21 GROWROOM TIPS & TRICKS FROM THE PROS | RQS

21 GROWROOM TIPS & TRICKS FROM THE PROS

THE HIGH TIMES CULTIVATION DEPARTMENT REACHED OUT TO SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE CANNABIS WORLD FOR THEIR EXPERT ADVICE ON HOW TO SUCCEED IN GROWING GREAT WEED. WE'RE PLEASED TO PRESENT THE FOLLOWING WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE CREAM OF THE CROP OF PROFESSIONAL CANNABIS FARMERS.

WIRE DRYER

Instead of putting your trimmed herb onto coat hang­ers to dry, go out and get some 6-foot-tall square wire deer fencing. Cut it into 6-foot sections and secure the sec­tions onto cylinders. Stand the cylinders up and use them to hang your drying herb on. Nothing works better for sav­ing space and tackling the is­sues related to damaged herb.—Addison DeMoura, Steep Hill Lab, steephilllab.com

MAINTAINING MOTHER PLANTS

The best production gardens tie., those with more than two HID grow lamps) are almost exclusively filled with clones taken from healthy mother plants Northern Lights Feminisiert. And the best mother plants are never flowered—rather, as the mothers grow from seed, clones are taken from them and flowered out instead to determine their sex and the quality of what they'll produce. The corresponding mother plants remain in the vegetative stage in large containers under metal halides or plenty of fluores­cent grow tights and fed a mild vegetative nutrient solution high in nitrogen. —Danny Danko, HIGH TIMES senior cultivation editor, dannydanko.com

SPARKLING CLONES

I discovered the benefits of sparkling water a few years back thanks to another grower's tip and have never heard anyone else mention it. Pur­chase a bottle of sparkling mineral water and put it to use when taking clones: Fresh cuttings from a mother plant crave the essential minerals as well as the tiny carbonated bubbles marihuana filme. Placing your fresh cuttings in a cup of mineral water before using your cloning solution will make the clones root faster and increase their survival rate (though make sure you grab the unflavored kind). Bubbles are a happy sound to the plants, and they will soon show their approval with quick, abundant roots. —Mike from Gage Green, gagegreen.org

EMULSIFY

The old saying has it that "oil and water don't mix," but that little problem has now been solved. To mix cold-pressed neem oil with water, first emulsify the neem oil using liquid silica. To make this emulsification, mix 1 table­spoon of Dyna-Gro neem oit and 1 tablespoon of Pro-TeKt silica in a glass dish. Add this oil/silica emulsification to 1 gallon of tepid water, then add 2 tablespoons of a surfactant like T&J Enterprise's yucca juice to break the surface tension. Shake the solution to activate the yucca saponins and then spray.

—Matt Rize, medicalmarijuana.com

DON'T WAIT

I think the best tip I can offer is to be diligent in all things growroom-related. Our hobby is not one that allows for procrastination, and when it's time to transplant or take clones or just perform the proper maintenance, these are things that won't wait till tomorrow. The best growers I know have a special attention for de­tail and tend to operate tidy, clean and organ­ized work areas. I think people get caught up in the mystique of cannabis cultivation and forget that, at our core, good growers are simply farmers—and that means getting up early and working long days. You get out of a garden what you put into it, and if you mix some love and passion in with the hard work, great dank will be the result.

—Subcool, TGA Genetics, tgagenetics.com

PLANT LIFT

The best advice ever given to me was from Soma, who taught me to pick up the pots and feel the weight of the plants before each water­ing to avoid overdoing it. As for what I discov­ered on my own: You should always listen to your plants. They'll tell you when they need more food, water or air. Learn to treat them as the wonderful living beings they are.—Harry Resin, HIGH TIMES cultivation contributor

PROPER FLUSHING

It doesn't matter what kind of medium you use: Mineral fertilizers will cause salt buildups, eventually resulting in the intoxication (i.e., poi­soning) of your plants if proper flushing isn't applied. The purpose of flushing is to cleanse the medium, and as a consequence a lot of water flows through the containers down to the ground, so it's very important to drain away that excess water to maintain the right climate. (Too much water in the growroom will cause air hu­midity to climb fast, creating all sorts of issues.) In my experience, flushing with an amount of water up to three times the volume of the medium is even more effective, as long as the drainage is quick. Also, flushing is best done at the beginning of the light cycle so as to favor the evaporation of excess water and let the medium begin the drying process faster afterwards.

