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Some More Great Marijuana Growing Information
Submitted From Mr. Grow Big
Outdoor growing is the best. Outdoor pot by far is the strongest, since it gets more light, it's naturally more robust. No light leak problems. No dark periods that keep you out of your grow room. No electricity bills. Sunlight tends to reach more of the plant, if your growing in the direct sun. Unlike growing indoors, the bottom of the plant will be almost as developed as the top. Outdoors, outside of a greenhouse, there are many factors that can kill your crop. Deer will try to eat them. Chipmonks and rodents too. Bugs will inhabit them, and the wind and rain can whip your little buds to pieces if they are exposed to strong storms. For this reason, indoor pot can be better than outdoor, but the best smoke I ever tasted was outdoor pot, so that tells you something; nothing beats the sun. Put up a fence and make sure it stays up. Visit your plot at least once every two weeks, and preferably more often if water needs demand. It's a good idea to usehe open air, due mostly to evaporation. Light exposure is all important when locating a site for a greenhouse or outdoor plot. A backyard grower will need to know where the sun shines for the longest period; privacy and other factors will enter in as well. Try to find an innocuous spot that gets full winter sun from mid morning to mid afternoon, at least from 10-4, preferably 8-5. This will be really asking for a lot if you live north of 30 degrees latitude since days are short in winter. Since most gardeners will not want to use the greenhouse in the middle of the winter, you can still use winter sun as an indicator of good spring and fall lighting exposures. Usually the south side of a hill gets the most sun. Also, large areas open to the sun on the north side of the property will get good southern exposures. East and West exposures can be good if they get the full morning/afternoon sun and mid-day sun as well.
Some books say the plants respond better to morning-only sun, verses afternoon-only sun, so if you have to choose between the two, morning sun may be better. Disguise your greenhouse as a tool shed, or similar structure, by using only one wall and a roof of white opaqued plastic, PVC, Filon, or glass, and using a similar colored material for the rest of the shed, or painting it white or silvery, to look like metal. Try to make it appear as if it has always been there, with plants and trees that grow around it and mask it from view while allowing sun to reach it. Filon (corrugated fiberglass)or PVC plastic sheets can be used outside to cover young plants grown together in a garden. Buy the clear greenhouse sheets, and opaque them with white wash (made from lime) or epoxy resin tinted white or grey and painted on in a thin layer. This will pass more sun than white PVC or Filon, and still hide the plants. Epoxy resin coats will preserve the Filon for many more seasons than it would otherwise last. It will also allow you to disguise the shed as metal, if you paint the clear filon sheets with a thin layer of resin tinted light grey. Paint will work as well, but may not protect as much.
Be careful to use only as much as needed, to reduce sun blockage to a minimum. Dig a big hole, don't depend on the plant to be able to penetrate the clay and rubble unless your sure of the quality of topsoil in the area. Grassy fields would have good top soil, but your back yard may not. This alone can make the difference between an average 5' tall plant, and a 10' monster by harvest time. Growing in the ground will always beat a pot, since the plant will never become root bound in the ground. Plants grown in the ground should grow much larger, but will need more space for each plant, so plan accordingly, you can't move them once they're in! You may want to keep outdoor plants in pots so they can be easily moved. A big hole will allow the pot to be place in it, thus reducing the height of the plant, if fence level is an issue. Many growers find pots have saved a crop that had to be moved for some unexpected reason (repairman, appraiser, fire, etc.).
It's always best to put a roof over your plants outdoors. When I was a lad, we had plants growing over the fence line in the back yard. We started to build a greenhouse roof for them, and a cop saw us hauling wood, thought we were stealing it (which we were not) and looked over the fence at us and our lovely plants. We were busted, because he saw them. If he had seen a shed roof instead, there would never have been a problem. Moral of the Story: build the roof BEFORE the plants are sticking over the fence! Or train them to stay well below it. Live and learn... When growing away from the house, in the wild, water is the biggest determining factor, after security. Water must be close by, or close to the soil surface, or yoeeds water to your plants continuously. Take a 5 gallon gas can, and punch small holes in it. Run a hose out of the main orifice and secure it somehow. Bury the can in a river or stream under rocks, so that it is hidden and submerged. Bury the hose coming out of it, and run it down hill to your garden area. A little engineering can save you a lot of work, and this rig can be used year after year.
Guerrilla farming refers to farming away from your own property, or in a remote location of your property where people seldom roam around. It is possible to find locations that for one reason or another are not easily accessible or are privately owned. Try to grow off your property, on adjacent property, so that if your plot is found, it will not be traceable back to you. If it's not on your property, nobody has witnessed you there, and there is no physical evidence of your presence (footprints, fingerprints, trails, hair, etc.), then it is virtually impossible to prosecute you for it, even if the cops think they know who it belongs to. Never admit to growing, to anyone. Your best defence is that your just passing thru the area, and noticed something you decided to take a look at, or carry a fishing pole or binoculars and claim fishing or bird watching. Never tell anyone but a partner where the plants are located. Do not bring visitors to see them, unless it is harvest time, and the plants will be pulled the same or following day. Make sure your plants are out of sight. Take a different route to get to them if they are not in a secure part of your property, and cover the trail to make it look as if there is no trail.
Make cut backs in the trail, so that people on the main trail will tend to miss the cut-back to the grow area. Don't park on the main road, always find a place to park that will not arouse suspicion by people that pass on the road. Have a safe house in the area if you are not planting close to home. Always have a good reason for being in the area and have the necessary items to make your claim believable. Briar and poison oak patches are perfect if you can cut through it. Poison Oak must be washed away before an allergic reaction takes place. Teknu is a special soap solution that will deactivate poison oak before it has time to create a reaction. Apply Teknu immediately after contact and take a shower 30 mins. later. Try to plant under trees, next to bushes and keep only a few plants in any one spot. Train or top the plants to grow sideways, or do something to prevent the classic christmas tree look of most plants left to grow untrained. Tying the top down to the ground will make the plants branches grow up toward the sun, and increase yield, given a long enough growing season.
Plants can be grown under trees if the sun comes in at an angle and lights the area for several hours every day. Plants should get at least 5 hours of direct sun every day, and 5 more hours of indirect light. Use shoes that you can dispose of later and cover your foot prints. Use surgical gloves and leave no fingerprints on pots and other items that might ID you to the fuzz...in case your plot is discovered by passers by. Put up a fence, or the chipmonks, squirles and deer will nibble on your babies until there is nothing left. Green wire mesh and nylon chicken fencing net work great and can be wrapped around trees to create a strong barrier. Always check it and repair every visit you make to the garden. A barrier of fishing line, one at 18" and another at 3' will keep most deer away from your crop. Gopher Granola is available for areas such as the N. CA mountains, where wood rats and gophers will eat your crop if given any opportunity to do so. The best fence in the world will not keep rats away from your plants! Do not use soap to keep dear away, it will attract rats! (The fat in the soap is edible for them.) Put the poison grain in a feeder than only small rodents can enter, so that birds and deer can't eat it. Set out poison early, before actual planting. The rats must eat the grain for several days before it will have any effect on them. Ultimately, you may find it'srom eating your outdoor plot.
