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Vokal's Beginner Grow Guide

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by Vokal420, May 14, 2005.

  1. :smoke: Vokal's Beginner Grow Guide<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shape id=_x0000_i1026 style="WIDTH: 18.75pt; HEIGHT: 18pt" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="">:smoke: <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\100230~1\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:href="http://forum.grasscity.com/images/smilies/smoking.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>

    (From Seed to Bud and Everything In-between)


    Introduction
    Alright well first off I have to thank all of those who took the time to help and teach me all the things that I have learned over the years. Although I am no expert or anything I know what it's like to be someone who is just starting out and not all of us have the time or patients to do all the research so I though I would try to give a little back to the City that helped me get on my feet. This will mainly cover Indoor Growing but the basics cover Outdoor Growing as well.<O:p</O:p

    Plan Your Grow<O:p</O:p
    Although this may not seem important to the new grower any experienced/repeat grower will tell you just how important it is to try and plan your grow as best you can. There are 6 Simple Questions you can ask yourself to help plan your grow.

    What is my Budget?
    What is my Grow Space Like?
    Is Security/Stealth and Issue?
    Hydro or Soil?
    Do I have Enough Time?
    Do I feel I Know Enough to Begin Growing?

    Once you take a bit of time and try to answer the questions above, you may not have answers to all of them so I'm going to take some time and try to explain not only the Plants Life/Development but also the basics about Grow Room Setup. So Sit back, Spark Up, and Enjoy!<O:p</O:p

    Grow Room Setup<O:p</O:p
    Grow room setups have huge variations depending on a lot of factors (budget, size, environmental conditions, etc) I'll try to cover the most common setups styles of beginners and first time growers (stealth and budget). The more desirable conditions for growing are temps in the 70-85F range, Humidity around 30-60%, and around an average minimum of 1 square for per plant. Also the space must be able to be dark for a minimum of 12 hours (this means no more light than giving off by the moon, preferable absolute dark).

    Stealth: These grows are usually the smallest since they need to be hidden and not obvious to the public (family, friends, etc). Although small a good stealth setup doesn't come cheap, a stealth grower will spend anywhere from around 50-300+ dollars getting things the way they want. Some of the major concerns when doing a stealth grow are:

    Light Leaks-any visible light escaping from inside the box. This can usually be fixed by weather stripping doors, Using black ABS elbows on ventilation holes inside the box (Black color absorbs light and 90 degree bend does not allow light to escape).

    Smell- the smell of a flowering plant can easily take over a room or even entire floors of a home, although air fresheners can be used they tend to just mask the odor which sometimes can overpower even the most powerful air freshener. Some easy ways to deal with this issue is to Seal all seams on the grow box and design your ventilation to create a negative pressure inside of the box. This means using an Active Exhaust (pulling air out of the box rather than pushing it in) this way smells will be easier to control as they will be brought to one location by the ventilation system for easy filtering. When it comes to filtering, Activated Carbon (used in fish filters and in some Air Wick Filters) is one of the most common filter materials. Depending on the flows and amount used on average it can last around 3 months of continuous use before you will need to replace it. These filters do not need to be bought, simple versions can be made to fit your situation using supplies that can be found around the house, your local hardware store, and a pet shop. The basic principal is to use mesh to contain the Activated Carbon in a box that is place after the ventilation system before it leaves the grow box. To improve the efficiency of this type of filter the larger the surface area the more air can come in contact with the Activated Carbon, this also helps to limit the air flow resistance which reduces the strain/size of ventilation system required. There is also the option of an Ozone Generator, but just like venting directly outdoors this is not always practical for the average stealth grower.

    Sound- though this is one of the more over looked aspects of stealth, the sound of the ventilation system running or pumps can be an easy give away of your grow. Vibration is one of the main causes of sound from pumps and fans so Isolation (suspended in mid air, or mounted with foam between it and the hard surface) can usually help to eliminate most of the sound issues. Also using sound deadening materials within the grow box can help lower noise levels. In cases of stealth soils grows tend to be more popular since no pumps are required.

