— Posted by MrKaniff on 5:36 pm on April 3, 2002
Hi, I am gonna grow some weed. Im wondering what should I use to grow it in. I dont wanna grow like a fucking chemist or shit. I just want to grow some weed. and thats that. So I was thinking would a small sized fishtank, with the inside covered in foil and a florescent light bulb on the underneath of the lid. Would this be sufficent? ..I dont know. Like I said, I am no chemist. I am looking to just grow as m’fucking quick as I can and smoke all this shit..fo’ real.
And please. no dumb ass remarks or shit and I dont wanna go and pay for some HID light or whatever..cheers.
— Posted by exhas1 on 12:29 am on April 4, 2002
Hey ill buy some heres how u do it first grow in a pot with fertillozer, then when 3 to 4 feet tall put out side in good healthy soil and mabye some fertilizer not shit from a cow or any thing theo then just grown on from there.
— Posted by MadScYenTiST on 7:45 am on April 5, 2002
dude i got something for u to hel p u out
ndoors & Outdoors – A constant harvest strategy
One of the best solutions to energy verses output for most home gardeners is to use outdoor light for flowering and use continuous light indoors for germination and vegetative growth. This will take advantage of the natural light/dark cycle and cut your energy use in half compared to the same operation indoors. A small greenhouse can be built of Filon fiberglass or PVC sheets that is innocuous and looks much like a storage shed or tool shed so it’s not likely to raise suspicions.
In fact, a large shed of metal or plywood can be modified with a luminous roof of PVC, glass, fiberglass or plastic sheet, and some strains that do not require a great deal of light will grow well. Such a shed will discourage fly-by sightings and keep your business your own! It also allows you to keep out rats and gophers, keeps out the neighbor kids, and can be easily locked up. It will also give you an opportunity to actually plant in the ground if you desire, and this is the best way to avoid root-bound plants (if you’re not using hydroponics), and get bigger harvests.
In winter, indoor space is used to start new seedlings or cuttings to be placed outside in the spring, using natural sunlight to ripen the plants. This routine will provide at least 3 outdoor/greenhouse harvests per year. If more space is available to constantly be starting indoors and flowering 2nd harvest plants outdoors, harvests are possible every 60 days in many areas, with a small indoor harvest in the winter as a possibility as well.
The basic strategy of year round production is to understand the plant has two growth cycles. At germination the plant enters into a vegetative state and will be able to use all the continuous light you can give it. This means there is no dark cycle required. The plant will photosynthesis constantly and grow faster than it would outdoors with long evenings. Photosynthesis stops during dark periods and the plant uses sugars produced to build during the evening. This is not a requirement and the plant will grow faster at this stage with continuous photosynthesis (constant light).
Once the plant is 12-18″ tall, weather permitting, it can be forced to start flowering by placing it outside in the Spring or Fall. (For Summer outdoor flowering, the night must be artificially lengthened in the greenhouse to “force” the plants to flower. See the FLOWERING section)
Moving the plants to 10-13 hour light periods (moving it outside) with uninterrupted darkness (no bright lights nearby) will force the plant to flower. It will ripen and be 2-3′ when ready to harvest. When a plant is moved from continuous indoor light to a 10-13 hour day outside, it will start to flower in anticipation of oncoming winter. Vegetative starts moved outside March 1st, will be ripe by May 1. Vegetative starts moved outside on May 1 will be ripe by July 1. Starts moved outside Sept 1 are picked by Nov. 1st. In Winter, operations are moved indoors and a crop is planted for seed in anticipation of planting outdoors the next summer, or just for some extra winter stash.
Keep in mind that the “man” is looking for plants in the Sept./Oct./Nov. time-frame, and may never notice plants placed outside to flower in April. Be smart, make your big harvest in May, not October!
A small indoor space should be found that can be used to germinate seeds; these vegetative starts are placed outside to mature in the spring after last freezes are over. The space can be a closet, a section of a bedroom, a basement area, an attic or unused bathroom. Some people devote entire bedrooms to growing.
The space must be light leak proofed, so that no suspicious light is seen from outside the house. This could invite fuzz or rip-offs.
The space should be vented. Opening the door of a closet can be enough ventilation if the space is not lit by big lights that generate a lot of heat. Separate exhaust and incoming air vents are best. One at the top of the room to exhaust air into the attic or out the roof, and one to bring in air from an outside wall or under-floor crawl space. Use fans from old computer cabinets, available from electronic liquidators for $5 each. Dimmer switches can be used to regulate the speed/noise of the fans. Use silicon to secure the fans to 4-6″ PVC pipe pushed thru a round hole cut in the floor and ceilings. Use lots of silicon to damp the fans vibrations, so that the walls do not resonate to the fans’ ocsilations.
Line the walls with aluminum foil, dull side out to diffuse the light and prevent hot-spots, or paint the walls bright white to reflect light. Aluminized mylar, 1 mil thick is best.($20 for 25 feet of a 4′ wide roll.) Mirrors are not good to use, since the glass eats light!
Line the floor with plastic in case of water spills, etc. Set up a voltage interrupt socket and be sure the electrical wiring will handle the lamps your going to use. Always place ballasts for HID lamps on a shelf, so they are above floor level, in case of water spills. Spacers place on the floor under a ballast will work too.
