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Ask the Angry Grower

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Have a question or just feel like aggravating the Angry Grower? Ask your question in the comments below and see if he bites!

Angry Grower started growing in a hollowed-out stereo speaker at the early age of 16. The experience of growing his own buds flowered into a love for the cannabis plant and seeded his resentment for society.

Over the next 15 years, the Angry Grower was a recluse from civilization but mastered the art of growing cannabis. He quickly advanced from farm hand to trimmer to finally heading multiple greenhouse and commercial grows.

Most notably he became the Master Grower of a 2-acre outdoor and 40,000 sq. ft. indoor grow facility in Oregon. He managed a team of 15 while expanding the farm’s operations by more than 30%! He also improved global branding and increased the overall quality and plant yield.

In spite of his growing badassery, the staff turned on him and ran him out of Oregon, coining him, the “Angry Grower”. Finding his way to NUGL he now answers grow questions for NUGL’s growing community.

Don’t be afraid… ask your question in the comments below!

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Growing Tips

4 Simple Steps to Grow Marijuana

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Written By: Mian Azhar

After the signing of the Farm Bill in 2018, cannabis became a rage across the US. To date, if you sift through any local smoke shop, you will eventually come across cannabis being sold in different qualities. So when you decide on growing your cannabis, this is a choice that you will not regret later. Because of the growing popularity of cannabis, more people are taking an interest in harvesting this crop. Secondly, because growing cannabis is lots of fun, many people are taking the risk of growing it in their backyard. Here, we have compiled a few steps through which you can grow your cannabis plant:

1.      Choose Your Cannabis Seeds

If you want to grow high-quality buds, it is imperative for you to choose high quality, top-notch cannabis seeds. When looking for particular cannabis seeds, you will be guided through a vast array of options. For example, If you visit an online website, you will be guided through Sativa, ruderalis, and indica. Such strains are available at a single click, which is why you can purchase them from a well reputable vendor easily. Not to forget, the quality of your seeds will have an impact on the outcome.

2.      Know the Fundamentals

If you are growing cannabis yourself for the first time, it is imperative for you to know every requirement of this plant. The first and most obvious thing to consider is lighting. Keep in mind. Cannabis is not like a conventional plant because it requires a lot of light to grow fast. So if you want to grow this plant in the greenhouse, make sure to place it right in front of the sun. Secondly, if you want to ensure quick growth, you must incorporate heat lamps inside. This way, it will be easier for you to monitor the growth of the plant.

3.      Nutrients

A cannabis plant would grow well if it provided the perfect nutrients. Like every other living plant, cannabis, too, requires all the essential nutrients for good growth. For this to happen, you need to be sure about the quality of the soil. Good soil is one that is rich in compost, vitamins, living organisms, and minerals. If the quality of your home soil isn’t top-notch, you can purchase nutrient-rich soil from the market. Luckily good quality soil for cannabis plants is available at an affordable price in the market. Make sure to carry your license; otherwise, the state authorities might hound you.

4.      The Vegetative Phase

Cannabis takes time to grow, so don’t panic if the growth process is small as compared to other plants. Make sure that the plant is exposed to massive sunlight because it serves as the main food. Secondly, you need to be sure that the plant isn’t placed in a position where it is not receiving an abundance of oxygen. Plants need plenty of air to grow fast; otherwise, you can’t expect the results to be worthwhile. If you want to grow several cannabis plants, you can use small pots for that to happen.

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Home Growing

Things to Know About Growing Marijuana At Home

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Written By: Mian Azhar

If you are living in one of the few lucky states that say that you can grow marijuana at home, I can’t stress how lucky you are. When the idea of growing marijuana at my own home crossed my mind, I thought it was impossible to do. My mind was riddled by a lot of questions, and I overcomplicated things a lot. During that time, I constantly wished that there was someone who could help me figure out how to do it. So, in this article, I am going to state four things that you need to know about growing marijuana at home so that I can tell you how easy it actually is.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

The first thing that you need to understand is that the more you complicate things, the harder it will get. Most people think that they have achieved a very big feat by growing their own weed. But, when you look at it on paper, the process is rather simple. You just have to follow a set of rules and know a few basic things. The internet is a blessing for anyone trying to grow his own weed, and if you have any questions like understanding weed measurements, you can simply hop on to I love growing marijuana and get answers.

More Nutrients Doesn’t Necessarily Mean More Buds

Some people think that the more they feed their weed, the more buds they are going to get. Where I understand that it is very tempting to give your plants the best stuff in the market, you need to know that cannabis only needs a few basic nutrients to thrive and survive. You don’t have to go over the top with anything and only make sure that your plants get a good environment, basic nutrients, and care for it to grow perfectly.

Pick the Perfect Strain for Yourself

One of the most important decisions that you have to make as a weed grower is to pick a strain that suits your needs. Being able to make these decisions give you a lot of power on the final effects of the weed. You need to select a strain that suits you and provide the perfect growing conditions to it so that it can thrive. For example, if you want an easy extract, you can go for a good strain like Northern Lights that don’t require much attention and can be harvested in a few months.

Get Every Piece of Advice You Can Get

Lastly, you need to understand that you will get better at growing weed with practice. If you try to learn everything from scratch yourself, you will not get too far. It is better than you get help from experienced growers who have spent some time growing it. Most experienced growers share their experience online, and you can look for different blogs and articles on the subject so that you keep up with their knowledge.

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Growing Tips

Male vs Female Cannabis Seeds, Which One to Buy?

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Written By: Tracy Gomez

The gender of a cannabis plant is essential for growers to determine which plant is to keep and which one needs to let go. Female marijuana plants are the only gender that produces buds. Male seeds are considered unusable because they don’t grow flowers; that is why growers prefer female plants.

Buying feminized cannabis seed online is accessible for breeders and growers across the world. It can cost you extra to get this type of seeds from established vendors. Regular seeds produce 50% female and 50% male, which means half of your cultivated cannabis is good for nothing.

With the two critical stages of a cannabis plant’s life, vegetative and flowering stage, you can quickly determine the plant’s gender around six weeks when it starts to show preflower signs. It’s a crucial part of cultivation for growers as it helps you identify the male from the female marijuana plants.

Why Growers Prefer Female Cannabis Seeds

Growers and breeders prefer female plants as it produces buds. Male plants don’t produce buds, which is why they are unusable for growers. Growers preferred to keep female plants. Buying from a reputable and trustworthy vendor or seed bank is essential. You can purchase feminized seeds from legit vendors, or you can find seeds here, all guaranteed high-quality, and comes from excellent genetics at an affordable price. Please take note that it’s essential to purchase your cannabis seeds only from established suppliers known from years of quality products and excellent customer experience.

After six weeks of cultivation, your cannabis plant will start to show preflowers signs which enable a grower to determine the gender of the marijuana plant.

There are some instances where a plant displays two parts, also known as hermaphrodites. In these cases, you will need to wait until your plant switches from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. With the 12-12 scheduled light, the cannabis plant will reveal its gender.

The flowering stage enables you to see how the female plant grows flowers, and the male produces pollen sacs, which won’t be useful for growers.

Female cannabis produces flowers that contain an excellent THC amount. Male plants produce pollen sacs used to fertilize your female plants. Unless you want seeds, you can keep the male plants. However, if not, better to cut them off. Otherwise, your female plants will produce seeds instead of flowers.

Cannabis growers are vigilant when it comes to the cannabis plant gender to prevent male pollen sacs from impregnating female buds and decreasing the flowers it produces.

When Does Your Marijuana Plant Reveal Its Gender

Traditionally, you can identify the gender of your cannabis plant at around three to six weeks from seeds. The preflower stage enables growers to reveal gender and decide if they will need to remove male plants right away.

In some instances that you cannot identify the gender of your plant, you will need to wait for the flowering stage but have to be vigilant at the same time. Otherwise, all your effort will be put to nothing if your male plants fertilize your female plants, causing them to produce seeds instead of flowers.

How To Choose And Cultivate Female Seeds

Dedicated growers purchase feminized seeds as this yields to 100% female plants. Feminized cannabis seeds came from intensive breeding of two female plants to produce only female seeds.

It’s a guaranteed process of cultivating pure female marijuana seeds without second-guessing and checking your plants during the pre flower stage, whether there are male plants that will be needed to be removed.

Conclusion

You can purchase feminized cannabis seeds from reputable vendors or trusted seed banks online. Since growers prefer female seeds that produce flowers or buds, breeders cross the boundaries and simplify cultivating experience.

With online seedbanks that produce feminized seeds from famous strains, you’ll have a complete guarantee that your cannabis plants will produce buds like how you want it.

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Growing Tips

3 Secrets to Growing Top-Quality Hemp

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If you are interested in growing hemp, then chances are you already know about the basics. However, we are going to dig a bit deeper today and glimpse a few secrets. These can be the key to growing top-quality hemp seeds, which can be used to grow the best CBD products.

Never Go for Mixed Seeds

A mixed bag of seeds will always be a cheaper option, with the lure of getting a few seeds of the widest variety a significant attraction for amateur growers. Unfortunately, that is very rarely how it turns out. Instead, you can expect most of those seeds to be from a weak strain, and they probably won’t even qualify through the legal standards set in terms of THC percentage allowance in hemp plants. Some may not even germinate!

To avoid wasting your money and time, do not buy unmarked mixed seed bags, at least not when it comes to hemp. Besides, legal hemp standards violations can also land you in a lot of trouble with the police. It’s better to rely on a quality hemp seed supplier that has made a name for themselves in the market, even if you have to pay more.

The Entourage Effect

It might sound like a misplaced term in hemp farming, and one wouldn’t be wrong to think so either! However, this term’s meaning holds a lot of importance for hemp farmers, CBD manufacturers, and their customers. It describes the synergy that exists between each part of the hemp plant, and in the way that synergy affects our CNS. The Minny Grown blog is a good resource to learn more about the entourage effect, and how the secret is used by them to manufacture top-shelf CBD products.

The Impact of Light Intensity

Of course, it’s not exactly a secret that hemp grows well in dry, warm, and sunny climates, but there is more to it than that. Dig a little deeper, and you will find the following tidbits about growing high-quality hemp seeds.

Hemp requires significant heat and sunlight exposure, and in artificial environments, those conditions must be maintained to ensure proper growth.

  • Excess heat will kill the plant in no time as well, so try to maintain a temperature between 77° and 86°F during the day
  • 63°-64.5°F is the ideal nighttime temperature
  • The difference is necessary to keep if you are growing your plants indoors
  • Depending on the strain of hemp that you are cultivating, the perfect temperatures may vary

Those that get these aspects right throughout the lifecycle of their hemp cultivation are the ones that gain access to the best hemp seeds. However, CBD from organically grown and harvested hemp is almost always going to be of superior quality. Tests have shown that Midwestern US states have the best weather conditions, soil, and ecosystem for growing organic hemp. The seeds that come from CBD plants grown in Minnesota are among the best in the world.

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Growing Tips

Make the Most of Your Crop

The Angry Grower has new techniques to improve the yield of your plants.

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Depending on your willingness to try new techniques along with a little ingenuity, there’s a number of ways that you can vastly improve the yield of a plant. There are many methods to maximize the amount of light that your plant receives as well as pruning techniques. Here’s a few of my favorites 

Super Cropping 

This high stress training method should be done within one to two weeks before flowering.   Basically your goal is to break up the tissues inside the stem while being gentle enough to not damage the outer skin. 

First pinch the stem gently while slightly rolling it back and forth between your fingers. Gradually increase the pressure enough to feel the inner tissue break up. Now use your other hand to gently pull the stem in the direction you want to bend it, creating a 90 degree angle. 

Your first few attempts might be rough but don’t let it be discouraging. Just take your time and don’t be afraid to break a stem or two while perfecting this method.

Low Stress Training 

LST is accomplished by gently bending the stems away from the middle of the plant, creating a wide and flat shape. LST is also a great way to control the height of your plant, if you happen to have low ceilings.

While your plant is in veg, gently pull a stem away from the center of the plant and tie it down. Now pull a different stem in the opposite direction and tie it down. Repeat this process throughout your veg, creating a wide and flat plant. This allows for your plant to get much more light coverage which promotes more colas. Avoid this method in the later stages to prevent breaking the woodier stems.

Topping

This method involves removing the newest node on the main stem. Doing this causes the plant to split into two main stems while simultaneously encouraging it to grow more wide and bushy. 

Simply pinch the top node of the main stem with your thumb and index nails, removing the node while leaving the attached leaf intact. Perfecting this throughout your veg will greatly impact your overall yield while allowing you to control the overall height of your garden.

Lollipopping 

This pruning method not only improves the size and density of your colas, it also saves you the headache of attempting to harvest a ton of tiny, airy buds. By simply removing the lower and smaller branches, the average size and density of your colas should drastically improve.

While still in veg, start cleaning up the bottoms of your plant. Removing any stems that seem small or incapable of receiving light. I recommend doing this over a number of days to prevent over stressing the plant. When done incorrectly, the plant will be focused on healing instead of growing. So make sure to do your pruning with care and patience, until you feel confident. Allow at least a week before flowering, to ensure the plant has bounced back with new growth.

Now that you have a few new  tools in your arsenal, play around and do some tests of your own. Don’t be afraid to use more than one of these methods at a time while you figure out what works best for your garden. Just remember to listen to your plants. They’ll always let you know if they’re happy or not.

Have a question or just feel like aggravating the Angry Grower? Ask your question in the comments below and see if he bites!

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Products & Supplies

Diablo Nutrients; Growers’ Top Choice in Nutrients – If They’re Not Yours, Here Are 5 Reasons Why They Should Be

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Diablo Nutrients, a company based and licensed in Canada, produces a line of what they call “smart nutrients” for cannabis growers. What makes their nutrients “smart?” They say it comes down to their Nano-Emulsion technology. Just like human nutritional products, plant nutrients are only useful if they get absorbed. And Diablo’s technology breaks down their nutrients to their most absorbable form, for maximum effectiveness.

Since introducing their product line in 2014, Diablo’s scientists have worked to perfect their offerings, resulting in rave reviews from growers throughout Canada. But what exactly is it that cannabis growers love about Diablo Nutrients? Here are five key elements that their customers continually mention in reviews or the products. 

1. The products were created for cannabis growers. Unlike many nutrient products on the market, Diablo nutrients were not formulated for other plants and tweaked to work with cannabis. Diablo’s products were developed by plant researchers, specifically for use on cannabis plants. Why does that matter? If you’re a grower, you understand. The cannabis plant isn’t just any plant, and it needs specific care to maximize results. Diablo Nutrients provide one of the essential elements of that care – plant nutrition.

2. Diablo products are of high quality. Every ingredient in Diablo Nutrients is technical and pharmaceutical-grade. The parts they source are not only based on years of research for their effectiveness, but they are chosen for their purity and safety as well. Growers and their customers want to know what’s going on their cannabis, and Diablo makes it easy to feel safe using the product you grow.

3. Excellent pricing. Especially for the quality and performance of Diablo’s products, their pricing is very competitive. They offer their retailers a chance to provide growers with an excellent price and still make a healthy margin. It’s truly a win-win-win. And what growers repeatedly point out is that Diablo Nutrients increases their yield, so it would be worth more than any other product on the market.

4.  Always the latest and greatest. While many of Diablo’s competitors still use formulas that were created decades ago, Diablo’s scientists are continually looking for better ways to deliver a superior product. They produce the best products on the market, but they aren’t about to sit back and relax. Diablo Nutrients is dedicated to offering cutting edge products that genuinely make a difference in your grow.

5. They work! In testimonial after testimonial, growers using Diablo Nutrients rave about the effectiveness of their nutrient products. Their exceptional quality delivers exceptional results, and that’s really what matters most. With Diablo, growers report higher levels of cannabinoids; it’s one of the major reasons growers choose Diablo. In turn, that means higher quality and weight, and that means more profit. The bottom line is that Diablo is good for your bottom line.

Diablo’s 3-Part Cannabis Nutrient System

Diablo Nutrients’ products include a 3-part system that supports every stage of plant growth and produces the results every grower is looking for. It’s very different from the standard “one-size-fits-all” 5-5-5 formulations out there. Diablo recognizes that each stage in a plant’s growth requires a specific nutritional approach, and its 3-part system addresses the plant’s needs at each stage. Here’s a breakdown of the system:

Diablo Grow

Use this product to support early growth in clones and seedlings. With the right mix of key nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, Grow supplies young plants with what’s needed to experience healthy leaf and root development, so critical for cannabis plants to be successful. A pre-flowering green burst is what you can expect from this product.

Diablo Micro

Diablo’s Micro formulation is ultra-low in salts and is the key to the success of the Diablo Nutrients system. This formula’s exact mix of micronutrients, nitrogen, and potassium, in a highly-available form for optimum absorption, is the secret to its success. Use Micro through the growth and flowering stages of your cannabis plants to set them up for higher yields and quality.

Diablo Bloom

Flowering is about more than just big, healthy buds on a cannabis plant. Diablo’s Bloom product delivers that, but it also promotes trichome growth and increased resin production. Bloom is formulated with more phosphorus and balanced with potassium to produce sturdy flowers that give you the results every grower is looking for.

Beyond their signature 3-step nutrient system, Diablo also carries a full line of products for every part of the growing process. From root support and soil conditioning to additional supplementation and flowering enhancers, they’ve got you covered. They even have lines of water treatment products and a safe, residue-free plant wash. Check out Diablo Nutrients

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Growing Tips

Tips For Preparing Your Garden

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As the days grow warmer and longer, your opportunity to establish a garden this year is running out. So, get started NOW. Don’t worry, Michael Scott will be there to comfort you when you’re finished. 

