Buckets
Although any prepackaged potting soil will do, For production purposes, I
recommend Pro-Mix. It comes in bales, is fairly easy to find and consists
primarily of Canadian peat moss and perlite. This provides proper ph levels,
does not pack down easily and won't remain soggy, allowing the roots to
"breathe" (healthy roots need a good balance of oxygen and water) and
therefore also allowing you good control over the watering/fertilizer regimen.
It is also very inexpensive as compared to other options.
Although the hand watering and appearance of the media may make you think that
this is a soil-based system, it is actually a quasi-hydroponic setup in which
the medium provides the optimum water-to-oxygen ratio, and not the nutrients to
the roots (plant). All nutrients are provided by regular fertilization with a
high-quality, full-spectrum, hydroponic formula which is dissolved in the water
at watering time.
Normal potting soils and other heavier soils can be amended with about 2 or 3
parts peat moss and perlite and/or vermiculite to one part soil to decrease
water retention. Heavy, soggy soils create unhappy root conditions. A simple
test for any soil is this: take a handful of wet soil and squeeze it into a ball
in your fist. When you open your hand it should fall apart or fall apart with a
slight poke. If it becomes a solid ball after you squeeze it, it is probably not
suited for your purposes. When filling the buckets, do not pack the soil down.
Break up any chunks. The consistency of dry soil should be light and fluffy. As
far as buckets go, a simple rule of thumb is about 2 gallons of capacity per
foot of the height of the finished plant. Too small of a container can
definitely restrict growth and cause watering problems. Most growers I know
transplant rooted clones into 2 gallon containers for vegetative growth, and
then transplant them into 7 gallon containers for flowering. Gro-bags are
convenient for getting stealthily in or out, as they make a much smaller package
than a stack of buckets. Their squat, squarish shape is also well suited for
Hydroponics is Latin for "working water." The concept is very simple.
Instead of growing plants in soil that is naturally rich in organic nutrients
(like compost or various poop), the plants grow in a media that provides the
roots (plant) only with physical support, and a supply of oxygen to the roots
that is unachievable in normal soil based systems. Rockwool, the most popular
hydroponic medium, with its near-perfect oxygen to water retention capabilities
has been the home of some of the healthiest, fastest growing, most vigorous
plants I have ever seen. The nutrients are provided solely when the media is
periodically flushed or soaked in water that has the necessary nutrients
dissolved in it. This is usually accomplished with a simple set up of pumps and
sequence timers, which deliver the solution out of a reservoir to each plant
using drip-emitters that water each container individually, or ebb and flow
techniques that fill and then drain trays or tables. This is called "active
hydroponics" where the water is actively moved around. The Pro-mix based
system described in this book is essentially a "passive" (no pumps, no
timers) hydroponic system, because the media doesn't provide the nutrients, they
are provided dissolved in the water at watering time.
Unfortunately, As with many simple concepts, hydroponics doesn't necessarily
translate easily to reality. Most hydroponic media leave little room for error,
and one mistake can spell disaster. I recommend full blown hydro set-ups only to
the experienced grower who has a keen sense of all of the needs of his or her
4. Growth Cycle
This is the part about how you make your clones or seedlings (that is to say,
small young plants that consist only of stems and leaves) into plants with big,
fat, juicy buds.
In the wild, male and female cannabis plants sprout in the spring, and grow side
by side through the summer. At some point in the summer, they begin their
flowering cycle. Shortly after that, the males' flowers start to mature,
shedding their pollen into the air, pollinating the females' adolescent flowers,
which then grow multitudes of seeds. When the frost comes, the plants die and
the seeds are scattered around the surrounding area. Some seeds may be eaten by
birds or other animals and may be passed through the animal and dropped in
another location, nature's way of spreading it around. Then comes winter, the
rain and/or snow come, and some of these seeds get covered with a layer of
composted leaves and/or soil or dung, in the animal case, and soon the cycle
begins again. Spring comes, sun shines, and behold a seedling- or a whole
generation of seedlings.
When the seeds sprout, it is early in the spring and the days are much longer
than the nights. The advanced cannabis plant actually has the ability to measure
the length of each night (thus photoperiod, or a photoperiod determinate plant).
As long as the nights are short enough, the cannabis plant will grow only stems
and leaves (vegetatively). About halfway through the summer there comes a point
where the days and nights are equal length (equinox) and it is about this time
that most varieties of cannabis begin their flowering cycle. First stem and leaf
production will suddenly accelerate; some varieties will double in size during
the first 10 days or two weeks. Then upward growth slows, in some cases,
stopping altogether, and the tedious slow process of flower production begins.