When growing away from the house, in the wild, water is the biggest determining factor, after security. The amount you can grow is directly proportional to the water available. If you must pack-in water, carry it in a backpack in case your seen in-route to your garden; you will appear to be merely a hiker, not a grower. Transporting vegatative starts to the growing area is a most tricky aspect of growing outdoors. Usually, you will want to start plant indoors, or outside in your garden, then transport them to the grow site once they are firmly established. It may be desirable to first detect and separate males from females so that no effort of transporting/transplanting/watering males is incurred. One suggestion is to use 3" rockwool cubes to start seedlings in, then put 20 of them in a litter pan, cover it with another pan, and transport this to the grow site. The cubes can be planted directly into soil. If spotted inroute to the grow area, burying a dead cat may be a good excuse for being in the area. Few people would demand to see the rotting corpse! One outdoor grower we know has given up on seeds. He has several strains he likes to clone, so he starts 200 clones in his closet, then transports them outdoors in boxes to the grow site. No males, no differentiation, no weeding, no germinating seeds, no genetic uncertainties, no crops grown for seed, no transporting/transplanting/watering plants your just going to pull up later, no pollination nightmares, no wasted effort!
Use Super Soil brand in California, as this is the only known soil on the West Coast that is guaranteed to be good. Many other brands are mostly wood products and have very few nutrients, are too moist, etc. Add vermiculite, pearlite or sand to Super Soil to increase it's drainage and aeration. Organic gardeners use their own compost prepaired from a mixture of chicken, cow or other manure and household food waste, leaves, lawn clippings, dog hair and other waste products including urine, which is high in nitrogen. Dog hair is not recommended for guerilla gardeners planting off their property where police could find it. DNA tests could prove it was YOUR dog's hair! Use P4 water crystals in the soil to give the plants a few days worth of emergency water reserves. This substance swells up with water and holds it like a sponge, so that roots will have a reserve if harsh drought makes constant watering necessary. Go real easy on this stuff though, it tends to sink to the bottom of the pot and suffocate bottom roots (new growth roots) and stunts the plant. Use in extreme moderation, let it swell up for at least an hour before mixing with other soil. Plant size in soil is directly related to pot size. If you want the plant to grow bigger, put it in a bigger pot. Usually, 1/2 gallon per foot of plant is sufficient. A six foot plant would require a minimum of a 3 gallon pot. Remember, square containers have more volume in a square space (like a closet). Planting in the ground is always preferable when growing in soil. The plants can then grow to any size, unlimited by pot size. Bat Guano, chicken manure, or worm castings can all be used to fertilize organically in soil. Manures can burn, so they should be composted with the soil first, before planting, over several weeks. Sea weed is available to provide a rich trace mineral source that breaks down slowly and constantly feeds the plants. If growing outdoors in available soil, look around for leaves and other natural sources of nitrogen and work them into the soil, along with some dolmite lime and composted organic fertilizer. Even small amounts of plant food such as Miracle Grow can be added to soil at this time. (Organic gardeners frown upon this practice, however.
Toxiing 3' away from several pot plants before I recognized them for what they were. Plants started outdoors late in the season never get very big and never attract the least bit of attention when placed next to plants of similar or taller stature. Even tall plants grown among several trees will be almost invisible in their camouflage. Outdoors the object is to control access to an area, and not to arouse suspicion. Tuck them here and there, never in a recognizable pattern. Space them out, and fit them in to the existing landscape such that they get full sun, but they're hidden or blend in. Fence lines and groups of several together are best. Try to find strains that seem to match the surrounding plants. Feed nitrogen to your plants if they need to be greener to blend in. Some growers even use plastic red flowers, pinned to a plant, disguising it as a flower bush. Visit the plants at night on full moons, and if your visible to neighbors, appear to be pruning a tree, mowing the lawn, or doing something in the yard that makes you invisible. Dig a hole and put a potted plant in it. The plant's height will be reduced by at least a foot. Some growers top the plant when it is 12" high, and grow the 2 tops horizontally along a trellis. The plant will never be over 3 feet tall, and never arouses suspicion from neighbors. This type of plant can even be grown in your yard in full view. Many stories abound of having the neighbors over for a BBQ and nobody ever noticed the nice plants over by the fence...
PLANT FOOD AND NUTRIENTS
Plant foods have 3 main ingredients that will be the mainstay of the garden, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. These 3 ingredients are usually listed on the front label of the plant food in the order of N-P-K. A 20-20-20 plant food has a Nitrogen level of 20%. Secondary nutrients are Calcium, Sulphur and Magnesium. In trace quantities, boron, copper, molybenum, zink, iron, and manganese. Depending on stage of growth, different nutrients are needed at different times. For rooting and germination, levels of high P nutrients with less N/K are needed. Vegetative growth needs lots of N, and human urine is one of the better sources, (mix 8 ounces to 1 gallon water), although it is not a complete fertilizer unto itself. 20-20-20 with trace elements should do it; I like Miracle Grow Patio food. Watch for calcium, magnesium, sulfur and iron levels too. These are important. One tablespoon of dolomite or hydrated lime is used per gallon of growing medium when a hydroponic medium is first brought on-line, to provide nitrogen, calcium and magnesium. Epsom salts are used to enhance magnesium and sulphur levels in solution. Tobacco grown with potassium nitrate burns better. Plant foods with PN (P2N3) are foods such as Miracle Grow. This is an excellent fertilizer for vegetative growth, or through the flowering cycle as well. Consider however, potassium nitrate is also known as Salt Peter, and is used to make men have less sexual desire or impotent, such as in mental institutions.
So if certain plants are destined for cooking, you might use Fish Emulsion or some other totally organic fertilizer on these plants, at least in the last weeks of flowering. Most hydroponic solutions should be in the range of 150-600 parts per million in disolved solids. 300-400 ppm is optimum. It is possible to test your solution or soil with a electrical conductivity meter if your unsure of what your giving your plants. Keep in mind most disolved solids readings are usually on the low side, and actual nutrient levels are usually higher. It is possible with passive hydroponics, to get nutrient build-up over several feedings, to the point the medium is over saturated in nutrients. Just feed straight water now and again, until you notice the plants are not as green (slightly), then resume normal feeding. "Pumping" is when you use more waterings to make the plants grow faster. This is dangerous if you proceed in a reckless manner, due to potential over-watering problems. You must go slowly and watch the plants daily and even hourly at first to be sure your not over-watering the plants. Use weaker plant food mixtures than normal, maybe 25onth and running straight water through the plants at least every other time you water. This applies mainly to plants grown in soil mediums.