If your experience is limited to indoor operations, you’ll come to find that there are much greater possibilities with Sativa when grown outdoors. The ability to grow outdoors allows your plants to reach their full potential and will significantly impact the final product, without needing a giant to grow room. Keep in mind Sativas can take longer to fully mature, though. Here are some tips to make sure you start your season strong, giving you a much better chance at a proper yield.

Finding the Right Location

It’s essential to choose a spot that will continue to be sunny throughout the Fall. If you’re not sure how the sun travels across your garden, check out Google Earth’s Sun feature. If you’re still unsure where the best location will be, it might be best to plant in large moveable containers. Even partial shade can cause plants to flower early. So, make sure you keep them in direct sunlight!

Soil, Soil, and Soil. Oh, and Soil!

The importance of your soil can’t be stressed enough. Building healthy soil not only makes your plants thrive, but it also makes your job easier in the long run. Guano, compost, and worm castings are all great ways to feed your soil. Don’t forget that you’ll want some nitrogen at first, to help those babies start strong. Later in the season, they’ll be craving potassium and phosphorus to boost flowering. Calcium’s another vital element. Your plants consume the same amount of calcium as they do nitrogen, if not more. Oyster shell meal is a great organic supplement for calcium!

A Few of My Favorite Strains to Grow Outdoors


California Indica

With more of a citrus taste and nose, the effects are that of a typical Indica. California Indica can produce large plants with heavy yields when planted outdoors.


Haze

Originating on California’s central coast, haze delivers a very distinctive scent and flavor of mint and pine. When growing in warmer climates, haze will do well.


Trainwreck

This Sativa dominant hybrid has a sweet and spicy quality. It grows well in mild temperatures, which makes it a top choice for outdoor growers around the United States. 


Gorilla Glue

Of all the phenos of this hybrid, #4 is the most popular. With pungent pine flavors and a bit of skunk, this strain has the potential to provide an incredible, extra sticky harvest.


Something to Keep in Mind

So, you’re a wiz when it comes to growing indoors! Great! Now tuck that ego away. Although you’ll be using some of the skills you’ve picked up indoors, apart from the elements, you’ll soon start to explore new cultivation practices. Forget about the digital meters and grow lights, for now. Now is the time to become one with your plants and with nature. Your ability to read the elements, as well as your plants, will largely dictate your success. Remember to give your plants space! Bunching plants up to capture optimal illumination won’t work outside. So provide them with plenty of room to spread out!

Have questions about your own cannabis grow? Ask the Angry Grower or connect with him on the NUGL App

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Growing Tips

Types of Cannabis Seeds to Grow

Thinking about a home grow? Read this article to find out what type Cannabis seeds you should get.

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If you are starting in the world of growing cannabis, you need to know the properties and attributes of the various types of cannabis seeds you can get in the market. Where do these seeds originate from? From the pollination of a kind of male plant and one type of female plant. The result of this seed generation is a genetic combination of the plants used in the cross—one with a higher predominance than the other. 

Cannabis seeds are categorized into two types: photo-dependent and auto-flowering. Both require light to perform the chemical processes that allow them to grow and flower optimally. They differ in the level of exposure. The former develops and grows depending on the hours they are exposed, whereas auto-flowering plants develop regardless of the exposure period.

The photo-dependent seeds start flowering in their adult stage and need approximately 18 hours of light and 6 of darkness in their growth phase. Then, when they move on to flowering, they require 12 hours of light and 12 of night. They are divided into two types of seeds: feminized and regular. These characteristics make that of all the photo-dependent varieties you can get mother plant and make your cuttings. That’s why feminized cannabis seeds are the favorite ones of expert growers.

One of the main benefits of planting feminized seeds is that you can get optimized crops because all plants will be female, in addition to their high production. In the case of regular photo-dependent seeds, the main advantage is that you can get more genetic diversity because they do not come from two equal plants. 

Autoflowering seeds can germinate in three ways: by genetically crossing photo-dependents and Ruderalis, by crossing auto-flowering with other photo-dependents and by crossing auto-flowering. This type of cannabis plant stands out because its THC level is not as high as the previous ones, nor do they have as much production.

Among the advantages of planting auto-flowering cannabis seeds is that they are quick to harvest, highly discreet, and, if the right climatic conditions exist, you can grow them all year round.

To choose the kind of cannabis seeds to use, you should consider the type of cultivation you are going to do if you are going to do it in an indoor or outdoor area, as well as the weather conditions of the place.

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Cultivation & Propagation

Grow Industrial Hemp: A Complete Guide

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Hemp and marijuana are known to be the two different species of the Cannabaceae plant family. If you are planning to industrial hemp, you must pay focus on the leaves and stalk of the plant. Large-scale industrial hemp cultivators grow these plants to obtain their oil-rich and highly nutritious seeds.

Industrial hemp usually enjoys a vigorous growth with length and lanky stalks as well as deep taproots. If you are likely to grow industrial hemp on your farm, you can expect the crop to be ready for harvest in four months.

Listed below is the complete guide to growing industrial hemp:

Select The Right Genetics:

Industrial hemp is known to be an amazing agricultural crop that you can harvest for its seeds and stalks. Thus, you need to take genetics into account. In the present time, many farmers are growing hemp for CBD extraction. If you have planned to grow industrial hemp for its fiber and seed to make food and clothes, always go for European strains like Carmaleonte or Fibranova. If your purpose is to extract CBD from hemp, it is always advisable to look at the American grown strains while cultivating the same.

Climatic Considerations Are Important:

You need to check for the climatic conditions while growing industrial hemp in your farm. This crop is known to be sturdy and durable that is able to grow itself well in a variety of environments. But as this crop comprises of deep taproots, it could locate hard-to-find water. You must take a note that industrial hemp is not an indoor plant and you cannot grow it inside your home. Experts always advise you to grow this crop on a massive industrial scale. This will always help you to reduce your overall costs concerning its farming and will boost the margins of profit. The mild climate is best-suited for its growth.

Quality Of Soil:

Never grow your industrial hemp against poorly drained soils. This is because the excess surface water after heavy downpour shall cause damage to your crop. Hemp plants are often considered to be sensitive to flooding. It is therefore advised to make the use of a firm and fine seedbed to help the crop germinate uniformly. Don’t worry if you are not able to arrange for high-quality soil. Even in the absence of such soil, the hemp plant will thrive perfectly. Hemp plant always helps to improve the quality of the soil.

Importance Of Plant Density:

The right density of plant is also important to flourish the growth of the hemp plant. It is advised to plant the hemp seeds as close together as possible. The perfect hemp field that you are planning to grow shall comprise of thousand plants, each having a single stalk. The arrangement resembles a cornfield. If you are growing the plant for grain, a lower seeding rate of up to 45 pounds per acre is known to be an ideal choice.

Feeding The Hemp:

You can always plan of buying the products of hemp from a reliable source such as Industrial Hemp Farms. However, if you plan to grow industrial hemp on your farm, it is very important to take care of it. This is done by feeding your hemp right. Your hemp plant requires a lot of feeding. In the first few weeks of growing hemp, you must make sure that it receives plenty of nitrogen. Apart from it, phosphate, as well as potassium, are two other important elements that your hemp needs importantly.

Harvesting The Hemp:

When harvesting your hemp for fiber, it is important to start working on it after the final pollen has been shed around you. If you are harvesting the hemp for seeds, it is advised to wait for additional 4-6 weeks. Overall, you can expect your fiber hemp to be ready for harvest within 70 days of its procedure of seeding. In all the other cases, the harvesting of the hemp can also take a total period of 90 days respectively. The procedure of harvesting the hemp is quite straightforward. You are required to work on it when the plant has finished producing pollen. It is important to mention that this plant is sensitive to light. Thus, early planting results in the taller croups as well as an increased amount of fiber.

Retting Your Hemp:

This process is a post-harvest necessity. Retting means a microbial decay of pectin. This substance is responsible for the gluing of the fiber of hemp to its stem. You can consider the option of retting if you wish to obtain the highest quality fibers out of the plant. The process of retting is a little tricky as it relies completely on the weather. There are different kinds of retting namely, water retting, warm water retting, green retting, dew retting, and chemical retting.

Lastly, make sure that the water content of your hemp stalk does not exceed 15 percent by any chance during storage. Follow these easy steps and instructions and you will be able to grow your industrial hemp for yourself without any hassle. Good luck.

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Growing Tips

8 Important Things to Check When Buying Led Grow Lights

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There was a time when we had to rely only on sunlight before our crops can grow. But with more studies and research, it has been discovered that LED grow lights can help the plants grow naturally. Today, many farmers and agricultural professionals have come to embrace this latest trend.

And there is a reason for it though; LED lights offer you the following:

  • Durability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Stimulated growth
  • Compactness
  • Adjustable wavelength

There are many LED grow lights that are on sale and not every one of them really works. You can easily get distracted by different models and end up choosing the wrong LED lights. Here are 8 things to look out for in LED Grow Lights

  • Electricity capacity and consumption

If you have to run your LED grow light for up to 10 to 11 hours every day, make sure you choose a LED light within 300W to 500W with high output so that you get good result without having your electricity bill shooting up. 

  • Durable materials and built

Good quality LED grow light can last up to 10 years. Preferably, US products have more durable grow lights than many other products.

  • Low heat production

Too much heat can damage your plant and give the adverse effect. You want to protect your plant even as they are encouraged to grow. Therefore, choose a LED grow light with balanced heat output that uses less energy.

  • Full-spectrum

Some plants do better with the blue and red spectrum light present. Full spectrum also includes ultraviolet and infrared lights too. With these present, your plant will have what it requires to really grow.

  • Take your plant into consideration

There are different lights for different plants. You must make sure that the LED grow light you are going for is suitable for the plant you intend growing. Flowers need lesser grow lights than tomatoes. You also need to find out if the light will serve you for the first cycle or the total growing cycle.

  • Flexibility and ease of use

A good quality LED grow light is easy to use and yet, very efficient. You won’t need to spend the whole day trying to figure out how to best position it. Look for the one that its light intensity and wavelength can be adjusted.

  • Warranty

LED grow lights are very durable when you get the good one. So, if yours if offering anything less than 10 years warranty, it could be an indication that the manufacturer is not sure of the quality of his product.

  • Good semiconductor chip

Semiconductor chip in LED grow lights is what helps them convert electrical power to grow light and also determines the right wavelength. If the light’s chip is at least up to 3 watts, you can be sure that it will give your plants enough illumination.

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Growing Tips

The Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners to Grow Weed

Are you looking to learn how long it takes to grow weed? Then, you must check out these reliable online sources to help you with the process. Learn more in this article:

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Are you looking to learn how long it takes to grow weed? Then, you must check out these reliable online sources to help you with the process. Learn more in this article:

#1: Select the Place to Grow Plant

Initially, you need to decide on where you intend to grow the weed plants. Whether it is going to be an indoor place or an outdoor place. It is said that indoor growing is much more suited in terms of privacy and taking care of the plant. It’s a cheap place to grow and maintain the plants. A spare room, closet, garage, extra bathroom, grow tent, kitchen garden, or inside the computer base can work fine to grow the Cannabis inside. However, if you are looking for a higher yield, then you must consider the outside space to get a quality and quantity crop.

#2: Seek the Proper Light

It is wise to choose the growing light for a better crop. There are different light options you may need to consider for the successful growth of Cannabis. The Sunlight, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs), Household LEDs, other Fluorescent Lightning (T5 or T8), LEC or CMH grow lights, LED grow lights, Metal Halide (MH), and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) are viable options. You must choose the proper lighting approach for a better yield.

#3: Pick the Growing Medium

Before you choose the growing medium, you must know that each medium has different care, water, and nutrients requirements. Typically, the grow mediums are: soil, soilless mix, directly in water or hydroponics, and less intense types of hydro. The absolute best option can be fertilizing your own organic soil.

#4: Get Essential Nutrients

The next step is to purchase the basic nutrients like the soil growers, soilless, and hydroponic growers. One good nutrient is enough to rule the successful yield. Learn about the cannabis-friendly nutrients to achieve the full plant strength. While I talk about the importance of nutrients, I must mention the importance of root pH. Don’t forget to test the pH level of your water.

#5: Decide On the Strain

When you get your Cannabis plant, choose the strain as well. You can do this by going to a site such as weed-seeds.com and selecting the seeds that sound most appealing to you. Learn about safety and precautions when deciding on the strain. Pick the right Cannabis strain to obtain the desired outcomes. The most common strain types are Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, Afghani Kush, Allen Wrench, Amnesia, Banana OG, Bay 11, Berry White, and Blue Dream.

#6: Germinate the Seeds

If you happen to root a clone at an earlier stage (a live Cannabis plant), then you can definitely skip this step and jump to the 7th step directly. However, if you have not, I think the easiest and quickest way to germinate seeds is to straight away place in a specialized cube-like Rapid Rooter.

#7: Vegetative Stage

This is the most important step to grow your Cannabis into big and strong plants. At the vegetative stage, you must get a bit warmer and comfortable room temperature for the plant’s growth. Extreme weather conditions like freezing cold and burning hot can be quite dangerous for the crop. So, make certain of the suitable growing environment.

#8: Flowering Stage

At this stage, the plants attempt to make buds. During the flowering stage, you must change to 12-12 light schedules, identify the gender of your Cannabis plants, and immediately get rid of any male buds. When you see plants with white hair, then they are surely female.

#9: Harvest Your Crop

Are you ready to acquire the results of your hard work? The harvesting of weed is the most exciting part. Just wait until the plants’ buds stop growing any new or white hair. Harvest when 50% to 70% of these hairs have darkened enough to get the highest levels of THC. If you want to obtain more relaxing CBN, then you must wait for like 80% to 90 %.

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Growing Tips

Essential Things to Keep in Mind While Growing Marijuana

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Growing marijuana is a very delicate process that requires precision and a huge chunk of your time. You need to make sure that you have everything set up correctly. Any slight mistake can end up ruining your entire yield regardless of the stage. Most people who end up with poor quality marijuana is because they either missed a step or they made a mistake a long way. To avoid making such rookie mistakes, you need to make sure that you have every essential information about growing marijuana at your fingertips. The information below contains crucial details about growing marijuana, be sure to go through the details carefully if you want to end up with high-quality produce.

Use a Plant With the Right Genetics


There are many cases where you find someone applying all the appropriate procedures to cultivate marijuana, but still, they end up with poor quality yield. What these people don’t know is that they made a single poor choice, and that is using clones or seeds that come from a plant with poor genetics. It isn’t very easy to end up with a good yield if the parent plant was not healthy. You should thus make sure that you use plants with great genetics only. That way, you will effortlessly get a better harvest. It is among the most significant marijuana growing tips that most people tend to ignore, especially beginners.


Be in Control of the Growing Environment


Marijuana is a very delicate plant. It tends to be too demanding in terms of environmental conditions. That is why it is advisable you grow them indoors. This is the only way you are going to be in complete control of the situation. Growing cannabis outdoors gives you limited control, and that may lead to future problems. With the recent sporadic changes in weather patterns, you may find yourself dealing with too much humidity during the flowering phase and less humidity during the vegetative period instead of the other way round. But since you are growing outdoors, it becomes hard to change the conditions. Alternatively, one can surf the net to buy weed online Canada and find various trusted retailers offering high-quality weed.

Ensure Your Feminized Seeds Gets Plenty of Light


Light is a crucial requirement for cannabis. The cultivation process will want you to provide the plant with at least 18hours of light during the vegetative phase. That is unless you are using auto-flowering seeds that don’t require too much light. It is usually the period that begins when the plant sprouts until when it is about to flower. Eighteen hours of sunlight will ensure you end up with excellent foliage. You, however, have to reduce the amount to 12 hours once the plant starts flowering. Twelve hours pure darkness should follow to ensure the plant ends up with blooming flowers. That is why lighting is among the vital weed growing requirements that you should never ignore. Seeds that require such intense sunlight include white widow, blue dream, blueberry, and banana kush, among others.

Pick the Right Growing Pots


It’s better to use containers instead of planting them in the bare ground to avoid pests and diseases. The technique, however, requires you to be extra observant of the type of containers you use. For starters, you need to come up with pots that have a minimum capacity of 10 litters or 3 gallons. But then, having a pot with twice that capacity is highly recommended. The reason why you need bigger containers is to allow the roots of your cannabis to grow freely. Doing so will enable you to end up with healthy plants and a great harvest. Other mediums you can consider are hydroponics and soilless mixes like coco coir as well as perlite, Rockwool, and vermiculite. The idea is to give cannabis plants enough room to grow healthy.


Using Fertilizers and Boosters Is Not Always the Answer


If you make use of fertile soil that has quality nutrients, then there is no need for you to use fertilizers and boosters. Incorporating them will cause more harm than good. They may end up drying your plants and killing them altogether, or affect the yields negatively. The only time to use these products is if the medium you are using is undergoing depletion. That means the nutrients are scarce, and the plants require more nutrients. Other than that, limit the use of fertilizers and boosters. It would help if you also researched before applying any booster to your weeds to avoid experiencing significant issues. You can also use fertilizers to ensure the ideal PH. For soil, you need a PH of 6.3 to 6.7. Hydro, on the other hand, requires a PH of 5.5 to 5.7. Use color kits and PH probe to ensure the correct PH.