This continues, buds building on buds for the rest of the summer until they are
ripe. If the males are removed before they shed their pollen, the females will
continue to flower, hoping for some pollen to float by. As long as it doesn't,
you will eventually have a crop of ripened 'sinsemillia' buds.
Indoors, this cycle is very simple to replicate. You must have two separate
areas for growth. A vegetative area with 24-hour continuous or 18 hours on, 6
hours off "short night" light for clones, seedlings and plants that
are still to small "to put into flowering", and another, usually much
larger space in which the light(s) are on a timer (12 hours on-12 hours off
every day). It is important that during the dark cycle you do not interrupt your
plants' "sleep." Even a small amount of light reaching the plants for
a short period of time during the dark cycle can substantially interfere with
the flowering cycle, causing the plants to be set back a week or more by causing
what is known as photoperiod shock, when a plant can't figure out what season
you are trying to duplicate. It should be pitch dark in the flowering room for
12 or even 13 hours every night, and then damn bright for the rest of the time.
Usually after 45 to 60 days of this, if you have all females, you will be able
to recognize your goal.
Most indoor varieties will double or triple in size from the time when you put
them on this 12-hour cycle until the time they are done. For example, a plant
that is put into flowering when it is one foot tall may only reach a finished
height of two or three feet, but a plant that is two feet tall when you begin
flowering it could grow to be four to six feet tall and quite a large bush.
Larger plants yield more buds, but take up proportionately more space and take a
longer time to grow to the desired flowering size than small plants.
This is why I say that your yield is based more on the amount of light in your
room, not the number of plants, their size, or the amount of space they are in.
(Light is usually the 'limiting factor' indoors).
An easily achievable goal should be 1 pound per 1KW per crop cycle. One pound
may come from two monsters that each take up half the space under a 1KW light
and yield a half-pound each, or 1 pound might come from 32 1-foot tall plants
that each yield only ounce each but will finish in a relatively shorter time
and also take less time to grow in the vegetative stage to the desired flowering
size, perhaps only 6 or 8 inches.
Larger yields can easily be achieved per crop utilizing certain varieties with
longer flowering periods, (up to 90 days or more) but over time, your total
yields will probably be about the same, because you could of had two crops of a
faster, lower yielding variety in the same time. It is a trade-off no matter how
you do it, it just depends upon your own ideas about what you want.
It is important just to remember that assuming all environmental factors are as
described, your overall yield will be determined primarily by the amount of
light and also to some extent the variety or strain you happen to have.
B. Sprouting and Cloning
I assume you have already read the section entitled "Cannabis is a
Plant." If you have not, then do so now!
Sprouting cannabis seeds is a simple matter. Before you plant your seeds in the
soil, you should germinate them by placing them between two paper towels soaked
with distilled water, placed on a plate and covered with plastic wrap. Kept in a
warm, dark place, the seeds should sprout in about 3 to 7 days. Gently put the
seedling, sprout-end up, about one-half to one inch below the pre-moistened
Cloning is a much more complicated matter. It requires either some skill, or a
green thumb, or fanatical attention to detail, or a lot of trial and error, or
possibly all of the above. I think of cloning as an incubation process and have
decided that maintaining a constant warm temperature (75-80) is the key factor.
This is the concept. Cut a small piece from an existing plant that is in the
vegetative growth stage or one that has been in flowering for less than 2 weeks,
(the key here is that is should not have any flowers on it) about 3 to 4 inches
long. This piece must be a growing tip of the plant, not a leaf, (though a clone
may have a number of leaves on it), but a piece on that new growth has been
apparent at its tip. This does not mean that it has to come from the top of the
plant, because on any healthy, well-established plant there should be many, or
perhaps dozens of growing tips all over it. Handle this piece gently, and using
a new razor blade, cut a small piece just about 1/16th of an inch from where the
first cut was made, at a 45-degree angle. This exposes the moist, tender inner
portion of the stem. For larger clones you may want to cut off one set of the
lowest leaves also, leaving approximately 1/16th-inch stubs of the leaf stems.
The razor blade can also be used to very gently scrape some of the outer skin
off the lower portions of the stem that will be under the soil, again, for the
purpose of exposing the tender inner portion of the stem. This should all be
done as quickly as possible. Then using rooting hormone, such as Rootone Powder
or Dip-n-Gro liquid (diluted 13 parts water to 1), dip the lower part (the part
that has been cut and scraped, the part that will be under the soil) of the
clone into the hormone and then carefully place it into a hole that was
pre-poked in the media using a nail or toothpick.