Use of light strength Oxygen Plus plant food (or Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide) allows the roots to breath better and prevents problems with over-watering. Check soil to be sure there are no PH anomalies that might be due to Hydrogen Peroxide in the solution. (One experienced grower told me he would not use H2O2 (HP) due to possible PH problems. This should not be a problem if your checking PH and correcting for it in watering solutions.) Be sure your medium has good drainage. At this point, if your watering soil based plants once a week, you can water every 3-5 days instead if you plant them in a medium with better drainage. Pearlite or lava rock will greatly increase the drainage of the medium and make watering necessary more often. This will pump the plants; they will tend to grow faster because of the enhanced oxygen to the roots. Make sure the plant medium is almost dry before watering again, as the plant grows faster this way. An alternative is to use a standard plant food mixture (stronger) once every 3 waterings. The nutrients are suspended in the medium and stored in the soil for later use. The nutrients are washed out by 2 straight waterings afterward and there is no salts build up in the soil. (Does not apply to hydroponics.) Stop all plant food 2 weeks before harvesting, so that the plants don't taste like plant food. (This applies to hydroponics as well.) WARNING: Do not over-fertilize. It will kill your plants. Always read the instructions for the fertilizer being used. Use 1/2 strength if adding to the water for all feedings in soil or hydroponics if you are unsure of what your plants can take. Build up slowly to higher concentrations of food over time. Novice soil growers tend to over-fertilize their plants. Mineral salts build up over time to higher levels of disolved solids. Use straight water for one feeding in hydroponics if it is believed the buildup is getting too great. Leach plants in pots every month. If your plants look REALLY green, withhold food for a while to be sure they are not being over-fed.
PH AND FERTILIZERS
PH can make or break your nutrient solution. 6.7-6.2 is best to ensure there is no nutrient lock-up occurring. Hydroponics requires the solution to be PH corrected for the medium before exposing to the plants. Phosphoresic acid can make the PH go down; lime or potash can take it up when it gets too acid. Buy a PH meter for $10 and use it in soil, water, and hydroponic medium to make sure your not going alkaline or acid over time. Most neutral mediums can use a little vinegar to make them just this side of 7 ph to 6.5 or so. Most fertilizers cause a ph change in the soil. Adding fertilizer to the soil almost always results in a more acidic ph. As time goes on, the amount of salts produced by the breakdown of fertilizers in the soil causes the soil to become increasingly acidic and eventually the concentration of these salts in the soil will stunt the plant and cause browning out of the foliage. Also, as the plant gets older its roots become less effective in bringing food to the leaves. To avoid the accumulation of these salts in your soil and to ensure that your plant is getting all of the food it needs you can begin leaf feeding your plant at the age of about 1.5 months. Dissolve the fertilizer in worm water and spray the mixture directly onto the foliage. The leaves absorb the fertilizer into their veins. If you want to continue to put fertilizer into the soil as well as leaf feeding, be sure not to overdose your plants.
Folair feeding seems to be one of the easiest ways of the leaves. Feed daily or every other day. Best times of day to Foliar feed are 7-10Am and after 5 in the evening. This is because the stomata on the underside of the leaves are open then. Also, the best temperature is about 72 degrees, and over 80, they may not be open at all. So find the cooler part of the day if it's hot, and the warmer part of the day if it's cold out. You may need to spray at 2AM if that's the coolest time available. The sprayer used should atomize the solution to a very fine mist; find your best sprayer and use it for this. Make sure the PH is between 7 and 6.2. Use baking soda to make the solution higher PH, and vinegar to make the solution lower PH. It's better to spray more often and use less, than to drench the plants infrequently. Use a wetting agent to prevent the water from beading up, and thereby burning the leaves as they act as small prisms.Make sure you don't spray a hot bulb; better yet, spray only when the bulb has cooled. Perhaps the best foliar feeding includes using seltzer water and plant food at the same time. This way, CO2 and nutrients are feed directly to the leaves in the same spray. Foliar feeding is recognized in most of the literature as being a good way to get nutrients to the plant later when nutrient lockup problems could start to reduce intake from the roots.
WARNING!: It is important to wash leaves that are harvested before they are dried, if you intend to eat them, since they may have nitrate salts on them. NOTE: One grower who reviewed this document comments: "Fish emulsion smells. Bat guano could be highly unsanitary. Stick to the Rapid-Gro, MgSO4 (epsom salts), hydroponic trace element solution. Nitrate salts (The "N" in NPK) are unhealthy to smoke. Personally, I never foliar feed." Above is a great comment, and there is great wisdom in an organic, non-toxic garden. Personally, I use only CO2 on my indoor hydroponic plants, and never folar feed. It simply does not seem to be necessary when using hydroponics.
Elevating carbon dioxide levels can increase growth speed a great deal, perhaps even double it. It seems that the plant evolved in primordial times when natural CO2 levels were many times what they are today. The plant uses CO2 for photosynthesis to create sugars it uses to build plant tissues. Elevating the CO2 level will increase the plants ability to manufacture these sugars and plant growth rate is enhanced considerably. CO2 can be a pain to manufacture safely, cheaply, and/or conveniently, and is expensive to set up if you use a CO2 tank system. CO2 is most usable for flowering, as this is when the plant is most dense and has the hardest time circulating air around its leaves. If your strictly growing vegetatively indoors, (transferring your plants outdoors to flower), then CO2 will not be a major concern unless you have a sealed greenhouse, closet or bedroom, and wish to increase yield and decrease flowering time. For a medium sized indoor operation, one approach is to used CO2 canisters from wielding supply houses. This is expensive initially, but fairly inexpensive in the long run. These systems are good only if your area is not too big or too small. The basic CO2 tank system looks like this:
20 lb tank $100 Regulator $159 Timer or controller $10-125 Fill up $15-20 -------------------------------- Worst case = $395 for CO2 tank setup synced to a exhaust fan with a thermostat.
CO2 is cheaply produced by burning Natural Gas. However, heat and Carbon Monoxide must be vented to the outside air. CO2 can be obtained by buying or leasing cylinders from local welding supply houses. If asked, you can say you have an old mig welder at home and need to patch up the lawnmower (trailer, car, etc.) For a small closet, one tank could last 2 months, but it depends on how much is released, how often the room is vented, hours of light cycle, room leaks, enrichment levels and dispersion methods. This method may be overkill for your small closet. It is generally viewed as good to have a small constant flow of CO2 over the plants at all times the lights are on, dispersed directly over the plants during t but this can cost money. When the light is off you don't need CO2, so during flowering, you will use half as much if you have the CO2 solenoid setup to your light timer. When the fan is on for venting, CO2 is shut off as well. This may be up to half the time the light is on, so this will affect the plants exposure times and amount of gas actually dispensed. Environmentally, using bottled gas is better, since manufacturing it adds to greenhouse effect, and bottled CO2 is captured as part of the manufacturing process of many materials, and then recycled. Fermenting, CO2 generators, and baking soda and vinegar methods all generate new CO2 and add to greenhouse effect. CO2 generation from fermentation and generators is possible. A simple CO2 generator would be a propane heater. This will work well, as long as the gases can be vented to the grow area, and a fan is used to keep the hot CO2 (that will rise) circulating and available below at the plants level. Fire and exhaust venting of the heat are issues as well. A room that must be vented 50% of the time to rid the environment of heat from a lamp and heater will not receive as much CO2 as a room that can be kept unvented for hours at a time. However, CO2 generators are the only way to go for large operations.