Know What to Pluck Away


The phrase I love growing marijuana should only come from those people who know when to pinch and pluck their plants. Have a habit of plucking the middle section of the plant. That is to encourage bushy vegetation, which is going to lead to a better yield. The pinching should, however, stop when the plant is two weeks away from budding or less. Also, go around the plantation, removing any leaves that prevent light from penetrating the plant. By doing so, your plant will grow healthy and bushy. It will also give you an excellent harvest.

Always Make Sure the Area Is Clean


Marijuana, unlike other plants, requires a clean environment for them to grow healthy. It is also one of the best ways to keep the plant from getting diseases. Some of the things you should do to ensure this is by washing your hands before handling the plant. Make sure the tools you use are clean and sanitized and always keep the environment clean and tidy. That will prevent pests from infesting the plant and so you will not have to waste too much cash on purchasing solutions to keep them away.

Ensure Air Circulation


Ensuring the grow room has plenty of free air is yet another essential detail to keep in mind. Make use of large fans strategically positioned to circulate air throughout the area. The number and sizes of fans depend on the size of the growing site. The bigger the size, the more fans you should use. You should also make sure you use quality fans to avoid constant breakdowns and costly repairs.

These are so far some of the main things to keep in mind whenever you are growing marijuana. Ensure that you observe cleanliness, air circulation, use the right pots, and manage the soil and fertilizers well enough. You also need to keep your plants indoors so that you can easily manipulate the environmental conditions to suit your needs. By doing so, you will end up with an excellent harvest.

About the author: Rebecca is a cannabis and health industry consultant who frequently writes about the latest trends in the industry with only one motive that is to create awareness about healthy living. She has been writing for a long time now and is becoming a recognized name in the cannabis industry.

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Pests & Disease Control

The Angry Grower: Avoiding and Identifying Pests In Your Garden

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Your ability to identify the pests in your garden depends not only on your attention to detail and knowledge but your tools as well, with one of the most important being a microscope. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a traditional microscope. A quick search on your favorite conglomerate shopping app and you can find handheld digital microscope that connect to your phone or computer for under 50$

Now that you have the ability to see even the smallest of pests, you’ll need to learn the different signs of an infestation. Here are a few off the top of my head;

Spider Mites

Spider mites are often transferred from other gardens and can reproduce very quickly. They are found on the bottom of the leaves but are also easily overlooked. Their bites leave small white specks, and if left untreated, webs can form to the point of buds looking “shrink-wrapped.”

Thrips 

Thrips are larger and more easily spotted than most mites. While looking like small baby worms, they leave silver or bronze marks on the leaves.

Mealybugs 

Mealybugs are found crawling on buds and leaves and can act as a vector for many plant diseases. Primarily white-colored, with a “fluffy, hairy, waxy, cotton like” material covering their pink bodies

Broad and Russet Mites 

These are possibly the hardest to see and can easily be mistaken for nutrient deficiencies, pH inconsistencies, or heat stress. The leaves will end up glossy, twisted up and blistered. Depending on the severity of the infestation, buds can turn brown as well

Aphids

These can be a little tricky to identify at first because they can be tiny while appearing different depending on the stage of their life. Their pear-shaped bodies can be found on the bottom of the leaves, as well as on the roots.

Look out for aphids on the bottoms of your leaves!
Photo: Victor Forgacs

Fungus Gnats

Growing mediums such as soil that stays wet for extended periods can be breeding grounds for fungus gnats. They appear to be small dark flies with worm-like larva that lives in damp topsoil.

Leafhoppers

Due to the wide range of colors these pests come in, they can be challenging to identify at first. Leafhoppers can cause leaves to curl, dry or brown with perhaps the most common sign being clusters of spots

Prevention is Key

Besides making sure that your room is perfectly sealed and that there’s no stagnant water, be sure to check the entirety of your plants – including bottoms of leaves – regularly. Don’t go more than three days without checking WITH A MICROSCOPE, if not every day. That goes for new clones as well. If you receive clones from an outside source, make sure to keep in quarantine and treat them as if they may already be infested.

Don’t make the Grower Angry: PLEASE take the precautions to keep pests off your plants!

One of the most common mistakes is going in your grow room straight from being outdoors or in another grow room. Spraying yourself with alcohol doesn’t guarantee anything, so I prefer to change my clothes and shoes. Having animals like dogs running through your garden is also a bad idea. Even though you don’t always see the bugs directly on yourself, you or your animal could be carrying their eggs

Keep in mind that it’s nearly impossible to be completely bug-free 100% of the time. Identifying, treating, and solid prevention practices can significantly reduce infestations to basically zero. Remember to be vigilant; for every two bugs you find, there’s probably two hundred and counting already!

Stop by the Angry Grower’s column to ask him your grow questions or connect with him on the NUGL App here.

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Growing Tips

Getting Started on Your Indoor Garden

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  • Choosing your Growing Medium for Indoors

When it comes to growing mediums, there are several different choices from Rockwool, to Hydrocorn, to Vermiculite. Some work better for certain operations, depending on the type and size of your garden. Larger gardens should keep in mind the amount of waste that Rockwool can create. I would stay away from using traditional soils indoors. Most size pots retain too much water, which causes mold and nutrient burn. Also, retaining too much water could create bug issues such as fungus gnats. Of all the growing mediums, my personal favorite is a Coco and Perlite mix, for indoors. By choosing Coco, you’re not only saving money by reconditioning your Coco coir, but you are also making an Eco-friendly decision.

  • Choosing a Strain

When selecting strains, you want to ask yourself what your overall goal is. Is this for personal use or retail sale? Some strains have larger yields and lower potency, or vice versa. Are you looking for CBD or THC dominant buds? Whatever you choose, make sure to do your homework. Also, try your best to get good genetics. Buying seeds from reputable companies ensures that you get exactly what you’re looking for. It’s easy to lose good genetics, so don’t forget to keep your mother plants healthy until you are 100% sure that you no longer want the strain. 

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Cultivation & Propagation

Three Ways to Build a Team That Stands the Test of Time

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Frencis Perret Gentil Jr. and Chloe Blaskiewicz

Cultivation owners need to put together a team that is cohesive from the top down if they want to build a successful business that can weather the fluctuations of the market. A Director of Cultivation (“DOC”) with an educational background in horticulture, cannabis experience, and the right personality is a triple threat that will prove to be the biggest asset to any cultivation operation. New facilities would benefit most from cultivation employees without cannabis experience and existing facilities should promote from within the ranks, but all cultivation employees must have the stamina to follow a structured routine on a day-to-day basis. Most importantly, the owners and DOC need to take care of employees, which includes creating a cohesive culture built on teamwork and accountability in order to run efficiently and minimize turnover. 

  1. Early in the application process, invest in a qualified Director of Cultivation that has the education, experience, and personality to run a successful operation. 

Cannabis cultivation owners without personal experience in the industry should begin looking for a DOC very early in the process of applying for a license. The DOC can guide owners through the process and help them build a better financial model. DOCs provide insight into how the facility will be operated and calculate the key metrics, resulting in a model that will more accurately reflect the prospective business. 

Education is a vital, and sometimes overlooked, aspect of a qualified DOC candidate. While most institutions of higher education do not yet provide curricula for cannabis sciences (yet), a background in sciences more generally – whether agronomy, botany, horticulture– is necessary to provide a solid foundation for a DOC. As an owner, having a DOC with at least a bachelor’s degree in horticulture demonstrates that they have a deeper understanding of a cultivation operation and can analyze discrepancies or deficiencies from a scientific perspective. 

The importance of education cannot be understated, but it merely provides a foundation on which to build knowledge through experience. A qualified candidate would have at least four years of experience as a Lead Cultivator before becoming DOC of a cannabis operation. Working under an experienced DOC in cannabis provides invaluable mentorship and an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills that can only be acquired by working in the field. A DOC with this type of background is qualified to operate a facility efficiently and meet the initial return on investment as stated in the financial model.

“A DOC with an educational background in horticulture, cannabis experience, and the right personality is a triple threat that will prove to be the biggest asset to any cultivation operation.”

The personality of the DOC is another quality that can prove to be a decisive factor in the success of the operation. Unlike other types of cannabis businesses, cultivation is a job that never stops because the plants are living organisms and need careful and consistent care. The best DOCs at some of the largest and most successful operations all have borderline obsessive tendencies that cause them to take a more proactive management approach. The job is also physically and mentally demanding, so the best candidates will be able to keep the same level of energy for long stretches of time. A DOC should also be driven, so that the business can continue to grow and expand as processes are refined rather than being content or complacent. During the interview process, owners should look for a DOC that has the energy and the mentality to take on a large-scale operation in addition to the educational background and experience. 

Owners should treat hiring the DOC as making a careful investment into the success of the business. Some may not want to invest heavily into a person so crucial to the operation, but then again, the DOC is in charge of producing millions of dollars in work product annually. Cannabis cultivation is already a risky endeavor and investing more money in a qualified DOC can help to mitigate more of the risk early in the process. Instead of focusing on finding a DOC that fits the arbitrary number budgeted for that salaried role, owners will be better off seeking candidates that meet all of the criteria –education, experience, and personality-and invest more if the result will be having a strong DOC heading the operation. 

  1. Hire the cultivation team strategically with the long-term goals in mind. 

Unlike the DOC who must have a horticulture degree, the remaining members of the cultivation team need not have such a focused educational background. Candidates that have at least two years of educational experience after high school are ideal because that background shows stamina and dedication to getting the job done. Cultivation employees will be performing and recording routine tasks in a regimented environment, and people without some type of higher educational experience often have more difficulty acclimating to the requirements of the job. 

When staffing a new facility, usually the best option is to hire cultivation employees that do not have prior cannabis experience. A DOC will be able to instill good habits in the employees, whereas employees with cannabis experience will have a more difficult time unlearning bad habits learned in other facilities that are run differently. The inexperienced employee will only have one reference point and will be more faithful to the taught routine. Strict routine is the key to running an efficient operation and producing the highest-quality product, so starting with a clean slate of employees new to cannabis can provide some peace of mind to the DOC overseeing the entire operation.

For a new DOC coming into an established cultivation facility, it is imperative to keep the team in place because they know the facility’s routine. Bringing in a new group of people at once will slow down the output until the routine has been established, which could be a costly delay. Instead, the incoming DOC should identify and promote employees that are going above and beyond. When other employees see that it is possible to move up in the organization, they will work harder and with more diligence and instilling that type of motivation in employees will result in an operation that runs smoothly and efficiently.

  1. Establish a company culture where the owner and DOC take care of employees. 

Taking care of employees is a key piece of running a successful operation because the job is labor-intensive and time-sensitive. There is no such thing as a 9 to 5 job in cultivation because the plants need to be monitored constantly. Many people operate under the false assumption that getting the facility up and running is the hardest part, but operating efficiently is the only way to last a long time in this industry. The success of the operation hinges on the employees that run the entire facility by performing the routine tasks. Employees will not know the routine in operations where there is high employee turnover, and by the time they do figure it out, they are burned out are more susceptible to turnover. Running an efficient cultivation operation long-term requires the owner to take care of both the DOC and employees and creating a cohesive culture with clear communication between everyone involved. 

“Many people operate under the false assumption that getting the facility up and running is the hardest part, but operating efficiently is the only way to last a long time in this industry.”

When a new facility is opening and a team is in place, the DOC needs to be very clear with setting expectations for the team. An experienced DOC will understand the ups and downs of operating a facility and will be able to communicate with cultivation employees about the workflow and growing pains. The first four to six months of operations will require long hours to get everything set up and setting the expectation that everyone will need to work late for a few months will mentally prepare employees for the task ahead. The DOC may want to compensate for the longer work hours by letting employees know that they can come in late some days or take longer breaks, but that they will need to stay as late as it takes on a day-to-day basis to get the job done. Setting clear expectations and being transparent from day one means that there are no surprises and employees know what is coming and can be prepared, which reduces the opportunity to burnout and turnover. 

The DOC should lead from the front to establish a culture of teamwork and accountability. To garner respect from employees, the DOC needs to demonstrate from the start that he is one with the team, by teaching by doing the task with them as opposed to telling them what to do. The role of DOC means that he knows how to operate the entire facility and how to do each and every job, so if the DOC indicates to employees that he is capable willing to get his hands dirty as well, the employees will have more respect for him. The DOC can show employees that the job is as simple as learning a routine that needs to be performed consistently with no less effort than the day before. The expectation that employees help each other complete the required tasks fosters a team environment where no one task goes home until all tasks are completed. Along those same lines, accountability to self and others is necessary for efficient operation and preventing burnout. Each employee should be responsible for properly completing their part of the routine, but other team members should speak up when something is not being done correctly to guarantee process adherence. A team accustomed to accountability instills confidence that the routines will be followed even when supervision is lax so that the DOC can take time away from the facility, knowing that employees will faithfully follow the routine. Cultivation is a representation of the team. Good communication, work ethic, and mutual respect will result in high-quality, efficient yields with a team that can stand the test of time. 


Frencis Perret-Gentil brings a decade of cultivation operations experience to problem-solving and mitigating expenses to build compliant and efficient cultivation facilities.

Putting his background in plant sciences from the University of Hawaii and his former role as a school teacher to work, he patiently explains processes, educates on cultivation state-specific regulations, and recommends the best sustainable practices, nutrient profiles, automation systems, and schematics for flower rooms and lighting.

Frencis started out as a horticulturist for a hydroponic tomato production farm in Oahu, Hawaii and went on to become lead grower and director of cultivation for numerous cannabis facilities before joining Canna Advisors. He has extensive knowledge of inventory program management, THC/pesticide/mold/spore testing, hydroponic SOPs and regimes, advanced propagation methodologies, and genetic development and crossbreeding.

When he’s not educating and providing innovative solutions to cultivation operational challenges, Frencis can be found growing his own cannabis (which comes highly recommended by fellow Canna colleagues!), working toward his dream of one day owning a home on the Big Island of Hawaii, and surfing whenever he gets a chance.

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Growing Tips

Improving Energy Efficiency in Cannabis Facilities

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The legalization of cannabis across many states has drawn significant investment. However, growing cannabis indoors requires plenty of electricity. This represents a high operating cost for growers and a burden for the power grid.

Growing cannabis demands that you command full control of the lighting, ventilation, humidity and temperature of your grow space. These systems are found in all commercial buildings, but indoor horticulture has very high energy requirements per square foot. Energy efficiency measures that target these systems are the most effective at saving you money in the long-term.

Benefits of LED Grow Lights

Fluorescent and HID lighting have been the most common options for indoor cannabis growth. However, LED lamps deliver the same lighting output while reducing energy use by up to fifty percent. You also save on air conditioning because LED lamps emit less heat.

LED lighting offers a long service life, saving you many lamp replacements over time. A good number of LED products last for 50,000 hours or more, while most fluorescent and HID lamps last less than 20,000. This is a significant advantage in the cannabis industry, considering the long operating schedule of lighting systems.

LED lighting provides versatility along with efficiency. While fluorescent and HID lamps have a fixed color, LED lamps can be designed with an adjustable lighting color. Consider that indoor crops have different lighting needs for vegetative growth and flowering. A cannabis facility would normally require two different lighting systems, but LED grow lights with an adjustable color can adapt to both roles.

Efficient Temperature and Humidity Control

Cannabis requires a specific temperature and humidity, which in turn demands plenty of energy to run air conditioning and ventilation. Ventilation design requires a special approach, since outdoor air contains substances that are potentially harmful for plants. A direct supply of outdoor air also reduces the carbon dioxide concentration below the ideal level for cannabis.

Ductless air conditioning systems are preferred for cannabis facilities. When high efficiency is a priority, HVAC engineers recommend chilled water systems or variable refrigerant flow (VRF). Mini-split systems are viable for small operations, and should be installed by a trained professional who can handle plumbing fargo issues, or indeed issues elsewhere.

These air conditioning systems cool the air at a lower cost than conventional ducted systems while dehumidifying your cultivation space. A cannabis facility has high dehumidification needs because plants increase air humidity.

Using Solar Power in the Cannabis Industry

Solar power can adapt to any building with a suitable surface that is not shaded. Cannabis is often grown in warehouses, which have an ample roof area. Solar panels can capture sunlight that was previously reaching the roof directly, which reduces cooling expenses.

2019 is an excellent year to deploy solar power systems in the United States you will receive a federal tax credit for 30% of their cost. This benefit will be reduced to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021, staying at only 10% from 2022 onwards.

Energy efficiency reduces electricity consumption, while solar panels can generate part of that power locally. Together, these measures can minimize the energy footprint of cultivating cannabis.


Michael Tobias is the founder and principal of Chicago Engineers, an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America. He leads a team of 30+ mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers from the company headquarters in New York City; and has led over 1,000 projects in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and California, as well as Singapore and Malaysia. 

A New York native, Michael grew up in Rockville Centre, LI. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children. Outside of work, he enjoys exploring the outdoors, whether it’s on a bike, a pair of skis, or a surfboard. He is passionate about growing personally and professionally every day, and about doing innovative work in the engineering world to help disrupt the traditional construction industry.

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Growing Tips

How to Grow Purple or Pink Cannabis Buds

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There is a lot of interest for purple or pink cannabis buds – they have a certain appeal to buyers and can be sold for a higher price. Although the color usually doesn’t affect the taste, it makes them look tastier and fruitier nevertheless, surely captivating many people. So let’s see how to grow these babies.

Genetic Foundation

If you want buds that are purple or pink, you must start with the foundation – genetics. Cannabis plants can’t be forced to produce colorful buds since the tendency to turn colors is almost 100 percent determined by strain and its genetics. The science behind color shows us that that the most important factor is a higher content of anthocyanin. This is a water-soluble pigment in plants which can appear in different colors depending on its PH level. So you need to start with choosing the strains which naturally turn vibrant colors.

