With the medical and recreational laws changing from state to state, people all over the country have been starting to grow cannabis. There can be some stress that goes along with making sure you can grow the best plants possible, but with this guide you won’t need to stress over that anymore because it will be easier and more fun with this guide for beginners.
Some people may make it seem harder than it actually is but if you stick to the basics it can be a fun and cost-effective project. With this grow knowledge you will learn different tips to give your garden the biggest yield possible.
Understanding Grow Mediums
Before starting your grow you need to figure out what kind of medium you want to use and whether it will be an indoor or outdoor system. The first medium that is popular would be Hydroponics. This is a growing method where all your plants are growing in a big tub of water. One of the biggest advantages in hydroponic growing is the faster growth. Speed of growth heightens exponentially in hydroponics because of the feeding system. It is much more efficient than other growing mediums because the nutrients in your water reservoir will be fed directly into the roots without things such as soil slowing up the process.
An important part of hydroponic growing is oxygenating the plants roots. It is recommended to put air stones into the water reservoir. Plants will have essentially an unlimited supply of oxygen due to the air stones. With the plant spending less energy on finding what it needs to grow, it can spend more energy on actual plant growth.
One of the most important parts of hydroponic growing is checking up on the plants and the water reservoir daily. It is true that hydroponic growing requires less maintenance, but without proper attention you can ruin your grow. Without keeping an eye on the pH, and temperature of your water, you can quickly get root rot because of too much humidity or a pH imbalance which can ruin your plants unless fixed promptly.
A dirty reservoir will spell your doom for your grow. Another important thing to keep in mind is to always keep things clean. Plants need excessive oxygen in the roots so they don’t drown. That’s why having air stones oxygenating the water 24/7 is important. Having too many plants in one reservoir is also a problem, plants need plenty of room for the roots to grow and having too many plants in one spot may end up keeping your plants from growing to their full potential or could cause problems in the roots altogether.
Growing With Coco Coir
Coco Coir is a hydroponic medium and is great for beginners to use. It creates the ease of soil type watering but with the speed of growth similar to a true hydroponic system. Compared to soil growing, this medium absorbs water much easier and because of its lighter texture the plant will always have plenty of oxygen. This growing medium also helps prevent stress-caused problems such as nutrient burn because of the mediums ability to take up more nutrients.
Automatic watering systems are also commonly used with this type of grow medium. High levels of irrigation are recommended when using this medium because of the high levels of oxygen. Higher rate of irrigation equals a faster speed of growth, but with that said you must keep track of oxygen levels in your coco to avoid over watering. You can do this by simply checking your plants responses to what you’re feeding it.
Growing with Soil
Soil is the go-to medium for a lot of growers, mainly because it is cheap and effective for what it is. Growing with soil is simple compared to other kinds of mediums. The watering is as easy as wait for the soil to dry and then water. Something important to look out for in soil as well as many other growing mediums is “salting,” or nutrient lockout. This occurs when you don’t flush your plants properly, and can severely impact your plants health. However, you will see good results if you maintain a regular feed with flush cycles in your feeding schedule. ProMix HP is a very good soil type that is recommended by lots of growers because of its fluffier texture as well as the amount of perlite to keep the plant filled with oxygen.
Soil growing is much easier to grow with compared to other mediums, but with that being said there are still things that you should watch out for such as pests or insects. It is always best to make sure you spray organic pesticides on your plants such as neem oil or anything else that is plant friendly with no harmful chemicals.
Plant Maintenance Techniques
-Bending and Manipulating Plants
The Screen of Green (ScrOG) is a technique that lets growers take full advantage of their growing canopy. This process is done by first topping your plant when it becomes 10 inches tall in the vegetative state. When you top a plant you just need to cut off the plants newest node on its main cola. This breaks the plants ability to grow one main cola and splits off into two different tops, while stimulating the rest of the plant to grow more bushy and full.
After the first step you must top your plants again at the second set of new node growth, and continue to do this for each new growth. After this step you just need to place netting or a screen over your plants and carefully move each stem underneath each square of your netting to spread out your plants and expand your canopy until your plants are at a preferred size.
This is another bending and securing method that is normally used by people who have done a couple other grows but can be attempted by anybody as long as you are careful and have understanding about your plants breaking points. It is best to do this method about 1–2 weeks before the flowering cycle begins. This technique involves slightly hurting the plant by bending the stem until the tissue inside breaks down, keeping in mind the outside skin is not broken. Super Cropping is a great method to increase yield and even produce more potent buds.
Super cropping is a potentially harmful method that if done wrong you may cause damage to the plant that cannot be fixed, so it is best to make sure you’re careful about how hard you squeeze the stem and it is also imperative to tie up the stem you intend to super crop so it does not break. The first thing you need to do is to squeeze the stem between your thumb and your index finger, rolling the stem in your fingers till you feel little “pops” in the inside tissue. Continue this step until the stem becomes malleable enough to bend the stem wherever you want it to go without breaking it. It should be at about a 90 degree angle.
Pruning and Cloning
Another way to maximize yield is to get rid of things on your plant that is only going to waste potential energy that would be better spent on creating bigger and fatter buds. With pruning, there is no need to keep smaller branches that will produce smaller buds. That energy would be better used on branches and main colas that are thicker and more developed to create the biggest buds possible. Pruning also prevents lack of air flow getting in and through your plants.
While pruning is important to getting more fruitful yields, it can also cause dangerous levels of stress. Similar to people, plants respond to stress with a release of hormones. In the case of cannabis it releases something called Jasmonic acid, and this causes the plant to stop growing and to start focus on healing. This is why it is important to pace yourself while pruning and not to over-prune, or you will find yourself with stunted plants.
Clones are an exact duplicate of the plant with the same genetics that you took it off of. This process is also faster in terms of plant growth. With clones you will have a quicker harvest, but you will still need to make sure you are taking your clones from a healthy mother. Taking clones from an unhealthy mother will turn problematic fairly quickly, and this is because when you take a clone it will have all the same health problems or lack thereof, of whichever plant you took the clone. It is recommended to keep mother plants of each strain you have to make sure you get the same genetics with each clone you take. You will keep these plants in the vegetative state as well as make sure every plant that you plan on cloning is female due to the fact that only female plants produce buds.
The cloning process is simple, a clone is just a stem or cutting from a mature plant that has been in the vegetative state for about two months or longer. You want to take your cutting and cut the base of the stem at a 45 degree angle keeping the cutting about 4–5 inches long. You will then need to cut a slit into the cut angle to allow better nutrient uptake as well as a better place for rooting to take place. After your slit is cut into the angle, it is best to use some kind of rooting hormone to dip the clone into. This last step is optional but better results are seen with this method. Cutting the tips of the leaves on your cutting slows down photosynthesis and focuses more attention on the rooting process, thus getting faster roots.
Hopefully this guide helped you better understand the basics of growing and how easy it can be if you stick to the guide and push yourself to learn more about the growing industry. Happy growing!