Fermentation or vinegar over baking soda will work if you don't have many vent cycles, but if you have enough heat to make constant or regular venting necessary, these methods become impractical. Just pour the vinegar on baking soda and close the door, (you lose your CO2 as soon as the vent comes on). This method leaves a great deal to be desired, since it is not easy to regulate automatically, and requires daily attention. It is possible however, to create CO2 by fermentation, let the wine turn to vinegar, and pour this on baking soda. It's the most cost-effective setup for most closet growers, for whom $400 in CO2 equipment is a bit much to swallow. In fermentation, yeast is constantly killing itself; it takes a lot of space. You need a big bin to constantly keep adding water to, so that the alcohol levels will not rise high enough to kill the yeast. Sugar is used quickly this way, and a 10 pound sack will run $3.50 or so and last about 2-3 weeks. This is also difficult to gauge what is happening as far as amounts actually released. A tube out the top going into a jar of water will bubble and demonstrate the amount of CO2 being produced.
Try sodium bicarbonate mixed with vinegar, 1 tsp: ~30cc- this will gush up all frothy as it releases CO2. do it just before you close the door on your plants. A MUCH cheaper way to provide CO2 is 2 Oz sugar in 2 liters of water in a bottle [sterilized 1st with bleach and water, then rinsed], plus a few cc urine[!] or if you insist, yeast nutrient from a home brewing supplier. Add a brewing yeast, shake up and keep at 25 deg celsius[~70 F] . Over next 2 weeks or so it will brew up about 1/2 Oz CO2 for every Oz sugar used. Keep a few going at once, starting a new one every 3 days or so. With added CO2 growth is phenomenal!!! I personally measured 38cm growth in 8 days under a 250watt HPS bulb[tubular clear, Horizontal mount]. A good container is a 1 gallon plastic milk jug, with a pin-hole in the cap. Also, the air-lock from a piece of clear tube running into a jar filled with water will keep microbes out and demonstrate the fermentation is working. A variation is to spray seltzer water on the plants twice a day. This is not recommended by some authorities, and receives great raves by people who seem to feel it has enhanced their crop. It stands to reason this would work for only a small unvented closet, but may be right for some situations. It could get expensive with a lot of plants to spray. Use seltzer, not club soda, since it contains less sodium that could clog the plants stomata. Wash your plants with straight water after 2 or 3 seltzer sprays. It's a lot of work, and you can't automate it, but maybe that's good! Remember, being with the plants is a beautiful experience, and brings you closer to your spiritual self and the earth. Seltzer is available at ltzer water is not available; but it has twice as much sodium in it. A very diluted solution of Miracle Grow can be sprayed on the plant at the same time. One factor of using selzter water is it raises humidity levels. Make sure your venting humidity during the dark cycle, or you could risk fungus and increased internode length. CAUTION: Don't spray too close to a hot bulb! Spray downward only, or turn off the lamp first. Even though CO2 enrichment can mean 30-100% yield increases, the hassle, expense, space, danger, and time involved can make constant or near constant venting a desirable alternative to enrichment. As long as the plant has the opportunity to take in new CO2 at all times, from air that is over 200 ppm CO2, the plants will have the required nutrients for photosynthesis. Most closets will need new CO2 coming in every two or three hours, minimum. Most citys' will have high concentrations of CO2 in the air, and some growers find CO2 injection unnecessary in these circumstances. Some growers have reported to High Times that high CO2 levels in the grow room near harvest time lower potency. It may be a good idea to turn off CO2 2 weeks before harvesting.
You have to vent a lot with a HID lamp, less so for fluorescents. Also, humidity build up requires that you vent at least a few times per day. For a room with a hot lamp that builds up heat quickly, the best vent would be one that cleared the room in 5 minutes, then would stop for 25 minutes before venting again, or similarly, vent 3 minutes, shut off 12 minutes, etc. The trick is to find a timer that will do this sort of thing. Not easy to find and not cheap. Once you need to regulate CO2 on and off inversely with the fan, your looking at a $100 climate controller. Alternatives are a thermostat that turns on a fan when a certain temperature is reached, and turns it off when the temp recedes 4 degrees. But it is a bitch to coordinate CO2 release with this one, since you don't know when the fan goes on. $39 for this thermostat, but to sync it to CO2 with a voltage sensing relay is $100 for the ready-made switch, so then the environment controller at $100 is cheaper. All you really want is a fan that clears the air in a few minutes, a temperature switch that turns on and off the fan, and an inverse switch that turns off and on the CO2. If you can vent the room really quick and the heat does not build up too quickly, the CO2 could be run in a slow, continuous fashion, and would build up in-between the occasional quick exhaust cycles. Two timers synced can be used, but the only ones cheaply available are the 30 min interval, 48 trips per 24 hours. So I could have a fan run 30 mins on, then 30 mins off. I could also sync it to the light so that I don't vent when the lamp is off. I can sync this to an identical timer that will turn on CO2 during the time that the fan is not on, and vise versa. It would be difficult to sync them closer that 5-10 mins, but at least there would be a possible inexpensive solution. $20 for two of these timers. Fans are expensive to buy for venting, but I just go down to the local electronic parts liquidators and they have muffin fans for $5-10, so that's a real savings over the $50-70 these fans cost new at the indoor garden stores. A good vent fan will keep the humidity and temperature down, and distribute CO2 to your plants from new incoming air. Internal air movement is very necessary as well. An oscillating fan should be used to circulate air within the growroom, to help circulate CO2. It will also keep the humidity down, allowing the air to absorb more moisture, and reduce risk of fungus. A wall mount oscillating fan will not take valuable floor space. The best grow rooms have the most internal air circulation.
Proper temperature is one highly variable factor. Most books state optimum grow temperature to be 70-80 degrees, b data that assumes very-high light, CO2 enrichment of 1500 ppm and good regular venting to keep humidity down. It is not clear if these temperature will reduce potency in flowers. It may be a good idea to reduce temperatures once flowering has started, to preserve potency, even if it does reduce growth speed. But higher temperatures will make plants grow vegetatively much faster, by exciting the plants metabolism, assuming the required levels of CO2 and light are available, and humidity is not allowed to get too high. With normal levels of CO2, in a well vented space, 90 degrees would seem to be the absolute max, while 85 may be closer to optimum, even with a great deal of light available. Do not let the room temperature get over 35 C (95 F) as this hurts growth. Optimal temperature is 27-30 C (80-86 F) if you have strong light with no CO2 enrichment. Less than 21 C (70 F) is too cold for good growth. Low temperatures at night are OK down to about 60 degrees outdoors, then start to effect the growth in a big way. Mid 50's will cause mild shock and 40's will kill your plants with repeated exposure. Keep your plants warm, especially the roots. Elevate pots if you think the ground is sucking the heat out of the roots. This is an issue if you have a slab or other type of cold floor. As temperature goes up, so does the ability of the air to hold water, thus reducing humidity, so a higher average temperature should reduce risk of fungus. Contrary to many reports, high humidity is not good for plants except during germination and rooting. Lower humidity levels help the plant transpire CO2 and reduce risk of molds during flowering. Studies indicate the potency of buds goes down as the temperature goes up, so it is important to see that the plants do not get too hot during flowering cycles. * D. Gold: CO2, Temperature and Humidity, 1991 Edited by E. Rosenthal.