Temperature

After you’ve chosen the right strain, it’s important to get the right temperature that will allow it to grow properly. Temperature plays an important role in turning the buds from green to pink or purple since it affects the anthocyanin which is typically hiding in the seeds to break down, and this causes the pigments to come out. For maximizing colorful buds, you should maintain a temperature between 18 and 21 degree Celsius during cool nights, while for warm days it should be between 24 and 87 degrees Celsius. Heating control is especially important during the flowering stage when the ideal temperature is 10 degrees Celsius. To avoid the damage of your cannabis plant, it’s mandatory that you constantly monitor and control the temperature. After that, it all comes down to patience since you have to wait for all the buds to be in pink or purple color before harvesting.

Know The Parts of Your Buds

Different parts of the buds have the ability to display non-green colors. Since each part is a bit different from the other, they also have a different effect on the look of your final buds – ones can make a big difference while others don’t matter that much. This is why knowing the parts will enable you to read the signs if you’re moving in the right direction.

Calyxes are the most important part since they’re made by the bud itself. This is why their effect on the final color is the strongest. Bud is made from hundreds of calyxes so if they turn purple, the entire bud will certainly quire the same color.

Pistils – also known as hairs – can also change color. Actually, they work best for purple or pink buds since other colors usually vanish after the process of drying and curring. However, these two colors will usually stay the same.

And there are trichomes which are clear in the beginning and later turn to white or yellow, depending on the level of THC. However, they can sometimes turn to pink or purple, but that has a small effect on the final color. Additionally, color changes to white and yellow are indicators for the best time to harvest, so if the turn to other colors you’ll have to rely on pistils instead.

As you can see, the right genetics is the main condition for purple or pink cannabis buds. After that, maintaining the right temperature plays a crucial role. And without the knowledge about color-changing characteristics of each part of the buds, you may end up disappointed in the end.

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Growing Tips

CO2 Enrichment for Increased Yields

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Indoor cannabis cultivators will do everything in their power to enhance photosynthesis. From high-powered lighting apparatuses to complete high-end nutrients, growers spend vast sums of money to ensure their plants are getting everything they need. One of the most important factors in the chemical equation that makes up the photosynthetic process is carbon dioxide. Because of this fact, many indoor horticulturists take advantage by supplementing additional CO2 to the CO2 that is already present in the atmosphere. The first thing any grower who wishes to use CO2 must do is to decide which CO2 method to use. 

Mycelium-based CO2 Devices

Mycelium-based CO2 devices are the CO2 buckets or bags sold at hydroponic stores. These CO2 devices use a medium to cultivate mycelium (fungus) which produces CO2 as a byproduct as it grows. The bag or bucket is placed in the grow area and the CO2 produced by the mycelium mixes with the atmosphere and raises the CO2 level. These devices work great for small areas like closets or grow tents. They do not produce any heat and do not require automation equipment to operate. The disadvantages are that there is no control over the amount of CO2 in the room and they are not really practical for large grow operations. 

Compressed CO2 in Tanks

One way growers can boost the CO2 in the grow room is by using compressed CO2 in large tanks or canisters. These tanks require a regulator to release the CO2 into the atmosphere. A timer, the CO2 tank, and the regulator are all that are required to start supplementing CO2 but the entire system will work more efficiently with the addition of a CO2 controller. A CO2 controller will monitor and regulate the actual CO2 levels in the garden. These levels are determined and set by the user. The fact that they do not create any heat and have the ability to be fully automated is why so many growers opt for CO2 enrichment with the compressed tank method. The disadvantages of this method are the handling and transport (the tanks are heavy and bulky). 

CO2 Burners

The most popular choice for CO2 enrichment in large areas is CO2 burners. These devices burn either natural gas or liquid propane and emit CO2 in the process. CO2 burners come in various sizes, including very large units designed for large greenhouses or commercial buildings. Like compressed tanks, CO2 burners are most efficient when automated by a CO2 controller. The controller determines when additional CO2 in the grow area is needed and ensures a consistent level of CO2. The advantages of CO2 burners are they are suited for large areas and they are relatively cost efficient. The disadvantage of CO2 burners is the heat they emit can build up in the grow area if not properly addressed. 

The CO2 Concentration 

Once the gardener decides what device to use for CO2 enrichment, they need to decide on the concentration of CO2 they wish the grow room to have. Considering the ambient CO2 concentration in our air is just under 400 PPM (a bit higher in more populated areas) any CO2 enhancement beyond that level will give the garden some benefit. For beginners I normally recommend starting at 700-900 PPM. This is because the higher the CO2 concentration in the room, the higher the operating temperature must be to effectively use the CO2. At 700-900 PPM of CO2, a grower can operate the room at 75-80 degrees F and still get the full benefits from the CO2 they added to the atmosphere. More experienced growers, or growers confident in their control over the room’s environment,  the CO2 levels can be pushed to 1500-1700 PPM. In order to gain the full benefit from this high concentration of CO2, the room’s operating temperature needs to be around 82-87 degrees F. Along with increasing temperatures, growers will need to adjust the nutrient concentration accordingly. Plants stimulated by increased CO2 will require a higher concentration of nutrients. 

Along with high-powered lighting and quality nutrition, CO2 enrichment is an essential component to maximizing production in an indoor garden. By utilizing one of the devices to enrich the environment’s CO2 concentration, cannabis cultivators can manipulate the photosynthetic process and reap the rewards in prolific harvests.  

Eric Hopper is the Editor in Chief for NUGL Media. He can be contacted at eric@nugl.com

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Grow Room Wiring : 120 Volts vs 240 Volts

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One of the most common misconceptions regarding an indoor garden’s wiring is that a grower can save up to 50% on the electric bill by switching from 120 volts to 240 volts. The voltage at which an indoor garden is operated has nothing to do with the cost of electrical usage. Electric companies charge their customers for the amount of wattage used. This is usually marked on the electric bill as total kWh (kilowatt hours) usage. A kilowatt hour is a unit of measurement that represents 1000 watts being used for one hour of time. This is how most electric companies bill the user and how growers can compare rates. The most important fact to remember is that the user is always charged for the amount of wattage consumed, not volts or amps. 

A room wired for 120 volts would usually consist of three wires: a hot wire (120 volts), a neutral wire, and a ground wire. A room wired for 240 volts would usually consist of four wires: two hot wires (120 volts each, totaling 240 volts), a neutral wire, and a ground wire. The exception to this would be some older homes where the ground wire wouldn’t apply. In this case, the 120 volt would have two wires (a hot wire and a neutral wire) and the 240 volt would have three wires (two hot wires and the neutral wire). 

If a grower is serious about deciding whether to operate the grow room on 240 volts or 120 volts, they should first get an understanding of how volts, watts, and amps affect each other. The current (amperage or amps) is always equal to the power (wattage or watts) divided by the voltage (volts). In other words, amps = watts/volts.

Let’s use an example to see how 120 volts versus 240 volts affects the equation. The example grow room has 10,000 watts of electrical power requirements. At 120 volts, the garden would require 83.3 amps (10,000W/120V = 83.3A). If that same garden was wired for 240 volts, it would require 41.66 amps (10,000W/240V = 41.66A). The real benefit of operating a grow room at 240 volts is that it allows the grower to operate more lights (wattage) on the given amperage. Amperage is the limiting factor for many indoor horticulturists, especially growers who have the home’s electrical usage and garden’s electrical usage on the same electric panel. 

Since power companies charge by the kilowatt hour (or how many watts are consumed), there are no real financial savings by operating a garden at 240 volts versus 120 volts because the voltage does not affect the wattage being consumed. Although there is no financial savings, the advantage of freeing up addition amperage justifies many growers to opt for a 240 volt wired garden over a 120 volt wired garden. After all, by doubling the voltage, a grower can double the amount of lights being operated and, therefore, double the entire size of the indoor garden. And, as far as indoor cannabis gardens go, the bigger the better!

Eric Hopper is the Editor in Chief for NUGL Media. He can be contacted at eric@nugl.com. 

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Organic Compost Teas: Brewing Beneficial Microorganisms

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Cannabis growers who are organic purists can approach fertilization and supplementation in a few different ways. Many growers choose to build-up their mediums with organic substances that will break down over time and give nutrition to the plants. These growers may or may not include liquid supplementation to their “nutrient rich” mediums. 

Another tactic organic growers use is liquid fertilization. These growers rely on more inert mediums and provide most, if not all, the nutrition via liquid fertilization. Hydroponic growers fall into this category as the plant’s nutrition is completely provided by the nutrient solution. 

In order for any organic grower of cannabis plants to achieve the largest yields and highest quality possible they must promote or supplement beneficial microorganisms. Beneficial microorganisms found in and around the plant’s root mass are responsible for the breaking down of organic matter into compounds absorbable by the plant. Whether growing in soil, soilless, or hydroponics an organic grower will need to find a way to maximize the beneficial microbes in the garden. Thanks to modern compost tea brewing methods there is a fast and easy way growers can continuously supply their organically grown plants with active beneficial microorganism. 

Compost Tea

The idea behind compost tea is fairly simple: soak organic compost in water, much like you would a tea bag in a cup, to obtain the soluble nutrients that are readily available for plant absorption. In most cases a straining bag or filter is used to hold the organic matter which makes for quick removal of the unwanted matter after the tea is done. The most popular “compost” products to brew tea from are worm castings, various manures including bat guano, and vegetable compost. The organic matter used will determine the nutrient make up of the finished tea. For example, a tea brewed from fish meal would be rich in nitrogen (and smell like death), while a tea brewed from high-phosphorus bat guano would be rich in phosphorus. This basic method of soaking organic matter in water to create liquid fertilizers has been around for many years. More recently though, with the addition of supplemental oxygen (usually provided by using a cheap aquarium pump), growers have taken compost teas to a whole new level. 

Oxygenation of Compost Tea

By adding small air bubbles to a classic compost tea a grower can not only acquire the water soluble nutrients from the organic matter but also breed a much larger population of beneficial microorganisms. Many of the beneficial microorganisms found in soil are aerobic creatures. This means they do well in oxygen-rich environments. The better oxygenated the environment, the faster these little creatures can reproduce (assuming there is an adequate food source). 

Carbohydrates to Supercharge

In addition to supplying oxygen directly to the brewing compost, growers looking for the largest possible populations of beneficial microorganisms should supplement a carbohydrate formula as well. Many of the microorganisms found around a plant’s roots have a symbiotic relationship with the plant itself. The beneficial microorganisms will actually feed off carbohydrates secreted by the plant’s roots and, in turn, create enzymes which aid in the breaking down and absorption of nutrients. The beneficial microbes will also use the carbohydrates secreted by the plant’s roots as food to grow and reproduce. By supplementing a carbohydrate formula into the tea, cannabis growers can facilitate the natural processes that happen in and around a plant’s root zone. This includes the growth and reproduction of many beneficial microorganisms. Compost teas supplemented with carbohydrates create even larger populations of beneficial microorganisms than compost teas that use oxygenation alone. 

Additional Filters for Hydroponics

Organic purists who still want to enjoy the benefits of hydroponic growing may do so with the use of microbial-rich compost teas. Unfortunately, rich compost teas may be a nuisance for the hydroponic grower because emitters and pumps may easily be clogged and, frankly, make a mess out of everything. Hydroponic growers looking to gain the benefits of compost teas but lose the hassles should implement a triple filtration process. 

Filter 1 (Initial Brewing Filter)

First, filter the organic material in the brewer. As previously mentioned, most gardeners use a screen bag or some other filtration to remove the bulk of the organic material from the tea upon completion. This filter should be used by all gardeners whether they grow in hydroponic systems or soil. After the initial filtering, soil growers can go ahead and apply the tea. 

Filter 2 (Secondary Brewing Filter)

A smaller screened filter should be used for the secondary brewing filter. Some of the extraction bags sold at hydroponic retailers can actually be used as a secondary compost filter bag. Organic purists can also implement a natural filter for the secondary filter. I have seen some impressive natural filters built from five gallon buckets and gravel. If used regularly, a natural filter will eventually create its own micro-ecosystem complete with its own beneficial microorganisms. 

Filter 3 (Equipment Filters)

Last, but not least, organic hydroponic growers using compost teas should use filters on all pumps being used in the hydroponic system. Most submersible pumps come equipped with their own filter. In addition to that filter, a pump filter bag can be used to make certain any remaining sediment in the compost tea remains in the reservoir and does not affect sprayers, emitters, or the plant’s roots. 

By oxygenating the compost teas and supplementing with carbohydrates, cannabis cultivators can produce the most microbial-rich teas possible. With the proper filtration organic hydroponic growers can enjoy the speed and convenience of hydroponics while incorporating organics for heightened quality and flavor. 

Eric Hopper is the Editor in Chief for NUGL Media. He can be contacted at eric@nugl.com

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The Beneficial Elements For Cannabis Plants

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After many discoveries in plant physiology scientists have identified and categorized the elements needed to support plant growth as the essential elements. Rightly named, those elements are essential to plant function and are required for plant health. The essential elements are found in base fertilizers and provide balanced nutrition to the plants. In addition to the essential elements there is another group of elements that plant scientists are classifying as beneficial elements. These elements are not essential to plant functions but display certain benefits when available to the plants. In order for a cannabis grower to have the most productive garden possible he or she must not only understand and feed the plants the essential elements but also gain an understanding of how to use the beneficial elements to their advantage. There are four elements categorized as beneficial elements; silicon, sodium, cobalt, and selenium. 

Silicon

Of all the beneficial elements none are as important or widely used as silicon. Silica formulations have become increasingly popular within the indoor gardening community as well as commercial agriculture. This is because silicon is associated with structural integrity as well as heightened resistance to various pathogens. Silicon also helps cannabis plants negate stressful conditions such as excess heat (all too common for indoor horticulture) or drought. There are many different silica formulations on the market but cannabis growers should look for the most soluble form possible.  

Sodium

In certain plants sodium aids in metabolism and the synthesis of chlorophyl. Some plants will use sodium as a substitute for potassium when potassium levels are low (for particular purposes, like aiding the opening and closing of stomata). Adequate sodium levels are usually found in most media and fertilizers.

Cobalt

Cobalt is an essential component of many enzymes and co-enzymes. It has been shown to affect the metabolism of plants in different degrees depending on the concentration found in the soil or medium. Cobalt interacts with other elements to form complexes. Cobalt’s absorption into the plant is dependent on the complexes formed. 

Selenium

Selenium is actually toxic to most plants at any level higher than trace amounts. However, in trace amounts it has been shown as a component of beneficial antioxidant enzymes. All in all, selenium is usually found in minute amounts in fertilizers and mediums so growers don’t really need to worry about supplementing it. 

Horticulturists who make sure their plants are receiving both essential elements and beneficial elements are more likely to achieve the best results. Silicon is really the only beneficial element that most cannabis growers need to supplement; however, a better understanding of the other beneficial elements will never hurt. Horticulturists who supplement silica along with a balanced nutrient regiment will provide their plants will all the essential and beneficial elements needed for accelerated growth and gigantic yields.  

Eric Hopper is the Editor in Chief for NUGL Media. He can be contacted at eric@nugl.com

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Amino Acids For Cannabis Plants

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As microbiologists discover more about the microscopic world that directly affects plant functions they are paying close attention to the “building blocks” of all proteins: the amino acids. Amino acids are organic compounds with an amino (-NH2) and a carboxylic acid group (-COOH) that are required for plant functions throughout the plant’s entire life cycle. 

Amino acids are necessary for the synthesis of cellular molecules including chlorophyll, enzymes, proteins, and vitamins. Basically, amino acids are required for virtually every plant function. Even at the very beginning of a plant’s life amino acids are vital. During the germination process an embryo will consume amino acids derived from proteins stored in the endosperm. Other specific amino acid related functions include the synthesis of structural proteins, contributing to the formation of phytohormones (auxins, ethylene, polyamines, porfines, etc.), and the regulation of water balance particularly in times of stress. Amino acids can also act as chelators of the essential nutrients required for normal plant development. 

L-Form Amino Acids

Amino acids come in two forms: L and D. The D form amino acids are larger molecules with a high molecular weight and cannot be used by plants. L-form animo acids when in the free form or in formation of small peptides can be absorbed by plants. This is very important to understand when shopping for an amino acid supplement. Fertilizer companies who use strong acidic or alkaline solutions to extract amino acids generally end up with a formula that contains both L and D form amino acids. These solutions are usually less expensive; rightfully so, because they are less effective. Companies that use enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins to produce amino acid formulas end up with only L-form amino acids. These formulations are usually more expensive because of a more intensive processing but are well worth it because they are much more effective. As with most things, you get what you pay for. Animo acid supplements are no exception. 

Why Supplement Amino Acids?

It is true that plants create their own L-form amino acids when grown in optimal conditions. So why supplement amino acids? In order to create these amino acids the plant will have to “exert” a good amount of energy. It has also been discovered that plants growing in less desirable conditions or plants experiencing stress will stop or decrease their animo acid production. In order to obtain the essential L-form amino acids a plant will actually break down structural proteins. This activity requires a lot of energy that would otherwise be used to promote more growth or root stimulation. By supplementing L-form amino acids to their plants a cannabis grower can ensure the maximum level of amino acids needed by the plants is maintained. This will help optimize the crops’ performance and allow the plants to focus energy otherwise used for synthesis of amino acids on producing bountiful, trichome-covered flowers. 

