My basic guide to growing cannabis

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ArmoredGoat

ArmoredGoat

Hello Growers!

Here is a guide I’m working on (work in progress so it’s a bit all over the map towards the end) It may help someone new along the way.

So you want to grow Cannabis indoors...

In this long post (TLDR) I’ll cover what I feel is an intro the basics from light schedules, the different stages of growth and optimal conditions for people who are new to growing photoperiod cannabis in “soil under an LED”.

Disclaimer: this post does not discuss which soil to use, nutrients and or most required equipment such as light. Doing so would make this even more excessively long than anyone cares to read and is a wide spectrum of personal opinion and bias.

Overview

Germination
(if this process takes more than 3-7 days something could be wrong, check it) can be done many ways from the paper towel, dropping your beans into a cup of water for a day or planting them directly into their home. My personal preference is dropping beans into a cup of clean water. Let them sit in the dark for 48 hours. Then off to their first home.

Veg 0-x ? Days - Yes you can skip veg, but why? During veg your plant will grow quite a long time or as little as you want in this stage. Your space restrictions can dictate this for you or you can decide. During this stage you’ll be topping and monitoring the plant for changes.

Stretch/transition - when you’ve decided you want to begin the flower stage simply change the light schedule to 12on/12off. Make sure you’ve lollipoped your plant and removed leaf blocking Bud sites. You want to do this a few day’s before to allow the plant to heal. The stretch tradition marks the beginning of flower (can take 2-3 weeks before she settles and stops growing vertically). Your plant will likely double or triple in size in this period. Be ready to make adjustments if you need such as trellis, cropping, supercropping ect

Full flower (52 days+) As you near completion you should be checking tricomes for cloudiness - this is your indicator to start flushing your plant as it’s nearly ready for harvest. Your plant will sense the end of its life cycle is approaching and to will push all the rest of its energy into fatting/swelling buds. This also cleans out the medium and plant of nutrients that may negatively affect the taste. Trichomes are difficult to see so you’re best served with even an inexpensive jewelers loupe with a 40x+ magnification.

Flush (x-14 days - you’ll want to stopping feeding the plant and change to use RO/distilled water and or a flushing agent for best results. This science is still debated on flushing like much of everything when it comes to cannabis.

Dry - 7 to x days - once you’ve cut and hung up. Your plant to dry check it every few days. I recommend a fan in this space to circulate air, but would not point directly as the drying flower. You’ll know it’s ready to cure once the stems snap with little effort. If the stems bend rather than snap leave to dry another day. I recommend a slower dry process.

Cure (2-3 weeks at minimum but 3-8 months or longer for optimal results. Humidity and burping is really important during this process. You got this far do not let poor curing practices ruin or degrade your grow. You can smoke after the drying process, but I strongly encourage people to cure properly.

Finally Sanitize your space and start again.


Let’s dive into what I think are the optimal conditions for your grow space during these stages. Remember, the below is not an exact science, but a reference guide. Your environmental conditions may be significantly different than my own in the Midwest.

Temps and humidity
Seedling Stage

(Germination - 7 days) lights 18/6 or 20/4
  • Seedlings and clones like high humidity levels of 70-85%
  • Reason: The root system is not established
  • High humidity levels allow water intake through leaves
  • Temperatures with lights on: 68-77 degrees (lights off: 4-5 degrees lower) domes help.
  • Clones and seedlings flourish with a heat mat.
  • If you don’t see a plant breaking the surface after 7 days from potting check it, something is wrong.

