Saturday, March 6, 2010

How to Grow Marijuana – Chapter 2 – Nutrients

Marijuana is a wonderful herb that grows naturally all over the planet. Unfortunately it is still illegal to grow marijuana in many countries. Please check your local laws before growing marijuana. With that said, let’s get growing!

Since you have chosen to grow with hydroponics (nice choice) it is important understand nutrients. There are several brands of nutrients to choose from. General Hydroponics is a great economical choice but if you can splurge a little bit pick up a Fox Farm system. Regardless of your nutrient choice, to grow marijuana you need to provide your plants with the right nutrients during the right cycles. Don’t feel intimidated, nutrients are easy to measure and add with a PPM meter so you should always be confident in knowing your plants have what they need. If you don’t already have a PPM meter hit up your local hydro shop or order one online. They cost around $20 and they measure the parts per million of total nutrients. With one of these meters you can keep your plants well fed and happy.

During the vegetative state your plants are going to be craving a lot of nitrogen. Nitrogen is a basic building block and helps the plant to establish a strong root system and a strong core. The vegetative cycle can vary but typically lasts 6-8 weeks. For the first 5 days of your plants life don’t even bother adding nutrients. At any given time, too many nutrients will cause leaves to burn and plants to go into nutrient lock, making it impossible for them to get any nourishment. Add a small amount of your stage 1 nutrients to the hydro tank for the first 2 weeks. Your PPM should stay a steady 50-150. Keep increasing the nutrient intake by 50-100 per week. You can feed your plants until you notice discoloration of leaves, at which point you should dilute your nutrient base. As you approach 6-8 week you will be adding more of the stage 2 nutrients. During the transitional phase plants need more phosphates. This helps them get ready for flowering. When you make the switch from 24 hour lighting to 12 hours on and 12 off, you need to change the flow of nutrients again. By this point your plants are ready for a steady dose of potassium. Your stage 3 nutrients should be administered at around 1000 PPMs to start with. Increase the dose by 50-100 per week and your flowering cycle will conclude in 8-11 weeks. The last two weeks of your flowering cycle change your basin to only purified water. Too many nutrients down the home stretch will give your bud a funky chemical flavor and diminish your smoking experience with harsh hits. The last 3-5 days of flowering your should pull the water out altogether. Since you are about to embark on the curing process, the water that is filling your plant is no longer necessary.

Always track your PPMs on a notepad for record and change your water at least weekly to avoid any algae growth. If your plant’s leaves start yellowing or burning, adjust your nutrients accordingly. When properly administered, nutrients will plump up your plants and they will erupt with luscious buds.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to Grow Marijuana – Chapter 1 – Lighting

Marijuana is a wonderful herb that grows naturally all over the planet. Unfortunately it is still illegal to grow marijuana in many countries. Please check your local laws before growing marijuana. With that said, let’s get growing!

It’s a general consensus that growing herb is best done with a good hydro system. Hydroponics is the process of growing a plant without soil. There are a couple of different ways to grow with hydro, but regardless you need to pick up some supplies. First and foremost you will need a light source to grow your herb. There are several technologies out there and I will break down the advantages and disadvantages of each for you.

The cheapest and most inefficient light source is compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). There are two different styles of CFL lighting. Some people grow marijuana with CFL light bulbs. You can pick these up at the grocery store and a splitter at your local hardware store. It’s a good idea to strive for at least the 100 watt bulbs because anything less is not giving off enough light. Keep in mind that these are not especially efficient so you may need as many as 8 or more to grow and flower 3 plants. The other kind of CFL lighting is the shop light style. These have a metal bracket used as a reflector and the bulbs themselves are long and cylindrical. This style of lighting is a little more efficient than the CFL bulb but still not ideal for growing marijuana. Whichever style of CFL bulb you choose, strive for the bluest temperature for vegetative growth and the warmest color light for flowering.

The next lighting type is Metal Halide (MH). You see metal halide lights anytime you leave your house out night, as that’s what most street lights use. Metal halide lighting works by converting power with a ballast and then delivering it to an HID bulb. This lighting type is extremely good for vegetative growth but not so much for flowering. These systems use quite a lot of electricity and give off substantial heat so you should always use MH in conjunction with good ventilation.

High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting is arguably the best lighting for the money. Just like the metal halide system, HPS also uses a ballast and an HID bulb. The advantage is a fuller spectrum which plants will appreciate for both vegetative growth and flowering. While it is not quite as good as MH for vegetative growing, it is nearly ideal for flowering. This system also runs pretty hot so it should be used in conjunction with proper ventilation.