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Pests & Disease Control

Identifying Common Cannabis Plant Nutrient Deficiencies

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Just like any other cultivated crop, in order to live and thrive cannabis plants require what are referred to as essential elements. These essential elements each play key roles in plant development and are deemed essential because, without them, the plants would not be able to develop properly. People who grow cannabis will, at some point, experience a nutrition deficiency. In other words, most growers will experience a situation where less than optimal growth occurs due to the plant’s inability to absorb one of the essential elements. In most cases, a nutrition deficiency is treatable and correctable fairly easily. However, finding the source of the problem is extremely important, especially if it becomes a reoccurring issue. Treating the symptoms of a deficiency will help, but if the source of the problem is not rectified, chances are good that the plants will continue to suffer in subsequent grow cycles.

Check Your pH

Most of the plant nutrients made for growing cannabis are balanced and contain all of the essential elements needed for accelerated growth. However, it is not enough to provide just the plants with the essential nutrients; it is important to provide the root system (and the microorganisms in and around the roots) with the proper conditions also. The potential hydrogen, or pH, of a soil, medium, or hydroponic solution represents how acidic or alkaline that soil, medium, or hydroponic solution is. It is actually the pH level of the area around the plant’s roots that mainly influences the availability of nutrients for plant absorption.

The Ideal pH Range

For soil gardening, the ideal pH range falls just below neutral, in the 6-7 pH range; with maximum absorption around 6.3-6.8. A slightly acidic pH is ideal for the reproduction and functioning of the beneficial microorganisms that help break down organic matter into soluble nutrients. When pH values drop below 6, there is a significant decrease in the availability of nitrogen, potassium, sulfur, calcium and magnesium, but the largest decrease is in the availability of phosphorus. Many times horticulturists experience phosphorus deficiencies, not because there is an inadequate amount of phosphorus in the soil, but instead because the pH of the soil has become too acidic.

Hydroponic gardeners will find the ideal pH for nutrient absorption is slightly more acidic than for soil gardening. A hydroponic system is less dependent on the microbial life that is normally harbored in the soil. Hydroponic nutrients are already broken down into a soluble form. This bypasses many of the functions performed by the beneficial microbes, thus changing the optimal pH range for nutrient absorption. The ideal pH range for hydroponic gardening falls in the 5-6 range; with maximum absorption around 5.5-5.8. Unlike soil, the pH value of a hydroponic solution can fluctuate rapidly. This is why it is so important to monitor the pH of the solution daily, if not more often.

Biggest Contributors to pH Fluctuations

The pH of the soil has a large impact on the availability of nutrients so it is of the utmost importance that a grower understands the factors that most commonly affect the pH. The pH of a nutrition solution is most influenced by the water source, the nutrients used, and the growing medium.

Correcting a Nutrition Deficiency

If a gardener is experiencing the signs of a nutrient deficiency, even after he or she has addressed the pH of the growing system, he or she should attempt to treat the specific deficiency being experienced. Many times nutrient deficiencies mimic each other, which makes positive identification even more crucial to correcting the issue. Here are some of the most common deficiencies experienced by cannabis cultivators and ways to quickly correct those deficiencies.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is the most common deficiency experienced by cannabis plants. A plant deficient in nitrogen will have pale or yellowing leaves that start at the bottom of the plant and work their way up to the top of the plant. Plants can be treated with a fertilizer with a high available nitrogen content. Foliar treatments of soluble, high nitrogen fertilizers can help correct this deficiency fastest.

Phosphorus

As previously mentioned, a phosphorus deficiency is most often due to a pH level that has become too acidic. Plants with phosphorus deficiencies exhibit slow or stunted growth, regardless of how optimal the environmental conditions may be. Red stems and smaller than normal dark green leaves are also signs of a lack of phosphorus. Plants can be treated by feeding them a blooming fertilizer (even in the vegetative stage) which contains a higher ratio of phosphorus in relation to the other macro-nutrients.

Potassium

The most identifiable symptoms of a potassium deficiency in cannabis plants are dead, brown spots forming on the lower leaves. Leaves may also suddenly turn yellow and die. Treat plants by supplementing a soluble fertilizer with sufficient potassium or make a tea out of K-mag for a foliar or drench application.

Calcium

A lack of calcium will generally cause the medium to become acidic and this can cause a series of other problems (such as magnesium, phosphorus, or iron becoming unavailable for absorption). Hollow stems found on harvested plants are telltale signs of inadequate calcium. It is a good idea for growers to supplement a calcium additive during all vegetative and early flowering growth. To correct a calcium deficiency, start by making sure a calcium supplement is part of the fertilizer regiment and then foliar feed 1-2 tsp of dolomite lime per quart of water.

Magnesium

Magnesium is another very common deficiency for cannabis plants. Plants without sufficient magnesium will usually exhibit yellowing leaves on the lower portion of the plant and, in some cases, will turn white. The veins of the leaves will remain green. Leaf blades can crisp and curl upward. A good treatment for a magnesium deficiency is to use 2-3 tsp of Epson salts per gallon of water as a foliar or soil drench.

Boron

With a boron deficiency, the new, emerging growing shoots will appear burnt, brown, or gray. This deficiency can be treated with 1-2 tsp of boric acid per gallon of water as a foliar or soil drench.

Iron

Usually caused by pH imbalances, iron deficiencies in cannabis plants turn leaves on new shoots bright yellow, while the veins remain green. The best treatment is to supplement a fertilizer with a higher percentage of iron.

Zinc

Cannabis plants that have white areas on the tips of the leaves or intermittently between leaf veins are displaying a zinc deficiency. This is a common problem in soils that are or have become alkaline. If experiencing a zinc deficiency, a gardener should retest the pH of the solution and medium. In most cases, a zinc deficiency is related to a fluctuating pH. If the pH is in check, the gardener should treat the plants with a foliar application of a fully soluble fertilizer that contains zinc.

Over-Fertilization

When growing cannabis, many horticulturists attempt to push their plants to the maximum. Put another way, the majority of cannabis growers try to provide the ideal atmospheric conditions so their plants will uptake the largest amount of nutrients and grow at the fastest rate possible. In some cases, a horticulturist may make the mistake of believing that more fertilizer will equate to faster growth. Unfortunately, instead of increased growth rates, this usually causes a nutrient lock-out, also known as over-fertilization or toxic salt accumulation.

Over-fertilization in cannabis plants is often misdiagnosed as a nutrient deficiency. If there is leaf burn starting at the tips of the leaves and working its way up the “saw blade” of the leaf, the problem is most likely caused by over-fertilization, not a nutrient deficiency. When a grower experiences over-fertilization, he or she must remove some of the built up salts from the medium. A good place to start is to leach the soil with a diluted fertilizer (1/4 strength) and wait until the plants exhibit signs of recovery before increasing the fertilizer strength again. If over-fertilization occurs in a hydroponic system, the nutrient solution should be drained and replaced with a one-fourth or half strength solution. The gardener can then slowly increase the PPMs as the plants recover.

Cannabis plants require a specific blend of nutrients to thrive, just like any other living organism. When atmospheric conditions are optimal and the plants have everything they need, they can grow at an accelerated rate. However, when a nutrient deficiency or nutrient lock-out occurs, the ideal atmospheric conditions become irrelevant because the plant is unable to access the fuel it needs to complete the photosynthetic process. Cannabis growers who understand that the pH of the soil or nutrient solution is the most important contributing factor to nutrient absorption will be much more likely to have fewer nutrient related problems. Cannabis growers who understand the symptoms and early signs of common nutrient deficiencies will be armed with the knowledge needed to quickly resolve any issues that pop up and get back to doing what they love: growing healthy plants.

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Tips to Choose the Best Marijuana Seeds for Desired Results

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As marijuana usage is sliding in the society and it’s becoming legalized in more states, many people are heading to take a plunge in growing their own marijuana field. And the desired outcome? Well, to have the best crop at the harvest time.

Marijuana is expensive, so it is a good decision to have your own green thumb and find out how to grow weed. But this is not easy! Even if you end up somehow growing the marijuana, even then there is no guarantee that you will get the desired results.

There are so many varieties of marijuana seeds to choose from that selecting the best option for the desired results can be confusing. But don’t worry – we have a solution for you!

Here are given the best tips to choose the right marijuana seeds so that you can harvest your desired results:

Genetics – Back to Biology:

Genetics never go out of bracket when the ‘kind’ of a plant is in question– same is the case with cannabis. If you are growing a marijuana field then all your efforts put in to perfectly plow the field, and rightly fertilizing the crop will go in vain if you have not considered the genetics of seeds.

You need high-quality feminized seeds to get the best results with premium quality and high quantity yield.

Potency – Kind of High:

Marijuana is always associated with getting ‘high’, but there are different levels of ‘high’. And your seed selection will determine the kind of ‘high’ your marijuana crop will punch.

If you are looking for high-level of ‘high’, then buy the seeds with a high percentage of THC – the element responsible for inducing psychoactive effects.

However, if you are growing marijuana for medical purpose, the seeds with the lowest THC or with no THC are the call.

Difficulty – Your Skills Matter:

Having the desire to grow marijuana is one thing, but having the right abilities to handle marijuana field is a totally different thing.

Some strains are shy of strong sun rays’ exposure, and some strains love to get pampered with complete nutrient care. Some strains need time to grow, while others take less time. And all these factors are essential to consider while selecting the seed.

Space – Area You Have:

Different seeds, with different techniques, grow to a different height. Go for a seed which will grow plant that fits your space. Though plant size depends on the root system, nutrients, and pruning, but the genetics of the seed is also essential to determine the size of the plant.

Instead of growing a jungle of marijuana plants, it is better to choose seeds and growing techniques that grow plants to fit your available space.

Conclusion:

Legalization of marijuana doesn’t mean that you can go for any kind of weed irrespective of quality. The pleasure obtained from pure and high-quality weed is unbeatable.

Select the right seeds, grow the best deal, and smoke it as you wish! Isn’t it what you want?

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Best Herbs to Pair With Marijuana

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Do you like to smoke marijuana? What are your reasons for doing it? Well, marijuana smoking has increased over the years, and the figures are staggering. Marijuana might be infamous in the first place but is famous for all the right reasons in the medical world owing to its medical advantages.

Herbs are natural plants that are famous for their aromatic nature and for garnishing food. It is important to know that herbs are now paired with marijuana to give smokers a soothing experience. The idea of e-cigarettes had grabbed people so quickly that now there are ways and means to enrich the experience with zero health risk. If you are looking to buy an e-cigarette for a great experience, then you can visit Grasscity online headshop to know about the offerings that they have for people.

Best herbs to pair with marijuana:

Passionflower

If you have visited North America, then you will come across the popularity of this plant. Though, expensive in cost, this flower has great sedative qualities and acts as a great catalyst in boosting one’s smoking experience.

Catnip

Guessed from the name? Yes, this herb gives mild fizz to cats, but it doesn’t do the same for humans. However, this herb is still famous for relaxing people and making them comfortable. If you want to buy this herb then don’t worry, it is available in most fresh stores of flowers.

Lavender

Were you looking for the best aromatic herb in town? Congrats! You just got there. Known for its beautiful aromatic fragrance and great taste, this herb is famous for its therapeutic properties. This herb is a great anti-depressant which means that it will instigate a great smoking experience.

St John’s Wart

Down the years, this herb has carved a great reputation for itself as a good anti-depressant. If you want to get the maximum benefit out of it, then vaporizing will do the honors for you. However, women must refrain from taking it as it has negative impacts on birth control medicines.

Hops

This herb is known for its partnership with beer. People who smoke have claimed that this plant has great sedative qualities and induces mild buzz in the body. As for the flavor, it’s earthy, sweet and a bit spicy. If you want to smoke marijuana then using it to blend will be a good idea.

Yerba Mate

This plant has qualities that are equivalent to green tea. This herb is known for its ravishing and energizing effect. If you want to feel energized and jazzed up after the smoking experience, then this herb is a must have as a blend.

Conclusion!

Well, the list of most suitable herbs goes on. Marijuana smoking is an experience that relieves one from stress, anxiety, and depression. Before you make any informed choices, it is very pivotal that a suitable doctor be consulted for professional advice. Some herbs might not suit you which is why it is pivotal to be choosey.

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Growing Tips

How to Properly Store Marijuana

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Do you keep weed at home in a tin, in the garage? Well, that’s not ideal. You wouldn’t store your milk in the cupboard, or your beer in the sunlight – so why would you store your weed incorrectly. Here is some great advice to store it in the right manner.

Avoid Using Plastic Baggies

You should not place your nugs in plastic baggies for several reasons. Placing your herbs in a plastic baggie could potentially crush your buds which removes the trichomes from the bud and decrease the potency of your herb.

Plastic should not be used to hold your herbs. Over time, the plastic will alter the taste of your herb. Additionally, plastic baggies do not prevent your herbs’ odor from escaping, making it a less than discreet storage container. Finally, plastic bags are ugly.

Choose Glass not Plastic

Airtight glass jars are the preferred storage containers for your herbs. Mason jars are the perfect solution because they can be found almost anywhere. Placing your marijuana in a glass container will prevent odors from entering or escaping and prevent oxygen from entering your container as well. Oxygen causes oxidation and can decrease the potency of your herbs.

When you place an item in a glass jar, you can rest assured that nothing will enter or escape once the lid is screwed on. Once your herbs are placed in jars, they will taste the same as when you bought them.

Store in a Cool, Dark Place

Glass jars allow light to enter which could potentially damage your herbs. Place your jar in a dark location such as a cupboard, a drawer or another location that remains dark throughout the day to prevent light from damaging your herbs.  If your jar becomes too warm, it can cause condensation inside which can increase the risk for mold; so, make sure that your jar is stored in a cool location. Online store, Save on Cannabis, have a wide range of great options to store your cannabis properly.

Temperature and Humidity

Ideally, your herbs should be stored in a cool, dark location. Try to ensure your jar is stored in a location lower than 70 degrees. If your herbs are stored at temperatures above the upper 70s, the risk of mold increases. Humidity is also another thing to consider. Your marijuana should be store at a humidity level of around 60 percent. If humidity levels are above 65 percent, the risk of mold increases.

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Kings, Seeds, Crops and Big Things

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Arnold “Bigg A” White and partner, Damien “Big Percy” Roderick, are experts on all things big.

Big business, big influence, big results, big moves, big money and big on giving back to the people. I was intrigued to know more about the legendary Cannabis & Entertainment Moguls, and dive into their decades of expertise as independent cannabis growers and entrepreneurs.  I had high hopes of learning a few industry secrets, and discovering the next “big” thing empowering independent growers in the cannabis industry. I learned a lot more than I expected. Here’s the scoop, and it ain’t all about Snoop.

Arnold “Bigg A” White, became a trailblazer in Hip Hop & Entertainment at an early age, beginning his career with his childhood friend in Compton, Eazy-E. Bigg A graciously served our country as an Engineer in the United States Army before making his mark in music history. He is well known by his colleagues and peers as a Philanthropist and community caretaker. After Eazy’s passing, he even dedicated his record store, Underworld, to his friends legacy and memory.  His experience with the cannabis plant dates back to childhood, growing up in Southern California. Starting out as a man of Color in Compton comes with a certain set of skills and survival techniques superior to most people. You could say his knowledge and “street cred” is equivalent to that of a Harvard PhD in how to hustle and rise. Combine his street knowledge with business school, and experienced acumen, and what you get is the Vice President of Dogg Pound Recordz. Not to mention one of the driving innovators behind the marketing of Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Dogg Pound, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, N.W.A, King T, Wiz Khalifa, Pharside, WC of the West Connection, Lil’ Eazy E, and so, so many more.

Established industry tycoon and business partner of Bigg A, Damien “Big Percy” Roderick got his start with the guidance of his childhood friend Kokane and Eazy-E back in Southern California. Infamously known in Hip-Hop, Big Percy has collaborated with A-list artists including Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Dogg Pound, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, and Wiz Khalifa. He has a notorious reputation for positioning brands in the marketplace, brokering several million dollar deals for brands and artists, and is known for his remarkable and dependable business intuition in media, music and cannabis. He was recently appointed as a Board Member of NUGL, a publicly traded company, for that very expertise. NUGL is a media company that brings real consumer data to cannabis enthusiasts and connects them with resources spanning from cultivation products, brands, local dispensaries, doctors, lawyers, and any other possible services or products needed in our burgeoning industry. NUGL has a unique way of quickly connecting the consumer to the most related businesses in their geographic search regions, based on keywords, providing a superior consumer database that is revered by both industry and mainstream consumers for being one of the most trusted cannabis websites. Big Percy’s expansive career is quite impressive, influencing music royalty over the last 20 years, launching a clothing brand, and serving as CEO of RMM. These are just a few of his accomplishments. Percy is not interested in the good times and glamour that accompany his job. He is a sharp, motivated entrepreneur that quickly delivers results and profit to some of the biggest global brands.

Bigg A and Big Percy have positioned themselves as cornerstones in entertainment, cannabis and media, not just in Southern California, but globally. It is no wonder they have such a well respected reputation in the cannabis industry. They are experts in marketing, growing high quality weed, music, entertainment, and probably a few other surprising talents that we are not aware of. Bigg A strikes me as the type who could secretly be a ping pong champion… for real though. Bigg A and his partner Daz Dillinger, also have ownership in one of the most notorious Pacific Northwest cannabis brands, based in Seattle, DPG Budz. The popular brand is known for its “Moon Rocks” and premium quality cannabis. Moon Rocks were actually originally founded by Kurupt in collaboration with Dr. Zodiak. So… put that in your pipe and smoke it.