    Heat- since stealth grows tend to be confined to smaller spaces heat from lighting systems usually builds up an can cause temps to rise dramatically compared to outside temps. For this reason it is very important that the ventilation system be well matched to the lighting system and size of the box. For ventilation purposes anything from PC Fans, to small blowers and squriel cage fans can be used, the important thing is that the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating be sufficient for your grow size. This can be calculated using the table below:
    For HPS/MH Lights, CFM Required = (LxWxH of your grow box) x 12
    For CFLs/Flourecents, CFM Required = (LxWxH of your grow box) x 6
    There is also the option of Air Cooling the Light/Reflector, this means flowing air directly over the bulbs/reflector and out of the box, therefore keeping temperatures surrounding light to remain lower.

    Lighting-stealth growers tend to stick to CFL or Lower Wattage HPS to help keep heat down and allow them to keep the lights closer to the plants. For the most part CFL also known as "compact fluorescent lights" or "energy saver bulbs" tend to be the choice of most beginning stealth growers. They are rather cheap, are easy to find at your local hardware store, come in a variety of wattage and also come in the Daylight (5400k, more blue spectrum of light) or the Warm White (2700k, more red spectrum) which allows the grower to tune his or her lighting to the stage of life of the plant. CFLs also put of much less heat than a HPS (high pressure sodium) light does and can be placed much closer to the plant without risk of burning the leaves. That being said they do have a lower penetration power (1-12 inches) than a HPS and if placed to close can/will burn the plant. As for how much CFL Light is required for healthy development and flowering a minimum of 40 watts per square foot is required but the general rule of thumb for CFLs is "The More the Better!". For those who use a HPS light in a stealth grow they usually run the lower wattage (70-150watt) lights. Since HPS produce a fair bit more amount of heat they do need to be kept father away from the plants or good ventilation is required. That being said HPS lights have a much better penetration power compared to CFLs and do have higher Lumens (the measure of light output) per bulb. Both can be used with and very similar results can be achieved from either light.

    Budget: The budget grower usually tends to use what they have available and or can get at local shops and hardware stores for 75 dollars or under. Most budget growers also tend to use the bare minimum equipment usually pushing funds towards lights and ventilation more than anything else.

    Lights- generally budget grows are done with CFLs, Regular Fluorescents or Lower wattage HPS lights. Usually the wattages run around 30-50 watts per square foot as a minimum for healthy plant development. CFLs again are the most popular since they are cheap and can be found at just about any store (Wal-mart, Home Depot, etc). Usually light leaks aren't much of a issue for budget growers, but ensure that the grow area during the dark cycle (flowering) when on the 12 hours of dark is at most the same as moon light outside.

    Ventilation: budget growers tend to use little to no ventilation and rather opt for more open grow areas. Some cheap sources of ventilation are PC fans, and regular desktop fans which can be run to provide airflow over the plants and help strengthen plant stems.<O:p</O:p
     
  2. Germination<O:p</O:p


    Alright well there are a lot of different methods used to germinate seeds, personally I've only used 3 and well with The Paper Towel Method, I've had a 100% success rate. I've also tried the Jiffy Pellets but only had a 50% rate with those. I have also tried the Water Method but had about 70% success rate.So I'm just going to explain The Paper Towel Method, since I think it's better and well just about as easy as can be. <O:p</O:p


