The Beginners Guide To Get You Started in Growing Cannabis
First is a list of items that are a must to have to start a grow. Ill list the items 1st then described them in detail later.
1. Viable seeds.
2. Medium to grow them in
7. Ph testing equipment
9. Odor & Odor Control
The 1st thing you need to start growing cannabis is of course SEEDS. Viable seeds should be dark in color w/ darker spots or stripes, & should have no cracks on them. Non-viable seeds will be light green to white in color & if they have cracks in the shell, most likely they are no good. For beginners it is a good idea to use “Bag Seed” for your 1st attempt at growing, why?, because: bag seeds are free, & if your grow fails or you encounter a lot of problems your not out any money spent on higher quality genetics, & gives you the experience to grow quality genetics next round. I do get people asking “What are “bag seeds” & where do I get them“? Well just like it sounds, bag seeds are seeds you find in a bag of weed you have bought, weather its schwagg or dank.
Viable seeds should look like these: dark w/ spots or stripes
Non-viable/immature seeds look like this: white or green, light in color. seeds in the right cup
2. Growing Mediums: Rock Wool Cubes, Jiffy Cubes, Soils (organic, or Non-Preferted Soils), Perlite & Vermiculite, & Hydroponics are the most common. Rock Wool & Jiffy Cubes are mainly used to start seeds in or used in hydroponic systems. If you plan to use soil to grow in, I suggest a organic soil, you do not want to use Pre-ferted soil mixes, as this can cause many problems down the road. Now depending on where you live & the access you have to stores, & your budget, you have many choices. Fox Farm Ocean Forest is probable the #1 used organic soil, Black Gold Natural Organic, Roots Organic, & Harvest Moon is another top quality soil to use if you can find it in your area or order online. For those who have limited access to soils, I recommend Garden Safe Natural Organic, & Miracle Gro Organic, Kelloggs Organic, & Jungle Growth (but look for their organic line), Earths Finest Organic (@ houston garden center) which can be found at most of your local home improvement /garden centers. Ive only been able to find Lime (for soil) at Ace Hard Ware, besides online. Or of course you could always make your own soil mix. When growing in soil its recommended to add 20-25% perlite to your soil mix for extra drainage & O2 retention, & 1Tbsp of lime per gallon of soil to help maintain a correct Ph. Next you could grow “Hempy Style”, which is using the medium perlite & vermiculite to grow in “Hempy Buckets“, using them in a 4:1 ratio, 4 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite. Next is hydroponics, pretty self explanatory, but a little on the advanced side of growing.
For soil grows you want your soils ph to be between 6.3-7.0 (this is where a ph testing kit is needed, a digital ph meter is recommended). To measure your soils ph, you check the “runoff” water. To get a good reading & to flush out any old fert salts, always water till you get 30% runoff, eg: 1 gal in, 1/3rd gal runoff. This is the water that drains out of the bottom of the pot, & will tell you your soils ph. Optimum soil ph is 6.5-6.8, but letting it drift between the correct range will allow for optimal nutrient uptake. You adjust your soils ph by adjusting your plants water ph. Eg: if soil ph is too low, use a higher watering ph & vise versa. A good water ph should be around 6.5-6.8 IF the soils ph is in the correct range. Never add ferts/nutes to your soil if the ph is out of range, correct the ph 1st, then start/restart your ferts/nutes. Improper ph will cause nutrient lockout & stunted growth & unhealthy plants. Hempy grows ph should be around 6.2. Hydroponics ph range needs to be between 5.5-6.1, with 5.8 ph is optimal, & also letting the ph drift between the correct range will give you the best nutrient uptake.
Ph Nutrient Chart:
3. Lights: The rule of thumb is 50-100 watts per plant or a minimum of 3500-5000 lumens at maturity (about 2wks old). There are 2 main type of lights to grow with besides sunlight, & they are: HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights, which come in 4 major types: Metal Halide (MH) & High Pressure Sodium (HPS), Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH), & Hybrid - Dual Arc, which are MH & HPS in one bulb. MH lights are used for the vegetation cycle (if u can find & afford it, look for 6500k & 5500k “daylight” MH bulbs) & HPS are used for the flowering cycle, all though HPS can be used for the entire grow cycle. The 2nd type of light to use is fluorescent lighting, weather it’s the tube type or the screw in type also know as CFL (compact fluorescent light), keep your fluorescent lighting between 2-4“ away from plants. Also when buying CFL's you want to look at the actual watts NOT equivalent watts, eg: 15w CFL (actual) = 60w incandecent (equivalent). CFL's also can be found as clamp lights, you can use Y spliters to double your lighting off 1 socket. This is where you need to pay the most attention to when buying fluorescent lights. Plants photosynthesis happens best at the color spectrum 6500k & 5500k for vegetation cycle & 2700k & 2200k for flowering cycle. When buying fluorescent lighting you want to look for these #’s on the package also known as Kelvin. 6500k & 5500k can be called “full spectrum or daylight” bulbs & 2700k are called “warm white” bulbs, 2100k is found in HPS bulbs, not fluorescent lighting.