My dilemma was simple, I did not have a lot of free time and I needed more weed, but I also needed to spend less money than I was currently spending at my local dispensary for my favorite strain, White Widow. The pair had a few crucial tips for every type of grower, and I found this one to be the most interesting: “Auto-flowering Seeds.”

Roderick and White recently teamed up with Canadian based seed company Crop King Seeds, known for their popular strains and high flower yield. Crop King Seeds, originated in Canada, but has recently made a name for themselves in Los Angeles among some of the most influential cannabis advocates and mainstream celebrities. Crop King Seeds recently teamed up with the two Cannabis & Entertainment Moguls earlier this year, and the Canadian company kept it real cool by sponsoring artists and performances like Snoop Dogg, Doggpound, Afroman and Bone Thugs N’ Harmony. I asked Bigg A what he thought the quality and smoke-ability of the flower produced by Crop King Seeds strain Gelato that he grew himself was, and he divulged that after growing on a 20/4 light cycle for approximately 95 days: “those buds were fire…you hear me?”

According to www.priceeofweed.com, an ounce of weed in Los Angeles, is averaged at $400, for medium to high quality cannabis strains, depending on the experience of  the growers and light cycles. Auto-flowering seeds have an average crop yield of 1-3 ounces of dry weight, so like a good Jewish girl, I crunched the numbers to discover auto-flowering seeds could potentially yield a market value of $7,200 in cannabis, in approximately only 90 days. This news was a game changer for me. As a medical patient, I need large quantities for higher concentration and dosing, and to be able to control the soil and nutrients of my plant to ensure its purity. The ability to purchase good quality cannabis at medical prices has become challenging in today’s market, to say the least. I have learned to grow and empower myself with the ability to control the outcome of my medical strain choices, purity of product, financial savings, edibles and concentrates. Learning was not hard and the knowledge came naturally. Auto-flowering just made this process that much easier, allowing me to free up more time and increase savings. So thanks guys, that’s dope advice.

For more tips and information about germinating your seeds at home, visit www.cropkingseeds.com for detailed growing instructions.

This article originally appeared on L.A. Cannabis News.

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Growing Tips

Cannabis Anatomy and Growth Tips

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Introduction:

Cannabis or more typically known as weed is the hottest item on the market right now. Since its legalization, the product has become one of the most demanded commodities around countless states. Cannabis growth was declared a criminal act and therefore, the wisdom regarding it couldn’t be passed on. But the experts and experienced folk can let us all into a few secrets regarding cannabis growth that can help potential businesspeople be successful in growing great cannabis.

Making Sure You Know the Product:

It is the first rule of business to know your product. You need to be able to tell how your product is and what it takes for it to be at the best of what it can be. In this case, you should consider monitoring the cannabis plants closely and observe for every change in their growth patterns. Of course, not everyone can be an expert with plants but there are ways you can tell whether or not your weed is growing great.

Seeds of Marijuana You Need to Know of:

There are a lot of famous strains of weed that are the result of careful growth. Different sorts of seeds result in different strains and as the growth environment changes, it also has an effect on the strain. Here are some of the common seeds of marijuana in the market that everybody should know of:

  1. Northern Light Automatic
  2. Special Queen 1
  3. Royal Dwarf
  4. White Widow
  5. Amnesia Haze

Plant Structure and Cycle:

Cannabis plants are usually identifiable with 3 types of leaves. They are Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. What weed plants need to grow is a room with a temperature of 24-30 degrees Celsius and just enough water on a regular basis that is not too acidic.

Weed growth usually starts at the germination of seeds in the ground. 2-3 weeks later, a seedling sprouts up. This is when it requires a significant amount of time inthe light. After 8 weeks, it becomes a vegetative plant that should be separated from its female counterparts to avoid producing seeds instead of trichomes. When the plant comes to a flowering stage, reduce the light. After that, all that’s left is harvesting the plant.

Leaf Septoria:

Leaf Septoria is an infestation in plants that can be mistaken for a more common and less-critical growth problem. It’s actually developed by a fungus that appears in the form of spores at first. This is usually observed when the leaves start developing yellow spots followed by brown and yellowing of the foliage. This kind of microorganisms can destroy the whole crop quickly if serious care is not supervised.

Conclusion:

You can find a lot of reviews like mSpy reviews and cannabis professionals to explain in detail how you can deal with problems and monitoring situations. Beyond that, it’s all about how much you can care for your plant to help it grow to its maximum potential.

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Grow

Never Growing Up – Why Growers Stay Underground

Expanded legalization efforts have made it possible to make a living growing cannabis for profit — provided, that is, that you obtain a license to grow professionally, which subjects you state regulations and can potentially set you back quite a bit of money.

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Expanded legalization efforts have made it possible to make a living growing cannabis for profit — provided, that is, that you obtain a license to grow professionally, which subjects you state regulations and can potentially set you back quite a bit of money.  This is a sticking point for some growers, who started their careers growing underground and don’t see any reason to change now. We wondered what it is that makes the threat of prosecution under continued prohibition worth the risk, so we talked to an expert to see what the draw is.

Our source, who we’ll call Kevin (not his real name), has been growing marijuana underground for over 20 years.  “I love marijuana,” he says with an obvious affection in his voice. “Just smoking it … I was always fascinated by it … I was always obsessed with it”  Kevin started in high school by growing marijuana in his parents’ backyard, without their knowledge. He then began growing indoors when he moved into his first house at age 24.  

What began in a garage moved to warehouses, then to entire buildings devoted to his grow op.  He moved his product, but things really took off when Prop 215 passed in California and dispensaries began to open underground.  It was those first dispensaries that helped Kevin’s career take flight.

Kevin has considered himself a legitimate grower since he started selling his product to those original dispensaries and realized they liked what he was growing.  “When they started purchasing my product and would call me for more, that’s when I felt like I was legit, like I’m doing something right, like I could take it to the next level.”  Kevin had achieved consistency in his product, and people were taking notice. He’s maintained that consistency, and to great success, too: “The lifestyle is great,” he admits, and he looks like he means it.

Perhaps this sense of accomplishment is part of the reason Kevin hasn’t felt a need to go “legit” in the eyes of the law.  He’s knows his work is good, he trusts his methods, and he doesn’t feel that the drawbacks of getting his grower’s license are worth that extra layer of “legitimacy.”  The fact is, he’s already making a living doing this, and getting a grower’s license doesn’t offer him any tangible benefit, at least not the way he sees it.

Pride is certainly not the deciding factor; Kevin has plenty of reasons why he believes that getting a grower’s license would actually hurt his business.  “With the license, you’re under somebody else’s umbrella,” he says, “and you’re always going to be watched. And I feel that you’re not going to be able to make the maximum profit that you can, and should, for what you do.”  This statement reflects the independent (if sometimes defiant) spirit that’s so characteristic of the cannabis community, as well as Kevin’s own suspicion of legal authorities’ ability to regulate effectively.  

It’s that suspicion (shared by plenty of people in Kevin’s position) that is the biggest sticking point.  “They’re not ready. They don’t know what they’re doing … It’s just – pardon my language – a shitshow,” he says, and he’s got a point; with prohibition still being effective at the federal level, states where cannabis has been legalized face a number of challenges, and laws are often confusing, with their applications unclear until their eventual interpretations by the courts (and it’s anyone’s guess when that could happen).

Kevin’s also kept his ear to the ground, and he’s not keen on the stories he’s heard from growers who are trying to go the legal route.  “There’s so many loops through it, and most people that have their licenses and are trying to do do it right are losing money.”  He has a grim prediction for many of those growers:  “I guarantee they’ll be out of the business soon,” he says soberly.

It sounds like Kevin is dead-set against getting a grower’s license right now, and he is.  However, he acknowledges he may not feel that way forever. To him, the issue isn’t the regulatory laws themselves, it’s the integration of those laws with the business of growing cannabis in a way that benefits both entities.  “I feel they just don’t know how to do it quite yet,” he says, adding, “They’ll have it figured out in the next five years.” When that happens, he’ll reevaluate his position on a grower’s license. “At that time, I would see myself in that type of industry,” he says, “but until then, I would be doing this.”

Ask Kevin about the harder things he’s faced, and he’ll tell you about not just problems with law enforcement, but from his colleagues.  There were “a lot of scares, a lot of threats,” made by law enforcement toward Kevin’s landlords and property owners when he was growing in rental property, but fortunately he’s never had a personal run-in with the law for cannabis.  “It felt like a get-out-of-jail-free card,” he says.

When it comes to professional relationships in his line of work, Kevin has been burned before.  “Criminal side is always there. There’s always a risk of getting robbed, which has happened to me,” he says.  “A lot of snakes out there, a lot of liars, a lot of cheats.” It’s clear from his tone that he’s met encountered quite a few of them over the course of his career.  “You need to have the right people and not bullshitters,” he says. I ask him what percentage of people he believes are bullshitters, and he’s candid: “I would say maybe 10% are legit and the others are all bullshitters.”  He pauses, then qualifies himself by adding, “In my experience.”

It might sound like Kevin is soured on people, but ask him what the biggest attribute of his success in the industry is and he’ll tell you immediately, “The team that’s been built, the people around me.”  He keeps his internal network small, presumably in part to minimize the bullshitters, and it seems to work for him.

Kevin believes you need to surround yourself with good people in order to achieve and maintain success.  In fact, his only real business regret was a business associate (a “fucking idiot, who blew probably the biggest deal ever,” according to Kevin) losing a phone number that could have facilitated a deal so huge that, “I’d be retired by now.”  

Kevin relishes the fact that his work allows him to be a “family man,” giving him the ability to pick his kids up from school, drop them off in the mornings, and “always be there.”  There’s a tenderness in his voice when he says it; it’s clear that this is one of the biggest benefits of the flexible nature of Kevin’s work.

Talking to Kevin, I admit I can see why he faces the potential dangers he does.  It’s clear he loves his family and the life he’s built, he loves his work, and he doesn’t want to compromise any of that with a license.  Until he’s absolutely sure it’s the best thing for his business, he’ll continue his underground way of life. I ask him if it’s all worth it, the secrecy and caution and the threat of getting arrested or robbed.  He replies without hesitation: “100 percent,” he says.

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Pests & Disease Control

Pest Control for Indoor and Outdoor Cannabis Plants

Just like garden vegetable crops, cannabis plants have a variety of pest insects that can hinder or destroy an otherwise healthy crop.

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Just like garden vegetable crops, cannabis plants have a variety of pest insects that can hinder or destroy an otherwise healthy crop. Although most pest insects can negatively affect both indoor and outdoor cannabis crops, there are some pests that seem to be more prevalent in either an indoor or an outdoor cannabis garden. For example, slugs rarely, if ever, cause issues for indoor cannabis growers. On the other hand, fungus gnats and spider mites, which wreak havoc in indoor gardens, are usually kept somewhat in check by natural predators in an outdoor garden. Whether the cannabis plants are grown indoors or outdoors, gardeners armed with the knowledge to prevent, identify, and treat garden pests will be able to defend their precious plants from the damage inflicted by uninvited pathogenic guests.

General Prevention for Indoor Gardens

A solid initial step toward pest insect prevention is to reduce the possibility of pests entering the garden in the first place. The number one way pest insects enter an indoor garden or greenhouse environment is by the gardener’s carelessness. When acquiring a new cannabis strain or plant, it is a good idea for the gardener to not only inspect it for bugs, but also place it in an area outside of the indoor garden for a few days of “quarantine”. The quarantine process should include a treatment with a general insecticide. After 5-7 days, if it passes inspection, the grower can introduce the new specimen to the indoor garden.

Another way pest insects enter an indoor cannabis garden is by hitching a ride on an unsuspecting gardener. If possible, gardeners should avoid entering the grow room right after doing yard work or visiting a friend’s indoor garden. If not hitching a ride on the gardener, pest insects make their way into the garden via the ventilation system or other small openings. A fine screen or mesh covering the ventilation ports reduces the chance of pest insects entering the growing space.

A thorough inspection of the grow room may reveal some small cracks or holes which should be caulked or sealed. Sometimes even the most seemingly minor repairs can make major differences in pest insect prevention. Another simple measure an indoor cannabis grower can take to prevent unwanted pests is to keep a clean growing environment. Dead leaves, discarded soil, standing water, and previously used planting containers are all places for pest insects to live and breed. A clean growing environment is beneficial in many ways, but especially in terms of pest prevention.

Pest Insect Identification and Specific Treatments

No matter how clean a gardener keeps his or her indoor garden or how hard they try to eliminate unwanted visitors, chances are, at some point, a pest insect problem will have to be dealt with. Early detection and proper identification are crucial to eliminating the problem quickly. The reason early detection is so important is because most pest insects have relatively fast reproductive rates. The fast reproductive rates teamed with incredibly large birth numbers are the reasons untreated pest insects are capable of taking out an otherwise healthy garden in just a matter of days.

Common Pest Insects for Indoor Cannabis

Spider Mites

Spider mites are one of the most destructive indoor garden pests due to their resilience and extremely fast reproductive rates. The most obvious sign of a spider mite infestation is cannabis leaves that have yellow or white speckling. This speckled look is caused by the mites feeding on the underside of the leaves. Another definite sign of spider mites is their webbing, which looks like a tightly woven spider web. When a spider mite infestation occurs, the cannabis flowers and leaves may be fully encased in webbing. There are many chemical insecticides available that are designed specifically for spider mites. These products are usually referred to as miticides.

Chemical miticides can be very dangerous if not handled properly, so paying close attention to the application directions is a must. For the “conscientious cannabis gardener”, there are organic insecticides that have shown promise in treating mites. Whatever method a grower chooses, he or she must make sure to address the mite eggs. Spider mite eggs are super tough and can withstand most insecticides. Indoor cannabis growers with a mite problem should repeat the treatment program every 2-5 days for at least two weeks. This will catch the new spider mites as they hatch and prevent them from re-establishing.

Thrips

Thrips are another common indoor garden pest. They can usually be identified by the “track” marks left on the top of the leaves when the larvae are feeding. Adult thrips are winged and generally have a straw-like color. Under magnification, a thrip’s body structure resembles that of a wasp or hornet. The best way to treat thrips is to address all stages of the life cycle. Combining sticky traps for the flying adults, a foliar insecticide for the larvae and adults on the plants, and a soil drench to kill any eggs or larvae in the medium is the best way to simultaneously treat all life cycle stages for thrips. Repeating the treatment every few days for a couple of weeks will only help a grower win the battle against these pest insects.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are usually identified by swarms of little black bugs that scatter when the soil or medium is watered or disturbed. They appear to resemble fruit flies, but, under magnification, their body structure looks more like a tiny mosquito. Fungus gnats are pesky bugs that seem to keep appearing, even after treatment. Again, the combination of sticky traps, a foliar insecticide, and a soil drench is the best multifaceted approach for a fungus gnat problem. It is also advantageous, if possible, to allow the top three to four inches of soil or medium to dry out. Fungus gnats need moisture for reproduction. Letting the top layer of soil or medium dry out will hinder their ability to reproduce.

Other Indoor Pests

Aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, leaf-miners, and scales are less common pest insects for the indoor cannabis horticulturist. These soft-bodied insects can be successfully treated with an array of insecticides or beneficial insects. Many cannabis growers find insecticidal soap to be a good cure for these less intrusive soft-bodied bugs.

Integrated Pest Management for Outdoor Cannabis Gardens

Although some of the same pest insects that affect indoor gardens also affect outdoor cannabis gardens, preventing and treating pest insects in an outdoor environment can differ greatly from treatment programs in an indoor garden. It is nearly impossible to use a screen or filter to stop flying insects from reaching the plants in an outdoor garden. Therefore, outdoor cannabis growers must turn to other methods of pest insect prevention. For most outdoor cannabis growers, the best way to approach pest insects is to implement an integrated pest management program. Integrated pest management, or IPM, is the practice of focusing on the long-term prevention of pests and/or pest damage by managing the ecosystem. The idea behind IPM is a comprehensive approach to dealing with pests over the long-term. All in all, IPM is the holistic approach to pest control. The principle of IPM is to look at all of the contributing factors and all of the possible remedies and then make a decision of when and how to take action.

Combination of Treatments

IPM programs normally implement a combination of treatments or control practices that prevent or treat a problem from many different angles. The control practices used in an IPM program can be categorized as biological, physical, cultural, or chemical.

Biological – Biological control is the use of beneficial plants, insects, or microorganisms to control pest insects and pest insect damage. Most pest insects have a natural predator. Ladybugs and beneficial nematodes are just two examples of biological controls.

Physical – Physical control refers to a control that kills the pest insects directly or physically stops them from entering the garden space. Sticky traps to catch flying pest insects and barriers to keep rodents or deer out of the garden are examples of physical controls.

Cultural – Cultural controls are practices that reduce the pest insect’s ability to establish itself. For example, a change in irrigation practices can reduce moisture at certain times throughout the day, thus reducing particular pests.

Chemical – Chemical control is the use of pesticides. For most IPM programs, chemical control is only used when needed and is used in conjunction with other techniques to maximize effectiveness and to create long-term solutions.

Identify the Problem

Even with an IPM program implemented, it is still possible for an outdoor cannabis garden to contract a pest insect problem. Positive identification of the pest will allow a grower to find a combination of treatments specifically designed for that pest. For example, an outdoor grower who discovers aphids may want to plant fennel (known to repel aphids) and release ladybugs. This would be the biological approach. The gardener could also spray the plant with water to “wash off” some of the aphids. This would be the physical approach. If these tactics fail, it may be time to use a chemical control (pesticides).