You can use paper, plastic or Styrofoam cups (always poke holes in the bottom)
or small buckets (less than one-half gallon) to hold the soil, or Jiffy-7 peat
[moss] pellets, which are small discs that when soaked in water, expand into a
cylinder that is basically just peat moss in a tiny nylon sack. These work well
for larger batches because of their small size. Place the whole unit inside of
some kind of humidity tent or dome, maybe a plastic Ziploc bag for one or two
clones in party cups, or a 11x21 inch propagation tray for larger batches for
example, to retain the moisture. Small pots evaporate quickly, and since the
clone has no roots with which to draw up water, it needs to be kept in a high
humidity atmosphere or it will dry out and die promptly.
Absolutely the most important factor is not to over saturate the soil, it should
barely feel moist to the touch. Remember- for roots to grow, they need oxygen
just as much as they need water. It is as easy to kill a clone with too much
water as it is to kill it by letting it dry out. Spray bottles work well to mist
the clones. Place the newly planted clones under fluorescent lights on a
continuous 24-hour per day light cycle. Florescents should be kept within about
a foot or less from the clones for maximum effectiveness. "Cool white"
tubes work very well and are very inexpensive. They generate very little heat
and have soft, even light distribution. A 4-foot "shop-light" fixture
can be purchased at the hardware store for less than $10 and two tubes to fit it
should run about $1 each. This is sufficient light for two 11x21 inch (standard
size) propagation trays. Each tray can hold up to about 25-30 clones in Jiffy-7
pellets. Keep the temperature steady and warm, and after about one week, if you
are doing well, or two weeks if you need improvement, roots will suddenly sprout
directly out of the stem and the clone will start to grow. As soon as this
happens, it should be taken out of the dome, transplanted if necessary, and
moved into the vegetative area, not too close to the light, not too close to the
C. Sex and sexing
The only way to tell the sex of a cannabis plant is after it has been flowering
for at least two weeks. Examine the internodes, or the place where two stems
meet. Two little white hairs in a "V" are a female flower, while
strange-looking bunches of grape like flowers indicate a male. Make sure to cut
the males as soon as they show their sex unless you want a batch of seeds with
your female buds, in which case cut all the males except for the best one (you
judge) and then cut it as soon as the little grapes (pollen sacks) start to pop
open. The branches of these males can be placed in water and put in a sunny
window. The pollen sacks will continue to pop open for several days and you can
carefully collect an apply the pollen to just the females you want to seed.
Remember that there is enough pollen in a single male flower to pollinate
thousands of female flowers. If you grow only females the results will be
sinsemilla (Spanish word for seedless or without seed).
5. Limiting Factors
There are five limiting factors to plant growth. Any green plant needs all five
of these things to be available to it or growth will slow or stop. Each one is
just as important as the others, and more or too much of one will absolutely not
make up for lack of any other. Limiting factors are each a link in the chain.
The weak link is the one that is slowing the plants down. If you think you have
a problem, it is most likely one of these five things.
Plants need water. All residential water supplies are treated with chlorine
which is not good for plants. Evaporate the chlorine out of the water by leaving
it in open containers such as milk jugs or barrels for 24 to 48 hours before
The proper way to water an established plant is to saturate the soil, then do
not water again until the soil feels dry at the tip of your finger poked into
the soil, and the container feels light. You can tell just by watching the
plants. Experienced growers who are intimate with their plants can tell that
they will need to be watered 2 or even 3 days before they do simply by looking
at them. Lower leaves may lose their turgidity, and the whole plant, though
seemingly unaffected, may actually seem to shrink. The moment they start to
droop you have waited too long. Overwatering is a most common mistake. Usually,
the plant is not growing satisfactorily due to another limiting factor, and the
hapless cultivator tries to give it more and more water and/or fertilizer,
essentially drowning the roots and killing the plant.
People who are not familiar with the 1KW lighting systems that are commonly used
in northwestern grow rooms are often shocked at the blinding light intensities
that they can generate. Sometimes I like to turn the lights off and point out to
them how dark it is without them. No man made light source will ever match the
intensity of the sun. Without adequate light or light in the correct [color]
spectrums, green plants will not grow. Cannabis is arguably the most
light-loving plant species on the planet. A cannabis plant that does not get
enough light will be sad and spindly with small leaves and buds and a lot of
stem. If you follow the directions in here under 'lighting', you should not have
a problem. Don't be suprised if it seems bright, it's supposed to be. In fact, I
have taken to wearing mountaineering sunglasses with side panels and U.V.
protection whenever I am in my grow rooms, due to the fact that I have noticed
my vision deteriorate over the years, undoubtedly from constant exposure. These
type of shades also have rubber hooks that go around the backs of your ears to
keep them on your head when you are looking down all the time.
