The HIGH TIMES Cultivation Department reached out to some of the cannabis world’s biggest names for their expert advice on how to succeed in growing great weed. Learn weed-growing words from the wise from professional and successful cannabis farmers.
One of the best uses of power when growing indoors is employing fluorescent bulbs to supplement your HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting. Fluorescent lights, such as T-5s or CFLs (compact fluorescents) not only offer some of the best light spectrum for plants, they also are very efficient with electricity usage and emit very little heat. Additionally, fluorescents can be placed lower on side walls to better penetrate the garden canopy and effectively get light to the middle-third of your plants.
– Nico Escondido, Cultivation Editor, HIGH TIMES Magazine
Nothing in the biology of cannabis makes sense without an understanding of ‘genetics’. Nothing. Good cannabis genetics is everything. Give a grower a 1K HID and bad genetics and I will show you a grower who has fared far better with fluorescents and good genetics. Give a grower a 1K HID with good genetics and they are superman. Behind every stunning grow, breathtaking bud photograph, every unbelievably gorgeous dazzling bag of bud, every memorable cannabis experience, is someone who paid for good genetics to begin with. A thousand dollar grow room is ineffective without the right DNA put into it.
Plants don't need flowering food until you've got flowers forming. Keep plants on full strength vegetative nutes through the first week of flowering for indicas and second week for sativas. Then combine both veg and bloom for a week. Likewise, plants benefit from continued Metal Halide (MH) lighting for a week or two into the flowering stage.
– Kyle Kushman, HIGH TIMES Cultivation Reporter Extraordinaire,
It’s important to catch pests, infestations and molds early and act immediately. Powdery mildew on foliage surfaces and insect secretions can be seen at night with a green headlight or a UVB light. Mildew and poop appear to glow under a UVB light on plant leaves..Take a look!
The Four P’s
Plants that grow bushier with even branching can yield bigger under artificial light sources, giving consistent, dense bud quality from the top to the bottom of medicinal cannabis plants. Follow the “Four P’s” and you will succeed. Pinch: out the central growing point on established vegetative plants to promote bushier plants that yield all “tops”. Do not pinch your plants if the crop is fewer than fourteen days away from beginning the bud phase. Pluck: fan leaves away ONLY if they are blocking a lot of light from other growing points; consider trimming a leaf blade or two away instead. Do so sparingly, fan leaves are the energy factories. Patience: is a virtue, and to be a good grower you have to exercise this. Prune: this is better done all at once, for example in the second week of flowering. Constant pruning creates stresses on your plants, as they are forced to keep “re-wiring” themselves.
The best production gardens (those with more than two HID growlamps) are almost exclusively grown from clones taken from healthy motherplants. The best motherplants are never flowered – as they grow from seed, clones are taken from them and flowered out to find out their sex and the quality of what they’ll produce. The corresponding vegetative motherplants are kept in large containers under metal halides or plenty of fluorescent growlights. Feed them mild vegetative nutrient solution high in Nitrogen.
– Danny Danko, HIGH TIMES Senior Cultivation Editor
The number one tip I could give to save time and money in the grow room would be "Go Organic". Not only will you save time and money 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 over-dependance on petrochemicals so why pour fertilizers made of these substandard ingredients on our plants. I say no! Grow organic it won't only change your growroom it will change your life.
– Shiloh Massive, NorCal Legend
It does not matter what kind of medium is in use, mineral fertilizer will cause salts buildup and eventually result in intoxication of the plants, if proper flushing is not applied. The purpose of flushing is to wash the medium, and as a consequence a lot of water flows through the containers down to the ground, and it is very important to drain away excess water from the growroom, so the climate stays good (too much water in the room will cause air humidity to climb fast, creating all sorts of issues). In my personal experience, flushing with up to 3 times the volume is even more effective, as long as the drainage is quick. Flushing is best done at the beginning of the light-cycle, so to favor evaporation of excess water and to let the medium begin the drying process faster after flushing.
– Franco, Green House Seed Company
Depending on whether the plants are in pots or in beds, there may be a variance with this method. Even with natural preventive maintenance sprays such as Neem oil to combat predators, and with amazing permanent color markers available today, the strain names eventually fade away if one doesn't pay close attention.
So, with that all said, knowing a little about insurance, I like to prepare many identical labels and place them in the containers, on the sides of the containers, under the containers, and tied to the plants(especially when the plants are in beds this method) to assure no possible mix up of strains.
As the breeder & brainchild creator of Delta-9 Labs, I have 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 & Cerebral! Keep it clean and organized!