As long as humans continue to cultivate plants for food and medicine they will have to prepare for potential pest insect problems. As with many problematic issues in a cannabis garden, prevention is key. In both indoor and outdoor cannabis gardens, growers can take steps to reduce the likelihood of acquiring a pest insect problem. Growing cannabis indoors gives horticulturists heightened control over environmental factors. Unfortunately, this “closed ecosystem” also creates a perfect environment for pest insects to establish without the danger of natural predators.

Only a grower armed with knowledge can identify and treat pest insects in an indoor garden. Outdoor cannabis growers can team up with Mother Nature and her natural biological controls. By implementing an IPM program, outdoor cannabis growers can manage their ecosystems to best prevent and treat unwanted guests. Whether indoors or outdoors, cannabis growers who encounter pest insects need to act quickly to positively identify and treat the pest insect before surmountable damage occurs.

By: Eric Hopper

www.professionalmarijuanagrower.com

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Cultivation & Propagation

Properly Harvesting a Cannabis Crop

It takes roughly three months to grow a marijuana clone to full maturity. When starting from seed, it can take even longer. After putting in that much time and labor throughout the growing process, the last thing a gardener wants to do is botch the harvest. After all, when and how a gardener harvests the marijuana crop will have a dramatic impact on the finished product’s flavor and overall quality.

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It takes roughly three months to grow a marijuana clone to full maturity. When starting from seed, it can take even longer. After putting in that much time and labor throughout the growing process, the last thing a gardener wants to do is botch the harvest. After all, when and how a gardener harvests the marijuana crop will have a dramatic impact on the finished product’s flavor and overall quality. If a gardener is growing cannabis for more than personal use, the flavor and quality of the finished product will affect its marketability and profitability.

Although not technically part of the growing process, it is usually up to the cannabis horticulturist to implement a harvesting technique. Just like the growing process, the harvesting process should be approached in a series of stages. And, also similar to the growing process, there is more than one way to obtain good results. However, certain guidelines should be followed to ensure the grower reaches the full potential of his or her garden.

Patience

Patience, patience, patience. It cannot be stressed enough. It is very easy to get overly excited as the marijuana plants reach the final stages of flowering. Many novice growers make the mistake of harvesting before the plants are actually ready. Many years ago, when I began cannabis gardening, I was guilty of making this common mistake. All I can advise is: be patient. In many cases a gardener’s patience will be rewarded in both an increase in yield and in quality.

The average length of cannabis’s flowering stage is around eight weeks. As the plants approach the 7th week of flowering, a grower can start to monitor the visual signs of maturity. The best tool for this job is a magnifying glass or pocket microscope. Many growers choose a magnifying tool with the magnification power of between 10x and 30x. With one of these devices a gardener can closely examine the trichomes and make a decision on when to harvest based on their concentration.

The trichomes are the essential oil glands that harbor the vast majority of the plant’s cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. As trichomes mature, they turn from a translucent color to a cloudy white color, and then, finally, to a dark amber color. The key is to harvest when the vast majority of the trichomes have become white and cloudy. This usually means there are also a fair amount of amber and clear trichomes. The idea is to maximize the amount of “ripe” trichomes. If a grower does not have access to a magnifying tool, the old school “red hair” method can be used to determine when to harvest. As the pistols on the flowers mature, they change from a white color to a reddish brown color. Before the days of using magnifying tools to determine maturity, it was common for growers to harvest when the majority of the pistols on the marijuana flowers became red.

Flushing

In order to remove excess salts from the medium and the plant, a grower should implement a flush during the last week or two of the flowering stage of growth. This can be somewhat difficult to time out if experimenting with an unfamiliar strain. For most strains, the flush would begin at the end of the seventh week of flowering. There are many different flushing agents available for purchase. Each product is a little different so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Another approach to flushing is to simply stop feeding the plants any fertilizer and instead provide only pH balanced water for the remainder of the plant’s lives. Marijuana plants that are not properly flushed can become a finished product which contains residual salts. This will adversely affect the flavor of the finished product and its marketability.

Wet vs Dry Trimming

After patiently waiting for the plants to mature and properly flushing, it is time to start cutting the plants for harvest. First things first, all the large fan leaves should be removed from the plant. At this point, the grower must decide whether he or she wants to trim some of the leaf material remaining around the flowers while the plant is still wet or wait to trim until after the drying process is completed. The biggest advantage of wet trimming is that it can be done more quickly than dry trimming. This is assuming the trimming will be done by hand. We’ll get to automatic trimmers in a minute.

The reason why wet trimming is faster is because the majority of the plant material intended to be removed is perpendicular to the flowers. This makes it easy to access and trim with a scissors. On the other hand, when the plant material is completely dried, it becomes stuck to the flowers and takes a little more time to remove (when done by hand). Many hobby growers still rely on trimming by hand, while many commercial growers use machines to automate at least a portion of the harvest. Ultimately, a grower needs to make the choice as to which method will work best for him or her.

Drying

The drying process is the process in which the plants are hung up to be dried. Most growers will simply cut the plant into sections that are easy to manage and hang them upside-down on a series of strings or wires. The temperature and humidity of the drying area are the keys to a successful drying process. The ideal temperature for the drying area is 65-75 degrees F. The ideal humidity for the drying area is 45-55 percent. It is also important that the drying process is done in the dark. When done correctly, the drying process should take about 6-12 days. The branches and/or stems snapping instead of bending is a good indicator that the drying process is complete. At this point, it is time to remove the buds from the stems, do a final manicuring by hand, and begin the curing process.

Trim Machines

Trim machines offer automation to one of the most tedious tasks in marijuana horticulture: the trimming process. Trimming large amounts of marijuana can be time consuming and costly. Trim machines are devices in which cannabis flowers are automatically trimmed. Most of these devices require the flowers to be dried. It is important to know that not all trim machines are created equally. Some trim machines operate at radically high RPMs, which not only creates a lot of noise, but can potentially damage the quality of the finished product. The better trim machines emphasize gentleness and put quality at the top of the priority list. The better trim machines are also easy to dismantle and clean for quick and effective maintenance.

Curing

As previously mentioned, after the drying process the flowers should be removed from the stems for the curing process. The curing process is essentially the grand finale of the harvest process. During the curing process the flowers continue to dry (very slowly) and their flavor is enriched. A good or bad cure can make or break an entire harvest. Most hobbyists rely on glass jars for the curing process. Each jar should be filled with dried and manicured cannabis flowers to around 3/4th full. These jars should then be stored in a cool, dark place where they can be examined daily. For the first week or two the jars should be opened (“burped”) once or twice a day. This lets out some of the built up humidity and lets in some fresh air. After the first week or so, the jars can be opened less frequently (anywhere from once a day to once every other day). After a couple of months the curing process is complete and the marijuana should be at its peak flavor.

Long-term Storage

Like other dried herbs, properly dried cannabis can be stored for years and still retain flavor and quality. Many growers looking for long-term storage solutions choose glass containers. There are also some manufacturers that make specialty containers specifically for cannabis storage. These containers help maintain ideal humidity levels and protect the marijuana’s quality. Long-term storage of cannabis is best achieved in a cool, dark place. It is also important to leave the storage container undisturbed as much as possible as jostling will diminish the quality.

Trim Material

After trimming cannabis flowers, a grower will be left with a pile of left over trim material. This material can be easily converted into usable extracts. Edibles and/or smokable concentrates can be easily made from trim material with little more than household items. A quick search on the internet can provide detailed instructions to growers on how to turn trim material into usable products.

There is a world of difference between marijuana that was properly grown, flushed, dried, and cured and marijuana that was not. Higher quality and more flavorful marijuana is not only more enjoyable for the grower, but is also more valuable on the market and is, in turn, more profitable. After all the time and labor invested into a marijuana growing operation, it makes no sense to have a poorly conducted harvest. In fact, the harvest is the holy grail of the flowering process and the entire marijuana cultivation process. It is ultimately the prize sought after by anyone who has ever decided to grow cannabis. Take each harvest as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and fine-tune your trade. As with other aspects of growing cannabis, becoming a master of harvesting comes with much experience and experimentation.

By: Eric Hopper

www.professionalmarijuanagrower.com

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Hydroponics

The Effects of Nutrient Pollution

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Nutrient pollution is a costly and challenging environmental problem, and is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water. Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that are natural parts of aquatic ecosystems. Nitrogen is also the most abundant element in the air we breathe. Nitrogen and phosphorus support the growth of algae and aquatic plants, which provide food and habitat for fish, shellfish and smaller organisms that live in water. But when too much nitrogen and phosphorus enter the environment – usually from a wide range of human activities – the air and water can become polluted.

Nutrient pollution has impacted many streams, rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters for the past several decades, resulting in environmental and human health issues, and impacting the economy. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Significant increases in algae harm water quality, food resources and habitats, and decrease the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. Large growths of algae are called algal blooms and they can severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water, leading to illnesses in fish and the death of large numbers of fish. Some algal blooms are harmful to humans because they produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that can make people sick if they come into contact with polluted water, consume tainted fish or shellfish, or drink contaminated water.

This process is also known as eutrophication. Excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to more serious problems such as low levels of oxygen dissolved in the water. Severe algal growth blocks light that is needed for plants, such as seagrasses, to grow. When the algae and seagrass die, they decay. In the process of decay, the oxygen in the water is used up and this leads to low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water. This, in turn, can kill fish, crabs, oysters, and other aquatic animals.

Nutrients come from a variety of different sources. They can occur naturally as a result of weathering of rocks and soil in the watershed and they can also come from the ocean due to mixing of water currents. Scientists are most interested in the nutrients that are related to people living in the coastal zone because human-related inputs are much greater than natural inputs. Because there are increasingly more people living in coastal areas, there are more nutrients entering our coastal waters from wastewater treatment facilities, runoff from land in urban areas during rains, and from farming.

Victor Krantz is a master grower for The Bucket Company. He has been involved with the agriculture industry for 30 years producing a wide variety of food crops and setting up commercial greenhouses in many different states. You can find them on Instagram @thebucketcompany or @cookiesandcreamfarm. Victor may be contacted directly at 727.424.0132.

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Hydroponics

Hydroponic Nutrients – The Essential Elements

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hydroponic-nutrientsThere are 17 essential elements needed for plant growth. Three of them (hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon) are non-mineral elements and are absorbed by plants through the air or water. The other 14 essential elements must be provided by the soil or fertilization. Since hydroponic gardening bypasses the soil, all 14 essential mineral elements must be furnished in the hydroponic nutrient solution.

These essential mineral elements are broken into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. The macronutrients are the nutrients used in higher concentrations relative to micronutrients which are absorbed in smaller amounts. When shopping around for hydroponic nutrients, a gardener will quickly notice three numbers on the nutrient solution’s label. These numbers represent the N-P-K values or ratios of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in that particular formula. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the primary macronutrients. In other words, they are absorbed in higher ratios than any other essential mineral element. This is why it is important for fertilizer labels to disclose the N-P-K ratio. A closer look at all of the macronutrients found in hydroponic fertilizers will give growers a better understanding of how each element affects plant growth.

Macronutrients

Nitrogen (N)

A basic component of proteins and chlorophyll, Nitrogen is the main nutrient responsible for vigorous growth and luscious green coloration.

Phosphorus (P)

Plays an important role in root stimulation and establishment for young plants. Phosphorus also promotes flowering, fruiting, ripening, and respiration.

Potassium (K)

Promotes movement of sugars and other nutrients (via osmosis). Potassium is directly linked to stem strength and rigidity. Potassium increases a plant’s overall resistance to cold, drought and pathogens. Much like phosphorus, potassium plays an intricate role in the formation of flower buds and fruiting/blooming processes.

Calcium (Ca)

Builds and becomes part of the cell walls. Calcium is vital to plant structure and strength and promotes growth of young shoots and roots. Calcium is needed for ripening and seed production.

Magnesium (Mg)

Reinforces cell walls and is an important component of chlorophyll. Magnesium promotes the absorption of phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulfur. It also plays a vital role in the ripening of fruit and the germination of seeds.

Sulfur (S)

Contributes to chlorophyll production and is a necessary component of several proteins, enzymes and vitamins. Sulfur aids the plant’s absorption of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients, although absorbed in lower amounts than macronutrients, play an equally important role in overall plant health.

Chlorine (Cl)

Involved in the stimulation of photosynthesis.

Iron (Fe)

Assists in biochemical processes, including the manufacturing of chlorophyll. Iron also contributes to the formation of some enzymes and amino acids.

Boron (B)

Essential for tissue growth within the plant. Promotes the absorption of water and helps regulate a plant’s metabolism. Boron also assists in the formation of fruit.

Manganese (Mn)

Plays an essential role in nitrogen assimilation and protein formation. Manganese can speed up a plant’s maturity and helps promote seed germination. It is also necessary for chlorophyll production.

Zinc (Zn)

Helps the development of enzymes and growth hormones.

Copper (Cu)

Plays a role in chlorophyll production and helps activate various enzymes.

Molybdenum (Mo)

It is needed for the production of nitrogen-based proteins and is essential for nitrogen assimilation by plants.

Nickel (Ni)

Regulates mineral metabolism, enzyme activity and other metabolic processes in plants.

Hydroponic Base Nutrients

There are many choices and it can become overwhelming trying to choose a brand of hydroponic nutrients (fertilizers). The first thing a hydroponic horticulturist should do is choose a base nutrient formula. A base nutrient formula will contain all the essential mineral elements, therefore providing all elements necessary for plant growth. Depending on the manufacturer, the base nutrients may be a one, two, or three part formula. Regardless of how many parts it is all base nutrient formulas do the same thing: provide the plants with the essential mineral elements. A good hydroponic base nutrient is all that is needed to get started growing hydroponically.

Can I Use my Hydroponic Nutrients for Soil Gardening?

Hydroponic base nutrients are designed specifically for use in hydroponic systems. Although they can be used in a pinch to fertilize plants in soil containers, they are designed for hydroponics which means the ratio of some elements will differ from fertilizers designed specifically for soil.

pH in Hydroponics

In order for the plants to absorb the essential elements in a hydroponic system, the pH of the solution must be in a particular range. A pH of 5.5 – 6.0 is the desired range for most hydroponic systems. If the pH gets above or below that range, the plants will be unable to absorb certain nutrients. This will eventually lead to a deficiency. Hydroponic growers will need to have pH buffers (pH up and pH down) on hand to make adjustments when necessary.

Finding a hydroponic nutrient formula can be overwhelming for new growers. Just remember, a good base formula and pH buffers are all you need to get started. Once you feel comfortable with your base formula, you can begin experimenting with the plethora of hydroponic nutrient additives available at your local hydroponic retailer.

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Greenhouses

Sizing Your Greenhouse for Optimum Utilization of Space

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Prior to setting up a greenhouse it is important to consider how the space within the greenhouse will be utilized. Unfortunately, many growers do not think about how they are going to use the space before they set up or purchase a greenhouse. This can lead to frustration and an unsatisfying greenhouse experience. However, with a little forethought, you can get the appropriately sized greenhouse for your particular needs and desires. When thinking about the utilization of space, it is important to examine the available widths of the greenhouse and how it will affect the greenhouse’s layout.

Greenhouse Widths

Greenhouses come in all lengths and widths. When contemplating the layout or floor plan of a greenhouse, a gardener should be most concerned with the width of the greenhouse because, in most cases, that is what will determine the dimensions of the benches and aisles. Hobby greenhouses are most commonly 8 or 10 feet wide but can also range from 12 – 20 foot widths. Most commercial or production greenhouses are usually wider and range from 20 feet and up. As previously mentioned, the width is important because it will determine the size of the benches that can be used. Benches are extremely popular for greenhouse gardeners and are used by most hobbyists. By examining the width of the greenhouse, a grower can determine what kind of bench and aisle spacing he or she can have.

8 Foot Width

Many smaller greenhouses are available in 8 foot widths. Unfortunately, the 8 foot measurement is a representation of the outside dimensions of the greenhouse. In other words, this measurement does not take the frame into consideration and, therefore, the actual width on the inside will not be a full 8 feet. Greenhouses with 8 foot widths typically have 2 foot wide benches on either side of a 3 foot wide aisle. Although this may be big enough for some hobbyists, many horticulturists will quickly fill up the bench space and wish they had more room.

10 Foot Width

Greenhouses with a width of 10 feet are very popular among hobbyists because they instantly give 30% more bench space than an 8 foot wide greenhouse. A typical set up in a 10 foot wide greenhouse is to have 3 foot benches on either side of a 3 foot wide aisle. A 3 foot bench is the perfect size because it provides sufficient space for plants while not being so deep that the horticulturist can’t reach the plants. All in all, a 10 foot wide greenhouse is a nice, comfortable width for hobbyists.

12 – 20 Foot Widths

Greenhouses that range from 12 – 20 feet wide are a good choice for horticulturists who want to grow on more than just benches. Growers who want to incorporate raised beds or who have a collection of tropical plants which need additional head space will find a greenhouse in this width range more suitable to their needs. Greenhouses of this width are also nice for hobbyists who want to add a seating area, water feature, or some other unique addition to their garden spaces. All of these greenhouse extras will take up space so always be sure to plan your greenhouse layout accordingly.

20+ Foot Width

Larger width greenhouses (20+ feet wide) are mainly reserved for educational or commercial applications. These wide greenhouses can have two 3 foot aisles with 3 foot benches on the outer sides and a 6 – 8 foot bench in the center. When optimizing space for production, these greenhouses are the ticket.

