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Hydroponics Growing Guide

Introduction:

Even if you haven't had any prior experience with growing marijuana indoors, you can have a successful crop of marijuana by following these simple directions. Growing a marijuana plant involves only a few basic steps:

1) Buy the cannabis seeds online with companies that will make sure your seeds get to you safe and secure. Alternatively, ask your friends to save you seeds out of any good grass they may come across.

You'll find that lots of people already have a seed collection of some sort and are willing to part with a few prime seeds in exchange for some of the finished product.

2) Germinate the seeds. You can simply drop a seed into moist soil and as long as it stays moist there is a good chance the seed will germinate. Best method is to place a group of them between about six moist paper towels, or in the pores of a moist sponge. Leave the towels or sponge moist but not soaking wet. Some seeds will germinate in 24 hours while others may take several days or even a week.

3) Plant the sprouts. As soon as a seed cracks open and begins to sprout, place it on some moist soil and sprinkle a little soil over the top of it.

4) Supply the plants with light. Fluorescent lights are the best. Hang the lights with two inches of the soil and after the plants appear above the ground, continue to keep the lights with two inches of the plants. It is as easy as that. If you follow those four steps you will grow a marijuana plant. To ensure prime quality and the highest yield in the shortest time period, however, a few details are necessary. Full grow lighting guide.

Note on Soil  Your prime concern, after choosing high quality seeds, is the soil. Use the best soil you can get. Scrimping on the soil doesn't pay off in the long run. If you use unsterilized soil you will almost certainly find parasites in it, probably after it is too late to transplant your marijuana. You can find excellent soil for sale at your local plant shop or nursery, K-Mart, Wal Mart, and even some grocery stores. The soil you use should have these properties for the best possible results:

Soil should...

  1. It should drain well. That is, it should have some sand in it and also some sponge rock or pearlite.

  2. The ph should be between 6.5 and 7.5 since marijuana does not do well in acidic soil. High acidity in soil encourages the plant to be predominantly male, an undesirable trait.

  3. The soil should also contain humus for retaining moisture and nutrients.

If you want to make your own soil mixture, you can use this recipe: Mix two parts moss with one part sand and one part pearlite or sponge rock to each four gallons of soil. Test your soil for ph with litmus paper or with a soil testing kit available at most plant stores. To raise the ph of the soil, add 1/2 lb. lime to 1 cubic foot of soil to raise the ph one point. If you absolutely insist on using dirt you dug up from your driveway, you must sterilize it by baking it in your oven for about an hour at 250 degrees. Be sure to moisten it thoroughly first and also prepare yourself for a rapid evacuation of your kitchen because that hot soil is going to stink. Now add to the mixture about one tablespoon of fertilizer (like Rapid-Gro) per gallon gallon of soil and blend it in thoroughly. Better yet, just skip the whole process and spend a couple bucks on some soil.

Containers

After you have prepared your soil, you will have to come up with some kind of container to plant in. The container should be sterilized as well, especially if they have been used previously for growing other plants. The size of the container has a great deal to do with the rate of growth and overall size of the plant.

You should plan on transplanting your plant not more than one time, since the process of transplanting can be a shock to the plant and it will have to undergo a recovery period in which growth is slowed or even stopped for a short while.

The first container you use should be no larger than six inches in diameter and can be made of clay or plastic.

To transplant, simply prepare the larger pot by filling it with soil and scooping out a little hole about the size of the smaller pot that the plant is in. Turn the plant upside down, pot and all, and tap the rim of the pot sharply on a counter or the edge of the sink. The soil and root ball should come out of the pot cleanly with the soil retaining the shape of the pot and with no disturbances to the root ball.

Another method that can bypass the transplanting problem is using a Jiffy-Pot. Jiffy pots are made of compressed peat moss and can be planted right into moist soil where they decompose and allow the passage of the root system through their walls. The second container should have a volume of at least three gallons. Marijuana doesn't like to have its roots bound or cramped for space, so always be sure that the container you use will be deep enough for your plant's root system.

It is very difficult to transplant a five-foot marijuana tree, so plan ahead. It is going to get bigger.

The small plants should be ready to transplant into their permanent homes in about two weeks. Keep a close watch on them after the first week or so and avoid root binding at all costs since the plants never seem to do as well once they have been stunted by the cramping of their roots.

