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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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