Before purchasing or building a greenhouse, make sure you take the time to think about the space within and how that space will be utilized. In most cases, the grower’s intended application will determine the width of the greenhouse. A good greenhouse manufacturer will help you determine the most appropriate width for your application and help guide you to optimize the space within.

Background information provided by ArcadiaGlasshouse.com.

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Greenhouses

Greenhouse Space-Saving Techniques

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With a little garden space planning, it is possible to drastically increase the productivity and enjoyment of a greenhouse garden. Like with any great structure, one can start from the foundation and work up to the top to make sure each area complements the others and is an efficient use of the space.

Going Underground

If a greenhouse is on a deck or already has permanent flooring, it may not be possible to take advantage of some great underground space. If at all possible, there are many advantages to having a “flexible” greenhouse floor. To start with, some area of floor that is not covered can allow for cultivation of the soil or the addition of a perfectly blended soil mix to grow plants at the ground level. This will result in an automatic space saving because the roots of the plants are occupying space below the greenhouse floor level that otherwise would be wasted. All that is generally necessary for walking and working in the greenhouse is to leave a three to four foot corridor down the middle and the rest of the floor area can be planted. But even this center corridor can be a door to an underground gardening powerhouse.

The Underground Greenhouse Engine

One of the best ways to turn a greenhouse into a full scale growing machine is to convert the center corridor into an underground composting and/or vermiculture center, and it is quite easy to do. Simply dig a trench three to four feet wide and two to three feet deep in the center of the greenhouse from end to end. Stack a brick barrier on the sides and ends and cover with strong plywood sections. The plywood makes a nice greenhouse floor for walking through and tending plants. Sections of the plywood can be lifted to reveal the perfect cool damp environment for composting and/or vermiculture and a dry box section can be included for garden supply storage.

Hydroponics and the Underground

Any discussion of greenhouse space saving techniques would be incomplete without some mention of hydroponics. Hydroponics presents a level of control and efficiency that is geared toward productivity and getting the most out of available space. Underground is the perfect place to put nutrient reservoirs. Many hydroponics systems require the reservoir to be below the plant growing medium and below ground reservoirs allow the plant grow beds to be as low as ground level. They do not take up space in the greenhouse and keep the nutrient solution cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Using Floor Space Wisely

With a few cautions in mind, the stacking plant growing space with tiered benches or shelves can add greatly to productivity. It is important to consider how the shelves and plants themselves will shade other plants from light. Just as tall plants are generally positioned in the back of the garden so they will not shade shorter plants, it is important to observe the path of the sun in relationship to the greenhouse placement and plant accordingly. Place tall shelving and plants where they will not block too much light from other areas of the greenhouse. Shelves and racks are best made of mesh or screen construction which allows light, air and moisture to pass more easily. Always try to buy adjustable shelving. It is much more versatile and allows for spacing shelves based on the requirements of each crop.  Specially designed triangular shelves are also available for the corners of the greenhouse to take advantage of what is often dead space. One last note on shelving, and just about anything else that is placed in the greenhouse, light colors are best because they reflect light allowing more of it to be absorbed by the plants.

Using Lights to Increase Productivity

As mentioned above, it is best to position benches, shelving and plants to take the best advantage of the natural light that is available to the greenhouse. That said it is possible to lengthen the growing season, volume of plants that can be grown and productivity with the use of artificial lights. T5 Fluorescent lights have several advantages for greenhouse space saving. They do not require large bulky external ballasts, and are very low profile and can be attached to the bottom of a shelf to provide light to the plants on the next shelf down. Just be sure to have proper channeling for moisture from the plants above. Bulbs are available in warm, cool and full spectrum and they produce very little heat allowing them to be positioned quite close to growing plants. They are available in 48 inch long 2, 4, 6 and 8 tube models that are perfect for any width shelf.

Using Space Saving Hydroponics Towers

Hydroponics towers are a growing innovation that is hard to ignore when it comes to getting the most from each square foot. These systems stack growing containers in clever configurations so that plants still get light, but are vertically stacked to save ground space. Several different varieties are available to suit almost any greenhouse application.

Air Space

Last, but not least, because of their clear ceilings, greenhouses offer even more space for hanging plants. Once the floor and wall spaces have been planted, consider where hanging plants may work best without robbing too much light from other plants. As with shelves and other vertical plantings, it is important to study the path of the sun and shade in the greenhouse to determine where best to place hanging plants so the shade they provide is an asset not a determent to the greenhouse as a whole. This may be quite different depending on the season. In the summer, sun loving hanging plants may provide welcome shade when placed properly in the greenhouse. In the winter, they may need to be avoided entirely depending on the overall light requirements of the particular greenhouse application. Upside down tomato growers have also become popular for growing tomatoes and other plants hanging upside down and may make welcome space saving additions to the greenhouse.

It may perhaps be a habit from traditional outdoor gardening to look at the garden space as one dimensional and plan accordingly. A better approach is to take into consideration each level and surface from floor to sealing and how it will interact with the greenhouse as a whole. By taking a three dimensional view and planning the greenhouse garden from the floor up a better, more productive garden is within reach.

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Growing Tips

Tips for Cloning Success

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Most of these tips will work for traditional cuttings as well as hydroponic cloning.

Select the plant you plan to clone. Select only plants that are in good health and are at least two months old.  New growth is best if it’s available, however, any healthy stem with at least two or three healthy sets of leaves will work. Only take cuttings from well hydrated plants. Plants that are dry will not perform as well as cuttings.

Hygiene cannot be stressed enough. Disease, fungus and viruses spread quickly and are a primary cause of failure.  Luckily, a few easy steps will ensure healthy cuttings. It may be tempting to skip the cleaning steps, but you will be rewarded with quick healthy cuttings by spending a few extra seconds.

  • Gather your tools: A sharp craft knife or razor blade, cutting shears, container with water, rooting hormone, clean cutting mat, cloning system.
  • Prepare the water bath in the cloner. Measure nutrients carefully.
  • Select a 2”-3” stem of plant, ideally with new growth. (Note: fall is the ideal time to find new growth, but cuttings will work in spring) cut below the intersection of leaves on the stem. Immediately place cutting into water until you are ready to process all cuttings.
  • Remove lower leaves by carefully slicing them at the stem. Leave several leaves at the top of the stem. If leaves are too large for the cloning space, cut then lengthwise.
  • Place cutting on a clean cutting mat. Sterilize blade with alcohol and carefully cut the stem diagonally at a 45° angle to expose as much of the plant’s cambium as possible. Be careful not to crush any tissues. Dip knife in alcohol between each cutting.
  • Place a small amount of rooting hormone in a small Dixie cup or small glass and dip cutting into hormone. Do not dip the cutting directly into main container to avoid contamination.  Throw the excess compound away; do not add back to the original container. Note: Commercial growers typically use liquid rooting hormone because the plant absorbs the liquid faster than the powder.
  • Secure the cutting in the basket and place in cloner.

Check your cuttings frequently. In a few days you will start to see nodes forming just prior to root development.  Change the water once a week or per the manufacturer’s instructions. Once roots are formed, transplant into 4” pots. Placing them in a cool greenhouse with bottom heat will encourage healthy root growth while keeping top growth compact and healthy.

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Pests & Disease Control

Tips for Keeping Pests Out of the Greenhouse

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The best way to avoid pest problems in a greenhouse is to keep them out to begin with. The list that follows gives many ways to help keep a greenhouse pest free. The more of these that can be integrate into greenhouse gardening practices, the better chance a gardener will have of winning the war against undesirable garden pests.

Start Plants from Seed

If plants are bought at a nursery or a garden center, one can not be assured that the plants are perfectly clean. If one has been getting plants from a reputable producer and has not had problems in the past, it would be a good idea to stick with that grower, even if the prices are higher. Treated seeds are safer for starting your greenhouse plants. Untreated seeds are more likely to carry a seed-borne bacterial or fungal disease.

Repot Plants Outside the Greenhouse

Repotting plants should be done outside of the greenhouse, and any used pots should be cleaned and disinfected with a 10% bleach solution before use. Commercially available soilless mix should be used as the media for seed starting and potting greenhouse plants. This will allow one to avoid introducing insect and microbial pests that often live in soil.

Protect the Work Area

Protect the ground on the floor of the greenhouse with a barrier to keep soil born pests from digging their way in from the outside. Work in the greenhouse first before working in the outside garden. Outside plants should not be kept near the greenhouse door. These plants can be a safe harbor for bugs waiting for a chance to get in the greenhouse.

Hands should always be washed before going into the greenhouse. This is particularly important after working with plants, or produce in the kitchen.

If one has been in close contact with plants, grass or dirt/mud, a change of clothing may be in order before entering the greenhouse. If one has been walking through grass or mud, it is a good idea to remove footwear, before entering your greenhouse. If one will be walking in the woods or a wooded area under trees, or even just walking on dirt paths, try to do it after working in the greenhouse.

Consider possible contamination by visitors to the greenhouse. Visitors should not enter the greenhouse after being in another greenhouse, a garden or an agricultural field.

Clean the Tools

Insects, mites or diseases can be taken into the greenhouse on garden tools that have been used outside. Tools should be thoroughly washed and disinfected with a 10% bleach solution before bringing them in the greenhouse and in between working on separate plants.

Items that have been exposed to plants or produce are a source of contaminants. Used plant shipping boxes and produce shipping boxes may be very useful, but they should never be taken into the greenhouse.

No Pets Allowed

Dogs and cats, that live or spend time outdoors, should never be allowed in the greenhouse.

A Few More Things

Screen air intakes to the greenhouse with a very fine mesh. The screen area should be at least five times the area of the greenhouse air intake, as to not restrict airflow.

Consider if a double door is possible. This is particularly helpful in keeping moths and butterflies out. Moths and butterflies are not generally a problem themselves, but when they lay their eggs on your plants, they will soon hatch caterpillars and start to eat their hosts. On your daily bases remove any of them that are present.

Sticky fly traps can help in early detection of some flying and crawling pests.

Inspect plants as often as possible for visual predators or damage caused by harmful pests, fungus, bacteria or disease.

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Growing Tips

The Overlooked Price of Ignoring Canopy Management

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As practitioners in the fields of horticulture and urban agriculture (fields we give important names to because they follow a proven process and mean something to us) – we growers and gardeners spend an inordinate amount of time fretting about the details.

All of us agree on the important things; the quality of our substrate, the stability of the environment, control over pathogens, deficiencies and excesses, good light, quality inputs, genetics, sustainability, biodiversity.  All important stuff… but ultimately our efforts are geared towards producing quality and volume in our harvests.

How do we efficiently get from point A (seed) to point B (harvest) with maximum potential being achieved? It’s a bunch of work. And nothing important should be omitted.

That being said, there is a metaphor that bounces around about a barrel and how each of the staves must fit with the others for the stave joints not to leak. If a stave is not fit or built sufficiently, or is missing: The water will leak and the barrel can never be full.

This metaphor as an analogy to describe an often overlooked leak in the barrel of our common growing knowledge: The problem of: how do we hold up our plants?

In controlled growing environments it is of great importance to manage the canopy. Canopy management should be considered a stave in the barrel for a number of reasons:

  • To get even distribution of the best quality light at the optimal distance on the greatest number of fruiting and flowering parts to achieve maximum yield.
  • To train branches for topiary or bonsai structures.
  • To ensure that the plant is given sufficient ventilation and is not exposed to any environmental extremes such as heat or air flow stagnation.
  • To use ways of stabilizing the plant and then anchor tie-offs in such a way that the plant is not damaged because breakage means the loss of quality produce.

Some plants don’t need help; but some do, and most of us treat this as an afterthought. We spend time and money on all of the previously mentioned details, but then just jab stakes in into the root-zone and tie-off branches as they fall or droop. Pre-planning usually involves either a one-size-fits-all structure or some serious DIY.

That said doing something is the right thing to do: Why wouldn’t all of us serious growers make a plan and fret, in advance, over the details and how to get the biggest bang for our bucks? Canopy management will help to produce larger harvests and make everything else we do work better.

Jason Rider is the president of Thriving Systems Design. He can be contacted at j.rider@c-bite.com and you can visit their website at C-Bite.com.

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Grow Lights

Troubleshooting the Magnetic HID Light System

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This information can only be applied to “conventional” magnetic ballasts. Digital/electronic ballasts, which are becoming more common all the time, have some important differences regarding internal inspection, replacing parts, and matching bulb type to ballast. If your magnetic HID light system is giving you problems you can follow a few basic steps to identify the problem.

Step One

Isolate the problem by checking on a few things. Is the ballast receiving electricity? If you plug the lamp in and hear humming noise then it is a good bet that the ballast is working. If you do not hear humming noises check the plug and the outlet for a good connection. The next step is to check the transformer for burns; it is the large, dark steel box. If the transformer I burnt then it must be replaced.

For HPS units you can also check the starter and the capacitor which look like an oblong tin can. The sealed lip around each end of the can should be completely smooth and have no wrinkles. If the ends are pinched out then the capacitor, the starter or both are burnt out and will need to be replaced.

Step Two

If you have verified the ballast is working then the problem is probably with the bulb or the wiring. Check to ensure that the bulb is correctly and firmly screwed into the socket. This sounds simple but it by far the most common reason for bulb failure. With the bulb in place check all the connections for heat and firm contact. Make absolutely sure the ballast is unplugged before touching any bare wires or connections. Inspect thee arc tube inside the bulb. If it is dark, or if the bulb is over two years old, then it could be burnt out.

Step Three

If a fuse or breaker switch is thrown when you turn on the light then the circuit is being overloaded. For safety reasons you never use more than 80 percent of the amps available on a circuit. The amp rating should be printed on the breaker fuse.

Step Four

Do not worry if the lamp is flickering or pulsating. It takes approximately 100 hours of operation for the lamp halogens in the arc tube to stabilize and pulsate less. Color changes are also normal and do not affect the life or lumens of the bulb.

Step Five

Handle the bulbs gently and wipe off any fingerprints. Allow the bulb to cool for 15 minutes before restarting the lamp.

Facts about High Intensity Discharge Bulbs

  • It is common for small pieces of glass or metal to be inside an HID bulb
  • The HID lamp must run with a ballast of the corresponding and type of bulb. For example you should use a 1,000 watt Metal Halide ballast when you are using a 1,000 watt Metal Halide bulb.
  • The light from the lamp will oscillate during the first few hours of use and decrease in intensity during the life of the lamp.
  • The HID lamp takes approximately 3 minutes to warm up and reach 80% brightness. If the lamp is shut off after reaching full intensity it will take 10 – 20 minutes before it can restart.
  • It is normal for the lamp to shift color during the first few hundred hours of use.
  • HID lamps should be replaced after 12-18 months of use. The life span of the bulbs is dependent on how many times the lamp is turned on and off and frequent on-off cycles will shorten the life of the lamp.

Safety Information

  • Do not look directly into the bulb during start up or operation.
  • Turn the unit off immediately if the exterior glass of the light bulb cracks, punctures or breaks. Ultraviolet radiation from the HID lamp can cause serious skin burn or eye inflammation. They may still work but it should never be used in that condition.
  • Inspect your bulb periodically for scratches and discard the bulb if scratches exist. Scratching the bulb or subjecting it to undue pressure could cause it to shatter.
  • Use caution when watering foliage beneath lighting units and do not foliage when the lights are on or have just been turned off. Functioning or recently functioning bulbs are hot and may shatter or crack if contacted by water.
  • Never remove or insert the bulb while the power is on
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Hydroponics

Hydroponics System Daily Maintenance Check List

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Once a growing system is up-and-running, to successfully grow hydroponic plants, there are only a few tasks required. Check the system daily or every other day and do the following keeping in mind the 5 basic requirements of plants (light, water, nutrients, temperature and oxygen).

  • Most plants love humidity so mist them continually and they will be happy.
  • Watch the system and make sure it is performing properly. If it floods the plants and drains at a specific time – verify this. Small bits of growing medium can clog the tubing of a system in no time flat and either leave your plants ‘high and dry’ or continually flooded. This happened to me once.
  • As your nutrient solution evaporates, add tap water to refill it to where it should be. Do not ever add a touch more of nutrient powder to replace what you think has been used up. This is a really good way to kill your plants.
  • Keep an eye out for pests and disease as well as nutritional deficiencies.
  • Take care of any problems as fast as possible or they will grow into large problems faster than you will believe.
  • Take a look at the plants. Are they wilting and is the growing medium completely dry? Or is it continually soaked? Adjust the amount of nutrient solution accordingly (this is for systems that periodically receive nutrient solution most likely through a timer).
  • Dead growth saps the energy of a plant and can be a good beginning for a disease or pest problem so keep the dead matter pruned.
  • Keep track of the temperature if you are in a greenhouse and ventilate if necessary by opening doors, windows and turning on a fan.
  • In an enclosed area like a greenhouse, let some bugs and breezes get in. This not only helps with pollination but some bugs will actually protect your plants by eating the bad ones.
  • Learn to identify the good vs. bad bugs. Dragonflies, spiders and ‘daddy long legs’ are good to have around – they eat the bad bugs so encourage them. I personally love dragonflies – I’ve seen them dive-bomb horse flies and moose flies and eat them.
  • Keep a log. What becomes second nature to you now will probably be completely forgotten in a few months so write it down.

I know this seems like a lot of effort but once you get a routine down you may not need more than a few minutes a day to perform these tasks. Keep up the vigilance and you will grow hydroponic plants that are healthy and you will be amply rewarded with a large amount of vegetables and herbs.

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