A shelf above the main grow area can be used to clone cuttings and germinate seedlings. It will allow you to double the area of your grow space and is an invaluable storage area for plant food, spray bottles and other gardening supplies. This area stays very warm, and no germination warming pad will be needed, so this arrangement saves you $.
Hang a light proof curtain to separate this shelf from the main area when used for flowering. This will allow constant lights on the shelf and dark periods in the main grow area. Velcro can be used to keep the curtain in place and ties can be used to roll it up when tending the garden. Black vinyl with white backing works best.
Now you need light. A couple of shop lights will be fine if you just want to start plants inside and then take them outside to grow in a small greenhouse. They can be purchased with bulbs for about $10 each, or without bulbs for around $8. Try to find them on sale. Use one Cool White and one Warm Light type bulb in each to get the best light spectrum possible for plant growth. Do not use expensive Grow Lux type bulbs, as they do not put out as much light, and therefore do not work as well in most situations (go figure). If Cool White is all you can find, or afford, use them. They work fine, and are by far the cheapest.(About $1-2 each.)
Shelf gardening with fluorescents may be the trend of the future, since the materials are so inexpensive, and easy to obtain. Fluorescent lamps are great for shelf gardening. In this system, many shelves can be placed, one above the other, and fluorescent lamps are used on each shelf. Some shelves have 24 hour lighting, some have 12 hour lighting (for flowering). Two areas are best, perhaps with one other devoted to cloning and germination of seed.
Shelf gardening assumes your going to keep all plants 3′ or shorter at maturity, so all shelves are 3-4 feet apart. Less light is necessary when you have plants that are this short and forced to mature early.
One drawback to a shelf garden like this is that it is very time consuming to adjust the lamp height every day, and it is harder to take a vacation for even a week with no tending of the garden. This applies mostly to the vegetative stage, when plants are growing as much as an inch per day. Lamps on the flowering shelves are not adjusted nearly as often.
Normally, the lamps should be kept within 2 inches of the tops of the plants, with the plants arranged such that they get progressively taller as the end of the lamps go up, so that all plants are within this 2″ range. This is an ideal however, and if you do go on vacation, adjust the lamps so that your sure the plants will not be able to grow up to the lamps within that length of time. If enough fluorescents are used to completely saturate the shelf with light, the spacing issue will not create spindly plants. They will merely grow a little slower if the lamps are not very close to them.
An alternative is to use fluorescent lamps for cloning, germination and early seedling growth on the top shelf of a closet, then switch over to HPS for heavy vegetative growth and/or flowering in the main closet area.
Position the HPS such that it won’t need adjustment, at the top most possible point in the closet or room. Most HPS installations will not require lamp height adjustment. Just attach the lamp to the underside of shelf or ceiling as high as possible, and if you want to get a few plants closer to it, put them on a temporary shelf, box or table to get them closer to the lamp.
A shelf is all that is necessary with this type of setup, preferably at least 18″ wide, up to about 24″ maximum. This area must be painted a very bright white, or covered with aluminum foil, dull side out to reflect light back to the plants. (Dull side out prevents hot-spots; diffuses light better.) Paint the shelf white too. Or, use aluminized mylar, a space blanket, or any silvery surface material. Do not use mirrors, as the glass soaks up light.
Hang shop lamps from chains and make sure you can adjust them with hooks or some other type of mechanism so they can be kept as close to the plants as possible at all times (1-2″). If the lamps are too far from the plants, the plants could grow long, spindly stems trying to reach the lamp, and will not produce as much bud at maturity. This is due to internode length being much longer. This is the length of stem between each set of leaves. If it is shorter, there can be more internodes, thus more branches, thus a plant that provides more buds in less space at harvest time.
Shelf gardening is sometimes referred to as Sea of Green, because many plants are grown close together, creating a green canopy of tops that are grown and matured quickly, and the next crop is started and growing concurrently in a separate area of continuous light. Clones are raised in a constant light shelf, until they start to grow well vegetatively, then placed on a 12 hour per day shelf to flower.
Indoors, 2000 lumens per sq. ft. is about as low as you want to go indoors. If you get under this mark, plant growth will certainly not go as fast as possible, and internode/stem length will increase. Also, light distance to plants will be much more critical. Daily adjustments to the lamps will be necessary, meaning you get no vacations.
2500 lumens psf should be a good target, and 3000 is optimal if your going to inject or enrich CO2 levels (more on that later).
High Intensity Discharge lamps are the best solution for most indoor growers. HID lamps come in 3 basic flavors: High Pressure Sodium (HPS), Metal Halide (MH) and Mercury Vapor. Metal Halide is an improved spectrum, higher intensity Mercury Vapor design. HPS is a yellowish sort of light, maybe a bit pink or orange. Same as some street lamps.
HPS lamps can be used to grow a crop from start to finish. Tests show that the HPS crop will mature 1 week later than a similar crop under MH, but it will be a bigger yield, so it’s better to wait the extra week.
The easiest HID to buy, and least expensive initially are the fluorescent and mercury vapor lamps. MV will put out about 8000 lumens per 175 watts, and 150 watts of HPS puts out about 15k lumens, so HPS is almost twice as efficient. But the color spectrum from MV lamp output is not as good. HPS is high in reds, which works well for flowering, while the Metal Halide is rich in blues, needed for the best vegetative growth. Unfortunately, MV lamps provide the worst spectrum for plant growth, but are very inexpensive to purchase. They are not recommended, unless you find them free, and even then, the electricity/efficiency issues outweigh the initial costs saved.