Chemical fertilizers are the easiest way to maintain the nutrient needs of a
large garden. These should not be associated with strange tasting or
"chemical" tasting buds. Many of the best soil growers use high
quality, mass produced, full spectrum nutrient formulas to produce top quality
cannabis. Also the vast majority of all hydroponic gardens use full spectrum
chemical fertilizers due to a lack of completely water soluble organic liquids.
The only thing you can do to blow it is to overfertilize. Follow directions.
Your plants will tell you when they need fertilizer. A well-fertilized plant
will be dark green and vigorous, while a plant that needs fertilizer will be a
slightly pale green and have yellowing leaves and slow growth. You know you
fertilized at the right time if they are back thriving in the next few days.
Always remember that more fertilizer won't help if any of the other limiting
factors are not taken care of.
However, there is another group of people that insist that only organic
nutrients, such as various guanos (a.k.a. turds), blood meal, bone meal, various
seaweeds, or organic composts etc. be used to provide the nutrient needs for the
very most premium flower production. I have experimented with organics and had
great results, with increases in resin production (not nessecarily THC
production), and overall health, and also a slightly more pungent smell and
sometimes slightly enhanced taste, but I believe that for the most part, these
differences are extremely subtle and noticable only to the connoisseur. For
production purposes, I always end up coming back to the "grow juice"
as it's called, just because it's easier. Actually, it smells better too.
Only the plant's roots need oxygen. They absorb it in the same way that leaves
absorb carbon dioxide, and use it to build sugars and carbohydrates (grow).
Oxygen is the main component of the air we breathe. This is the reason why over
watering is a problem. As the soil dries out the roots are exposed to oxygen. If
the soil remains saturated, the roots are starved of oxygen, suffocating,
E. Carbon Dioxide
The leaves of all green plants absorb carbon dioxide out of the air, use the
carbon, and transpire the leftover O2, or oxygen, into the air. This absorbsion
is the equivalent of our breathing, except that humans and animals absorb oxygen
and exhale carbon dioxide as a by-product. One theory of why plants like you to
talk to them is that they are being bathed in a stream of carbon dioxide-rich
air. For cannabis, this must be similar to a pro athlete breathing from an
If the air in the room is stagnant the plants will quickly use up the carbon
dioxide and stop growing. Adequate carbon dioxide levels can be maintained with
good ventilation and by having vigorous air circulation around the plants.
Carbon dioxide enrichment systems are available, but they were the first thing
to go when I edited for simplicity. I'll leave them to the adventurous. I
personally think that if mother nature doesn't need it, neither do I. However, I
should mention that if you are using a hydroponic rockwool-based system, by
adding CO2 enrichment, you have essentially eliminated four out of five of the
limiting factors, water, nutrients, oxygen and CO2. Using extremely high light
levels in addition to this setup can result in what can only be described as
6. Potency, maturity, harvesting and drying
A. When to Harvest
The single most important factor in the potency of your crop of cannabis is the
plants themselves. Any given clone or seedling has a pre-determined, genetically
set, potential potency in its DNA. Once you have finished, dried and sampled a
certain healthy, mature bud, a clone of that plant will only vary about 5 to 10
percent in potency no matter what techniques are used to grow it. Good buds are
born, not made.
The second most important factor is the maturity, or ripeness of the buds. As
the buds get bigger and bigger, you will notice that some of the hairs (pistils)
on the buds which were all white to begin with, will start to wither and turn
red. When about 65 to 75 percent of the all the hairs on the buds have turned
red and new growth seems to slow (usually after about 45 to 60 days in the
flowering cycle for most pure indicas and 50/50 hybrids), the buds should be
ripe for harvest.
Something else to watch is the crystals, which should appear under a magnifying
glass like tiny clear mushrooms of resin. If they begin to tint amber or yellow,
it is a sign that the THC (which is concentrated 95 percent in these crystals)
is starting to degrade into two less psychoactive byproducts: CBD and CBN. If
you notice this happening the plant has already reached its maximum potential
and should be harvested immediately unless it is very large, possibly in which
case individual parts of the plant may ripen before others. Once again, every
one of the infinite number of cannabis varieties is different, and with
"faster" strains, (that is, varities that finish sooner), you have to
be more careful about this over-ripening, whereas some strains seem to continue
on flowering forever without ever ripening as it is described here. You just
have to watch and use your good judgment. If you aren't sure, then wait. The
last few weeks is the time when buds are bulking up the most weight-wise, and
with a good sized crop, days can turn into extra ounces. When you have waited
this long, you can wait a little longer.