You really have to watch pests, or all your efforts could result in little or nothing in return. Mites and Aphids are the worst; whiteflies, caterpillar and fungi are the ones to watch out for long term. Pyrethrum bombs can start you with a clean slate in the room, and then homemade or commercial soap sprays will do most of the rest. When bringing in plants from outside, pyrethrum every broad leaf top and bottom and the soil too. Then watch them closely for a week or two, and soap down any remaining bug life you find from eggs being hatched. This should do the trick for a month or two, long enough it won't be an issue before harvesting. Fungus is another obstacle in the path of a successful growing season. When the flowers are roughly half developed they become susceptible to a fungus or bud rot. It appears that growing conditions for the fungus are best when temperatures are between 60 and 80 degrees and the humidity is high. The fungus is very destructive and spreads quickly. It is a spore type of fungus that travels to other buds via the wind so it is impossible to prevent or stop if weather conditions permit it to grow. If things should go badly and the fungus starts to attack your plants, you must remove it immediately or it will spread to other areas of the plant or plants. Some growers will remove just the section of the bud that is infected whereas other growers will remove the entire branch. Removal of the entire branch better insures that the fungus is totally re- moved, and also enables the grower to sample the crop a few weeks ahead of time. Fungi can wipe your crop quick, so invest in some SAFE fungicide and spray down the plants just before flowering if you think fungus may be a problem. Don't spray the plants if you have never had problems with fungus before. Keep humidity down, circulate air like crazy in the grow space and keep unquarantined outdoor plants out of the indoor space.
Don`t wait until after flowering, since it's not a good idea to apply the fungicide directly to flowers. Instead, flowers must be cut off when they are infected. Most fungicides are very nasty, and you won't want to ingest them, so it is necessary to use one that is s. Use soap solution like Safer Insecticidal Soap to get rid of most aphid problems. Use some tobacco juice and chili pepper powder added to this for mites. Dr. Bronnars Soap can be used with some dish detergent in a spray bottle if you want to save money. Pyrethrum should only be used in extream circumstances directly on plants, but can be used in a closet or greenhouse in the corners to get rid of spiders and such. It breaks down within a week to non-toxic elements, and can be washed from a plant with detergent solutions and then clear water. I find Pyrethrum to be the best solution for spider mites, if it is sprayed on young plants up to early flowering. Into later flowering, the tobacco and pepper/soap solution is your best bet, on a daily basis, on the under-sides of all infected leaves. Spider mites are by far the worst offender in my garden. I have finally learned not to bring plants from outside into the indoor space. They are always infected with pests and threaten to infect the entire indoor grow space. It is much more practical to work WITH the seasons and regenerate plants outdoors in the Summer, rather than bringing them indoors to regenerate under constant light. Start a plant indoors, take it outside in Spring to flower. Take a harvest or two, feed it nitrogen all Summer and it will regenerate naturally, to be flowered again in the Fall. Once a plant has been taken outside, leave it outside.
There will be little or no shock if you are quick and tender in your handling of the plants. Make sure you only need to transplant twice, or better yet, once if possible, through the entire growth cycle. Transplanting slows you down. It takes time, it's tricky, it's hard work, and threatens the plants. Start in as large a container as possible, square is best. 16 ounce plastic cups work OK, and 2 litter soda bottles cut down may be big enough for the first harvest when growing hydroponically. One-gallon plastic milk or water containers (squarish) will work too. Or start seeds and rooted cuttings in 16oz plastic cups. It's better to have less seedlings than it is to have many seedlings that need constant transplanting. These larger cups take only a little more space, and allow you to transplant only one time before harvesting the first crop. Transplant into a gallon water jugs (cut down to 3/4 gallon) before forcing flower growth. To regenerate this plant after harvesting, transplant it into a larger pot after it goes into vegetative growth once again, 5 gallon paint buckets work pretty well if you can spare the space, and a 2-3 gallon container would make this plant's 2nd harvest better than the first, given enough vegetative regrowth first.
One more tip:
A Russian study showed that seedlings with at least 4" of soil to grow the tap root were more likely to go female. The source I'm quoting says "This may be why some farmers get female/male ratios as great as 80%/20%."
It's possible to tell the sex of a plant early, and thus move male plants out of the main growing area sooner by covering a plant's lower branch for 12 hours a day while it's in a constant light vegetative state. Use a black paper bag or equivalent to allow for air flow while keeping out light. Be sure to set up a regular cycle for these covered branches. If light is allowed to reach them during the dark period, they may not indicate early at all. Use a magnifying glass to look at the early flowers sex type. A male plant will have a small club (playing card) looking preflower with a small stem under it. A female flower is usually a single or double pistil, white and wispy, emerging from an immature calyx. Some people like to pre-force plants when they are 8" tall, in order to weed out the maper (light tight, breaths air) 12 hours every day under constant light to force pre-flowers and differentiate early.
It is possible to harvest plants and then rejuvenate them vegetatively for a 2nd and even 3rd harvest. A second harvest can be realized in as little as 6-8 weeks. Since the plant's stalk, and roots are already formed, the plant can produce a second, even third harvest of buds in a little more than half the time of the original harvest. When harvesting, take off the top 1/3rd of the plant. Leave most healthy fan leaves in the middle of the plant, cutting buds off branches carefully. On the lower 1/3rd of the plant, take off end flowers, but leave several small flowers on each branch. These will be the part of the plant that is regenerated. The more buds you leave on the plant, the faster it will regenerate.
Feed the plant some Miracle Grow or any high nitrogen plant food immediately after harvest. When you intend to regenerate a plant, make sure it never gets too starved for nitrogen as it is maturing, or all the sun leaves will fall off, and your plant will not have enough leaves to live after being harvested. Harvested plants can come inside for rejuvenation under continuous light or are left outside in Summer to rejuvenate in the natural long days. It will take 7-14 days to see signs of new growth when regenerating a plant. As stated before, and in contrast to normal growth patterns, lower branches will be the first to sprout new vegetative growth. Allow the plant to grow a little vegetative, then take outside again to reflower. Or keep inside for vegetative cuttings. You now have two or three generations of plants growing, and will need more space outside. But you will now be harvesting twice as often. As often as every 30 days, since you have new clones or seedlings growing, vegetative plants ready to flower, and regenerated plants flowering too. Regenerating indoors can create problems if your plants are infected with pests. It may be best to have a separate area indoors that will not allow your plants to infect the main indoor area. An alternative to regenerating indoors is to regenerate outdoors in the Summer. Just take a harvest in June, then allow the plant to regenerate by leaving some lower buds on the plant, and leaving the middle 1/3rd of the plant's leaves at harvest. Feed it nitrogen, and make sure it gets lots of sun. It will regenerate all Summer and be quite large by Fall, when it will start to flower again naturally.