400 watt HPS will output around 45k lumens. For every 500 watts of continuous use, you use about $20 a month in electricity, so it is evident that a lamp taking half the power to output the same lumens (or twice the lumens at the same power level) will pay for itself in a year or so, and from then on, continuous savings will be reaped. This is a simple initial cost vs. operating costs calculation, and does not take into account the faster growth and increased yield the HPS lamp will give you, due to more light being available. If this is factored into the calculation the HPS lamp will pay for itself with the first crop, when compared to MV or fluorescent lamps, since it is easily twice as efficient and grows flowers faster and bigger.
Lamp TypeWattsLumens/bulbTotal efficiency
Fluorescent Bulb40300030k lumens
Mercury Vapor175800020k lumens
Metal Halide4003600036k lumens
High P. Sodium4004500045k lumens
Notice the Mercury Vapor lamps are less efficient than the fluorescent (FL), and can not be positioned as close to the plants, so the plants will not be able to use as much of the MV light. The light distribution is not as good either. MV lamps simply are not suitable for indoor gardening. Use fluorescent, MH, or HPS lamps only. Halogen arc lamps generate too much heat and not very much light for the wattage they use, and are also not recommenced, even though the light spectrum is suitable for decent growth.
There is a new type of HPS lamp called Son Agro, and it is available in a 250, 1000, and 400 watt range. The 400 is actually 430 watts; they have added 30 watts of blue to this bulb. It is a very bright lamp (53k lumens) and is made for greenhouse use. These bulbs can be purchased to replace normal HPS bulbs, so they are an option if you already own a HPS lamp. The beauty of this bulb is that you do not give up most of the advantages of MH lamps, such as minimal internode spacing and early maturation, like most HPS users do, and you have all advantages of a HPS lamp. One bulb does it all.
Internodal length of plants grown with the Son Agro are the shortest ever seen with any type of lamp. Plants grown under this lamp are incredibly bushy, compact and grow very fast. Son Agro bulbs however, do not last as long as normal HPS bulbs. There is something like a 25% difference in bulb life.
Metal Halide (MH) is another option, and is available in both a 36k and 40k lumen bulbs for the 400 watt size. The Super Bulb (40k) is about $10-15 more, and provides an extra 4000 lumens. I think the Super Bulb may last longer; if so, that makes it the way to go. Halide light is more blue and better than straight HPS for vegetative growth, but is much less efficient than HPS. It is possible to purchase conversion bulbs for a MH lamp that convert it to HPS, but the cost of the conversion bulb is more expensive than the color corrected Son Agro bulb, so I would recommend just buying the Son Agro HPS. Even though it costs more initially, you get more for your energy dollar later, and it’s much easier to hang than 10 fluorescent tubes.
If you have a MH 36k lumen lamp burning at 400 watts and a 53k lumen HPS burning at 430 watts, which is better efficiency wise? Which will provide a better yield? Obviously, the Son Agro HPS, but of course, the initial cost is higher. Actually, the ballast will add about 10% to these wattage numbers.
The Son Agro bulb will prove much better than the MH for any purpose. The MH bulb does not last as long, but is cheaper. Compare $36 for a 400 watt MH bulb vs. $40 for the HPS bulb. Add $15 for the Son Agro HPS. The HPS bulb life is twice as long. 10k hours vs. 21k hours. The Son Agro is 16k hours or so. Still, longer bulb life and more light add up to more for your energy dollar long term.
Horizontal mounting of any HID is a good idea, as this will boost by 30% the amount of light that actually reaches the plants. Most HID’s sold for indoor garden use these days are of this horizontal mounting arrangement.
HPS is much less expensive to operate than any other type of lamp, but comes in the 70 watt size at the home improvement stores. This size is not very efficient, but blows away FL in efficiency, so they might be an alternative to FL for very small operations, like 9 sq. feet or less. Over 9 sqr. feet, you need more light than one of these lamps can provide, but you could use two of them. 70 watt HPS lamps cost about $40 each, complete. Two lamps would be 140 watts putting out about 12k lumens, so it’s better than FL, but a 150 watt HPS puts out about 18k lumens, the bulb life is longer, bulbs are cheaper and the lamp more efficient to operate. The biggest problem is that the mid size lamps like the 150 and 250 watt HPS are almost as expensive to buy as the larger 400’s. For this reason, if you have room for the larger lamp, buy the 400. If your going pro, a 1080 watt model is available too, but you might find there is better light distribution from two 400’s rather than one large lamp. Of course, the two smaller lamps are more expensive to purchase than one large lamp, so most people choose the larger lamp for bigger operations.
Heat buildup in the room is a factor with HID lamps, and just how much light the plants can use is determined by temperature, CO2 levels, nutrient availability, PH, and other factors. Too big of a lamp for a space will make constant venting necessary, and then there is no way to enrich CO2, since it’s getting blown out of the room right away.
Bulb Costs: the bulb cost on the 70 watt HPS is $24, the 150 is only $30, and the 400 is only $40. So you will spend more to replace two 70 watt bulbs than you will to replace one 400 watt HPS. (Go figure.) Add that up with the lower resale value on the 70’s (practically nothing) and the fact that they are being modified and are not suited to this application, and it becomes evident that $189 for a 250 HPS lamp, or $219 for a 400, might just be worth the price. Keep in mind that for $30 more, you can have the larger lamp (400watt) and it puts out 20k lumens more light than the smaller lamp. Not a bad deal!