Light-Emitting Diode Technology (LED) is on the verge of becoming the best lighting technology to grow marijuana with. It is extremely efficient and a 90 watt LED can give off as much usable light as a 600 watt high pressure sodium or metal halide system. NASA is fine tuning LED technology in hopes of sustaining life in outer space with LED farming. A good LED panel is a bit pricy but worth every dime because it gives off virtually no heat and uses less electricity than your television. Most systems use only blue and red light but surprisingly a marijuana plant will flourish with only those two colors of light.

Once you select your light source pick up some fans to help with circulation and heat. A good light source is the start of a successful hydroponic grow system.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grow Medical Marijuana – Six Habits of Highly Effective Medical Marijuana Growers

Those who assume that it is easy to grow medical marijuana are actually people who have less or no knowledge about marijuana growers. They tend to mislead you with their deficient and somehow wrong information regarding the growing of medical marijuana.  So beware of those who are saying that there are short cuts and quick fixes which minimize the hard work and focus required to succeed in this endeavor.  An effective medical marijuana garden always satisfies the needs of the grower who knows and follows these seven important rules:
Procrastination is not recommended in growing of medical marijuana.  Simple task such as picking up dead leaves and sweeping of debris should not wait until piles of these have accumulated.  It is considered to be an important daily routine that requires due diligence.  Make it your mission to keep things clean always.  So start putting down the bong, get off the couch and clean your grow room from top to bottom.  Always keep in mind that the work you do now will surely pay off in the end.
When it comes to growing medical marijuana, silence is always the golden rule.  Although it might be tempting sometimes to brag and show off your hard work, but it can only cause you more troubles along the road.  Try to minimize or avoid throwing big parties or let people hang out all day smoking weed in your area.  Suspicious events like this have been the downfall of many pot growers before.  You need to make yourself invisible to neighbors and keep a low profile in order for you to keep your marijuana garden discrete.  On the other hand, don’t be too paranoid as well by blocking off all your windows or avoiding interaction with neighbors because this will only indicate that something is not right.  Instead be friendly but not too friendly and never panic or antagonize those around you.  Keeping everything peaceful is the key to have successful harvest after harvest.
Realistic Expectations
You need to set your goals wisely and realistically, by doing so; you can maintain your motivation at all times.  Be realistic and consider many factors that affect the growth of your medical marijuana plants.  Try to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of all decisions and possible outcomes.  Knowing and properly anticipating possible expenses can lead you to long-term success.
Attentiveness to Plant Needs
To grow medical marijuana, you also need to be attentive to your plants needs.  Although marijuana plants isn’t all that hard to please, but still they need to be provided with the proper atmosphere at all time, maintained appropriate temperature, feeding and airflow.  Try to be meticulous with small details to avoid stress that causes marijuana plants to delay their growth or even die.  Knowing and understanding all elements of plant growth is necessary to become successful in growing medical marijuana.
Marijuana plants needs to complete their life cycle to fulfill their true destiny and it is your job to do everything to make that happen.  Try not to harvest early because you are preventing the marijuana plants to reach its full potential.  That means that you need to have patience and know the fact that you will be in this thing for quite a long time.  Patience really does pay.
Infuse some positive energy into your plants by showing humility.  Take pride with your gardening accomplishments but don’t become the “human buzz-kill�? person who always seeks to one-up all comers.  Besides, to grow medical marijuana is not a competition of who gets to produce better and high quality pots.  Just let your buds speak for themselves.  If you love what you are doing then you are already a winner.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Marijuana Hydroponics - How to Build Your Own Marijuana Hydroponic Garden

These are plans to make a fairly portable, and very inexpensive advanced hydroponic system. These plans only explain how to make the garden itself, and do not explain how to use or maintain it. If you plan on using this garden, you should get yourself a good book on hydroponics, and look it over.
I am intentionally leaving out those parts about plant nutrition, light cycles, etc. so as not to appear to be writing a guidebook for growing marijuana.  It is also to make you seek out another source of information so your knowledge of hydroponics comes from more than just this article.  I do not grow marijuana, and never have.  I'm just a high-tech home gardener with information to share.  If you are caught growing marijuana while using the system described herein, don't even think of running to me, I didn't tell you to grow marijuana.  In fact, I'd suggest planting a crop of cherry tomatoes, which can be fooled into producing fruit indoors year round, and is a very easy plant to start hydroponics with.
Materials needed:
1     5-10 gallon bucket
2     Pieces of PVC or ABS pipe, 8-10" long, 5" or greater diameter.
4     Caps for PVC/APS pipe ends.
1     waterpump capable of about 50 Gallons per Hour (you will need a bigger pump if you choose to make this a larger system)
4'     of hose that will fit the waterpump (often 3/8")
1     TEE joint (or Y-splitter) that fits the water hose
4     clamps for the water hose (one for pump to hose, and 3 for hoses to TEE fitting.)
1     Airpump, airstone, and some airline from a fish tank.
1     Can White epoxy based spray paint
1     Can Black Epoxy based spray paint