    Paper Towel Method
    The first step is to get yourself either a Tupperware container or a plain old ceramic bowl (really anything can be used these are just some ideas). Next you need some paper towel, make sure it is paper towel not toilet paper or facial tissue. Ok so you now have a container and at least 2-3 sheets of paper towel. The first step is to take one paper towel and fold it so that you make it 2-4 layers thick, once you have done this place it into the bottom of the container. Now it's time for the water, for this you want clean pH adjusted water. For most the easiest way to do this is just to used bottled water (thought tap water should be ok but the pH may be off). Slowly pour water into onto the paper towel and tip it so the water flows and saturates the whole paper towel. You don't want a pool of water just enough so that the paper towel is dripping wet. If you are unsure just turn the container on it's side and wait till the water is coming out as drips. At this point place your seeds onto the folded wet paper towel, be sure to leave at least a half inch between the seeds. Once you have placed you seeds, grab another sheet of paper towel fold it into 2 layers and wet the same way as the other paper towels. Once wet lay it over the seeds, if you used a container with a lid put the lid on and place it in a warm dark place (on top of your computer monitor, or tower). If you used a bowl then place some saran wrap (cling film) over the top and poke a few holes, next place a saucer or plate on top to keep the light out. The purpose of all of this is to create a humid, warm and wet environment so that the seeds can begin to absorb the water and come to life. <O:p</O:p

    Now we play the waiting game, check on them every 12 hours or so to make sure the paper towel hasn't dried out. Seeds can take anywhere from 24-96 hours to show a tap root so be patient. The Tap Root is basically the first root of the plant, the shell of the see usually cracks and out comes a single white root. By watching this you can tell when your seeds are ready to be moved into the medium of your choice. Most growers wait till the tap root is anywhere from ¼ inch to 1 inch long, there is no real benefit or down side to any specific length (I've tired both and there were no difference in plant growth). <O:p></O:p>

    Water Method
    For this all you need is a glass or mug and some pH adjusted water (bottled works well) or distilled water. Next just fill your glass with the water and place your seeds in (just let them float on the surface).In this method, the grower places his/her seed(s) in a cup/mug of some sort, which is filled with warm water. I use a ceramic coffee cup - as it is a good conductor of heat - and I cover it with a ceramic plate (again, to prevent heat from escaping, as well as shield seeds from light). For best results, use water that is a bit warmer than room temperature (again, to compensate for any drop in temperature). It is normal for the seed(s) to float on the surface; just let it/them soak for a while then give it/them a little tap to make it/they sink (the best, most viable seeds will sink to the bottom). Although it is virtually impossible to over-soak seeds using this method, seeds should only be soaked until the taproot has emerged.<O:p</O:p

    Transplanting to Soil
    Since most first time growers tend to use soil as it gives a new grower more time to diagnose problems and correct them I'll explain the rest of the growing process using soil. When choosing a soil for your plants try to avoid any with “slow release” or any kind of fertilizer already in it. The reason for this is that these soils tend to develop hot spots (high concentrations of fertilizers in pockets). This can be very hard on a young plant, so it's best to go with plain potting soil or one of the many custom blends out there. Once your seeds have grown their tap roots, in your soil make a indent in the soil about ½ inch to an inch deep with your finger. Now without touching the tap root and being as gentile as you can place the seed and tap root into the hole with the tap root facing down. Once it's in there gently cover the seed with some soil, give the soil a light watering (enough so that the area around the seed is nice and moist). At this point I like to cover the top of the container with saran wrap (cling film) and punch a few holes in it. This keeps the humidity high, which helps at the early stages of life. At this point you don't have to place the little ones under lights but you can. If you do decide to place them under lights be sure it's a low intensity since when they break the surface they will be some what sensitive to harsh lights. Most growers use CFLs or Fluorescents at this point since they are easiest on the seedlings, though HID (HPS or MH can be used too). Once the seedlings break the surface by about half and inch the saran wrap can be removed. The first set of leaves the plant develops are usually small and oval shaped. These are called the cotyledons (sp?). At this point germination is complete and you are now ready to move onto the Vegetative stage of the Plants life.<O:p</O:p
     
  3. Vegetative Life
    <O:p</O:p

    Alright well I'm just going to cover the basics of the vegetative life of the plant, other wise well this guide would never end. I'll cover the basics of lighting, watering, fertilizer and basic grow styles/methods. The Vegetative state can last indefinitely, but remember when flowering the plant can double it's size so keep that in mind when deciding how long to veg the plant for.<O:p</O:p