Plants that are regenerated, cloned and even grown from seed will need to be pruned at some point to encourage the plant to produce as much as possible and remain healthy. Pruning the lower limbs creates more air-flow under the plants in an indoor situation and creates cuttings for cloning. It also forces the plant's effort to the top limbs that get the most light, maximizing yields. Plants that are regenerated need to have minor growth clipped so that the main regenerated growth will get all the plant's energy. This means that once the plant has started to regenerate lots of growth, the lower limbs that will be shaded or are not robust should go. The growth must be thinned on top branches such that only the most robust growth is allowed to remain. Once nice aspect of regenerating plants is that some small buds left on the plant in anticipation of regeneration will not sprout new growth and may be collected for smoke. The plant may provide much smokable material if it is caught before all the old flowers dry up and die with the new vegetative growth occurring. Try to trim a regenerated plant twice. Once as it is starting to regenerate, collect any bud that is not sprouting with new growth and smoke it. Then later, prune again to take lower clippings to clone and thin the upper growth so that larger buds will be produced. If a regenerated plant is not pruned at all, the resulting plant is very stemmy, does not create large buds and the total yield will be significantly reduced.
HARVESTING AND DRYING
Harvesting is the reaping of the bounty, and is the most enjoyable time you will spend with your garden. Plants are harvested when the pistils start to turn brown, orange, etc. and start to withdraw back into the false seed pod. The seed pods swell with resins usually reserved for seed production, and we have ripe sinse buds with red and golden hairs. It is interesting that the time of harvest controls the "high" of the buds. If harvested "early" with only a few of the pistils turned color, the buds will have a more pure THC content and will have less THC that has turned to CBD and CBN's. The lesser psychoactive substances will create the bouquet of the pot, and control the amount of stoneyness and stupidness associated with the high. A pure THC content is very cerebral, while high THC, high CBD, CBN content will make the plants more of a stupid, or hazy buzz. Buds taken later, when fully ripened will normally have these higher CBN, CBD levels and may not be what you prefer once you try different samples picked at different times.
Don't listen to the experts, decide yourself based on what you come to like yourself. Keep in mind, a bud weighs more when fully ripe. It is what most growers like to sell, but take some buds early for yourself, every week until you harvest, and decide how you like it for yourself. Grow the rest to full maturity if you plan to sell it. Most new growers want to pick early, because they are impatient. That's OK! Just take buds from the middle of the plant or the top. Allow the rest to keep maturing. Often, the tops of the plants will be ripe first. Harvest them and let the rest of the plant continue to ripen. You will notice the lower buds getting bigger and fuzzier as they come into full maturity. With more light available to the bottom portion of the plant now, the plant yields more this way over time, than taking a single harvest. Use a magnifier and try to see the capitated stalked trichomes (little THC crystals on the buds). If they are mostly clear, not brown, the peak of floral bouquet is near. Once they are mostly all turning brownish in color, the THC levels are dropping and the flower is past optimum potency, declining with light and wind exposure rapidly. Don't harvest too late! It's easy to be too careful and harvest late enough potency has declined. Watch the plants and learn to spot peak floral potency.
Do not cure pot in the sun, it reduces potency. Slow cure hanging buds upside down in a ventilated space. That is all that is needed to have great sensi. Drying in a paper bag works too, and may be much more convenient. Bud tastes great when slow dried over the course of a week or two. If your in a hurry, it's OK to dry a small amount in-between paper sheets or a paper bag in a microwave oven. Go slow and check it, don't burn it. Use the defrost power setting for a slower, better drying. It will be harsh smoking this way though. A food dehydrator or food preserver will dry your pot in a few hours, but it will not taste the same as slow-dried. Very close though. And this will speed your harvest time (which can be nerve-wracking, with all this pot hanging around drying.) Dry buds until the stems are brittle enough to snap, then cure them in a sealed Tupperware container , burping air and turning the buds daily for two weeks. Once experienced grower told me to dry in an uninsulated area of the house (like the garage) so that the temperature will rise and fall each night, as the plant is drying. If you treat the plant as if it were still alive, it will use some of it's chlorophyll while it is drying, and the smoke will be less harsh.
Cloning is asexual reproduction. Cuttings are taken from a mother plant in vegetative growth, and rooted in hydroponic medium to be grown as a separate plant. The offspring will be plants that are identical to the parent plant. Cloning preserves the character one can be taken from a clone at least 20 times, and probably more, so don't worry about myths of reduced vigor. Many reports indicate it's not a problem. Cloning will open you to the risk of a fungus or pests wiping out the whole crop, so it's important to pick plants that exhibit great resistance to fungus and pests. Pick the plant you feel will be the most reliable to reproduce in large scale, based on health, growth rate, resistance to pests, and potency. The quality of the high, and the type of buzz you get will be a very important determining factor. Take cuttings for clones before you move plants from vegetative grow area to the flowering area. Low branches are cut to increase air circulation under the green canopy. Rooted clones are moved to the vegetative growth area, and new clones are started in the cloning area using the low branch cuttings.
Each cycle of growth will take from 4-8 weeks, so you can constantly be growing in 3 stages, and harvesting every 6-8 weeks. Some types of plants are more difficult to clone than others. Big Bud is reported to not clone very well. One of my favorite plants, Mr. Kona, is the most amazing pot I ever smoked, but it is hard as hell to clone. What a challenge! I noticed other varieties that were rooting much quicker, but it was the stone I was after! Once you find the psychoactive, almost hallucinogenic properties of some Indica/Sativa hybrids, you never want to smoke a pure Indica again. Indica is however, great medicinally, so I like to grow a few pure strains too. If a plant is harvested, you can sample it, and decide if you want to clone it. Pick your favorite 2 or 3 distinctly different types of plants to clone, based on trying the harvested plants. The plants you want to clone can be regenerated by putting them in constant light. In a few weeks, you will have many vegetative cuttings available for cloning and preserving your favorite plants. Always keep a mother plant in vegetative mode for any strain you want to keep alive. If you flower all your clones, you may end up killing off a strain if you don't have any plant devoted to being a mother. I killed off a sacred strain accidentally this way; my harvested plants failed to regenerate and the strain would have died completely had not previously igven it to friends to grow it as well. I was in luck, and a buddy set me up with another clone of this strain to grow as a mother plant for a new crop of clones.