B. Harvesting, Manicuring and Drying
Harvesting is easy. Cut the plant into manageable sections and trim all the
large multi-fingered leaves off of the buds. Single-fingered leaves that stick
out of the thick part of the buds should be trimmed to the circumference of the
bud. These trimmings, when properly dried, make good joint rolling material.
When you are manicuring, you may find yourself with an unbelievably sticky
coating on your fingers and scissors. This is almost pure resin, otherwise known
as finger hash. If you start out with clean hands and clean scissors, you can
collect this substance by gently rubbing your fingers together in small circles.
Do not try to use heavy pressure between your fingers. This stuff is so sticky I
have seen it take skin off. You might not mind losing a bit of skin but smoking
it is no fun. Instead gentle circles will produce little tiny pieces that look
like the dust from a pencil eraser. These pieces can be rolled together into
small BB sized balls. Scissors can be scraped in a process a lot like pipe
scraping. All of these little pieces together can add up to hours of quality
entertainment for a room full of stoners, if you know what I mean. It is best to
use a small piece of bud underneath these resin balls (a green screen) because
like pipe resin it melts when a flame touches it and will go right through a
screen. Extra stickiness comes off your fingers effortlessly with a little
butter or margarine (don't try to smoke this).
Hang the manicured buds on some hemp twine (like clotheslines) in the drying
room. The idea of hanging is to facilitate even, thorough drying. Although they
can be laid out on newspapers, I found that this leaves unsightly flat spots on
the buds and they can remain wet for longer because the air cannot circulate
around all sides. Keep tematures moderate, around 75 and around 50% humidity.
You may need to use a ventilation system to reduce humidity if your drying room
is particularily crowded (I hope you have this problem!), or a heater if it is
too cold. I recommend placing a small fan in the room to circulate the air,
especially if using a heater. Usually in about seven days, your buds will be
ready to smoke. Do not be fooled if after three or four days the buds feel dry
to the touch. If put into bags, the moisture that remains on the inside will
transpire into the outer dry parts and will result in an unacceptable degree of
Now, I've really tried to keep the commentary to a minimum here, and cannabis knows,
it's hard when you are the writer, editor and publisher, BUT, this rant I must
Improperly dried cannabis is unacceptable for smoking and useless for enlightenment
purposes. One of the reasons that cannabis is commonly sold wholesale, to smiling
customers, for as much as the going rate for gold, is because the grower has had
to dry it out before selling it. This drying cannot be veiwed as losing money.
No one should ever have to pay this amount of money for water. Drying is merely
the process of evaporating water, purifying the buds down to just the essence of
their remarkable existence.
As the buds dry, clorophyl breaks down into more simple, easy-burning sugars.
Harsh smoking characteristics such as a green or shakey taste diminish. The true
unadulterated flavor can come through. The THC itself evaporates a water
molecule, making the THC psychoactive, giving the high a greater feeling of
spaciousness, enhanced perception and appreciation of beauty, as well as
seemingly miraculous medical benefits.
The buds attain a level of combustabillity such that you will be able to crumble
them into a firm, lip-smacking, even burning spliff of Rasta revelry, or receive
a prompt flow of thick, cool, flavorful smoke from your favorite waterpipe, as
soon as the flame touches the bud.
Needless to say, the disappointment to the consumer of not being able to get
stoned after finally acquiring the desired object, a bag of weed, at great time
and expense to all, is definitley severe. This is compounded when you are one of
the ever growing number of people who use this substance to relieve pain and
suffering incomprehensible to healthy people. Dry cannabis is the balm of the sick, a
miracle cure-all. Ask them.
Every stoner knows that kind, dry buds are probabally the single greatest gift
to mankind ever. If you do not plan on thoroughly drying the buds you grow with
every bit as much care as you took growing them, then you shall not be worthy of
the title "cannabis creator" and I should now beg and implore you to:
(A.) give this guide to someone who will, or (B.) burn this guide. Why? Because
I wouldn't want anyone thinking that I was associated with you. Selling undried
buds, even at wholesale prices is a definite karma no-no, and smoking them is
totally defeating the purpose.
I know there are money hungry people out there- it's even considered normal in
our materialistic consumer based society. Thats the greatest thing about this
occupation- you can set your own salary by growing as much cannabis as you want- but
the way for a righteous non-greedy cannabis creator to estimate yields (and
therefore profits) is simply, only on a dried basis, Thank you.
This concludes The Home Cannabis creator, everything you ever wanted to know
about cannabis creation but were afraid you would be detected by the power
company. Good luck and a happy high!
HOME GROW GUIDE
GROWING CANNABIS HOME