    Lighting
    Alright well which type of light is up to you based on your grow room conditions but I will explain the light cycle for the vegetative state. There are two light cycles that can be used, the first being 24/0 which means the lights are on for 24 hours and off for 0 hours. This gives your plants the maximum time to processes the light and produce energy for it's self. The other option is 18/6 which means the lights are on for 18 hours and off for 6 hours. This cycle resembles nature a little closer and also has some power saving advantages. There is also the dark time when the plant can “rest”, for those worried about electrical use or are dealing with higher temps the 18/6 cycle can be set up so that the lights are off during the hottest time of day. Which one you use is really up to you, there hasn't been any true proof that any one is better than the other.<O:p</O:p

    <O:p</O:p
    Watering/Fertilizer
    For this I'm just going to stick with soil as every hydro grower/fertilizer maker has their own mixes and what not. When it comes to watering most new growers tend to over water their plants. For the beginning of the plants vegetative life the amount of water required will change as the plants size increases. The most basic way to tell when a plants soil needs water is to insert your finger down about and inch under the soil. If it is dry then the plant needs to be watered, if it is still moist then hold of watering. For the most part I tend to follow a routine for watering, I water lower amounts every 2 days. This allows for the soil to dry out (not completely) and oxygen exchange to easily occur. Also a stronger root structure is developed as the roots develop and spread in search of water since the soil dries. Remember root structure is directly related to plant matter, so healthy roots are important. For the first few weeks of a plants life No fertilizer is needed, once the plant reaches it's 3-5 node (nodes being the sub branch development) then fertilizer can be added. When choosing a fertilizer for the vegetative state look for something with an Even N-P-K ratio (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) or higher levels of nitrogen. Most basic fertilizers come in some ratio like 20-20-20 or ffice:smarttags" /><?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com /><st1:date Year=10-10-10</st1:date>, but there are many variations. When it comes to amounts of fertilizer, when giving the plant it's first applications use up to a max of ¼ the recommended strength it's says on the bottles. The reason for this is that most young plants are highly sensitive to over fertilization, for this reason it's best to start very low and over a period of time (say increase the dose slowly ever 2-3 waters until you reach no more than the recommended dose). If you see any browning of the lower leaves (not the cotyledons) from the outer tips inward that is a sign of over fertilization. If this is seen feed with plain water for the next watering and then gradually build up fertilizer levels again. Soil Moisture Meters are also a very cheap and effective way to keep the right amount of water in your plant. I highly discourage growers from using Self Watering pots (ones that use wick systems) As they tend to keep the soil fully saturated which causes lower oxygen levels in the soil and build ups of toxic salts.<O:p</O:p

    Grow Styles/Methods<O:p</O:p
    There are many styles of growing, I won't go into a great deal of detail about each but I will give you an idea of what each is and the basics, if you are interested in any specific you can research more information about it.<O:p</O:p

    <O:p</O:p<st1:placeType>Sea</st1:placeType> Of <st1:placeName>Green</st1:placeName></ST1:place> (SOG)- This method refers to growing many small plants in short cycles; each plant is given about 1 square foot and growing in at most 3 gallon containers. With this method growers go for single grow tips (call kola's) and flower the plant when it reaches around 1 foot in height. This is a no stress method of growing but a good lighting setup is a must.<O:p</O:p

    <O:p</O:p
    Screen of Green (SCROG)- This method refers to attaching a screen around 6-10 inches above the soil and as the branches grow up threw the screen the grower gently bends them back under. This allows the grower to keep an even canopy which allows for even light distribution. The result of this rather than 1 main grow tip from the plant anywhere from 10-100 are now possible, this also helps with uniform bud development when it comes harvest time. This has advantages for growers in smaller spaces since they can shape the plant however they want (flat screen, horizontal cylinder with lights inside, stadium style, etc). This also helps for growers who are using CFL or fluorescent lighting (due to low penetration power) they can keep things shorter and more spread out. <O:p></O:p>