After two months, any marijuana plant can be cloned. Flowering plants can be cloned, but the procedure may take considerably longer. Its best to wait, and regenerate vegetative plants that have been harvested. A single regenerated/harvested plant can generate hundreds of cuttings. Before taking cuttings, starve the plant for nitrogen for a week at least, so that the plant is not extremely green, as this will make rooting take longer. Take cuttings from the bottom 1/3 of the plant, when doing ordinary pruning. Cut young growth tips from a vegetative stage, mature plant 3-5 inches long with a stem diameter 1/5-1/10 inch. Cut with a sterile razor blade or X-acto knife (flamed) and immerse the cut end of the clone into a tub of distilled water mixed with 1/4 tspn Peters 5-50-17 per gallon. Next, cut the bottom .2 inch off the end while it is submerged, using a diagonal cut. Remove the clone from the tub and dip into a liquid cloning solution following instructions on the label. Dust with RootToneF and place in cloning tray or medium. Flowering plants can be cloned too, but may take longer, and may not have as high a success rate. Cloning goes quickest with the liquid rooting solutions, in a warmed, aerated tray, with subdued lighting and high humidity. Placing cuttings into 1" rockwool cubes in a covered tray works great too. In a closet, you can m12 for a 1.6 ounce bottle. Geez, what is this stuff, gold?) I found some dipNgrow for $9, considered myself lucky, and got a tray and clear cover for $7. A clear tray cover or greenhouse enclosure is needed to bring up humidity to 90% (greenhouse levels).
Liquid rooting hormone seems to be much more effective than powders. Some types available are Olivia's, Woods, and dipNgrow. Mix a weak cloning solution of high P plant food (such as Peter's 5-50-17), trace elements, and epsom salts and then dip plants in rooting solution per instructions on label. All of the above nutrients should be added in extremely small amounts, 25% of what would normally be used on growing plants. Or use a premade solution such as Olivia's Rooting Solution. Corn syrup has been reported to supplement the sugars needed by the plant during cloning, since it consists of plant sugars. Use a powder fungicide too, like Roottone to be sure you don't spoil the clones with fungus. This is important, since clones and fungus like the conditions you will be creating for good rooting: mild light 72-80 degrees high humidity In rockwool, there is no need for aerating the solution, just keep the cubes in 1/4" of solution so they wick and stay moist at all times. Try to keep clones evenly spaced, and spray them with water once a day to keep them moist and fresh. Pull out clones if they are diseased and dying, to keep them away from healthy starts. Another method is to float cuttings in a tray full of solution on polystyrene disposable plates, or styrene sheets (shipping/packing material) with holes punched, so the tops and leaves are out of the water. Take off all large leaves, leaving only smaller top leaves to reduce demand on the new rooting stalk. Aerate the tray solution with an air pump and bubble stone. Keep solution at 72-80 degrees for best results.
Change the solution daily if not using an air stone and pump, so that oxygen is always available to the cuttings. A week later, clip yellowing leaves from cuttings to reduce water demands as the cuttings start to root. Buy a tray with a clear cover made for rooting at an indoor gardening supply house. You must keep humidity very high for the clones. Put cuttings in an ice chest with cellophane over the top and a light shining down if you don't want to pay for the grow tray and cover. It's also possible to directly place a dipped cutting in a moist block of floral foam with holes punched, or vermiculite in a cup; be sure to root cuttings in a constantly moist medium. Jiffy peat cubes are not recommended, as published reports indicate results were not good for rooting clones. Place starter cubes in tray of solution. Check twice a day to be sure cubes are moist, not drenched, and not dry. After about 2-3 weeks, rootlets will appear at the bottom of the pods. Transplant at this point to growing area, taking care not to disturb any exposed roots.
One grower writes us:
I have had virtually all attempted clones root with the following scheme:
0. Prep cutting by removing large leaves on tip to be cut, allow to heal.
1. While holding underwater, take final diagonal cut on stem to be rooted.
2. Dip in Rootone, then spear stem about 2" deep in 16 oz. cups of 1/2 vermiculite, 1/2 perlite, which are kept in a Styrofoam cooler.
3. Spray cuttings with a VERY mild complete fert. soln.
4. Cover top of cooler with Saran Wrap, then punch holes for ventilation.
5. Keep cooler in relatively mild temps, low light, and spray cuttings daily.
6. Cuttings should root in about 3 weeks.
Cloning is not as easy as starting from seed. With seeds, you can have 18" tall plants in 6 weeks or less. With clones, it may take 6 weeks for the plant to sprout roots and new growth. Seeds are easily twice as fast if you have empty indoor space nutrient solution. They are easily removed and placed in a larger rockwool growing cube when rooted.
It is possible to breed and select cuttings from plants that grow, flower, and mature faster. Some plants will naturally be better than others in this regard, and it is easy to select not only the most potent plants to clone or breed, but the fastest growing/flowering plants as well. Find your fastest growth plant, and breed it with your "best high" male for fast flowering, potent strains. Clone your fastest, best high plant for the quickest monocrop garden possible. Over time, it will save you a lot of waiting around for your plants to mature. When a male is starting to flower (2-4 weeks before the females) it should be removed from the females so it does not pollinate them. It is taken to a separate area.
Any place that gets just a few hours of light per day will be adequate, including close to a window in a separate room in the house. Put newspaper or glass under it to catch the pollen as the flowers drop it. Keep a male alive indefinitely by bending it's top severely and putting it in mild shock that delays it's maturity. Or take the tops as they mature and put the branches in water, over a piece of plate glass. Shake the branches every morning to release pollen onto the glass and then scrap it with a razor blade to collect it. A male pruned in this fashion stays alive indefinitely and will continue to produce flowers if it gets suitable dark periods. This is much better than putting pollen in the freezer! Fresh pollen is always best. Save pollen in an air tight bag in the freezer. It will be good for about a month. It may be several more weeks before the females are ready to pollinate. Put a paper towel in the bag with it to act as a desecant. A plant is ready to pollinate 2 weeks after the clusters of female flowers first appear.
If you pollinate too early, it may not work. Wait until the female flowers are well established, but still all while hairs are showing. Turn off all fans. Use a paper bag to pollinate a branch of a female plant. Use different pollen from two males on separate branches. Wrap the bag around the branch and seal it at the opening to the branch. Shake the branch vigorously. Wet the paper bag after a few minutes with a sprayer and then carefully remove it. Large plastic zip-lock bags also. Slip the bag over the male branch and shake the pollen loose. Carefully remove the bad and zip it up. It should be very dusty with pollen. To pollinate, place it over a single branch of the female, zipping it up sideways around the stem so no pollen leaks out. Shake the bag and the stem at the same time. Allow to settle for an hour or two and shake it again. Remove it a few hours later. Your branch is now well pollinated and should show signs of visible seed production in 2 weeks, with ripe seeds splitting the calyxes by 3-6 weeks.