Vegetation Period - lights 18/6 or 20/4
(early and Veg (28 - as many days as you want) - during this stage you should be topping your feminized photo - 5 nodes is the mark to start topping. Topping one creates two and this multiples each cut/top after - important to continue this into the next phase and defoliate when necessary. Remember you’re hurting your plant by cutting it, give it a few days to recover before chopping again.
  • Humidity levels can be lowered by 5% each week (acceptable range: 50-80% - ideally 65-75%). Check your VPD chart. I try to maintain 80 degrees and 70rH
  • Temperatures can be increased a little bit (no obligation - no higher than 86 unless utilizing co2)
  • Co2 during veg - add if needed (if you have high temps strong light would encourage co2)
  • Reason: Roots absorb more water; evaporation through leaves cools plant(s). If you’re soil is drying out quickly then your roots are drinking a lot to cool the top of the plant. If temps are high you may consider adjusting your light, add a fan, check exhaust, improve airflow intakes, ect.
  • Temperatures with lights on: 74-86 (can be higher if using c02)
  • Lights off: 4-10 degrees lower - if you have a strong light or a light that puts off a lot of heat the reduction of heat happens on its own once the light is off - watch for extreme temp changes and adjust if needed

Flowering Period - 12/12
(Stretch then Full flower (51 + days? Check your plants tricones as you near completion) crop, topping & lollipop should have happened by now. During the first few weeks of flower I tend to leave the plant to grow big without unnecessary stress such as LST, HST or major defoliation. You can remove leaves but make sure to never remove more than 1/3rd of your plant when cropping to allow light to enter your canopy. This is an ideal time to remove fan leaves that are blocking light to those Bud sites. Do so promotes air flow as well. Some prefer to tuck and hide, That’s fine too. I recommend removing useless material on the bottom 3rd of the plant. You want to make sure the energy is focused on the Bud sites not leaves and popcorn buds at the bottom. It is important reduce humidity for this stage.
  • You can get away with 55% anything at or over 60% IMO is potentially bad and can develop into bud rot.
  • Push more co2 high for the 1st 6 weeks of stretch/flower (if you’re using it)
  • It’s best to slightly lower temperatures in flowering to encourage to the plant (season change)
  • Temperatures with lights on: 70-80 (avoid high temperatures if possible - I typically run a little warmer due to space)

Late flowering
(The last 2 weeks before harvest - flush - no more nutes or co2, only add clean Water mixed w/ Flushing agent/solution for two weeks (I prefer RO/Distilled) - your plants will thank you and the final product will be better - flushing is subject to debate and new studies suggest this step to be unnecessary)
  • The following steps are not necessity, but can improve yield, flavor and appearance
  • Bring down humidity levels as much as you can: 30-40% - I target 30
  • Lower daytime temperatures, and also increase the temperature difference (day/night)
  • Temperatures with lights on: 70-80 (lights off: minus 5-10 degrees - if possible)
  • Tip: want to see your plant change to fall colors late In flower drop the temps into the low 60’s during lights off. Cooler temperatures inhibit chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll, you might remember from 6th-grade science, is the plant component vital to photosynthesis. Different genes and different cannabinoid ratios, flavor profiles, and anthocyanin are all factors. The most prominent variation to green cannabis is purple. Think of the tree leaves in fall. As temperatures drop, they change from green to red, orange, yellow, or gold. Cannabis doesn’t produce the colors until the latter half of the flowering stage, with a few exceptions.


How do I know if my plant is ready to be cut down?
Once you see the trichomes are 50-70% cloudy throughout the plant (not just the top buds) you can starting the flush (if you flush some prefer just regular h2o). You’ll notice leaves changing and dying as they plant uses the last of its leaves stored nutrients/energy. This is normal and does not reflect an issue with your plant.

I’ve cut it down now what?
Harvest cannabis in a dark room/space with temperatures kept within the 60-70°F range and humidity between 45-55%, with a small fan to gently circulate the air throughout.

My cannabis hung and is dried. What is my next step?
Manicure your cannabis. This is the time you’ll clean up your buds before you Pack the buds loosely into your containers, filling them all the way to the top without compacting or crushing the buds.
Seal the containers and place them in a cool, dry, dark spot to finish the curing process. I like mason jars, but use what you ha e. Within the first day, you will notice that the buds are no longer crunchy and dry on the outside, as moisture from inside the flowers rehydrates the outer portions. If this is not the case, you have over-dried your cannabis.
During the first 2 weeks In jars, open the containers several times per day and let the flowers “breathe” for a few minutes. This allows moisture to escape and replenishes the oxygen inside the container. If you notice the odor of ammonia (wet hay) when opening a container, it means the buds are not dry enough to be cured and anaerobic bacteria are consuming them, which will lead to moldy, rotten cannabis. After the first 2 weeks, you will only need to open the containers once every few days or so.
After 2 to 3 weeks in containers, your cannabis will be cured enough to provide a quality experience, but the longer the cure the overall finished product. Some strains benefit from 6 months or more of curing.