Fertilizer

Marijuana likes lots of food, but you can do damage to the plants if you are too zealous. Some fertilizers can burn a plant and damage its roots if used in too high a concentration.

Most commercial soil will have enough nutrients in it to sustain the plant for about three weeks of growth so you don't need to worry about feeding your plant until the end of the third week.

The most important thing to remember is to introduce the fertilizer concentration to the plant gradually. Start with a fairly diluted fertilizer solution and gradually increase the dosage. There are many different hydroponic nutrients on the market. Choose your weapon.

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 warm 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.

Remember to increase the amount of food your plant receives gradually, they are growing.

Marijuana seems to be able to take as much fertilizer as you want to give it as long as it is introduced over a period of time. During the first three months or so, fertilize your plants every few days.

As the rate of foliage growth slows down in the plant's preparation for blooming and seed production, the fertilizer intake of the plant should be slowed down as well. Never fertilize the plant just before you are going to harvest it since the fertilizer will encourage foliage production and slow down resin production.

A word here about the most organic of fertilizers: worm castings. As you may know, worms are raised commercially for sale to gardeners. The breeders put the worms in organic compost mixtures and while the worms are reproducing they eat the organic matter and expel some of the best marijuana food around. After the worms have eaten all the organic matter in the compost, they are removed and sold and the remains are then sold as worm castings. These castings are so rich that you can grow marijuana in straight worm castings. This isn't really necessary however, and it is somewhat impractical since the castings are very expensive. If you can afford them you can, however, blend them in with your soil and they will make a very good organic fertilizer.

Light

Without light, the plants cannot grow. In the countries in which marijuana grows best, the sun is the source of light. The amount of light and the length of the growing season in these countries results in huge tree-like plants. In most parts of North America, however, the sun is not generally intense enough for long enough periods of time to produce the same size and quality of plants that grow with ease in Latin America and other tropical countries.

The answer to the problem of lack of sun, especially in the winter months, shortness of the growing season, and other problems is to grow indoor under simulated conditions. Grow hydroponics.

The rule of thumb seems to be the more light, the better. In one experiment we know of, eight eight-foot VHO Gro-Lux fixtures were used over eight plants. The plants grew at an astonishing rate. The lights had to be raised every day. There are many types of artificial light and all of them do different things to your plants. The common incandescent light bulb emits some of the frequencies of light the plant can use, but it also emits a high percentage of far red and infra-red light which cause the plant to concentrate its growth on the stem. This results in the plant stretching toward the light bulb until it becomes so tall and spindly that it just weakly topples over.

Choose a Good Bulb Brand

AgroSun GE Philips
CREE GeoBulb SunMaster
Eloofa Grolux SuperNova LED
envirolite Hortilux Sylvania

Understanding the types of light. Different Bulb Choices.

The incandescent plant spot light which emits higher amounts of red and blue light than the common light bulb. It is an improvement, but has it drawbacks. it is hot, for example, and cannot be placed close to the plants. Consequently, the plant has to stretch upwards again and is in danger of becoming elongated and falling over.

The red bands of light seem to encourage stem growth which is not desirable in growing marijuana. the idea is to encourage foliage growth for obvious reasons.

Gro-Lux lights are probably the most common fluorescent plant lights. In our experience with them, they have proven themselves to be extremely effective. They range in size from one to eight feet in length so you can set up a growing room in a closet or a warehouse. There are two types of Gro-Lux lights: The standard and the wide spectrum. They can be used in conjunction with on another, but the wide spectrum lights are not sufficient on their own.

Wide spectrum lights emit the same bands of light as the standard but the standard emit higher concentrations of red and blue bands that the plants need to grow. The wide spectrum lights also emit infra-red, the effect of which on stem growth we have already discussed. If you are planning to grow on a large scale, you might be interested to know that the regular fluorescent lamps and fixtures, the type that are used in commercial lighting, work well when used along with standard Gro- Lux lights. These commercial lights are called cool whites, and are the cheapest of the fluorescent lights we have mentioned. They emit as much blue light as the Gro-Lux standards and the blue light is what the plants use in foliage growth.