Franco, Green House Seed Company,green­houseseeds.nl

GROW ORGANIC

The No. 1 tip I'd give anyone would be to go organic. Not only will you save time and money in the grow-room, but it will also help lessen your carbon footprint and provide you with higher-quality cannabis that burns properly. Go green, grow green. We already have an overdependence on petrochemicals, so why pour fertilizers made of these substandard ingredients on our plants? I say no! Growing organic won't only make a difference in your growroom—it will change your life.

—Shiloh Massive, NorCal legend

LABEL EVERYTHING

Depending on whether your plants are in pots or in beds, there may be some variation in this method—and even with natural preventive-maintenance sprays such as neem oil to combat predators, as well as the amazing permanent color markers available today, the strain names will eventually fade away if one doesn't pay close attention.

So, with all that being said, and knowing a little bit about insurance, I like to prepare many identical la­bels for my plants and place them in multiple spots—in the containers, on the sides of containers, under the containers, and tied to the plants [especially when the plants are in beds)—to ensure that there's no possible mix-up of strains. As the breeder and creator of Delta-9 Labs, I've seen several so-called breeding facilities over the past 15 years while living in the Netherlands that were quite disorganized, dirty and even potential fire hazards. Keep it safe, smart and cerebral, and keep it clean and well organized!

—Ed Borg, Delta 9 Labs, delta9labs.com

SUM ORGANIZED

Blaze your own trail in the world of grow­ing, but allow the wealth of knowledge that's already out there to be your guide. Don't get mired in your own methods: Too much pride in your growing style or fear of failure will limit you. Your plants are what you make them, and a perpet­ual-harvest cycle will allow you to individualize your techniques for each plant's specific nutrient and water needs. Or­ganization means less work, so change one thing at a time and have patience. And when you find something worth sharing, keep the growing community alive and don't bogart your knowledge.

—Jessi & James, winners of the 2010 Ore­gon Medical Cannabis Awards

JUICING WITH ENZYMES

Organic soils and fertilizers will always be the preferred method for growing great herb, but without some assistance, they release their vital nutrients slowly, which can really be a drag on your flow­ering times. The only way to maximize their effectiveness the all-natural way is the same way our own bodies swiftly break down food into usable minerals: enzymes. These are protein catalysts that speed up the decomposition process in organic matter, unlocking the stored molecules it contains. For example, bat guano—which is packed with phospho­rus thanks to the bat's insect diet—also contains powerful enzymes to break it down quickly and prevent it from accu­mulating on the cave floor. Together, the phosphorous and enzymes make bat guano a potent and fast-acting flower fertilizer. Seabird poop is another cheap and sustainably harvested fertilizer with active enzymes. Likewise, psidocene—an enzyme and biostimulant derived from seaweed—helps speed the recovery of transplanted or otherwise shocked or stressed plants.

—Ben Kind, HIGH TIMES cultivation reporter

TRANSITIONAL FEEDING

Plants don't need flowering food until they've got flowers forming. Keep plants on full-strength vegetative nutes through the first week of flow­ering for indicas and the sec­ond week for sativas, then combine both veg and bloom formulas for a week. Likewise, plants will benefit from contin­ued metal halide (MN) lighting for a week or two into the flow­ering stage.

—Kyle Kushman, HIGH TIMES cultivation reporter extraordi­naire, kushmanveganics.com

SUPERCROPPING

Pinching, twisting and bending the tops of your plants are all forms of su­percropping. Doing this will benefit your garden considerably by preventing plant stretching and the waste of valuable light and space. Supercropping can be performed at almost any stage of a plant's life, from well-rooted and established clones all the way into the middle stage of flowering (although bending is preferable to pinching by that time). If you haven't tried some form of supercropping, give a few of these techniques a whirl and see which ones work best for you and your plants.

—Felix Green, HIGH TIMES cultivation contributor

LIGHT RIGHT

One of the common mistakes that indoor growers make is to not maximize their light. Indoor gardens require a minimum of 33 watts per square foot—so, for example, with a standard 4' x 8' tray (32 square feet) and two 1,000-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, you would achieve 62.5 watts per square foot, thereby doubling the recommended amount of watts.