Notice the spikes at 6500k, 5500k & 2700k & 2200k.
Good lighting links: How Light is Measured & Lighting Spectrum and Photosythesis & All About Lighting & Getting the Most From your Lights
4. Pots & Containers: The rule of thumb is 1 gallon pot per foot of plant, eg: 2ft tall plant = 2 gallon pot. It is recommended to start your seeds/plants in small pots/containers & work up to bigger pots as the plants grow. Starting in small pots (Party Cups are common) & working up as the plant grows allows the roots to fill up the pot/container & use up all the soils nutrients & space will help prevent voids in the soil, & bigger root balls/mass = bigger yields. Keep in mind that once a plant is put into flower they can double or triple in size, so keep that in mind when doing your final transplant. Container size for hydroponics is related to the method of hydroponic growing, & # of plants.
5. Ventilation: This includes air movement, exhaust & intake fans. Air movement in the grow room is important for many reasons. You want preferable a oscillating fan blowing on your plants & lights to help keep them cool, & for the plants it helps to strengthen their stems & overall health. Exhaust & intake fans are used to keep the environment in the grow room & optimal levels, by exchanging out the old O2 for fresh CO2 & to cool down lights.
6. Thermometer/Hydrometer: These are necessary so you can help control your grow rooms environment. For the vegetation cycle optimal temperatures & humidity levels are: 75-78F (lights on) & 5-10 degrees lower when lights off, & 50-70% RH. For Flowering the optimal temperatures are 75-78F during early flowering, & 80-83F for mid-late flowering to help stimulate trich production, & The RH for flowering needs to be around 40%, & lower as you near harvest.
7. Ph testing equipment: This is a must have item if you want to grow nice healthy plants. There are several different kinds of ph testing kits out there, but if plan to continue to grow you need to invest in a DIGITAL ph meter. Meters can run between 15$ to several 100$. Youll also need some ph up & down to regulate the proper ph of your grow. You can buy ph up/down which is recommended, of for quick household fixes, one could use for ph up: baking soda, & for ph down: lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or distilled vinegar. If your ph is way off & you cant correct it, it is suggested to "flush" your plants with plain ph'd water 3 times the amount of pot size, eg: 2gal pot = 6gal flush, to flush/remove any salt build-up in the soil. I also reccomend if your flushing to correct ph & removing salt build up, to use 1/4 strength ph'd fertilizer on the last flushing.
8. Nutrients/Supplements: Again this will have to do with your budget & access to these items. If your using 1 of the above mentioned soils you shouldn’t need any fertilizers till week 3-4 of grow. For the vegetation cycle you want a Vegetation/all purpose fert with a N-P-K like 20-20-20 or 6-2-4. You want the NPK values to be equal or close to equal, & in vegetation you want the N & K levels higher or equal to P. In the flowering cycle you want a Bloom/Flowering fert with a N-P-K value like 15-30-15, or 5-15-10, where the N values is always lower than P &K, & you want your P values the highest or equal to K. Some good recommended Nutrient Companies: Advanced Nutrients, Fox Farm, General Hydroponics, to name a few. Some lesser quality but more available Fertilizers are: Miracle Gro All Purpose & Peters All Purpose (both come in bloom versions too), but you’ll need to supplement Epsom salt (1tsp per gal) with those to ferts because they lack the micro nute Mg or Magnesium. A really cheap, easy, & good quality Nutrient program is the “Lucas Formula” (google it). Start your ferts out at a low dose of ¼ strength & work up slowly feeding every other watering. A recommended supplement to use is “Superthrive”, I would also recommend some kind of rooting stimulant & growth stimulant.
9. Odor & Odor Control: For some growers this is a concern. Odor problems can be solved using many methods, but a carbon filter/scrubber will eliminate 99% of the cannabis smell. Other products do work, but not as good, or as good for tiny grows. Ona Gel works good, Ozium, & Ozone Generators are good too. Ive found that unsalted garlic powder covers the smell pretty well, as well as boxes of dryer sheets placed in warm areas in the grow room work to mask the smell too.
10. Watering: When to water your plants. When they are new sprouts I keep the medium moist at all times for the 1st week or two. After the plant/s are established, water when the top 2-3" of soil is dry, by sticking your finger in the soil. Another way is to do the Pot/Container weight test; this is done by "feeling" how heavy or light the pot/container is. To do this, water your plants till you get 30% runoff, then "feel" how heavy the pot/container is, then as days pass & you notice that it might be time to water, "feel" how light the pot/container is, if it is as light as when you 1st planted & filled pot/container its time to water. In general youll need to water about every 3-4 days, but this also depends on the medium, & growing environment, & other factors. You can buy a soil moisture meter from HomeDepot, Lowes, etc for around 5-10$. Always water till you get a 30% runoff, this will help prevent salt build-ups in the soil, & will insure all the soil gets wet. You also need to collect this 30% runoff water to test its Ph, which will tell you your soils Ph.
This should get you started in the right direction to growing great cannabis, for further questions, go here: http://forum.grassci...wered-here.html
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Edited by jcj77d, 15 April 2010 - 07:32 PM.