We’ve moved!

Just a quick note to say that The Growers Guide to Cannabis has now moved, and can be found here. We’ve already added several new pieces, got new writers etc so if you’ve found this blog by chance, please follow the link and follow the new blog!

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Old skool goes back to school for LED grow

LED grow lights? Are they really worth the hype? After doing some research for an article (see here), I became more and more convinced that they might be.

And this is despite being a die-hard HID fan. You see I started growing cannabis more than 14 years ago, when indoor grow rooms were only just becoming possible in the UK. Now every city seems to have a grow shop, and every year there is a new innovation in equipment. Back then things were simpler – and a hell of a lot more complicated!

For starters, there was none of this grow tent nonsense. To set up an indoor grow room you needed either to kit out your spare room with enough lights to fit the space (after redecorating with sufficient black & white plastic to consider buying shares in the company), or construct a “hidden room”, a space within a space, out of 4” by 2” and plywood. The closest thing I ever had to a “closet grow” was the cupboard –

and this was only a temporary hiding place while I moved house (and built yet another construction).

The fact is – or was – that indoor marijuana growing took up a lot of space. As well as the height necessary for distance from plants, you needed room for the ballast boxes, extractors, the extractor tubing, the fans, the plug sockets, etc etc. And the time I went for air-cooled lights (which then all came with individual tubing), the place began to look like NASA. Realistically the plywood room became a 2 shell space so that the extractors, carbon filters, wiring etc all went out of the grow space itself, whilst still being hidden from a casual observer. In the meantime my electricity bill went sky high and the place thrummed with electrical noise as if NASA truly was testing its new space rocket in there.

Things change. I’m now in a country which provided different problems to the indoor grower. Firstly electrical supply isn’t as stable as before. Not only do we have power cuts, making it dangerous for a standard photoperiod plant, but many of the properties only run on a 3.5k power supply. Put in my old grow room and you’d have to forget about ever using the TV, let alone switching the kettle on. Secondly, we have hot summers. If its blazing 40ºC outside, imagine what its going to be like under those HIDs. The amount of extraction needed would be fearsome.

Luckily up to now I’ve satisfied my cannabis growing needs by growing outside. After all why waste all that good sunshine? But in my heart of hearts I’m an indoor grower. I’ll admit I’m a bit of an MJ geek, and love nothing more than testing the CF in the NFT. I even worked out a formula to calculate the residual amounts of chemicals left in the reserve as the water levels dropped.

But everything has moved on since I started growing cannabis. Autoflowering plants – while many of them still need stabilising – solve the issue of power outages. Smart pots and Air pots seem a good way to grow a move-able plant while getting some of the benefits of my beloved hydroponic growing. And LED grow lights? Well they seem to resolve everybody’s problems of electrical use, heat, security and space.

Now I guess I’m getting to that age, where the best things were those I used in my youth and am used to. So I’m not convinced by the blurb about LED lights growing better bud …. at least not until I’ve tried them myself.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll do a test run first, using a Feroled 864. After all its not fair to pit years of experience with HID against first run with a new technology: reading about the subject, its obvious that LED marijuana growing is different to HID – there are new issues to come into play. Instead of heat extraction, I may need to focus on heat input, for example. And once I’ve done a dummy run, with some short life-span autoflowers (these ones only have a seed to crop estimated time of 7 weeks), I’ll be starting a full on competition grow of HID v LED grow lights.

Stay tuned to read more! And if any of you have some useful tips on LED grows, please comment.


Growing marijuana seedlings

Whilst buying good marijuana seeds provides you with the genetic capabilities of your cannabis plant, growing marijuana seedlings well enables these traits to be realised. Limiting factors at this crucial time in development will have repercussions for the mature plant – or more likely, kill it off whilst it is at a delicate phase. The seedling stage lasts from 1-4 weeks, so you have only this amount of time to get it right!

To read more, please click here 

Medical Marijuana

Tim Garon used to be a drug user. When he was a teenager, he shared needles with other speed freaks and consequently caught Hep C. Years later, in what he states was a sober middle-age (one free from substance abuse), the Hep C had progressed to the point where he was seriously ill. In a US state where MJ is used for medical reasons, his doctor prescribed him MJ to soften the pain, steady the sickness and stimulate a fading appetite.

 

 

But marijuana for medical use treats the symptoms, not the cause. Garon’s illness progressed until he needed a liver transplant in order to survive. He was refused. Why?

 

He was condemned (quite literally: Tom Garon died in July of this year) for taking a medicine prescribed by his doctor to help with the symptoms of his illness. Apparently he was informed by the transplant clinic that if he stayed “clean” for 6 months, he could be reconsidered.

 

The implications of this are staggering. If the governments of US states acknowledge the benefits of cannabis as an alleviative of illness, how can any medical institution refuse treatment of that illness when cannabis has been authorised by another medical body?

 

Or were the doctors involved in making this decision actually punishing the patient for a lifestyle choice he had made twenty years before?  Many smokers beyond a certain age, or within a certain income group, will have among their toking friends, doctors or lawyers who indulge regularly or occasionally. And so its easy to forget that in the establishment there are many who have spent their lives believing that marijuana is the root cause of evil, the first step on a road to lawlessness, drug addiction and decline.  How long will it take – and how many victims like Garon will suffer – before medical marijuana can really be approved of by the authorities?

How to germinate marijuana seedlings

Let’s face it, marijuana seeds are not cheap. Therefore it’s important to get the best rate of germination that you can. Luckily plants want to reproduce and with a little understanding it is easy to get the technique of seed germination down to a fine art.

Cannabis seed germinating

Marijuana seed breeders cleverly play around with the characteristics of future plants, chemically inducing female plants to produce male flowers (producing feminised seeds) and most recently, through selective breeding developing autoflowering plants, but the basics of all seeds remain the same. They contain the genetic code of a future plant held safe in a dormant state until the correct environment enables the seed to spring to life.

Unlike some plants, the marijuana seed does not require complex conditions in order to germinate. Like all annual weeds, its needs for reproduction are simple: temperature, moisture, oxygen and darkness.

for more info on how to germinate marijuana seedlings, click here