Training
The basic idea behind plant training is that bigger, wider plants with many evenly spaced colas produce bigger yields. This is why I manifold my plants. Increased spacing, better air flow and light penetration to bud locations, more even canopy while defoliation happens weekly rather than a heavy defoliation at the time of flip (lollipop). I heavily train my plants as soon as they hit the 5th node.

Manipulating your plants is a basically freeway to increase your yields, without needing to change anything else about your setup. You don’t need to buy expensive nutrients or get a new grow light for this to work for you. Manipulating the plant in a way that doesn’t involve actually cutting your plant is often referred to as “LST” in the cannabis growing world, which is short for “Low Stress Training.”
The idea of LST is to manually force your plant to grow flat and wide, as opposed to tall and thin, usually using bending.

An even canopy, This flat plant shape allows the whole plant to better use your existing grow lights, since a greater percentage of the plant is closer to the light source, which means that more of the plant is getting exposed to brighter light intensity.
Any LST attempts should almost always begin when the plant is very young, as this type of “table” shape is much harder to achieve once the plant has developed into a triangle shape with a tall main cola.

A variation would be scrog where a screen or netting is used to maintain this. These methods are used so the whole plant is getting direct exposure from the lights. All that direct, intense light will be turned into energy by the plant, fueling bigger buds and overall yields


By supplementing your cannabis roots with extra sugar towards the end of flowering, you help improve the flavor of your buds while also fattening buds up.
This is especially effective for those growing organically, as this works synergistically with the beneficial microbes in your soil
There are many commercial supplements that claim to fatten up buds and improve flavor, but most of these work by adding simple sugar.
If you’re growing in soil and looking for a cheap yet effective alternative to those expensive supplements, you can add a little bit of regular blackstrap molasses (a teaspoon per gallon) to your water every time you water your plants during the second half of the flowering stage.


Controlling temperature and humidity can be
Difficult. It is much more Important in flower than veg. Humidity is typically higher at night than it is with lights on, why? During the day, the LED is shining brightly, giving enough heat to cause water in the air to evaporate. The heat from the LED turns the water present in the air into vapor. At night this doesn’t happen, this higher RH.
My space is to hot?
Increase air intake and outake. An oscillating fan or two (depending on space size) should be used. High temps are much more manageable in veg.
High temps late in the flowering stage can reduce the potency of smell of your buds by burning away cannabinoids and terpenes.
There are plenty of readily accessible VPD charts as well as well as DLI (I may cover this later as some of it relates to co2 implementation with a lot of working parts and everyone’s favorite - math).

Water
Water can be different for every user. Some people have hard, others have soft, all range in a variation of impurities. If you’re using tap, fill your containers at least 24 hours ahead of whenever you intend to mix nutes into it. Leave the cap off exposing the water to air. This will clear a lot of the dirty from the water. You can also opt for RO water which would be free of impurities, but remember RO would need additives such as nutrients to feed the plant. RO by itself is mostly useless to cannabis.

Rule of thumb for ph of your water is 6.0-6.5 is a sweet zone for cannabis throughout their life cycles in soil with exceptions during different phases.

It is important to a successful grow to have tools such as a ph meter and a spare if you can afford it. Without this one meter, you’re not going to have a great grow and likely will have issue that you’ll need to rely on others opinions to identify. As you know, you may not always get the best advice. Testing your ph and ppm going into your medium is more important than what’s coming out, but testing your ph and ppm of your runoff also can be beneficial to identify current issues or soon to be issues. I recommend both and referencing your feed charts as a guideline depending on what nutrients you’ve selected to feed with.