Here is the breakdown on prices (from memory):
Type Complete Cost Bulb Cost Bulb Life Lumens
HPS 400$219$4018k hours 50k
MH 400$175$3710k hours 36k
Son Agro400$235$5515k hours 53k
Super MH400$190$45?? 40k
MH 250$149$32?? 21k
HPS 250$165$36?? 27k
HPS agro250$180$53?? 30k
MH 150$139$25?? 14k
HPS 175 $150$30?? 17k
If your looking for these types of lamps, look in the Yellow Pages under gardening, nurseries, and lighting for indoor gardening stores in your area.
Sea of Green
Sea of Green (SOG) is the theory of harvesting lots of small plants, matured early to get the fastest production of buds available. Instead of growing a few plants for a longer period of time, in the same space many smaller plants are grown that mature faster and in less time. Thus, less time is required between crops. This is important to you when the electricity bill comes each month. One crop can be started while another is maturing, and a continuous harvest, year round can be maintained. 4 plants per square foot will be a good start for seedlings. 1 plant per square foot will allow plenty of room for each plant to grow a large top cola, but will not allow for much bottom branching. This is OK since indoors, these bottom branches are always shaded anyway, and will not grow very well unless given additional light and space. The indoor grower quickly realizes that plants that are too tall do not produce enough at the bottom to make the extra growing time used worth while. An exception to this rule would be if it is intended the plants are to go outside at some point, and it is expected that the light/shading issue will not be a factor at that point.
The plants, if started at the same time, should create what is called a “green canopy” that traps most of the light at the top level of the plants. Little light will penetrate below this level, since the plants are so close together. The gardener is attempting to concentrate on the top of the plant, and use the light and space to the best advantage, in as little time as possible. Use of nylon poultry fence or similar trellising laid out over the green canopy will support the plants as they start to droop under the weight of heavy fruiting tops. Stakes can be used too, but are not as easy to install for plants in the middle and back of the room, where reach is more difficult.
It’s easy to want big plants, since they will produce more yield per plant, but it’s usually better with limited space to grow smaller plants that mature faster and pack into smaller spaces. Sea of Green was developed in Holland. Instead of fitting 4 large plants in that small room, fit 12 small ones on a shelf above 12 other small plants. These plants take only 3-4 months to mature from germination to ripe buds, and harvesting takes place constantly, since there is both a vegetative and flowering area devoted to each, with harvests every 45-60 days.
It’s not the size of the plant, but the maturity and quality of the product that counts. Twice as many plants grown half as big will fill the grow space twice as fast, so harvests take place almost twice as often. Get good at picking early flowering plants, and propagate only those that are of the best quality.
6″ square containers will allow for 4 plants per square foot. You may also gauge by the size of your growing tray (for passive hydroponics); I like kitty litter boxes. ($3 each at Target) Planted 4 per square foot, (for vegetative seedlings) a 12 sq. ft. closet will hold 48 seedlings on one shelf. In my case, I use 4″ rockwool cubes that fit into kitty litter pans @ 12 cubes per pan. I can get 5 pans onto a 12 sq. ft. closet upper shelf, so that is 60 seedlings on one small shelf!
For flowering indoors, 1 plant per sq. ft. is a good rule of thumb for SOG. If less plants are grown in this size space, it will take them longer to fill the space, thus more electricity and time will be used to create the same amount of product. If more than one plant p.s.f. is attempted, the grower will soon find that plants thus crowded tend to be more stem than bud, and the total harvest may be reduced, so be cautious.
It’s good to avoid “topping” your plants if you want them to grow as fast as possible. It’s better just to grow 2 or 4 times more plants, since they will produce more, faster, in the same space. Also, “training” plants with twist-ties is a great way to get them to bush out a bit. Just take any type of plastic or paper twist tie and wrap it around the top of the plant, then pull it over until the top is bent over 90-180 degrees and then attach this to the main stem lower on the plant. Do this for one week and then release the plant from it’s bond. The plant can be trained in this fashion to take less vertical space and to grow bushier, to fill the grow space and force lower limbs to grow upward and join the green canopy. This technique takes advantage of the fact that if the top is pulled over, it creates a hormonal condition in the plant that makes it bush out at all lower internodes.
Sea of Green entails growing to harvest the main cola (top) of the plant. Bottom branches are trimmed to increase air flow under the “blanket” of growing tops. Use these cuttings for clones, as they are the easiest part of the plant to root. It’s also the fastest part of the plant to regenerate after flowering has occurred.
Germinate seeds in sterile soil (for planting outdoors) or a hydroponic medium of rockwool or vermiculite. DO NOT (!) use a Jiffy cube #7 to germinate seeds. Informal tests and experience show these peat cubes do not work well and stunt the plants growth. Planting in vermiculite gives the seedling so much oxygen, and are so easy for roots to grow in, that the plants look large 1 week after germination!
Keep them moist at all times, by placing seeds in vermiculite filled 16oz cups with holes in the bottom, placed in a tray of weak nutrient solution, high in P. Rockwool cubes also work extremely well. When the seed sprouts, place the rockwool cubes into larger rockwool cubes. No repotting or transplanting, and no soil mixing!