One pollinated branch can create hundreds of seeds, so it should not be necessary to pollinate more than one or two branches in many cases. When crossing two different varieties, a third variety of plant will be created. If you know what characteristics your looking for in a new strain, you will need several plants to choose from in order to have the best chance of finding all the qualities desired. Sometimes, if the two plants bred had dominant genes for certain characteristics, it will be impossible to get the plant you want from one single cross. In this case, it is necessary to interbreed two plants from the same batch of resultant seeds from the initial cross. In this fashion, recessive genes will become available, and the plant character you desire may only be possible in this manner. Usually, it is desirable only to cross two strains that are very different. In this manner, one usually arrives at what is referred to as "hybrid vigor". In other words, often the best strains are created by taking two very different strains and mating them. Less robust plants may be the result of interbreeding, since it opens up recessive gene traits that may lead to reduced potency. Hybrid offspring will all be very different from each other. Each plant grown from the same batch of seeds collected from te different. It is then necessary to try each plant separately and decide it's individual merits for yourself. If you find one that seems to be head and shoulders above the rest in terms of early flowering, high yield and get buzz, that's the plant to clone and continue breeding. In depth genetics is beyond the scope of this work. See Marijuana Botany; Smith, for more detailed info in this area.
When the female plant is not allowed to pollinate, it grows full of resin that was intended to make seeds. False seed pods swell with THC laden resin and the pistils turn red and orange and withdraw into the pods. Then the plant is harvested. Seeds are not part of the bud when the flowers mature. This is called Sinsemilla, and simply means "no seeds".
It is possible to cross your favorite two female plants to create a new strain of seeds that will produce all female plants. Preferably, these two plants will be different types of plants, not from the same mother's seeds. This will create the best offspring, since it will not lead to inbreeding. It is easier to gauge the quality of female plants than male plants, since the smoke is more potent and easier to judge it's finer qualities. Plants from seeds created in this fashion will be all female plants since there will be no chance of male chromosomes from female parents. Use Gibberellic Acid on one branch of a female plant to induce male flowers. Gibberellic Acid is sold by nursery supply houses for plant breeding and hybridizing. Spray the plant once every day for 10 days with 100 ppm gibberellic acid. When the male flowers form, pollinate the flowers of your other target female plant you have selected. Just pollinate one branch unless you want lots of seeds! Once the branch has male flowers, cut the branch and root it in water, with glass under it to catch the male pollen when it drops. Use a rooting solution similar to the above cloning solution. Collect the pollen with a plastic bag over the branch and shake it. Use a razor blade to scrap up fallen pollen and add it to the bag too. It is also possible to pollinate the flowers of the plant you create the male flowers on, crossing it with itself. This is used to preserve a special plants characteristics. Cloning will also preserve the plants characteristics, but will not allow you to store seeds for use later. Crossing a plant with itself can lead to inbreeding problems, so it may not be the optimum solution in many cases. I once tried using Gibberellic Acid, sprayed on a healthy female, every day for over a week. No male flowers appeared on the plant. Your mileage may vary.
ODORS AND NEGATIVE IONS
Negative ion generators have been used for years now to cut down on odors in a grow room, but reports are coming in that a negative ion generator will increase growth speed and yield. No true evidence to support this, however it does make sense, due to the fact that people and animals seem to be altered in a positive way by negative ions in the air, so plants may "feel" better too. Try putting one in the grow room. You may notice the buds don't have as much scent when picked, but that may be desirable in some cases. A negative ion generator can be purchased for $15 to $100 depending on the type and power involved. Some have reversed cycles that collect the dust to a charged plate. It is also possible to use grounded aluminum foil on the wall and shelf where the ionizer sits, to collect these particles. Just wipe the foil clean once a month. It should be grounded to an electrical outlets ground wire. If you don't cover the wall and shelf with paper or foil, the wall will turn dark with dust taken from the air, and you will have to repaint that wall later.
O2 to the roots is a big concern, since the plant requires this for nutrients to be available, and to rid itself of toxins, etc. One of the easiest things to do is use food grade hydrogen peroxide in the water to increase the availability of oxygen in the water. H2O2 has an extra oxygen atom that will easily breas for plenty of aeration is also really important. Be sure you have good drainage by using Perlite, sand, or gravel in your mix and at the bottom of pots. Don't use a medium that holds too much water, or you may significantly reduce the oxygen available to the plant. More on that in the section on hydroponics. Aerating the water before watering is also a good idea. In the case of soil potted plants, use an airpump to aerate the water overnight before watering your plants, or put the water in a container with a cap and shake it up real good before giving to the plants.
SAFETY AND PRIVACY
Utility companies can tell your bill is way off from the same time last year, and police are finding growers this way. More than 500 watts in the family home running constantly will show up as a regular monthly increase in electricity use. You can claim space heaters, more people living on the premises, too many television sets, and late hours, if they happen mention it to you (innocently). If the police knock and ask you about it, don't let them in, and move your plants to another location during the wee hours in a vehicle not your own. Upon moving into a new place, it may be desirable to immediately establish high electricity use, so that your electrical use history won't reveal your activities in the future... Light leaks, open windows, heat expelled from rooms that would normally be cool, and rip-offs are all serious issues to be concerned about. Don't use a burglar alarm on when your away from the house. People are busted this way when the kids try to rip off the garden and the police come. Lock the house up well, and let them take it if they need it so bad. It's not worth getting busted for a burglary... Think ahead to any situation that will require outsiders to visit sensitive areas of the house. Repairmen, solicitors, meter readers, neighbors, appraisers, and pets should all be considered and contingency plans made in advance.
Some growers report purified or distilled water helps their plants grow faster. Perhaps due to sodium and heavy metals found in hard water that are not present in purified water. Hard water tends to build up alkaline salt deposits in soil that lockup trace minerals, and cause iron, copper and zinc deficiencies. There are several types of purified water, but many are not free of minerals that could be causing salt buildup over an extended period of time. Tap water comes in two flavors. Hot and cold. The cold pipe has less calcium and sodium buildup in it, and should be freer of sediment once the water has been turned on and allowed to flow for 30 seconds. Hot water will have rust, lead deposits, and lots of sodium and calcium, so much so, you will see it easily. Use only the amount of hot water needed to make the water the correct temperature (70-80 F). Tap water filtered through a carbon (charcoal) filter will be free of chlorine and most large particles, but will still contain dissolved solids such as sodium and heavy metals (lead, arsenic, nickel, etc.). Purified bottled water will be either Reverse Osmosis or some form of carbon/sediment filtered water. When purchasing water at a store, unless it says RO or Distilled, don't bother buying it. It could still have the same dissolved solids and heavy metals your tap water has.
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS
A solution of one pill to one gallon of water has been reported to cause increased growth speed in tomato plants. It is possible this will help herb plants too. One treatment administered before flowering and one administered a few weeks before harvesting might help the plant mature faster. One grower told a story of the same type of plants, one administered the estrogen grew to 20 feet, while the other was 7 feet. This may be purely anecdotal, but it may work. Try it and report back to us on results appear to be rather marginal situations. (i.e.: a four inch pot in a room with a skylight.) With the minimum of: well drained medium, good light with ventilation, regular application of a complete fertilizer, pest control, and avoidance of detection, anyone can take a viable seed to maturity. One need not have a lot of money, or even know-how to grow good plants.
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