But if you don't properly contain your light, you'll waste it by illuminating walkways, walls, etc. You are not growing concrete or sheetrock; you're growing plants—so it's extremely important that the light pene­trate only the plants and not escape the growing area. The easiest and most cost-effective way to contain your light is to use white plastic divider walls, leaving a 2-inch gap from the wall to the plants. By doing this, you should see a dramatic increase in your yields.

—Bret Bogue, Apothecary Genetics, apothecarygenetics.com

THE 'FOUR PS'

Plants that grow bushy with even branch­ing can yield bigger under artificial tight sources, producing consistent, dense bud quality from the tops to the bottoms of your medical-cannabis plants. Follow these "Four Ps" and you can't miss: 1) Pinch out the central growing point on es­tablished vegetative plants to promote bushier plants that yield all "tops" (but do not pinch your plants if the crop is less than 14 days away from the beginning of the bud phase). 2) Pluck fan leaves away sparingly, since these are energy facto­ries. You should only pluck fan leaves if they're blocking a lot of the light from other growing points on the plant—and it's always smart to consider trimming a leaf blade or two away instead. 3) Pa­tience is a virtue, and to be a good grower, you have to exercise plenty of it. 4) Pruning is best done all at once—for example, in the second week of flower­ing. Constant pruning creates stress on your plants, as they are forced to keep "rewiring" themselves.

—Erik Biksa, HIGH TIMES Canadian cultiva­tion correspondent, hydroponicssecrets.tv

ALL YOU NEED IS PATIENCE

The thing that was hardest for me to learn—and I still wish I had more of it—is patience: You can never have enough when you're growing. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and keep it green. —Swerve, the Cali Connection, thecaliconnectionltd.co.uk

LIGHT SUPPLEMENTS

One of the best uses of power when growing in­doors is to supplement your high-intensity dis­charge (HID) lighting with fluorescents such as T5s or CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). These not only offer some of the best light spectrum for your plants, but they're also very efficient in terms of electricity usage and emit very little heat. Additionally, fluorescents can be placed lower on the side walls to better penetrate the garden canopy and effectively get light to the middle third of your plants.

—Nico Escondido, HIGH TIMES cultivation editor

PROPER GENETICS

When it comes to growing cannabis, nothing makes sense without an understanding of genet­ics—nothing. Good cannabis genetics are every­thing. Give me a grower with a 1,000-watt HID and bad genetics, and I will show you a grower who's fared far better with fluorescent lights and some good genetics. On the other hand, give me a grower with a 1,000-watt HID and good genetics, and I will show you Superman. Behind every stun­ning grow, every breathtaking bud photograph, every unbelievably gorgeous and dazzling bag of bud, every memorable cannabis experience, there was someone who paid for good genetics to begin with. Even a thousand-dollar growroom is ineffec­tive without the right DNA to put into it.

—Greg Green, author of The Cannabis Grow Bible, greencandypress.com

GREEN LIGHT

It's important to catch pests, infestations and molds early and act immediately when you find them. Insect secretions (a.k.a. bug poop) and pow­dery mildew on foliage surfaces appear to glow at night under a green headlight or UVB light. Take a closer look!

—Jorge Cervantes, HIGH TIMES cultiva­tion editor-at-large, marijuanagrowing.com

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE FOR HYDRO

H202 not only keeps bacteria and algae at bay in non-organic hydro systems, but it also re­leases precious oxygen in the root zone as it works its magic. It's especially good in reser­voirs that run hot—water above 72°F contains less dissolved oxygen, which is necessary to promote bacterial growth. Using 15 ml per gal­lon of a 3% hydrogen-peroxide solution will not only control algae and bacteria, it will also re­lease oxygen in the water as it kills unwanted biological agents.

—Anonymous NYC hydroponic grow pro

STAN GREEN

Always grow organic! It's the most conscientious choice for the health of our bodies and the health of our planet. We must learn to take responsibility for all our actions. Also, fight against GMOs (geneti­cally modified organisms). Grow from seeds and learn to make your own—this way, you can perpet­uate them. Cannabis can be so many things: medi­cine, food, textiles, peace and relaxation, even a change in consciousness. It can heal the sick, repair the environment, and restore our balance with na­ture.—Valerie Corral, Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, wamm.org