Water & Feeding Program for Home Grows

Hey, quick question bro… I’m growing weed for the first time and I just transferred my clones into larger pots. I have two Panama Reds and one White Widow. How many days should I wait between watering? I am using CFLs. How should I be watering them now that they’re in this large planter? Thanks for any help and I’m a big fan!
- Sent from Wesley S. via NicosNuggets@hightimes.com

Hey there Wesley, thanks for this week’s question. You are certainly growing the right strains – two of my favorites! That Panama Red is a classic and not easy to find clones of these days. Well done!

When it comes to watering cannabis plants, two important distinctions need to made first. Watering generally means pure, fresh water with no additives. This is different than feeding, which is generally a nutrient solution that is comprised of water and mineral nutrients. Of course, some fertilizers are used without water, but not many, these days.

The schedule for both watering and feeding gardens can vary a lot depending on factors such as grow medium, grow system, garden size, size and age of your plants, grow location and climate/ environmental factors. Since you mentioned your lighting set-up, we know you are growing indoors. We also know your plants are young, having been clones that were just transplanted into their larger – and now presumably permanent – new home.

For a small home grow like yours, heavy watering will not be needed nor will a serious nutrient regime. Heavy water and feeding schedules are reserved for large-format, commercial-sized grows, which might water gardens several times per day. And considering that you are using compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), your light intensity and temperature are much lower as compared to other types of horticultural lighting, thus your plants are not being driven very hard. For the sake of this answer, I will assume you are using a soil or soilless mixture for your indoor grow medium. So for your set-up, I’d recommend a light schedule of watering and feeding.

On the first day, water your plants with fresh water only. Water each plant until the container is just about saturated. You don’t want too much run-off, especially if your plant containers have saucers to catch the run-off. Plants sitting in stagnant run-off is never a good thing. On the second day, repeat this process only with a mild nutrient solution. Take the same amount of water and mix in some organic liquid nutrients. In the early stages of growth, use something higher in nitrogen. The N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium) ratio on the nutrient label will indicate these levels. A mild ratio of 6-2-4 (or similar) should be plenty. There is no need to use a 20-15-20 like Miracle-Gro would suggest. Follow the manufacturers mixing instructions for your volume of water. Then, on the third day, rest and let your plants rest.

I like to let the grow medium dry out completely for a day, allowing air to permeate the root zone. This is helpful because roots breathe in (absorb) oxygen (not CO2, like the rest of the plant) and it is easier to do in dry, non-compressed substrate. Some growers don’t like the medium to get too dry, so if you prefer you can do a light watering on the third day, no biggie. You may also choose to do the nutrient solution on Day 1 and the fresh water on Day 2, thereby “flushing” the nutrient solution out so as to prevent salt buildup and nutrient lock-up within your grow medium. This is an especially good idea is you are using non-organic nutrients.

As for your CFLs, be forewarned that with low-wattage lamps, yields will be noticeably lower. However, fluorescents do provide nice spectrum (light nutrition) and run cool, thereby eliminating heat problems. They also save on energy costs. But if you are looking for an alternative, there are smaller wattage (250-watt, 400-watt, etc.) high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps available these days pretty much everywhere. These lamps would not require much of an increase in watering and feeding, if any at all. Good luck & enjoy!

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ’em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!
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