To reap the benefits of growing without the hassles, Mr. Mom grows mother plants and sells rooted cuttings, then sits back and watches the pot roll in.
By Danny Danko
Mr. Mom faced an interesting predicament. He always wanted to grow ganja, but circumstances prevented him from allowing flowering plants and their resulting odors to permeate his abode. It wasn’t the smell of growing plants so much as the stench of trimming and drying that concerned him. There was no way his neighbors would tolerate it for even a day, and heavy air filtration was not an option. He stumbled upon an interesting solution to his dilemma and thus began an undertaking that would change his local cannabis climate forever.
The answer was simple: Grow healthy mothers of popular and sought-after varieties, and never have to flower or trim buds again. By providing clones to friends at a reasonable price or a predetermined cut of the resulting harvest, Mr. Mom created for himself a never-ending stash and profitable revenue stream without having to sweat the flowering process at all. No worries about timers, flowering nutrients, heavy odors or harvesting; simply keep the moms in good shape (see Grow Show p. TK) and take cuttings to order.
A good healthy mother plant will provide dozens of genetically identical cuttings. The benefits of cultivating from clones include uniform growth, guaranteed females and time saved while waiting for seedlings to sprout and mature. Seed crops may exhibit more vigor, but clones will outperform them over the long run, as they use space more efficiently, resulting in larger harvests.
Cloning a plant is a simple process, as long as several critical factors are met. The cut end must be able to take in water or mild nutrient solution at all times. Never allow the chosen medium to dry out, but remember that too much moisture can cause the stem and leaves to mold or rot. A delicate balance of humidity and temperature must be maintained. Clear domes with a hole or two cut in them provide enough moisture to prevent clones from wilting. Heat pads underneath the trays work wonders for successful rooting percentages as well.
As for the actual slicing, use a sharp, clean blade and have everything prepared and laid out beforehand. Be sure to take at least a 2- to 3-inch top and cut diagonally for more surface area on the cut end. You want to slice the stem below an internode, the place where the leaf meets the stem. Lightly scrape the bottom inch of the cut end for even more root activity (some perform this cutting and scraping under water for even better results). Trim the node just above your cut and dip the bottom inch into a rooting hormone containing fungicide. The gel or powder that you use will keep the clone’s stem from rotting during the rooting process. Gently but firmly place the clone immediately into your chosen medium. Lighting should not overwhelm the fragile plantlets. Fluorescent bulbs will cause far less evaporation than even low-wattage high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. Cuttings in proper conditions should show roots between five days and two weeks.
Mediums can vary from no medium at all (such as the aeroponic methods of many commercially available cloners) to rockwool trays with lids or peat plugs. With proper monitoring of moisture and temperature, almost any chosen medium will do. I’ve seen cuttings root in a glass of water on a windowsill.
Constantly successful and profitable cloning, however, requires a bit more attention. Mr. Mom has to provide hundreds of Strawberry Cough, Sour Diesel and Super Silver Haze clones to friends almost every week. He manages to do this in a space no larger than a closet (3’ x 5’ x 8’) with minimal electrical usage. Two EZ-Clone machines sit on shelves underneath efficient Sun Panel fluorescent units with twelve 48-inch T8 bulbs (available from herbngardens.com). Under the shelves, the mothers sit below a 250-watt metal-halide (MH) lamp.
I asked Mr. Mom how he came up with this genius idea. “Out of necessity,” he said. “I love growing, and my current situation won’t allow me to go the distance. Instead, I help my friends save their time and energy, and the rewards come back to me tenfold.”
How much does a clone cost? “That all depends on the strain and how much I like you, but I would say anywhere between $20 and $100 a piece, ready to go into any hydro system or dirt bucket. Every time I fill that 120-clone machine, she pays my rent, so I tend to fill her a lot. I call it ‘cloning for dollars,’ but I’m never out of herb either. I work with trusted friends only and it’s been a blessing.”