    <O:p</O:p
    Low Stress Training (LST)- This refers to using string, paper clips, etc to apply gentle force on the sub branches of the plant. Therefore the grower can shape and allow light to get to all new growth, this is also helpful for growers with limited height as they can keep the plants short and fat rather. As some say this turn the plant more into a bush rather than a single kola plant. Plants usually recover within 12 hours of treatment and can be done an unlimited number of times.<O:p</O:p

    FIM/Topping: This refers to when the plant reaches it's 4-5 node the grower pinches off or trims the main grow tip. As a result of this the sub branches are given time to develop producing 4-8 grow tips rather than just one. Although this is one of the higher stress options it does work but does require a recovery time.<O:p</O:p
     
  4. Flowering<O:p</O:p

    <O:p</O:p

    Alright well once again I'm just going to cover the basics of the flowering life of the plant.. I'll cover the basics of lighting, fertilizer, THC development and timing of harvest. <O:p></O:p>

    Lighting
    When you decide it's time to flower your plant there is only one change that needs to be made in terms of lighting. This is that the light cycle needs to be change to 12/12 this mean 12 hours on and 12 hours off. During the off period the room the plants in needs to be in the dark (no more than moon light in a forest) though pitch black is best. A timer can help keep things constant (which is a must). For the 2-3 weeks of the plant being in the 12/12 light cycle it will tend to stretch, this means it will increase it's over all size by ½ to double it's size when entering flowering. It's a proven fact that the warm (more red) spectrum of light is better for flowering, but daylight still works. If you have the option most growers will change from the MH (blue) to the HPS (red) to help flowering development.<O:p</O:p

    <O:p</O:pFertilizer
    When beginning the flowering stage of a plants life the fertilizer used should be changed to help promote bud/fruit production and lower leaf/plant structure development. When looking for a flowering fertilizer you want something with a higher Potassium rating. So something like 15-30-15 would be perfect, though any ratio where the P value is higher than N will do. Usually the watering requirements of the plants increase as well, other than that deciding when to water is done the same way as in the vegetative state.<O:p></O:p>

    THC Development
    The amount of THC highly depends on the strain of the plant but there are a few things growers can do to help boost THC production. One is to allow the soil to dry out before watering again, since THC is produced to help reduce moisture loss threw plant material the plants tend to increase production in time of drought. Also when air flow it high plants create more THC for the same reason, so protect the plant from transpiration of water since there is high air flow over the plant. Most plants don't begin THC production until the stretch is over. Gradually you will see the resin glands develop around the buds and surrounding area. There are also many “bud boosters” which can be added to help promote THC production.<O:p</O:p

    Timing your Harvest
    There is no specific time that plants require for maximum bud production and potency. Each strain is different but there is one way to know when your plant is at it's prime. Using a magnifying glass (best is to use a jewelers loupe) you can actually see the heads on the end of the resin glands. The Resin glands usually start as clear and as they mature begin to go cloudy and then proceed to amber. If the plant is harvested when all tips are clear the high is usually under developed and much of it's potential is lost. If harvest when most are amber in color the high tends to be more of a couch-lock style high. As a general rule most growers will harvest when the gland tips appear milky with some amber (30-50% amber). At this point the plant as reached it's maximum potential and your are ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor!<O:p</O:p
     
  5. Harvesting and Curing

    <O:p</O:p

    So you successfully made it threw a grow, congrats but unfortunately your not done just yet. There are still a few steps left to cover. We have the chop/trim, the drying and last but not least the cure.<O:p</O:p

    Chop/Trim
    Alright so you decided it's time to harvest, first thing is too get your tools and space ready. Remember depending on the size and number of plants of the plant this can take anywhere from 1 hour to well 5+. Though I could explain this to you guys I really don't think I could do a better or more detailed job as Flick did so I'm not going to try and re-invent the wheel. Here's the Link:
    http://www.overgrow.com/article/23<O:p</O:p