Soil (ugh...)
There are lots of types - a lot to cover here. Will come back. I use FFoF due to ease of access, it’s relative hotness and pre-ph balance. I tend to add mykos, worm casting and extra perlite by hand leaving it sit in a storage tub for two weeks or more before using it to pot. Your soil can be healthy with run off anywhere from 6.0-7.0ph.

Planting your beans into its final home. Well, there is debate about this. I have done everything from cubes, to solo cups to straight into 10 gallon pots. My experience is that the bigger the pot the slower the initial growth. The roots have a more difficult time getting that precious air and establishing roots forcing its way through the heavier dirt. I would advise slowly building up in to larger pots, but it’s not a requirement.

Nutrients - there are too many. Each brand has different ratios so don’t get confused when you see something on one bottom that is different in another brand. Not covering this other than NPK - nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)

NPK ratio for
Veg - 3:1:1
mid-bloom is 1-3-2, followed by 0-3-3 for late bloom

Hope this isn’t overwhelming and or confusing. I also hope that this helps someone out there struggling with how-to / when-to. Most long time growers will find this post to be mostly useless to them (sorry). Be well and happy Growing!
 
Last edited:
Jack og

Jack og

Supporter
Well it’s nicely put together
Quick question is it all yours? Of is there some copy and paste from various sites?
mid so just put a credit disclosure on the bottom. But it’s a sound guide
 
ArmoredGoat

ArmoredGoat

Well it’s nicely put together
Quick question is it all yours? Of is there some copy and paste from various sites?
mid so just put a credit disclosure on the bottom. But it’s a sound guide

Not all mine. Some of it is bits and pieces from around the web. I can credit sources, would take some time to get to, but I can get that done by the weekend or you can delete the post and I can repost when ready.
 
growsince79

growsince79

""Lights evaporate water out of the air? "
That's so wrong you need to change it. The reason RH goes down when the light are on is because the air is warming up. Hot air holds more water than cool air. That's why it's called "relative" humidity.
 
Jack og

Jack og

Supporter
Not all mine. Some of it is bits and pieces from around the web. I can credit sources, would take some time to get to, but I can get that done by the weekend or you can delete the post and I can repost when ready.
Just give the original writer a nod. The guide is good and I’ll leave it as is and let u edit it as I go
 
growsince79

growsince79

Hard to credit the original writer since so many cannabis websites copy each other so much. Some don't even try to reword it. Just make websites that are nothing but cut and paste. Not a lot of original content out there. Just a bunch of people repeating what they read somewhere else.
 
MIMedGrower

MIMedGrower

It has been proven cannabis uses an aproximate 3-1-3 nutrient ratio through its whole life. It does not process more pk and less nitrogen during flower.

Also uses a lot of calcium, silica and sulfer.

Many tests and tissue samples out there proving this including Dyna Grow, Advanced Nutrients and the University of Utah Cannabis lab.


My results greatly improved when i dropped the bloom bottle.
 
B0ssD0ss

B0ssD0ss

It has been proven cannabis uses an aproximate 3-1-3 nutrient ratio through its whole life. It does not process more pk and less nitrogen during flower.

Also uses a lot of calcium, silica and sulfer.

Many tests and tissue samples out there proving this including Dyna Grow, Advanced Nutrients and the University of Utah Cannabis lab.


My results greatly improved when i dropped the bloom bottle.


Trying to get some additional info on silica. Any info would be much appreciated. Would this be something additional to add during regular feeding?
 
MIMedGrower

MIMedGrower

Trying to get some additional info on silica. Any info would be much appreciated. Would this be something additional to add during regular feeding?


Yes the plant almost uses it as a macro nutrient.

Here is the interview with the president of dyna grow disclosing his lab tissue samples of cannabis indica hybrids. As he calls them.

It was on the dude grows show.




He gets in to the tissue sample results about 11:30 or just after.
 
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