1. Everything must be made light tight.  Paint all hoses, the bucket, the PVC/ABS and the lid of the bucket with a layer of black paint.  Let it dry overnight, and then cover it with a layer of white paint to make it reflective, and reduce the temperature of the nutrient solution.
2. Take each of PVC pieces and drill a 1 inch hole on the side, about one inch from the end.  Then epoxy the caps onto the ends of the PVC.
3. Drill the inlet/outlet holes; these should be located on the caps of the PVC.  The inlet hole should be as low as possible or as close to the wall of the PVC, and the outlet-hole should be as high as possible.
4. Now cut two 5" holes in the sides of the bucket (close to the top), and epoxy the PVC in place, so about 2" of pipe (and the outlet hole) are inside the bucket, and the 1" hole is facing straight up.
5. Oxygen into the nutrient solution, and not to dissolve CO2. CO2 can kill root systems. If you are growing outside, or not enriching CO2, then the pump can sit anywhere.
6. Place the water pump in the bottom of the bucket (assuming it is a submersible one) and attach a hose to it long enough to reach the top of the bucket. Cut a hole in the lid of the bucket for this hose to go through. Then attach the TEE fitting to the hose. Now attach hoses to the free ends of the TEE, and run them to the inlet holes on the end of the PVC pipes. Use clamps on the TEE fitting and on the pump itself, but use epoxy to attach the hoses to the PVC. This seal must be completely water tight. Let them dry for 24 hours.
7. Put some water in the bucket and turn on the pump. What should happen is the PVC pieces will fill with water, and then when they are full, they should begin to continuously drain out the outlet holes, and back into the bucket. If you are getting leaks anywhere, fix them immediately. If water is coming out of the 1" hole on the top of the pipe, then either your pump is too strong, or your outlet hole is too small. Fix one or the other.
8. Empty the system (hint, remove the hose from the pump to drain the arms), and replace the water with some form of hydroponic nutrient solution (look in a hydroponics book for details on what exactly to use, or visit a gardening store, and ask)
9. Place your plants into the system. The best way I have found to do this is to take a 1 1/8" garden hose and cut a 1" tube off of one end. Then slit the tube down one side. Wrap the stem of your plant (just above the roots) with polyester fluff (available at aquarium stores, for stuffing into external water filters) and then wrap the garden hose around the fluff. Then force the hose into the hole at the top of the PVC arm. People also have used rubber stoppers.
10. Turn on the air/water pumps, and let your garden grow.
This is obviously just a small setup, but these plans can easily be modified for much larger systems, using longer pieces of PVC, or more than one pair of arms, and a larger bucket to hold the nutrients (I've seen one made with a 55 gallon drum, and 8 separate arms, each holding 4 plants)
I personally use this setup indoors (under a skylight in my apartment) to grow 2 cherry tomato plants. What you do with your own garden is your own business, and obviously I can't be held responsible if you choose to grow anything illegal.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Grow Marijuana

The Medical Marijuana patient is permitted to grow marijuana in many states. Indeed, growing your own marijuana is a sound decision - particularly if your rate of consumption is high. Doing so also lets you have unlimited supply of your favorite strain of weed. Unless you own a vast estate, your best bet for growing marijuana is to grow your crop indoors using a hydroponics system. Prices for hydroponics systems range from $300 to many thousands of dollars. Different hydroponic systems largely vary according to (a) amount of automation (b) one stage only vs. all-inclusive mother plant area, vegetation and flowering area. The latter is more preferred because you will have a permanent mother plant that gives you access to unlimited clones anytime. There are also a few efficient low-end systems in Stealth Hydroponics. Their grow tents are very useful if you don't have a closet. If you want the Rolls Royce of hydroponic gardening, take a look at BC Northern Lights. Of course, you want to grow as big a plant as possible. Note, however, that this can have a negative impact. Each plant requires a footprint of at least three feet by three feet. Any less and your lights will not illuminate much below the top two feet of your plant. Another problem with trying to grow huge marijuana plants is that if you are not careful, they can grow right past the lights. To ensure that you are on the right track, remember these: (1) during the flowering stage, your plant will grow one and one-halffeet and (2) you must start the flowering process when the plants reach to within 24" of the lights in their highest position. Depending on the strain, this can be somewhere from three weeks to eight weeks from starting with a clone. The trade secret to success in trying to grow marijuana is to find a source for clones. This shall ensure that your plant will be female and that it will survive (the most fragile stage in a plant life is the first two weeks). The great thing is that once you have a clone, you can make clones of your own and have a perpetual crop going year-round. Just like any other crop, marijuana needs advanced nutrients. Miracle Gro as well as other normal fertilizers will not work. Both Stealth Hydroponics and BC Northern Lights provide great advanced nutrient products. If you follow a rigorous schedule of draining and refilling the water every 2 weeks and adding nutrients as required, you definitely will succeed. Tap water, let set for about 10 minutes is more than perfect. Of course, give your plants that needed attention: control the pH level, CO2, temperature and humidity. Instead of obsessing about this, I've found the reality to be that marijuana is a takes quite a bit to kill it. One caution on nutrients, don't add the first round until 2 weeks after you've started your clones in the vegetation stage. A final word regarding lighting. Lighting is crucial. You can make use of silver halide and other high tech lights, or you can use CFL fluorescent lights. They'll all work just fine. The Flower Spectrum is set in the 2700 Kelvin range, Vegetation Spectrum, in the 6000 Kelvin range. Thus, it's useful to take note of both spectrums; but of course, focus more on the one that matches the stage where your marijuana growth is at. Total time from clone to harvest when you grow marijuana is somewhere around twelve weeks. Yield is around 4-6 ounces per plant.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marvellous Marijuana Stories