    Drying<O:p</O:p
    So now that you have your bud all trimmed up it's time to dry it out, for this depending on how much you have this can be done a few ways. Most growers hang the bud, in this case the humidity is kept around 30-50% any more and your inviting mold, any less and well the bud may end up harsh. Temps of 70-78F and good airflow is also important and when possible try to dry in a dark place (as light degrades THC). The general rule of thumb for knowing when your bud is try is to bend the stems, if they make a “snapping” sound then your ready to cure or smoke, if they bend or flex then it needs more drying time.
    <O:p</O:p

    Curing
    Most growers cure their bud in glass canning jars as they have a good air tight seal, when curing your bud store it in a dark place and once a day just open the jar to allow for air exchange and help prevent mold. Curing can be done for months and as a general rule the longer the more smooth and potent the bud will become (well to an extent after more than 3 months you may want to look into other storage methods).<O:p</O:p
     
  6. Excellent job, Vokal...and man that is ALOT of typing :) You are now up to three scale clicks due from me when I able. A good all around read when stoned which is a pleasant enough way to pass a rainy day second only to lowering her top to make her spread more haha.
     
  7. lol...man you always crack me up (for those who don't get that joke see my journal)...yeah it was a lot of typing but should be helpful to some new growers...took me 4 good sessions to acutally sit down and get it all out...Anyway i have pics to go along with each section but they are on my desktop so I'll throw them up in a day or too...
     
  8. thanks for the excellent and in depth guide. helped me out a lot. Oh and vokal, I found out the reason my seeds weren't sprouting was because I planted them in too deep and i planted them with the taproot up.
    I now have them oriented the right way like in your guide and I am starting to seem some sprout.
    Thanks!
     
  9. thanks champ. well. now i can get started.. i cant belive u wrote all that.. thanks..
     
  10. wow, thanks a lot..now i can get started, best guide i have seen yet. pics would be nice;)
     
  11. go to marijuana.com they have a real grow guide they give detail on how much it would cost to run the lights . it gives full detail on germation growth harvest flowering and the members actually know what they are talking aboutthis is the worst site about pot there is no order here every body keeps asking the same dome question alittle search and youll find tons of info on growing your crop
     

  12. HIGH All, you just come here to diss The City?? What's your name over there I'd like to see what you've done over the years.
     
  13. Shot out to Vokal for doin the guide, its well written. Second this site is quite informative. If anything doony, you have a idiotic name and no this site is NOT in chaos. If you took the time to READ maybe you would LEARN something great.

    btw shot out to unoit for that bubble hash post that was some great reading :D
     
  14. I was told a 60w light wouldnt be able to properly light one plant? You are saying 30-50w is the minimum?
     
  15. a 30 - 50 watt light would be good for about the first 2 weeks of the plants life .. good for seedlings and clones as they dont like/need the intense light of a hps etc
     
  16. oooo.... could I use a 60w lamp for the timee being until I get something more potent? Im about 3 1/2 weeks into growing?
     
  17. errm i wouldnt like to say to be honest , dont want the responsibility of killing someone elses plant .. i done enough murdering of my own haha .. if its not all that cold atm then it should be ok till you get something sorted .. even if its a couple more of them 60 watters ... 3 or 4 of them should be ok .. im not saying they will produce masses amounts of bud but they should keep your plant going ...
    try making a thread as this is really a guide ..
     
  18. Kudos Vokal!!!!!

    Ive read a few guides, took the best from them and am trying to apply them to suit my needs.
    I must say your LST technique and prerequisite methods suit me best thus far..

    I look forward to my first bush and asking for help from the gurus here.

    Take care all and use a vaporizer then there is nothing bad at all about smoking. ;)



    Legalize and tax it already, then make alcohol illegal, dumb arse government!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  19. Great guide it helped a lot although I for some reason cant see the "LST method" when i click it my computer freezes. :( This is the easiest and most complete grow guide i have seen it covers everything nice work man.
     
  20. + rep great grow guide!
     
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