– Ed Borg, Delta 9 Labs
The saying goes that "oil and water do not mix". That 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 Tbsp. Dyna-Gro (TM) neem oil and 1 Tbsp. Pro-TeKt (R) silica in a glass dish. Add this oil/silica emulsification to 1 gallon of tepid water. Then add 2 Tbsp. of a surfactant, like T&J Enterprise's yucca juice, to break the surface tension. Shake the solution to activate the yucca saponins, and spray.
– Matt Rize, medicalmarijuana.com
I think the best tip I can offer is to be diligent in all things. Our hobby is not one that allows for procrastination and when its time to transplant, or take clones that are needed or just perform proper grow room maintenance these are task that will not wait until tomorrow. The best growers I know have a special attention to detail and tend to operate tidy clean 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, dank is the byproduct.
– Subcool, TGA Genetics
The best advice ever given to me was from Soma who taught me to pick up the pots to feel the weight of the plants before watering to avoid overwatering. As for what I discovered on my own, you must always listen to your plants. They’ll tell you when they need more food, water or air. Treat them as the living wonderful beings that they are.
– Harry Resin, High Times cultivation contributor
Make your own footprints in the path of growing, but allow the wealth of knowledge that is already out there to be your guide. Don’t get stuck 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. A perpetual harvest cycle allows you to individualize your techniques for each plant’s specific nutrient and water needs. Organization lends less work, change one thing at a time and have patience. 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
Organ soil and fertilizer will always be the preferred method for growing great herb, but without aid they release vital nutrients slowly, which can really be a drag on your flowering time. The only way to maximize your fertilizer 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. Bat guano, which is packed high with phosphorus due 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 they make a potent and fast-acting flower fertilizer. Sea bird poop is a cheaper and more sustainably harvested fertilizer with active enzymes. Psidocene, an enzyme and bio stimulant derived from seaweed, helps speed the recovery of transplanted and otherwise shocked plants.
– Ben Kind, former HIGH TIMES Cultivation Reporter
Pinching, twisting, and bending the tops of plants are all forms of super-cropping. Doing this benefit your plants, garden and growing space consideraby by preventing plant stretching and waste of valuable space and light. Supercropping can be performed during 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 at that time). If you haven't tried some form of super cropping, try a few of these techniques and see what works best for you and your plants
– Felix Green, High Times Cultivation Contributor
One of the common mistakes indoor growers make is not maximizing their light. Indoor gardens require a minimum 33 watts per square foot. For example, a standard 4’ x 8’ tray (32 sq feet) with two, 1000 watt HPS, you would achieve 62.5 watts per square foot, doubling the recommended amount of watts per square foot.
If you do not contain your light to the plants in the growing area, you waste your light by illuminating your walkways, walls, etc. You are not growing concrete or sheetrock, you are growing plants. It is extremely important that the light penetrate only the plants. The light should not escape the plant area.
The easiest and most cost effective way to contain your light is to use white plastic divider walls, leaving a 2” gap from the wall to the plants. By doing this, you should see a dramatic increase in your yields.
– Bret Bogue, Apothecary Genetics,
I discovered the benefits of sparkling water a few years ago as another grower’s tip and have never seen anyone else mention using it. Purchase yourself a bottle of sparkling mineral water for your clones. Fresh cuttings off a mother plant crave the tiny carbonated bubbles and the essential minerals. Placing your fresh cuttings in a cup of mineral water before using your cloning solution will make your clones root faster and increase survival rates. Make sure you grab the unflavored sparkling water as its pure and clean. Bubbles are a happy sound to the plants and they will soon show their approval with quick abundant roots.
– Mike from Gage Green
Instead of putting your trimmed herb onto coat hangers to dry, go out and grab some six-foot-tall square wire deer fence. Cut the fencing into six 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 issues related to damaged herb.
– Addison DeMoura, Steep Hill Labs
Always grow organic! It’s the most conscientious for the health of our bodies and for the health of the planet. We have a responsibility for all of our actions. Grow from seeds and learn to make your own. It perpetuates the seed. Cannabis is so many things: medicine, peace and relaxation, changing consciousness, textiles, foods. It can repair the imbalance in nature and fix our environment. Fight against against GMOs (genetically-modified organisms).
– Valerie Corral, Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana
All You Need is Patience
The thing that was hardest to learn and I wish I still had more of is patience. You can never have enough of it when you’re growing. Keep it simple, keep it clean and keep it green.
– Swerve, The Cali Connection
Hydrogen Peroxide For Hydro
H2O2 not only keeps bacteria and algae at bay in non-organic hydro systems, it releases precious oxygen in the root zone as it works its magic. It is especially good in reservoirs that run hot – water above 72 degrees contains less dissolved oxygen which promotes bacterial growth. 15ml 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