Cannabis news is always cropping up in the papers and online. Whether it's the latest MP venting their opinion on the dangers of the drug, before admitting they used to take it or a celebrity busted by police over possession, it's pretty hard to avoid. Then there are the oddities - the marijuana stories which are funny, strange or just plain weird. Here are the best from the last few years:

California introduces Pot Vending Machines

Before you all pack your bags and head over the Atlantic, I should point out that it's strictly for people with a medical prescription to use marijuana as part of their healthcare - and there are safeguards in place to prevent non-prescribed folks from using it. Patients will be required to provide their prescription, give a fingerprint and then have their photo taken.

This cannabis news remains controversial because although medical marijuana is legal in some states, the federal government does not recognise its medicinal properties.

Utah Teenager Reports Pot Theft to Police

This is one of those marijuana stories that make you appreciate just how some stupid some people can be. Not only did an 18 year old burglar report his stolen cannabis to police, but he accepted an invitation to come in and identify the stash when the robber was caught. No sooner had he confirmed the marijuana was his, then he was arrested and charged on possession with intent to supply.

Sniffer Dog Fails to Find Planted Pot

After planting some marijuana in a customer's luggage to train a new sniffer dog, customs officials were left embarrassed when this cannabis news story hit the headlines: the mutt failed to find the goods! The mistake, combined with the custom officer's failure to recall which bag he'd put it in, meant that one passenger left with a free cannabis gift in their luggage. A spokesman for the airport's customs' office made a plea for its return: "If by some chance passengers find it in their suitcase, we're asking them to return it."

Burglars and Police Raid House at the Same Time

One of the most unlikely marijuana stories in this list: Two Australian burglars broke into a house being used to grow hydroponic cannabis only to discover it was full of police officers raiding the place to search for drugs! The burglars fled, but were caught a few days later by police.

Pot Smoker Reports Dealer to Police over "Bad Weed"

A 52 year old Darmstadt cannabis smoker was arrested for the possession of illegal substances after reporting his dealer to the police for selling him some "completely un-enjoyable" marijuana. The cannabis news article explains that the man had previously taken it up with the dealer directly, who refused to issue him a refund of the £270 he had paid for the drugs. Upon taking his "fraud" allegations with police, he was charged for his crime, despite the "absolutely mediocre quality" of the drugs involved.

Cannabis Plants Cause Police Station Closure

Billericay police station in Essex needed to be evacuated after the stench of confiscated cannabis plants became overpowering. 150 seedlings and mature plants grown from cannabis seeds had been seized from the home of a pro-cannabis campaigner and were kept in the station's cell, where their strong odour swept through the whole building. One source said "The smell even filtered into the public reception area and people might have got the wrong idea."

Rock Star Charged with Wanting to Smoke 1994

An Argentine rock star was charged with informing spectators that he felt like smoking a joint - a decade after the cannabis news story broke. In November 1994, Andres Calamaro told 100,000 fans in La Plata: "I feel so good that I could smoke a joint". Attempts were made by morally offended parents to bring charges against the rock star, but these were dismissed by the judge in 1995. A decade later a less liberal judge was found, and the case was reopened for the musician, then 43.

Cannabis Smoker Celebrates 120th Birthday

A 120 year old Indian woman living with her 92 year old daughter and 72 year old grandson is baffled by her longevity: "I don't know how I've survived so long. Many relatives much younger than me have died". One theory suggests it's her habitual drug use. According to the Sun, the 120 year old Fulla Nayak smokes cannabis cigars and drinks strong palm wine, and this could be the secret of her success.