You can germinate seeds in a paper towel. This method is tricky; it’s easy to ruin roots if they dry out, or are planted too late after germinating. Paper towels dry out REAL FAST! Place paper towel in a bowl, saturated with weak nutrient solution (not too much!), and cover with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Put bowl in a warm area; top of the gas stove, water heater closet, or above warm lamps. Cover with black paper to keep out light. Check every 12 hours and plant germinated seeds with the grow tip up (if possible) in a growing medium as soon as the root coming out of the seed is 1/16″ or longer. Use tweezers, and don’t touch the root tip.
Transplant as little as possible by germinating in the same container you intend to grow the plant in for a significant period of time. Just plant in vermiculite or rockwool. You will be amazed at the results! 90% germination is common with this method, as compared to 50% or less with Jiffy Cubes. (Your mileage may vary.)
5-55-17 plant food such as Peter’s Professional will stimulate root growth of the germinating seed and the new seedlings. Use a very dilute solution, in distilled water, about 1/3 normal strength, and keep temperatures between 72-80 degrees. Warm temperatures are very important. Many growers experience low germination rate if the temperatures are out of this range. A heating pad set to low or medium may be necessary, or a shelf constantly warmed by a light may do, but test it with a few seeds first, before devoting next years crop to it. No light is necessary and may slow germination. Cover germinating seeds with black paper to keep out light. Place seedlings in the light once they sprout.
Plan on transplanting only once or twice before harvest. Use the biggest containers possible for the space and number of seedlings you plan to start. Plants will suffer if continuously transplanted and delay harvesting. You will suffer too, from too much work! 13 2-liter plastic soda bottles filled with vermiculite/pearlite will fit in a cat box tray, and will not require transplanting for the first harvest, if you intend to grow hydroponically. Transplant them for a second regenerated harvest.
Cut holes in the bottom of containers and fill the last few inches at the top with vermiculite only, to start seeds or accept seedling transplants. Since vermiculite holds water well, wicks water well, but does not hold too much water, roots always have lots of oxygen, even if they are sitting in a tray full of water. A hydrogen peroxide based plant food is used to get extra oxygen to the plants when the pans are kept continuously full. The water can be allowed to recede each time after watering, before new solution is added. This allows the plants roots to dry somewhat, and make sure they are getting enough oxygen.
Use SuperSoil brand potting soil, as it is excellent and sterilized. If you insist on using dirt from the yard, sterilize it in the microwave or oven until it gets steamy.(NOT RECOMMENDED) Sterilize the containers with a bleach solution, especially if they have been used a previous season for another plant.
Once sprouted, the plant starts vegetative growth. This means the plant will be photosynthesizing as much as possible to grow tall and start many grow tips at each pair of leaves. A grow tip is the part that can be cloned or propagated asexually. They are located at the top of the plant, and every major internode. If you “top” the plant, it then has two grow tips at the top. If you top each of these, you will have 4 grow tips at the top of the plant. (Since it takes time for the plant to heal and recover from the trauma of being pruned, it faster to grow 4 smaller plants and not top them at all. Or grow 2 plants, and “train” them to fill the same space. Most growers find)
All plants have a vegetative stage where they are growing as fast as possible after the plant first germinates from seed. It is possible to grow plants with no dark period, and increase the speed at which they grow by 15-30&. Plants can be grown vegetatively indefinitely. It is up to the gardener to decide when to force the plant to flower. A plant can grow from 12″ to 12′ before being forced to flower, so there is a lot of latitude here for each gardener to manage the garden based on goals and space available.
A solution of 20-20-20 with trace minerals is used for both hydroponic and soil gardening when growing continuously under lights. Miracle Grow Patio or RapidGrow plant food is good for this. A high P plant food such as Peter’s 5-50-17 food is used for blooming and fruiting plants when beginning 12 hour days. Epsom salts (1tsp) should be used in the solution for magnesium and sulfur minerals. Trace minerals are needed too, if your food does not include them. Miracle Grow Patio includes these trace elements, and is highly recommended.
Keep lights on continuously for sprouts, since they require no darkness period like older plants. You will not need a timer unless you want to keep the lamps off during a certain time each day. Try to light the plants for 18 or more hours, or continuously at this point.
Bend a young plant’s stem back and forth to force it to be very thick and strong. Spindly stems can not support heavy flowering growth. An internal oscillating fan will reduce humidity on the leave’s stomata and improve the stem strength as well. The importance of internal air circulation can not be stressed enough. It will excersize the plants and make them grow stronger, while reducing many hazards that could ruin your crop.
HYDROPONIC VEGETATIVE SOLUTION, per gallon:
Miracle Grow Patio (contains trace elements) 1 teaspoon
Epsom salts 1/2 teaspoon
Human Urine (OPTIONAL – may create odors indoors.) 1/4 cup
Oxygen Plus Plant Food (OPTIONAL) 1 teaspoon
This mixture will insure your plants are getting all major and minor nutrients in solution, and will also be treating your plants with oxygen for good root growth, and potassium nitrate for good burning qualities. Another good GROWTH PHASE mix is 1/4 tsp Peter’s 20/20/20 fertilizer per gallon of water, with trace elements and oxygen added, or fish emulsion. Fish emulsion is great in the greenhouse or outdoors, where smells are not an issue, but is not recommended for indoors, due to its strong odor.