Now we come to the question of intensity. Both the standard and wide spectrum lamps come in three intensities: regular output, high output, and very high output. You can grow a nice crop of plants under the regular output lamps and probably be quite satisfied with our results. The difference in using the HO or VHO lamps is the time it takes to grow a crop. Under a VHO lamp, the plants grow at a rate that is about three times the rate at which they grow under the standard lamps. People have been known to get a plant that is four feet tall in two months under one of these lights. Under the VHO lights, one may have to raise the lights every day which means a growth rate of ate least two inches a day. The only drawback is the expense of the VHO lamps and fixtures. The VHO lamps and fixtures are almost twice the price of the standard. If you are interested in our opinion, they are well worth it. Now that you have your lights up, you might be curious about the amount of light to give you plants per day. The maturation date of your plants is dependent on how much light they receive per day. The longer the dark period per day, the sooner the plant will bloom. Generally speaking, the less dark per day the better during the first six months of the plant's life. The older the plant is before it blooms and goes to seed, the better the grass will be. After the plant is allowed to bloom, its metabolic rate is slowed so that the plant's quality does not increase with the age at the same rate it did before it bloomed. The idea, then, is to let the plant get as old as possible before allowing it to mature so that the potency will be a high as possible at the time of harvest. One relatively sure way to keep your plants from blooming until you are ready for them is to leave the lights on all the time. Occasionally a plant will go ahead and bloom anyway, but it is the exception rather than the rule. If your plants receive 12 hours of light per day they will probably mature in 2 to 2.5 months. If they get 16 hours of light per day they will probably be blooming in 3.5 to 4 months. With 18 hours of light per day, they will flower in 4.5 to 5 months. Its a good idea to put your lights on a timer to ensure that the amount of light received each day remains constant. A "vacation" timer, normally used to make it look like you are home while you are away, works nicely and can be found at most hardware or discount stores.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature for the light hours is 68 to 78 degrees fahrenheit and for the dark hours there should be about a 15 degree drop in temperature. The growing room should be relatively dry if possible. What you want is a resinous coating on the leaves and to get the plant to do this, you must convince it that it needs the resinous coating on its leaves to protect itself from drying out. In an extremely humid room, the plants develop wide leaves and do not produce as much resin. You must take care not to let the temperature in a dry room become too hot, however, since the plant cannot assimilate water fast enough through its roots and its foliage will begin to brown out.

Ventilation

The ideal temperature range is 70F 83F (21.1C 28.3C)

Proper ventilation in your growing room is fairly important. The more plants you have in one room, the more important good ventilation becomes. Plants breathe through their leaves. The also rid themselves of poisons through their leaves. If proper ventilation is not maintained, the pores of the leaves will become clogged and the leaves will die. If there is a free movement of air, the poisons can evaporate off the leaves and the plant can breathe and remain healthy.

In a small closet where there are only a few plants you can probably create enough air circulation just by opening the door to look at them. Although it is possible to grow healthy looking plants in poorly ventilated rooms, they would be larger and healthier if they had a fresh supply of air coming in. If you spend a lot of time in your growing room, your plants will grow better because they will be using the carbon dioxide that you are exhaling around them. It is sometimes quite difficult to get a fresh supply of air in to your growing room because your room is usually hidden away in a secret corner of your house, possibly in the attic or basement. In this case, a fan will create some movement of air. It will also stimulate your plants into growing a healthier and sturdier stalk. Often times in an indoor environment, the stems of plants fail to become rigid because they don't have to cope with elements of wind and rain. To a degree, though, this is an advantage because the plant puts most of its energy into producing leaves and resin instead of stems.

Dehumidifying Your Growing Room

Cannabis that grows in a hot, dry climate will have narrower leaves than cannabis grown in a humid atmosphere. The reason is that in a dry atmosphere the plant can respirate easier because the moisture on the leaves evaporates faster. In a humid atmosphere, the moisture cannot evaporate as fast. Consequently, the leaves have to be broader with more surface area in order to expel the wastes that the plant put out. Since the broad leaves produce less resin per leaf than the narrow there will be more resin in an ounce of narrow leaves than in one ounce of broad leaves. There may be more leaf mass in the broader leafed plants, but most people are growing their own for quality rather than quantity.

Since the resin in the marijuana plant serves the purpose of keeping the leaves from drying out, there is more apt to be a lot of resin produced in a dry room than in a humid one. In the Sears catalog, dehumidifiers cost around $100.00 and are therefore a bit impractical for the "hobby grower."

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