The the plant will be induced to fruit or flower with dark cycles of 11-13 hours that simulate the oncoming winter in the fall as the days grow shorter. As a consequence, it works out well indoors to have two separate areas; one that is used for the initial vegetative state and one that is used for flowering and fruiting. There is no other requirement other than to keep the dark cycle for flowering very dark with no light interruptions, as this can stall flowering by days or weeks.
Once a plant is big enough to mature (12″ or over), dark periods are required for most plants to flower and bear fruit. This will require putting the lamp on a timer, to create regular and strict dark periods of uninterrupted light. In the greenhouse, the same effect can be created in the Summer (long days) by covering it with a blanket to make longer night periods. A strict schedule of covering the plants at 8pm and uncovering them at 8am for 2 weeks will start your plants to flowering. After the first 2 weeks, the schedule can be relaxed a little, but it will still be necessary to continue this routine for the plants to completely flower without reverting back to vegetative growth.
Outdoors, Spring and Fall, the nights are sufficiently long to induce flowering at all times. Merely bring the plants from indoors to the outside at these times, and the plants will flower naturally. In late Summer, with Fall approaching, it may be necessary only to force flowering the first two weeks, then the rapidly lengthening nights will do the rest.
Give flowering plants high P plant food and keep them on a strict light regimen of 12 hours, with no light, or no more than a full moon during the dark cycle. 13 hours light, 11 dark may increase flower size while still allowing the plant to go into the flowering mode. Use longer dark periods to speed maturity toward the end of the flowering cycle if speed is of the essence. (8-10 days) This will however, reduce total yield.
Two shelves can be used, one identical to the other, if strictly indoor gardening is desired. One shelf’s lights are set for 12-13 hours, and one is lit continuously. Plants are started in continuous light, and are moved to the other shelf to flower to maturity after several weeks. This flowering shelf should be bigger than the “starting” or “vegetative” shelf, so that it can accommodate larger plants. Or, some plants can be taken outside if there is not enough space on the flowering shelf for all of them near harvesting.
A light tight curtain can be made from black vinyl, or other opaque material, with a reflective material on the other side to reflect light back to the plants. This curtain can be tied with cord when rolled up to work on the garden, and can be velcroed down in place to make sure no light leaks in or out. If the shelf is placed up high, it will not be very noticeable, and will fit in any room. Visitors will never notice it unless you point it out to them, since it is above eye level, and no light is being emitted from it.
Flowering plants like very high P level foods, such as 5-50-17, but 10-20-10 should be adequate. Nutrients should be provided with each watering when first flowering.
Trace elements are necessary too; try to find foods that include these, so you don’t have to use a separate trace element food too. Home improvement centers sell trace element solutions rich in iron for lawn deficiencies, and these can be adapted for use in cultivating the herb. Prices for these mass produced fertilizers are significantly cheaper than the specialized hydroponic fertilizers sold in indoor gardening shops, and seem to work just fine.
HYDROPONIC FLOWERING SOLUTION, per gallon:
1 tspn high P plant food, such as 15-30-15, or 5-50-17, etc.
1/2 tspn epsom salts
1 tspn Oxygen Plus Plant Food (Optional)
1 tspn Trace Element food
I cannot stress enough that during the FLOWERING PHASE, the dark period should not be violated by normal light. It delays flower development due to hormones in the plant that react to light. If you must work on the plants during this time, allow only as much light as a VERY pale moon can provide for less than 5 minutes. Keep pruning to a minimum during the entire FLOWERING PHASE.
A green light can be used to work on the garden during the dark period with no negative reactions from the plants. These are sold as nursery safety lights, but any green bulb should be OK. It is best to keep the dark hours a time when you would normally not wish to visit the garden. Personally, I like my garden lit from 7pm to 7am, since it allows me to visit the garden at night after work and in the morning before work, and all day long, while I’m too busy to worry about it, it lies unlit and undisturbed, flowering away…
Flowering plants should not be sprayed often as this will promote mold and rot. Keep humidity levels down indoors when flowering, as this is the most delicate time for the plants in this regard.
Early flowering is noticed 1-2 weeks after turning back the lights to 12 hour days. Look for 2 white hairs emerging from a small bulbous area at every internode. This is the easiest way to verify females early on. You can not tell a male from a female by height, or bushiness.
3-6 weeks after turning back the lights, your plants will be covered with these white pistils emerging from every growtip on the plant. It will literally be covered with them. These are the mature flowers, as they continue to grow and cover the plant. Some plants will do this indefinitely until the lights are turned back yet again. At the point you feel your ready to see the existing flowers become ripe ( you feel the plant has enough flowers), turn the lights back to 8-10 hours. Now the plant will start to ripen quickly, and should be ready to harvest in 2-3 weeks. The alternative, is to allow the plant to ripen with whatever natural day length is available outside, or keep the plants on a constant 12 hour regimen for the entire flowering process, which may increase yield, but takes longer.
Plants can be flowered in the final stages outdoors, even if the days are too long for normal flowering to occur. Once the plant has almost reached peak floral development, it is too far gone to revert quickly to vegetative growth, and final flowering will occur regardless. This will free up precious indoor space sooner, for the next batch of clones to be flowered.
Look for the white hairs to turn red, orange or brown, and the false seed pods ( you did pull the males, right?) to swell with resins. When most of the pistils have turned color (~80%), the flowers are ripe to harvest.
Don’t touch those buds! Touch only the large fan leaves if you want to inspect the buds, as the THC will come off on your fingers and reduce the overall yield if mishandled.
Most growers report that a hydroponic system will grow plants faster than a soil medium, given the same genetics and environmental conditions. This may be due to closer attention and more control of nutrients, and more access to oxygen. The plants can breath easier, and therefore, take less time to grow. One report has it that plants started in soil matured after hydroponic plants started 2 weeks later!
Fast growth allows for earlier maturation and shorter total growing time per crop. Also, with soil mixtures, plant growth tends to slow when the plants become root-bound. Hydroponics provides even, rapid growth with no pauses for transplant shock and eliminates the labor/materials of repotting if rockwool is used. (Highly recommended!)
By far the easiest hydroponic systems to use are the wick and reservoir systems. These are referred to as Passive Hydroponic methods, because they require no water distribution system on an active scale (pump, drain, flow meter and path). The basis of these systems is that water will wick to where you want it if the medium and conditions are correct.
The wick system is more involved than the reservoir system, since the wicks must be cut and placed in the pots, correct holes must be cut in the pots, and a spacer must be created to place the plants up above the water reservoir below. This can be as simple as two buckets, one fit inside the other, or a kiddie pool with bricks in it that the pots rest on, elevating them out of the nutrient solution.
I find the wick setup to be more work than the reservoir system. Initial setup is a pain with wicks, and the plants sit higher in the room, taking up precious vertical space. The base the pot sits on may not be very stable compared to a reservoir system, and a knocked over plant will never be the same as an untouched plant, due to stress and shock in recovery.
The reservoir system needs only a good medium suited to the task, and a pan to sit a pot in. If rockwool slabs are used, a half slab of 12″ rockwool fits perfectly into a kitty litter pan. The roots spread out in very desirable horizontal fashion and have a lot of room to grow. Plants grown in this manner are very robust because they get a great deal of oxygen at the roots. Plants grown with reservoir hydroponics grow at about the same rate as wicks or other active hydroponic methods, with much less effort required, since it is by far the simplest of hydroponic methods. Plants can be watered and feed by merely pouring solution into the reservoir every few days. The pans take up very little vertical space and are easy to handle and move around.
In a traditional hydroponic method, pots are filled with lava/ vermiculite mix of 4 to 1. Dolite Lime is added, one Tblspn. per gallon of growing medium. This medium will wick and store water, but has excellent drainage and air storage capacity as well. It is however, not very reusable, as it is difficult to recapture and sterilize after harvest. Use small size lava, 3/8″ pea size, and rinse the dust off it, over and over, until most of it is gone. Wet the vermiculite (dangerous dry, wear a mask) and mix into pots. Square pots hold more than round. Vermiculite will settle to bottom after repeated watering from the top, so only water from the top occasionally to leach any mineral deposits, and put more vermiculite on the top than the bottom. Punch holes in the bottom of the pots, and add water to the pan. It will be wicked up to the roots and the plants will have all they need to flourish.
The reservoir is filled with 1 1/2 – 3 inches of water and allowed to recede between waterings. When possible, use less solution and water more often, to pull more oxygen to the roots faster over time. If you go away on vacation, simply fill the reservoirs full to the top, and the plants will be watered for 2 weeks at least.
One really great hydroponic medium is Oasis floral foam. Stick lots of holes into it to open it up a little, and start plants/clones in it, moving the cube of foam to rockwool later for larger growth stages. Many prefer floral foam, as it is inert, and adds no PH factors. It’s expensive though, and tends to crumble easily. I’m also not sure it’s very reusable, but it seems to be a popular item at the indoor gardening centers.
Planting can be made easier with hydroponic mediums that require little setup such as rockwool. Rockwool cubes can be reused several times, and are premade to use for hydroponics. Some advantages of rockwool are that it is impossible to over water and there is no transplanting. Just place the plant’s cube on top of a larger rockwool cube and enjoy your extra leisure time.
Some find it best to save money by not buying rockwool and spending time planting in soil or hydroponic mediums such as vermiculite/lava mix. Pearlite is nice, since it is so light. Pearlite can be used instead of or in addition to lava, which must be rinsed and is much heavier.
But rockwool has many advantages that are not appreciated until you spend hours repotting; take a second look. It is not very expensive, and it is reusable. It’s more stable than floral foam, which crunches and powders easily. Rockwool holds 10 times more water than soil, yet is impossible to over-water, because it always retains a high percentage of air. Best of all, there is no transplanting; just place a starter cube into a rockwool grow cube, and when the plant gets very large, place that cube on a rockwool slab. Since rockwool is easily reused over and over, the cost is divided by 3 or 4 crops, and ends up costing no more than vermiculite and lava, which is much more difficult to reclaim, sterilize and reuse (repot) when compared to rockwool. Vermiculite is also very dangerous when dry, and ends up getting in the carpet and into the air when you touch it (even wet), since it dries on the fingers and becomes airborne. For this reason, I do not recommend vermiculite indoors.
Rockwool’s disadvantages are relatively few. It is alkaline PH, so you must use something in the nutrient solution to make it acidic (5.5) so that it brings the rockwool down from 7.7, to 6.5 (vinegar works great.) And it is irritating to the skin when dry, but is not a problem when wet.
To pre-treat rockwool for planting, soak it in a solution of fish emulsion, trace mineral solution and phosphoresic acid (PH Down) for 24 hours, then rinse. This will decrease the need for PH worries later on, as it buffers the rockwool PH to be fairly neutral.
Hydroponics should be used indoors or in greenhouses to speed the growth of plants, so you have more bud in less time. Hydroponics allows you to water the plants daily, and this will speed growth. The main difference between hydroponics and soil growing is that the hydroponic soil or “medium” is made to hold moisture, but drain well, so that there are no over-watering problems associated with continuous watering. Also, hydroponically grown plants do not derive nutrients from soil, but from the solution used to water the plants. Hydroponics reduces worries about mineral buildup in soil, and lack of oxygen to suffocating roots, so leaching is usually not necessary with hydroponics.
Hydroponics allows you to use smaller containers for the same given size plant, when compared to growing in soil. A 3/4 gallon pot can easily take a small hydroponically grown plant to maturity. This would be difficult to do in soil, since nutrients are soon used up and roots become cut-off from oxygen as they become root-bound in soil. This problem does not seem to occur nearly as quickly for hydroponic plants, since the roots can still take up nutrients from the constant solution feedings, and the medium passes on oxygen much more readily when the roots become bound in the small container.
Plant food is administered with most waterings, and allows the gardener to strictly control what nutrients are available to the plants at the different stages of plant growth. Watering can be automated to some degree with simple and cheap drip system apparatus, so take advantage of this when possible.
Hydroponics will hasten growing time, so it takes less time to harvest after planting. It makes sense to use simple passive hydroponic techniques when possible. Hydroponics may not be desirable if your growing outdoors, unless you have a greenhouse.
CAUTION: it is necessary keep close watch of plants to be sure they are never allowed to dry too much when growing hydroponically, or roots will be damaged. If you will not be able to tend to the garden every day, be sure the pans are filled enough to last until next time you return, or you can easily lose your crop.
More traditional hydroponic methods (active) are not discussed here. I don’t see any point in making it more difficult than it needs to be. It is necessary to change the solution every month if your circulating it with a pump, but the reservoir system does away with this problem. Just rinse the medium once a month or so to prevent salts build up by watering from the top of the pot or rockwool cube with pure water. Change plant foods often to avoid deficiencies in the plants. I recommend using 2 different plant foods for each phase of growth, or 4 foods total, to lessen chances of any type of deficiency.
Change the solution more often if you notice the PH is going down quickly (too acid). Due to cationic exchange, solution will tend to get too acid over time, and this will cause nutrients to become unavailable to the plants. Check PH of the medium every time you water to be sure no PH issues are occurring.
Algae will tend to grow on the medium with higher humidities in hydroponics. It will turn a slab of rockwool dark green. To prevent this, use the plastic cover the rockwool came in to cover rockwool slab tops, with holes cut for the plants to stick out of it. It’s easy to cut a packaged slab of rockwool into two pieces, then cut the end of the plastic off each piece. You now have two pieces of slab, each covered with plastic except on the very ends. Now cut 2 or 3 4″ square holes in the top to place cubes on it, and place each piece in a clean litter pan. Now your ready to treat the rockwool as described above in anticipation of planting.
If growing in pots, a layer of gravel at the top of a pot may help reduce algae growth, since it will dry very quickly. Algae is merely messy and unsightly; it will not actually cause any complications with the plants.
Use pots made from squarish containers such as plastic water jugs, etc. More plants will fit in less space and have more rooting area if square containers are used. This makes your garden a recycling center, and saves you tons of money.
2-liter soda bottles work great, but are not square. 13 will fit in a kitty litter box, and these will take a 3 foot plant to maturity hydroponically. If you can get 4 litter boxes in a closet, you can grow 52 plants like this vegetatively. Spread them out more for flowering.
Old buckets, plastic 3-5 gallon containers (food and paint industries, try painters’ and restaurant dumpsters), paper paint buckets, old plastic garbage cans of all sizes, and garbage bags have all been used successfully by growers.
Do not use paper milk cartons and juice cartons for reservoir hydroponics, since these are difficult to sterilize, and they introduce fungus into your reservoir trays. Inert materials, such as plastic is best.
Be sure to sterilize all containers before each planting with a chlorine bleach solution of 2 tbspn. of bleach to one gallon of water. Let container and medium such as rockwool soak for several hours in the solution before rinsing thoroughly.
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. Chipmunks 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 use soil if you don’t have a green house, since hydroponics will be less reliable outside in the 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 you will have to pack water in. Water is heavy and this is very hard work. Try to find an area close to a source of water if possible, and keep a bucket nearby to carry water to your plot.
A novel idea in this regard is to find high water in the mountains, at altitude, and then route it down to a lower spot close by. It is possible to create water pressure in a hose this way, and route it to a drip system that feeds 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 defense 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 chipmunks, squirrels 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.
— Posted by MrKaniff on 7:33 pm on April 5, 2002
Hey , you sound like you know your shit man..respect …:O) but I dont wanna build a shed man..I wanna just grow this shit ofr myself..thats all. cant i grow this shit in like a small fish tank? a pot? something very small? also how long does it take to grow a small amount for myself?
I read your post, and DAMN!…you supply the world?..pahaha joking..anyway, cheers brothers.
— Posted by MadScYenTiST on 7:57 pm on April 5, 2002
im from jersey it grow time 4 me ryte now
yea as long as u kn keep it by a window or some were out side
smokin homegrown ryte now